Covid-19 infections in Philippines pass 100,000
Boris Johnson orders officials to draw up plan for avoiding second UK lockdown
Summary: New restrictions announced in Victoria
Victorian restrictions to last for six weeks, until 13 September 2020
Victorian students to return to remote learning
Curfew introduced in metropolitan Melbourne, regional Victoria to enter stage 3 restrictions
A senior UK government minister has distanced himself from reports that millions of people over 50 could face tighter restrictions under plans to avoid a second national lockdown.
The communities minister, Robert Jenrick, was asked about the suggestions on Times Radio, tweets the Mail’s deputy political editor.
The World Health Organization has warned that the coronavirus pandemic would be lengthy and could lead to “response fatigue”, as the case count in South Africa topped half a million.
Six months after the WHO declared a global emergency, the novel coronavirus has killed more than 680,000 people and infected more than 17.5 million, according to a tally by the AFP news agency.
South Africa is by far the hardest hit country in Africa, accounting for more than half of diagnosed infections, although President Cyril Ramaphosa said the fatality rate is lower than the global average.
Health authorities had been expecting a surge in cases after the gradual loosening of a strict lockdown that was imposed at the end of March.
Nigeria on Saturday also announced it would ease a lockdown in the commercial capital Lagos, allowing churches and mosques to reopen next week.
An emergency WHO committee reviewing the pandemic “highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this Covid-19 outbreak, noting the importance of sustained community, national, regional, and global response efforts”.
“WHO continues to assess the global risk level of Covid-19 to be very high,” it said in its latest statement.
The agency also said the effects of the pandemic “will be felt for decades to come”.
Covid-19 infections in Philippines pass 100,000
Coronavirus infections in the Philippines surged past 100,000 Sunday in a troubling milestone after medical groups declared that the country was waging a losing battle against the virus and asked the president to reimpose a lockdown in the capital.
The Department of Health reported a record-high daily tally of 5,032, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 103,185, including more than 2,000 deaths, the Associated Press news agency reports.
The Philippines has the second highest number of cases in south-east Asia after Indonesia, and has had more infections than China, where the pandemic began late last year.
President Rodrigo Duterte eased a tough virus lockdown in the capital, Manila a city of more than 12 million people on 1 June after the economy shrank slightly in the first quarter, its first contraction in more than two decades. After shopping malls and workplaces were partially reopened and limited public transport was allowed, infections spiked sharply with increased virus testing.
After Duterte further relaxed quarantine restrictions and allowed more businesses, including gyms, internet cafes and tattoo shops, to reopen, leaders of nearly 100 medical organizations held an online news conference Saturday and warned that the health system may collapse as many medical personnel fall ill or resign out of fear, fatigue or poor working conditions.
“We are waging a losing battle against Covid-19 and we need to draw up a consolidated, definitive plan of action,” said the groups, which represent more than a million nurses, doctors and other medical personnel.
In the UK, where police have broken up several large dance parties since the lockdown began earlier this year, a warning has been issued to people to stay away from an area in south-west England, where they have been forced to break up a rave attended by a “large volume” of partygoers.
Gloucestershire police sent out this tweet this morning:
Police told PA Media news agency that they responded to reports of a “large volume” of people in the area. No arrests have yet been made.
Officers clashed with partygoers at an illegal event in north London last month while music from a similar event attended by 3,000 people in Bath last month could be heard five miles away.
Financial penalties which would otherwise be in place in the case of jobseekers in the Australian state of Victoria have been suspended for now as authorities seek to mitigate the social impact of the lockdown there.
The Guardian’s Luke Henriques-Gomes relays details:
After the the announcement of tough new restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne, including an overnight curfew, we’ve launched a piece explaining some of the rules
The stage 4 restrictions covering metropolitan Melbourne run from Sunday 2 August and will last for six weeks until Sunday 13 September.
You are only allowed to leave your house for four reasons: shopping for food and essential items, care and caregiving, daily exercise and work. Employers must support you to work from home if you can work from home.
Unlike stage 3, there is now a curfew on Melbourne residents between 8pm and 5am.
Australia’s Capital Territory, which is home to Canberra, is currently “Covid-free” but the risk of the virus returning to the territory is “edging higher” with daily increases in the number of active cases across New South Wales (NSW), according to authorities there.
The NSW premier and chief health officer say the state’s government is encouraging people to wear a mask in enclosed spaces where physical distancing is not possible.
This includes work in customer-facing roles in hospitality or retail, public transport and places of worship. Face masks are also recommended to be word by those in areas of high community transmission.
Tokyo confirmed 292 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, after the number of cases rose by more than 400 in the past two days, according to Japan’s public broadcaster.
Governor Koike Yuriko had said Tokyo could declare a state of emergency if the coronavirus situation in the Japanese capital deteriorates further, as debate deepened over how to respond to record increases in new infections.
Russia reported 5,427 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, bringing its nationwide tally to 850,870, the fourth largest caseload in the world.
Russia’s coronavirus taskforce said 70 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll in the country of about 145 million people to 14,128.
Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, had said that recent improvement in his country could quickly be reversed.
“The number of coronavirus infections in Russia gradually decreased in June and July,” Putin said during a video conference with officials on Wednesday last week, adding that the number of new cases had halved since the peak in May.
The British prime minister, Boris Johnson, has ordered officials to work up a plan for avoiding a second national lockdown, according to a Sunday newspaper report this morning.
The Sunday Telegraph – formerly the home of Johnson columns – reports that elderly people and others considered to be at increased risk from Covid-19 could be asked to stay at home under radical plans being drawn up to avert a second national lockdown.
It adds that the prime minister has asked officials to prepare a range of measures that could help avoid shutting down the economy for a second time.
There’s talk of “enhanced” or “differential” shielding, while one proposal is for shielded people to be allocated specific times of the week to have exclusive access to some services and shops.
In England, government plans to reopen all schools in September have been called into question by leading scientists and the head of a major teaching union amid signs that cases of Covid-19 are increasing again at an alarming rate.
Despite imposing new restrictions on people meeting indoors in parts of the north of England on Thursday – and postponing plans to allow bowling alleys, casinos, skating rinks and other venues to reopen a day later – ministers insist that reopening schools fully early next month remains a top priority.
But in a sign of growing concern and uncertainty about the strategy, Patrick Roach, the general secretary of the NASUWT, which represents more than 300,000 teachers across the UK, said the government needed to take urgent action to convince parents and teachers that schools would be safe.
The clock is ticking down to the start of a six-week overnight curfew in the Australian city of Melbourne, where residents will be banned from travelling more than 5km to go shopping or exercise as the state of Victoria struggles to get the number of new cases of coronavirus under control.
Its premier, Daniel Andrews, announced that from 6pm on Sunday, people in the Melbourne metropolitan area would be under curfew for six weeks until 13 September.
Andrews also declared a state of disaster in Victoria for the first time since the bushfires earlier this year.
Under the new restrictions, residents would only be able to leave their home once a day for essential supplies and food, and once for one hour’s exercise, within a 5km radius.
Good morning from London, meanwhile, from where this is Ben Quinn picking up the live blog from Helen.
That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan for today. Thank you for following along.
My colleague Ben Quinn will be taking you through the next while of pandemic news.
In non-coronavirus news, here is a glimpse of a stupefyingly good whale sighting on Sunday morning at Manly Beach near Sydney, Australia:
And our story on the encounter:
Here are the key developments from the last few hours:
- There are nearly 18 million known coronavirus cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, with 17,853,948 currently confirmed. Just over 685,000 deaths have been confirmed so far.
- The state of Victoria, Australia announced further restrictions after 671 new cases were confirmed overnight, placing Melbourne under a strict “Stage 4” lockdown and regional Victoria under Stage 3 lockdown, as well as declaring a “state of disaster”. Under stage 4 restrictions, residents will be allowed out of their houses to exercise or shop within a 5km radius. A curfew will be put in place between 8pm and 5am. The restrictions are set to be in place for six weeks.
- The Australian state of New South Wales advised that people begin wearing masks while grocery shopping, on public transport and at places of worship.
- Boris Johnson has ordered officials to work-up a plan for avoiding a second national lockdown, according to reports. Prime Minister is considering asking the elderly to shield once again and is mulling lockdown-like conditions for London should there be a second wave of coronavirus infections, The Sunday Telegraph and The Sunday Times said.
- Donald Trump claims Anthony Fauci ‘wrong’ about cause of Covid-19 surge. Donald Trump launched an extraordinary attack on his own top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, arguing against the doctor’s claim that high rates of infection in the US stem from a less aggressive reaction to the virus in terms of economic shutdowns and stay-at-home orders.
- Media to be banned from Republican convention due to coronavirus restrictions. The media will be barred from the Republican national convention where Donald Trump is set to be renominated as presidential candidate later this month, a spokeswoman said on Saturday, citing coronavirus restrictions. While Trump called off the public components of the convention in Florida last month, citing spiking cases of the virus across the country, 336 delegates are scheduled to gather in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 24 August to formally vote to make Trump the GOP standard-bearer once more.
- Mexico racked up a record number of new confirmed coronavirus infections on Saturday, registering more than 9,000 daily cases for the first time and passing the previous peak for the second day running, official data showed. Mexico’s health ministry announced 9,556 new cases of coronavirus, surging past the record of 8,458 set on Friday. The ministry also logged 784 additional fatalities, bringing the total tally in the country to 434,193 cases and 47,472 deaths.
- Philippines doctors and nurses urge new lockdowns as cases surge. The Philippines on Saturday reported record increases in new daily infections at 5,000, despite tightened restrictions. “We are waging a losing battle against Covid-19, and we need to draw up a consolidated, definitive plan of action,” said an open letter signed by 80 Filipino medical associations.
- South Africa’s confirmed coronavirus infections have surpassed half a million, the health ministry said on Saturday, while cases in Africa as a whole approached a million.
- Nick Kyrgios withdraws from US open, in a huge blow to the New York grand slam, AAP reports.The Australian tennis superstar said he had no problem with the USTA proceeding with their plans to hold the tournament in September but cited health and safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic as he joined world No.1 Ashleigh Barty in opting out of the Flushing Meadows major.
- Several thousand demonstrators gathered outside the official residence of Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, as weeks of protests against the Israeli leader showed no signs of slowing.
- Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos will allow churches and mosques to resume in-person services from 7 August, and restaurants, social clubs and recreational centres will also be allowed to reopen with limited capacity from 14 August as the state, the centre of Nigeria’s coronavirus outbreak, eases restrictions despite a continued rise in infections.
- Ireland’s chief medical officer described a recent spike in Covid-19 infections as “concerning”, as the average number of cases per day doubled from around 20 in recent weeks to over 40 over the past five days.