Some people searching for coronavirus tests in England have been told to go to drive-through centres hundreds of miles away as there is no availability locally, while others have had to wait at least five days to receive a home test.
As coronavirus cases rise and the weather turns autumnal, stressed and exasperated workers have described the anxiety of not being able to find out whether or not they or their loved ones have the virus:
Six straight months from the excellent Helen Sullivan – wow. We get lots of lovely emails from readers from all around the world thanking us for our global coverage which we really appreciate. But really, no-one has done more to make sure that coverage is as good, wide-ranging and instant as Helen. So huge thanks to her from London to Sydney!
I’ll be looking after the blog for the next few hours, also keeping an eye on the UK news as we start the day here.
As ever, if you want to get in touch, think there’s a story we’ve missed from where you are – or just give us a bit of love (!) – please do get in touch. I’m on [email protected] and I’m @lexytopping on Twitter. My DMs are open.
That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan, for today. Thanks for following along – even if you may be reading by peaking through the fingers covering your eyes.
As long as the pandemic rages, we’ll be bringing you the latest:
happy six straight months of coronavirus blogging to me
September 8, 2020
My colleague Alexandra Topping has the next shift. See you tomorrow.
Hong Kong eases coronavirus curbs
Hong Kong will expand the size of public gatherings to four people and reopen more sports venues from Friday as the Asian financial hub relaxes strict curbs against a third wave of the coronavirus, . reports.
The measures come as new daily cases have dropped into the single digits from three figures. Last week, gyms and massage parlours reopened and night-time dining hours were extended.
Restaurants will be allowed to seat four people, up from two now, while indoor and outdoor recreation spaces will reopen, said Sophia Chan, the city’s health secretary, but swimming pools are to stay shut.
“We must strike a balance. The third wave is entering two months already and we have yet to see an end to it,” Chan told a news briefing, adding that new infections were being reported each day, some of unknown origin.
A mass testing scheme initiated by China for Hong Kong has picked up 16 new cases from more than 800,000 people tested, the government said on Tuesday.
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China has passed “an extraordinary and historic test” with its handling of the coronavirus, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday at a triumphant awards ceremony for medical professionals decorated with bugle calls and applause, . reports.
The nation’s propaganda machine has churned out praise for China’s Covid-19 response, reframing the public health crisis as an example of the agility and organisation of the Communist leadership.
Chinese president Xi Jinping delivers a speech during a meeting to commend role models in China’s fight against coronavirus, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on Tuesday 8 September. Photograph: Carlos García Rawlins/.
Xi doled out gold medals to four “heroes” from the medical field in front of hundreds of applauding delegates on Tuesday, all wearing face masks and strikingly large red flower pins.
“We have passed an extraordinary and historic test,” Xi said, praising the country for a “heroic struggle” against the disease.
“We quickly achieved initial success in the people’s war against the coronavirus. We are leading the world in economic recovery and in the fight against Covid-19.”
China has come under intense global scrutiny over its response to the virus, with the US and Australia leading accusations against Beijing that it covered up the origins and severity of the virus.
Tuesday’s lavish ceremony in the Great Hall of the People began with a minute’s silence for those who lost their lives during the outbreak.
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India sees highest deaths in a month, lowest cases in a week
India recorded its highest daily deaths from the coronavirus in more than a month on Tuesday, even as new infections slowed, data from the health ministry showed.
The health ministry said 1,133 people had died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, the highest since July, taking total mortalities to 72,775. But new daily cases were at 75,809, the lowest in a week.
India surpassed Brazil on Monday to become the country with the most number of coronavirus cases outside of the United States and has a cumulative caseload of 4.28 million.
Relatives mourn the death of a man due to coronavirus at a crematorium in New Delhi, India 7 September 2020. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/.
Here are the key developments from the last few hours:
Global deaths passed 890,000. The global coronavirus death toll has passed another sombre milestone, exceeding 890,000, with 890,260 confirmed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. The true death toll is likely to be higher, due to differing testing rates and definitions, time lags and suspected underreporting in some countries.
60,000 in UK may have ‘long Covid’ for more than three months – study. Up to 60,000 people in the UK may have been suffering from “long Covid” for more than three months, unable to get the care they need to recover from prolonged and debilitating symptoms.
Japan’s economy shrank slightly more than initially thought in the April-June quarter, official data released Tuesday showed, deepening a contraction that was already the worst in the nation’s modern history. The world’s third-largest economy shrank 7.9% in the second quarter of this year from the previous quarter, more than the initial 7.8% in the preliminary data, the Cabinet Office said.
Spain passes 500,000 coronavirus cases in western European first. Spain has become the first western European country to record more than half a million Covid-19 cases, logging a total of 525,549 infections.
World No 1 Ash Barty to skip French Open title defence due to Covid concerns. Ashleigh Barty will not defend her French Open title this year after the world No 1 opted to miss the tournament in Paris due to concerns over coronavirus and a lack of training time spent with her coach.
France could face “critical situation” in winter if cases keep rising. A leading epidemiologist in France has warned that if the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise at the current rate, the country could face a “critical situation” in several regions in December.
Rise in UK cases because people have “relaxed too much” says senior health official. England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said the rise in the number of coronavirus cases was of great concern adding: “We have got to start taking this very seriously again”.
Fatigue and headache most common Covid symptoms in children – study. Fatigue, headache and fever are the most common symptoms of coronavirus in children, with few developing a cough or losing their sense of taste or smell, researchers have found, adding to calls for age-specific symptom checklists.
France forward Mbappé tests positive for Covid. France footballer Kylian Mbappé has tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss this week’s Nations League international against Croatia, the French football federation said.
Seven Greek islands to be added to quarantine list of England. Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos are being removed from England’s list of locations exempt from 14-day Covid quarantine, in a significant shift in the government’s travel corridor policy.
Local lockdown to be enforced in Caerphilly, Wales after rise in covid cases. The Welsh government said coronavirus laws would be tightened across the borough to prevent a local outbreak of the virus spreading.
Scotland could reimpose restrictions amid continuing rise in cases. The Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has warned the Scottish government could “put the brakes” on further relaxation of the lockdown, or even reimpose some restrictions later this week, after a continuing rise in Covid 19 cases.
French ‘anti-maskers’ most likely to be educated women in 50s, says study. French people who reject mask-wearing are more likely to be older, educated women who support the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protest movement and the controversial virus specialist Didier Raoult, and would refuse to have a coronavirus vaccination if one were available, according to a study.
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Podcast: what happens when flu season hits?
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, flu season is quickly approaching. This raises an important question: what will it mean for Covid-19? Could hospitals be overloaded? Is co-infection likely and could it make symptoms worse? Or, will transmission of Sars-CoV-2 prevent the spread of seasonal influenza? In the first of two parts, Ian Sample addresses the question of flu and Covid-19 by investigating how different respiratory viruses interact. Speaking with Prof Pablo Murcia, Ian explores the interplay when viruses meet – both on a population level, and on the human scale:
Following comments by Donald Trump that New Zealand was dealing with a “big surge” of new Covid-19 cases, Kiwis have snapped back with some light social media trolling under the hashtag #NZhellhole, which has trended at number two on New Zealand Twitter:
Most Victorians are experiencing something few other Australians can relate to: being in lockdown for weeks on end, unable to leave their homes between 8pm and 5am, and limited to one hour of fresh air a day within a 5km radius of their homes.
On 24 August, the Victoria’s deputy premier, James Merlino, told the state’s Covid-19 committee that nearly two-thirds of calls and webchats to the national coronavirus mental health helpline Beyond Blue in July came from Victorians. He also said demand to Lifeline rose by 22% in Victoria in July, while demand to Kids Helpline from Victorian youth increased 8% in July compared with the previous month.
A Melbourne-based video production company put a callout to people living in metropolitan Melbourne under stage four restrictions and asked them to share video diaries of their feelings and experiences living under lockdown. They have made the resulting documentary, available to view online. It details some of the anxiety people are feeling as their usual activities have been disrupted or cancelled:
Melburnians share anxiety and depression in video diaries during lockdown – video
To give you more of an idea of the feeling in Victoria at the moment, here is the ending of a clip from an Australia Broadcasting Corporation report on strict lockdown – it is striking, in particular, that these measures are being taken while there are fewer than 100 cases each day, while countries like the US continue to see cases in their thousands in some states.
ABC Melbourne clip.
During Monday’s White House press briefing, US president, Donald Trump, asked a reporter to remove his mask, complaining that the reporter’s question was “muffled”:
WATCH: President Trump told . reporter Jeff Mason to take off his mask at a White House press conference, saying he was « very muffled. » Mason refused and said he would just speak louder https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/MfrsjkXaeL
September 7, 2020
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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,499 in the past 24 hours to 252,298, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases reported.
The reported death toll rose by four to 9,329, the tally showed.
A spike in coronavirus infections in Indonesia’s holiday island of Bali and Thailand’s first locally transmitted case in 100 days have dealt further blows to Southeast Asian hopes of reviving vital tourism industries.
Plans to reopen Bali to foreign tourists from September have been postponed indefinitely, while Thailand’s proposal for the cautious reopening of Phuket island has come into doubt.
As well as trying to encourage domestic tourism industries, some Southeast Asian countries have been considering “travel bubbles” with others as a way to get businesses restarted.
Bali initially appeared to weather the health crisis better than other parts of Indonesia, which has suffered Southeast Asia’s biggest death toll by far. But coronavirus cases have spiked after it reopened its borders to domestic tourism at the end of July.
Soldiers check masks in Denpasar, on the island of Bali. Photograph: Made Nagi/EPA
Epidemiologists and public health experts said the arrival of tourists in Bali not only made infection from other parts of Indonesia more likely, but underscored the country’s shortcomings in tackling the pandemic, namely a lack of testing and contract tracing.
Public health experts also said another likely contributing factor was the arrival of the more infectious mutation of the virus, known as D614G.
Bali posted a record 196 coronavirus cases on Friday, the fifth consecutive daily record. Daily cases in the holiday island almost tripled on average over the past six weeks, while the death tally doubled to 116 over that period.
Bali, usually thronging with international tourists, is almost deserted. Photograph: Made Nagi/EPA
Indonesia’s economy had its first quarterly contraction in over two decades in the second quarter – with Bali’s economy shrinking even more than the rest of the country at nearly 11%.
Thailand, where foreign visitor spending made up over 11% of GDP last year, has been even harder hit by the collapse in tourism despite better managing the pandemic – also contracting the most since the Asian financial crisis in the second quarter.
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In Australia, the states of South Australia and Victoria have extended the moratorium barring landlords from evicting tenants or hiking rents, as tenant advocates in other states warn of a looming “cliff’s edge” when the national ban expires.
Matilda Boseley reports:
China reported 10 new Covid-19 cases for 7 September, down from 12 a day earlier, the national health authority said on Tuesday.
The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas, marking the 23nd consecutive day of no local infections.
A Covid test being performed in Beijing, a day ahead of a ceremony to honour people who were involved in the fight against the coronavirus. Photograph: Nicolas Asfouri/./.
The commission also reported 13 new asymptomatic infections, down from 17 a day earlier. China does not count symptomless patients as confirmed cases.
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases for China now stands at 85,144. The death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.
Mexico reported 3,486 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 223 additional fatalities on Monday, bringing its totals to 637,509 infections and 67,781 deaths, according to updated health ministry data.
The government has said the real number of infected people is likely to be significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
Musicians wearing protective face masks play during a funeral at Xico cemetery in Valle de Chalco, Mexico, 20 August 2020. Photograph: Edgard Garrido/.
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