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Large gatherings are off limits again in South Korea as social distancing measures are implemented in an effort to curb an outbreak of the virus.
The 266 cases reported by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came on the back of three days of increases above 300. The majority of the cases were found in the capital, Seoul.
A ban has been announced on indoor gatherings of more than 50 people and outside gatherings of more than 100 people. Karaoke rooms, clubs and some cafes have been ordered to shut down.
People in the capital must also wear masks at all times in crowded public spaces, except when they are eating or drinking.
Many cases have been linked to the Sarang Jeil Church, whose members were reportedly reluctant to comply with Covid-19 measures.
The Seoul metropolitan government said that 21.7% of church followers tested were confirmed to have been infected with Covid-19.
South Korea had been touted as a success story in dealing with Covid-19, after recording low numbers earlier this year.
It successfully used aggressive tracing and widespread testing to contain its first outbreak, but has seen persistent outbreaks in recent weeks.
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England’s deputy chief medical officer has said a Public Health England study published on Sunday should “reassure” teachers that transmission from students to teachers is rare, as children head back to school.
But Dr Jenny Harries added in an interview with BBC Breakfast that staff-to-staff transmission was a “risk factor” and teachers should “ensure that they maintain their social distancing, good hand hygiene, all those sorts of things” during coffee breaks.
In the event that a pupil tests positive for a virus, Dr Harries said the first action should be to inform the local director of public health.
What happens next “will depend on the local circumstances of that school, and the different connections that people have had”, she said.
A single case is “most likely” to be from a family or an outside transmission and “it may not always be necessary” for a classroom to go into isolation, she added.
BBC News, Europe desk
If you’re just joining our live coverage of the pandemic, welcome. Here are the latest headlines from around Europe:
- Much of the continent is facing a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. France reported its highest daily figure since May on Sunday, and its health minister said the majority of these new cases were circulating among the under-40s
- Germany, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic also recorded major daily increases over the weekend
- In Germany, politicians are calling for a temporary ban on private parties to combat the rise. “Since the start of summer a certain recklessness has spread,” Ralph Brinkhaus, the leader of the CDU/CSU conservative parliamentary bloc, said
- And in Italy, Sicily’s governor said he wanted to close migrant centres on the island. He alleged they were hotspots for Covid-19 transmission, but the Italian government in Rome said he did not have the authority to close them
Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has tested positive for the virus and is in a serious
condition in hospital, a spokeswoman said. She served as PM twice and ran for president in 2010 and 2014
There have been fears of a resurgence of the coronavirus in Europe for a while now – and the latest figures from France and Italy over the weekend have left many worried.
France reported more than 4,800 new infections over the previous 24 hours on Sunday – the highest daily number since May.
The health minister, Olivier Véran said the virus was spreading four times faster among people under 40 – partly due to younger people attending parties where social distancing was not observed.
Meanwhile, Italy – once the epicentre of the pandemic – is also seeing its highest rise in cases since May, with 1,210 new cases on Sunday and 1,071 on Saturday.
The increased was closely linked to travel and summer entertainment for tourists, according to an official report.
However, the overall number of new cases in Italy is still lower than those seen in France and Spain.
Job losses triggered by the coronavirus pandemic will hurt some parts of the UK more than others and deepen regional inequality, the opposition Labour party has said.
Areas with a high proportion of workers in struggling sectors – such as aviation, retail and manufacturing – would be hardest hit, the party added.
Tens of thousands of job losses have already been announced and more are expected in these sectors.
Labour said its analysis of official data showed that more than 10% of the workforce in north west England was employed in retail, while almost 13% of the East Midlands workforce was employed in manufacturing.
It said the figures suggested the government’s blanket approach to ending the furlough scheme risked worsening regional inequality.
Jonathan Reynolds, shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “The government’s one-size-fits-all approach will see some communities hit harder and they must adopt a more tailored approach now if we are to avoid further job losses.”
But the government said it was committed to “levelling up opportunities” in the UK.
Back to school is very much on the agenda this week in the UK.
Boris Johnson has said it is “vitally important” children return, with the life chances of a generation at stake
As schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland prepare to reopen, the PM said the risk of contracting coronavirus in one was “very small”.
He said “it is far more damaging for a child’s development and their health… to be away from school any longer”.
But his comments come as a study suggested that anxiety levels among young teenagers dropped during lockdown.
Thirteen to 14-year-olds were less anxious during lockdown than they had been last October, according to a University of Bristol survey.
They said the results were a “big surprise” and it raised questions about the impact of the school environment on teenagers’ mental health.
In Scotland, schools have already reopened. Some pupils in Northern Ireland are returning to school on Monday, while term starts in England and Wales in September.
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Covid-19 has infected almost every country in the world – apart from 10.
The countries with no recorded cases are Palau, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Samoa, Vanuatu and Tonga.
But the pandemic has still hit the economies of many of these countries hard. So what are they doing now?
You can read more in this feature from the BBC’s Owen Amos here.
A bit more on the news from the US, that emergency authorisation has been given for blood plasma to be used to treat coronavirus patients.
President Donald Trump told reporters he had been “looking forward” to making such an announcement “for a long time”.
He called for Americans to come forward to donate plasma if they’ve already recovered from Covid-19.
The US Food and Drug administration says it’s a safe treatment – but more trials are needed to prove its effectiveness. Early research suggests it can decrease mortality rates as long as it’s given within the first three days of hospitalisation.
Those under the age of 80, who were not on a respirator and received plasma containing high levels of antibodies, had benefited the most from the treatment, said the FDA. They had a 35% better survival rate a month after the treatment than those who had received plasma with a low level of antibodies.
Some experts – including Dr Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force – have expressed reservations about the robustness of studies so far, however.
In a statement, the Infectious Diseases Society of America said that while there were “some positive signals that convalescent plasma can be helpful in treating individuals with Covid-19…. we lack the randomised controlled trial data we need to better understand its utility in Covid-19 treatment”.
The World Health Organization last month said that “Covid-19 convalescent plasma can be made available on an experimental basis through local production provided that ethical and safety criteria are met for its preparation and use”.
Millions of pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are due to return to school within weeks, after months of disrupted education as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Parents and teachers where schools have already reopened tells us what they’ve learned from their children returning to the classroom.
Read the full story here.
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has echoed what many of us have probably been thinking, calling 2020 a “frankly terrible year”.
She has extended lockdown measures in Auckland, the country’s biggest city, until at least midnight on Sunday, adding that Covid-19 is “a hard reality to accept”.
“We know it’s been tough. I know there are many who’ve found it harder this time,” she said, adding: “In a world where 2020 has frankly, been terrible, we are strong, we have been kind, and we are doing really well… if any one country knows how to bounce back, it is us.”
New Zealand has had success containing coronavirus, and went 102 days without a community transmission before a new cluster was detected in Auckland earlier this month.
Everyone will also be required to wear masks on public transport. “If Covid can spread on a bus, and we know masks make a difference, let’s wear masks,” Ardern said.
Here are the main international headlines this Monday, to bring you up to speed.
- We’ll start by telling you about coronavirus measures in New Zealand – which earlier in the pandemic went 102 days without a community transmission. Now, amid a resurgence in new cases, restrictions in Auckland are being extended until the end of the week
- Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also announced it will be compulsory to wear masks on public transport throughout New Zealand – bringing it in line with many other countries
- The US Food and Drug Administration has given emergency authorisation for the use of blood plasma. The method, which uses antibody-rich plasma from those who have already recovered from the virus, has already been used on more than 70,000 patients in the US.
- Officials in South Korea say the number of new cases is increasing in each of its 17 regions. Masks have to be worn in the capital, Seoul, in both indoor and outdoor public places, under new rules introduced today
- In Europe, France reported 4,897 new infections in a 24-hour period on Sunday. It’s the highest daily level since May
- There’s been a steady rise in Italy recently – with 1,210 new cases on Sunday and 1,071 on Saturday. But the government there says it’s not considering a new lockdown
- And EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan has apologised for attending a dinner in the west of Ireland which more than 80 people attended. The Irish parliamentary golf society dinner breached coronavirus guidelines