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Coronavirus live news: US suffers record daily deaths; Japan to declare state of emergency in Tokyo | World news

7.42am GMT07:42

Hospital bosses in the UK are seeking capacity from the care and nursing home sector as hospital beds fill up amid a coronavirus surge, the chief executive of NHS Providers said.

Chris Hopson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

This is escalating really quickly. We’ve seen 5,000 new patients in hospital beds with Covid-19 over the past week – that’s 10 full hospitals’ worth of Covid patients in hospitals in just seven days, so it’s a really big challenge.

We are now reaching the point in some places where hospital beds are full, community beds are full and community at home services are also full.

What trust leaders are trying to do is they know there is some spare capacity in the care and nursing home sector and they’re in the middle of conversation with care and nursing home colleagues to see if they can access that capacity.

It’s literally leaving no stone unturned to maximise every single piece of capacity we’ve got in those areas under real pressure.

He said the Exeter and Manchester Nightingale hospitals are currently being used but said the Nightingales are the “last resort insurance policy” as they are not “purpose built for health and care” and require the diversion of staff.

7.39am GMT07:39

Covid kills half of Sussex care home’s residents over Christmas

A care home in East Sussex, England has been devastated by Covid, losing half of all its residents to the disease over Christmas, fuelling fears the new, more transmissible virus variant sweeping the south-east of England is beginning to breach homes’ defences.

Thirteen of 27 residents at Edendale Lodge care home in Crowhurst had died with confirmed or suspected Covid since 13 December, said the home operator’s managing director, Adam Hutchison, who also runs care homes in Kent.

More than a third of the staff also tested positive during the outbreak in which residents died on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. The latest death came on Monday this week.

“It was an awful Christmas and terrible for the staff,” Hutchison said. “It is just unstoppable. We are sitting ducks.”

Across England, Covid outbreaks in care homes are rising again, after months of far lower infection rates than in the spring as a result of control measures.

7.36am GMT07:36

Abu Dhabi has started Phase III clinical trials of Russia’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine, known as Sputnik V, amid a surge in infections in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi’s media office said.

The human trial, announced in October before the recent rise in cases, is initially seeking up to 500 volunteers to be vaccinated at a hospital in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Two doses of the vaccine will be given, 20 days apart, to volunteers, the statement said.

The UAE is also conducting Phase III trials of a Covid-19 vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). The UAE has approved the vaccine and it is available for free to anybody who wants it, with priority given to more vulnerable individuals, according to the health ministry.

Last month, the emirate of Dubai only began inoculating people with the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech.

Authorities in the UAE, which has a population around nine million, say 826,301 vaccines had been administered as of Tuesday, without specifying which type. They added the UAE aims to vaccine more than 50% of the population in the first quarter this year.

The UAE has seen the number of new daily cases more than double in the past ten days. On Wednesday, the health ministry reported 2,067 new infections, a daily record.

In total, the Gulf Arab state has recorded 218,766 infections and 689 deaths from the virus.

7.21am GMT07:21

The Czech Republic on Thursday reported 17,668 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours in its highest daily tally.

Deaths in the country of 10.7 million, one of Europe’s worst-hit, rose by 185 to 12,621 including revisions for previous days.

7.19am GMT07:19

Hi everyone, this is Jessica Murray taking over the blog for the next few hours – please do get in touch with any story tips or personal experiences you would like to share.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @journojess_

7.11am GMT07:11

Summary

Here are the key developments from the last few hours:

US reports record daily deaths. The Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data, has just posted the data for 6 January – the same day as the Capitol attack – which shows the US again suffering a record daily death toll, with 3,865 Americans dying in 24 hours. This is the first time the toll has passed 3,800. 145,000 cases were reported on 6 January.
Hospitals in London could soon be overwhelmed by Covid-19 and left short of almost 5,500 beds they need to cope with the explosion in cases, NHS leaders have revealed. The health service’s lead doctor for the capital shared the worrying analysis with the most senior medics in the city’s NHS hospital trusts on a Zoom call on Wednesday afternoon.
Mexico has reported a new high for a daily increase in coronavirus cases, with 13,345 newly confirmed infections reported Wednesday for the previous 24 hours. Officials also reported a near-record of 1,165 deaths related to Covid-19.
Arizona has become the Covid “hot spot of the world”, public health experts warned, as the US state saw a triple-digit number of new virus-related deaths for the second day in a row.
Japan to declare state of emergency for greater Tokyo. Japan is to declare a state of emergency in the greater Tokyo area later today, after a record number of coronavirus cases were reported in the capital and across the country. The prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has come under pressure from his own health experts to take action, as the country battles a third wave of infections far more serious than those seen earlier in the pandemic.
China reports highest local cases since July as travel to Hebei province blocked. China reported 63 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday – the highest single-day tally since July – as authorities try to stamp out an outbreak of the virus in a city of 11 million near Beijing.
World Health Organization experts warned Wednesday there could be six months of “hard, hard road ahead” in 2021 before vaccines turn the tide against the coronavirus pandemic. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, said that in many countries, the situation was very worrying – and would get worse.
Pandemic stress may be causing people to lose their hair, according to a new study. By mid-summer, rates of a hair-shedding condition called telogen effluvium (TE) had surged more than 400% in a racially diverse neighborhood in New York City, researchers report in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

7.03am GMT07:03

US reports record daily deaths

The Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data, has just posted the data for 6 January – the same day as the Capitol attack – which shows the US again suffering a record daily death toll, with 3,865 Americans dying in 24 hours. This is the first time the toll has passed 3,800.

145,000 cases were reported on 6 January.

6.06am GMT06:06

London hospitals could soon be overwhelmed by Covid

Hospitals in London could soon be overwhelmed by Covid-19 and left short of almost 5,500 beds they need to cope with the explosion in cases, NHS leaders have revealed.

The health service’s lead doctor for the capital shared the worrying analysis with the most senior medics in the city’s NHS hospital trusts on a Zoom call on Wednesday afternoon.

In his briefing Dr Vin Diwakar said the sheer numbers of people becoming seriously unwell with Covid could see the capital’s hospitals facing a shortfall of anything between 1,932 and 5,422 beds by 19 January.

Hospitals will face a serious lack of beds by then even if London’s Nightingale hospital reopens, they manage to increase their supply of beds and measures to limit demand – such as the latest lockdown which began this week, the third England has faced – prove effective:

5.56am GMT05:56

The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine in Australia has been brought forward to mid-to-late February with the Morrison government aiming to have four million receive the jab by March.

Announcing the accelerated rollout on Thursday, the prime minister Scott Morrison also indicated it would be up to the states and territories to decide whether the vaccine could be made compulsory for some groups, such as aged care workers:

5.27am GMT05:27

The number of Americans who have died from 24 December to the latest toll, which is for 5 January, is 31,146, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Helen Sullivan
(@helenrsullivan)

Today the US also recorded its highest Covid death toll of the pandemic so far.

More than 30,000 Americans have died since Christmas eve.

January 7, 2021

Updated
at 5.29am GMT

5.07am GMT05:07

An estimated 150,000 bars and restaurants in Tokyo and the three neighbouring prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama will be asked to stop serving alcohol at 7pm, and people will be encouraged to avoid non-essential outings after 8 pm.

Companies will be asked to step up remote working provision with the aim of reducing commuter traffic by 70%, media reports said.

While Japanese authorities lack the legal powers to enforce virus prevention measures, most people are expected to comply with the advice – one of several factors experts believe explains Japan’s success in keeping its caseload and death toll far lower than those in the US, UK and some European countries.

Japan is to declare a state of emergency in the greater Tokyo area later today, after a record number of coronavirus cases were reported in the capital and across the country.

Japan is to declare a state of emergency in the greater Tokyo area later today, after a record number of coronavirus cases were reported in the capital and across the country. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/.

That said, the government is planning legislation that would allow local authorities to fine businesses that do not comply. For the time being, subsidies will be offered to establishments that close early, while the government could publicly name those that fail to follow the guidelines.

Suga, who has seen his approval ratings plummet over his handling of the pandemic, is expected to formally announce the state of emergency on Thursday evening, hours after his minister in charge of the Covid-19 response warned that pressure on Tokyo’s hospitals was reaching “crisis point”.

Updated
at 5.41am GMT

4.39am GMT04:39

Japan to declare state of emergency for greater Tokyo

Japan is to declare a state of emergency in the greater Tokyo area later today, after a record number of coronavirus cases were reported in the capital and across the country.

The prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has come under pressure from his own health experts to take action, as the country battles a third wave of infections far more serious than those seen earlier in the pandemic.

Tokyo reported a record 1,591 new infections on Wednesday, while nationwide cases exceeded 6,000, also an all-time high.

The measures, which will go into effect on Friday and end on 7 February, will be less strict than lockdowns seen in other countries, and unlike Japan’s first state of emergency in the spring, schools will not be asked to close.

In addition, sports events will be allowed to go ahead, with the cap for spectators revised down to 5,000 people or 50% of capacity, whichever is smaller.

4.23am GMT04:23

On 5 January the US recorded 3,775 deaths in one day, according to Johns Hopkins University, the fourth time the toll in the world’s worst-affected country has exceeded 3,500. Each of the four days has occurred in the last three weeks.

The total US death toll is 361,063. The number of cases is stands at 21,294,092.

Updated
at 7.04am GMT

3.46am GMT03:46

Japanese cheerleaders danced and cheered on commuters outside a Tokyo rail station on Thursday in a bid to lift spirits with the capital heading into another state of emergency over the Covid-19 pandemic.

.: “Let’s go, fight!” the four-person squad shouted out to passers-by in front of Shimbashi Station, with their protective face shields fogging up in the chilly Tokyo morning as they waved gold pom poms.

Japan is planning a one-month state of emergency for the greater Tokyo area beginning Friday to contain a record surge in coronavirus infections.

Cheerleaders dance to cheer people up in Tokyo amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cheerleaders dance to cheer people up in Tokyo amid the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/.

Head cheerleader Kumi Asazuma said the group had been performing for more than 10 years to help energise morning commuters, but their mission had taken on new meaning during the pandemic.

“Especially now, the spread of the coronavirus isn’t stopping, people have lost their jobs … I think this is a period where people are really suffering a lot,” Asazuma, 37, who works as a freelance event emcee and presenter, told ..

“We want to deliver a smile to cheer people up. We’re doing this hoping that people can feel even a little bit better.”

3.20am GMT03:20

Podcast: How the Covid surge has left the NHS on the brink

Boris Johnson has announced a new national lockdown amid fears the NHS could be overwhelmed within weeks with Covid patients. Denis Campbell and Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden describe a service already at breaking point:

3.08am GMT03:08

Interrupting this coronavirus coverage to bring you coverage of the Other Thing – here is what we know so far about the Capitol attacks and everything that has happened since:

Helen Sullivan
(@helenrsullivan)

what we know so far about what happened at the Capitol today https://t.co/REIWIRs96C

January 7, 2021

2.39am GMT02:39

China reports highest local cases since July as travel to Hebei province blocked

China reported 63 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday – the highest single-day tally since July – as authorities try to stamp out an outbreak of the virus in a city of 11 million near Beijing.

A recent outbreak in northern Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, has seen cases spike and prompted mass testing, school closures and travel links being cut into the province.

On Thursday, there were 51 more cases reported in the province, the National Health Commission reported – plus another 69 asymptomatic cases.

State broadcaster CCTV showed a small crowd gathered outside a railway station in Shijiazhuang being directed by medical staff in full hazmat suits and protective wear.

Police officers and staff members in protective suits inspect vehicles at a checkpoint on the borders of Gaocheng district on a provincial highway, following a coronavirus outbreak in Hebei province, China.

Police officers and staff members in protective suits inspect vehicles at a checkpoint on the borders of Gaocheng district on a provincial highway, following a coronavirus outbreak in Hebei province, China. Photograph: China Daily/.

Major highways leading into the city of Shijiazhuang, around 300 kilometres (200 miles) south of Beijing, have been closed and inter-city bus travel halted in an attempt to prevent the virus spreading beyond the city.

The state-run Global Times reported that railway tickets from Hebei to the capital Beijing were no longer being sold in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.

One district in Shijiazhuang – which has a population of 11 million – has been declared high risk and sealed off, and authorities said tens of thousands have already been tested for the virus.

There were also 11 imported cases and one other domestic case in northeastern China confirmed Thursday.

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