Today's big developments
Here are the big developments from today:
- Conservative rebels were on the brink of winning their fight for votes on Covid restrictions on Tuesday night after Boris Johnson was forced to apologise for not knowing the rules himself.
- A letter to Boris Johnson, signed by 100 businesses including JD Wetherspoon and Burger King, has demanded that the 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants be reviewed every three weeks.
- Care homes are having to wait up to three weeks for coronavirus test results, putting staff and elderly residents at "serious risk", an investigation by The Telegraph has found.
- Watchdogs have relaxed their rules on flu jabs so vaccines can be sent to areas suffering the worst shortages, amid warnings that some pharmacies have exhausted their supply for the winter.
- A two-week "circuit-breaker" lockdown could be imposed locally for the first time as the Government prepares for new restrictions in areas with some of the worst coronavirus rates.
- Brussels has banned prostitution in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus in the Belgian capital.
- Germany has ordered new restrictions to contain a second wave of the coronavirus, but stopped far short of the sort of measures seen in the UK.
Top stories of the day:
'Incompetent' Boris Johnson attacked for being confused by his own rules.
Meeting friends in pubs in North-East now illegal under strictest rules yet.
Students may have to self-isolate to return home for Christmas, warns Gavin Williamson.
'Tougher and tougher rules' won't win war on Covid, says WHO envoy.
Liverpool could be first city to impose two week 'circuit breaker' lockdown.
Watch: Rachel Reeves condemns Boris Johnson over lockdown rule confusion
Watch: Gateshead Council leader tells Boris Johnson to 'get a grip' after guideline confusion
Football: Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara tests positive for Covid-19
Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara has tested positive for coronavirus.
The Spain midfielder, 29, missed Monday evening’s Premier League win over Arsenal and will now have a period of isolation before returning to Jürgen Klopp’s squad. He has shown mild symptoms of the virus.
He will miss the EFL tie on Thursday, also against Arsenal, and the trip to Aston Villa at the weekend ahead of the international break, where he will be tested before it is determined whether he can return for the Merseyside derby on Oct 17.
Mike Mcgrath has the full story here
Comment: Don’t worry, ‘youngsters’ – this simpering chump is here to save your Christmas
In the Commons, Gavin Williamson finally emerged to tell MPs what he planned to do about the disruption at universities, writes Michael Deacon.
Admittedly there are a number of more pressing questions to ask about the performance of Gavin Williamson. None the less, this one is still worth raising.Why does he insist on referring to undergraduates as “youngsters”?He does it all the time, even in the House of Commons, where you might expect a senior member of Her Majesty's Government to adopt a somewhat more formal tone, especially when addressing matters of serious public concern. But instead it’s always “youngsters” this, “youngsters” that.
High court row over software used in Covid-19 testing laboratories settled
A High Court row centred on the procurement of software used in laboratories set up by Home Office ministers to provide Covid-19 testing has been settled, a judge has been told.
Two firms behind the "Lighthouse labs", and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, had been sued by a company which uses artificial intelligence to "automate disease" tests.
Diagnostics AI had made complaints and taken legal action.
Chairman Professor Brian Glenville had said during the summer that he wanted a review of the choice of system used to support the analysis of Covid-19 tests.
Lawyers representing all sides in the dispute on Tuesday told Mr Justice Fraser, at a High Court hearing in London, that agreements had been reached and that the litigation had been settled.
Wales: Indoor meeting exemption being considered for single households
The Welsh Government is considering allowing adults living alone in local lockdown areas to meet other people indoors, the First Minister has said.
People living in areas of Wales with local restrictions in place currently cannot meet indoors with anyone they do not live with.
Mark Drakeford will announce any changes to current coronavirus regulations as part of a 21-day review on Friday, with the potential reprieve for those living alone already having been discussed with the leaders of local authority areas currently under lockdown.
On Tuesday, Mark Drakeford told the Welsh Parliament a similar model being used by Scotland, where single-adult households can meet up with one other person in the same position, was being tracked by government advisers.
"That consideration for single-adult households is part of the current three-week review which was discussed by cabinet colleagues this morning," Mr Drakeford said.
Key worker forced to take 100-mile round trip for Covid-19 test
A key worker who was forced to take a 100-mile round trip, including boarding a ferry to the Isle of Wight for a coronavirus test, has described the system as a "mockery".
The NHS Covid-19 app has been sending residents in Hampshire and Surrey to the Isle of Wight test centre - while directing islanders to take the same trip in the opposite direction.
Martin Baker, a technical trainer who lives 50 miles away from the Isle of Wight, in Farnham, Surrey, said he developed a cough and fever on Tuesday morning.
Mr Baker, 49, drove to his workplace in Southampton to pick up key items from a distance so he would be able to isolate and continue his job from home, while also knowing there was a new test centre "200 metres away".
But the NHS Covid-19 app told him the nearest site where tests were available was on the Isle of Wight.
Comment: The silent spread of naked lockdown selfies
Youngsters sending and receiving lewd snaps risk being a victim of revenge porn – or getting a criminal record for sharing images, writes Rebecca Reid.
Sending naked pictures of yourself to people you fancied was a common phenomenon when I was a teenager – and I am nearing 30.
Yet, despite the fact that it has been happening for well over a decade, we still haven’t found a satisfactory way to manage the inevitability of teenagers exchanging nude photographs.
Take the new research from sexual health charity Brook, which has found that 20 per cent of teens in Year 9 (aged 13/14) and above either would, or did, send naked pictures of themselves to a romantic interest during lockdown.
Californian parents launch state-wide "Zoom-out" protest against uncertainty over schools reopening
A group of California parents have launched a state-wide "Zoom-out" protest against uncertainty over when state schools will re-open.
From yesterday onwards the parents withdrew their children from distance learning, complaining that while private schools had been able to bring children back into classrooms, public school pupils faced much greater uncertainty.
"Parents are struggling and frustrated by the chaos and confusion surrounding school reopening," said Mari Barke, an OC Board of Education member.
"While private schools have received waivers to return to classroom learning, many public schools are still waiting to hear when they will return."
Madrid undertakers over lack of preparation for second wave
Staff at Madrid's public undertakers went on strike for 24 hours yesterday claiming not enough was being done to prepare for a spike in Covid-19 deaths.
Earlier this year the city's ice rinks were used as makeshift morgues as a surge in fatalities overwhelmed funerary services during the first wave of the outbreak.
Madrid reported 47 deaths from Covid-19 on Monday, and is currently accounting for more than one-third of fatalities across the country.
“They can’t make the same mistakes as in the first wave; they can’t just rely on heroism,” a spokesman from CCOO trade union told strikers in a protest outside Madrid’s city hall.
The army was called in to remove the dead from hospitals and care homes as undertaker services could not keep up, and some remains had to be sent to other parts of the country for incineration.
Universities could be asked to end face-to-face teaching early to allow students home for Christmas
Universities could be forced to end face-to-face teaching early this term and students told to quarantine in halls in order to go home at Christmas, Gavin Williamson has announced.
The Education Secretary sought to quell fears of students being unable to see their families over the festive period, insisting that “every student” would be able to leave university at the end of term.
However, he said in order to do so some may be required to quarantine beforehand, requiring universities in certain areas to end “in-person learning early” and shift the remainder of the term online.
'Never too late to fight back against pandemic,' says WHO Director-General
The global coronavirus death toll rose past a million today, a grim statistic in a pandemic that has devastated the global economy, overloaded health systems and changed the way people live.
The number of deaths from the coronavirus this year is now double the number of people who die annually from malaria - and the death rate has increased in recent weeks as infections surge in several countries.
In a statement titled Never too late to fight back against pandemic, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organisation wrote:
"One million people have now been lost to Covid-19 and many more are suffering because of the pandemic."
"This milestone is a difficult moment for the world but there are glimmers of hope that encourage us now and in the near future."
"Just nine months on from the virus first being identified, some of the best scientists in the world have collectively developed tests to diagnose cases, identified treatments like corticosteroids to reduce mortality in the most severe cases of Covid-19, and produced vaccine candidates that are now in final phase three trials."
'Tougher and tougher rules' won't win war on Covid, says WHO envoy
The "war" on coronavirus cannot be won by imposing increasingly tough restrictions on human behaviour, a World Health Organisation (WHO) expert has warned.
Dr David Nabarro said the only way to "get ahead" of the virus was to maintain public support for choosing to "do the right thing" and not by imposing increasingly difficult rules.
Dr Nabarro, the WHO special envoy on coronavirus, said: "This war – and I think it's reasonable to call it a war – against this virus, which is going to go on for the foreseeable future, is not going to be won by creating tougher and tougher rules that attempt to control people's behaviour.
Health Editor Laura Donnelly has the full story here
Council leaders frustrated by Government's handling of new restrictions
Council leaders vented their frustration on the Government for its handling of extra coronavirus measures in North East England which they said lacked clarity only hours before they come into force.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued an apology after he failed to clarify precisely what the new restrictions would mean for around two million people in Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham.
Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon said, although he was a life-long Labour supporter, he needed to see better leadership from the Tories.
Sunderland City Council leader Graeme Miller was critical of Health Secretary Matt Hancock announcing the additional lockdown measures, effectively banning households from mixing in public settings as well as in homes, before letting councils know.
He said: "The way in which the restrictions were announced without any pre-warning and in advance of the regulations containing the details being published, was hugely frustrating."
Comment: Lily-livered MPs should not hesitate to vote against the Coronavirus Act
Lily-livered MPs should not hesitate to vote against the Coronavirus Act, if not, they betray democracy by consenting to rule by fiat writes Alexandra Phillips.
In the House of Commons, red lines in front of the opposing benches delineate the distance of two sword lengths, designed to stop murderous Members if debate descended into duel, while special purple ribbons in the cloakroom allow rapiers to be reposed before representation.Given the guts of the contemporaneous crop, perhaps we should be thankful the Commons still also has its own snuff box at the entrance to the Chamber, so petrified are the poor things of actually doing their job.
Read Alexandra Phillips' full comment here
New York City to fine people who refuse to wear mask as Covid-19 cases rise
New York City will impose fines on people who refuse to wear a face covering as the rate of positive tests for the Covid-19 climbed above 3 per cent for the first time in months, Mayor Bill de Blasio said today.
Officials will first offer free masks to those caught not wearing one. If the person refuses, they will face an unspecified fine, de Blasio said.
"Our goal, of course, is to give everyone a free face mask." We don't want to fine people, but if we have to we will," he added.
The new rule extends across the city a similar policy imposed earlier this month by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, controlled by New York state governor Andrew Cuomo, in which commuters who refuse to wear a mask on public transit face a $50 fine.
The citywide daily positive test rate was 3.25%, which the mayor attributed in part to nine zip codes that city health officials say has seen a worrying uptick in cases, including several tight-knit Hasidic Jewish communities
Thousands of households lost access to cash during lockdown, research finds
A peak of 59,000 people lost access to all sources of cash within three miles of their home during the coronavirus lockdown, a report has said.
The figures were contained in a Cash and Covid "insight" report, hosted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Among this group, two-thirds still had an operating source of cash within five miles.
Insight reports contain the views of contributors, drawn from staff as well as outside experts, and should not necessarily be taken to represent the FCA's views.
The report said: "For most people the unprecedented reduction in services at ATMs and bank branches had little or no effect on their access to cash, but a small number of rural areas were severely affected.
"During the lockdown (spanning end of March - beginning of June 2020) up to 15.7% of all UK physical and mobile branches and 11.7% of ATM sites had closed."
Germany: Angela Merkel vows to avoid full national lockdown in pandemic
Germany wants to avoid a full national lockdown at all costs by quickly tracking infection chains and shutting down local outbreaks, Chancellor Angela Merkel said today.
"We want to act regionally, specifically and purposefully, rather than shutting down the whole country again - this must be prevented at all costs," Merkel told a news conference following a video-conference with the premiers of the federal state.
Diabetes drug 'improves survival chance in diabetic patients with Covid-19'
A drug used to treat type 2 diabetes has been found to boost chances of survival in diabetic patients with severe Covid-19.
A preliminary study involving more than 300 patients from seven hospitals in Italy has found those given sitagliptin in addition to insulin had a mortality rate of 18 per cent, compared with 37 per cent in patients receiving only insulin.
Based on their findings, published in the journal Diabetes Care, the researchers are set to begin a randomised controlled trial of sitagliptin and are preparing to enrol patients in Europe.
Dr Paolo Fiorina, of Boston Children's Hospital in the US, who led the research, said: "We think it's reasonable to try sitagliptin if a patient is admitted to the hospital with type 2 diabetes and Covid.
"I'm excited about our findings, because we still have very few therapeutic options for the many diabetic patients affected by Covid."
Student Covid-19 testing should have accompanied return to universities, expert says
Government-led testing of students for Covid-19 should have been introduced to ensure their safe return to university, an expert has said.
Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said there had been "ample time" to prepare for the start of term, but that in some cases students' learning had "already been compromised".
His comments come amid a surge in Covid-19 cases at some universities across the country, leading to thousands of students having to self-isolate.
Prof Ball, who is involved in Covid-19 surveillance PCR testing at the University of Nottingham, said: "Undoubtedly more should have been done to ensure the safe return of university students, not least Government-led testing and surveillance initiatives that can effectively identify cases before significant outbreaks - outbreaks that not only affect the university but the wider community - appear.
London Marathon hit by first coronavirus withdrawal as fifth-fastest woman tests positive
London Marathon organisers are hoping world records could be broken in Sunday’s unique St James’ Park edition of the famous race, as they revealed the fifth-fastest woman in the field had become the first athlete to withdraw after testing positive for Covid-19.
Ethiopian Degitu Azimeraw set the course record when winning last year’s Amsterdam Marathon on her debut over the distance, but did not board the private plane chartered by the London Marathon from her home country after failing a coronavirus test.
Every athlete is tested four days before leaving their home, again on arrival in Britain and a third time on Friday. Once in Britain, everyone involved in the race must remain within the 40-acre grounds of the official London Marathon hotel and wear face coverings when not eating or training.
National Union of Students attacks Gavin Williamson for being "completely absent" during outbreaks in universities
Responding to his statement in the Commons, the National Union of Students (NUS) criticised Education Secretary Gavin Williamson for being "completely absent" while coronavirus outbreaks struck universities.
NUS vice-president for higher education Hillary Gyebi-Ababio said: "In the past five days we've seen universities lock fire gates to stop students from leaving their halls, send private security guards with dogs to patrol student residences and lock down students with zero notice.
"This is unacceptable."
"Williamson has said his Government prioritises education, but he's been completely absent until today."
110 Covid-19 cases in Lancashire hospitals with 20 in intensive care,
More than 110 people are in Lancashire's hospitals with coronavirus, and 20 of those are in intensive care, public health officials have said.
Restrictions limiting household mixing have been in place throughout the county since last week.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire County Council, said: "There are rumours that people aren't getting ill, that hospital admissions are low.
"From someone who has been working on this from the beginning and speaks to frontline workers in our NHS every day, this is far from the truth.
"We are starting to see hospitalisations rise and unfortunately, with this, excess deaths will be inevitable, especially as we enter the difficult winter period.
Rugby: Ulster to host fan trial with 600 spectators allowed to attend
Ulster will host the first professional rugby match with a crowd in Ireland since March, with 600 fans able to attend the first match of the Pro14 season at the Kingspan Stadium on Friday night.
As part of a trial, 600 spectators will be seated throughout the 18,211-seater stadium in Belfast, following a comprehensive consultation process with local government, Belfast City Council and the IRFU.
Adding in coaches, players, media and staff members, Ulster expect around 850 people in total to be present on Friday night as they kick off their season against Italian side Benetton.
Restrictions in Northern Ireland differ to those in England, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week that sports venues might not welcome spectators back until March next y
Hidden victims of the pandemic: Blood bank stocks run low as India's healthcare system buckles
As public healthcare resources are redirected to halt the spread of Covid-19, victims of other diseases pay the ultimate price
The onset of Covid-19 has caused almost all of India’s blood donations to cease as donors became afraid to visit hospitals.
Public health activists fear India is on the verge of an unprecedented number of deaths from thalassaemia, if the Indian Government does not react.
Covid survivors from across the globe write to pharmaceutical bosses demanding a 'People's Vaccine'
Survivors of Covid-19 from 37 countries are among almost 1,000 people who have signed an open letter to pharmaceutical industry leaders calling for a ‘people's vaccine’ and treatments that are available to all.
The signatories include 242 Covid -19 survivors from South Africa to Finland and New Zealand to Brazil and 190 people in 46 countries who have lost relatives to the virus. The letter reads:
“Some of us have lost loved ones to this killer disease. Some of us have come close to death ourselves. Some of us are continuing to live in fear that contracting this disease would be fatal for us. We see no justification why your profit or monopolies should mean anyone else should go through this.”
Poland to cut bar opening hours in areas worst hit by virus
Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said today that in the regions worst affected by coronavirus infections, restaurants and bars will be allowed to stay open until 1000 PM at the latest.
He also told a news conference, that further limits on the number of people who can take part in weddings will be implemented in some places. Wearing face masks will be obligatory outside home in badly hit areas.
Comment: Local lockdowns are cripplingly unsustainable and counterproductive
"Surely it's time to push a streamlined message and ramp up community testing rather than keep risking our wellbeing and economic health," writes Angela Epstein.
Stay safe? How on earth are we supposed to stay sane? Repeated lockdowns have a crippling impact on the wellbeing of the people and the fragile economic health of the nation.
More significantly, do they even work?Down the road from me, Bolton is still Britain's Covid-19 hotspot after suffering more than 200 cases per 100,000 in the last week. Cases have more than tripled in the last three weeks, despite Bolton going into lockdown earlier this month.
And while the swingometer is pointing an accusatory finger at this area of the North, it's worth noting that Stockport and Wigan had even more restrictive measures imposed on Friday after infections rebounded.
PM asked to clarify comments that testing and tracing has "little or nothing" to do with spread of Covid-19
Boris Johnson has been urged by a senior committee of MPs to explain his comments that testing and tracing has "little or nothing" to do with the spread of coronavirus.
Senior Tory MP Sir Bernard Jenkin, writing in his capacity as chair of the liaison committee, also asked the Prime Minister how the Government would achieve his "moonshot" mass testing programme, considering the "widespread concern" over testing so far.
The committee of MPs also called on Mr Johnson to bow to pressure from the Conservative backbenches to allow the Commons a vote on coronavirus legislation.
"The majority of us support this principle and expect that the Government will also wish to accept it," Sir Bernard wrote.
"The idea that such restrictions can be applied without express parliamentary approval, except in dire emergency, is not widely acceptable and indeed may be challenged in law.
Italy set to extend Covid-19 state of emergency as cases tick
Italy is likely to extend a state of emergency to help keep the coronavirus crisis under control, a senior official said today as the government looks to avoid the surge in new cases from hitting other European countries.
The state of emergency, which is due to expire in mid-October, gives greater powers to both regional and central government, making it easier for officials to bypass the bureaucracy that smothers much decision-making in Italy.
"I believe the government will need to ask for a further extension," Health Undersecretary Sandra Zampa told state broadcaster RAI. "The state of emergency allows the government to cut through red tape quickly if needed."
Italy has the highest death toll from Covid-19 on the continent, with 35,851 dying since the outbreak flared in February.
Moscow extends school holiday as coronavirus cases rise
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has extended an upcoming school holiday by a week to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Covid-19 infections have been rising across Europe in the weeks since the start of the new academic year and some other countries have also considered extending October school holidays to try to slow the spread.
The Kremlin said last week it did not plan to impose severe lockdown restrictions despite a growing number of new cases but Sobyanin advised anyone with chronic health problems or those older than 65 to stay home.
On Tuesday, Sobyanin said students would be off school from Oct. 5-18, and urged parents to keep their children at home.
Israelis protest bill to stifle protests during coronavirus lockdown
Hundreds of Israelis demonstrated outside parliament today against a government-backed bill likely to stifle protests near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's home during the current coronavirus lockdown.
The proposed law, which the government said was aimed at curbing Covid-19 infections, bans Israelis from holding street demonstrations more than one kilometre (0.6 mile) from their homes.
The measure, which critics said was really intended to block anti-Netanyahu protests, was approved by a parliamentary committee today. .
A further 44 people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died in England
A further 44 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, ringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 29,962, NHS England said today.
The patients were aged between 47 and 99 and all had known underlying health conditions.
The deaths were between September 23 and September 28.
Three other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
Teenage boy made homemade bombs during lockdown, court hears
A 14-year-old boy developed extreme views influenced by the so-called Islamic State and attempted to make homemade bombs during the coronavirus lockdown, a court heard.
The defendant, who is now 15 and cannot be named for legal reasons, allegedly filmed homemade videos telling viewers how he would "carry out Jihad" and "become a martyr", as well as creating notes on his iPhone which said "women are tools, an object to be used... a sex slave".
Leicester Crown Court heard he researched rudimentary homemade items to make basic bombs and added some to his mother's Amazon wish-list.
Spain's social protection Covid-19 measures cost 22 bln euros between April and September
The cost of Spain's Covid-19 social-protection measures, including the government's furlough scheme, reached 22 billion euros ($25.75 billion) between April and September, Social Security Minister Jose Luis Escriva, said today.
The full package of measures could cost an additional 1 billion euros per month beyond September, he told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting.
Comment: PM's gaffe captures the chaos of local lockdowns
The Tories are arbitrarily punishing Red Wall voters, writes Ross Clark
The Prime Minister has never exactly been a details man, but even so his failure accurately to recall the rules he had imposed on several million people in the North East only hours before marks a new low in the government’s handling of Covid 19.
To come up with this myriad of rules, change them every few days, and to impose massive fines for failing to remember them, is a form of arbitrary rule which would have shamed one of the Tsars, let alone a democratically-elected UK government.
Read Ross Clark's full story here
Watch: Boris Johnson confused by his own Covid-19 rules
Liverpool could be first city to impose two week 'circuit breaker' lockdown
Ministers should impose a two-week "circuit breaker" lockdown in Liverpool in an attempt to slow the spiralling rate of infection, the city's mayor has suggested.
Joe Anderson, Liverpool's mayor, said it should be the first city to be placed under a more stringent lockdown in an attempt to get coronavirus cases under control.
There have been 1,306 positive Covid-19 cases in the last seven days in the city - an increase from 577 in the previous week.
"I think we now have to break the circuit. I think this is needed in Liverpool but also across the country," Mr Anderson said.
Universities with Covid-19 outbreak close to Christmas could shift to online learning
Universities with a Covid-19 outbreak close to Christmas could be required to shift to online learning to help with efforts to allow students to spend the festive period with their families.
Pressed further by Labour former minister Yvette Cooper over the Christmas plan, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told the Commons: "All youngsters that want to return home will be able to do so.
"But what we will look at is where there are specific cases, and (Ms Cooper) will be fully aware many universities have a different time at which they end in order to be able to return for Christmas, but we will be working with the university sector if there are specific cases and specifically local circumstances we would look at shifting to online learning solely in order to be able to ensure that all students are able to... have the benefit of being with their families at Christmas.
"But we envisage that to be a very small number of universities."
PM apologizes for lack of clarity over new North-East restrictions
The Prime Minister has apologised after he failed to clarify the new local lockdown measures for large parts of the North East.
Boris Johnson said he "misspoke" when he was asked to explain the new rules, which were announced on Monday and will come into effect from midnight.
This is vital to control the spread of coronavirus and keep everyone safe. If you are in a high risk area, please continue to follow the guidelines from local authorities. (2/2)— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 29, 2020
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner claimed Mr Johnson did not understand the new regulations, set to put a ban on households mixing in private and also social settings, in Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham.
When asked by reporters to clarify whether people could meet in a pub garden, an issue one of his ministers admitted she did not know, Mr Johnson said: "In the North East and other areas where extra-tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities but it is six in a home, six in hospitality but as I understand it, not six outside."
Coronavirus could yet tear through refugee camps this winter, aid groups warn
Refugee camps across the Middle East, Africa and Asia have so far avoided becoming Covid-19 hotbeds, but winter may change that and meanwhile inhabitants' livelihoods are being devastated by economic collapse.
Aid groups working with refugees and internally displaced people across the region said predictions that the new coronavirus would tear through crammed camps have yet to be borne out.
Effective disease surveillance and rapid quarantine for cases appeared to have stifled outbreaks in some of the world's largest camps, though officials said a lack of testing made the picture unclear.
PM urges potential Tory rebels to back his Covid-19 laws for 'liberation'
Boris Johnson has appealed to Tory MPs plotting a rebellion on his coronavirus laws to follow the guidance to achieve "long-term liberation".
The Prime Minister is under pressure to give Parliament the opportunity to vote on future restrictions, with more than 50 Conservatives signalling they could revolt.
Some within his own party have drawn comparisons between George Orwell's 1984 dystopian novel of authoritarianism and the sweeping powers being used to prevent a coronavirus resurgence.
Mr Johnson appealed to MPs ahead of Wednesday's vote to renew the powers in the Coronavirus Act by saying the nation remained in a "serious situation".
Rapid change in economy will mean huge numbers need to switch jobs
Boris Johnson warned that huge numbers of people will need to move jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the rapid pace of economic change.
The Prime Minister set out a package of measures to help people gain new skills, including the promise of free courses for those who lack A-level equivalent qualifications.
Mr Johnson said the coronavirus had accelerated changes that were already taking place in retail and hospitality.
"Before Covid, people were already shopping ever more online, were already sending out for food," he said.
Under the plan, the new "lifetime skills guarantee" would allow people to retrain with the cost picked up by the taxpayer.
The Prime Minister said: "Of the workforce in 2030, 10 years from now, the vast majority are already in jobs right now.
But a huge number of them are going to have to change jobs - to change skills - and at the moment, if you're over 23, the state provides virtually no free training to help you."
Gavin Williamson promises support for students wanting to return home for Christmas
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the Government will work with universities to make sure all students are supported to return home for Christmas if they choose to do so.
He said: "I know there has been some anxiety about the impact safety measures will have on the Christmas holidays.
"Students are important members of the communities that they choose to study in. We expect them to follow the same guidance as those same local communities.
"We are going to work with universities to make sure that all students are supported to return home safely and spend Christmas with their loved ones if they choose to do so."
Boris Johnson branded 'grossly incompetent' by Labour deputy leader over 'confusing' Covid rules
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has branded Boris Johnson "grossly incompetent" after he failed to clarify the rules around meeting outside in pubs and restaurants in north-east England.
"For the Prime Minister to not understand his own rules is grossly incompetent," she said.
"These new restrictions are due to come into force across huge parts of the country tonight. The Government needs to get a grip."
It’s absolutely dire stuff, after all the issues of confusing messages from the government on #COVID19 the PM fluffs the message yet again. It’s not fair on people, not fair on businesses or the country to persistently get it wrong over and over again. Get a grip! @BorisJohnson https://t.co/dHjRJ72MkQ— 🌈 Angela Rayner 🌈 (@AngelaRayner) September 29, 2020
Prime Minister to give address on Wednesday on Covid-19
Boris Johnson will hold a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to update the public on the coronavirus pandemic.
The Prime Minister will be joined by England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, Downing Street said.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The purpose of that is to provide an update on the latest statistics. It is not because there is some specific set of new announcements to make."
Watch: Gavin Williamson makes statement on university students in House of Commons
Lockdown rules 'confusing', admits Boris Johnson
The Prime Minister said the UK's "great common sense" would help defeat the virus but admitted that the different rules across the country were confusing.
Mr Johnson said: "I appreciate that this is one of those things that people will find confusing.
"Just bear in mind we are fighting a pandemic with the tools that we have, which is the great common sense of this country.
"It was very effective in March and April, it worked in driving the virus down - we need it to work again, we all need to pull together.
Boris Johnson "fit as a butcher's dog" after virus bout
Boris Johnson has said he is as "fit as a butcher's dog" and healthier than ever when questioned on whether he is experiencing long-term health effects from coronavirus.
During a press conference today in Exeter the Prime Minister said: "I can certainly tell you I'm fitter than I was before, it may irritate you to know. I'm as fit as a butcher's dog.
"Thanks basically to losing weight. I hesitate to give anybody any advice but losing weight is a very good thing when you reach 17 stone 6 as I did at a height of about 5 foot 10, it's probably a good idea to lose weight and that's what I've done."
French ticket inspectors work on trains despite positive Covid-19 tests, says union
Ticket inspectors who have tested positive for Covid-19 or had contact with a carrier of the virus are continuing to work on French trains to avoid losing pay, a trade union has claimed.
The country’s largest trade union, the CFDT, has alerted managers of the national rail company’s Ouigo subsidiary, which runs its low-cost high-speed intercity services.
In a report sent to management, CFDT officials warned that inspectors were reluctant to take sick leave, which often means reduced pay.
The union believes the problem worsened after four rail workers caught the virus on the high-speed network. They were placed on sick leave along with eight other workers who had been in proximity with them. The “contact cases” were angry “at being penalised when they were not at fault,” the union said.
David Chazan has the full story here
Weekly Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales rise above 100
The number of weekly deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales has risen to more than 100 after a two-week dip, official figures show.
There were 139 deaths registered in the week ending September 18 where "novel coronavirus" was mentioned, accounting for 1.5% of all deaths, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Of the deaths registered in Week 38, 139 mention #COVID19 on the death certificate (1.5% of all deaths).— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) September 29, 2020
This has risen since the previous week (Week 37), with a difference of 40 #COVID19 deaths https://t.co/Pie7zEEJal pic.twitter.com/A4bOGeRtxv
Up to universities to offer a refund to students forced to self-isolate, says PM
Boris Johnson said it was up to universities whether they offer a refund to students forced to self-isolate.
He told the media following a speech on skills opportunities: "As for your question about universities, that's really a matter for them and their places of education.
"I hope that they can continue to get value from the courses they are being given."
Jobs in shops, pubs, restaurants may be gone for good, says PM
The Prime Minister suggested that some jobs in traditional shops, pubs or restaurants may be gone for good.
Boris Johnson said: "Before Covid people were already shopping ever more online, were already sending out for food."
Coronavirus "has compressed that revolution", he said.
"Let's imagine that you are 30 years old, you left school without A-levels and you are thinking - you were in retail or hospitality - you could find a job in the wind farm sector in the North East, or in space technology in Newquay or in construction here in Exeter."
Six people can't meet outside in pub beer gardens, says PM
Boris Johnson was asked whether he could clarify the regulations in the North East when it came to pub beer gardens following confusion about the rules.
He said: "In the North East and other areas where extra-tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities but it is six in a home, six in hospitality but as I understand it, not six outside."
'Not every job will be the same' after pandemic, PM warns
Boris Johnson has said "not every job will be the same" after the coronavirus pandemic but declined to declare some sectors as moribund.
Asked about warnings for retail jobs, the Prime Minister said: "I'm not going to say that any particular sector faces some fatal or mortal change, I think of all kinds of ways sectors will continue to evolve. But there will be change. And not every job will be the same."
PM vows to end 'bogus distinction" between further education and higher education
Boris Johnson has said he will end the "bogus distinction" between further education and higher education in expanding the ability to get student loans.
The Prime Minister said: "We've got to end the pointless, nonsensical gulf that's been fixed for generations, more than 100 years, between the so-called academic and so-called practical varieties of education. It's absurd to talk about skills in this limited way.
"Now is the time to end this bogus distinction between FE and HE.
"We're going to change the funding model so that it's just as easy to get a student loan to do a year of electrical engineering at an FE college, or do two years of electrical engineering, as it is to get a loan to do a three-year degree in politics, philosophy and economics."
He also said that apprenticeships would be "portable" so they can move between employers.
Live updates from PM speech in Devon
The Prime Minister said there was a "shortage" of "crucial skills" in the UK.
He said there was too heavy a reliance on foreign workers for skilled and technical roles.
Boris Johnson said: "We have to face the fact that, at the moment, when we need them so much, there is a shortage of UK-trained lab technicians, just as there is a shortage of so many crucial skills.
"We're short of skilled construction workers and skilled mechanics, skilled engineers.
"We're short of hundreds of thousands of IT experts.
"And it is not as though the market doesn't require these skills - the market will pay richly.
"The problem is one of supply."
Pandemic exposed 'shortcomings' of UK's educational system, says Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson said the coronavirus pandemic had exposed the "shortcomings" of the UK's educational system.
In a speech in Exeter, Devon, about skills, the Prime Minister made a pledge to ensure there was "life-long" skills retraining opportunities.
He said: "Our economy has been shaken by Covid and in the hand-to-mouth scrambling of the pandemic, the shortcomings of the labour market and our educational system have been painfully apparent."
Government can not clarify whether households can meet in pubs and restaurant under imminent Covid rules
Downing Street was unable to clarify whether households could mix in pub and restaurant gardens under new regulations due to be imposed on large parts of north-east England.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The Department of Health are setting out the full details of the steps they announced last night later on today."
Pressed about the confusion, the spokesman said: "It is the case that events are moving at speed and it's right that we can move quickly in relation to localised outbreaks working with local leaders to ensure that we have steps in place to help to slow the spread of the virus."
Local leaders however have criticised the Government for not giving sufficient advance notice of the restrictions.
"I think that the Department of Health have been engaging with local authorities, local public health bodies for a number of days in advance of the announcement being made," the spokesman said.
WFH 'to become permanent for Civil Service'
One of the country's top civil servants has predicted that working from home will become a "permanent feature" for some staff working in Government departments.
The comments come despite recent efforts by the Prime Minister who, before the second wave of Covid-19 infections hit the UK, had led calls for staff to return to the workplace in response to concerns that cafes and other businesses which rely on demand from commuters were facing ruin.
Alex Chisholm, the Cabinet Office permanent secretary, told MPs that a "positive" impact of the coronavirus pandemic had been to pave the way for more "hybrid" online working between staff in the office and those based at home.
Asked whether he thought there would be fewer staff working from Government offices in future, he said: "Yes, in short.
"There will be fewer officials working from Whitehall, partly because we want to reduce the number working in Whitehall and the size of the Whitehall estate anyway.
"But I think you're absolutely right that the impact of the virus, one of the positive impacts, is it has shown the potential for this hybrid working, this mix of online and face-to-face, and that would I'm sure be a permanent feature."
Shadow Health Secretary criticises appointment of former Sainsbury's boss as head of Test and Trace
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth has lashed out at the decision to appoint the former chief executive of Sainsbury's, Mike Coupe, as the new testing director for NHS Test and Trace.
The Labour MP for Leicester South wrote on Twitter: "How about putting those trained in actual infectious disease control in charge of Test & Trace?"
How about putting those trained in actual infectious disease control in charge of Test & Trace?— Jonathan Ashworth 😷 (@JonAshworth) September 29, 2020
Local public health teams should be leading contact tracing.
That way we would have an effective Test, Trace & Isolate regime that helps control this virus. https://t.co/ulmIpw1sB3
Former Sainsbury's boss to take on key NHS Test and Trace role
The former chief executive of Sainsbury's is to take over as testing director at NHS Test and Trace.
Mike Coupe, who retired as chief executive officer of Sainsbury's at the end of May, is set to replace Sarah-Jane Marsh who is returning to her post as chief executive of Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust.
Baroness Dido Harding, who runs NHS Test and Trace and is interim executive chairwoman of the National Institute for Health Protection, said in an email to staff that Mr Coupe "will bring a wealth of experience in large scale supply chains, logistics and digital transformation".
It is understood he will be in the role until Christmas.
In 2018, Mr Coupe was forced to apologise after being caught singing Broadway hit We're In The Money in between media interviews about a merger with supermarket giant Asda.
Pandemic sparks rise in Asian poverty for first time in 20 years
Poverty in the world’s East Asia and Pacific region is expected to rise for the first time in 20 years due to the triple shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic impact of lockdown measures and the global recession triggered by the health crisis.
The dire prediction, released by the World Bank on Tuesday, means that as many as 33 million people in East Asia who would have otherwise have escaped poverty before the pandemic will remain poor, and another five million will be pushed back below a poverty line of just $5.50 a day.
The latest economic projections, nine months after the pandemic first hit the region, reveal that it is predicted to see only 0.9 per cent growth in 2020 – the lowest rate since 1967.
“Covid-19 is not only hitting the poor the hardest, it is creating ‘new poor.’ The region is confronted with an unprecedented set of challenges, and governments are facing tough choices,” said Victoria Kwakwa, Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific at the World Bank.
Our Asia Correspondent Nicola Smith has the full story here
Pandemic-hit Singapore Airlines launches plane dining and takeaway cabin food
Singapore Airlines plans to turn one of its grounded jumbo jets into a pop-up restaurant and offer home-delivered plane food as part of a series of initiatives to try an re-engage customers who have not been able to travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With no domestic network, the Southeast Asian city-state's national carrier has been financially battered by curbs on international travel and recently laid off around a fifth of its staff.
The airline said today it would offer tours of its training centre and flight simulator experiences but scrapped an initial idea to follow a growing trend in Asia for scenic flights, following a backlash on environmental grounds.
"With Covid-19 drastically reducing the number of flights operated by the SIA Group, we have created unique activities that would allow us to engage with our fans and customers during this time," Goh Choon Phong, CEO of Singapore Airlines (SIA) said.
Northern Ireland announces 11pm curfew
Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster has announced the introduction of an 11pm curfew for the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland.
The 11pm curfew for the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland will apply from midnight on Wednesday and includes an instruction for last orders to be called at 10.30pm.
It will apply to pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes, hotels and guesthouse bars, Arlene Foster told the Stormont Assembly.
Mrs Foster said the arrangements will be subject to enforcement.
Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said he welcomed that the earlier curfew time of 10pm was dismissed by Stormont ministers, but warned the 11pm curfew will still see the sector lose hours.
"We respect that health has to come first, but this curfew and other restrictions must be kept under continuous review," he said.
"The sector is going to lose hours, it's losing staff and it has lost live music and needs to be given a fighting chance.
"A curfew is not ideal, but we in the hospitality sector will do all we can to make this work, which hopefully will be only a temporary measure."
Number of weekly coronavirus deaths in England and Wales rises to more than 100
The number of weekly deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales has risen to more than 100 after a two-week dip, official figures show.
There were 139 deaths registered in the week ending September 18 where "novel coronavirus" was mentioned, accounting for 1.5 per cent of all deaths, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
It is the second consecutive weekly rise, with the number of deaths involving Covid-19 up 40.4 per cent from the 99 deaths registered in the previous week.
In the week before that, the week ending September 4, numbers fell below 100 for the first time since the lockdown was introduced, with 78 deaths registered.
This is said to be due to the impact of the late bank holiday weekend in August - delaying the registration of some deaths to the following week.
How many coronavirus cases have there been in your area? Use our tool to find out.
UK registers nearly 57,900 deaths
Nearly 57,900 deaths involving Covid-19 have now been registered in the UK.
Figures published on Tuesday by the ONS show that 52,717 deaths involving Covid-19 had occurred in England and Wales up to September 18, and had been registered by September 26.
Figures published last week by the National Records for Scotland showed that 4,247 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Scotland up to September 20, while 896 deaths had occurred in Northern Ireland up to September 18 (and had been registered up to September 23), according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.
Together, these figures mean that so far 57,860 deaths have been registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.
Brussels authorities ban prostitution in a bid to slow the spread of the virus
Brussels authorities have decided to ban prostitution until further notice in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus in Belgium's capital city.
In addition, authorities have shut down three hotels hosting sex workers because social distancing measures were not respected, Wafaa Hammich, a spokeswoman at Brussels city hall said on Tuesday. She said police controls will be stepped up to make sure the ban is enforced.
The decision came after Brussels decided to impose a curfew on bars. Since the start of this week, all bars and cafes have to close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. while any other businesses selling drinks or food will shut down at 10 p.m.
Brussels is facing a surge of new coronavirus infections.
Israel's health minister says the country's nationwide lockdown is likely to be extended
The Israeli government imposed a second countrywide lockdown ahead of the Jewish High Holidays earlier this month in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
The lockdown was initially slated to be lifted on October 11, but in a radio interview on Tuesday Health Minister Yuli Edelstei said that "there is no scenario that in another 10 days we will lift everything and say 'It's all over, everything is ok."'
Israel has recorded more than 233,000 confirmed cases of the virus since the pandemic began and more than 1,500 deaths from the disease, according to the Health Ministry.
While Israel garnered praise for its swift response to the arrival of the pandemic in March, the country's reopening of the economy in May saw new infections skyrocket over the summer, and now it has one of the highest infection rates per capita in the world.
War on virus won't be won by creating tougher rules on people's behaviour, says WHO special envoy
A World Health Organisation special envoy on coronavirus has warned against imposing stricter rules to control behaviour, arguing people must support the restrictions needed to slow the spread.
David Nabarro told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "This war, and I think it's reasonable to call it a war, against this virus, which is going to go on for the foreseeable future, is not going to be won by creating tougher and tougher rules that attempt to control people's behaviour.
"The only way that we will come out ahead of this virus is if we're all able to do the right thing in the right place at the right time because we choose to do it.
"I think we will get the point, I just hope that it doesn't require a lot more people to end up in hospital and dying for us all to get the point, that all of us, all of us, have to be rigorous about physical distance, wearing masks, hygiene, isolating when we're sick and protecting those who are most vulnerable."
A Telegraph analysis recently found that coronavirus rules in England have changed 200 times since March.
As Lockdown 2.0 begins, here’s how to conquer winter dread
The coronavirus pandemic has already been devastating for our mental health – rates of depression have doubled, according to recent figures by the Office of National Statistics.
But a review of evidence published in The Lancet earlier this year warns that the mental health effects of quarantine worsen with a longer duration.
Experts say that lockdown 2.0 – beginning just as we bid farewell to the summer sunshine – could push us to breaking point.
With a second Covid wave looming just as the nights draw in, the Telegraph has asked experts for techniques to keep anxiety at bay. Read our full report here.
Government minister fails to clarify if north-east England restrictions prevent households mixing at pubs
A Government minister has been unable to clarify whether new restrictions in north-east England stop people from separate households meeting in pub and restaurant gardens.
Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, education minister Gillian Keegan said: "I'm sorry I can't clarify that.
"I don't know the answer to that question but I'm sure they can find out the answer to that question."
Pressed on how people are meant to keep up to date with the latest restrictions when ministers cannot, she said: "I'm sorry I can't answer that question. I'm sure there are many people who could. I don't represent the North East."
Mayor of Greater Manchester urges Government to let Bolton's pubs and restaurants reopen
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham urged the Government to let Bolton's pubs and restaurants reopen, pointing to other areas that have higher infection rates but no restrictions on hospitality.
He tweeted: "This is the problem with local restrictions. Once they're in, they tend to stay in. And the longer they're in, the more the anomalies/injustices grow.
"Either Ministers close hospitality in places with high cases with compensation. Or let Bolton's open today. It's that simple."
This is the problem with local restrictions.— Andy Burnham (@AndyBurnhamGM) September 29, 2020
Once they’re in, they tend to stay in.
And the longer they’re in, the more the anomalies/injustices grow.
Either Ministers close hospitality in places with high cases with compensation. Or let Bolton’s open today.
It’s that simple. https://t.co/yvmladLlEo
More than 100 million rapid Covid tests to go to poorest countries
The Telegraph's Anne Gulland reports that more than 100 million rapid Covid tests will go to the poorest countries:
Tests for Covid-19 that can give results in less than an hour are to be rolled out around the world, with more than 100 million units being reserved for low and middle income countries where there is limited access to sophisticated diagnostics.
Last week the World Health Organization reached what director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described as an “important milestone” when it gave the first emergency approval for an antigen based rapid diagnostic test for Covid-19.
Dr Tedros told an online press briefing that thanks to an agreement between WHO and partners such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 120 million out of 600 million of the tests will be set aside for low and middle income countries.
Watch the full video below:
If we don’t curb the rise in cases, 100,000 people could be infected in a month, says Prof Andrew Hayward
If we don’t curb the rise in cases, 100,000 people could be infected in a month, Prof Andrew Hayward has said.
Professor Hayward, Director of the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, told BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme: “I was looking at the case numbers in Newcastle last night and we can see that over the last week we've had a three fold increase in cases and if that three fold increase in cases were to carry on every week, in a month's time you could have over 100,000 cases.
“I'm not saying that's what's going to happen. I'm saying if we don’t curb the speed of increase, these pandemics can get out of hand extraordinarily quickly, and whilst the case numbers can go up quickly they can take a long time to fall.”
He added that there has been a steady rise with a doubling of cases nationally but that “it does look like the rate of increase has decreased with some of the new measures that's been introduced”.
Discussing the recent measures he said that some, such as the 10pm curfew, were “chipping at the edges” and added: “It's fairly clear that transmission will go on before 10 o'clock as well as after 10 o'clock and you get some unintended consequences”.
Instead, he stressed that people should reduce the amount of social contact so you’re not “coming as close as you would to other people”.
Some MPs could vote against the renewal of the Coronavirus Act, warns Sir Desmond Swayne
Senior Tory Sir Desmond Swayne warned that some MPs could vote against the renewal of the Coronavirus Act if a rebel amendment is not selected by the Commons Speaker.
Accusing ministers of governing by "fiat", he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "If there isn't a vote on the amendment and there isn't a satisfactory response from the Government to the demands of the amendment, many people will vote against a renewal of an act.
"Well when I say many, there will be a number, but certainly the Government isn't going to be defeated."
Trump announces millions of rapid Covid-19 tests to be rolled out across US
President Donald Trump has announced on Monday that 150 million rapid coronavirus tests will be dispersed across the US.
Watch the full announcement by President Trump below:
Adults without an A-level or equivalent qualification to be offered a free college course, says Gillian Keegan
The Government is set to announce that adults without an A-level or equivalent qualification will be offered a free college course.
Apprenticeships and skills minister Gillian Keegan said the college scheme is a response to a skills shortage in the country which has been accelerated by the coronavirus.
She told Times Radio: "We have often talked about the need to retrain.
"There will be some technological disruption based on artificial intelligence robotics and the trend to move online and some aspects of that have been massively accelerated with coronavirus.
"We wanted to make sure that we had the right package to support adults through their development and career progression and to give them the opportunities that perhaps they didn't have for the last few years."
The scheme could include sectors from engineering to teaching, science, data, digital and construction.
She said the scheme would be available for people aged 24 onwards "right up to however long you want to keep going" and it would apply to "as many adults" as want to take it up.
Covid-19 might deteriorate men's testosterone levels, according to new research
For the first time, data from a study with patients hospitalised due to Covid-19 suggest that the disease might deteriorate men's testosterone levels.
Publishing their results in the peer-reviewed journal The Aging Male, experts from the University of Mersin and the Mersin City Education and Research Hospital in Turkey found as men's testosterone level at baseline decreases, the probability for them to be in the intensive care unit (ICU) significantly increases.
Lead author Selahittin Çayan, Professor of Urology, states that while it has already been reported that low testosterone levels could be a cause for poor prognosis following a positive SARS-CoV-2 test, this is the first study to show that Covid-19 itself depletes testosterone.
It is hoped that the development could help to explain why so many studies have found that male prognosis is worse than those females with Covid-19, and therefore to discover possible improvement in clinical outcomes using testosterone-based treatments.
"Testosterone is associated with the immune system of respiratory organs, and low levels of testosterone might increase the risk of respiratory infections," Professor Çayan explained.
Professor Çayan added: "It could be recommended that at the time of Covid-19 diagnosis, testosterone levels are also tested. In men with low levels of sex hormones who test positive for Covid-19, testosterone treatment could improve their prognosis. More research is needed on this."
Eighteen workers at a Bernard Matthews turkey plant test positive
Eighteen workers at a Bernard Matthews turkey plant have tested positive for coronavirus and are self-isolating.
Food production at the processing facility in Holton, near Halesworth in Suffolk, has not been affected by the outbreak.
Around 100 staff have been tested for Covid-19 with most returning negative results and additional testing is taking place this week.
The site has had controls in place since March to reduce coronavirus infections, including regular temperature checks, staff working in bubbles, Covid marshals, masks and visors and social distancing throughout the site.
The majority of the 18 workers who tested positive live in the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft areas and the cases are believed to have initiated in the community, the company said.
Stuart Keeble, Suffolk's director of public health, said: "I'd like to reassure people that this is, at this stage, a relatively small number of cases and that the situation is being very carefully managed by all the partners working closely together."
A spokesperson for Bernard Matthews said: "We believe these small number of cases were initiated in the community, but nevertheless we will continue to enforce our robust Covid measures as we enter into our busiest period of the year."
UN chief says pandemic toll is 'mind-numbing'
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the loss of 1 million people to the coronavirus is an "agonizing milestone" that has been made worse by the "savageness of this disease."
In a statement released after the global death toll from the pandemic crossed 1 million, Guterres called it a "mind-numbing figure."
"They were fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues," he said. "The pain has been multiplied by the savageness of this disease. Risks of infection kept families from bedsides. And the process of mourning and celebrating a life was often made impossible."
Guterres warned "there is no end in sight to the spread of the virus, the loss of jobs, the disruption of education, the upheaval to our lives."
Still he said he said the pandemic could be overcome with responsible leadership, cooperation and science, as well as precautions such as social distancing and wearing face masks. He said any vaccine must be "available and affordable to all."
Cruise ship with reported infections docks at Greek port
The first cruise ship to sail to Greece since the coronavirus lockdown docked at the port of Piraeus early Tuesday after a dozen crew members were reported positive for the virus, state news agency ANA said.
The Maltese-flagged Mein Schiff 6, operated by German travel giant TUI, is carrying 922 passengers and 666 crew.
Nobody will be allowed to disembark as testers from Greece's public health agency embarked for inspection.
The Greek coastguard said Monday that 12 crew members had tested positive, although TUI Cruises said that they were asymptomatic.
However, Greek media on Tuesday reported that follow-up tests on the same crew members turned out negative.
The passengers had originally being given a clean bill of health after undergoing tests prior to the voyage, the Greek coastguard said Monday.
The cruise ship had sailed from the Cretan port of Iraklio on Sunday evening and was heading to Piraeus.
City leaders warns restrictions could destroy hospitality sector
Leaders in Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester have warned the Government their hospitality sectors are at risk of collapse unless coronavirus restrictions are reviewed.
In a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Business Secretary Alok Sharma, the leaders and chief executives of the three city councils said restrictions in place in the regions were threatening a "huge, disproportionate" economic impact.
The city bosses said hotel occupancy was down to 30 per cent and footfall had dropped by up to 70 per cent.
In the letter, they said: "The stark reality is that these businesses are facing the prospect of a complete decimation in trade, not just in the short term but as we look ahead to the sector's traditional lifeblood of the Christmas period and almost certainly continuing into spring/summer of next year which we know with certainty will result in mass market failure, huge levels of redundancies and depleted and boarded up high streets."
Guidance in place in the cities advises people not to mix with other households but the council leaders said it was "unenforceable" as well as being "contradictory and confusing".
They called on the ministers to make the advice law, and compensate businesses with a package of support, or allow mixing within the "rule of six" in controlled environments.
Tax hikes or austerity needed to pay for Covid spending, warns IFS
Tax hikes or another round of austerity will be needed to tackle permanently higher public spending as Covid costs threaten to “swallow up” a planned boost to Government budgets, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned.
The massive bill from the pandemic is set to push state spending as a share of national income above levels hit under the last Labour government, according to the IFS.
It urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to delay a multi-year review of department budgets as he fights to bring the finances under control.
India records smallest daily rise in deaths since early August
India reported its smallest daily rise in coronavirus deaths since Aug. 3 of 776, data from the health ministry showed on Tuesday, as global fatalities crossed 1 million and infections surged in several countries.
The South Asian country's case tally rose to 6.15 million after it reported 70,589 new infections in the last 24 hours, according to health ministry data, while total deaths stood at 96,318.
Though India's death toll is a relatively low 1.6 per cent of total cases, the country, along with the United States and Brazil, account for nearly 45 per cent of global Covid-19 fatalities.
Australia sends troops to help contain outbreak on bulk carrier
Australian defence personnel are being deployed to Port Hedland, one of the world's largest iron ore loading ports, to help contain a coronavirus outbreak on a bulk carrier that last changed crews in the major seafaring city of Manila.
Seventeen of the 21-crew members of the carrier have tested positive for the virus, ship owner Oldendorff Carriers said in a statement.
Ten of the infected crew have been moved to hotel quarantine while seven infected workers remain on board as part of an 11-person crew, authorities said.
Oldendorff said that the Manila crew change on Sept. 5 complied with all protocols.
"All crew members tested negative for the virus before leaving the Philippines," Oldendorff said.
The ship, which was scheduled to collect manganese ore which is used in steel production, is anchored off Port Hedland on Australia's northwest coast.
Only one Philippine province to go under mild lockdown
Only one southern Philippine province and its war-battered capital will be placed under a mild lockdown and the rest of the country will be put under more relaxed quarantine restrictions next month to boost the battered economy despite the country having the most number of coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced the quarantine restrictions for October in televised remarks on Monday night. Lanao del Sur province and its capital, Marawi city, will fall under a lockdown starting on Thursday due to infection spikes in recent weeks.
Metropolitan Manila and five other cities will remain under general quarantine restrictions with more businesses and public transport allowed to partially operate on condition people wear face masks and shields and stay safely apart.
Africa's low fatality rate baffles scientists
Africa's overburdened public health systems, dearth of testing facilities and overcrowded slums had experts predicting a disaster when Covid-19 hit the continent in February.
In May the World Health Organisation warned that 190,000 people on the continent could die if containment measures failed. Yet as the world marks 1 million deaths, Africa is doing much better than expected.
Why? Scientists and public health experts cite a number of possible factors, including the continent's youthful population and lessons learned from previous disease outbreaks.
Some scientists also are exploring the possibility that a tuberculosis vaccine routinely given to children in many African countries might be helping reduce deaths.
Another theory being considered is whether prior exposure to other coronaviruses including those that cause the common cold has provided a degree of resistance in some of the very communities once thought to be most vulnerable.
Pandemic to keep Asia's growth at lowest since 1967, says World Bank
The coronavirus pandemic is expected to stoke the slowest growth in more than 50 years in East Asia and the Pacific as well as China, the World Bank said in an economic update on Monday.
The bank said the region is expected to grow by only 0.9 per cent in 2020, the lowest rate since 1967.
Growth in China was expected to come in at 2.0 per cent this year, boosted by government spending, strong exports and a low rate of new coronavirus infections since March, but held back by slow domestic consumption.
The rest of the East Asia and Pacific region were projected to see a 3.5 per cent contraction, the World Bank said.
Infections in South Korea continue to trend downward
South Korea's daily coronavirus increase was the lowest in about 50 days on Tuesday as new infections trend lower.
Many experts have warned, however, that the virus could spread again after this week's traditional Chuseok autumn holidays, when people usually travel to visit their relatives. Health authorities have urged people to refrain from traveling this year because of the risk of spreading the virus.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said the 38 cases added in the last 24 hours took the country's total to 23,699 with 407 deaths.
Deaths hit one million – how many more lives will it claim?
Coronavirus has now claimed the lives of one million people across the globe. But the death toll is likely to reach two million unless we get the pandemic properly under control, a senior World Health Organisation official has warned.
As the world passes the grim milestone, Dr Mike Ryan, head of emergencies at the WHO, said it was "not impossible" another one million people could die before a vaccine becomes available, while better treatments and effective vaccines might not be enough on their own to prevent deaths surpassing two million.
"Are we prepared to do what it takes to avoid that number?" Dr Ryan asked. "Unless we do it all, the number you speak about is not only imaginable, but unfortunately and sadly, very likely."
Surge in cases in Canada's two most-populous provinces
Quebec on Monday ordered new restrictions on bars and restaurants in coronavirus hot spots, while Ontario's premier warned of a "more complex" second wave, as Canada's two most-populous provinces saw big increases in cases.
Quebec, the Canadian province hit hardest, will curb social gatherings in homes and limit bar and restaurant service to takeout for 28 days in Montreal and two other regions, Premier Francois Legault said. It reported 750 new cases on Monday.
"It's time to take action," Mr Legault told reporters in Montreal. "The situation is at the limit."
The restrictions, which start on Thursday in the three regions, will not close businesses or schools.
But Mr Legault introduced restrictions like allowing only people living at the same address to be there at the same time.
Earlier on Monday, Ontario reported a new daily high of 700 cases, with a bit more than a day's worth of samples still pending at labs.
"We know that this wave will be more complicated, more complex, it will be worse than the first wave we faced earlier this year," Ontario Premier Doug Ford told reporters in Toronto.
Today's top stories
- The flu vaccine is running short across parts of the UK, causing fears that pensioners could face delays in getting the jab.
- Police are to get tougher on lockdown rule-breakers as they ramp up enforcement and stop giving warnings.
- Several universities are being investigated over concerns they are failing to provide a good quality education due to Covid-19, it emerged on Monday, as vice-chancellors were told they may have to partially refund students.
- Meeting friends in the pub has been made illegal in the North-East after ministers imposed one of the strictest lockdown measures to date.
- Conservative grandees and senior MPs lined up to attack Boris Johnson's handling of the coronavirus crisis on Monday, with Lord Lamont saying "draconian" repeated lockdowns were "not a tenable strategy".
- Workers who lose their jobs because of the Covid-19 lockdown will be given apprenticeships to retrain as builders, plumbers and in other essential trades, Boris Johnson will announce on Tuesday.
- The head of America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has accused Donald Trump's latest coronavirus adviser of giving the president "false" information.