Young people under 20 are half as susceptible to Covid-19, a new study has suggested.
The modelling study, developed by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, also found that clinical Covid-19 symptoms appeared in 21 per cent of infections among 10 to 19-year-olds, compared to 69 per cent of adults over 70.
Researchers say understanding the role of age in the transmission and disease severity of Covid-19 is crucial for determining the impact of social distancing interventions as well as accurately estimating the number of cases worldwide.
Rosalind Eggo and Nicholas Davies, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, developed the age-based transmission model with data from 32 locations in six countries – China, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Canada and South Korea.
Follow the latest updates below.
French health ministry chief Jerome Salomon said that not preparing for a second wave of coronavirus infection in France would be a “major mistake”.
Salomon made the comments as he was testifying in front of a parliamentary commission investigating the way authorities handled the coronavirus crisis in France.
The World Health Organization’s regional director for the Americas Carissa Etienne said on Tuesday that the region is fast approaching 4 million cases of coronavirus and the pandemic continues to accelerate.
Speaking in a virtual briefing from Washington-based Pan American Health Organization, Etienne said Brazil accounts for 23% of the more than 3.8 million cases in the Americas and 23% of the almost 204,000 deaths in the region and “we are not seeing transmission slowing down.”
Mexico and the United States have extended restrictions on non-essential travel across their shared border for 30 days, Mexico’s foreign ministry said.
A coronavirus contact tracing app being introduced in France may not be able to connect with others across the European Union because it stores data centrally, EU Commission vice-president Margrethe Vestager has said.
The EU has been hoping that apps developed by member states to track infections will be able to link up when people move within the bloc, mapping the virus’s spread better and so creating more security for a revival of travel and tourism. Member states agreed technical standards for this on Tuesday.
But France’s approach, which allows central location tracking but has also raised privacy concerns, differs from that of Germany, Italy and others, which log contacts by Bluetooth signal on individual smartphones only.
There’s a jobs nightmare lurking behind the headline numbers
An unemployment rate of 3.9pc isn’t even close to showing to real damage of Covid-19 on the UK jobs market. Russell Lynch, our Economics Editor has more:
Some things in life are technically true, but extremely misleading. When former US president Bill Clinton was quizzed in 1998 by a grand jury about his remarks that “there’s nothing going on” with his intern Monica Lewinsky, he infamously replied: “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”
That line is worth bearing in mind when looking at the Office for National Statistics’ labour market figures today; indeed, anybody studying the headline figures from its release would learn nothing of the nightmarish Covid-19 impact about to be visited on the UK jobs scene.
An unemployment rate of 3.9pc for the quarter to April is technically correct, defined as the number of workers actively seeking, but not in, employment. It barely moved on the previous quarter. So too the overall employment rate, which at 76.4pc is also just 0.1pc down on the previous three-month period. Anybody looking at these numbers alone might simply shrug and move on.
You can read his full analysis here, and to keep up to date on how businesses and the economy are fighting the financial battle of the pandemic, check out our business live blog.
Heart disease, diabetes significantly raise risk of hospitalization, death from Covid-19, says study
People with underlying health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes are six times more likely to be hospitalised with Covid-19 and have a 12 times higher risk of coronavirus-related death, a US study found.
Men were more likely than women to have bad outcomes, and the prevalence of hospitalisations and deaths were highest among patients aged 70 years and older, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that confirmed similar reports from outbreak hotspots in recent months.
“These findings are consistent with previous reports that found that severe outcomes increased with age and underlying condition, and males were hospitalized at a higher rate than were females,” the CDC wrote in its report.
Watch: Grant Shapps concedes economy will only restart when ‘safe to do so’
New data from the ONS, which reveals that the number of people on British company payrolls fell by more than 600,000 in April.
The jobless rate unexpectedly held steady at 3.9 per cent over the three months to April but this morning Grant Shapps conceded that there is an “awful lot going” below the surface – pointing out that 9 million people are still on the furlough scheme.
No such thing a two-metre rule, says legal expert
There is “no such thing as the two-metre rule” in England because the instruction has never been made law, a legal expert has told MPs.
Dr Ronan Cormacain, a research fellow at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, said there had been a “huge amount of misrepresentation” and “mischaracterisation” of the guidance on social distancing.
Speaking to the Commons Public, Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, he said: “There has been a lot of discussion about the two-metre rule.
“In England there is no such thing as a two-metre rule.
“There is a huge amount of misrepresentation, mischaracterisation of what is happening.
“If something is really important, make it the law, but don’t characterise something as a rule when it is not a rule.”
Britain’s drug regulator suspends hydroxychloroquine trial recruitment
Britain’s drug regulator on Tuesday instructed scientists trialling the use of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for the treatment or prevention of Covid-19 to suspend the recruitment of participants.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it was following “emerging concerns” about the use of the drug, and also cited a UK trial which found no meaningful mortality benefit in patients hospitalised with Covid-19.
Italy: Children more irritable and sleepless through lockdown, new study reveals
A survey conducted in Italy on the psychological impact of coronavirus lockdowns on children has found that children cooped up at home were more irritable, had trouble sleeping and for some of the youngest, wept inconsolably and regressed developmentally.
Those symptoms were more pronounced in families in which the parents were particularly stressed and in families with elderly relatives at high risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, the national survey by the Giannina Gaslini Pediatric Hospital in Genoa in conjunction with the University of Genoa found.
Italy’s Health Ministry on Tuesday released the results of the anonymous survey of 6,800 people who voluntarily responded to an online questionnaire March 24-April 3.
The start date was two weeks into a 10-week lockdown in Italy, the first country in the West to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Among those with children under age 6, 65 per cent reported their children suffered behavior problems and regression. The most common problems cited were increased irritability, sleep issues and separation anxiety. Some respondents also reported their children wept inconsolably, the researchers found.
In pictures: Britain in coronavirus lockdown
Unemployment rising faster than during the Great Depression, ONS data reveals
Pandemic is widening pre-existing regional inequalities, with ex-industrial, inner-city and coastal areas hardest hit in terms of job losses, reports Lizzy Buchan.
Unemployment is rising faster than during the Great Depression, with the regions that were in most need of “levelling up” before the crisis the hardest hit in terms of jobs.
In total, 2.7 million people are now claiming unemployment benefits, an increase of 1.4 million from March, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
The North East had the highest unemployment rate from February to April, as the Government closed schools and introduced a national lockdown. Unemployment is defined by the ONS as the number of people without a job who have been actively seeking work in the past four weeks and are free to start work in the next two weeks.
Click here to read more.
Breaking: UK coronavirus death toll rises by 233
The Department for Health and Social Care has confirmed that the coronavirus death toll in the UK has risen by 233 to 41,969.
113,107 tests were carried out on June 15, and as of 9am on June 16, there have been 6,981,493 tests carried out in total.
As of 9am 16 June, there have been 6,981,493 tests, with 113,107 tests on 15 June.
298,136 people have tested positive.
As of 5pm on 15 June, of those tested positive for coronavirus, across all settings, 41,969 have sadly died.
▶️ https://t.co/xXnL3FU15k pic.twitter.com/28Bl6z3tA1
— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) June 16, 2020
‘Remains unclear’ why the Government did not publish PHE report sooner, says Royal College of Physicians
The President of the Royal College of Physicians, has urged the Government to act on the recommendations of the Public Health England (PHE) report on the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities.
Professor Andrew Goddard said: “The second part of PHE’s review once again shows how Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted those from BAME communities and widened health inequalities even further.”
“It remains unclear to us why this element of the report did not accompany the earlier PHE review.”
“Now that we have these recommendations, they must be placed at the core of both the NHS and the Government’s plans to restart services, as well as plans for further Covid-19 outbreaks.”
“There is no time for complacency, and leaders at all levels should be made accountable for delivering these recommendations and regularly reporting on progress.”
Professor Chris Whitty praises dexamethasone trial
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has praised the dexamethasone trial, arguing that it “will save lives around the world”.
Dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory medication used to treat arthritis, severe allergies and asthma, is the first drug that has been shown to save lives and will be rolled out on the NHS within the next 24 hours.
The trial of 2,100 patients showed that the £5 drug, already available on the NHS, reduced the death rate of people on ventilators by 30 per cent. Currently four in 10 patients with the most severe form of Covid-19 who need mechanical ventilation will die.
Prof Whitty commented:
“This is the most important trial result for Covid-19 so far. Significant reduction in mortality in those requiring oxygen or ventilation from a widely available, safe and well known drug.
“Many thanks to those who took part and made it happen. It will save lives around the world.”
Watch: Britain’s youngest Covid-19 survivor returns home
A baby who is thought to be Britain’s youngest coronavirus survivor has finally returned home.
Emmanuel Boateng was born three months premature, before the coronavirus lockdown.
After spending the first few weeks of his life in intensive care, he was discharged.
But 10 days later, he fell ill and was rushed to Kings College Hospital where he was diagnosed with both sepsis and coronavirus.
Emmanuel spent 37 days in hospital with the virus, 21 in intensive care, where the newborn’s parents were unable to visit him due to social distancing restrictions.
After a traumatic start to life, most of which he spent in hospital, Emmanuel has fully recovered and has finally been able to go home.
Coronavirus positive: Your daily good news roundup
As always, we have your daily compendium of positive coronavirus news stories from around the world, brought to you today by Thom Gibbs and Harriet Barber. Here are some highlights:
The first post-lockdown overseas visitors returned to Santorini, Greece, on Monday. As part of the protection measures, hotels are required to have a doctor on site, a room for possible quarantines and a local hospital which is capable to Covid-19 testing.
In Kabul, Afghanistan, those facing unemployment during lockdown have found work digging trenches which aim to save the city from a water crisis and increase greenery. The government has employed 40,000 people to rehabilitate groundwater supplies, the city’s primary source of drinking water which have faced years of over-exploitation.
The Eiffel Tower reopened on Monday, following its longest closure since World War Two. Face masks are compulsory for those aged over 11 and the elevator is out of bounds meaning tourists will face up to 1665 stairs to the top.
London’s small art galleries have reopened, but appointments are needed to get in. At Gazelli Art House only three visitors will be allowed to view the exhibition at any time.
Read the full roundup here.
Wales: Covid-19 death toll rises to 1,456
A further eight people have died in Wales after testing positive for Covid-19, taking the total number of deaths to 1,456, Public Health Wales has said.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has increased by 65, bringing the total number of cases to 14,869.
Pakistan seals off virus ‘hot-spots’ in new lockdown strategy that aims to minimise economic damage
Neighbourhoods across the country with worrying clusters of Covid cases will be isolated in a bid to bring the spread under control, reports Ben Farmer.
Scores of virus hotspot neighbourhoods across Pakistan are being sealed off for strict new lockdown precautions as the country tries to deploy “smart” restrictions that minimise economic damage.
Provincial governments have begun identifying sites of worrying case clusters that need to be stamped out to stop a nationwide spike in disease.
The plan to isolate hotspots is the latest stage in Pakistan’s see-sawing strategy which saw the country opt first for an early strict lockdown, then a widespread relaxation of precautions.
Case numbers and deaths have continued to accelerate as rules were eased and ministers have pleaded with Pakistanis to abide by distancing rules and to wear masks.
A record 111 deaths were recorded on Monday, and the country has had nearly 150,000 confirmed cases.
Click here to find out more.
If you are just joining us, here is an update on the latest stories from today:
- A £5 steroid – Dexamethasone – has been found to reduce the deaths of Covid-19 patients on ventilators and will be rolled out within 24 hours. The anti-inflammatory medication normally used to treat arthritis, severe allergies and asthma, is the first drug that has been shown to save lives and experts hailed the results as a ‘major breakthrough.’
- Racism and social inequality have contributed to the increased risk of black, Asian and minority ethnic communities contracting and dying from Covid-19, according to a new PHE report.
- The total known Covid-19 death toll – including cases where the virus is listed on a death certificate is now at 52,233 across the UK.
- A total of 2,453 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by five from 2,448 on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon said.
- The Prince of Wales has revealed he lost his sense of taste and smell when he caught coronavirus – which has yet to fully return – as he carried out his first royal engagement with the public since lockdown began.
- Scientists at Imperial College London will begin testing another possible Covid-19 vaccine on humans this week.
News from around the world…
- Delhi’s Health Minister has been admitted to hospital with a high fever and is being tested for coronavirus
- Museums and outdoor cafes have opened in Moscow as part of the second stage of lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
- Hong Kong will let groups of up to 50 people meet from Friday, easing an earlier limit of eight people, Health Secretary Sophia Chan said.
- Spain is considering imposing a quarantine on visitors from the United Kingdom when it opens its borders next week in reciprocity to a similar measure imposed by London, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said on the BBC.
- Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been hospitalized with pneumonia after contracting coronavirus
- On Tuesday, Beijing banned high-risk people from leaving the Chinese capital and halted some transportation services to stop the spread of a fresh coronavirus outbreak to other cities and provinces.
Nigerian doctors stage ‘indefinite’ walk out, crippling coronavirus response
Nigerian doctors in state hospitals have begun a nationwide strike, paralysing the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as cases continue to rise steadily.
Members of an umbrella organisation representing all doctors employed by the government announced an indefinite strike yesterday to protest low salaries, a lack of “hazard” pay for treating virus patients and the “grossly inadequate” provision of protective equipment.
The doctors also demanded an end to the harassment and assault of medical workers by security agents enforcing curfews.
Will Brown has the full story here.
In-depth: What Sweden got wrong – and right – in the coronavirus fight
Sweden has kept its schools open during the pandemic, easing pressure on working parents, as well as scrapping the two metre rule weeks ago, reports Lizzy Burden.
“The Scandinavian response to coronavirus has come in for much scrutiny. Sweden attracted much attention for refusing to impose a draconian lockdown, while Denmark was one of the first European economies to lock down and one of the first to reopen.
“Copenhagen is now phasing out the 300bn crowns (£36bn) of aid packages it introduced at the start of the coronavirus crisis and giving Danes a cash handout to stimulate the economy.”
“Neil Ferguson, one of the Prime Minister’s former top scientific advisers on the pandemic, told the Commons science committee last week that the UK’s death toll could have been halved had the lockdown been introduced a week earlier.”
“But while it’s too late to shut the economy sooner, what else can Britain learn from Scandinavia?”
Click here to read the full piece.
Labour calls for ‘back-to-work’ budget
The Government must set out a “back-to-work Budget” with a focus on jobs and kick-starting the economy following the Covid-19 pandemic, Labour has said.
Speaking in the House of Commons earlier today, Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds argued that it should replace the “limited Budget Statement” scheduled for July.
She also echoed shadow business secretary Ed Miliband in urging the Government to scrap its “one-size-fits-all approach” to the furlough and self-employed schemes which risked “additional waves of unemployment”.
Asking an urgent question on the financial support the Government has provided to businesses in the wake of the pandemic, Ms Dodds told MPs: “It seems the slow and confused health response is being followed by a slow and confused response to saving jobs, despite the huge long-term costs of unemployment.
“Labour has called for an exit strategy, but what we seem to have is an exit without a strategy, including on jobs.”
Benefit claims hit 2.8m as UK faces jobs nightmare
The UK’s coronavirus jobs nightmare unfolded further today as the number of benefit claimants surged to a record 2.8m, around 600,000 workers lost their jobs and vacancies collapsed.
The Office for National Statistics’s data showed claimants have more than doubled since March, with a further 529,000 people submitting claims in May, on top of an upwardly revised 1.03m in April.
The unemployment rate for the quarter to April stood unchanged at 3.9pc over the quarter as the jobs market is propped up by the furlough scheme.
The ONS warned that some 6m workers were classed as temporarily away from work, but more recent early estimates from HMRC based on Pay As You Earn data for May signalled the number of payroll employees fell by 2.1pc or 612,000 compared to March.
Our Economics Editor, Russell Lynch has the latest here.
Racism and social inequality have contributed to the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities
Racism and social inequality have contributed to the increased risk of black, Asian and minority ethnic communities contracting and dying from Covid-19, according to a new PHE report.
The report – from Public Health England and based on stakeholder engagement with 4,000 people – found that historic racism may mean people are discriminated against when it comes to personal protective equipment (PPE) and may result in people from BAME backgrounds being less likely to seek care or demand better protection.
The findings point to a raft of recommendations from stakeholders, including the need to develop “occupational risk assessment tools that can be employed in a variety of occupational settings and used to reduce the risk of employee’s exposure to and acquisition of Covid-19”.
The report said: “The unequal impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities may be explained by a number of factors ranging from social and economic inequalities, racism, discrimination and stigma, occupational risk, inequalities in the prevalence of conditions that increase the severity of disease including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and asthma.”
Other recommendations highlighted in in the report included:
- Better data collection about ethnicity and religion, including having this recorded on death certificates;
- Making it law for health risk assessments to be carried out for BAME workers;
- Culturally sensitive public health messaging so that people, particularly those who may not speak English as a first language, can follow advice on how to protect themselves from Covid-19.
The report did not look at whether genetics plays a role in BAME risk.
NHS rolls out £5 steroid drug that reduces deaths for most severe Covid-19 cases
A £5 steroid which is already available in NHS hospitals cuts deaths of people on ventilators by one third and will be rolled out within 24 hours.
Dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory medication used to treat arthritis, severe allergies and asthma, is the first drug that has been shown to save lives and experts hailed the results as a ‘major breakthrough.’
A trial of 2,100 patients showed that it reduced the death rate of people on ventilators by 30 per cent. Currently four in 10 patients with the most severe form of Covid-19 who need mechanical ventilation will die.
The steroid saves one life for every eight patients on ventilators, meaning just two people instead of three will die. It also cuts the death rate of people needing oxygen by one fifth.
Scientists at Oxford University who have been carrying out the trials said up to 5,000 lives could have been saved if they had known about the drug at the beginning of the epidemic.
Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases at the university’s Nuffield Department of Medicine, and one of the chief investigators for the trial, described it as “an extremely welcome result”.
“This is the only drug that has so far shown to reduce mortality, and it reduces it significantly. It is a major breakthrough, I think,” he said.
“Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide.”
Read the full report from our Science Editor, Sarah Knapton here.
Prince Charles reveals he lost taste and smell with Covid-19 on first royal appearance since lockdown
The Prince of Wales has revealed he lost his sense of smell and taste when he caught coronavirus.
Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall made an unannounced visit to a hospital to meet frontline NHS staff and key workers – their first royal engagement with the public since the coronavirus outbreak began.
After Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall met staff from a number of trusts at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, he said: “It’s been a marvellous opportunity just to have a chance of seeing people I know have been doing so much – literally on the front line.
The prince spoke to Jeff Mills, 47, a healthcare assistant from Cheltenham General Hospital, about contracting Covid-19 in March after developing mild symptoms.
Mr Mills said: “He did speak of his personal experience, so first-hand experience for him. He also spoke about his loss of smell and taste, and sort of still felt he’s still got it now.”
Overuse of antibiotics threatens twin pandemic of coronavirus and superbugs
While the world is focused on fighting Covid-19, a less obvious but equally deadly pandemic is continuing to spread across the globe largely unchecked.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a threat that scientists and healthcare professionals have been grappling with for a long time, but the coronavirus pandemic threatens to exacerbate it in a number of ways.
AMR is predicted to kill 10 million people by 2050 if it continues at its current rate with a report by the World Health Organization earlier this month underlining the dangers.
Click here to read the full story from Georgina Hayes.
Russia: Museums and outdoor cafes reopen in Moscow
Museums and outdoor cafes have opened in Moscow as part of the second stage of lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions, reports Nataliya Vasilyeva.
Beauty salons, dry cleaners, and most of the shops in the Russian capital started working last week at the end of the 71-day lockdown.
Outdoor cafes, museums and galleries were allowed to re-open on Tuesday but Moscow’s most popular museums including the Tretyakov Gallery made a unilateral decision not to open until July, saying that they had not been given enough of an advance warning to prepare for a safe re-opening.
Sergei Sobyanin, a staunch proponent of a strict quarantine, stunned the Russian capital last week by announcing that most of the current restrictions would be lifted by the end of next week when Russians go to polls to vote for constitutional changes.
The amendments include a clause that would allow Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to stay in power until 2036.
Mr Sobyanin’s U-turn in his lockdown policies has reportedly come amid pressure from the Kremlin to create a semblance of normality ahead of the vote.
UK Government to provide additional funding for food vouchers over the summer
The Prime Minister’s spokesman has just announced that the UK Government will provide a Covid-19 summer food fund.
The spokesman said: “Owing to the coronavirus pandemic the Prime Minister fully understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer.”
“To reflect this we will be providing a Covid Summer Food Fund. This will provide food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period.
“This is a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the pandemic.The scheme will not continue beyond the summer and those eligible will be those who already qualify for free school meals.”
The latest announcement follows a high profile campaign by England striker, Marcus Rashford, who has been praised as an “inspiration”, after writing a letter urging authorities to allow vulnerable children receiving free meals to continue to receive them outside of term time.
In response to the latest news, Mr Rashford tweeted: “I don’t even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020.
In pictures: Coronavirus pandemic around the world
Scotland to move into second phase of loosening lockdown measures on Thursday
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has announced that she expects to be able to move into the second phase of the Scottish route map out of lockdown on Thursday, when the review of measures takes place.
However, she stressed that not all measures will be put in place “overnight”, but that in “the coming weeks” staff would be able to return to factories, construction would be able to continue its restart plan and non-essential retail firms will have an opening date.
She added: “None of this will restore the economy immediately to full health, but it will be a significant and sustainable improvement on our current position and that is, of course, important”.
Scotland: 2,453 Covid-19 deaths recorded
A total of 2,453 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by five from 2,448 on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon said.
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said 18,045 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 15 from 18,030 the previous day.
Public Health England report on the impact of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities released
A Public Health England (PHE) report into the risk posed by Covid-19 to Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities has now been published.
The report, which had been widely leaked by Sky News and the BBC, makes seven recommendations, including improving “access, experiences and outcomes of NHS, local government and integrated care systems commissioned services by BAME communities” and funding “culturally competent” coronavirus education and prevention campaigns.
The report said that stakeholders had “expressed deep dismay, anger, loss and fear in their communities about the emerging data and realities of BAME groups being harder hit by the Covid-19 pandemic than others, exacerbating existing inequalities”.
Young people under 20 are half as susceptible to Covid-19, new study suggests
People younger than 20 are around half as susceptible to coronavirus as those aged 20 and older, new research suggests.
The modelling study, developed by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, also estimates that clinical symptoms appear in 21 per cent of infections among 10 to 19-year-olds, rising to 69 per cent in adults over 70.
Rosalind Eggo and Nicholas Davies, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues developed an age-based transmission model with data from 32 locations in six countries – China, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Canada and South Korea.
Sharma: A rapid deployment facility will be able to manufacture vaccines from August
Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said that a rapid deployment facility would be able to manufacture coronavirus vaccines from August this year.
He said: “We’ve set up a vaccines taskforce to lead and co-ordinate all the Government’s activities to develop and manufacture a coronavirus vaccine.
“As part of this, we’re investing £93 million in a vaccine manufacturing innovation centre which will be completed 12 months ahead of schedule by summer 2021.
“We’re also developing a rapid deployment facility which will be able to begin manufacturing vaccines at scale from August this year.”
Labour calls for an emergency budget
Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds has called for an emergency Budget as he accused the Government of being too slow to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier today, he said: “We now know enough to not be too slow in our response to unemployment.
“And that is why we think there should be an emergency Budget.
“And there should be one focus of that Budget which is jobs, jobs, and jobs again.”
Comment: ‘For many mothers, continued school closures present a heartbreaking dilemma’
Mums are already bearing the brunt of home schooling – many could be forced to sacrifice their careers, writes Rosa Prince.
Amid the agonising over the terrible toll home-schooling is wreaking on the mental health and academic success of children, little attention has been paid to the impact of remote learning on another group: their mums. Specifically, that is, the career prospects and earning abilities of millions of mothers should normal in-class schooling fail to resume in the Autumn, as appears likely.
The impact of home schooling on the ability of adults to carry out their jobs has been somewhat cushioned during these months when millions were working from home and millions more were not working at all. And while many, many fathers have battled manfully with remote learning, the evidence that mothers are bearing the brunt is more than anecdotal.
When 40 per cent of women work part-time compared to 13 per cent of men, and female employees still earn on average 17.3 per cent less than male, two-income couples face an easy decision when it comes to deciding whose job is prioritised. For mothers, this means that come September they face a new Sophie’s Choice: do they sacrifice a successful career or vocation, often achieved and held with a great deal of pride, or allow a beloved child’s educational prospects to suffer?
Click here to read Rosa’s full piece
Global coronavirus figures
Across the world more than 8 million people have now been diagnosed with the coronavirus, while the death toll stands at 437,265.
Here are some of the latest updates from around the world:
Germany has reported 9 more coronavirus deaths taking the total death toll to 8,800. The number of confirmed cases now stands at 186,839, an increase of 378.
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases within Mexico reached 150,264 on Tuesday. 17,580 coronavirus related deaths have also been recorded.
Mainland China has reported 40 new confirmed coronavirus cases on June 15, down from 49 a day earlier, the National health authority has said.
Russia has reported 8,248 new coronavirus cases and 193 deaths within the past 24 hours
Singapore’s health ministry on Tuesday reported 151 new cases of Covid-19. The number of infections stands at 40,969.
The Philippines’ has reported 364 new coronavirus infections and five more deaths on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 1,103. Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed cases within the country is now 26,781.
Keep up to date with the global picture using our interactive tracker.
Cineworld plans to reopen all theatres by July
Cineworld Group Plc said on Tuesday that some of its theatres would reopen in the last week of June, Reuters have reported.
The company plans to reopen sites with enhanced safety and sanitation procedures including social distancing measures.
Cineworld expects to reopen fully in the United States and the UK on July 10.
More children could go hungry over the summer, the UK’s largest food charity warns
A food charity has warned they are “just about coping” with the surge in demand for supplies from vulnerable families during lockdown, reports Lizzie Roberts.
FareShare has increased its meal delivery service and food parcels by a quarter since lockdown, with the amount of food it delivers to vulnerable children and families rising by 30 per cent – enough to create over one million meals per week.
The charity has raised concerns that this demand will continue to grow over the summer holidays by at least 40 per cent compared to pre-Covid levels.
Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO, says: “Every year we see more local holiday clubs and activity schemes springing up to plug the ‘hungry gap’ over the long summer break. These schemes offer a lifeline for struggling families up and down the country – and we know millions more people are facing greater financial strain because of the pandemic.
“Our network of charities are just about coping with hugely increased demand – and that’s with families receiving vouchers to cover the cost of meals during term-time. When that support is taken away, and with fewer holiday schemes operating around the country, more children could face the very real prospect of going hungry over the summer months.”
Ms Boswell also gave her support to England Striker Marcus Rashford, adding:
“We absolutely support Marcus Rashford’s call to provide support for those families who are suffering most as a result of the crisis, and all the bodies working to tackle childhood hunger in the UK.”
Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected Mr Rashford’s plea to reconsider the Government’s decision not to extend its free school meals voucher system for low-income over the summer holiday period.
AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine could provide protection against the virus for a year, says CEO
AstraZeneca’s potential Covid-19 vaccine could provide protection against the virus for up to a year, Reuters have reported.
In an interview with a Belgian radio station earlier today, chief executive Pascal Soriot said that the company hoped that their vaccine could protect against coronavirus for up to one year.
The British drugmaker has started human trials of the vaccine, while a phase three trial has already begun.
On Saturday, AstraZeneca announced that it had signed contracts with Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands to supply the European Union with up to 400 million doses of the vaccine.
“If all goes well, we will have the results of the clinical trials in August/September. We are manufacturing in parallel. We will be ready to deliver from October if all goes well,” Mr Soriot said.
Coronavirus news from around the world
Here is a round up of some of the latest Covid-19 stories from around the world:
On Tuesday Beijing banned high-risk people from leaving the Chinese capital and halted some transportation services to stop the spread of a fresh coronavirus outbreak to other cities and provinces.
New Zealand said on Tuesday that it has two new cases of the coronavirus, both related to recent travel from the UK, ending a 24-day streak of no new infections in the country.
Latin America and the Caribbean on Monday passed 80,000 Covid-19 deaths, more than half in Brazil as the virus accelerates across the region, according to an AFP count based on official figures.
The United States and China will each allow four weekly flights between the two countries, the US Transportation Department said on Monday, easing a standoff on travel restrictions in the midst of the pandemic.
Click here to read the morning news round up compiled by Verity Bowman.
Ukrainian First Lady hospitalised for Covid-19
Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been hospitalized with pneumonia after contracting coronavirus, reports Nataliya Vasilyeva.
The office of the Ukrainian President said that Ms Zelenska, who tested positive for the virus on Friday, has been taken to hospital in the capital Kiyv. She is reported to be in a stable condition.
Tests for Mr Zelenskiy and the couple’s two children were negative on Monday, the presidential office said.
Mrs Zelenska revealed her diagnosis in an Instagram post over the weekend, saying that she has cut the number of her social contacts and has been wearing a face mask and gloves in public.
Mrs Zelenska has been one of Ukraine’s most visible advocates of lockdown restrictions and social distancing. She has consistently appeared in a face mask at various official events in the past week and called on Ukrainians to respect the new rules, arguing: “It’s too early to get complacent.”
Ukraine recorded new 666 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the overall tally to over 42,000.
The country started lifting lockdown restrictions earlier this month but officials said last week that they may be forced to reinstate some of the restrictions as the number of new cases started to grow.
Covid-19 has had a ‘catastrophic’ impact on oral health, says chair of the British Dental Association
Mick Armstrong, chair of the British Dental Association, said the effects of the pandemic on oral health have been “catastrophic”.
“Dentistry was not in a great place when we started. We’ve got access problems which have been raised in both Houses, and also in the previous Health Select Committee, with widening inequalities, rock-bottom morale and retention problems, so the pandemic has just made that that much worse,” he said earlier today.
“The effects on general practice, NHS and private, has been devastating and is probably existential. The effect on oral health has been catastrophic.”
Mr Armstrong, who works as a frontline clinician in West Yorkshire, told MPs: “We’ve cancelled eight million courses of treatment nationally.
“Our practice alone has cancelled 6,000 appointments and we will be cancelling another 3,000 until September just to deal with the urgent case backlog.
“So 12,000 dentist practices in the country have been effectively replaced by 500 urgent care centres, they’ve done a sterling job in treating the most urgent, but it’s clearly no replacement.”
Exclusive: London salon chain to offer ‘tint and depart’ colour service to limit contact
Launching on July 4, the new service is designed for those in need of grey root touch-ups, reports Sonia Haria.
The UK has begun to cautiously lift the lockdown rules that have been in place since March 23, and in the government guidelines issued on Monday 11 May, it looks like hair salons will be able to re-open on July 4 at the earliest. Non-essential retail reopened on June 15.
In a bid to make their salons as ‘covid secure’ as possible, the Gina Conway salon chain in London is to offer a ‘tint and depart’ service from July 4 (the earliest date salons will be able to reopen under Boris Johnson’s plans), designed in particular for those in need of grey root regrowth. Hair colour in salons can often take up several hours for a consultation, application and time for the colour to develop.
The ‘tint and depart’ service would involve visiting your salon for your hair colour to be applied by an expert colourist. But instead of waiting around in the salon for the colour to develop, you are then sent home with a timer, towels, gloves and instructions on how to shampoo out the tint at home. The idea had been inspired by several salon chains in Australia, who have launched a similar ‘tint and depart’ service.
Click here to read the full story.
Greggs to reopen 800 stores on Thursday
Greggs have confirmed plans to reopen 800 shops for takeaway delivery on June 18, Reuters reports.
The bakery, renowned for its low priced sausage rolls and cakes, closed all of its UK stores on March 24, following the introduction of lockdown measures.
In May, the firm carried out a 20-store reopening trial, initially behind closed doors.
It could take a ‘few years’ to catch up on the backlog of surgeries caused by Covid-19, says President of the Royal College of Surgeons
Professor Derek Alderson, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said that the prospect of catching up on the backlog of surgeries within weeks is “completely unrealistic”.
“We have to restore confidence in the public that they can have an elective operation safely with excellent results, as they enjoyed before the Covid-19 crisis,” he told the Commons Health and Social Care Committee.
“I think that dealing with the backlog is not something that’s achievable simply in weeks, you know, we stopped for 12 weeks so we can catch up in 12 weeks – I mean, that to my mind, is completely unrealistic.”
“This is certainly many months, it may take us a few years to catch up, and as I say we have to be able to sustain that effort.”
India: Health Minister admitted to hospital with high fever
Delhi’s Health Minister has been admitted to hospital with a high fever and is being tested for coronavirus, Reuters have reported.
Satyendar Jain posted in a tweet: “Due to high grade fever and a sudden drop of my oxygen levels last night I have been admitted to RGSSH (Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital). Will keep everyone updated”.
Mr Jain’s Covid-19 test results are expected later today, a member of his party has said.
As of Tuesday, India has reported 343,091 confirmed Covid-19 infections and 9,900 deaths.
Covid-19 death toll across the UK passes 50,000
The total known Covid-19 death toll – including cases where the virus is listed on a death certificate is now at 52,233 across the UK.
The figure includes the latest death registrations up to June 5 – as mentioned in our previous post at 9.53am – as well as more recent deaths recorded in hospitals in England.
The latest figures also reveal the excess death toll in people’s homes has now surpassed that in hospitals in England and Wales, as deaths have been displaced into the community while hospitals pivoted to tackle the virus.
15,874 excess deaths have occurred in people’s homes, and 15,506 in hospitals, since the week ending March 13.
For the last three weeks deaths in hospitals have been below average for the time of year, while deaths in homes and care homes remain above average levels.
Deaths in London return to pre-pandemic levels
The number of deaths in London has returned to normal levels for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
891 deaths were recorded in London in the week to June 5 – 26 lower than the five-year average for the time of year.
It is the first time no ‘excess deaths’ have been recorded in the capital since the week ending March 13.
Excess deaths – the number of deaths recorded above the five year average – is now above 64,000 across the UK, according to the latest ONS data combined with similar statistics for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Imperial College London to begin testing a coronavirus vaccine on humans
Scientists will begin testing another possible Covid-19 vaccine on humans this week.
Researchers at Imperial College London will begin clinical trials in 300 people, to assess whether their jab produces an effective immune response against Covid-19.
Healthy participants, aged between 18 and 70, will all receive two doses of the vaccine over the coming weeks. It is hoped that the researchers could test up to 6,000 volunteers if initial trials are successful.
Rather than giving people a weakened form of the illness, the Imperial vaccine instead uses synthetic strands of genetic code based on the virus’ genetic material.
The research has been funded by £41m from the UK Government, as well as £5m of other donations, and comes after a separate vaccine from experts at Oxford University started undergoing human clinical trials
One in five at risk of severe Covid-19 due to underlying health conditions, new research suggests
An estimated 1.7 billion people across the world suffer from underlying health conditions which could put them at greater risk of contracting a more severe form of Covid-19, new research published in The Lancet Global Health journal has found.
The data analysis, which looked at more than 188 countries, showed that one in five individuals worldwide could be at increased risk of severe Covid-19, should they become infected.
Diabetes, HIV and other chronic ailments such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and respiratory disease were all found to affect a person’s immune response to the coronavirus.
And the authors of the study, which was published today, suggested that these new estimates could be key in helping Governments understand how many people should be prioritised in the coronavirus response or vaccine initiatives, should one become available.
Co-author of the study and associate Professor Andrew Clark from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said:
“As countries move out of lockdown, governments are looking for ways to protect the most vulnerable from a virus that is still circulating. We hope our estimates will provide useful starting points for designing measures to protect those at increased risk of severe disease”.
Breaking: 47,387 Covid-19 deaths registered in England and Wales
The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics have revealed that of the total number of deaths registered by 5 June, 47,387 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.
The data indicates that of all deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales registered up to June 5, 64 per cent – or 30,175 – occurred in hospital.
A further 30 per cent of deaths took place in care homes, with 5 per cent (2,152) in private homes and 1 per cent (640) in hospices.
New Zealand no longer virus-free as two new cases appear
It is thought the new cases came from people arriving from the UK.
Minister responds to Rashford message
Here’s what Therese Coffey had to say…
Water cannot be disconnected though
— Therese Coffey #ProtectEachOtherSaveLives (@theresecoffey) June 16, 2020
And Marcus Rashford bit back.
I’m concerned this is the only tweet of mine you acknowledged. Please, put rivalries aside for a second, and make a difference #maketheuturn
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) June 16, 2020
Morning news quiz answers
Here are your answers to the morning news quiz (questions posted at 6.53am).
- Marcus Rashford
- Mountain hares
- His “awful haircuts”
- Caroline Wilson
‘Huge amount of work going on across Government’ on BAME
When asked why the Government could not make immediate reforms to help the BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) community who are disproportionately affected by coronavirus, Grant Shapps said “a huge amount of work is going on across Government”.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, the Transport Secretary said: “I do think it’s right that if we’re really going to be a fully equal society in every way, that we tackle this seriously.
“Doing so, I think, requires the commission that’s being launched by the Prime Minister to do exactly that, I think it will do excellent work.
“It isn’t that nothing is going to happen in the meantime … in fact, already we have seen over the last 10 years or so, much higher numbers of black, Asian and minority ethnic 18-year-olds ending up at university – it’s gone up absolutely dramatically.
“Of course, actually, in Government, the top spots, the Home Secretary, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, are now positions occupied by BAME individuals.”
Minister unable to put number on how many quarantined
When asked whether he knew how many people have been quarantined so far after arriving in the UK, Grant Shapps could not give a number but said compliance has been “right up there, 90 per cent or greater”.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said: “We work very hard as a society to get on top of beating this virus, we don’t want to be in a situation where we re-import it, or Brits go abroad and bring it back with them, we absolutely don’t want to see that happen.”
He added: “We think high compliance has been the case… we think right up there, 90% or greater, and we have people checking up, so you will end up being fined if you ignore this.”
Public would be ‘rightfully very unforgiving’ if there was a second spike
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the public would be “rightfully very unforgiving” if the UK experienced a second spike of coronavirus.
He also said the Government would not amend the two-metre social distancing restriction until July 4 at the earliest.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said: “We need to make sure that what we do next doesn’t mean that we end up in a situation where the virus comes back in a very big way again.
“People would be, I think rightly, very unforgiving about the second spike.”
He added: “We’ve just had this big unlock of non-essential shops yesterday, we know the next big date is not before July 4.
“At that time we will be expected to take a judgement call on things like the social distancing rules.”
UK to face mass unemployment not seen for decades unless Government acts, say Labour
Responding to the figures, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “These numbers show that unless the Government acts, the UK is likely to face mass unemployment on a scale not seen for decades once the furlough scheme is withdrawn.
“The Government has been slow at every stage of this crisis – they cannot afford to be slow again in responding to this threat.
“There must be urgent action from the Government to assist the hardest-hit regions and specific support for sectors particularly exposed to the nature of the Covid crisis.”
Government ‘wrapping arms around community’, says minister
When asked about footballer Marcus Rashford’s plea to allow vulnerable children food vouchers over the summer holidays, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Government has been “wrapping its arms around the community” via the furlough scheme and payments to local government bodies instead.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Tuesday, he said: “It is usually the case that over the summer holidays, free school meals are not available, schools are not there.
“But we have actually, unusually in this case, along with the other multi-billion pound package we have put in place to help families, also provided £63 million to help local authorities help children over this period as well, so there has been additional support, and of course no-one would want otherwise.”
He added the Government has also invested £129 million “that’s already gone to families and schools as part of the process of helping children,” and nearly £20 billion on the furlough scheme.
Mr Shapps said: “We have been helping the parents to ensure that people don’t fall out of work in numbers, which certainly would have been the case had it not been for this enormous Government support.
“It’s been like the Government wrapping its arms around people in communities to try to do everything that we possibly can.”
Britons may have to quarantine in Spain
Those hoping for a late summer trip abroad for some Spanish sun have been dealt a bitter blow.
Though not confirmed yet, Spain’s foreign minister has told the BBC that the country’s government is considering imposing a quarantine on visitors from the UK.
Exclusive | No evidence for two-metre rule, Oxford experts say
The two-metre rule has no basis in science, leading scientists say as the Government comes under increasing pressure to drop the measure, writes our Science Editor Sarah Knapton.
Writing for the Telegraph, Professors Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson, from the University of Oxford, said there is little evidence to support the restriction and called for an end to the “formalised rules”.
The University of Dundee also said there was no indication that distancing at two metres is safer than one metre.
Read the full piece here.
‘Slowdown now visibly hitting labour market’
Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS, said: “The slowdown in the economy is now visibly hitting the labour market, especially in terms of hours worked.
“Early indicators for May show that the number of employees on payrolls were down over 600,000 compared with March.
“The Claimant Count was up again, though not all of these people are necessarily unemployed.”
He added: “More detailed employment data up to April show a dramatic drop in the number of hours worked, which were down almost 9% in the latest period, partly due to a six million rise in people away from work, including those furloughed.”
UK workers on payrolls fall by more than 600k
The number of UK workers on payrolls fell by more than 600,000 between March and May as lockdown hit Britain’s labour market, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The ONS said early estimates showed the number of paid employees dropped by 2.1% or 612,000 in May compared with March.
The number of people temporarily away from work, including furloughed workers, rose by six million at the end of March into April.
The ONS said jobless claims under Universal Credit jumped 23.3% month-on-month in May to 2.8 million and soared 125.9% or 1.6 million since March when the UK was placed in lockdown.
William Hague | Disastrous lockdown can never be repeated
The former Conservative leader William Hague has already drawn plenty of reaction for his column for The Telegraph.
In it, he says that we cannot repeat what he calls a “disastrous” lockdown, even if the virus returns.
He urges MPs to now listen to Tony Blair and prepare for testing on a “massive scale”.
Read the column in full here.
Matt of the day
Our cartoonist Matt’s take on the state of play.
See all of Matt’s cartoons here.
Your morning news quiz
How closely did you follow yesterday’s news? Here is your morning news quiz. Answers out later this morning.
- Which England footballer has written an open letter to the Government asking for an extension to the free school meal voucher scheme through the summer holidays?
- More than 10,000 people have signed a petition to protect which creature in Scotland, amid fears their numbers are under threat from gamekeepers?
- What has singer Liam Payne thanked fans for “putting up” with, in an Instagram post to mark 10 years since his X Factor audition, which led to him joining One Direction?
- Who has been appointed the new UK ambassador to China, beginning the role in September?
Queen to miss Royal Ascot for first time in 68-year reign
The Queen will be absent from Royal Ascot for the first time in her 68-year reign as the popular race meeting gets under way behind closed doors.
More than 300,000 guests, dressed in their finery, usually gather for the five-day sporting and social highlight in Berkshire which begins on Tuesday.
But this year there will be no monarch, no royal carriage procession, no trophy presentations and no spectators amid strict Government guidelines brought in when racing resumed at the start of the month.
At Windsor Castle, the Queen, 94, will be watching the coverage on television, not least of all because she has a number of runners.
First Receiver, ridden by Frankie Dettori in the Queen’s racing colours, will feature in the 1.50 Ascot Hampton Court Stakes on Wednesday. The colt secured the Queen a win on the anniversary of her coronation at Kempton on June 2.
Later on Wednesday, the Queen also has Tactical riding in the 4.10 Ascot Windsor Castle Stakes.
She is also hoping her horse Punctuation will run in the 4.10 Ascot Queen’s Vase on Friday.
As an owner, the monarch will have access to a virtual Royal Ascot parade ring to be able to view her horses from the safety of Windsor where she has been staying for the past 13 weeks during the pandemic.
Momentum gathers behind Marcus Rashford
Gary Lineker, the Labour Party and other prominent figures have joined footballer Marcus Rashford in calls for the Government to extend its free school meal voucher scheme through the summer holidays.
The Manchester United and England star penned an open letter this week asking the Government to reverse its decision to cease the scheme – for which nearly 1.3 million children are eligible – outside of school term time.
The 22-year-old has followed up with a column in The Times newspaper on Tuesday, addressing the meal voucher issue and the broader subject of childhood poverty.
Read his letter to MPs here:
Today’s front page
Here is your Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, June 16.
Hong Kong firm puts Premier League on road to recovery
The thousands of coronavirus tests that have enabled the Premier League to return this week have an unlikely source – a little-known start-up in Hong Kong.
Prenetics/Circle DNA is playing a key role in rebooting the world’s most popular football league after landing a £4 million contract to screen its players and staff.
The company has set up stations at each of the Premier League’s 20 clubs, carrying out testing twice a week – using partner laboratories in Britain – in the run-up to Wednesday’s return to play.
So far, 8,687 deep-throat and nasal swab tests have turned up 16 cases, with Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City, Bournemouth, Watford and Burnley all revealing positive results.
The screening, with results available within 48 hours, has been a major factor in the return of the Premier League, whose global appeal is exemplified by its huge following in Asia.
Summary of news from around the world
- Philippine officials have placed a central city back under strict lockdown and retained quarantine restrictions in the capital for another two weeks as infections continue to spike alarmingly.
- In addition to locking down communities and ordering mass testing, China‘s capital is banning residents of areas considered at high risk from leaving the city, health authorities say.
- Both Albania and neighbouring Kosovo have registered record numbers of new cases, raising fears of a resumption of lockdown measures.
- The daily number of new cases in Turkey is continuing to rise, weeks after the country relaxed restrictions. On Monday 1,592 confirmed new infections were reported over the previous 24 hours.
- The emergencies chief of the World Health Organisation said he “fully expects” China to share the genetic sequences from the resurgence of coronavirus that have recently hit Beijing, even though they have not yet done so.
- The head of the World Health Organisation says more than 100,000 confirmed cases have been reported worldwide each day over the past two weeks – mostly in the Americas and South Asia.
- The region in northern Italy where the country’s outbreak began in February accounted for some 85 percent of new cases in the 24-hour period ending on Monday.
Hungary set to end disputed emergency virus powers
Hungary is set to revoke on Tuesday anti-coronavirus emergency powers that triggered international criticism amid fears of a power grab by Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Dominated by Mr Orban’s ruling Fidesz party, parliament is expected to approve the lifting of a “state of danger” and related special powers to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.
The state of danger would then be formally lifted later on this week when the text of the legislation is published.
A “coronavirus protection act” adopted by parliament on March 30 had enabled the cabinet to rule by decree until it decided to end the state of danger.
China has chance to host two Formula One races
China has been invited to host two Formula One races in Shanghai this season but no decision has been reached over whether to accept the offer, the head of the Shanghai Sports Bureau has told local media.
The Chinese Grand Prix was supposed to take place at the Shanghai International circuit on April 19 but was postponed until later in the year because of the outbreak.
Formula One Management (FOM) still hope to run 15-18 races this year and have announced a revised and shortened provisional European schedule set to start in Austria without spectators on July 5.
“FOM asked us if it is possible for Shanghai to hold two races,” Shanghai Administration of Sports director Xu Bin was quoted as saying by state news agency Xinhua.
“We have not made the final decision, depending on the potential changes of the epidemic situation.”
Hong Kong to relax restrictions
Hong Kong is moving towards a further relaxation of social gathering restrictions related to the coronavirus, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said before a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
While many curbs have been gradually lifted in recent months, Hong Kong’s borders remain almost fully closed and group gatherings are limited to eight people. Any further easing of the measures could be announced later in the day.
New Zealand’s 24-day streak of no new infections ends
New Zealand said on Tuesday that it has two new cases of the coronavirus, both related to recent travel from the UK, ending a 24-day streak of no new infections in the country.
New Zealand lifted all social and economic restrictions except border controls last week, after declaring it had no new or active cases of the coronavirus, one of the first countries in the world to return to pre-pandemic normality.
The health ministry said the new cases were related to the border as a result of recent travel from the UK. Both cases are connected, it said in a statement.
Cases in Beijing continue to climb
China on Tuesday reported another 27 domestically transmitted cases in Beijing, where a fresh cluster linked to a wholesale food market has sparked WHO concern and prompted a huge trace and test programme.
The new cases bring the number of infections confirmed in the Chinese capital over the last five days to 106, as city officials locked down more than 20 communities in the city and tested tens of thousands of people.
All indoor sports and entertainment venues in the city were shut down on Monday, and some other cities across China warned they would quarantine those arriving from Beijing.
China ramps up virus controls to ensure Beijing won’t turn into ‘second Wuhan’
More than 150,000 conformed cases in Mexico
Mexico passed the grim milestone of 150,000 total confirmed cases on Monday, as the health ministry reported 3,427 new infections along with 439 additional fatalities.
There are now a total 150,264 confirmed cases and 17,580 deaths, though the government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the official count.
Travel restrictions between US and China eased
The United States and China will each allow four weekly flights between the two countries, the US Transportation Department said on Monday, easing a standoff on travel restrictions in the midst of the pandemic.
Following the Chinese government approval, Delta Air Lines said it would resume passenger flights to Shanghai from Seattle next week via Seoul, and once weekly flights from Seattle and Detroit beginning in July.
In a statement, the Transportation Department said it will continue to press for the full restoration of passenger air travel between the US and China, in part to allow for the repatriation of Chinese students who have been unable to fly home because of the shortage of flights.
“As the Chinese government allows more flights by US carriers, we will reciprocate,” it said.
Death toll in Latin America and Caribbean passes 80,000
Latin America and the Caribbean on Monday passed 80,000 Covid-19 deaths, more than half in Brazil as the virus accelerates across the region, according to an AFP count based on official figures.
Since the disease first spread in Latin America in March, a total of 80,505 deaths have been recorded, 43,959 of them in Brazil which has the world’s second-highest number of fatalities after the United States.
The number of cases reported in Latin America and the Caribbean now stands at 1,681,378.
In Brazil, a country of 212 million, 888,271 people have been infected – more than in all of Asia.
Mexico, which has a population of 120 million, has Latin America’s second-highest death toll, with 17,141 fatalities out of 146,837 cases.
Peru has recorded 6,688 deaths while Chile, which has seen an acceleration in recent weeks, has nearly 180,000 cases and 3,362 deaths.