UK will fare better than other countries if it can contain Covid locally, national statistician says

Global Health Security Team
·51-min read
Despite the rainy weather and Tier 2 lockdown, revellers hit the streets of Soho in central London this weekend - Marcin Nowak/LNP
Despite the rainy weather and Tier 2 lockdown, revellers hit the streets of Soho in central London this weekend - Marcin Nowak/LNP
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

If the UK can contain the Covid-19 epidemic in a "localised" way, it would compare better to other countries, the UK's national statistician has said.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that it was "incredibly difficult" to make international comparisons but his officials had looked at small European regions and examined excess mortality - "the deaths over and above the last five-year average".

"If I look now at what is happening across Europe, if I compare us with France and with Spain, it is remarkable how close our second wave is to the curves we are seeing in France and in Spain. We are just four weeks behind France and seven weeks behind Spain," he said.

The statistician also told the Andrew Marr Show that there was "no question" that the UK is experiencing a second wave of coronavirus cases.

He said that in England about one in 130 people have the virus, with estimates for Scotland and Wales being "a little lower" and in Northern Ireland "a little higher".

The UK reported 23,012 new cases and an additional 174 deaths on Saturday.

Follow the latest updates in Monday's live blog.

05:22 PM

Evening summary

That's all from me this evening. Here are your top headlines:

  • Britain recorded 19,790 new Covid-19 infections and 151 deaths on Sunday, official data showed. A slight dip in Saturday's 23,012 reported cases.

  • There is "no question" that the UK is experiencing a second wave of coronavirus cases, the UK's national statistician has said today. Professor Sir Ian Diamond, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), told the BBC's Andrew Marr show that one in 130 people in England have the virus, with estimates for Scotland and Wales being "a little lower" and in Northern Ireland "a little higher".

  • Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez has declared a new nationwide state of emergency in the hope of stemming a resurgence in coronavirus infections. He said: “The reality is that Europe and Spain are immersed in a second wave of the pandemic.”

  • The prime minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte announced a raft of new restrictions and warned that the country’s escalating coronavirus infection rate was already having a worrying impact on hospitals. Italy reported a new daily record of 21,273 coronavirus cases with 128 deaths on Sunday.

  • The World Health Organization’s coronavirus dashboard showed a third consecutive daily record high in the number of new confirmed cases. Nearly half of Saturday’s new cases were registered in the WHO’s Europe region, which logged a one-day record high of 221,898 cases.

  • The US’s top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told the BBC that he expected news on whether a vaccine is safe and effective by December, but noted that a wide rollout was unlikely “until the second or third quarter of [next] year”. He also acknowledged that Donald Trump’s public statements on several key issues had not “followed the science”.

  • •An official from China’s Xinjiang health commission said that 137 new asymptomatic cases have been detected in the region. All of the new cases were linked to a garment factory.

  • Malaysia's king has rejected a proposal by the premier to declare a state of emergency and suspend parliament to fight the coronavirus after the plan sparked a massive backlash.

  • Asia surpassed 10 million infections of the new coronavirus on Saturday, the second-heaviest regional toll in the world, as cases continue to mount in India despite a slowdown and sharp declines elsewhere.

05:08 PM

Italy reports new record of 21,273 coronavirus cases

Italy reported a new daily record of 21,273 coronavirus cases with 128 deaths, health ministry figures showed on Sunday as the government tightened restrictions further to try to bring the accelerating rise in case numbers under control.

Earlier, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that bars and restaurants would have to close by 6 pm and said cinemas, gyms and swimming pools would be shut as part of a package of measures to combat the pandemic which is raging across Europe. 

Coronavirus Italy Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus Italy Spotlight Chart - cases default

04:53 PM

Britain records 19,790 new cases

Britain recorded 19,790 new Covid-19 infections and 151 deaths on Sunday, official data showed.

New cases dipped from Saturday's 23,012, and the number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test was also down slightly from 174 the previous day.

Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart - Cases default

04:51 PM

Qatar signs deal to buy Moderna Covid-19 vaccine

Qatar has signed an agreement with drugmaker Moderna Inc to buy its potential Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it is approved and released for global use, state news agency QNA quoted a health official as saying on Sunday.

There are no internationally approved vaccines yet, but several are in advanced trials, including from Pfizer Inc , Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.

"Negotiating early and securing a number of agreements enhances our chances of getting sufficient quantities of the vaccine early," said Abdullatif al-Khal, chair of a national Covid-19 health group and head of infectious diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation.

He did not say how many doses Doha was requesting. Earlier this month, al-Khal said Qatar signed an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech to supply Qatar with their vaccines.

Moderna said last month it was on track to produce 20 million doses of its vaccine by the end of the year, while maintaining its goal of readying 500 million to 1 billion doses in 2021.

04:38 PM

Spain declares nationwide state of emergency over virus

Spain has declared a national state of emergency, and a curfew covering all of Spain except the Canary Islands, in a bid to curb a second wave of coronavirus cases.

The new state of emergency will last until the beginning of May, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a televised speech. "The situation we are going through is extreme," he stressed.

The measures were agreed earlier Sunday at a two-and-a-half-hour cabinet meeting convened to respond to calls from the regions for powers to impose curfews to fight the surge in coronavirus cases.

A government statement said the overnight curfew would run from 11:00 pm until 6:00 am.

While the state of emergency would initially last for 15 days, it would go to parliament to get it extended for six months, the statement added.

Coronavirus Spain Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Spain Spotlight Chart - Cases default

04:26 PM

WHO reports third straight daily record in virus cases

The World Health Organization's coronavirus dashboard on Sunday showed a third consecutive daily record high in the number of new confirmed cases.

The WHO's complete figures for Saturday showed that 465,319 cases were confirmed to the UN health agency during the day, topping the 449,720 recorded on Friday and the 437,247 logged on Thursday.

The WHO has warned that some countries are on a "dangerous track", with too many witnessing an exponential increase in cases.

Within each week, the pattern of cases being reported to the WHO tends to spike towards Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and dip around Tuesday and Wednesday.

According to the WHO's figures, there have been more than 42.3 million confirmed cases of the respiratory disease, while nearly 1.15 million people have lost their lives, including 6,570 on Saturday.

Nearly half of Saturday's new cases were registered in the WHO's Europe region, which logged a one-day record high of 221,898 cases.

04:11 PM

More mass testing in China after 137 virus cases in Xinjiang

Chinese officials were racing Sunday to smother a fresh coronavirus outbreak in the country's far northwest after 137 new infections were discovered.

Mass testing began Saturday evening to cover 4.75 million residents in and around Kashgar, Xinjiang province, after a 17-year-old garment factory worker tested positive for the virus.

China - where the coronavirus first emerged late last year - has largely brought domestic transmission under control through lockdowns, travel restrictions and testing, but sporadic regional outbreaks have emerged.

Beijing has lauded its rapid testing capabilities, with the Communist Party eager to project an image of victory over the virus as much of the world struggles with lockdowns and mass outbreaks.

The new cases - all asymptomatic - were linked to a factory in Shufu county where the girl and her parents worked, the Xinjiang health commission told a press briefing Sunday.

Kashgar - near the country's borders with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan - is the cultural heart of ethnic Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims, many of whom complain of long-running political and religious oppression, which the Chinese government denies.

All schools in Kashgar have been closed until October 30 and anyone leaving the city needs to show a negative nucleic acid test, the city government said.

03:59 PM

Jeremy Hunt downed tools and 'refused to play' when asked to turn off ventilators in pandemic dry run

The former health secretary Jeremy Hunt downed tools and “refused to play” when asked to make a decision on who lived and who died during a cross-government pandemic simulation just three years ahead of Covid-19.

The incident - in which the minister was asked to turn off the ventilators of 4,000 fictional patients - happened during a mock Cobra meeting on the first day of Exercise Cygnus, the secret war game staged in October 2016 to test the UK’s pandemic resilience.

It goes to the heart a row about a triage protocol that was published by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) at the start of the pandemic and which is said by some to have resulted in thousands of frail and elderly patients being denied hospital care - a claim the NHS and professional medical bodies firmly deny.

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt  -  Paul Grover
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt - Paul Grover

Some of those involved in Cygnus say Mr Hunt’s refusal to take the “tough decisions necessary” during the simulation contrast with his criticism of the Covid-19 response and that his actions negatively impacted the simulation exercise and future planning.

Mr Hunt, however, believes what he was asked to do during Cygnus was “morally repugnant” and says that by “pausing” the simulation he forced an “important rethinking” that has proved valuable in managing the current outbreak.

Paul Nuki has more on this here.

03:44 PM

Welsh tally rises by more than 1,000 new cases

There have been a further 1,104 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 42,681.

Public Health Wales said five further deaths had been reported, with the total rising to 1,777.

03:42 PM

Bulgaria PM tests positive for coronavirus

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov on Sunday became the latest political figure to test positive for the new coronavirus.

"After two PCR tests from today I am positive for Covid-19," he said on his Facebook page, adding that he had mild symptoms and would quarantine at home.

Borisov, 61, self-isolated on Friday evening when a deputy minister of regional development he had been in contact with five days before tested positive for the virus.

The Sofia regional health inspectorate lifted the premier's quarantine on Saturday after two negative PCR tests - one on Friday morning before Borisov met with the United States' undersecretary Keith Krach and a second one on Saturday.

But Borisov said that he had remained in self-isolation, postponing all his meetings and public appearances since Friday.

03:10 PM

Italy confirms new coronavirus restrictions

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Sunday announced new anti-coronavirus restrictions for bars, restaurants and public gatherings, in a move aimed at stopping a spike in infections and avoiding a new nationwide lockdown.  

Under the new rules, gyms, swimming pools, cinemas and theaters will be closed, while bars and restaurants will be obliged to shut down at 6pm local time, including Sundays.  

The new decree, signed after night-long negotiations with regional governors, will be effective from tomorrow until November 24.  

“We need to do as much as possible to protect our health and our economy and avoid a second general lockdown,” Conte said at a press conference on Sunday. 

“If we respect the rules in November, we will manage to keep the contagion curve under control and could soften the measures to face December and Christmas with more calm,” he added. 

On Saturday, Italy topped the half-million mark in the number of confirmed coronavirus infections, as new daily cases rose by about 20,000.  

The new decree discourages movements across regions, if not for strict health or working reasons, but introduces no limitations.  

High schools will have to provide up to 75 per cent of teaching through online schooling, but specific action will be decided at a local level.   

Conte acknowledged that the new rules will hit some business categories hard, but promised that the government will compensate them with “substantial” financial aid. 

Giada Zampano reports.

03:00 PM

The six crucial pandemic lessons the government ignored

It took seven months, the threat of legal action and the intervention of the Information Commissioner but on Tuesday Whitehall reluctantly published its secret report on Exercise Cygnus, the ill-fated simulation which exposed the weakness of Britain’s pandemic plans a full three years before the coronavirus hit.

It's in the report’s detail that the danger lies, warns Paul Nuki. 

Read more here.

02:50 PM

Government 'considering Tier 4 local lockdowns'

Council and government officials are reportedly considering introducing extra restrictions if the current three tier system hasn't made a difference by mid-November.

Discussions are underway over a potential plan B, which could include a 'Tier 3 plus' or 'Tier 4', iNews have reported.

New measures could include shutting restaurants and non-essential retail such as clothes shops, the introduction of stricter measures are yet to be officially announced.

Short-term local circuit breaker lockdowns to bring the R value of transmission below 1 are also said to be under consideration.

02:39 PM

‘If you are not prepared, the virus has found every weakness’: How countries in Asia tamed Covid-19

A coveted window spot at Saffron 46, a chic India restaurant overlooking central Taipei, is hard to come by on weekends. Behind the bar, waiters quickly whip up cocktails, while chefs work at full speed, churning out curries, samosas, and chutneys to packed tables.

It's a scene that is replicated across the bustling bars and restaurants of the Taiwanese capital, where business is booming despite the ongoing pandemic. Downtown malls are crowded and glamorous party-goers once again have to join long queues for nightclubs.

Although Covid-19 emerged from China, nearby countries like Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam and, to a lesser extent, Singapore, have fared much better than Western nations in terms of safeguarding both the health of their populations and their economies.

Nicola Smith explians how the did it here.

Business is booming in Taiwan, despite the ongoing pandemic - DAVID CHANG/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Business is booming in Taiwan, despite the ongoing pandemic - DAVID CHANG/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

02:26 PM

Royal Mail to draft in 33,000 seasonal workers over Christmas

The Royal Mail has announced that around 33,000 temporary jobs will be available this year over the Christmas period - over 10,000 more than its usual seasonal average.

The postal service typically employs between 15,000 and 23,000 extra staff between October and January to help sort the additional Christmas volumes of parcels, cards and letters.

Royal Mail says that such a high number of workers is needed this year because of elevated parcel volumes due to an increase in online shopping caused by the coronavirus crisis.

 Royal Mail postman walks past a pub in York - Lee Smith / REUTERS
Royal Mail postman walks past a pub in York - Lee Smith / REUTERS

02:15 PM

Care home providers call for mandatory testing as inspectors report Covid-19 symptoms

More than 100 care home inspectors have reported Covid-19 symptoms or been forced to isolate, The Telegraph can reveal, as providers call for mandatory testing to “stop putting lives at risk”.

Last month, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was attacked by care home managers for its "bonkers" redeployment of inspectors.

The watchdog had suspended inspections for five months in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. However, in a U-turn, sanctioned by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and which sparked anger from care managers, the inspectors were redeployed – but without compulsory testing.

The Telegraph has since obtained new data under Freedom of Information (FoI) laws revealing that more than 100 CQC inspectors have reported symptoms of Covid-19 or have been forced to self-isolate.

As a result, care home managers have called on the CQC to ignore official government guidance and roll out mandatory testing for all asymptomatic inspectors, because a failure to do so “will put lives at risk”.

Read more here.

The Freedom of Information data seen by The Telegraph revealed that since March, 11 members of Quality Care Commission staff have tested positive for Covid-19, six of whom were inspectors - Daniel Leal-Olivas / PA
The Freedom of Information data seen by The Telegraph revealed that since March, 11 members of Quality Care Commission staff have tested positive for Covid-19, six of whom were inspectors - Daniel Leal-Olivas / PA

02:02 PM

Netherlands cases jump by more than 10,000 in 24 hours

The number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands jumped by more than 10,000 in 24 hours, hitting a new record, data released by the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) on Sunday showed.

The RIVM reported 10,203 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

The Dutch government imposed partial lockdown measures to contain the spread of the virus on Oct. 14, including the closure of all bars and restaurants in the country. 

Coronavirus Netherlands Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Netherlands Spotlight Chart - Cases default

01:53 PM

Doctors demand free meals for kids

Pediatricians are urging the British government to reverse course and provide free meals for poor children during school holidays as the coronavirus pandemic pushes more families into poverty.

Some 2,200 members of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health have written an open letter to Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying they were shocked by his "refusal" to back down on the issue. The House of Commons last week rejected legislation that would have provided free meals during all school holidays from October through the Easter break.

The doctors say some 4 million children live in poverty, and a third rely on free school meals. Many parents in Britain have lost their jobs or are working reduced hours during the pandemic, making it imperative to make it possible for poor children over the holidays get at least one nutritious meal a day, the doctors argue.

School students and educators protested outside Downing Street against the government decision not to extend free school meals during half term and the Christmas holidays on October 24 - Guy Smallman / Getty
School students and educators protested outside Downing Street against the government decision not to extend free school meals during half term and the Christmas holidays on October 24 - Guy Smallman / Getty

"Families who were previously managing are now struggling to make ends meet because of the impact of Covid-19," the doctors wrote. "It is not good enough to send them into the holiday period hoping for the best, while knowing that many will simply go hungry."

Most schools in England begin a one-week holiday on Monday.

The doctors heaped praise on Marcus Rashford, a 22-year-old star soccer player for Manchester United who has used his celebrity to highlight the issue.

Rashford's campaign helped pressure Johnson's government into providing free meals during a nationwide coronavirus lockdown earlier this year, and he has gathered more than 800,000 signatures on a petition to extend the program.

01:38 PM

Irish deputy PM says Covid-19 vaccinations may begin before April 2021

 The Irish government expects to be able to begin to vaccinate vulnerable people against Covid-19 in first quarter or first half of 2021, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Sunday.

"I'm increasingly optimistic, as is government, that we will see a vaccine approved in the next couple of months and that in the first half or first quarter of next year it'll be possible to start vaccinating those most at risk," Varadkar told RTE radio.

01:28 PM

Looting sweeps Nigeria as authorities struggle with unrest

Nigerian authorities struggled to halt looting across the country on Sunday as crowds defied curfew orders to ransack government warehouses in the latest in a wave of unrest sweeping Africa's most populous nation.

The country's police chief on Saturday ordered the immediate mobilisation of all "operational assets" as he sought to curb turmoil sparked by widespread protests.

Governors have slapped round-the-clock curfews on a string of states as residents have pillaged stocks that were meant for distribution during coronavirus lockdowns.

Peaceful demonstrations against police brutality erupted in Nigeria on October 8 and quickly snowballed into one of the biggest challenges to the ruling elite in decades.

Chaos spiralled after security forces on Tuesday opened fire on peaceful demonstrators in the centre of Lagos, unleashing days of rioting across Africa's biggest city.

Official buildings were torched, supermarkets looted and vehicles destroyed as officials accused "hoodlums" of taking advantage of the mayhem.

The situation has calmed in the economic hub and a stringent stay-at-home order was eased on Saturday.

Amnesty International has said at least 12 protesters were shot dead by the army and police in Lagos on Tuesday, and a total of 56 people have died since the demonstrations began.

Following two weeks of protests against The Nigerian Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, otherwise known as SARS, burnt vehicles and damaged buildings remain visible across Lagos -  Anadolu Agency / Anadolu
Following two weeks of protests against The Nigerian Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, otherwise known as SARS, burnt vehicles and damaged buildings remain visible across Lagos - Anadolu Agency / Anadolu

01:07 PM

England cancel Germany friendly after positive test

England Women's friendly away to Germany on Tuesday has been cancelled after a member of the Lionesses' backroom staff tested positive for the coronavirus.

Tuesday's game against the two-time world champions in Wiesbaden should have been England's first fixture since the SheBelieves Cup in March.

But a Covid-19 case has put paid to the trip, with England women's manager Phil Neville saying in a statement on Sunday: "While we all wanted to play Tuesday's game, this was absolutely the right course of action. I thank Germany's staff for their understanding and our FA colleagues for their support.

"I know the fans were hoping to see us play again but I am sure they will understand the decision."

England's governing Football Association said the decision had been made to protect the well-being of players and staff, and cited current protocols which would require any individual who tested positive once in Germany to self-isolate for 14 days.

With Tuesday's game off, the remainder of the training camp at St George's Park has also been cancelled, and players will return to their clubs on Sunday.Their next fixture is against Norway at Sheffield's Bramall Lane on December 1.

England Women's manager Phil Neville in the stands before the Barclays FA WSL match at The Academy Stadium, Manchester -  Nick Potts / PA
England Women's manager Phil Neville in the stands before the Barclays FA WSL match at The Academy Stadium, Manchester - Nick Potts / PA

12:56 PM

Malaysian king rejects PM's push for emergency powers

Malaysia's king has rejected a proposal by the premier to declare a state of emergency and suspend parliament to fight the coronavirus after the plan sparked a massive backlash.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin sought the drastic measures following a recent spike in virus cases, but critics claimed he was mainly concerned with crushing mounting challenges to his leadership.

Muhyiddin seized power without a vote in March after a reformist government collapsed but his administration is unstable, with only a wafer-thin majority in parliament.

His government argued emergency powers would bring stability to fight Covid-19 amid speculation they will lose a looming vote on the budget, which could prompt snap polls some fear could worsen the outbreak.

Under the constitution, the king, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, has the power to declare a state of emergency if he is persuaded there is a grave threat to Malaysia's security.

But following a meeting of Malaysia's Islamic royalty, the palace said the monarch was "of the view that there is no need at this moment for the king to declare a state of emergency in the country or in any part of Malaysia".

Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah wearing a face mask -  NAZRI RAPAAI / AFP
Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah wearing a face mask - NAZRI RAPAAI / AFP

12:44 PM

New cases in the US top 83,700 for second day in row

A day after the US set a daily record for new confirmed coronavirus infections, it came very close to doing it again.

Data published by Johns Hopkins University shows that 83,718 new cases in the US were reported Saturday, nearly matching the 83,757 infections reported Friday. Before that, the most cases reported in the United States on a single day had been 77,362 on July 16.

Close to 8.6 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and about 225,000 have died. Both statistics are the world's highest. India has more than 7.8 million infections but in recent weeks its daily number have been declining.

US health officials have feared the surge of infections to come with colder weather and people spending more time indoors, especially as many flout guidelines to protect themselves and others such as mask-wearing and social distancing.

12:35 PM

Wales could be forced into a second firebreak lockdown next year, minister warns

A second firebreak lockdown could be required in Wales by January or February next year, Wales' deputy minister for economy and transport has said.

Lee Waters said the Welsh Government was trying to "flatten the curve" of the second wave of Covid-19 but could not stop the virus from spreading entirely.

He acknowledged that people were "thoroughly fed-up" of restrictions, with frustration and anger directed towards the government making the decision.

"That is inevitable and I'm afraid its going to get worse," Mr Waters told BBC Wales' Sunday Supplement. "This is not the last lockdown we're likely to see.

"I think the projections in the papers we've published on our worst-case scenarios shows it's likely we're going to need to have another firebreak in January or February.

"It's important that we can show that we are being rational, we're being evidence-based and we are being transparent. We are trying our best to do that."

Mr Waters said epidemiologists had predicted more than one peak of coronavirus, with the second worst than the first and "the third worse again".

He told the BBC that the second peak had arrived, with a 57 per cent increase in people in critical care in the past week.

12:24 PM

Chileans head to the voting stations for historic constitutional vote

Chileans will vote on Sunday on whether they want the country's Pinochet-era constitution torn up and replaced by a fresh charter drafted by citizens, a key demand in protests that erupted last year.

The fiery anti-government protests over inequality and elitism in one of Latin America's most advanced economies broke out last fall and resumed with the easing of coronavirus lockdowns.

Citizens can decide whether to approve or reject a new constitution and whether it should be drafted by a specially elected citizens' body, made up half of women and half of men, and indigenous representatives, or a mix of citizens and lawmakers.

Opinion polls suggest a new charter will be approved by a significant margin.

People with Covid-19 have been told to stay away from voting stations on threat of arrest and prosecution.

Control points have been set up at least 20 meters from polling place entrances where officials will conduct identity spot checks to ensure people are not on the quarantine list.

A worker of the Electoral Service of Chile (Servel) sets up a polling station on the eve of a nationwide constitutional referendum voting in Santiago, on October 24, 2020 -  MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP
A worker of the Electoral Service of Chile (Servel) sets up a polling station on the eve of a nationwide constitutional referendum voting in Santiago, on October 24, 2020 - MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP

12:00 PM

Frankfurt cancels Christmas market over virus spike

The German city of Frankfurt has become the latest to cancel its traditional Christmas market as the nation struggles to halt an alarming rise in coronavirus infections.

"Frankfurt is pulling the corona emergency brake," the Bild daily wrote after city officials made the decision in emergency talks late Saturday.

The Frankfurt "Weihnachtsmarkt" is one of Germany's most popular Christmas markets and usually attracts more than two million visitors who come to sip mulled wine, nibble on roasted chestnuts and shop for seasonal trinkets among a cluster of wooden chalets.

"Our goal remains to avoid another lockdown," Frankfurt mayor Peter Feldmann said in a statement.

The worsening pandemic has already forced a slew of other German cities, including Berlin, Duesseldorf and Cologne, to announce they are scrapping or severely curtailing their Christmas markets, although major ones are still going ahead in Munich and Nuremberg.

Germany is home to some 2,500 Christmas markets each year that kick off the festive season in late November and are much loved by locals and tourists alike.

They draw about 160 million domestic and international visitors annually who bring in revenues of three to five billion euros, according to the BSM stallkeepers' industry association.

11:52 AM

Downloads of France's Covid-19 tracing app way behind target

France’s new Covid-19 contact-tracing app needs to be downloaded by at least 20 per cent of the population to be effective but is far from reaching that level for now, the minister for digital affairs said on Sunday.

On October 22, France relaunched its “StopCovid” tracing app and renamed it “Tous Anti-Covid” (all against Covid), which has since seen an additional 1.2 million downloads for a total number of about 4 million.

“For the application to be efficient, about 20 per cent of the population, or 15 to 20 million people, need to download it,” Digital Affairs Minister Cedric O said on franeeinfo radio.

He said similar apps were working well in Britain, Germany and Canada but gave no examples of successful contact tracing in France with the app.

Many in France have been reluctant to download the app over privacy concerns, despite the government’s reassurances that the data will not be used for any other purpose than stopping the pandemic.

11:36 AM

'Fights break out' at Greek airport as crowds of British holidaymakers fill terminal

Holidaymakers returning to the UK from the Greek island of Rhodes have described how the airport descended into “chaos” as it failed to cope with the volume of travellers.

Rhodes International Airport was overwhelmed yesterday, stranding passengers for hours with no air-conditioning to combat the high temperature and no room for social distancing. Witnesses on the ground reported there were few members of staff to control the situation.

Many were left “visibly distressed”, according to reports, while others said "tempers were flaring" and "fights" broke out as people tried to battle their way through the crowds.

Benjamin Parker has more on this story here.

11:26 AM

Inconsistent health measures have led to a 'precarious' coronavirus situation in the US, says Dr Fauci

A lack of "uniform adherence" to public health measures lead to the "precarious" coronavirus position in the US, the country's top infectious disease specialist said.

Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Dr Anthony Fauci said the US had "inconsistency" in its response to the Covid-19 outbreak among individual states.

He said:

"One of the situations that we've had in the United States was a bit of an inconsistency in the response to the outbreak in the sense of getting all 50 of our states of our very large country to actually abide by the guidelines that we set forth.

"Then, when we try to reopen our country, as it were, in the sense of economically, there was an inconsistency in different states of what they did and adhering to the guidelines.

"It's a question of a uniform adherence to the public health measures, which we did not do that well here in the United States.

"We're in a very precarious position, as we're entering into a time when climate will dictate that we'll have to do things more indoor versus outdoor."

Dr Fauci added he was "sorry to see" that in the UK "after getting hit pretty badly the way we did, you went down to a pretty low level, but now you're starting to escalate in the same manner that we are here".

Coronavirus USA Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus USA Spotlight Chart - cases default

11:16 AM

Half term chaos as 'too many' Britons pile onto Greek and Spanish islands

Travel carnage looks to be on the cards for foreign holidays this half term, as hordes of Britons pour into the small handful of destinations that remain on the UK's 'green list'.

Last night on the Greek island of Rhodes, frenzied crowds formed at the small airport as at least five flights back to the UK were scheduled to depart within a matter of hours, before most schools have even broken up.

One passenger Tweeted: "Absolute chaos at #Rhodes airport. Fights and arguments breaking out. No one knows where they are going or what they are supposed to do. No staff, no control."

A family who was travelling with Jet2 told Telegraph Travel: "It's the Government's fault for its quarantine policy; it's inevitable when there are so few places left to go on holiday, that companies will funnel everyone into these tiny regions that can't cope."

Airlines and tour operators including Tui, Jet2, Ryanair and easyJet have been adding extra capacity to meet soaring demand for the Greek islands in recent weeks as new travel corridors have been granted. 

With the Spanish Canary Islands also added to the FCDO's quarantine-exempt list on Thursday, Britons were this weekend already descending upon Lanzarote's airport.

Our travel live blog has the latest here.

Several tourists wait in a queue to take a taxi outside Cesar Manrique international airport, in the island of Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain -  JAVIER FUENTES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Several tourists wait in a queue to take a taxi outside Cesar Manrique international airport, in the island of Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain - JAVIER FUENTES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

11:06 AM

Vaccine verdict due by early December, says Dr Fauci

US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Sunday it would be clear whether a Covid-19 vaccine was safe and effective by early December, but that more widespread vaccination would not be likely until later in 2021.

"We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, the beginning of December," Dr Fauci told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show

"When you talk about vaccinating a substantial proportion of the population, so that you can have a significant impact on the dynamics of the outbreak, that very likely will not be until the second or third quarter of the year."

Anthony Fauci -  Graeme Jennings / Washington Examiner
Anthony Fauci - Graeme Jennings / Washington Examiner

10:54 AM

Spain prepares for third state of emergency

The prime minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, has called a Cabinet meeting Sunday to prepare a new state of emergency to stem surging coronavirus infections, a move that could impose curfews and other restrictions across the country.

AP reported that Sánchez’s government said on Saturday night that a majority of Spain’s regional leaders have agreed to a new state of emergency and the meeting Sunday was to study its terms.

The state of emergency gives the national government extraordinary powers, including the ability to temporarily restrict basic freedoms guaranteed in Spain’s Constitution such as the right to free movement.

Spain’s government has already declared two state of emergencies during the pandemic. Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa has said his agency and regional health officials are studying how to apply nightly curfews, perhaps like the 9 pm. ones already in place in France’s major cities.

Spain this week became the first European country to surpass 1 million officially recorded Covid-19 cases. But Sánchez admitted Friday in a nationally televised address that the true figure could be more than 3 million, due to gaps in testing and other factors.

Spain on Friday reported almost 20,000 new daily cases and 231 more deaths, taking the country’s death toll in the pandemic to 34,752.

Coronavirus Spain Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Spain Spotlight Chart - Cases default

10:38 AM

Italy tightens virus restrictions after record new cases

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tightened nationwide coronavirus restrictions Sunday after the country recorded a record number of new cases, despite opposition from regional heads and street protests over curfews.

Cinemas, theatres, gyms and swimming pools must all close under the new rules, which come into force on Monday, while restaurants and bars will have to stop serving at 6pm, the prime minister's office said.

The plan to close restaurants and bars from 6pm has been hotly contested by regional administrations and hospitality workers are set to protest outside parliament on Sunday as ministers debate the new measures.

Italy, the first European country to be hit hard by the pandemic and impose a nationwide lockdown, on Saturday clocked nearly 20,000 new cases in a 24-hour period.

A waiter wearing a protective face mask works at a bar in Rome, Italy -  YARA NARDI / REUTERS
A waiter wearing a protective face mask works at a bar in Rome, Italy - YARA NARDI / REUTERS

10:27 AM

UK needs to do more to prepare for university students returning home for Christmas

If nothing was done to prepare for university students returning home at Christmas it would be "a moment of danger", the UK's national statistician has said.

Asked about the issue on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Professor Sir Ian Diamond said: "If we did nothing ... it would be a moment of danger.

"That's why I know all universities and the Department for Education, working closely with them, are putting in plans to minimise that danger and to mitigate against it."

10:19 AM

'No question' the UK is in the midst of a second wave

There is "no question" that the UK is experiencing a second wave of coronavirus cases, the UK's national statistician has said.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), told the BBC's Andrew Marr show: "I think there is no question we are in a second wave. We are seeing infections rise very quickly."

He said that in England about one in 130 people have the virus, with estimates for Scotland and Wales being "a little lower" and in Northern Ireland "a little higher".

Asked if recent data suggesting a slowing growth in cases meant the country would leave a second wave earlier than previously expected, he said: "I'd very much like to hope so. However, I am extremely nervous about taking just initial data and pushing things forward, and say 'it's fine'.

"Because, let's be clear, we might see the rate of increase slow a little as we get further data over the next few weeks, but we're still at a relatively high level. What we really need to do is to bring that level down.

"Even if we were to get R in the north to around about one, it would continue to have infections at a high rate.

"I really do think it's too early to say on slowing down."

10:11 AM

The fate of Christmas hangs in the balance, medical expert warns

British Medical Association (BMA) council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said what the Government does now in terms of infection control will determine what happens at Christmas.

Asked if the Government should temporarily relax restrictions at Christmas or if that would risk a rise in infections, he told Sky News's Sophy Ridge on Sunday: "I think the most important thing is what the Government does today, now.

"If the Government can have a coherent approach to ensure that there is proper infection control measures in society when people go out to work, when people go outside.

"At the end of the day there is actually a very simple message here - this virus cannot spread if people don't mix and it is possible - we've shown during the first peak - that it is possible to bring the infection down."

He said a return to normality around that time "won't be normal as usual, it will be a new norm where we have to work and mix within infection control parameters".

He added: "What the Government does today will determine what happens at Christmas and what the public behaviour is today will determine the infection in the weeks and months to come."

09:59 AM

Wales to reassess lockdown supermarket rules on Monday

Wales's Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the Welsh Government had "worked with supermarkets" and discussed which items are covered by the ban on non-essential retail.

"We'll talk to them again on Monday so everyone understands the position we're in to have some clarity," Mr Gething told BBC's The Andrew Marr Show.

He said the ban was in place to ensure fairness to businesses that are closed during the 17-day lockdown and reduce the opportunities for people to "go out and mix".

When asked if the ban would cause people to shop on Amazon, Mr Gething said that almost all retailers had an "online offering as well".

"Online retail is permissible because that doesn't involve mixing," he said.

"So we haven't cut down people's opportunity to buy goods in any form, it's the in-person activity that matters."

09:43 AM

Dido Harding's position "untenable", says shadow mental health sec

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, shadow mental health minister, has said that Baroness Dido Harding's position as head of the Test, Track and Trace system was "untenable", but did not say whether she should resign.

"The huge take-home message here is ... the Tories can see just how catastrophic the Test, Trace and Isolate system has been," she told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

"It's time to put it back to the local communities who know their communities best.

"(Baroness Harding's) position is very difficult, it's untenable really, but fundamentally this comes down to the responsibility of the Government, they have failed people.

"There are people going into this Christmas period not knowing if they're going to be able to hug their elderly parent in a care home for the last time or not.

"We need to be speaking up for them and for that we need to put it back into the hands of our local public health teams."

Dr Allin-Khan added that she was "deeply concerned" that the number of referrals to mental health services had dropped after depression rates had "skyrocketed" during the first wave of the pandemic.

She said that mental health "doesn't discriminate" and services needed to be prepared for a "long, dark winter" ahead.

"The Government needs a mental health strategy going into this winter, they have to be gathering data, they have to be understanding where the pressures are and delivering for the people that need it the most," she said.

09:32 AM

London's Nightingale hospital ill-prepared for a second wave, say health professionals

Ministers have been accused of "sitting on their hands" over warnings that the country's largest Covid-19 field hospital is ill-prepared to help the capital cope with a second wave of infections.

Last week, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, confirmed that the Nightingale hospitals set up earlier this year would be ready to receive patients once again as conventional hospitals in some parts of the country faced becoming overwhelmed.

However, despite warnings in the spring that the London Nightingale needed to undergo a transformation to play a significant role over the winter, NHS England has admitted that no changes have been made to the facilities since the field hospital was put on "standby" in May. 

Edward Malnick and Lizzie Roberts have more on this story here.

09:22 AM

Russia's case tally rises by 16,710

Russia reported 16,710 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, including 4,455 in Moscow, bringing the national tally to 1,513,877 cases since the pandemic began.

Authorities said 229 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 26,050.

Coronavirus Russia Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Russia Spotlight Chart - Cases default

09:11 AM

Trump "isn't going to suddenly protect all of us", says Obama

Former President Barack Obama took aim at President Trump and his response to the coronavirus pandemic during a campaign event for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Saturday in Miami, Florida

"Eight months into this pandemic, eight months into this pandemic, new cases are breaking records," Obama said.

"Donald Trump isn't going to suddenly protect all of us. He can't even take the basic steps to protect himself.

"There's no sense that he's coming up with a new approach, with a new plan. He doesn't even acknowledge that there's a problem.

"Just this week, he complained that the pandemic was making him go back to work. If he had been working in the first place, we never would have seen the situation get this bad."

Former President Barack Obama speaks as he campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden at Florida International University -  Lynne Sladky / AP
Former President Barack Obama speaks as he campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden at Florida International University - Lynne Sladky / AP

09:00 AM

'I wasn't even sure if it was my father': Burying the dead as coronavirus sweeps Yangon

When Maung Hla buried his father last month, it was from afar. Unable to say goodbye, he had to watch from the other end of the graveyard in Yangon, Myanmar, as volunteers from a religious organisation buried his loved one. 

"I was not even sure if it was my father's dead body," he told The Telegraph. 

When Maung Hla's father first went into hospital, it wasn't for Covid-19, but he later tested positive. The diagnosis was no surprise to the family, who had not been able to visit him properly but had witnessed the conditions in hospital when he was admitted, with crammed wards, no distancing, and a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).  

While Myanmar fared well when coronavirus began to spread through the world in spring, infections are now soaring. According to figures from Reuters, both deaths and case numbers were doubling faster than anywhere in the world earlier this month. As of Thursday this week, it had 41,008 positive cases and 1,005 reported deaths, the majority in Yangon, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports. 

Read more here.

Rescue workers outside Yangon General Hospital - Cape Diamond
Rescue workers outside Yangon General Hospital - Cape Diamond

08:47 AM

Asia becomes second region to exceed 10 million coronavirus cases

Asia surpassed 10 million infections of the new coronavirus on Saturday, the second-heaviest regional toll in the world, as cases continue to mount in India despite a slowdown and sharp declines elsewhere.

Behind only Latin America, Asia accounts for about one-fourth of the global caseload of 42.1 million of the virus. With over 163,000 deaths, the region accounts for some 14 per cent of the global Covid-19 toll.

Within the region, South Asia led by India is the worst affected, with nearly 21 per cent of the reported global coronavirus cases and 12 per cent of deaths.

This contrasts with countries like China and New Zealand that have crushed infections and Japan, where Covid-19 had been stubbornly entrenched but not accelerating.

A healthcare worker wearing a protective gear collects blood sample from a man, who has recovered from the coronavirus disease, during a plasma donation camp inside a classroom at a slum in Mumbai, India - HEMANSHI KAMANI/ REUTERS
A healthcare worker wearing a protective gear collects blood sample from a man, who has recovered from the coronavirus disease, during a plasma donation camp inside a classroom at a slum in Mumbai, India - HEMANSHI KAMANI/ REUTERS

08:33 AM

Czech Republic reports 12,472 new coronavirus cases

The Czech Republic reported 12,472 new cases of coronavirus yesterday, its highest daily tally for a weekend day, when there are usually fewer tests, Health Ministry data showed on Sunday.

The total number of cases rose to 250,797 in the country of 10.7 million, with 106 new deaths taking that total to 2,077.

Coronavirus Czech Republic Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Czech Republic Spotlight Chart - Cases default

07:25 AM

Isolation for test and trace could be halved

The 14-day isolation period for contacts of those infected with Covid-19 could be halved over fears about levels of compliance with the Test and Trace system, The Telegraph can disclose. 

Officials on Boris Johnson's Covid-19 taskforce are examining the case for cutting the fortnight period of isolation to between seven and 10 days.

The disclosure comes amid rising concern among ministers and Tory backbenchers about the effectiveness of Test and Trace, with the Prime Minister said to have become "disillusioned" with official statistics provided by the service, after some were later proved to be incorrect.

Read the full story here.

07:16 AM

Care homes demand inspectors are tested

More than 100 care home inspectors have reported Covid-19 symptoms or been forced to isolate, The Telegraph can reveal, as providers call for mandatory testing to “stop putting lives at risk”.

The Care Quality Commission was attacked last month by care home managers for its "bonkers" redeployment of inspectors.

The watchdog had suspended inspections for five months in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

However, in a U-turn sanctioned by the Department for Health and Social Care that sparked anger from care managers, the inspectors were redeployed – but without compulsory testing.

Read the full story here.

06:00 AM

Greek officials make masks mandatory

Masks must now be worn - Yorgos Karahalis/AP
Masks must now be worn - Yorgos Karahalis/AP

Greece officials introduced mandatory wearing of masks everywhere on Saturday, with the country reaching records for new daily coronavirus cases.

Health authorities announced a record 935 new cases on Saturday, along with five deaths.

The total confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 29,992 and 564 deaths.

05:42 AM

Masks nowhere to be seen as Pope meets Spanish leader

Pope Francis meets Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his wife Maria Begona Gomez Fernandez - VATICAN MEDIA HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Pope Francis meets Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his wife Maria Begona Gomez Fernandez - VATICAN MEDIA HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Pope Francis met with the Spanish prime minister at the Vatican, but neither man wore a mask during the public part of their meeting.

That's despite 13 Swiss Guards and someone staying at the same Vatican City guest house where Pope Francis lives recently testing positive for coronavirus.

Swiss Guards leave the St Damaso courtyard after Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez met with Pope Francis at the Vatican - Alessandra Tarantino/AP
Swiss Guards leave the St Damaso courtyard after Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez met with Pope Francis at the Vatican - Alessandra Tarantino/AP

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wore a mask when he arrived in a Vatican courtyard, but everyone sat unmasked immediately before and after his closed-door talks with the Pope.

Spain this week became the first country in Western Europe with more than one million confirmed virus cases.

The Vatican said Mr Sanchez also spoke with the Holy See's foreign minister, discussing matters including "the current health emergency, the process of European integration and migration".

In his speech, Pope Francis called politics "an act of charity, nobility" and the mission of a politician is to help a nation to progress.

The pontiff said it is "very sad" when ideologies drive the destiny of a nation.

05:34 AM

One million coronavirus cases recorded in Colombia

Colombia reached one million coronavirus cases on Saturday, becoming the second country in Latin America to report that number in less than a week.

The nation of 50 million people saw cases peak in August and has seen a decline since, but still continues to register around 8,000 new infections a day.

Eight countries now have more than one million confirmed cases, and three are in Latin America.

Argentina hit one million cases on Monday. Brazil ranks third worldwide in the number of virus cases, with more than five million, and passed one million infections back in June.

Peru and Mexico are expected to reach one million cases each in coming weeks.

Overall, Latin America continues to register some of the highest caseloads, diagnosing more than 100,000 infections each day.

05:17 AM

Suburban outbreak delays reopenings in Melbourne

Victoria, Australia's Covid-19 hotspot, on Sunday delayed the eagerly awaited removal of strict lockdown restrictions for cafes, restaurants and pubs in the state's capital of Melbourne because of an outbreak in the northern suburbs.

The restrictions have kept most retail businesses in Melbourne providing online services only since early August.

Five million people under stay-at-home orders were hoping for an announcement on Sunday.

State premier Daniel Andrews said the northern suburbs outbreak would likely delay the reopening of retail and hospitality businesses by a few days, as officials preferred to wait for hundreds of test results. He planned to announce some restrictions would be lifted from mid-week.

"If I could stand here today and make these announcements, I would," Mr Andrews said.

In the previous 24 hours, six new cases were linked to the northern suburbs outbreak, which has spread through 11 households - up from six on Tuesday.

05:16 AM

Vice-president's aide has Covid

Marc Short, the chief of staff for vice-president Mike Pence, has tested positive for coronavirus.

A spokesman for the vice-president said Mr Pence would maintain his aggressive presidential election campaign schedule "in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel".

Mr Short tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday. Mr Pence and his wife, Karen, have also been tested.

Read the full story here.

05:02 AM

Italians continue to riot over restrictions

Anti-riot police officers face activists protesting against the curfew in central Piazza del Popolo, Rome - Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency
Anti-riot police officers face activists protesting against the curfew in central Piazza del Popolo, Rome - Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency
Rome - Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency
Rome - Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency
Rome - ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP
Rome - ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP

Italian demonstrators staged Europe's latest public rally against new anti-coronavirus restrictions early on Sunday, as more countries tightened social distancing rules over the weekend to fight surges in infections.

Around 200 masked far-right militants clashed with Italian riot police during a demonstration against a new curfew in Rome shortly after midnight on Sunday, throwing flares and firecrackers at officers.

Seven protesters were arrested during the rally, which came the night after hundreds of people set rubbish bins on fire and threw projectiles at police further south in Naples in another anti-curfew protest.

 

Italy is reeling from its worst post-war recession after a two-month national lockdown prompted by one of Europe's worst outbreaks, and authorities have so far sought to avoid reimposing more drastic quarantine restrictions.

04:18 AM

Cluster cases continue to surge in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan authorities have terminated a number of passenger trains and widened the curfew as Covid-19 cases related to a new cluster at a garment factory continue to surge.

The Railway Department cancelled at least 16 trains after the number of commuters declined due to the curfew imposed in many parts of the country.

More than a dozen villages are isolated in the densely populated Western province, which includes the capital Colombo.

People wait as health workers carry out Covid-19 swab tests at a bus terminal in Colombo - CHAMILA KARUNARATHNE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
People wait as health workers carry out Covid-19 swab tests at a bus terminal in Colombo - CHAMILA KARUNARATHNE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Authorities last week closed the island's main fish market on Colombo's outskirts after 49 traders tested positive for coronavirus.

By Sunday, the number of cases from the fish market went up to nearly 900. Authorities said the outbreak was linked to a cluster in a garment factory early this month, which has grown to 4,052 cases - more than half the country's total of 7,521.

During the past 24 hours, 368 new cases have been detected.

In a bid to contain the spread, health authorities also closed three fishery harbours and many fish stalls around the country. 

01:42 AM

Covid puts the frighteners on Halloween celebrations

Theo Jackson picks pumpkins for Halloween at Garson Farm in London - Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Theo Jackson picks pumpkins for Halloween at Garson Farm in London - Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Halloween has been effectively cancelled across huge swathes of the country thanks to Tier 3 rules banning trick or treating, and advice from police telling people not to put sweets outside.

Millions of youngsters living under Tier 3 lockdowns will not be allowed to go knocking door-to-door and police patrols are expected to be stepped up on the night of October 31.

Although those living in Tier 2 and below can go out if in groups of up to six from the same household, many councils and police chiefs are urging parents not to take their children outside in fancy dress next Saturday due to the risk of transmitting Covid 19.

READ MORE: Halloween effectively cancelled as trick or treating is banned

01:31 AM

Prue Leith: Good meals will improve health and happiness

Nurses and dietitians should help draw up menus in their hospitals, an official review will recommend in a bid to eradicate "inedible" food in the health service.

Writing in The Telegraph, Prue Leith - the television chef tasked by Boris Johnson with reviewing hospital food - states that the Government's formal review panel will recommend a requirement for in-house medics to "work closely" with caterers to ensure that patients and staff are being offered healthier meals.

The panel is expected to say that the change would help ensure that nutritious food becomes part of a patient's recovery plan.

READ MORE:

01:23 AM

WHO warns health systems will struggle to cope

The World Health Organisation has warned of an "exponential" rise in infections threatening health systems' ability to cope with a second wave of cases, testing many nations that appeared to have the virus under control earlier this year.

Governments are now struggling to balance new restrictions against the need to revive economies already battered by earlier draconian lockdowns after the virus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

But populations weary of social isolation and economic hardship have bristled at new restrictions.

Europe has seen a spike in new infections and taken a raft of new measures, mostly trying to avoid new nation-wide lockdowns - from night-time curfews to more restrictions on social gatherings.

01:19 AM

Covid restrictions tightened as cases rise around the world

More countries tightened anti-coronavirus measures on Saturday, with France extending a curfew and Belgium bringing forward its own curbs as new infections surged in many parts of the world.

After Germany recorded its 10,000th coronavirus death, Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "The order of the day is to reduce contacts, (and) to meet as few people as possible."

Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Saturday that he had become the latest public figure to test positive for coronavirus as the EU country faces record infection rates.

Spain became the first European country earlier this week to officially record a million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

People across the country were bracing for a national state of emergency, overnight curfews and other new containment measures.

Colombia became the latest country to record a million confirmed Covid-19 cases on Saturday.

France recorded a 24-hour record of more than 45,000 infections a day after passing the same milestone.

The French government extended an overnight curfew to cover areas in which about 46 million people - two out of every three French - reside.

01:09 AM

Man charged over incident at Tesco

Non-essential items such as clothing are covered up in a Tesco store in Cardiff on Saturday - Polly Thomas/Getty Images
Non-essential items such as clothing are covered up in a Tesco store in Cardiff on Saturday - Polly Thomas/Getty Images
Non-essential items are sealed off in a Tesco store in Pengam Green in Cardiff, Wales - Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Non-essential items are sealed off in a Tesco store in Pengam Green in Cardiff, Wales - Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

A 28-year-old man has been charged with criminal damage and contravention of coronavirus regulations after an incident at a Tesco store.

North Wales Police said Gwilym Owen, from Anglesey, had also been charged with several public order offences.

He is due before magistrates in Caernarfon on November 24.

Video posted to social media from Friday showed a person at a Tesco store in Bangor pulling plastic sheeting from shelves.

The Welsh Government has introduced a fire break lockdown with guidance published by the Welsh Government saying certain sections of supermarkets must be "cordoned off or emptied, and closed to the public".

These include areas selling electrical goods, telephones, clothes, toys and games, garden products and dedicated sections for homewares.

RELATED: Wales' fire break lockdown: what are the new rules?

12:39 AM

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