This article titled “Portugal records biggest surge in infections since May – as it happened” was written by Helen Sullivan (now), Jedidajah Otte, Sarah Marsh, Nicola Slawson, Elias Visontay and Michael McGowan (earlier), for theguardian.com on Saturday 5th September 2020 23.51 UTC
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‘Nobody is safe’: why Australia’s Covid jobs crisis could last years
It is almost 30 years since Australia last slid into recession, a now distant time when no one had heard of the internet and the Property Council had just appointed a young researcher called Scott Morrison.
The then treasurer, Paul Keating, famously said it was the “recession we had to have”, but the slump prompted structural reforms and the economic scars were quickly healed as Australia rode the Chinese tiger to unprecedented prosperity.
Fast-forward three decades and the path out of recession does not look so simple with unemployment climbing to more than 1 million. One expert says “nobody is safe” from redundancy.
The combination of a recession and the coronavirus lockdown laid over the top poses a profound economic challenge for the future labour market:
Brazil recorded 30,168 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, as well as 682 deaths from the disease, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.
Brazil has registered 4.1 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 126,203, according to ministry data.
Brazil has the second highest number of coronavirus cases and related deaths in the world. India, which has now registered more than 4 million cases, could soon overtake Brazil.
Here the latest key developments at a glance:
- Portugal reported 486 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, its biggest daily increase since the week its lockdown was lifted in May.
- The UK recorded 1,813 new infections on Saturday, slightly down from the 1,940 cases that were reported Friday, the highest figure since 30 May.
- Brazil recorded 30,168 additional confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, as well as 682 deaths from the disease, and remains the second-worst affected country globally.
- France reported 8,550 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, slightly down from Friday’s new all-time record of 8,975 daily additional infections.
- Covid-19 could now be endemic in some parts of England that combine severe deprivation, poor housing and large BAME communities, according to a highly confidential government analysis.
- Democratic US vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris said she would not trust Donald Trump with a potential coronavirus vaccine.
- The lengthy coronavirus shutdown of pubs in Ireland that’s been in place since mid-March has hit rural communities particularly hard.
- Several thousand people rallied on Saturday in the Croatian capital Zagreb to protest against coronavirus measures, which they said endangered human rights and freedoms.
- About 1,000 people demonstrated in the heart of Rome on Saturday against the mandatory wearing of face masks and compulsory vaccination for schoolchildren.
That’s all from me for today, I’m now handing over to my colleagues in Australia.
With coronavirus spreading through colleges at alarming rates, US universities are scrambling to find quarantine locations in dormitory buildings and off-campus properties to isolate the thousands of students who have caught Covid-19 or been exposed to it.
Sacred Heart University has converted a 34-room guest house at the former Connecticut headquarters of General Electric to quarantine students.
The University of South Carolina ran out of space at a dormitory for quarantined students and began sending them to rooms it rented in hotel-like quarters at a training centre for prosecutors, the Associated Press reports.
The Air Force Academy sent 400 cadets to hotels to free up space on its Colorado base for quarantines.
The actions again demonstrate how the virus has uprooted traditional campus life amid a pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 people in the US and proven to be especially problematic for universities since the start of the school year.
Many colleges quickly scrapped in-person learning in favour of online after cases began to spike, bars have been shut down in college towns, and students, fraternities and sororities have been repeatedly disciplined for parties and large gatherings.
Health officials such as White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Deborah Birx have been urging colleges to keep students on campus to avoid them infecting members of their family and community.
Updated at 12.05am BST
As of 6 September, authorities reported 63 new cases and 5 further deaths in Australia’s Victoria state over the past 24 hours.
“Our thoughts are with the loved ones of all those affected. More information will be available later today,” the Department of Health and Human Services tweeted.
Here are a few impressions of the unfolding pandemic from around the world:
Updated at 11.35pm BST
As in previous weeks, thousands of Israelis gathered outside the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem on Saturday despite record levels of coronavirus infections, calling on Benjamin Netanyahu to resign.
The protesters held banners reading “Revolution” and “Citizens Write the Constitution” as they marched toward Netanyahu’s residence.
The government’s missteps in handling the coronavirus crisis after relative success in its early stages have mostly fuelled the summer-long weekend demonstrations.
The death toll has surpassed 1,000 and the country is mulling a new lockdown to stop the rapid spike in daily infections.
Israel currently has over 26,000 active Covid-19 patients.
Police have clashed with protesters on several occasions and used water cannons to clear them off main streets and squares, though in recent weeks the gatherings have been calmer but larger, the Associated Press reports.
Updated at 10.29pm BST
French health authorities reported 8,550 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, down from Friday’s 8,975.
Friday’s figure had set a new all-time high of daily additional infections since the disease started to spread in the country at the end of the winter.
The number of people in France who have died from Covid-19 increased by 12 to 30,698, and the cumulative number of cases now totals 317,706.
Updated at 10.23pm BST
Covid-19 could now be endemic in some parts of England that combine severe deprivation, poor housing and large BAME communities, according to a highly confidential government analysis.
The document, leaked to the Observer, and marked “official sensitive”, suggests the national lockdown in these parts of the north of England had little effect in reducing the level of infections, and that in such communities it is now firmly established.
My colleague Toby Helm reports.
The lengthy coronavirus shutdown of pubs in Ireland has hit the 3,000 or so people in the village of Dunmore and surrounding area particularly hard.
Five out of its six village pubs have been shut since March, depriving the community of institutions that act as pillars of rural life.
Publican Joe Sheridan unbolts the door of Walsh’s Bar in the County Galway village.
With bars shut, “you can see the people carrying the woes of life on their faces”, he said.
The walls of his pub are jammed with group photos, sports memorabilia and dusty bottles.
It is testament to the pub’s fluid role as community hall, museum and an understated sort of group catharsis in the village.
“The lights are going out in rural Ireland,” he said.
Irish pubs shut on 16 March, as the nation braced for the coronavirus, which has so far claimed 1,777 lives.
After a 15-week hibernation, those serving food were permitted to reopen.
But so-called “wet pubs” serving drink only remained shut, with the government repeatedly pushing back reopening.
Restrictions are due to expire on 13 September in what the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland has called the “longest lockdown in the EU”.
Industry bodies estimated that around half of the Republic’s 7,000 pubs are still shuttered.
With population flight, a declining agriculture industry and scant alternative social outlets, pubs in rural Ireland play a role that is hard to overstate.
Many people in the countryside still eat their main daily meal at lunchtime, reserving a stretch of uninterrupted evening for the pub.
Historically, pubs have acted as hardware stores, grocery shops and drapers, filling the void of state infrastructure with small business and mutual aid.
“It’s the thing of a ‘meitheal’,” explained Sheridan. “It’s an Irish word for a group coming together to work voluntarily.”
But the lockdown is “messing with traditions that have been built up over generations”, he said.
Updated at 9.02pm BST
Thousands attend "covidiot" protest in Croatia
Several thousand people rallied on Saturday in the Croatian capital to protest against measures imposed by the authorities in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which they said endangered human rights and freedoms.
“Covid is a lie, we are not all covidiots” and “Take off the mask, turn off the TV, live a full life”, read some of the banners carried by the protesters who gathered at Zagreb’s main square.
The rally, dubbed Festival of Freedom, was aimed at warning against the coronavirus-related restrictive measures which, the organisers say, “limited citizens’ basic rights and freedoms” without a “valid medical or legal basis”.
“We insist on safeguarding human rights, freedoms, knowledge, solidarity and mutual respect,” the group that organised the event said in a statement, according to AFP.
It warned notably against limiting of “socialisation, imposing of physical distance and deprivation of physical contact”.
On Facebook, health minister Vili Beros said of the rally that he could not support a “non-scientific approach to Covid-19”.
“All temporary restrictions had only one goal – to protect the health and lives of Croatian citizens. We succeeded in that,” he wrote.
The nation of 4.2 million braved the first few months of the pandemic recording less than 100 cases daily for several months and then almost no new infections by mid-May.
But new cases have risen sharply since the country opened its borders to tourists for the summer season, hitting more than 200 daily in late August and a record 369 on Thursday.
Since mid-July, the wearing of face masks is mandatory on public transport, and in shops and all services involving close contact with clients.
Restrictions on the number of people attending public gatherings vary depending on the region.
Croatia has so far reported nearly 12,000 infections and 197 deaths.
Updated at 11.44pm BST
With the help of a local fishing boat, hundreds of migrants were transferred on Saturday to a ferry from the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa to relieve severe overcrowding during the pandemic at a residence for asylum-seekers.
After their transfer on Saturday, they must spend 14 days in precautionary quarantine on the ferry, according to AFP.
The vessel was one of several chartered by the Italian government, after Lampedusa’s mayor and Sicily’s governor complained about the risk of spreading Covid-19.
After so many migrants arrived this summer – some of them rescued at sea, others reaching the island’s shores without help – Lampedusa’s migrant centre held 2,000 people despite a capacity of less than 200.
Lampedusa mayor Salvatore Martello said 752 migrants were transferred.
The migrants will receive Covid-19 tests once they settle aboard and again at the end of their stay.
After quarantine, the migrants will be taken to a residence on Sicily or the Italian mainland while their asylum applications are processed.
High winds and choppy waters meant the ferry couldn’t dock at Lampedusa.
Another chartered ferry is due to take more migrants from the centre, which after Saturday was holding 400 people.
Early in the pandemic, the Italian government, citing health risks, closed its ports to vessels with migrants aboard.
Updated at 8.09pm BST
About 1,000 people demonstrated in the heart of Rome on Saturday against the mandatory use of face masks for schoolchildren and compulsory vaccination for them.
More than 35,500 people have died in Italy – one of the first countries in Europe to be hit.
The country, where almost 276,000 cases have been reported, emerged in May from a strict two-month lockdown.
The crowd was composed of anti-vaccine activists and conspiracy theorists, AFP reports.
“No masks, no social distancing,” a banner read.
One protester carried a photo of Pope Francis with the word Satan written above it and the number 666 – considered a symbol of the devil.
Earlier in the day, prime minister Giuseppe Conte reacted frostily saying: “More than 274,000 ill and 35,000 dead. Full stop.”
He said there would be no new lockdown but only targeted confinements if needed.
Updated at 7.41pm BST
Democratic US vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris said she would not trust Donald Trump in regard to a potential coronavirus vaccine.
In an interview excerpt broadcast by CNN on Saturday, Harris said Trump had a track record of suppressing expert opinion about the coronavirus pandemic and worried that might happen again in the case of a prospective vaccine.
“I would not trust Donald Trump,” she said, saying she would only be convinced of the efficacy of a vaccine if someone credible were vouching for it as well.
“I will not take his word for it.”
At least 6.2 million people have been infected in the US coronavirus outbreak, which has taken 187,833 lives, according to a Reuters tally.
With the government’s handling of the world’s worst outbreak of the disease under close scrutiny, Trump has dangled the possibility that a vaccine might be ready ahead of the 3 November US presidential election.
But the president has a track record of flouting scientific advice and some experts are skeptical that vaccine trials, which have to study potential side effects on a wide range of people before they can deliver a verdict, can be completed by late this year or even early next year.
Harris suggested to CNN that Trump might seize on a vaccine – no matter how untested – to burnish his image.
“He’s looking at an election coming up in less than 60 days and he’s grasping for whatever he can get to pretend he can be a leader on this issue when he’s not,” she said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Updated at 7.21pm BST
The leader of Leeds, a city added to the UK government’s Covid-19 watchlist, has called for the local council to be granted greater powers to intervene in order to stem the spread of the virus.
Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said “personal contact” with local people would be more effective in convincing them to self-isolate than the centralised over-the-phone NHS Test and Trace system has been, the Press Association reports.
Leeds, along with South Tyneside, Corby, Middlesbrough and Kettering, was added on Friday to the list of areas which ministers are concerned about.
At present, those who have tested positive for coronavirus, and people they have been in contact with, are phoned by the Test and Trace team and asked to quarantine.
But Blake, a Labour councillor, told BBC Breakfast on Saturday that she feared there was “a bit of complacency coming in” and that more needed to be done to remind people of the precautions they needed to take.
She reiterated a call made by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham this week for test and trace powers to be handed directly to the council.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said:
We’re saying to central government that actually, in line with other local authorities, if they give us the powers and resources they need, actually these things are far better dealt with at a local level.
We have the experience through our public health teams, our environmental health teams, and we’re saying to government, ‘Let us do what we do well and do best’.
We know our communities and we know how to get out there and reach people in terms of self-isolating.
Personal contact is so much more powerful than down a phone line.
Updated at 7.12pm BST
The US state of Arizona’s number of ventilators in use by Covid-19 patients dropped to 131 on Saturday, the lowest since reporting began and down by approximately 81% since 16 July.
The office of Arizona governor Doug Ducey said the number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients in the south-western state dropped to 702, the lowest since 3 May and down by circa 80% since 13 July.
As of Saturday, 225 ICU beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients, the lowest figure since 8 April.
At the height of the state’s outbreak, nearly 5,500 people tested positive on a single day in late June, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
By the end of the first week of July, Arizona was the worst affected region in the world, with the most recorded cases per capita.
In June, cities and counties across Arizona rushed to make face coverings mandatory after Ducey signed an executive order allowing communities to make their own rules on masks.
Updated at 6.18pm BST
Portugal records biggest surge in infections since May
Portugal reported 486 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, its biggest daily increase since the week its lockdown was lifted in May.
The increase brought the cumulative total to 59,943, the health authority DGS said.
Portugal, with 10 million people, has reported just 1,838 deaths so far, a significantly lower rate per capita than in many European countries including neighbouring Spain.
It initially won praise for its quick response to the pandemic, but a wave of localised outbreaks in Lisbon has worried authorities and forced them to re-impose some restrictions.
The majority of the new coronavirus cases registered on Saturday were in and around Lisbon and across the northern region, where the country’s second biggest city Porto is located.
Stricter measures to curb the coronavirus outbreak will be introduced across Portugal from mid-September as students return to schools and many workers go back to the office, although details have yet to be announced.
Although Portugal remains on the list of “safe” destinations, for English tourists at least, rumours to the contrary sparked a wave of cancellations last week, after the UK ambassador to Portugal fuelled speculation that the country would soon revert to the quarantine list.
Updated at 6.02pm BST
Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was reported to be in a “stable” condition on Saturday, two days after being hospitalised with coronavirus, his doctor said.
The 83-year-old media tycoon is being treated for a lung infection at San Raffaele hospital in Milan where he was admitted on Thursday night.
“The clinical condition of Silvio Berlusconi remains stable,” his doctor Alberto Zangrillo said, adding that his patient’s condition was “evolving regularly and expectedly, generating cautious but reasonable hope”.
Berlusconi had tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week after returning from a holiday at his luxury villa on Sardinia’s jet-set Emerald Coast.
Zangrillo said at a news conference on Friday that Berlusconi was not on a ventilator, AFP reports.
The billionaire is “a patient at risk because of his age and previous illnesses,” the doctor said, adding that he should remain in hospital for “a few days”.
Berlusconi, who has had a long but scandal-plagued political career, announced on Wednesday that he had tested positive for coronavirus and was in quarantine at home.
Two of his children – daughter Barbara, 36, and son Luigi, 31 – have also contracted the virus, as has his companion Marta Fascina.
Berlusconi, who once owned the AC Milan football club, had insisted on Wednesday that he would continue his political activities.
“I will be present in the electoral campaign with interviews on television and in newspapers,” he said during a video-conference held by the women’s movement of his Forza Italia party.
Regional elections are due to take place in two weeks as well as a referendum on reducing the number of Italian parliamentarians.
Updated at 5.34pm BST
Czech World of Warcraft fans donned costumes on Saturday to bring the massively popular online game to life, pushing ahead with a scaled-back festival after the coronavirus pandemic postponed the annual event earlier this year.
Dressed as shamans, elves and knights, the gaming fans took part in games and competitions in a forest in Kamyk nad Vltavou, south of Prague, but the usual live-action battle was scrapped due to a low turnout, Reuters reports.
The online role-playing game has become a cultural phenomenon since launching in 2004, with millions of players worldwide.
Jaroslav Racek, a policeman by day, said he was making his seventh visit to the Czech event and that for him it was a chance to be immersed in something different.
“There is a great group of people here,” he said, dressed as a “Burning Legion” demon.
“A person can enjoy himself in this world and not just sit at a computer.”
Updated at 5.11pm BST
Updated at 4.59pm BST
More than 1,000 doctors in the UK plan to quit working for the National Health Service (NHS) because they are disillusioned with the government’s handling of the pandemic and frustrated about their pay, a new survey has found.
The doctors either intend to move abroad, take a career break, switch to private hospitals or resign to work as locums instead, amid growing concern about mental health and stress levels in the profession.
My colleague Denis Campbell reports.
Updated at 4.47pm BST
The UK recorded 1,813 new infections on Saturday, slightly down from the 1,940 cases that were reported Friday, the highest figure since 30 May.
According to government data, a further 12 people died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus.
Daily case numbers were about 1,000 a day for most of August, but have started to increase in recent days. Britain’s testing capacity has also increased since the peak of the first wave earlier this year.
Updated at 4.47pm BST
That’s all from me today, thanks for following. I will now be passing the blog over to my colleague Jedidajah Otte who will be bringing you more news throughout the evening.
Summary of the latest news
Here is a summary of the latest global developments.
• Covid-19 has killed at least 875,703 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Saturday. At least 26,671,700 cases of coronavirus have been registered. Of these, at least 17,496,300 are considered to have recovered.
• A further eight people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,604, NHS England said on Saturday. One person who tested positive for coronavirus in Wales has died, bringing the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic to 1,597.
• There have been 118 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, according to the Department of Health.
• China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and Sinovac Biotech Ltd said on Saturday that four more countries had agreed to run late-stage clinical tests of their coronavirus vaccine candidates, as China steps up its efforts in the global race.
• Schools in Iran reopened to 15 million students on Saturday after a seven-month closure despite concerns over the increased spread of coronavirus in the country.
• Pope Francis will next month visit the Italian town of Assisi, his first trip out of Rome since the coronavirus pandemic hit the country in February, and will sign a new encyclical, a spokesman for the Assisi Basilica said on Saturday.
• Russia reported 5,205 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, pushing its national tally to 1,020,310, the fourth largest in the world. Authorities said 110 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 17,759.
• India’s total coronavirus cases surged beyond 4 million with a record rise on Saturday, making it the third country in the world to surpass that mark, following the US and Brazil.
Updated at 3.35pm BST
There have been 118 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, according to the Department of Health.
While the department’s statistical dashboard provides updates on the number of positive test results over the weekend, it does not relay up-to-date information on coronavirus fatalities on Saturdays and Sundays. The latest death toll reported by the department on Friday stood at 564.
In the US, with coronavirus spreading through colleges at alarming rates, universities are scrambling to find quarantine locations in dormitory buildings and off-campus properties to isolate the thousands of students who have caught or been exposed to Covid-19.
Sacred Heart University has converted a 34-room guest house at the former Connecticut headquarters of General Electric to quarantine students. The University of South Carolina ran out of space at a dormitory for quarantined students and began sending them to rooms it rented in hotel-like quarters at a training center for prosecutors.
The Air Force Academy sent 400 cadets to hotels to free up space on its Colorado base for quarantines. The actions again demonstrate how the virus has uprooted traditional campus life amid a pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 people in the US and proven to be especially problematic for universities since the start of the school year.
Many colleges quickly scrapped in-person learning in favor of online after cases began to spike, bars have been shut down in college towns, and students, fraternities and sororities have been repeatedly disciplined for parties and large gatherings.
Health officials such as White House coronavirus task force member Dr Deborah Birx have been urging colleges to keep students on campus to avoid them infecting members of their family and community.
At Sacred Heart, which acquired the 66-acre GE campus in 2016, the guest house that once provided rooms for visiting corporate executives will be used for the rest of the year to isolate any of its 3,000 students who test positive for Covid-19 and are unable to return home, said Gary MacNamara, the school’s director of public safety.
Rooms are stocked with snacks and equipped with TVs and work stations for remote learning. Heath officials will do periodic check-ups, security is stationed outside and card swipes keep track of who enters or leaves.
With all the stress and fear a student may have if in isolation we believe we need to make it as comfortable as possible, MacNamara said. This guest house helps us accomplish that.
But not every situation is as comfortable. Ryan Bologna has been locked in his dorm room at the University of Connecticut since 12 cases were found in his building last week. He’s allowed to go to a dining hall next door but has had no other contact with the outside world.
Zoom classes and virtual marching band practice and video gaming are not what the communications major had envisioned for the start of his senior year.
“I do have friends I’ve made throughout the years that I can talk to,” he said. “But If I were a freshman, I’d be really struggling right now as far as the social aspect.”
The Guardian has published an article looking at how the UK government flip-flopping over the quarantine list has devastated the Portuguese tourist industry. Although Portugal remains on the safe list, for English tourists at least, rumours to the contrary have sparked panic and holiday cancellations.
Updated at 3.18pm BST
The bleak Covid winter? America still not on course to beat back the virus
Even with three decades of experience in the travel industry, Jorge Pesquera has never seen a downturn in business like this one.
Summer officially ends on Monday in the US, and now is the time when many people in colder climes in North America and across the world start dreaming about a winter break on Florida’s golden shores.
Not this year.
The US is closed for many outside its borders, and many within are too scared to fly as coronavirus continues its deadly sweep across the country. The rate of infection has eased in Florida and elsewhere, and Pesquera, president of the marketing group Discover the Palm Beaches, is hopeful business is improving. But it comes in a year of catastrophic collapse for Florida’s tourism.
“Nobody has seen anything like this in a couple of generations,” said Pesquera.
As the US enters its first coronavirus winter, economists and epidemiologists see a pivotal moment – a hinge whose swing will determine the direction of the economy and the course of the disease into 2021 and for years and potentially generations to come.
Updated at 3.02pm BST
An anonymous teacher has written a diary of the first week back at school. Read more by clicking on the link below.
At least 6,000 people say they caught coronavirus in Ischgl, an Austrian ski resort known as “Ibiza on ice”, and their class action is gaining pace. Those who were there recall a terrifying week.
Updated at 3.03pm BST
One person who tested positive for coronavirus in Wales has died, bringing the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic to 1,597. Public Health Wales said the total number of cases in the country had increased by 77, bringing the revised total of confirmed cases to 18,283.
Updated at 2.35pm BST
Eight more hospital deaths in England as total reaches 29,604
A further eight people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,604, NHS England said on Saturday.
The patients were aged between 56 and 94 and all had known underlying health conditions.
The dates of the deaths ranged from 31 August to 4 September, with the majority on or after 3 September. Another two deaths have been reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
Updated at 2.36pm BST
Pubs and restaurants in Middlesbrough – in the north-east of England – that put “profits before people” by failing to enforce Covid-19 safety measures risk being closed down, the town’s mayor has said.
Andy Preston said public health officials would visit venues with police on Saturday night after the town was put on the government’s “areas of concern” watchlist after a rise in coronavirus cases.
He said if venues were found to be putting the public’s health at risk by failing to adhere to coronavirus regulations, they could be immediately closed down.
Speaking to BBC News on Saturday, Preston said: “We are seeing a lot of dangerous behaviour and a number of infections coming from pubs and restaurants, and in fact tonight we are out with the police and we are going to be visiting venues. And where we see bad practice, if we think the public’s health is in danger, we may well close those venues down.”
Asked if he would be prepared to close venues down on the spot, Preston said: “Yes, if we see sufficiently bad practice, if the public’s health is in significant danger, we will take everything we legally can to stay out of a lockdown.”
Preston said he was expecting Middlesbrough to be put on the government’s “areas of concern” list.
He said during the government’s eat out to help out scheme in August, two-hour queues could be seen outside some restaurants. Preston said: “[There were] huge numbers of people bunched together, we saw tables way too close together, we saw a number of establishments putting profits before people, and that’s what we are on the lookout for tonight.”
He said while customers were in charge of their own behaviour, it was the venues’ responsibility to police it, adding that if the town was forced into a local lockdown it would damage jobs and people’s mental health.
Updated at 2.35pm BST
China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and Sinovac Biotech Ltd said on Saturday that four more countries had agreed to run late-stage clinical tests of their coronavirus vaccine candidates, as China steps up its efforts in the global race.
Serbia and Pakistan are among the new countries agreeing to phase 3 trials, as the two companies seek more data overseas amid dwindling new cases in China.
Serbia will test two vaccines developed by CNBG’s Wuhan and Beijing units, and Pakistan will test the Beijing unit’s candidate, the company told Reuters.
CNBG’s phase 3 trials are expected to involve 50,000 people in about 10 countries, said the CNBG vice president Zhang Yuntao. Trials have already begun in United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Peru, Morocco, Argentina and Jordan.
Zhang said foreign countries have expressed interest in ordering a combined 500m doses of its vaccines.
CNBG is expected to be able to produce 300m doses of vaccine a year once it upgrades manufacturing techniques, and is working on a plan to raise its annual capacity to 1bn doses, Zhang said.
Updated at 1.52pm BST
Hello everyone and thank you for following the live feed today, with all the latest updates on coronavirus from around the globe. I am working in our London offices, so please do get in touch with any comments or news tips.
Covid-19 has killed at least 875,703 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Saturday.
At least 26,671,700 cases of coronavirus have been registered. Of these, at least 17,496,300 are considered recovered.
The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. Many countries are testing only symptomatic or the most serious cases.
On Friday, 5,693 new deaths and 305,583 new cases were recorded worldwide. Based on the latest reports, the countries with the most new deaths were India with 1,089, followed by the US with 998 and Brazil with 888.
The US is the worst-hit country with 187,777 deaths from 6,202,053 cases. At least 2,283,454 people have been declared recovered.
After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Brazil with 125,502 deaths from 4,091,801 cases, India with 69,561 deaths from 4,023,179 cases, Mexico with 66,851 deaths from 623,090 cases, and Britain with 41,537 deaths from 342,351 cases.
Updated at 1.14pm BST
This is Nicola Slawson taking over the reins from Sarah while she takes lunch. Do get in touch with any tips or questions you have.
Updated at 12.51pm BST
In England, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said it would be willing to consider strike action after confirming it opposed government plans for 80% of civil servants to have returned to the office by the end of the month.
In a statement, the union said: “Our members have kept the country running during the pandemic while working from home and we believe it is not safe to return to workplaces while Covid-19 infection rates remain high and given the likelihood of a second wave in the coming weeks.
“We are asking departments to provide, as a matter of urgency, for each building the Covid-secure limit, current staffing in each building and current risk assessment for each building.”
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “If the government or any employer starts forcing people back to work and we believe that it is not safe to do so we will first consider our legal options, secondly give individual legal advice, and thirdly consider whether a collective response is required.
“As a last resort, if you have no other option and people’s health and safety are at risk, of course we would be prepared to consider industrial action.”
Its national executive committee is due to meet on 9 September and will decide how to respond, the union said.
Updated at 12.27pm BST
Millions of pupils return to school in Iran
Schools in Iran reopened to 15 million students on Saturday after a seven-month closure despite concerns over the increased spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.
“This year, we shoulder a heavier burden of responsibility toward our students,” said President Hassan Rouhani, who oversaw the opening of schools in a video conference broadcast live on state television.
He said education and health were equally important to society, but added that parents would not be forced to send their children back to school. Iranian media said seminaries also reopened on Saturday to about 50,000 students.
Several medical professionals have voiced concerns over the reopening of schools and universities in Iran, one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East.
Updated at 2.25pm BST
Pope Francis will next month visit the Italian town of Assisi, his first trip out of Rome since the coronavirus pandemic hit the country in February, and will sign a new encyclical, a spokesman for the Assisi Basilica said on Saturday.
The encyclical, which is the highest form of papal writing, is expected to focus on what Francis believes the post-pandemic world should look like, and will be called “Brothers All…”.
Father Enzo Fortunato said in a statement that the pope would travel to Assisi on 3 October, the day before the Feast of St Francis, who was born in the small Umbrian hill town in the centre of Italy.
“The visit will take place in private, without the participation of the faithful,” Fortunato said.
The UK government will deliver 250,000 clear face masks to frontline NHS and social care workers to help them communicate with people with conditions such as hearing loss and dementia.
The transparent masks are made from plastic with an anti-fogging barrier, meaning patients will be able to see the mouth of the wearer as they speak. The Department of Health and Social Care said this would help the millions of people with hearing loss who needed to use lip-reading to communicate.
In May, a group of nine charities said using transparent face masks could prevent “months of misery” for deaf people, calling for clear face coverings to be commissioned.
People with learning disabilities, dementia and autism may also benefit from the clear masks, as many rely on facial expressions to help them communicate.
The government has said the masks will be delivered to NHS trusts and social care providers in the next few weeks. All four countries in the UK will receive an allocation of the masks and deliveries have already begun.
Helen Whately, the minister for care, said: “Everyone using our remarkable health and care system deserves the best care possible and communication is a vital part of that. This pandemic has posed numerous challenges to the sector, so we are always on the hunt for simple solutions to support those giving and receiving care.
“The introduction of clear face masks will help overcome some of the difficulties carers wearing PPE are facing communicating with people who rely on lip-reading. If this proves a success I look forward to increasing the supply to make sure whenever a clear mask is needed, there is one available.”
Updated at 11.05am BST
In England, coronavirus restrictions are to be eased in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire, Matt Hancock has said.
Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas, including soft play areas, will be able to lawfully reopen on Tuesday in all three places, apart from Bolton in Greater Manchester.
Socially distanced indoor performances will also be able to resume, and restrictions will be lifted on close contact services such as treatments on the face, such as eyebrow threading or makeup application.
But the rate of infection is still too high in Greater Manchester, parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire to allow lifting restrictions on gatherings.
The health secretary said: “The rates of infection remain too high in Bolton for these easements to be applied and further work is now under way with local leaders.”
Elsewhere, swimming pools, gyms and sports facilities will be allowed to open from Tuesday in Leicester and the remaining areas of Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford where the restrictions were still in place. This will bring these locations in line with the national lockdown rules brought in on 25 July.
In Leicester, however, there will still be a series of restrictions that will be reviewed next Friday, including on indoor gatherings. Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas will remain closed, socially distanced indoor performances will not be allowed and restrictions on certain close contact services will remain.
Updated at 11.09am BST
Hello all. I am a news reporter based in London and will be updating the live feed today (morning here), bringing you the latest updates on coronavirus from around the world. Please do get share any news tips and comments with me. You can get in touch via any of the channels below. Thanks in advance.
Updated at 10.42am BST
Doctors in state-run hospitals in Nigeria will go on strike next week to demand a pay rise, better welfare and adequate facilities, union leaders have said.
The strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (Nard), which represents 40% of doctors, is the latest in a string of stoppages by medics to hit Africa’s most populous nation as it struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“NEC [national executive council] resolved to proceed on an indefinite nationwide strike action from Monday,” said Nard president Aliyu Sokomba in a statement on Friday.
He said the action would take place unless the government provided life insurance and death in service benefits for all health workers as well as paying outstanding salaries and allowances.
He said the union wanted pay parity for doctors in federal and state health institutions.
Strikes by medics have been common in Nigeria where the health sector is underfunded.
Updated at 10.32am BST
Russia reported 5,205 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, pushing its national tally to 1,020,310, the fourth largest in the world. Authorities said 110 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 17,759.
Hello. I am a news reporter based in London and will be bringing you the latest updates on coronavirus from around the world.
Please do get in touch while I blog, sharing news tips and comments with me. You can get in touch via any of the channels below.
Thanks in advance.
Iran on Saturday opened the new school year after nearly seven months of closure.
In a video conference, President Hassan Rouhani said the education of 15 million students was as important as the health system. He said education would not be closed in Iran even under the worst situation, urging authorities to implement health measures in schools to the level of those in military garrisons.
The reopening of schools came as many expressed concern over a possible increase in infections, including medical professionals. Abbas Aghazadeh, a member of the board of the medical council, said the national Covid-19 task force should defend the lives of millions of students. Prevent physical reopening of all schools across the country.
Iran has so far used distance learning via internet apps and TV programs. Authorities say the system will continue for undergraduate university students.
Iran’s death toll from Covid-19 has so far passed 22,000 out of 382,772 confirmed cases. The country has had the first and worst outbreak in the region.
Updated at 9.56am BST
In England, seven 10,000 fines were issued to organisers of illegal raves in Leeds last weekend, the city’s council leader has said.
Judith Blake told BBC Breakfast on Saturday that the council “fully expected” Leeds to be put on the government’s Covid-19 watchlist as an “area of concern” due to an increase in cases.
She said: “We have been monitoring our number every single day and we recognise that the numbers have been creeping up, so we fully expected to be on the list to become an area of concern.
“We feel there is a bit of complacency coming in. What we are seeing is the numbers are changing, and actually more young people are testing positive and they are spread around the city.”
She added: “Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in house parties, but we are working with police. “Last weekend we issued, with the police, seven of the 10,000 fines for organisers of illegal raves.”
Covid concerns over university students’ return home at Christmas
In the UK, as schools reopen, Mike Tildesley, associate professor of infection modelling at the University of Warwick, said the vast majority of students had a very low risk of developing severe symptoms of Covid-19.
He told the BBC: “What we’re more worried about really is universities acting as amplifiers, so potentially lots of students mixing together that can cause lots of infection that could spill over into the community.
“But also there’s a concern at the end of term when students start to travel home to their families, potentially interacting with more elderly relatives, more vulnerable people with underlying health conditions, that’s where the real concern is.
“What we don’t want is because of this large mixing in universities, it could cause a knock-on effect and as we approach Christmas, that could cause a significant wave of infection in cities across the UK as students move home.”
Updated at 2.40pm BST
India’s total coronavirus cases surged beyond 4 million with a record rise on Saturday, making it the third country in the world to surpass that mark, following the US and Brazil.
India added 86,432 cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, a global daily record, according to data from the federal health ministry. Infections rose across the country, including in New Delhi and the large states of Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The jump to more than 4 million cases comes only 13 days after India reached 3 million cases, accelerating sharply from the more than 100 days it took to increase by the previous 1 million.
India has logged the world’s largest daily coronavirus caseload for almost a month, as its government pushes the reopening of businesses to revive a sharply contracting economy. The number of coronavirus deaths in India rose by more than 1,000 to 69,561 on Saturday.
Updated at 9.37am BST
It’s the multibillion-pound industry that kept on growing, based on a bean that Britons couldn’t seem to get enough of: coffee.
Until, that is, the pandemic struck. As is the case with many businesses hit hard by coronavirus, the ubiquitous coffee chains that have powered city centres and high streets across the UK are in deep trouble.
This week in the UK, Costa announced it is cutting more than 1,500 jobs. Pret a Manger is losing almost 3,000 staff and closing 30 outlets – while independents from the Exploding Bakery in Exeter to Kaffeine in central London have reported a slump in customer numbers.
The problems are laid bare in figures that would undermine any business model: spending on takeaway hot drinks in the UK slumped nearly 90% in April, the peak of the high street lockdown, according to the market research firm Kantar.
Updated at 9.15am BST
Hello. I am a news reporter based in London and will be bringing you the latest updates on coronavirus from around the world.
Please do get in touch while I blog, sharing news tips and comments with me. You can get in touch via any of the channels below.
Thanks in advance.
Updated at 10.44am BST
That’s it from me in Sydney for the day. I’m passing you over to my colleague Sarah Marsh in London, who will keep you updated over the next several hours.
For readers in Australia, here’s a recap of today’s main Covid-19 news:
Updated at 8.16am BST
Tourism hotspots across the UK are extending the domestic season through autumn to recover business lost during the coronavirus lockdown.
This report from my colleague Richard Partington:
Updated at 8.06am BST
India’s coronavirus cases pass 4m
Good morning to readers in the UK and across Europe.
AP have this report on Covid-19 in India and elsewhere around the world:
India’s coronavirus cases crossed 4m on Saturday, leading the world in new infections and deepening misery in the country’s vast hinterlands where surges have crippled the underfunded healthcare system.
Initially, the virus ravaged India’s sprawling and densely populated cities. It has since stretched to almost every state, spreading through villages and smaller towns.
With a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, India’s massive caseload isn’t surprising experts. The country’s delayed response to the virus forced the government to implement a harsh lockdown in late March.
For more than two months, the economy remained shuttered, buying time for health workers to prepare for the worst. But with the cost of the restrictions also rising, authorities saw no choice but to reopen businesses and everyday activities.
Most of India’s cases are in western Maharashtra state and the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.
But new surges are popping up elsewhere. The 86,432 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India’s total to 4,023,179.
Globally, Brazil has confirmed 4,091,801 infections while the United States has 6,200,186 people infected, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Updated at 8.12am BST
South Australia records new case
Health authorities in South Australia will look to expand testing across the state after Covid-19 was detected in sewage water.
The announcement that coronavirus was detected at two wastewater treatment facilities has prompted SA Health to expand regional testing from three to six sites.
One of the facilities where Covid-19 was detected collects water from a catchment near a popular interstate trucking route. The sample from the other facility, at Bolivar, subsequently tested negative.
On Saturday, the state also recorded its first case of Covid-19 in 12 days – in a Melbourne woman in her 20s who was travelling with her family through the state on their way to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.
The family is now isolating in South Australian hotel quarantine, as the woman, who is asymptomatic, isolates in a separate room.
Updated at 7.38am BST
Further information about Queensland’s new Covid-19 case has been released.
The only new case announced on Saturday is a woman in her 60s living on Russell Island, about 40km south-east of Brisbane.
Queensland’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said health authorities had been planning for “situations like this”, where a case was diagnosed on an island.
Contact tracing is under way and we will continue to assess the situation and provide the local community with the relevant advice as more information comes to light.
Metro South Health is currently planning to set up a pop-up Covid-19 testing clinic at the Russell Island Recreation Hall, 2 High Street, Russell Island, near the ferry terminal, and at this stage it will be in operation from 4pm-8pm today and 8am-4pm tomorrow.
About 3,000 people live on Russell Island.
Updated at 7.18am BST
Australia’s deputy chief health officer, Prof Michael Kidd, is asked about the anti-lockdown protests taking place in Melbourne and elsewhere across the country today.
He says he hasn’t seen reports about how today’s protests went, but that the gatherings would be in breach of Victoria’s current restrictions.
I hope that people are maintaining their physical distancing and that people are wearing appropriate face coverings to protect themselves and protect others.
While there may be a few hundred people protesting, there are millions adhering by the restrictions and doing all they can to bring Covid-19 under control in that state.
For more on the protests in Melbourne, my colleague Michael McGowan has filed this report about the arrests that have taken place.
Updated at 6.53am BST
Prof Michael Kidd reiterates advice that Father’s Day in Australia (on Sunday) will be different this year.
Many families in Australia are separated due to the stage four restrictions in Melbourne and the stage three restrictions across Victoria.
Many families are separated by the border closures between some of our states and territories. And many families are separated by the international border restrictions …
Tomorrow, if you are lucky enough to still have your father or your grandfathers, or perhaps even your great-grandfathers in your life, please reach out to them and let them know how special they are to you.
If you can’t see them in person, you can still reach out by telephone or video chat and come together virtually on the special day.
Please do not breach any restrictions in your local area to see your father or put his health and well-being at risk, especially if you are living in an area of community transmission or under restrictions.
Updated at 6.54am BST
Australia’s deputy chief medical officer, Prof Michael Kidd, is giving a national Covid-19 update.
There have been 83 new coronavirus cases recorded over the past 24 hours in Australia.
This takes Australia’s tally of infections to 26,207.
Kidd outlines the impact Melbourne’s strict lockdowns have had on the nation’s Covid-19 case numbers.
In the past week we have seen 663 new cases of Covid-19 in Australia. This figure continues to fall and compares to the previous week when we saw 951 new cases. The week before, with 1,600 new cases, 2,354 new cases the week before that, and 3,493 cases a week before that.
This continuing and welcome fall in new numbers of cases is the result of the restrictions in place over the past month in Melbourne and across Victoria.
Updated at 6.46am BST
Several arrests at anti-lockdown protests in NSW
There have also been anti-lockdown protests happening in New South Wales today.
Earlier in the day, police arrested three people at an unauthorised protest in Sydney’s Hyde Park.
Two men, aged 44 and 54, were arrested for allegedly assaulting police, while a woman was arrested for failing to comply with a move on direction.
Eighteen penalty infringement notices were also issued for people failing to comply with the public health order in place for Covid-19. A 16-year-old boy was issued with a youth caution.
That protest has concluded.
In Byron Bay, in the state’s north, eight people were arrested at an unauthorised anti-lockdown protest earlier on Saturday, with charges including assault of police officers. That protest has also wrapped up.
Currently, police are dispersing protesters at a third unauthorised anti-lockdown protest at Sydney’s Olympic Park. A police spokeswoman told the Guardian this protest was larger than the two earlier gatherings.
She did not know if any arrests had been made.
Updated at 6.59am BST
Ahead of Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, unveiling the roadmap out of Covid-19 restrictions on Sunday, here is a report looking at what freedoms are expected to be introduced first, based on leaked drafts of the roadmap obtained by Guardian Australia.
Updated at 6.01am BST
In New South Wales, the state government has identified Bondi Bowling Club as “the worst venue to date” in terms of Covid-19 breaches.
The Sydney venue has been handed a double fine totalling ,000 after Liquor & Gaming NSW inspectors visited the club on 29 August and identified multiple breaches, including serious physical distancing and hygiene issues such as:
- Multiple group bookings of more than 10 people.
- Patrons mingling and walking around drinking alcohol.
- A complete lack of social distancing in queues to the bar.
- Dirty cups and plates left on tables.
- Inadequate sign-in processes with staff unable or unwilling to enforce the mandatory Covid safety measures.
Dimitri Argeres, the director of compliance at Liquor & Gaming NSW, said “while we came across Bondi Bowling Club’s breaches during a routine visit, we also use information and feedback from the public along with other sources of intelligence to focus our inspections on venues posing a higher risk”.
We are still on a cliff edge, but you wouldn’t know it if you went to Bondi Bowling Club on 29 August. The venue was operating as though the Covid safety measures were optional.
This presented a pretty grim picture of patrons and staff who are simply ignoring the restrictions everyone else has to live with and putting the entire community at risk.
He urged members of the public to report breaches to the government’s safety feedback portal at www.nsw.gov.au.
The NSW government issued 11 new Covid-related fines over the past week, bringing the total number of venues fined to 105 and the total fine amounts to 9,000.
Updated at 5.24am BST
Some vision from the Melbourne protests
Updated at 4.39am BST
This report from AAP on the protests in Victoria:
Unmasked anti-lockdown protesters have been arrested by police during violent scuffles in Melbourne.
Officers were punched by one man at the city’s Shrine of Remembrance on Saturday before being fitted with a mask and handcuffs.
He was one of more than 20 people arrested at the scene, an AAP photographer reported.
Up to 300 people gathered at the shrine where the mood was described as tense.
Police on horses pushed the mob towards the shrine’s steps, before protesters started to disperse. Some of the group carried placards with anti-government sentiments and at one stage were singing the Australian anthem.
Police are on standby for a number of protest rallies across Victoria after plans were aired to challenge the state’s strict lockdown rules, which include an 8pm to 5am curfew and limited travel and time away from home.
Ahead of Saturday, police confirmed they had arrested four men in connection with the planned Freedom Day rally.
Those arrests followed the well-publicised arrest of a pregnant Ballarat woman over allegations of a separate rally planned there for Saturday.
The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, sent a general message to those protesting during his daily press conference.
“It is not smart, it is not safe, it is not lawful, in fact it is absolutely selfish to be out there protesting,” he said.
“The only fight we should be engaged in is against this virus.”
Updated at 4.18am BST
As scrutiny of Australia’s handling of Covid-19 across aged care homes intensifies, here is a report from my colleagues Ben Butler and Melissa Davey about growing demands for aged care providers to reveal how they use taxpayer dollars.
Guardian Australia analysis of the 10 aged care homes worst affected by coronavirus in Victoria shows that three are controlled by two large companies, which between them received more than .45bn in government funding over the past two years and paid out dividends to their shareholders totalling m.
Updated at 3.57am BST
Australia’s opposition Labor party is continuing to get stuck into the government over one of its Liberal MPs, Craig Kelly.
Kelly was heavily criticised over his recent promotion of hydroxychloroquine – both via social media and a speech in parliament – to treat Covid-19.
This week, he compared Victorian police’s arrest of a Ballarat woman for anti-lockdown incitement on social media to Nazi Germany.
Of the arrest, Kelly said “this is what you’d see expect (sic) in Nazi Germany” and “No it’s not Nazi Germany it’s happening in Australia in 2020”, later saying he makes “no apology for using the Nazi Germany analogy”.
Today, Labor’s health spokesman, Chris Bowen, and MP Josh Burns called on the prime minister, Scott Morrison, to take action over Kelly’s comments.
Scott Morrison personally intervened in Craig Kelly’s preselection but has failed to stop the dangerous and offensive behaviour of the Member for Hughes.
In just 48 hours, Craig Kelly has made three offensive and ignorant comments comparing the Victorian authorities to Hitler’s Nazi regime.
Mr Kelly’s comments on Hydroxychloroquine are especially dangerous during a medical pandemic as Hydroxychloroquine has potentially fatal side effects if not administered properly.
His comments on Nazi Germany are an insult to the many Jewish and other Australians who lost family members in the Holocaust, and all of the Australian soldiers who fought Hitler’s Nazi regime.
Yet Scott Morrison remains a bystander on Craig Kelly’s dangerous and offensive behaviour.
Updated at 4.02am BST
I’m going to hand you over to my colleague Elias Visontay, who will take you through the afternoon.
Police arrest anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne
Things are heating up at the anti-lockdown protest at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. These videos come via Aneeka Simonis at the Herald Sun.
Updated at 3.30am BST
The China Daily reports there are 10 new Covid-19 cases in the country today.
Here’s our story on the former Cook Islands prime minister Joseph Williams, who has died of coronavirus in Auckland, according to New Zealand’s health ministry.
And that’s all from Victoria. As we told you earlier, there have been 76 new cases and 11 deaths reported today. Six of those deaths occurred in the past 24 hours. The other five happened in recent days, according to premier Daniel Andrews.
Sutton is talking about his hopes for a vaccine:
There are over 30 who in those phase-three trials with tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people around the world now going through phase three trials where we will see what a vaccine might be able to achieve, and if just one of those vaccines, and there will be probably three or four or more of those vaccines that show effectiveness, that are safe, and can be produced, that is what we are hanging out for, so if we can do that and hang on for those months ahead when a vaccine is available and can be provided across the population, then we are all in a much better position.
Updated at 2.29am BST
Andrews is asked whether he believes the national cabinet process is “fractured” after the prime minister, Scott Morrison, yesterday ended the so-called consensus model of the body because of Queensland and Western Australia’s refusal to sign up to a border re-opening timetable.
From my point of view, I wouldn’t describe national cabinet in those terms, it has served us well and will continue to serve us well. There are some things that all of us need to put aside the things that sometimes occupy us, and instead of acting on those sort of interests, we act in what is undoubtedly the national interest, that is what has driven national cabinet, and I don’t see that changing.
At the same time, though, I will let the prime minister speak to those matters in more detail, he is the chair of that body … from my point of view, the outcome in relation to having free movement of key agricultural workers and the process to improve those arrangements between South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales was a very important outcome.
Updated at 2.13am BST
Five new Covid-19 cases in NSW
In New South Wales, five new cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in NSW to 3,915.
The new cases include:
- One returned traveller in hotel quarantine
- Four linked to the CBD cluster, bringing the total linked to this cluster to 61.
Updated at 3.07am BST
Andrews is asked about the heavy police presence in Melbourne before those anti-lockdown protests today:
There is a very visible, very significant police presence in the city. Some people have forecast that they in a selfish, dangerous and unlawful way protest and police are taking appropriate steps, and as for number they can leave it to Victoria police to provide you with any details.
Updated at 2.03am BST
Brett Sutton is being asked whether the roadmap out of lockdown, to be released tomorrow, would move to allow businesses to reopen while increasing protections around aged care.
He says it’s “important to understand that the real epidemic in aged care followed the epidemic in the community”.
And the number of new introductions in aged-care facilities happened at the height of community transmission. And so getting on top of community transmission is protecting aged-care settings. It’s both the response within those settings, so making sure that it doesn’t spread amongst residents, it doesn’t spread amongst staff, and it doesn’t go between staff and residents. But it’s also about keeping on top of the numbers in the community, because the aged-care outbreaks follow community transmission, and they’re now a challenge to make sure that it’s not reintroduced to prolong community transmission.
Updated at 2.03am BST
As this press conference goes on, a heavy police presence at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance are already making arrests before a planned anti-lockdown protest.
Victoria’s chief medical officer, Brett Sutton, says there are in fact 64 new cases, based on some reclassification of previous cases. Only one is from an unknown source. Sutton says mystery cases have accounted for about 10% or 15% of total cases in recent days.
Updated at 1.53am BST
Andrews is addressing a push from members of the business community to force Victoria out of the stage-four restrictions:
I understand why they want to do that. It’s not just for profits, it’s for their people. Their staff. Their future. I absolutely get that. But when you really think about it, I don’t know that any business – my own experience, my family background, and the people that I speak to almost every day – no one is really advocating to open and be open for just a few weeks. And if you opened at these levels, that is exactly what would happen. It would be five minutes of sunshine and then a third wave that arguably will be even more devastating than the second. We just have to find a way to be as steadfast as this virus, it is stubborn. The tail of the second wave is a stubborn thing.
Updated at 1.54am BST
Andrews says there are now 4,370 cases with an unknown source, an increase of just one since yesterday. The total number of active cases across the state has fallen to 1,956.
He says cases in regional Victoria “have come right off and we are very pleased with that”.
Essentially, it is good to see these numbers continue to fall. It is good to see that the strategy continues to be successful. Obviously, at 76 new cases, that is still a really significant challenge for us. And to open up with those numbers would, of course, see the total number of coronavirus infections explode. It would see many, many hundreds, indeed thousands, of Victorians infected with this virus. So, as frustrating, as challenging as it is, we need to stay the course on this.
Victoria reports 76 new cases and 11 deaths
Daniel Andrews is speaking now and is running through the latest numbers.
Of the 11 deaths reported today, 10 are linked to aged care outbreaks. Six of the deaths occurred in the last 24 hours, and five deaths occurred “in recent days”.
Updated at 7.47am BST
We’re expecting Victorian premier Daniel Andrews any moment now.
Mexico’s health ministry on Friday reported 6,196 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 infections and 522 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 623,090 cases and 66,851 deaths.
The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
Updated at 1.15am BST
My colleagues Ben Butler and Melissa Davey report today that three of the aged care homes in Melbourne worst hit by Covid-19 outbreaks are controlled by two large companies, which between them received more than .45bn in government funding over the past two years and paid out dividends to their shareholders totalling m.
Reuters reports that a former prime minister of the Cook Islands, Joseph Williams, has died of Covid-19 in Auckland, New Zealand’s health ministry said on Saturday, taking the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the country to 24.
Williams, who was in his 80s, was a well known doctor as well as a politician and author, living in New Zealand. He was briefly prime minister of the Cook Islands in 1999 after having served as the South Pacific nation’s minister of health and education.
“Dr Williams was seen as a leading figure in the Cook Islands medical community and he will be sadly missed,” New Zealand’s director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, said in a statement.
New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, has been under restrictions to fight the spread of the coronavirus since an outbreak last month. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday extended the 2.5 alert level until at least mid-September after the country reported the Covid-19 death of a man in his 50s.
“Today’s sad news again reinforces the importance of our shared vigilance against Covid-19, the very serious consequences the virus can carry with it,” Bloomfield said.
Updated at 1.09am BST
Queensland records one new Covid-19 case
Queensland has recorded one new Covid-19 case on Saturday, the state’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. It is a known close contact of a previous case. There are now 26 active cases of the virus in Queensland.
Updated at 1.09am BST
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will give his daily Covid-19 update at 10.30am. I’ll bring it to you then.
In case you missed it earlier, here’s former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s statement on his appointment as an adviser to the UK Board of Trade.
Good morning, this is the Guardian’s Covid-19 live coverage.
Police in the Australian state of Victoria are warning protesters to stay away from anti-lockdown rallies planned in Melbourne on Saturday as the state records 76 new cases of the virus and 11 deaths.
In the lead-up to Saturday, police arrested five people and warned about 80 others against attending the protests as they enforce Victoria’s lockdown rules.
On Friday, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews backed police efforts to shut down any planned protest rallies while the lockdown rules remain in place.
You can’t ignore the reality you’re in and give yourself a leave pass and go and do something that, in all likelihood, will contribute to the spread of this (virus),” Andrews said.
- The World Health Organisation director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said the UN body would never endorse a vaccine that has not proven safe and effective amid concerns over the rush to develop a jab for Covid-19. Ghebreyesus, also called for countries around the world to join forces to tackle the coronavirus, saying that “vaccine nationalism” would only slow the response to the pandemic.
- US presidential candidate Joe Biden disclosed publicly for the first time he has been tested at least once for Covid-19 and promised he will be tested regularly during his election campaign against US President Donald Trump. The Democratic presidential nominee told reporters of his testing protocol during a news conference in which he criticised Trump for downplaying the coronavirus.
- Italy on Friday registered 1,733 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily rise since 2 May, and 11 deaths.
- Spain’s health ministry has reported 10,476 new cases since yesterday, bringing the country’s total to 498,989. It has also logged 256 deaths over the past week, bringing the toll to 24,918.Madrid continues to be the worst-hit region, accounting for 31,538 of the 101,962 cases detected over the past two weeks.
- Health authorities in France reported 8,975 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, setting an all-time high of daily additional infections since the disease started to spread in the country at the end of the winter.The number of people hospitalised for the disease, while still well below its April 14 peak of 32,292, has gone up for the sixth day running, at 4,671.
- Iraq on Friday recorded its highest single-day rise in Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, prompting authorities to warn hospitals may “lose control” in the coming days. According to the Iraqi health ministry, 5,036 new coronavirus infections were confirmed on Friday, bringing the total number of cases across the country to 252,075, of which 191,368 had recovered, but 7,359 had died.
Updated at 12.37am BST
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