India passes 6m cases
Indias confirmed coronavirus tally reached 6 million cases on Monday, keeping the country second to the United States in number of reported cases since the pandemic began, AP reports.
The Health Ministry on Monday reported 82,170 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, driving the overall tally to 60,74,703. At least 1,039 deaths were also recorded in the same period, taking total fatalities up to 95,542 since the pandemic began.
An Indian Health worker sanitizes an ambulance in Mendhar area of Poonch district, 26 September 2020. Photograph: INA Photo Agency/REX/Shutterstock
New infections are in India are currently being reported faster than anywhere else in the world. The worlds second-most populous country is expected to become the pandemics worst-hit country in coming weeks, surpassing the US, where more than 7 million infections have been reported.
Even as infections mount, India has the highest number of recovered patients in the world. More than 5 million people have recovered from Covid-19 in India and the country’s recovery rate stands at 82%, according to the Health Ministry.
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New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has poured cold water on the All Blacks’ hopes of avoiding Christmas in quarantine after the Rugby Championship, saying the team would be “uncomfortable” with being given special treatment, . reports.
The All Blacks will need to quarantine for 14 days when they return to New Zealand as part of Covid-19 protocols following their final match of the Rugby Championship on 12 December against Australia in Sydney.
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New Zealand Rugby have complained that tournament organisers backflipped on an agreement that the All Blacks would finish a week earlier. NZR said they were working on solutions to the All Blacks’ dilemma but Ardern offered no government help on Monday:
Australian biotech company Ena Respiratory said on Monday that a nasal spray it is developing to improve the human immune system to fight common cold and flu significantly reduced the growth of the coronavirus in a recent study on animals, . reports.
A study on ferrets showed the product dubbed INNA-051, which could be used complementary to vaccines, lowered the levels of the virus that causes Covid-19 by up to 96%, the company said. The study was led by British government agency Public Health England.
Ferrets (not those used in the experiment). Photograph: Paul Faith/./.
Ena Respiratory said it would be ready to test INNA-051 in human trials in less than four months, subject to successful toxicity studies and regulatory approval.
The company has raised A$11.7 million ($8.24 million) for the development of the spray. Investors include venture capital firm Brandon Capital Ltd, the Australian federal government, pension funds and biotech giant CSL Ltd.
Several companies across the world are in the pursuit of developing a coronavirus vaccine. Australia has entered into agreements with some drug companies investing billions to secure potential vaccines for Covid-19, which has killed over 992,000 people worldwide.
South Korea confirms lowest cases since 11 August
South Korea on Monday reported 50 new coronavirus cases, the lowest since 11 August, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.
Of the new cases, 40 were domestic and 10 imported. The numbers were the lowest since a new wave of outbreaks emerged from a church whose members attended a large political rally in Seoul on 15 August, KDCA data showed.
Members of the Seongbuk-gu Saemaul Leaders’ Council spray disinfectant as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus, on a street in Seoul, South Korea, 24 September 2020. Photograph: Kim Hee-Chul/EPA
In Australia, as Melburnians were released from curfew restrictions on Monday, just five new cases of coronavirus were announced – the lowest number of daily new cases of Covid-19 in Victoria since 11 June. There were three deaths overnight.
But metropolitan Melbourne remains under strict travel and outdoor exercise restrictions, with people unable to move beyond a 5km radius of their suburb unless they have a work permit.
The premier, Daniel Andrews, on Monday urged people to continue to come forward for testing as case numbers dropped and some restrictions eased. “If you’ve put off getting a test over the course of this weekend, and you’ve got symptoms, or you had symptoms, please go and get a test today,” he said:
Mexico’s top coronavirus official said Sunday that definitive data on the country’s death toll from Covid-19 wont be available for a couple of years, AP reports.
The statement by Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell is likely to revive debate about Mexicos death toll, currently at 76,430, the fourth-highest in the world.
“When will the final statistics on deaths from Covid-19 be ready? Certainly, a couple of years after the first year of the pandemic,” López-Gatell said, adding that work would be left to the country’s statistics institute.
Graves are decorated with crosses and grass in a section of the Valle de Chalco Municipal Cemetery which opened early in the coronavirus pandemic to accommodate the surge in deaths, on the outskirts of Mexico City, Tuesday, 22 September 2020. Photograph: Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Officials have acknowledged in the past that the figure is a significant undercount, because it includes only those who died after a positive test result, almost always at a hospital. Mexico does very little testing, and many people die without a test.
But the Mexican government has avoided adjusting its death toll upward to account for people who died at home or weren’t tested.
Some parts of the country like Mexico City have begun conducting their own recalculations, finding excess deaths likely caused by coronavirus were at least double official figures.
Podcast: Did the NHS Covid helpline fail hundreds of families?
Hundreds of people believe the 111 helpline failed their relatives. Now the Guardian’s David Conn reports that they are demanding a full inquiry into the service:
First virus death among asylum seekers in Greece
A man has died from Covid-19 in Greece, the first reported coronavirus death among asylum seekers since the pandemic broke out in Greece in late February, a government official told ..
The 61-year-old Afghan, a father of two children, who lived at the migrant camp of Malakasa north of Athens, was treated and died at a hospital in Athens, the official said, adding that authorities were tracing his contacts.
It was not immediately clear how long he had been at the hospital.
The Malakasa camp, which hosts about 3,000 migrants, has been quarantined since 7 September after positive tests for the new coronavirus.
A man wearing a protective suit and a face mask exits the Malakasa migrant camp after authorities found a coronavirus case and placed the camp under quarantine, following the outbreak of coronavirus in Malakasa, Greece, 5 April 2020. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/.
Many other migrant facilities in Greece have been sealed off or movement has been restricted to stem the spread of the virus.
Greece has been the main gateway into the European Union for people fleeing conflict in the Middle East and beyond. More than a million people reached its shores from Turkey in 2015-16.
At least 110,000 people currently live in migrant facilities – 40,000 of them in overcrowded camps on five islands.
A fire burnt to the ground a migrant camp on Greece’s biggest, on island of Lesbos this month, leaving about 12,000 people stranded. Most of them have now moved to a temporary tent camp on the island.
Greece reported 218 Covid-19 cases on Sunday and three deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 17,444 since the first case surfaced late February.
Travel between New Zealand and some states of Australia is possible before the end of the year
Travel between New Zealand and some states of Australia is possible before the end of the year, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
Plans for a travel ‘bubble’ between Australia and New Zealand has been in discussions for months as both nations slowed the spread of the coronavirus, but they were disrupted after a resurgence of Covid-19 in Melbourne, Australia, followed by a second wave of infections in Auckland.
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern uses hand sanitiser as she leaves a press conference at Parliament on 21 August 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/.
With the virus largely contained in New Zealand, and as cases continue to decline in Australian regions, talks of a travel bubble with some states have been revived.
When asked by state broadcaster TVNZ whether New Zealanders would be able to travel to at least some Australian regions before Christmas, Ardern said: “It is possible.”
“What we would need to be assured of is that when Australia is saying ‘okay we’ve got a hotspot over here’ that the border around that hotspot means that people aren’t able to travel into the states where we are engaging with in trans-Tasman travel,” she said.
Ardern said Australia was pretty satisfied with both how New Zealand was tracking now and how they are tracking generally.
A new, more robust chapter in English coronavirus regulations begins on Monday, with fines of up to £10,000 for people who refuse to self-isolate when asked, and enforcement including tip-offs from people who believe that others are breaching the rules.
The changes come with the duty to self-isolate moving into law. It becomes a legal obligation if someone is told to do so by test-and-trace staff, but not for those simply using the Covid-19 phone app, which is anonymous.
At the same time, the government is introducing a new system of payments of £500 for people on lower incomes who are unable to work because of the mandatory 14-day self-isolation, a system being implemented by councils:
In Australia, statistics show young people received almost half of all fines dished out during the state’s first wave of the pandemic, while the South Sudanese and Aboriginal communities received an outsize number of fines.
Data released by the Crime Statistics Agency last week shows there were 6,062 breaches of Covid-19 rules associated with 5,474 people during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Victoria.
The average age was 29.5 years, and just one in four of those fined were women. Approximately 42% of those were under the age of 24.
People who were born in South Sudan and Sudan were overrepresented in the fines issued. They made up 5% of the fines but only make up around 0.14% of the Victorian population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 4.7% of the fines, despite making up just 0.8% of the population in Victoria:
New Zealand reports zero new coronavirus cases
Charlotte Graham-McLay for the Guardian:
New Zealand reported no new cases of Covid-19, health officials said on Monday.
There are 55 active cases of the virus in New Zealand, 28 of them imported in travelers returning from overseas, all of whom are staying at government-run isolation facilities.
The other 27 are community-spread cases in Auckland, the largest city, which remains the only place in New Zealand with some Covid-19 restrictions in place.
The Auckland cluster – which is reducing in size – prompted a second lockdown of the city, which is now easing. The rest of New Zealand has largely returned to normal life, except for strict border controls.
One person is in hospital with the virus.
There have been 1,477 known cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, with 25 deaths.
Global death toll passes 996,000
There are currently 996,084 deaths confirmed on the Johns Hopkins University tracker, just under 4,000 away from the devastating milestone of 1m people who have lost their lives in the nine months of the pandemic so far.
The true toll is likely already over 1m however, due to differing definitions, time lags and suspected underreporting in some countries.
The number of tests coming back positive for Covid-19 is topping 25% in several states in the US Midwest as cases and hospitalisation also surge in the region, according to a . analysis.
North Dakota’s positive test rate has averaged 30% over the past seven days compared with the prior week. The positivity rate has risen to 26% in South Dakota, up from 17% the previous week, according to the analysis using testing data from The Covid Tracking Project. Minnesota and Montana are averaging 7% of tests coming back positive, but Montana’s positivity rate rose on Sunday to 20%, according to the analysis.
The World Health Organization considers rates above 5% concerning because it suggests there are more cases in the community that have not yet been uncovered. Several states such as New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine have positive test rates of less than 1%.
At the same time that positive test rates are climbing in the Midwest, cases and hospitalisations are setting records in those states.
In the last week, five Midwest states have reported record one-day rises in new infections – Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
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Northern Britain and possibly London facing new lockdown
The UK government is planning to impose a total social lockdown across most of northern England and potentially London, to combat a second coronavirus wave, the Times reports.
Under the new lockdown measures being considered, all pubs, restaurants and bars would be ordered to shut for two weeks initially, the report said.
TIMES: Emergency lockdown plan to ban socialising #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/45Amgg6a1k
September 27, 2020
The report added that households would also be banned indefinitely from meeting each other in any indoor location where they were not already under the order.
Britain had last week imposed new measures that required people to work from home where possible and had ordered restaurants and bars to close early to tackle a fast-spreading second wave of Covid-19, with new restrictions lasting probably six months.
Merseyside, the northeast and Lancashire are expected to be included in the new measures alongside London, according to the newspaper.
Schools and shops will be allowed to remain open, as will factories and offices at which staff could not work from home, the Times added, citing a senior government source.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest from around the world for the next few hours.
Questions, comments, jokes and news from your part of the world are welcome on Twitter @helenrsullivan.
India will soon pass 6m coronavirus cases, after it recorded 88,600 new infections on Sunday, taking the country’s official toll to just under 6 million (5,992,532), according to the country’s official figures. Deaths increased by 1,124 to 94,503.
India has the second highest cases worldwide, with roughly 1m cases fewer than the US.
Meanwhile the coronavirus death toll is approaching the grim milestone of one million fatalities, with 995,465 deaths reported globally, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
Here are the other key developments from the last few hours:
There have been a further 5,693 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK, according to government data, taking the total to 429,277. Government figures show a further 17 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus as of Sunday. This brings the official UK toll to 41,988.
Greece has recorded its first coronavirus fatality among its large migrant community. Health authorities described the victim as a 61-year-old Afghan man, saying the father-of-two succumbed to Covid-19 in Athens’ Evangelismos hospital after being moved from Malakassa, a refugee camp east of the capital.
Bosses at Manchester Metropolitan University have said students under a Covid-19 lockdown are free to leave their student hallsbut “trust they will do the right thing” and self-isolate, following a number of students saying they were being falsely imprisoned.
The Scottish government has issued updated guidance that students can return to their family homes (previously clinical director Jason Leitch said they couldn’t) either to self-isolate or permanently.
The Spanish government and authorities in Madrid are locked in a standoff over how to tackle the second wave of Covid-19 in and around the capital, where more than a third of Spain’s 716,481 cases have been diagnosed.
The Australian state of Victoria has announced an end to its curfew and easing of some of the months-long lockdown measures. Australia reported just 18 new cases on Saturday, and two deaths, and trade minister Simon Birmingham hopes a travel bubble with New Zealand can be put in place by the end of the year.
Argentina’s coronavirus cases have topped 700,000 as new daily infections and deaths hit the top five globally, despite seven months of lockdown that have ravaged the frail economy.
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