The coronavirus death toll has dropped by 5,377 following an urgent review into the way deaths are recorded.
It means that now, only deaths that happen within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test will be counted towards the official figure.
It comes following the announcement that positive tests have remained above the crucial 1,000-a-day mark.
A total of 1,009 new cases have been diagnosed – bringing the total number of positive tests to 313,798.
However, the number of new cases diagnosed is lower than yesterday, when 1,148 people were confirmed to have the virus.
Meanwhile, the UK has officially entered into a recession for the first time in 11 years, after the economy shrunk by a record 20.4 per cent in the three months to June.
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CARE HOMES ‘LIKE PRISONS’ AMID PANDEMIC
Care homes have been turned into prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic, with residents “losing the will to live” as they are deprived contact with their families, charities for the elderly have warned.
The Telegraph report the All-Party Parliamentary Group was told restrictions on visiting homes had become so extreme that vulnerable people were being left distressed and lonely, in some cases unable to recognise their loved ones.
Charities said attempts to keep residents safe from the spread of Covid-19 were often creating misery and isolation.
They also criticised the Government for acting so slowly to attempt to protect care homes from the pandemic that 6,000 deaths had occurred by the time testing was introduced.
TRUMP INSISTS U.S. ‘SHARING INFORMATION’ ON COVID-19 VACCINE
President Donald Trump said the US is continuing to work with other countries to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
He repeated his previous forecast that an effective vaccine could be ready before the end of the year.
Trump told reporters at his White House briefing: “We are working with a lot of countries and sharing our information.”
TWO MEN ARRESTED ACCUSED OF SELLING COVID-19 CURE
Colombian officials say they have arrested two Florida men wanted in the United States on charges they illegally sold a bleach-like chemical as a miracle cure for coronavirus.
The Colombian prosecutor’s office said they arrested Mark and Joseph Grennon in the beach town of Santa Marta, where they had been shipping their “Miracle Mineral Solution” – chlorine dioxide – to clients in the United States, Colombia and Africa.
It is believed seven Americans had died from using the substance.
SPANISH ARMY SET UP FIELD HOSPITAL AS COVID-19 CASES RISE
Spain’s army is setting up a field hospital in Zaragoza as the northern city struggles to stop a new spike in Covid-19 cases.
Associated Press report the region of Aragón, home to Zaragoza, has led Spain over the past seven days with 242 hospitalisations and 32 deaths from coronavirus.
TRUMP CALLS FOR FULL SCHOOL REOPENING
President Trump has repeating his call to reopen schools in the U.S. – while pressing congress to steer future coronavirus funding away from schools that do not reopen this fall.
Trump made comments during a White House event with parents, teachers and doctors who support a full return to the classroom.
Also joining Trump were Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Vice President Mike Pence, who said the health risks tied to keeping children at home are greater than those associated with the coronavirus.
PERU EXTENDS COVID-19 LOCKDOWN
Peru has extended its coronavirus lockdown following a surge in cases.
Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra has banned family gatherings and extended lockdowns to five more regions of the country amid a fresh spike in cases of the novel coronavirus.
Fifteen of Peru’s 25 regions were already covered by rolling lockdowns.
Vizcarra announced the return of a blanket Sunday curfew as figures revealed a 75 per cent surge in infections among children and adolescents
He said: “Now those who are infecting us are the people we know, the relatives who come to visit us, the friends who get together to kick a ball around or enjoy a barbecue.”
“It is a problem that together we have to solve.”
COVID-19 CAN SPREAD ON SURFACES, SCIENTISTS SAY
Scientists have said it is possible for coronavirus to spread on surfaces, but say the biggest infection risk remains from person to person.
It comes amid claims that new outbreaks in New Zealand and China are linked to surface spreading.
The Telegraph report that authorities in New Zealand are currently investigating whether the country’s new Covid-19 outbreak was brought into the country via refrigerated goods.
In China, officials have pointed to frozen fish as a potential source of transmission after the virus was found on seafood packaging in the city of Yantai.
However, the World Health Organisation says there are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus transmitted through food or food packaging.
RISHI SUNAK WARNS ‘HARD TIMES ARE HERE’
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned “hard times are here” as the UK economy enters into the “worst ever” recession.
The economy shrunk by a record 20.4 per cent in just three months. It’s the first time in 11 years that the UK has tipped into a recession.
Economists consider two consecutive three-month periods where GDP falls as the technical definition of a recession.
The latest GDP figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this morning showed that GDP fell by 20.4 per cent between April to June.
It follows a drop of 2.2 per cent between January to March.
Sunak said: “I’ve said before that hard times were ahead, and today’s figures confirm that hard times are here.”
TURKEY DELAYS REOPENING OF SCHOOLS
Turkey is set to delay the reopening of schools by almost a month amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Students will return to classrooms in Turkey in late September, nearly a month after the start of the new academic year, the government announced.
It comes as daily coronavirus cases remain above 1,000.
The reintroduction to classes will be a gradual transition, starting with online learning before transitioning to in-person education.
NZ OUTBREAK COULD HAVE BEEN IMPORTED VIA REFRIGERATED GOODS
New Zealand’s health authorities are investigating whether the coronavirus that sparked its new outbreak was brought into the country via refrigerated goods.
The Covid-19 cluster in Auckland has grown to five after a new positive case was confirmed yesterday.
Up to 200 close contacts are being tested.
The country’s largest city has been returned to a level three lockdown and the rest of New Zealand placed at level two after the first positive cases in 102 days were revealed on Tuesday.
1,175 NEW COVID-19 DEATHS IN BRAZIL
Brazil has registered 55,155 new confirmed cases of coronavirus.
There were also a further 1,175 deaths, the health ministry said.
The country now has 3,164,785 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 104,201 deaths.
2,524 NEW COVID-19 CASES IN FRANCE
France has reported 2,524 new coronavirus infections in what is a new post-lockdown daily record.
but there was no strain on hospitals as the virus circulates mainly among younger people, the health minister said.
The country’s total number of cases is now 206,696.
Despite the rise in infections, the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 continued to fall and was down by 121 to 4,891, the first time it fell below 5,000 since 19 March.
The number of people in intensive care with coronavirus also continued its slide, down by 12 to 379.
FACE MASK FIGHT BREAKS OUT ON LONDON TRAIN
A fist fight has broken out on a busy commuter train in an alleged argument over face coverings.
The confrontation happened in front of terrified passengers as the train approached Streatham Common station in south London.
Witnesses say the pair came to blows after one man reportedly challenged another over his lack of mask.
Face masks are now mandatory on public transport across England and those who refuse to wear them face an on-the-spot fine of up to £100.
KIDS AT GREATER RISK AT HOME THAN SCHOOL, WARNS MINISTER
Kids are now at greater risk staying at home than they are in school, an Education Minister has warned.
Nick Gibb said the harm done to children’s mental health of being cooped up and unable to see their pals are bigger than the “minimal” threat posed by coronavirus in the classroom.
He spoke out ahead of the publication of two Public Health England reports which are expected to suggest it is safe for kids to go back to school.
Mr Gibb told Times Radio that kids are safest in the classroom.
He said: “It’s very important they do return in September for their education and mental wellbeing.”
“Children need to be with their friends. The risk of not going to school now is greater than the minimal risks of going to school.”
ITALY ORDERED COVID-19 TESTS FOR TRAVELLERS
Italy has ordered travellers arriving from Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain to be tested for Covid-19 on arrival.
Once the world’s worst-affected country, it also added Colombia to a list of countries under a complete travel ban.
The tightening in restrictions come amid growing concern over new Covid-19 infections.
Italy has managed to bring down and contain the number of virus infections in recent weeks but officials are worried by a gradual resurgence.
On Wednesday, an additional 481 cases and 10 deaths were recorded.
TUI CANCELS MORE FLIGHTS DUE TO COVID-19
TUI has cancelled more flights and holidays to Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Morocco due to coronavirus.
With Spain and Portugal still on the travel ban list, the tour operator has extended their cancellation.
They explained in a statement: “Due to the continued UK Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel to Spain and Portugal, TUI UK has extended holiday cancellations up to and including Friday 28 August 2020 for mainland Spain and Portugal and the Balearic and Canary Islands up to and including Sunday 23 August 2020.”
This could be extended again depending on the travel advice, which is unlikely to change any time soon.
800 DEATHS RELATED TO COVID-RELATED MISINFORMATION
At least 800 people around the world have died due to coronavirus-related misinformation in the first three months of this year, researchers say.
A study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene says around 5,800 people were admitted to hospital as a result of false information on social media.
Many died from drinking methanol or alcohol-based cleaning products, wrongly believing the products were a cure for the virus.
SWEDEN’S COVID-19 HERD IMMUNITY PLAN ‘FAILS’
Sweden’s coronavirus herd immunity push appears to have failed as only 15 per cent of residents have antibodies despite no lockdown, new research shows.
The study’s lead author, Professor David Goldsmith has said however it is too soon to “judge” Sweden, as it’ll take up to another two years to gauge the full impact of measures.
According to University College London’s analysis, while officials predicted that 40 per cent of Stockholm’s population would have become infected with the bug and acquired antibodies by May, the figure was around 15 per cent.
Professor Goldsmith said: “It is clear the rates of viral infection, hospitalisation and mortality (per million population) are much higher than those seen in neighbouring Scandinavian countries.”
He added: “Also the time-course of the epidemic in Sweden is different, with continued persistence of higher infection and mortality well beyond the few critical weeks period seen in Denmark, Finland and Norway.”
VIRTUAL ‘FLIGHTS’ TO CURE COVID-19 WANDERLUST
A Japanese company is offering virtual reality “flights” amid the coronavirus pandemic, to help those struggling with travel restrictions.
Tokyo-based carrier First Airlines is selling two-hour virtual reality “flights” through Japan’s popular sights.
Travel-seekers can experience first-class travel in the mock jetliner cabin where they are served in-flight meals and drinks and can enjoy views of passing clouds.
Customers can also ‘disembark’ and explore different cities through virtual tours.
U.S. RECORDS 5,119,711 COVID-19 CASES
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 5,119,711 cases of coronavirus – an increase of 55,540 infections.
The number of deaths in the United States rose by 1,244, to a national total of 163,651.
STUDENT WARNED NOT TO BREAK LOCKDOWN RULES
A police chief has warned A-level students not to break lockdown rules when they party after receiving their results.
Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Nick Bailey’s warning comes as Oldham faces further lockdown following a surge coronavirus cases.
The current Covid-19 restrictions in the region will severely restrict any partying after students get their A-level exam results on Thursday.
Socialising indoors with people they don’t live with is banned, as is meeting in pubs and restaurants.
GMP has seen a surge breaches in lockdown regulations and Mr Bailey said he didn’t want officers to ruin the “joyous occasion” of getting exams results by handing out fines.
NEW CORONAVIRUS CONTACT TRACING APP TRIAL FOR ENGLAND ‘TO LAUNCH ON THURSDAY’
A new coronavirus contact tracing app will be trialled in England on Thursday, according to reports.
The app is intended to support the NHS Test and Trace effort by keeping a log of others who come into close contact but the plans have been marred by constant delays and privacy concerns.
An initial version tested on the Isle of Wight was ditched by the Government in June over accuracy issues, weeks after Health Secretary Matt Hancock first suggested it would be available in mid-May.
The Government has since moved on to technology designed by Apple and Google – already used in several countries across the world – which handles data in a more privacy-friendly manner and does not suffer the same type of accuracy error.
However, this method is said to struggle with a problem of its own, measuring distance between people correctly.
According to the BBC, the Isle of Wight will be part of the trial once again, as well as one other area in England and a volunteer group.
“We need the app to help stop transmission by tracing close-proximity contacts as quickly and as comprehensively as possible, capturing those contacts we don’t know or don’t remember meeting,” Professor Christophe Fraser, a scientific adviser to the Department of Health from Oxford University, told the broadcaster.
“The app should enable us to return to more normal daily activities with the reassurance that our contacts can be rapidly and anonymously notified if we get infected.”
SCOTLAND – SECOND STAFF MEMBER TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS AT PRISON
A second staff member has tested positive for coronavirus at a prison in East Dunbartonshire.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) confirmed the case at Low Moss prison on the outskirts of Bishopbriggs.
It comes a week after the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said another member of staff had tested positive for Covid-19 and was self-isolating.
As a result of the first case, 50 other people were identified as possible close contacts.
A problem assessment group (PAG) met on Tuesday with representatives from the NHS, the SPS, Health Protection Scotland and East Dunbartonshire Council.
NHSGGC’s Dr Gillian Penrice, who chaired the PAG, said: “All relevant public health measures are in place and myself and our Public Health Team are working with SPS to manage and monitor the situation.”
A spokesperson for SPS also said: “We are taking appropriate measures to respond to the current situation at Low Moss.
“We are working with NHSGGC to ensure that all the required health advice and monitoring measures are in place.”
SURGE IN SPAIN’S VIRUS CASES PROMPTS REGIONAL SMOKING BAN, FIELD HOSPITAL
Coronavirus cases in Spain jumped by nearly 1,700 on Wednesday, part of a surge that has prompted the construction of a military field hospital in the hard-hit Aragon region and led authorities in Galicia to practically ban smoking in public places.
Health ministry data showed 1,690 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed in the 24 hours to Wednesday, up from the 1,418 reported on Tuesday and bringing the cumulative total to 329,784. The new daily number excluded Madrid, which did not provide fresh data due to technical difficulties.
Since lifting its strict lockdown around six weeks ago Spain has struggled to keep a lid on new infections, with average daily cases rising from less than 150 in June to more than 1,500 in the first 12 days of August.
In scenes reminiscent of the epidemic’s March-April peak, TV footage showed air force personnel setting up dark green tents to serve as a field hospital in Zaragoza, Aragon’s regional capital in northeastern Spain.
Set to open on Friday, the facility attached to Zaragoza’s University Clinic hospital will be used as a triage centre and temporary ward, the air force said in a statement.
GREECE RECORDS HIGHEST DAILY NUMBER OF COVID-19 CASES
Greece has registered 262 new coronavirus cases, the highest figure since the pandemic began.
A further two deaths were also recorded, bringing the total to 216.
The number of patients under intensive care has nearly doubled, with 24 reported on Wednesday.
Authorities have blamed the spike in infections on the flouting of social distancing rules in restaurants, bars and public gatherings.