Coronavirus latest news: UK records highest daily rise in new cases since February
The UK has recorded its highest number of new confirmedcoronavirus cases since late February, new figures have shown.
As of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 7,540 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, the highest single-day rise since February 26, the Government said.
Six more people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday, bringing the UK total to 127,860.
The figures also show one in 10 UK local areas (38 out of 380) are currently recording Covid-19 rates above 100 cases per 100,000 people, which is the highest number of areas above this threshold since March 23
Pandemic fuelled racism and child abuse, says EU report
The coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented and profound effect on human rights, fuelling racism and child abuse, the EU’s rights agency said Thursday in its annual report.
“The pandemic and the reactions it triggered exacerbated existing challenges and inequalities in all areas of life, especially affecting vulnerable groups,” a report by the Vienna-based Fundamental Rights Agency said.
“It also sparked an increase in racist incidents,” the FRA added, calling the pandemic’s effects on human rights “profound”.
Marginalised groups such as refugees and migrants were not only at higher risk of contamination, but also lost jobs owing to strict lockdown measures.
Australian states on alert after couple breach lockdown
Two Australian states are on Covid alert after an infected woman and her husband traveled from Victoria, a state in lockdown, through the states of New South Wales and into Queensland, visiting dozens of sites along the way.
Authorities in New South Wales and Queensland are rushing to trace close contacts and locate virus hotspots. The couple may face criminal charges for breaching Covid border restrictions.
The 44-year-old woman tested positive for coronavirus once in Queensland, authorities said late on Wednesday, and her husband has since tested positive.
Queensland state Health Minister Yvette D’Ath told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday that the couple’s tests suggested they were likely at the end of their infectious period.
US to donate 500 million vaccine doses to other countries
The Biden administration plans to donate 500 million Pfizer coronavirus vaccine doses to almost 100 countries over the next two years.
The United States is likely to distribute 200 million shots this year and another 300 million in the first half of next year to 92 lower-income countries and the African Union.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Mr Biden was committed to sharing vaccines because it was in the public health and strategic interest of the US.
The donations will go through the COVAX vaccine program that distributes Covid shots to low and middle-income countries. The program is led by the World Health Organisation and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).
Matt Hancock faces grilling over Cummings’ allegations
The Health Secretary is expected to face further questions about allegations made by Dominic Cummings as he appears in front of a select committee on Thursday.
Matt Hancock was accused by the Prime Minister’s former chief aide of lying to Boris Johnson overcoronavirus plans and being “disastrously incompetent”.
Among the explosive claims from Mr Cummings last month was that Mr Johnson was furious to discover that untested hospital patients had been discharged to care homes, alleging that Mr Hancock had told them both that people being discharged would be tested.
It comes as the Guardian reports that several of the UK’s biggest care home operators say they repeatedly warned the Department of Health about the risks of not testing such people in March 2020.
Airlines demand support amid fears of summer fizzle
Airlines based in Britain have told the government they will need industry-specific support to help them survive if Covid rules continue to keep travel markets shut.
Companies including British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair are in a deepening crisis after Britain’s plans to restart travel on May 17 following an almost five-month ban on foreign holidays fell far short of their hopes.
Britons are still discouraged from travelling to most countries, and since the May reopening, the government has tightened the rules, removing one of the few destinations that was open, Portugal, from a safe travel list.
As July and August approach, the months when airlines make most of their profits, there are worries the summer season may be lost for a second year in a row, risking airline viability and jobs.
France opens borders to vaccinated overseas tourists
After “a very bad year”, Paris tour operator Marc Vernhet sees a ray of light with the promised return of tourists from the United States and elsewhere who are welcome in France as of Wednesday if they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
His agency, 2CVParisTour.com, is starting to get bookings again from Americans for its sightseeing tours conducted in quirky, bug-eyed Citroen cars. June is still very lean, but July is looking better, Mr Vernhet said as France took the first steps toward rebuilding its position as a top destination for foreign tourists.
Before the pandemic, Mr Vernhet ran three or four tours of the capital per day. The work dried up when France locked down, and he’s only doing around three tours per week now, almost exclusively for French visitors.
To be allowed in for tourism, Americans and other visitors from most countries outside of Europe will need to show that they have been fully inoculated against thecoronaviruswith vaccines approved by the European Union’s medicines agency.