Writing in the Telegraph, Paul Charles, spokesperson for campaign group Quash Quarantine and founder of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “I know from senior government sources that anything above 20 per 100,000 for a period of seven days or more is likely to lead to that country being added to the quarantine list.
“On that basis, France has just two days to gets its numbers below 20 – which is highly unlikely.”
Meanwhile, Gavin Williamson has said it’s now a “national priority” to make sure kids return to school next month.
A day after Boris Johnson said it was the country’s “moral duty” to get kids back to class, the Education Secretary welcomed a study by Public Health England that shows there is little evidence of Covid-19 spread in schools.
This comes as deaths hit 46,574 after 8 deaths yesterday.
Follow our coronavirus live blog for all the latest news and updates…
TENERIFE COPS BUST VIRUS PARTY
Spanish cops have busted a coronavirus party aimed at deliberately spreading the killer bug, as cases leap by 700 per cent in a month.
Officials in Tenerife accused more than 60 people of camping on the beach as part of an alleged deliberate attempt to spread Covid-19.
La Orotava’s Security Councillor Narciso Perez said the police operation came after investigators discovered the planned beach party on social media.
He told local press: “Over the past few days, Civil Guard officers have discovered a kind of get-together which was being planned on social media to carry out a mass camping trip to Los Patos beach designed to help the spread of Covid-19.
“This is a threat which has been taken very seriously.
“The Civil Guard has carried out a thorough investigation to identify those people who organised this and they have been questioned.”
Full report by Natalia Penza here.
MANCHESTER CROWN COURT CLOSED
Manchester Crown Court has been forced to close after three staff members tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend.
It comes after the court in Crown Square was closed for a deep clean on Thursday morning after a person tested positive for the virus.
A Ministry of Justice (MoJ) spokesman said the court is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday and “as many hearings as possible” were moved to Minshull Crown Court across the city.
He said: “Manchester Crown Court is being deep cleaned today after three people working there tested positive for Covid-19 at the weekend.
“We are following public health guidelines to ensure the safety of all court users and the site is due to reopen tomorrow.”
CUBA FEARS OUTBREAK
Cuba has reported 93 new cases of the coronavirus as fears grow over an outbreak in Havana.
Most of the new cases were recorded in the capital, where a partial lockdown was re-imposed today, and in neighboring Artemisa province.
In Havana, restaurants, bars and pools are once more closed, public transportation suspended and access to the beach banned.
The country has been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic, after implementing a sophisticated contact tracing system and isolating potentially asymptomatic carriers of the disease.
OUTBREAK AT A BED FACTORY
Wakefield Council in Yorkshire has confirmed an outbreak at a bed factory after four workers tested positive.
The council said they “acted swiftly” to contain the outbreak at a Sleep Factory in the Ossett area.
Anna Hartley, Wakefield Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We are aware that four cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at Sleep Factory in Ossett.
“We’ve taken swift action to work with the business, Public Health England and the HSE to help limit any further potential spread and all the cases are all self-isolating.”
WHO PREDICTS GRIM MILESTONE
The global death toll from Covid-19 will surpass 750,000 this week, the World Health Organisation said.
The WHO added that the number of cases around the world will reach 20 million.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, said: “This week we will reach 20 million registered cases of Covid-19 and 750,000 deaths.
“Behind these statistics is a great deal of pain and suffering. Every life lost matters.”
‘DOOR KNOCKS’ A POSSIBILITY FOR COVID-19 CONTACTS
People who have been in contact with confirmed coronavirus cases may get a knock on their door if tracers are unable to reach them over the phone.
It comes as health officials have announced plans to strengthen regional test and trace powers in England.
In pilot schemes, this has meant that local authorities have been able to visit people at homes where national contact tracers have been unable to reach them.
STURGEON: PM MUST FOLLOW THE RULES IN SCOTLAND
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has reiterated everyone visiting the country should follow coronavirus advice, after The Sunday Times reported that the PM will be holidaying north of the border.
When asked at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing on Monday about the reports, Ms Sturgeon urged him and anyone else coming for a “staycation” to follow local advice.
She said: “Whether it’s the Prime Minister or anyone coming to Scotland, I can’t wait for the date where I can say ‘everyone come to Scotland and holiday’ because we’re over the worst of this virus but right now we need to encourage everybody whether they’re living in Scotland or visiting Scotland to take great care.
“So, whether it’s the Prime Minister or anybody else, when you’re in Scotland – and you should hopefully be doing this wherever you live – abide by all the advice.”
SIX FURTHER DEATHS IN ENGLISH HOSPITALS
A further six people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,419, NHS England confirmed.
The patients were aged between 65 and 93 and all had known underlying health conditions.
The region with the highest number of deaths was the South East with four.
There were also two deaths in the North East and Yorkshire but all other regions of England recorded no deaths for the same time period, including the North West, where local lockdown measures are in place around Greater Manchester.
GOVT ‘REVIEWING DAILY DEATH TOLL’ STATS
He added: “We have been reviewing the publication of the daily death statistics and I’d expect us to be providing an update on this shortly.
“What we’re doing is working to review publication of the daily data on coronavirus deaths as soon as possible.”
PM: ‘WE WILL CONTINUE TO TAKE ACTION ON LOCAL LOCKDOWNS’
Quizzed earlier about local lockdowns, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The PM has set out previously we do need to keep monitoring the infections closely and that’s what we’re doing.
“Obviously there are a series of local lockdowns in place in the North West and West Yorkshire along with Leicester and wherever we do see a local outbreak then we will take action either as a Government or at local authority level.”
Asked if restrictions could be lifted, he added: “When we paused that section of the road map I think we said it was until the end of this week at the earliest, we’ll continue to review the data and at the end of this week, we will set out a decision on whether or not we’re able to go ahead with the opening of those remaining sectors of the economy.”
WHAT ARE THE TRAVEL RULES FOR CYPRUS?
To enter the country, Brits will need to get a Covid-negative test results, although the NHS does not offer free coronavirus tests for travel reasons.
Private tests can cost up to £200 per passenger.
All travellers to Cyprus must also complete a Cyprus Flight Pass before travelling which has your test result uploaded within 24 hours of your departure.
People arriving in the UK from Cyprus are exempt from the Government’s 14-day quarantine policy.
JET2 TO RESUME CYPRUS FLIGHTS NEXT WEEK
Airline and tour operator Jet2.com will resume its flights and holidays programme for Cyprus next week.
The firm announced it will restart taking UK holidaymakers to the eastern Mediterranean country from August 17.
Flights to Larnaca and Paphos will depart from eight UK airports, consisting of Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, London Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle.
ANTONIO BANDERAS ANNOUNCES HE HAS CORONAVIRUS
Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, 60, has announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in quarantine.
“I’d like to add that I’m feeling relatively well, just a bit more tired than usual, and confident that I will recover as soon as possible,” Banderas said on Twitter.
Quiero contaros lo siguiente… pic.twitter.com/u579iBVLM0
— Antonio Banderas (@antoniobanderas) August 10, 2020
VICAR USES CHOPSTICKS TO GIVE OUT HOLY COMMUNION
A Church of England vicar has been using chopsticks to give bread to parishioners during Holy Communion
Rev Eileen Harrop said that the chopsticks helped her to maintain social distancing with churchgoers at St Mary’s in Gainford, County Durham.
She said: “Many of my parishioners were quite anxious at the thought of taking Communion, even though we are only permitted to do so under strict guidelines to ensure that there is no chance of transmission of the virus.
“I thought ‘why can’t I use a long pair of chopsticks and drop real bread rather than wafers into the communicants’ hands?”
MORE ON LOCAL TEST AND TRACE
The statement from the Department of Health adds that the national service is to give local areas “dedicated ring-fenced teams” to help with contact tracing.
Officials said that if the national team cannot make contact with a resident within a set period of time, the local public health officials can use the data provided by NHS Test and Trace to follow up.
In some pilot areas this has involved local authority teams visiting people at home, it added.
TEST AND TRACE SCHEME WILL PROVIDE LOCAL TEAMS, GOVT SAYS
The Department of Health has said that the Test and Trace scheme will provide local areas with dedicated teams of contact tracers to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“These dedicated teams of NHS (National Health Service) Test and Trace contact tracers will focus their work on specific areas, alongside the relevant local public health officials to provide a more tailored service,” it said in a statement.
JUST IN: OLDHAM BECOMES ENGLAND’S CORONAVIRUS HOTSPOT
Oldham, in Greater Manchester, has become the coronavirus hotspot in England amidst a surge in infections.
The town recorded 145 new cases of the virus in the last seven days, government figures show.
This brings the infection rate to 61 new cases per 100,000 people in the area – the highest rate in England, and above Leicester and Blackburn with Darwen.
WHAT OTHER STUDIES HAVE SAID
Other studies have also suggested that reopening schools is safe – but only when effective contact tracing measures are in place.
Another recent paper, also published in The Lancet Child And Adolescent Health, concluded that reopening schools in the UK must be combined with a high-coverage test-trace-isolate strategy to avoid a second wave of Covid-19 later this year.
The authors found that “with increased levels of testing… and effective contact tracing and isolation, an epidemic rebound might be prevented”.
We are also waiting on results from an English study carried out in June by Public Health England – which saw swabs taken from around 20,000 teachers and children from 100 schools across England after some children returned to school.
Results from this study have not been officially published but the study has been alluded to by officials and experts who have said that there is “very little evidence that the virus is transmitted in schools.”
WHAT WOULD THE IMPACT BE ON THE WIDER POPULATION?
A European study has suggested reopening schools was not a major danger in community transmission of the disease.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control studied 15 countries, including the UK, and concluded: “There is conflicting published evidence on the impact of school closure/re-opening on community transmission levels, although the evidence from contact tracing in schools, and observational data from a number of EU countries suggest that re-opening schools has not been associated with significant increases in community transmission.”
WHAT IS THE LATEST SCIENCE BEHIND COVID-19 AND SCHOOLS?
An intriguing Australian study published last week gave insight into the spread of the virus in the New South Wales region.
The research, published in The Lancet Child And Adolescent Health journal, looked at data from the region between January and April.
It concluded that the risk of children and staff transmitting the virus in these educational settings was very low when contact tracing and “epidemic management” is in place.
During the study, 27 children or teachers attended 15 schools and 10 nurseries while infectious and researchers then tracked 1,448 contacts of these pupils and teachers.
They found that only an additional 18 people later became infected – these occurred at three schools and one nursery.
EXPLAINED: THE SCIENCE BEHIND OPENING SCHOOLS
Much of today’s discussion has focused on the reopening of schools, with ministers rushing to assure parents and pupils that schools are safe to reopen come the end of the summer holidays.
But what does the science say about schools reopening? We explore in the next few posts.
DOWNING ST: SCHOOLS WILL STAY OPEN IN LOCAL LOCKDOWN
Downing Street also insisted that schools would stay open if possible in local lockdowns.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It’s correct to say that schools would be the absolute last sector to close in any local lockdown.”
PM: ‘WE WON’T HESITATE’ TO IMPOSE QUARANTINE IF NECESSARY
The PM’s official spokesman added: “If there is a need to act very rapidly in order to protect public health, then we wouldn’t hesitate to do so.
“Unfortunately, during this pandemic there isn’t a risk-free way of travelling overseas. The population’s made a huge effort to get the disease down to the levels that we’re seeing in the UK and if we feel that we need to act in relation to the travel exemptions list then we’ll do so.”
He continued: “While we can amend the list at any time and we can remove countries from the exempt list, if there’s a sustained improvement in the health situation in a particular country we can reinstate exemptions or add some new ones.”
DOWNING STREET COY ON FRENCH QUARANTINE
Asked if France could be added to the quarantine list, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We keep the data for all countries and territories under constant review.
“Any decisions to update the exemptions list will be informed by the latest health data and we can and will act rapidly. We have been updating the exemptions list on a weekly basis in order to make sure that it reflects the changes in the international health picture.”
MARRIOTT HOTELS POST BIGGER-THAN-EXPECTED LOSSES AS VIRUS HITS BOOKINGS
U.S. hotel operator Marriott International posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss on Monday, as the coronavirus crisis curbed global travel and led to a plunge in room bookings.
Marriott’s shares, down 40.3 per cent this year, fell 3 per cent in premarket trading as the company also reported an 84.4 per cent plunge in revenue per available room – a key performance measure for the hotel industry.