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Coronavirus latest news: Blood pressure medication can lower the risk of death from Covid-19 – Telegraph.co.uk


Trump is up for re-election in November 
Trump is up for re-election in November 

Credit:
Reuters


The Trump administration is considering bypassing normal US regulatory standards to fast-track an experimental coronavirus vaccine from the UK for use in America ahead of the presidential election, according to people briefed on the plan.

The Financial Times is reporting that one option being explored to speed up the availability of a vaccine would involve the US Food and Drug Administration awarding “emergency use authorisation” (EUA) in October to a vaccine being developed in partnership with AstraZeneca and Oxford University, based on results from a small UK study if it is successful.

The White House declined to comment on the report.

A spokeswoman for AstraZeneca denied the company had discussed an emergency use authorization for its potential vaccine with the US Government and said it would be premature to speculate on that possibility.

The company said the late-stage Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials for its vaccine candidate are still ongoing in Britain and other markets globally and that it did not anticipate efficacy results until later this year.

There are no approved vaccines for Covid-19, but AstraZeneca’s shot, called AZD1222, is widely seen as one of the leading candidates.

However, critics will point out that the move risks the further politicisation of any future vaccine and could undermine trust in the process.

Follow the latest updates below.

Boris Johnson: Risk of children getting Covid is very small

Boris Johnson has sought to assure parents that the risk of children getting Covid-19 as they return to school is “very, very, very small”.

In a video posted on Twitter, the Prime Minister said: “It’s absolutely vital that pupils get back into school in September.

“It’s vital for their education, it’s vital for their welfare, it’s vital for their physical, and indeed, their mental wellbeing. So let’s make sure that all kids, all pupils, get back to school at the beginning of September.”

Mr Johnson continued: “I think parents are genuinely still a bit worried about their children contracting coronavirus. All I can say is the risks are very, very, very small that they’ll even get it, but then the risk that they’ll suffer from it badly are very, very, very, very small indeed.

“I think it’s vital that parents understand that schools are safe and that teachers have gone to great lengths to get schools ready. They’ve been doing it all throughout the pandemic, by the way.

“Lots of schools have been open and looking after kids very, very successfully and will take steps to ensure that groups aren’t mixed up, that we have washing of hands and all the other disciplines you need to prevent spread of the virus.”

Five-mile limit lifted as Aberdeen lockdown begins to ease

A number of lockdown measures have now been lifted in Aberdeen, including the five-mile travel limit and restrictions on indoor meetings.

People can now travel further than five miles for non-essential or leisure purposes, while restrictions on gatherings and hospital and care home visits have been eased.

However, people will have to wait until Wednesday before they can visit pubs or restaurants, which will reopen once they have undergone an environmental health check.

Aberdeen was put back on lockdown following a spike in Covid cases almost three weeks ago, with the hospitality sector ordered to close after an outbreak linked to pubs and restaurants.

Bali bans foreign tourists for rest of 2020 over virus

Foreign tourists won’t be allowed to visit Bali for the rest of 2020 due to coronavirus concerns, its governor said, scrapping a plan to open up the Indonesian island from next month.

The holiday hotspot re-opened beaches, temples and other tourism spots for domestic visitors at the end of July and had said it would let foreign tourists return on September 11.

But the plan has now been cancelled over concerns about Indonesia’s mounting virus cases, with many foreign nationals subject to travel bans in their home countries.

Jakarta is also yet to lift its ban on foreign tourists entering Indonesia.

“The situation in Indonesia is not conducive to allow international tourists to visit Indonesia, including…Bali,” the island’s governor I Wayan Koster said in an official letter.

“The central government supports (Bali’s) plans to recover tourism by opening the doors for international tourists. However, this requires care, prudence, not to be rushed, and requires careful preparation,” it added.

He did not give a new date for allowing foreign tourists to visit.

Closing schools ‘last resort’ in terms of tackling local increase in infections

Minister for school standards Nick Gibb said the Prime Minister “has made very clear that closing schools will be the last resort in terms of tackling a local increase in the infection rate”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “So I think we are confident that it is safe for children to attend schools and we’re confident that we can identify at a local level where there is an increase in the infection rate.

“The Prime Minister has made very clear that closing schools will be the last resort in terms of tackling a local increase in the infection rate, but we will take swift action, advised by the local health protection teams when we identify a rise in the infection rate in local areas around the country. That’s the only way we can sort of suffocate this virus, to deal with it, to stop it spreading more widely in the community.”

Asked about having a helpline for headteachers to call, he said: “There are all kinds of methods by which we contact schools, we will look at all these issues… My understanding is that there’s always been a helpline available, but better than that is that our regional teams are in continual contact with schools around the country, and where there are concerns then help and support will be given to those schools.”

France to reciprocate Britain’s quarantine rule in coming days 

French authorities will in coming days reciprocate Britain’s decision to impose a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from France, the junior minister for European affairs said today.

Britain said on Friday that travellers from the United Kingdom to France are required to self-certify that they are not suffering coronavirus symptoms or have been in contact with a confirmed case within 14 days preceding travel.

Since August 15 British authorities have also required travellers returning from France to self-isolate upon their return due to high Covid-19 infection rates in France.

“We will have a measure called reciprocity so that our British friends do not close the border in one single way,” French Junior European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune told French TV France 2.

“For travellers returning from the United Kingdom, there will probably be restrictive measures decided in the next few days by the Prime Minister and by the Defence Council.”

Schools minister ‘confident’ all schools will open at start of September

Nick Gibb also said he was “confident” that all schools will be open at the beginning of September.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Fines are something that headteachers are very reluctant to use, they use them only as a last resort. It’s about reassuring parents that may have a particular concern about the measures that the school has taken to make sure that their young people are safe, and they are going to extraordinary lengths to make sure that children are safe.

“Ninety per cent of parents have said that it’s likely or very likely that their children will attend school. I’m confident that all schools will be open at the beginning of September.”

Asked about masks, he said: “What the current advice is, is that if a school puts in place the measures that are in the guidance that we issued in early July, all the hygiene measures that I’ve been talking about, then masks are not necessary for staff or pupils …

“Well, we always listen to whatever the current advice is from PHE, the chief medical officers, we always adhere to that advice, and it’s that advice that drives the content of the guidance that we give to schools.”

Measures schools taking to minimise virus risk ‘very effective’, says schools minister

Minister for school standards Nick Gibb has insisted the measures schools were taking to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus are “very effective”.

Asked about fines for parents, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Well, look, fines for non-attendance have always been a last resort for headteachers and schools. What matters is that young people are attending school.

“We live in a country where education is compulsory and I think parents can be reassured that the measures that schools are taking to make sure that we minimise the risk of the transmission of the virus are very effective.”

He added: “If they’ve (parents) got extra concerns, that is a matter between the headteacher and the family to make sure that their concerns are taken into account, but it is important – it’s a moral imperative – that young people are back in school, because what the chief medical officers are saying now is that the risk of not being in school outweigh the very small risk of children being in school, particularly given all the control measures, the hygiene, the cleaning that’s taking place in our schools … there’s an absolute determination to make sure that schools are safe for the children and children want to be back.”

Face masks compulsory in Seoul as South Korea battles surge in cases

 South Korea’s capital has ordered the wearing of masks in both indoor and outdoor public places for the first time, as it battles a surge in coronavirus cases centred in the densely populated metropolitan area.

“If we fail to flatten the curve this week we believe we will be faced with a very important crisis, that the virus will spread to the entire nation,” health ministry official Yoon Tae-ho told a briefing.

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 266 new cases as of midnight on Sunday, down from 397 a day earlier but another in more than a week of triple-digit daily increases. Overall, South Korea has reported 17,665 coronavirus cases and 309 deaths.

South Korea has been widely praised for its success in tackling the virus, with extensive testing and aggressive contact-tracing, but Yoon said health investigators had been unable to determine the transmission routes of about 20 per cent of the recent cases, raising concerns over so-called silent spreaders.

He called on people to avoid leaving home and to cancel any unnecessary trips out.

The Government has also extended second-tier social-distancing rules, which had been in place in Seoul, to other areas of the country, banning in-person church meetings and closing nightclubs, buffets and cyber cafes.

Health authorities say they are considering imposing the toughest stage 3 social-distancing rules, under which schools and business are urged to close, if the spread of new cases can not be slowed.

Trump considers fast-tracking UK vaccine before US election 

The Trump administration is considering bypassing normal US regulatory standards to fast-track an experimental coronavirus vaccine from the UK for use in America ahead of the presidential election, according to people briefed on the plan.

The Financial Times is reporting that one option being explored to speed up the availability of a vaccine would involve the US Food and Drug Administration awarding “emergency use authorisation” (EUA) in October to a vaccine being developed in partnership with AstraZeneca and Oxford University, based on results from a small UK study if it is successful.

The White House declined to comment on the report.

A spokeswoman for AstraZeneca denied the company had discussed an emergency use authorization for its potential vaccine with the US Government and said it would be premature to speculate on that possibility.

The company said the late-stage Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials for its vaccine candidate are still ongoing in Britain and other markets globally and that it did not anticipate efficacy results until later this year.

There are no approved vaccines for Covid-19, but AstraZeneca’s shot, called AZD1222, is widely seen as one of the leading candidates.

Children more at risk from road accident on way to school than coronavirus

Children are more likely to be involved in a car accident or catch flu than coronavirus, the deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries has said. 

“Every time a parent sends their children to school, pre-Covid, they may have been involved in a road traffic accident – there are all sorts of things.

“That risk, or the risk of seasonal flu, we think is probably higher than the current risk of coronavirus,” she told Sky News.

“The risk to the child themselves is very, very small.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries says schools are currently a safe environment for children, describing a child’s risk from seasonal flu as higher than that posed by COVID-19. SI#KayBurley pic.twitter.com/lP65sgfVQy

— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) August 24, 2020

Back-to-school campaign must engage with parents

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said the Government needs to engage with families to help parents send pupils back to school.

Noting the anxiety many parents have about the return to school, he told BBC Breakfast: “The Government’s back-to-school campaign has really got to engage with parents, let parents know what to do, and to make sure that parents know what to do around the school as well to make sure all of the measures being taken in school are as secure as they can be.”

Mr Whiteman said there were worries about the impact on the R-rate and transmission of coronavirus in schools.

The Prime Minister is under pressure to make sure that schools reopen on time

Credit:
Lucy Young/Pool via AP, File

He added: “We want to engage with Government, we want some more advice from Government about what to do if the pressure on R comes and what to do if we do need a plan B.

“It seems to be an act of heresy at the moment if you talk about wanting a plan B. It’s not defeatist to prepare for the worst whilst hoping for the best.

“If we do have to experience some form of shutdown going forward, we want to learn from what happened before when we had no time to prepare, and be prepared if it comes again.”

Prime Minister must galvanise his inner Churchill, says Sir Iain Duncan Smith

Writing in today’s Telegraph, former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith says: ” We have to make it clear to the Unions and others that there are no if’s or buts, schools must re-open and children must go back in September.

“Ministers even now should be explaining, forcefully, to parents that their children’s future will be blighted if this does not happen. They also need to explain again and again to parents that there is no risk. Also if children don’t go back to school, large swathes of the economy will lose the input of parents and be further damaged.

“This battle over schools returning must see the Prime Minister in the lead, galvanising his inner Churchill for this issue has the capacity either to scar the government or alternatively to re-invigorate the government.

“It is a fight that, if the government wins, will see the start of an uplift in its fortunes and win it must.”

​Read it in full here

The oil and gas sector allowed to bypass environmental rules 

Thousands of oil and gas operations, government facilities and other sites have won permission to stop monitoring for hazardous emissions or otherwise bypass rules intended to protect health and the environment because of the coronavirus outbreak, The Associated Press has found.

The result: approval for less environmental monitoring at some Texas refineries and at an army depot dismantling warheads armed with nerve gas in Kentucky, manure piling up and the mass disposal of livestock carcasses at farms in Iowa and Minnesota, and other increased risks to communities as governments eased enforcement over smokestacks, medical waste shipments, sewage plants, oilfields and chemical plants.

The Trump administration paved the way for the reduced monitoring on March 26 after being pressured by the oil and gas industry, which said lockdowns and social distancing during the pandemic made it difficult to comply with pollution rules. States are responsible for much of the oversight of federal environmental laws, and many followed with their own policies.

India’s coronavirus cases surge to 3.1 million

Indian devotees wearing a protective face mask, carry Hindu god Lord Ganesha for immersion as part of a ritual in India.

Credit:
Shutterstock

India reported 61,408 coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, taking its total caseload past 3.1 million, data from the federal health ministry showed.

India crossed the 3 million cases milestone on Sunday, 17 days after it crossed the 2 million mark. It is the worst-affected country in Asia, and third behind Brazil and the United States globally.

The number of deaths in the last 24 hours was 836, taking the total to 57,542.

New Zealand extends Auckland lockdown

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand.

Credit:
Getty Images AsiaPac

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today extended a coronavirus lockdown in the country’s largest city until the end of the week and introduced mandatory mask wearing on public transport across the nation.

Ardern said the four-day extension in the city of Auckland was critical to enable the country to step down its scale of emergency restrictions – and remain at less restrictive levels.

“We want both confidence, and certainty for everyone,” Ardern said during a televised media conference.

The Auckland lockdown, imposed on August 11 after officials detected the country’s first locally acquired cases of Covid-19 in more than three months, had been scheduled to end on Wednesday.

It will now end on Sunday night. The city’s step down from Level 3 to Level 2 restrictions will be made gradually from today.

Mexico posts lowest weekly death toll in 2 months

Mexico reported 226 more deaths from coronavirus on Sunday, finishing the week with 3,723 fatalities, the lowest total in over two months and lending weight to government assertions it is beating back the pandemic.

On Tuesday, the government’s coronavirus czar, Deputy Health Minster Hugo Lopez-Gatell, declared the virus was in “sustained decline” in Mexico, barely two weeks after the country posted its highest daily new infections.

Low testing rates have fed concerns that the published data may understate the true extent of the pandemic, and ministry officials also caution that cases could surge again.

Mexico has the third highest death toll globally standing at 60,480, after the United States and Brazil.

Australia’s Victoria state reports lowest rise in cases in seven weeks

The Australian state of Victoria reported its lowest daily rise in new infections in seven weeks on Monday, fuelling optimism that a deadly second wave there is subsiding.

Victoria today reported 116 cases and 15 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, down from a peak of more than 700 cases early this month.

Australia saw a surge in infections in the past month in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital and the country’s second-largest city, but cases have been trending downward in recent days helped by a total lockdown.

While the Melbourne lockdown has curtailed the spread of infections, it has wreaked havoc on the economy with Australia’s effective unemployment rate expected to climb above 13pc by the end of September, according to government estimates.

Nearly half a million people could lose their jobs due to the full lockdown in Melbourne, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Sunday.

Japan’s Prime Minister Abe to visit hospital again

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is rumoured to have health issues

Credit:
Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to visit a Tokyo hospital today, Yomiuri daily said, amid mounting concerns about his ability to continue as premier due to health issues and fatigue from handling the coronavirus crisis.

Citing several government and coalition sources, Yomiuri said Abe would receive the results of a medical check-up from a week ago, when he underwent an examination that lasted seven-and-a-half hours, adding to worries about his health.

Abe, already the country’s longest-serving prime minister, was set to surpass a half-century-old record set by his great-uncle Eisaku Sato for the longest consecutive tenure as premier on Monday.

Abe, in office since 2012 in his second stint as prime minister, resigned from his first term in 2007 because of struggles with ulcerative colitis, which he now keeps under control with medication that was not previously available.

Akira Amari, an Abe confidante and chairman of the LDP’s tax panel, said that Abe, 65, could be suffering from fatigue because of his continuous work over the response to the virus.

US announces approval of plasma treatment against virus

American authorities announced an emergency approval of blood plasma from recovered coronavirus patients as a treatment against the disease that has killed over 176,000 in the US.

The Food and Drug Administration’s authorisation comes as President Donald Trump faces intense pressure to curb the contagion that has crippled the world’s largest economy and clouded his once-promising prospects for re-election in November.

The plasma is believed to contain powerful antibodies that can help fight off the disease faster and help protect people from being seriously hurt by it.

“This product may be effective in treating Covid-19 and… the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product,” FDA said in a statement.

While the treatment has already been used on patients in the United States and other nations, the extent of its effectiveness is still debated by experts and some have warned that it could carry side effects.

For more read Donald Trump gives emergency authorisation for use of plasma to treat coronavirus  by US correspondent David Millward.

Boris Johnson urges parents to send their kids back to school

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in London encouraging children to return to the classroom

Credit:
Lucy Young/Pool Evening Standard

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on parents to send their children back to school next month after the summer holidays, which he views as a key step to helping the country and its economy recover from the lockdown.

Mr Johnson followed up on a warning over the weekend from medical advisers who said that students faced bigger risks from missing out on their education than from catching the virus.

“The risk of contracting Covid-19 in school is very small and it is far more damaging for a child’s development and their health and well-being to be away from school any longer,” Johnson said in a statement.

“This is why it’s vitally important that we get our children back into the classroom to learn and to be with their friends. Nothing will have a greater effect on the life chances of our children than returning to school.”

Schools shut their doors in March, except for the children of key workers, and reopened in June for only a small number of pupils.

For more read Julia Hartley-Brewer ‘s  article entitled  Schools crisis is Boris Johnson’s do-or-die moment.

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