Melbourne curfew takes effect as disaster declared in state of Victoria

Australia’s state of Victoria has declared a disaster and imposed some of its harshest restrictions

Australia’s state of Victoria has declared a disaster and imposed some of its harshest restrictions to date on movement as it seeks to combat a surge in coronavirus cases.

A further 671 infections and seven coronavirus deaths were announced in Victoria as the new measures, which officials said will remain in place for six weeks, took effect.

High numbers of community transmissions and cases of unknown origins have forced the new restrictions, which include limits on movement and citywide night time curfews. Officials have said that the measures will be in place for six weeks.

Melbourne, the second-largest city in Australia, is already under a reimposed six-week ‘stay at home’ order but has struggled to control the virus, with record numbers of infections recorded last week.

“The current rules have avoided thousands and thousands of cases each day, and then thousands of people in hospital and many more tragedies than we have seen,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told a televised briefing. “But it is not working fast enough.”

Follow the latest updates below.

02:38 PM

America coronavirus latest: Dr Deborah Birx says the US is in ‘new phase’ of pandemic

White House Dr Deborah Birx has said that the US is in a new phase of its fight against the pandemic, and said that the coronavirus is more widespread now than it was when it first took hold in the US earlier in the year.

“What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread,” she said, emphasising that Americans should follow health recommendations including mask-wearing and adhering to social distancing. 

“To everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus. If you’re in multi-generational households, and there’s an outbreak in your rural area or in your city, you need to really consider wearing a mask at home, assuming that you’re positive, if you have individuals in your households with comorbidities.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today that she does not have confidence in Dr Birx’s response, linking her to “disinformation” about the virus spread by President Donald Trump.

“I think the president has been spreading disinformation about the virus and she is his appointee so, I don’t have confidence there, no,” Speaker Pelosi told ABC’s This Week.

02:30 PM

Two-thirds of domestic violence victims felt unable to seek help during coronavirus lockdown

Nearly two thirds of domestic violence victims felt unable to seek help during Covid-19 restrictions amid fears of being abused by their partner, Charles Hymas reports.

Safe Lives, a domestic abuse charity, found 61 per cent of victims said they had not asked for help because lockdown had left them trapped and unable to do so.

It is the first time the charity has surveyed victims who were still in abusive relationships, using online techniques that enabled them to log their experiences and fears, and comes amid emerging reports of a surge in “hidden” domestic violence during lockdown.

Most of the 125 victims had some concern for their safety during lockdown with 39 per cent identifying fear of the perpetrator as their biggest worry.

Charles has the full story here.

02:18 PM

British Grand Prix live updates: Spectator-free Silverstone plays host to annual event

Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 leads Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone - Clive Mason/Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 leads Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone – Clive Mason/Formula 1

An eerie sight at Silvestone today as the British Grand Prix takes place without a spectator in sight.

Lewis Hamilton, who took pole position, currently leads his team mate Valtteri Bottas – who is closing the gap, but doesn’t seem in any danger of troubling Hamilton – while things towards the back of the field are tighter.

First held in 1926, the British Grand Prix has been held annually since 1948 and formed part of the Formula 1 championship since 1950, making this year’s the first ever event without any fans present.

02:07 PM

Is Cornwall really like ‘Benidorm on steroids’ this weekend?

Telegraph Travel has spoken to three of our writers based in Cornwall over the weekend; two locals and one on holiday.

Rebecca Hallett, based in Truro, is concerned about the apparent lack of masks and social distancing: “As one of the UK’s poorest regions, Cornwall is desperate for its usual summer tourism income – but with few critical care beds in the county, many of us are terrified of the cost.”

Cornwall and its neighbouring counties are the UK’s most sought-after holiday destinations this summer – Visit Britain’s latest consumer research suggests that 21 per cent of holidaymakers are intending to visit the south west in the next couple of months.

Porthmeor Beach - Jay Williams
Porthmeor Beach – Jay Williams

Only 12 per cent are planning a trip to the next most popular destination, Scotland.

However, Telegraph Travel’s Cornwall destination expert Gill Charlton, who lives in the tourist hotspot of St Ives, thinks that, despite the hyperbolic headlines, the truth is a little more prosaic.

“Yes, the beaches are busy, but they’re not swamped,” she says. “It’s the usual August crowd: large family groups from all walks of life down for their annual holiday.”

Indeed, summer holidays in Cornwall have always been a popular choice, so it is difficult to assess the impact that the lack of overseas travel has had on visitor numbers.

Read more from our Travel team here.

01:41 PM

Three more Wales coronavirus deaths confirmed

Public Health Wales has confirmed that a further three people have died after testing positive for coronavirus, which takes the total number of deaths in Wales to 1,565.

The number of cases in Wales increased by 37, bringing the confirmed case total to 17,279.

01:35 PM

Rising Turkey coronavirus cases lead to Iraq flight suspension

Flights between Turkey and Iraq have been suspended because of rising coronavirus infections in Turkey, Iraq’s Aviation Authority said on Sunday.

Iraq reopened Baghdad and southern airports last week for international travel after the pandemic led to months of closure. 

Passengers arrived at Istanbul Airport after the first flight came from Moscow following Turkey's national flag carrier Turkish Airlines restarting international flights - Andalou Agency
Passengers arrived at Istanbul Airport after the first flight came from Moscow following Turkey’s national flag carrier Turkish Airlines restarting international flights – Andalou Agency

Turkey confirmed 996 new cases of coronavirus yesterday, taking its total number of diagnosed cases to 231,869, while a further 19 deaths have been announced, with the toll now standing at 5,710.

Turkish minister of health Fahrettin Koca wrote on social media this week: “The number of our new patients which dropped towards 900 for some time is gradually increasing. The number of our recovered patients and that of new patients are close to each other.”

01:26 PM

Further Ireland coronavirus travel restrictions considered after uptick in cases

Ireland is considering additional measures to limit non-essential travel in the wake of an uptick in Covid-19 infections in recent days both in Ireland and other European countries, the country’s health minister Stephen Donnelly said on Sunday.

Ireland currently advises against non-essential travel abroad and requires people who arrive from all but 15 countries to quarantine for two weeks, but it does not presently require Covid-19 antibody or swab tests from visitors, and flights have not yet been banned from any country.

“We’re introducing random testing at the airports and an increased public health presence and we’re examining other options as well for further restrictions on non-essential travel… because the international situation is becoming more volatile,” Donnelly told RTE radio.

01:12 PM

Automatic green light for homes, hospitals and schools in biggest shake-up since WW2

New homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices will be given an automatic “permission in principle” in swathes of the country, under Boris Johnson’s plan for the biggest overhaul of the planning system since the Second World War, writes Edward Malnick.

The Prime Minister is preparing to slash red tape to produce “simpler, faster” processes as part of a “once in a generation” reform of the system.

It will see the entire country split up into three types of land: areas designated for “growth”, and those earmarked for “renewal” or “protection”.

01:04 PM

Coronavirus around the world: In pictures

A young man disguised as the death walks at the beach of Puerto Morelos inviting tourists and locals to return to their homes -as the beaches are still closed to visitors- in Puerto Morelos, state of Quintana Roo, - Elizabeth Ruiz/AFP
A young man disguised as the death walks at the beach of Puerto Morelos inviting tourists and locals to return to their homes -as the beaches are still closed to visitors- in Puerto Morelos, state of Quintana Roo, – Elizabeth Ruiz/AFP
Medical workers showcase designs during the virtual fashion show of PPE - Ulet Ifansati/Getty Images AsiaPac
Medical workers showcase designs during the virtual fashion show of PPE – Ulet Ifansati/Getty Images AsiaPac
Yesterday saw the Staatsphilharmonie, the leading orchestra in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, perform to spectators who watched from their own boats. - Daniel Karmann/DPA
Yesterday saw the Staatsphilharmonie, the leading orchestra in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, perform to spectators who watched from their own boats. – Daniel Karmann/DPA

 

12:40 PM

Germany coronavirus protests leave 45 police officers injured

German police have said that 45 officers were injured in a wave of weekend demonstrations in Berlin including protests against coronavirus restrictions, with protesters also gathering today, albeit in smaller numbers.

In total, 133 people were arrested during Saturday’s protests which included a huge “day of freedom” event against coronavirus restrictions, police said in a statement.

The arrests were for offences including resisting police officers, breach of the peace and the use of unconstitutional symbols.

Three officers required hospital treatment, police said. Around 20,000 people took part in the “day of freedom” demonstration, with the majority not wearing masks or adhering to five-foot social distancing.

12:27 PM

Robert Jenrick: ‘We don’t have any plans’ to make over-50s stay at home

The housing secretary Robert Jenrick has said that there are “no plans” to make over-50s stay at home following reports that they could be told to self-isolate and shield in order to help avoid another lockdown.

“We have planned a shielding programme which has been supporting those extremely clinically vulnerable individuals to protect themselves during the virus,” he said. “That’s been successful and we provided food and medicine and other support for those individuals.

“But moving forward, we hope to be able to operate on a localised approach. And you’ve seen in Leicester for example that we have provided guidance to the shielded to stay at home any longer. But we don’t have any plans for a national blanketed approach. There’s no plans for that at the moment”.

12:15 PM

Fitzwilliam Museum dusted off ahead of reopening

Conservator Edward Cheese cleans marble sculptures at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge as they make final preparations to reopen to the general public following the easing of lockdown restrictions in England - Joe Giddens/PA
Conservator Edward Cheese cleans marble sculptures at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge as they make final preparations to reopen to the general public following the easing of lockdown restrictions in England – Joe Giddens/PA

 Final preparations have been made at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge as they make final preparations to reopen to the public following the easing of lockdown restrictions across England.

The museum will reopen to the general public on August 11, with social distancing measures in place and limited numbers of visitors allowed in at once.

A reopening for museum staff, board members and volunteers is set to take place on August 4 and August 5.

12:05 PM

Goldman Sachs bankers held office drinks event during lockdown

Goldman Sachs bankers enjoyed drinks on the roof of the firm’s London headquarters during the coronavirus lockdown while millions of Britons were unable to see friends and families due to strict social distancing rules, The Telegraph can reveal.

Senior bankers attended a drinks event on Wednesday May 20, at Goldman’s £1bn Plumtree Court offices while social distancing rules prevented meetings of more than two people from different households.

The details of the event have emerged after Goldman’s New York-based boss, David Solomon, was heavily criticised for DJing last weekend at a charity concert in the Hamptons that was accused of “egregious” social distancing violations.

Michael O’Dwyer has the full story.

12:00 PM

UK coronavirus deaths: Further five hospital deaths in last 24 hours in England

A further five people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,347, NHS England has said.

Patients were aged between 52 and 86 years old, and all had known underlying health conditions.

Another two deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

11:53 AM

Comment: ‘The lockdown debate has morphed into a rerun of the Brexit wars’

As the pendulum moves back towards lockdown, it is interesting to see who thinks the government has become drunk with power and who thinks the new restrictions are too little, too late, writes Christopher Snowdon:

I don’t want to be that person who brings everything back to Brexit, but there’s no denying that whether a person is a dove or a hawk on lockdown restrictions can be predicted with a fair degree of confidence by how they voted in the 2016 referendum.

There are, admittedly, a few wild cards. Lord Adonis went barmy over Brexit, but thinks the lockdown went too far. Piers Morgan, though a Remain voter, was sanguine about Brexit, but has gone berserk about people going to the beach. Matthew Parris and Jonathan Sumption were pro-Remain but are now, to varying degrees, anti-lockdown.

These outliers aside, it is a good rule of thumb that if someone thinks we should hide in a cupboard until a vaccine is available, they voted Remain, and if they think that bat-eating is a human right and nature should be allowed to take its course, they voted Leave.

11:36 AM

FA Cup Final: Empty Wembley ‘a ghastly sight’ during Arsenal vs Chelsea

Even with the 2020 fetish for normalising extreme abnormality, the spectacle of a Wembley Way denuded of fans on FA Cup final day verged on the obscene, writes Oliver Brown.

A general view of an empty Wembley Stadium as Reece James of Chelsea takes on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal during the FA Cup Final match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on August 1, 2020 in London, England - Marc Atkins/Getty Images Europe
A general view of an empty Wembley Stadium as Reece James of Chelsea takes on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal during the FA Cup Final match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on August 1, 2020 in London, England – Marc Atkins/Getty Images Europe

The once-teeming thoroughfare of dreams, the place where real people generated real noise and where children would talk of hitchhiking through the night in search of a ticket, conveyed only ghostly desolation.

A day out that is supposed to represent a pilgrimage felt more like an elegy for pleasures denied. So much for live link-ups to team breakfasts, bespoke editions of Mastermind, or player suits that counted as crimes against fashion.

The only sartorial signature last night came from the masks. Not even Des Lynam, such a master of pre-final filler that he once ran a mock lap of honour with three hours to go, could have derived much romance from temperature checks or sanitising tunnels.

One of the great days out in the sporting calendar was reduced to an eerie silence that matched the gloomy outlook for supporters’ returning.

Oliver’s full column is available to read here.

 

11:24 AM

India coronavirus update: Interior minister Amit Shah tests positive and in hospital

Indian interior minister Amit Shah has revealed that he has tested positive for the coronavirus and has been admitted to hospital following medical advice.

“On getting the initial symptoms of coronavirus, I got the test done and the report came back positive,” he wrote on Twitter.

“My health is fine, but I am being admitted to the hospital on the advice of doctors. I request that all of you who have come into contact with me in the last few days, please isolate yourself and get your [test] done.”

11:14 AM

Top Switzerland adviser calls for tighter lockdown measures

Switzerland should tighten restrictions to curb the coronavirus again following a recent spike in cases, in order to avoid much harsher lockdown measures being introduced in future, the new head of the country’s coronavirus taskforce said.

Switzerland has seen the number of new cases of Covid-19 surge to more than 200 a day in recent days and weeks, after an average of only 35 per day in June.

Martin Ackermann, who heads the body that provides scientific advice to the Swiss government, said the country was on the brink of a big increase in infections and had little room to manoeuvre.

“We should intervene early to prevent exponential growth,” Ackermann told newspaper SonntagsZeitung. “Otherwise there’s a risk of drastic and expensive restrictions. This must be prevented under all circumstances.”

11:07 AM

‘I’ve lost my restaurant empire, so I’m starting again with a food truck’

Five months ago, Mark Hix MBE, seasoned restaurateur, chef and all-round food-industry legend, was at the helm of five restaurants employing some 130 people. He is a man whose name has been attached to some of London’s most iconic restaurants, from The Ivy to Le Caprice.

Today, all tousled hair, unshaven face and eager grin, he’s standing on the A35 behind his new venture: a food truck, just a few miles from Bridport where Hix grew up, and close to Lyme Regis where he ran the much-loved Hix Oyster & Fish House.

The 57-year-old is back here after his business suffered a catastrophic collapse just before lockdown. ‘I lost everything,’ he says; his public statement was on Instagram, where he wrote of ‘tough times and sad times’.

Read more: Mark’s interview with our restaurant critic William Sitwell 

10:59 AM

Comment: ‘Caution now instructs the Government response’

Three weeks, there seemed good cause for hope with Covid deaths and new infections were strongly on the decline, at least in Europe, writes Jeremy Warner. But fast forward to now, and things are again starting to look ugly.

From the outside, America looks like a country sinking into chaos, with the economy down a staggering 32.9pc on an annualised basis in the second quarter, unemployment continuing to mount, rioting on the streets, a widening cultural divide and a President demanding that November’s election be suspended.

That’s for Congress to decide, of course; and there is virtually no chance it will agree. What it tells us, however, is that Donald Trump is determined legally to contest the result if it doesn’t go his way. A constitutional crisis is threatened on top of the parallel health and economic crises.

Back in Blighty, things scarcely look much better. An indecisive and cowed government is plainly making it up as it goes along, quarantining here and locking down anew there, seemingly cheered on by a public that has been terrified by overly zealous messaging, but for now is insulated from the consequences of the resulting economic damage by government income support.

The caution that now instructs the Government response is, I suppose, at least understandable. Having messed up at the beginning, resulting in the worst per capita death rate in Europe, ministers are terrified of repeating those mistakes.

Read Jeremy’s full column here.

10:48 AM

Manchester Airport accuses ministers of ‘suffocating the aviation sector’

The largest airport outside London has accused ministers of “suffocating the aviation sector”, as flight hubs send mayday signals and warn Boris Johnson’s “levelling up” pledge is at risk, reports Oliver Gill.

Sir Adrian Montague, chairman of Manchester Airports Group, which also owns the package holiday hub Stansted, condemned the quarantine on travellers from Spain as “unnecessary”.

He called for a “more proportionate” approach such as the reintroduction of “travel corridors” to the Balearic and Canary Islands, and he warned that a testing regime to save millions of Britons’ overseas holdiays will not be in place in time.

Passengers wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, react as they exit Terminal 1 after landing at Manchester Airport in Manchester, north west England on July 27, 2020. - Anthony Devlin/AFP
Passengers wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, react as they exit Terminal 1 after landing at Manchester Airport in Manchester, north west England on July 27, 2020. – Anthony Devlin/AFP

Sir Adrian said: “If we cut ourselves off from the important low-risk areas, we are going to suffocate the recovery of the aviation sector.

“We have got six weeks left of the holiday season and if the Government was able to be more tactical in the way that it approached quarantine… then that would unlock holidays for people.”

Read Oliver’s full piece here.

10:41 AM

Watch: ‘State of disaster’ declared amid Melbourne curfew and Victoria lockdown

 

10:33 AM

Back to work: Canary Wharf Group recalls its staff to the office

Canary Wharf Group has told staff to come back to the office amid fears the success of remote working during lockdown could have dire consequences for the deserted banking hub, writes Lucy Burton

CWG, which manages the once-bustling financial centre in east London, has told staff that their time at home is up as other businesses with towering skyscrapers in the area resist bringing people back. 

“We have decided to ask our own ­office-based staff to plan their return from this week, unless they have particular problems such as shielding or childcare,” Howard Dawber, CWG’s strategy director, told The ­Telegraph.

Read Lucy’s full report here.

10:27 AM

Free coronavirus tests and no masks: Britons lured by ‘Europe’s safest destinations’

Space to social distance rather than sunshine is at the core of the new marketing campaigns launched by a string of unusual holiday destinations competing to lure Brits taking last-minute summer breaks, writes Richard Orange.  

With just three cases per 100,000 people over the last fortnight, and a population density of less than six people per square mile, Norway has a good claim to being both the safest destination, and the most unlikely to see Britain impose surprise quarantine rules.

Estonia has registered even fewer infections, 2.6 per 100,000, making it is the safest destination in Europe currently completely open to British tourists. Finland and Hungary, on 2.6 and 2.4 respectively, still impose restrictions.

Read Richard’s full story here.

The island of Aspond in the Droebak narrows of the Oslo fjord, south eastern Norway is seen in this July 25, 2020 picture. - Odd Andersen/AFP
The island of Aspond in the Droebak narrows of the Oslo fjord, south eastern Norway is seen in this July 25, 2020 picture. – Odd Andersen/AFP

 

10:18 AM

‘No plans’ for pubs closing again, Robert Jenrick says

There are currently no plans to shut pubs after a rise in coronavirus transmissions in England, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said.

Mr Jenrick also said schools would definitely return to full capacity in September, and confirmed during an appearance on Times Radio that this would be the priority should there be a second spike of infections.

“I think you’re right to say that reopening schools and getting our children back into the classroom with that direct face-to-face contact with their teachers will be a priority for the Government when we have to make those tough choices,” he said.

He said that the Government’s strategy is “to manage this in a localised way with targeted action, as we’ve done in Leicester”, and that ministers would “follow the data and look at options if we have to”.

It comes after chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned that “we have probably reached near the limits, or the limits” of what can reopen in society, and that “trade-offs” are likely to be needed.

10:11 AM

Crowds in Cornwall: ‘You wouldn’t know there’s a pandemic’

Locals in Cornwall have expressed their concern at the crowds and lack of social distancing in the busiest regions of its coast amid the sunny weather.

Thousands of staycationers descended on Britain’s resorts this weekend amid the heatwave, with Cornish residents being particularly vocal about the hordes – one described the scenes as being like ‘Benidorm on steroids’ when speaking to the BBC yesterday.

Tourists enjoying the beach on July 30 in Polzeath, UK - Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images Europe
Tourists enjoying the beach on July 30 in Polzeath, UK – Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images Europe

Journalist Rebecca Hallett, who is based in the Truro area, tells Telegraph Travel: “Looking at the main beaches in Cornwall, you wouldn’t know we’re in the middle of a pandemic.

“There are tightly packed crowds of (mostly maskless) people out on the sand and walking through town, with the crush seeming at least as bad as in previous years.”

10:04 AM

Forest of Dean rave closed down by police overnight

Police officers worked through the night to close down an illegal rave in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire Police has said.

Officers were called to the Speculation car park near Lydbrook and Parkend in the early hours of this morning, and the the force said that its police dispersed the group to ensure that the event did not continue while ensuring attendees could leave “as safely as possible”.

Sound system equipment was removed and a number of surrounding roads were closed to prevent further people from coming.

A police spokeswoman said: “The road closures were as a result of intelligence which had been developed and identified that many of those attending were from outside the county which allowed officers to target key roads that the individuals would have used to attend.

“As part of the police response, two arrests were made for drug driving and two vehicles were seized.

“Officers want to thank the local community for their patience and reassure those living in the area that they understand how much of an impact an event like this can have.”

09:47 AM

‘Hands, face, space’: Boris Johnson’s new slogan to combat coronavirus

Boris Johnson revealed his latest public health slogan on Friday as he urged people to stick to the principles of “hands, face, space…and get a test” to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, writes Harry Yorke.

Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing, Mr Johnson said that in the absence of a vaccine the “only real utensil” available to curb the spread of the disease was “human behaviour”.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a new 'hands, face, space' slogan at the most recent coronavirus daily briefing. - Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Street
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a new ‘hands, face, space’ slogan at the most recent coronavirus daily briefing. – Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Street

Repeating the new slogan on multiple occasions, the Prime Minister said people needed to wash their hands, cover their face with a mask, keep their distance from one another, and to take a Covid-19 test if they developed symptoms.

Read more on what it means for you here.

09:40 AM

Migrant crossings: Former Border Force chief calls for France agreement to avoid ‘crisis’ levels

A failure by the UK to reach a new agreement with France on how to deal with migrant crossings could lead to numbers reaching “crisis” levels, a former Border Force chief has warned, after a record number of crossings to Britain in a single day last week.

Tony Smith, the former head of UK Border Force said the UK and France need to agree a treaty with a joint patrol in which migrants picked up in the Channel could be returned to France to have their asylum claims considered there.

“What I’m advocating is that we need to try as best we can to replicate the juxtaposed controls for legitimate applicants in the same way as for illegitimate applicants,” Mr Smith told the PA news agency.

“If they want to come to the UK they need to make their case on the French side, and if they are found in the waterways or even make it as far as Dover we say ‘I’m sorry but you go back there and that’s where you will be interviewed and processed, on the French side’.”

Record numbers of migrants have reached Britain in small boats during the coronavirus lockdown, leading the charity Refugee Action to call on the Government to establish “safe and legal” routes for those attempting the journey during the pandemic.

09:30 AM

Record number of Philippines coronavirus cases announced as Manila lockdown considered

The Philippines on Sunday reported 5,032 additional coronavirus infections, its largest single-day increase on record, taking the country’s case tally past 100,000.

Confirming that recorded cases had reached 103,185, the country’s Department of Health added that the Southeast Asian country’s Covid-19 death toll had jumped by 20 to 2,059.

Health workers prepare equipment for swabbing at a testing facility in Quezon City, northeast of Manila, Philippines, 30 July 2020. - Mark R Cristino/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Health workers prepare equipment for swabbing at a testing facility in Quezon City, northeast of Manila, Philippines, 30 July 2020. – Mark R Cristino/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

President Rodrigo Duterte will today meet with his cabinet to discuss a call by front-line medical groups to put the capital city Manila, which accounts for the majority of the country’s infections, back under a stricter lockdown.

09:21 AM

A postcard from Croatia, where the summer holidays season is in full swing

Back in early-June, when summer truly began, Croatia was officially virus-free. It was also blissfully peaceful. Then, as the borders opened, several new cases emerged, connected to arrivals from neighbouring Bosnia Herzegovina and Serbia (border restrictions on those countries have since been reimposed).

Once tourists appeared, some were also found to be carrying the virus, including several from the UK. But Croatia has always been considered a safe destination, and judging by the crowds in Split this summer, it still is.

General view of the Banje beach in Dubrovnik - Antonio Bronic/Reuters
General view of the Banje beach in Dubrovnik – Antonio Bronic/Reuters

At the time of writing, according to the Croatian Tourism Association’s excellent coronavirus information website there are only 224 coronavirus cases in coastal counties and there are some 760,000 tourists there.

Read Jane Foster’s full dispatch here.

09:12 AM

Melbourne lockdown in pictures as Australia coronavirus cases spike

Empty stall spaces are seen hours before a citywide curfew is introduced in Melbourne, Australia, 02 August 2020. A state of disaster has been declared in Victoria as the state tightens COVID-19 restrictions, limiting movement in Melbourne through a nightly curfew among other new rules. Curfew to be introduced in Melbourne, Australia - 02 Aug 2020 - Erik Anderson/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Empty stall spaces are seen hours before a citywide curfew is introduced in Melbourne, Australia, 02 August 2020. A state of disaster has been declared in Victoria as the state tightens COVID-19 restrictions, limiting movement in Melbourne through a nightly curfew among other new rules. Curfew to be introduced in Melbourne, Australia – 02 Aug 2020 – Erik Anderson/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
People line up to enter a supermarket hours before a citywide curfew was introduced. - Erik Anderson/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
People line up to enter a supermarket hours before a citywide curfew was introduced. – Erik Anderson/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
People wait for a tram hours before a citywide curfew is introduced in Melbourne, Australia - Erik Anderson/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
People wait for a tram hours before a citywide curfew is introduced in Melbourne, Australia – Erik Anderson/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

 

08:57 AM

World Health Organisation disease expert warns against further national lockdowns

The World Health Organisation has urged countries not to reimpose national lockdowns in an attempt to stem the spread of Covid-19 due to the health, social and economic repercussions.

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, who helps lead the WHO’s pandemic response team as the head of the emerging diseases unit, said that countries should instead adopt localised strategies. 

“Lockdowns are not something that WHO recommended, but they needed to be used in a number of countries because the outbreaks were growing so quickly,” she said. “But we’re hopeful that countries will not need to implement national lockdowns again.”

Dr Van Kerkhove also said that there will be no vaccine in the next six months, and urged countries to take a “tailored, specific, localised” approach to contain new outbreaks of the virus.

Read Dr Van Kerkhove’s exclusive interview with The Telegraph’s Sarah Newey here.

08:47 AM

Coronavirus antibody test may not pick up mild Covid-19 cases

Antibody tests could be missing large numbers of people who contracted Covid-19 because they do not work for people who only had a mild form of the infection, new research from Oxford University has suggested.

The study of more than 9,000 healthcare workers suggested that although significant numbers of people were getting ‘negative’ test results, many of these had probably had the virus.

In this Thursday, July 23, 2020 file photo, a biomedical engineering graduate student handles a swab and specimen vial in a new COVID-19 on-campus testing lab in Boston - Charles Krupa/AP
In this Thursday, July 23, 2020 file photo, a biomedical engineering graduate student handles a swab and specimen vial in a new COVID-19 on-campus testing lab in Boston – Charles Krupa/AP

The work is likely to have major implications for health policymaking and scientists said that it could also mean reviewing the threshold between negative and positive results.

Jennifer Rigby has the full story here.

08:35 AM

Former Lord Chancellor says UK will have to take coronavirus debt ‘on the chin’

The former Conservative minister David Gauke has said that he believes tax rises or budget cuts will pay for the Government’s unprecedented spending during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Gauke, who served as Lord Chancellor and justice secretary under Theresa May, told Times Radio:

We will have to take it on the chin that our debt will go up, that we’re going to have to live with a higher level of debt for a longer period of time.

I think we are still going to be left with increased pressures on spending, a smaller economy because the economy will be scarred to some extent and that is going to mean we’re going to need what we used to call a fiscal consolidation – that’s either spending cuts or tax rises to get the public finances on a sustainable footing.

Mr Gauke added that whilst there is “no rush in terms of doing this”, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak should still set out economic recovery plans “sooner rather than later”.

08:24 AM

‘Inadequate’ guidance leading to hairdressers Covid risk, advisers warn

Hairdressers and barbers could be inadvertently transmitting Covid-19 to their customers as a result of “inadequate” official guidance which specifies that they should wear visors rather than masks, Government advisers have warned.

Scientists have expressed fears that the plastic face shields being used by hair salon workers do not leave enough protection for the wearer or the client. This is because they leave a small but significant gap through which small airborne coronavirus droplets could pass.

Scientists are understood to have raised concerns during the most recent meeting of The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) on Friday,

Our Sunday political editor Edward Malnick has more here.

08:14 AM

Russia coronavirus cases pass 850,000 as deaths rise by 70

Russia has recorded 5,427 new coronavirus cases today, bringing its nationwide total to 850,870, the fourth highest caseload worldwide.

A further 70 coronavirus deaths have also been confirmed, taking the official death toll in Russia to 14,128.

A woman wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus waits in line to check-in at Sheremetyevo international airport, outside Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020 - Pavel Golovkin/AP
A woman wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus waits in line to check-in at Sheremetyevo international airport, outside Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020 – Pavel Golovkin/AP

Russia restarted flights to Britain, Turkey and Tanzania yesterday, more than four months after closing its borders due to the pandemic.

07:51 AM

Northern England seeing ‘lasting ripples’ rather than second wave of coronavirus

When the Government announced that swathes of northern England would return to a partial lockdown on Thursday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that the UK could be just two weeks away from a “damaging second wave” of coronavirus infections. 

The data suggests a different picture, with the uptick in cases demonstrating that parts of the country never brought the first wave of Covid-19 infections under control.

A woman wearing a protective mask walks past a warning sign in Manchester, as the city and the surrounding area faces local restrictions in an effort to avoid a local lockdown being forced upon the area, amid the coronavirus disease. - Phil Noble/Reuters
A woman wearing a protective mask walks past a warning sign in Manchester, as the city and the surrounding area faces local restrictions in an effort to avoid a local lockdown being forced upon the area, amid the coronavirus disease. – Phil Noble/Reuters

The average infection rate across affected local authorities in northern England has now been tracking at a much higher level than the rest of the UK for several months, analysis by the Telegraph has found.

 Dominic Gilbert and Sarah Newey have the full story.

07:38 AM

Today’s Sunday Telegraph front page: Second lockdown prevention may include ‘enhanced shielding’

The front page of today’s Sunday Telegraph leads on plans being considered by ministers to avoid a second national lockdown, which could see the elderly and vulnerable groups asked to stay at home.

Other measures being considered include a citywide lockdown of London if infection rates were to spike in the capital, while quarantine restrictions could also be tightened for those flying into the UK.

Our Sunday political editor Edward Malnick also reveals the Prime Minister’s plans to slash red tape in the biggest overhaul of the planning system since the Second World War. And Helena Horton reports that Mahatma Gandhi is to become the first non-white person to feature on British currency.

Buy a copy of the paper, or  to gain a month’s free access.

07:11 AM

Victoria declares disaster and sets curfew for Melbourne

Australia’s state of Victoria declared a disaster on Sunday and imposed a nightly curfew for the capital Melbourne as part of its harshest movement restrictions to date to contain a resurgent Covid-19.

Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, is already under a reimposed six-week stay-home order but struggling to rein in the disease, with record numbers of infections of coronavirus last week.

On Sunday, Victoria, the second-most populous state, reported 671 infections – one of its highest – and seven Covid deaths.

High numbers of community transmissions and cases of unknown origins have forced the new restrictions, which will be in place for six weeks, officials said.

“The current rules have avoided thousands and thousands of cases each day, and then thousands of people in hospital and many more tragedies than we have seen. But it is not working fast enough,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told a televised briefing.

Read the full story here.

06:05 AM

Coronavirus news from around the world

  • The death toll in Latin America from coronavirus passed 200,000 on Saturday night, after Peru reported another 191 deaths from the pandemic.

  • Greece has had 110 new cases in 24 hours, the fourth-highest daily figure and highest since April. Authorities said 23 of the cases concerned employees at a meat-processing factory in the northern city of Kavala. Another 10 cases involved people who attended a wedding in the northern city of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-biggest city. Greece has recorded 4,587 cases and 206 deaths.

  • In Australia, the state of Victoria is considering New Zealand-style lockdowns to get community transmission under control. Victoria on Saturday reported the deaths of a man and two women aged in their 80s and 90s, and 397 new cases.

  • South Korea has reported 30 new cases, most of them associated with international arrivals. The national tally is 14,366 cases with 301 deaths. 

  • The Australian state of New South Wales on Sunday confirmed its first coronavirus-related death in more than a month as authorities sought to suppress growing numbers of clusters at a hotel and several restaurants in Sydney.

  • South Africa has surpassed 500,000 confirmed cases, representing more than 50 per cent of all reported coronavirus infections in Africa‘s 54 countries. Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize announced 10,107 new cases on Saturday night, bringing the country’s total to 503,290, including 8,153 deaths.

  • Italy‘s daily infections dipped below 300 cases for the first time in three days, after a recent flurry of clusters throughout the nation raised concern among health experts. The Health Ministry said Italy registered 295 cases in 24 hours, raising the total to 247,832, with more than 35,000 deaths.

  • Hurricane Isaias is heading towards the Florida coast in the United States, where officials said they were closing coronavirus testing centres and navigating safety measures for evacuation facilities.

03:38 AM

Trump wants schools to open, but son’s private school will stay closed

US President Donald Trump with son Barron and First Lady Melania Trump - REUTERS/Tom Brenner
US President Donald Trump with son Barron and First Lady Melania Trump – REUTERS/Tom Brenner

Donald Trump insists that schools reopen so students can go back to their classrooms, but the Maryland private school where his 14-year-old son Barron is enrolled is among those under county orders to stay closed.

Montgomery County Health Officer Dr Travis Gayles said his order to stay closed for in-person instruction until October 1 and to conduct online classes only would be reevaluated to determine whether it should be extended, terminated or amended.

Dr Gayles noted increases in transmission rates for Covid-19 in Maryland – particularly in younger age groups.

The US president argues that children are being harmed by being away from the classroom.

Federal medical experts said decisions about reopening schools should be made locally.

02:54 AM

Government ‘drops pledge to test everyone in care homes’

The Government has abandoned a pledge to regularly test all people in care homes from this summer, it has been reported.

In a memo sent to local authority chief executives on Friday and reported by The Sunday Times, the government’s adult social care testing director said the promise was being dropped. 

“Previously advised timelines for rolling out regular testing in care homes” were being axed because of “unexpected delays”, Professor Jane Cummings said.

The decision, which would throw into chaos the Government’s test and trace system, appears to roll back on a pledge of regular testing of nearly two million care home residents and staff.

Testing was planned to start on July 6, but delayed, and Prof Cummings said that the earliest date by which it would reach care homes was now September 7.

The newspaper also reports that another memo sent to health officials last week said that nearly two-thirds of care homes had not yet had a round of asymptomatic testing, and only about a third of homes had been sent testing equipment.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said the decision was an “utter disgrace”.

Read more: Promise to test care home residents ‘abandoned’

Care home residents and staff may have to wait until September 7 for testing - PA
Care home residents and staff may have to wait until September 7 for testing – PA

02:41 AM

HK residents fear China may use DNA samples for surveillance

Seven Chinese health officials were due to arrive in Hong Kong on Sunday, the first members of a 60-person team that will carry out widespread testing for Covid-19 in the territory as the global financial hub races to halt a third wave of illness.

China’s National Health Commission on Saturday announced their scheduled arrival.

Members of the team are from public hospitals in Guangdong province while a specialist team of six from Wuhan – where coronavirus first appeared – will help prepare part of the AsiaWorld Expo convention centre as a facility for Covid-19 patients.

The initiative is the first time mainland health officials have assisted Hong Kong in its battle to control the virus.

Some local residents fear China may use this as an excuse to collect DNA samples for surveillance purposes.

Leader Carrie Lam said the former British colony asked for help from the central government due to the resurgence in cases.

She said the government was studying whether everyone in Hong Kong could be tested, local broadcaster RTHK reported.

The Chinese territory saw a surge in locally transmitted cases in July and introduced a raft of tightening measures including restricting gatherings to two people and mandating masks in all outdoor public spaces.

Hong Kong has reported around 3,400 cases and 33 deaths since January, but the daily number of new infections has been in the triple digits for the past 11 days.

READ MORE: Hong Kong turns exhibition centre into makeshift hospital amid new wave

02:34 AM

Another day with more than 60,000 US cases

The United States recorded 61,262 new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours leading up to 8.30pm on Saturday (0030 GMT Sunday), according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

It was the fifth consecutive day with more than 60,000 infections.

There were 1,051 deaths in the 24-hour period.

The US has now tallied more than 4.62 million cases and 154,360 deaths, making it the hardest-hit country in the world.

02:17 AM

New infection numbers continue to climb in China

China reported 49 cases of coronavirus on Saturday, up from 45 cases a day earlier.

Of the new infections, 30 were in the far-western region of Xinjiang, three were in the northeastern province of Liaoning, and the remaining 16 were imported cases, according to a statement by the National Health Commission.

Mainland China has 87,821 confirmed cases and 4,667 deaths.

01:20 AM

Tennis star Nick Kyrgios pulls out of US Open over Covid concerns

Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from the US Open and again criticised some of his fellow professionals for their decisions to ignore health advice during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kyrgios follows compatriot and women’s world number one Ash Barty, who withdrew from the August 31-September 13 tournament earlier this week.

“I will not be playing this year at the US Open,” Kyrgios said in a video on social media on Sunday.

“It hurts me at my core not to be out there competing in one of the sport’s greatest arenas, Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“But I’m sitting out for the people, for my Aussies, for the hundreds and thousands of Americans that have lost their lives, for all of you. It’s my decision.”

Kyrgios had no problems with the USTA scheduling the tournament or players competing if they chose, “so long as everyone acts appropriately and acts safely”.

Read the full story here.

12:52 AM

Record case numbers for Mexico

Mexico reported a record 9,556 new cases of coronavirus and 784 fatalities on Saturday, bringing the total in the country to 434,193 cases and 47,472 deaths.

The government said the real number of infected people was likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

Couples in Mexico have taken to the streets to show off their newborn babies – but in a manner that protects them from coronavirus.

Families inside a sanitised cabin called a Baby Cabin Parade display their babies to relatives as a social distancing solution during the coronavirus outbreak in Monterrey, Mexico (below).

A couple is seen with their newborn baby - REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
A couple is seen with their newborn baby – REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
A mother with her baby - REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
A mother with her baby – REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
Social distancing with a newborn - REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
Social distancing with a newborn – REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
On the streets of Mexico - REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
On the streets of Mexico – REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

12:34 AM

Tougher restrictions expected for Victoria

Police on horseback patrol The Shrine of Remembrance enforcing people to wear masks in Melbourne - WILLIAM WEST/AFP
Police on horseback patrol The Shrine of Remembrance enforcing people to wear masks in Melbourne – WILLIAM WEST/AFP

The Australian state of Victoria will toughen its social distancing measures in coming days as the country’s second-most populous state struggles to contain coronavirus, media reported on Sunday.

Victoria’s capital of Melbourne is already under a reimposed six-week stay-home order and reported record numbers of new infections last week. Authorities warned of more restrictions ahead.

The state reported more than 650 infections on Sunday, up from 397 cases on Saturday.

Melbourne newspapers reported that plans going into effect on Wednesday would restrict movement for six weeks and close all but essential businesses.

Police patrol The Shrine of Remembrance enforcing the wearing of face masks in Melbourne - WILLIAM WEST/AFP
Police patrol The Shrine of Remembrance enforcing the wearing of face masks in Melbourne – WILLIAM WEST/AFP

Australia has fared far better than many other countries in keeping the virus from spreading, at a high economic cost.

The country has recorded around 17,300 cases and 200 deaths, but the recent surge in Victoria has been difficult to contain.

At present, the people of Melbourne are allowed to go out for work, essential shopping, medical care and exercise, but under the new restrictions they would have to stay within 5km (three miles) of their homes, with only one person from each household allowed to go grocery shopping.

The Age newspaper reported that Victorian officials and politicians worked late into Saturday on the details of the next stage of the restrictions, which could be announced on Sunday or Monday.

12:14 AM

Thousands demonstrate in Jerusalem over Covid and corruption

Protesters light torches during a protest against Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his residence in Jerusalem - AP Photo/Oded Balilty
Protesters light torches during a protest against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his residence in Jerusalem – AP Photo/Oded Balilty

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday and thronged the streets of central Jerusalem, as weeks of protests against the Israeli leader appeared to be gaining steam.

The demonstration in central Jerusalem, along with smaller gatherings in Tel Aviv, near Mr Netanyahu’s beach house in central Israel and at dozens of busy intersections nationwide, was one of the largest turnouts in weeks of protests.

People take part in a demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
People take part in a demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Throughout summer, thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets, calling for Mr Netanyahu to resign, protesting his handling of the country’s coronavirus crisis and saying he should not remain in office while on trial for corruption charges.

Israel has 72,218 confirmed cases of coronavirus and recorded 526 deaths.

Although Mr Netanyahu has tried to play down the protests, the twice-a-week gatherings show no signs of slowing.

People take part in a demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
People take part in a demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Israeli media estimated at least 10,000 people demonstrated near the official residence in central Jerusalem. 

Hundreds of people remained in the area well after midnight, ignoring calls by police to leave. Anti-riot forces moved into the area and began clearing out people.

As of 2am, most of the remaining people appeared to be leaving peacefully, but police were seen dragging some activists away.

11:06 PM

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