India passes 5 million coronavirus cases
Trump says Covid-19 will ‘go away’ because of ‘herd mentality’
New Zealand sees second consecutive day with no new cases
Virus death toll linked to Maine wedding grows to 7
Half the world’s schoolchildren still unable to attend classrooms
World still at the beginning of the pandemic, WHO expert warns
More on the UK’s Covid-19 testing crisis. The justice secretary, Robert Buckland, has insisted that while the government faces “real challenges”, it will do “whatever it takes” to get the system working properly.
“We’ll do whatever it takes to make sure we have that capacity,” he told the BBC. “We know where the pressure points are, we are piloting new walk-in test centres.”
His comments came as Britons turned up at hospital A&E departments on Tuesday to try to get a coronavirus test due a lack of available bookings online.
“Laboratory capacity has been an issue. We’re working our way through that, we’re increasing the number of test centres – we’ve got 400 test centres, getting it up to 500 – but clearly there are still real challenges,” Buckland said during another interview with Sky News on Wednesday.
He also suggested schoolchildren and their parents would be the next priority for testing after health and social care workers.
As India’s coronavirus caseload surpasses 5 million, some hospitals in the country are dealing with unreliable supplies of oxygen needed to treat tens of thousands of critical patients.
In the worst-affected states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, demand has more than tripled, prompting urgent calls for help.
“Desperate patients have been calling me through the night but I don’t know when I will get stock,” Rishikhesh Patil, an oxygen supplier in the western city of Nashik, told Reuters.
India has the world’s fastest growing coronavirus epidemic and added its last million infections in just 12 days. It is only the second country in the world to have more than 5 million cases, after the US.
At least 6% of India’s nearly 1 million active cases need oxygen support, health ministry official Rajesh Bhushan told reporters. Supplies were adequate but state governments should monitor usage and flag shortages, he said.
“The problem happens at a facility level if there is no inventory management. Every state should ensure this,” Bhushan said.
In the capital of India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, the total requirement of oxygen cylinders stood at 5,000 cylinders compared with 1,000 cylinders in normal times, a government official said. Meanwhile, an official in Maharashtra said the state had decided to reduce supply to neighbouring states to meet its growing demand.
Ravindra Khade Patil, a doctor who manages two private hospitals on the outskirts of Mumbai, said that two days ago his oxygen supplier did not turn up at the usual time.
Patil made frantic calls to the supplier and then to nearby hospitals and lawmakers, knowing that if the oxygen didn’t arrive soon, it would be too late for some of his most critical patients.
Finally, past midnight, thanks to pressure from a government official, the oxygen tanks arrived.
“If they had arrived even a couple of hours late, we could have lost five or six patients,” Patil told Reuters.
If you’re scratching your head having woken up to the news that Donald Trump has claimed Covid-19 will “go away” without a vaccine, here’s a recap.
During an interview on ABC News on Tuesday, the US president said this would happen because of “herd mentality”. It remains unclear if he meant herd immunity, having repeated the phrase several times.
“It would go away without the vaccine, George,” he told journalist George Stephanopoulos. “With time it goes away and you’ll develop like a herd mentality. It’s gonna be herd developed, that’s gonna happen.”
He also moved to blame his Democratic election opponent, former vice-president Joe Biden, for not instituting a national mask mandate during the pandemic.
The UK’s Boris Johnson is set to face a grilling over the “failure” of the country’s test and trace system from MPs at prime minister’s questions (PMQs) on Wednesday.
As the system struggles to cope with soaring demand, people in the worst-hit areas of the UK have been turning up at accident and emergency departments at hospitals to ask for a Covid-19 test.
On Tuesday, health secretary Matt Hancock admitted it might be “a matter of weeks” before the crisis is resolved.
Johnson is set to face the opposition’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, during PMQs while the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, remains in isolation as he waits for a Covid test result for a member of his family.
He will then be questioned by select committee chairs who make up the liaison committee.
With his government facing challenges on multiple fronts, Johnson will be asked about its response to the pandemic, as well as Brexit negotiations and the integrated review of foreign policy, defence, security and international development.
The Czech Republic reported 1,677 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday – its highest daily count since the beginning of the pandemic.
As of Tuesday evening, health ministry data showed the overall number of cases in the country – which has a population of 10.7 million – stood at 38,896.
In Ukraine, a record 76 coronavirus-related deaths were registered in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Wednesday.
The country’s previous record – 72 – was registered last week. The council said 162,660 cases were recorded in the country as of 16 September, with 3,340 deaths and 72,324 people recovered.
That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan, for today. Thanks for following along.
Here is our global report:
Here are the key developments from the last few hours:
- India’s coronavirus cases have passed 5 million, testing the country’s feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages.The Health Ministry reported 90,123 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the nation’s confirmed total to 5,020,359, about 0.35% of its nearly 1.4 billion population. It said 1,290 more people died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 82,066. India’s total coronavirus caseload is closing in on the United States’ highest tally of more than 6.6 million cases and expected to surpass it within weeks.
- In the US, at least seven people have died in connection to an outbreak in Maine following a wedding reception held over the summer that violated state virus guidelines, public health authorities said.
- US president Donald Trump said Covid-19 would go away without a vaccine. This would happen because of “herd mentality”, he said in an ABC town hall. It is unclear whether he meant herd immunity, as he repeated the phrase several times. “It would go away without the vaccine, George,” he said speaking to ABC journalist George Stephanopoulos. “With time it goes away. And you’ll develop like a herd mentality. It’s going to be herd developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen.”
- New Zealand reported a second consecutive day of no new community cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday.
- Half the world’s schoolchildren are still unable to attend classrooms due to the pandemic. Around 872 million – more than half of whom have not been able to study remotely – are not allowed to attend school in person, Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore said.
- Dáil reconvenes after Irish minister tests negative for Covid-19. Ireland’s minister for health Stephen Donnelly has told RTE that his Covid-19 test has come back negative.Earlier today, Irish cabinet ministers were told to restrict their movements as a precaution after Donnelly contacted his GP to request a test after feeling unwell.However, ministers no longer need to do this following the negative test result and were back in the chamber by 8pm.
- Nearly a fifth of South Africans may have contracted coronavirus, the country’s health minister has said. South Africa has recorded 650,749 cases, but the actual number of infections could be “about 12 million”, Zweli Mkhize said.
- Sweden has recorded its fewest daily Covid-19 cases since March. The country’s rolling seven-day average of new cases stood at 108 on Tuesday, its lowest level since 13 March.
- The Netherlands has hit a daily record of new coronavirus cases. A total of 1,379 new infections – the majority reported in Amsterdam and The Hague – were recorded in the country on Tuesday.
The government of the state of Victoria in Australia is facing three class-action lawsuits over the lockdowns imposed during Melbourne’s second wave of coronavirus, with potentially thousands of plaintiffs seeking damages.
Victoria reported 42 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday and eight people died of Covid in the preceding 24 hours.
This week a Melbourne legal firm, Carbone Lawyers, filed a claim on behalf of workers who had lost income or suffered psychological damage due to strict social distancing laws. The managing partner, Tony Carbone, told Guardian Australia more than 100 plaintiffs had signed on prior to Wednesday:
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,901 to 263,663, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.
The reported death toll rose by six to 9,368, the tally showed.
Mexico reported 4,771 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 629 additional fatalities on Tuesday, bringing its totals to 676,487 infections and 71,678 deaths, according to updated Health Ministry data.
The government has said the real number of infected people is likely to be significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said a vaccine against the deadly coronavirus could be three or four weeks away, underscoring predictions made by US public health officials and Pfizer Inc earlier this month, Reuters reports.
Trump, speaking at a town hall hosted by ABC News in Philadelphia, defended his handling of the coronavirus crisis, and said a vaccine could be ready for distribution soon.
“We’re very close to having a vaccine,” he said. “If you want to know the truth, the previous administration would have taken perhaps years to have a vaccine because of the FDA and all the approvals. And we’re within weeks of getting it you know could be three weeks, four weeks.”
India passes 5 million coronavirus cases
India’s coronavirus cases have passed 5 million, testing the country’s feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages.
The Health Ministry reported 90,123 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the nation’s confirmed total to 5,020,359, about 0.35% of its nearly 1.4 billion population.
It said 1,290 more people died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 82,066.
India’s total coronavirus caseload is closing in on the United States’ highest tally of more than 6.6 million cases and expected to surpass it within weeks.
Restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus in the UK has driven stress, anxiety and depression far above normal levels and may do again in coming months if widespread lockdowns are re-imposed, researchers say.
A major study into the mental health impact of the pandemic found that in the early stages of lockdown 57% of those who took part reported symptoms of anxiety, with 64% recording common signs of depression.
While the mental health problems improved as restrictions eased, scientists warn they may worsen again as infections rise and more aggressive nationwide lockdowns are considered over the autumn and winter: