Human Rights, Judiciary, Opinion, Society

The ‘human rights’ sex trade case that will harm women

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “The ‘human rights’ sex trade case that will harm women” was written by Julie Bindel, for The Observer on Saturday 19th June 2021 18.26 UTC

A case to be heard in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg this week could have disastrous consequences for those campaigning to eradicate prostitution.

The hearing is the first step in determining whether France’s laws on prostitution – which criminalise paying for sex – are constitutional, or whether they contravene the human rights of self-titled “sex workers”.

France introduced the legislation, known as the abolitionist model, in 2016, joining a growing list of countries (Sweden, Norway, Canada, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Israel) where it is illegal to buy sex, shifting the criminal responsibility to the buyer, who is fined if caught.

It was controversial from the start, with sex workers’ rights campaigners arguing that a better solution would be to decriminalise the entire sex trade, including pimping, brothel owning and kerb crawling.

But prostitution is dangerous and degrading for the vast majority of women involved. Removing laws pertaining to pimping and brothel owning, and legitimising men paying for sex, results in a further entrenchment of the view that prostitution is an inevitability, and, as has been said to me countless times, “the oldest profession”. I prefer to use the phrase “the oldest oppression”.

In December 2019, a challenge to the law in France was lodged before the French constitutional court, but the law was upheld. In its ruling the judges said that the law helped protect women “by depriving pimps of their profits” and that it “fights against this activity and against the sexual exploitation of human beings, criminal activities founded on coercion and enslavement”.

The claimants – 250 individuals involved in prostitution, supported by 19 French NGOs – are now taking the case to the ECHR.

The fact that the applicants are using human rights legislation to argue for the “right” of men to pay for sex is staggering. Prostitution is a human rights violation of the women involved, and men have no right to pay for sex. In this case, the so-called “human right” of women to sell sex is being used as a smokescreen to protect the men and their right to sexual access to the most vulnerable women.

The applicants claim that the law contravenes three articles in the European convention on human rights: the right to life; prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment; right to a private life. One of the arguments is that the law puts women’s lives in danger by driving prostitution underground; that they are more likely to face violence from sex buyers because only “bad” punters will take the risk; and that women have the right to make autonomous decisions to sell sex.

There is no evidence for these claims – on the contrary, research in those countries that have adopted the abolitionist model has shown that rates of violence and homicide perpetrated on women by pimps and punters is far lower than in decriminalised regimes.

The implications are huge – if the plaintiffs win, all the other countries with a similar law will doubtless be challenged by pro-prostitution lobbyists. If, however, they lose, this will further entrench the legality and highlight the successes of the abolitionist model. A lot is hanging on this case in terms of the direction that other countries take when dealing with its own sex trade.

What are the alternatives to curbing the demand? Blanket decriminalisation or legalisation, as adopted by Holland, Germany, and Switzerland.

But legalisation has failed miserably. Under this regime, demand for sexual services, trafficking of women and girls, and illegal brothels have increased. There is no evidence of a decrease in violence, HIV rates or murders of women in legal sex trades, but there is evidence that the rights and freedoms promised by lobbyists for legalisation and decriminalisation were transferred to the brothel owners and sex buyers.

Space International, a feminist NGO founded by sex trade survivors that campaigns for the abolitionist model, has applied to intervene in the case and will submit evidence about the benefits of the law. For example, that the law includes provision for exiting services for women who wish to leave prostitution, and protection from pimps and other exploiters.

If the applicants are successful, the judgment will become case law to be relied upon in the future and could lead to pimps funding big campaigns to repeal sex buyer laws in other countries to protect profits.

Let’s hope that the judges see sense and understand that a repeal of the abolitionist model will lead to more misery for women, and amnesty on sexual exploiters.

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India hold on to draw women’s Test match against England – as it happened

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “India hold on to draw women’s Test match against England – as it happened” was written by Will Unwin (now) and Simon Burnton (earlier), for theguardian.com on Saturday 19th June 2021 17.29 UTC

Player of the match.

Rana and Bhatia did superbly well to ensure India came out of the match with a draw. They were certainly in deep trouble when they came together but they put on more than 100 for the ninth wicket.

MATCH DRAWN

121st over: India 344-8 (Rana 80, Bhatia 44) Rana takes a single first ball. That is not speeding up the century process. Knight seems to be telling the India bench to call it a day as Bhatia is gifted a single to keep the strike but it is a no ball, so we go again. Rana decides to speed the matter up and hits a four. Knight asks to call it a day once more at the end of the over and we are done.

120th over: India 337-8 (Rana 75, Bhatia 43) England put everyone on the boundary. India are going to drag this out until Rana gets her ton, aren’t they? Bhatia gets four down fine leg and another to square leg. This partnership is now worth 97.

119th over: India 327-8 (Rana 74, Bhatia 34) India have earned this draw, which will be the inevitable result. For now, however, we are going through the motions.

118th over: India 326-8 (Rana 74, Bhatia 33) Bhatia edges Cross but it whacks Jones into the knee, causing her to yelp in pain. I think it missed her padding and hit bone. You could hear the impact.

117th over: India 325-8 (Rana 74, Bhatia 32) Elwiss is bowling for the first time in the match, which might be a sign this Test is going nowhere. Line and length from Elwiss all the way. The only runs of the over come from leg byes down to fine leg.

116th over: India 323-8 (Rana 74, Bhatia 32) Cross is certainly keeping it tight here. Bhatia edges her down to third man for a couple. We are now into the final hour.

115th over: India 321-8 (Rana 74, Bhatia 30) When do they consider shaking hands on this? Knight has decided to change the angle by going round the wicket to bring some life back into the attack. It almost works as Rana prods at one and it beats the edge. The next delivery is a dreadful full toss but Rana can only hit it for a single.

114th over: India 319-8 (Rana 73, Bhatia 29) Cross is very much hitting back of a length. She tries to tempt Bhatia with a fuller one but a textbook forward defence is the response. Cross completes a second consecutive maiden.

113th over: India 319-8 (Rana 73, Bhatia 29) Bhatia hits one from Knight down to the cover boundary for a walked single. India are rightly in little rush to do much here.

112th over: India 318-8 (Rana 73, Bhatia 28) Cross is brought on to replace Ecclestone. She beats Rana first up, going past her outside edge. Cross hits the pads but it is going down leg and the umpire has zero interest in the appeal. A maiden for Cross on her return to the attack.

111th over: India 318-8 (Rana 73, Bhatia 28) Rana knocks one through cover for an easy single, which was the only time either bothered with any backlift in the over. India lead by 153.

110th over: India 317-8 (Rana 72, Bhatia 28) Farrant makes a cracking stop at backward point, bringing much joy to her teammates. The next ball from Ecclestone is, however, cracked past Farrant for four. Ecclestone drops one very short and is pulled to midwicket for another boundary. I do not think we will see much more from Ecclestone today.

While it is drinks … I should point out I am not Simon Burnton, he has had to depart.

109th over: India 309-8 (Rana 72, Bhatia 20) Knight deceives Rana and the wicketkeeper, conceding four byes in the process. Rana blocks out to drinks.

108th over: India 305-8 (Rana 72, Bhatia 20) The 300 comes up thanks to a fine sweep from Rana. She follows it up with a vicious cut to the point boundary.

107th over: India 296-8 (Rana 63, Bhatia 20) Knight tries to yorks Rana but he she keeps it out. The next ball flies off the outside edge but very wide of slip and trickles down to the third man boundary but it is just held up. There are cries for a catch from England after Rana clips one out to deep square leg but it bounces a couple of times on its way to Dunkley.

India lead by 131.

106th over: India 293-8 (Rana 60, Bhatia 20) Rana fails to beat the field with a couple of shots but then cuts for a single to the cover boundary. Bhatia chops the next ball down but it bounces up and over her stumps.

105th over: India 292-8 (Rana 59, Bhatia 20) Knight brings herself on. Bhatia takes a quick single but gets herself back on strike to whack a cover drive to the boundary

Updated

104th over: India 286-8 (Rana 58, Bhatia 15) Ecclestone knows that all Bhatia wants to do is cut, so offers her no width to do so. Bhatia gets a run off the final ball to midwicket.

103rd over: India 285-8 (Rana 58, Bhatia 14) Rana cuts Sciver behind point and to the boundary on the first ball. She is looking incredibly confident at the crease. The rest of the over passes without another run scored thanks to Sciver keeping it tight.

Some high praise.

Updated

102nd over: India 281-8 (Rana 54, Bhatia 14) Fifty for Smeh Rana! It’s taken her 91 balls and every one has been precious. It has been a pretty classy knock, and absolutely invaluable for her team.

101st over: India 274-8 (Rana 49, Bhatia 12) Three singles off Sciver’s over, and a sense of stasis hangs over the game. Can England wrestle their way back into the ascendancy?

100th over: India 271-8 (Rana 47, Bhatia 11) Ecclestone is back after a change of ends, and Bhatia chips the last in the air but just short of the fielder at short leg, who dives to her left but to no avail.

India extend their lead beyond 100

99th over: India 267-8 (Rana 45, Bhatia 9) Sciver replaces Ecclestone and Bhatia now hits a lovely shot through the covers, and India have been excellent since tea, every boundary a dagger to the heart of England’s victory hopes. They’re also taking long enough between deliveries for the umpires to warn them about timewasting. India lead by 102.

98th over: India 262-8 (Rana 45, Bhatia 4) Four more for Rana, who gets it through the covers again for four.

Updated

97th over: India 257-8 (Rana 41, Bhatia 4) Lovely shot from Rana here, through the covers for four.

96th over: India 253-8 (Rana 36, Bhatia 4) Just a single. Sneh Rana, on her Test debut and batting very impressively, seems to be enjoying this.

95th over: India 252-8 (Rana 35, Bhatia 4) A maiden from Sophie Ecclestone.

94th over: India 252-8 (Rana 35, Bhatia 4) Runs! Rana edges, but it’s always safe and runs away for four. Sophia Dunckley chases gamely, and when she realises she won’t catch it dives anyway, for reasons unknown, not coming within two yards of the ball at any point. Rana then hits the last more cleanly for four more. These are big runs for India.

Updated

The players are back out. There’s a match to decide. Katherine Brunt has the ball.

England have kept plugging away, and been admirably composed when they might have grown desperate and a bit ragged, helped by India giftwrapping a few wickets. Going into the last session, with 40 overs remaining – less, presumably, a couple for change of innings – we could end up with a super-fun finale. My advice would be, don’t go anywhere.

TEA: India 243-8, lead by 78

93rd over: India 242-8 (Rana 27, Bhatia 2) England bring in the close fielders, but when Bhatia edges one in the air it goes between the two slips. The over and indeed the session ends with an lbw appeal – England don’t have any reviews left, and that was heading well down leg anyway.

92nd over: India 242-8 (Rana 27, Bhatia 2) England’s seamers haven’t cleaned up the tail with the new ball, so after this Brunt over Sophie Ecclestone is going to get a chance to complete a five-fer.

91st over: India 241-8 (Rana 27, Bhatia 1) There was rain forecast for the late afternoon, but latest projections are that it won’t arrive until after 7pm, so this game should be played to a conclusion. India lead by 76 with 43 overs remaining.

WICKEET! Pandey c Jones b Sciver 18 (India 240-8)

Breakthrough! The partnership is broken after adding 41 inconvenient runs, Pandey tickling the ball on its way down the leg side, and Amy Jones takes a good low catch.

90th over: India 240-7 (Rana 26, Pandey 17) Rana leaves Brunt’s first delivery, which misses off stump by no distance at all, and the batter immediately retakes her guard. You don’t leave those.

89th over: India 238-7 (Rana 26, Pandey 17) Sciver ends with an inswinging yorker that Rana gets the inside edge of the toe of her bat to, the ball squirting away towards fine leg.

88th over: India 236-7 (Rana 25, Pandey 16) Runs! Pandey hits Shrubsole’s first delivery through the covers and her third past point, both times for four. Then two snorters to end the over, one that flies just past the edge and the other just past off stump.

87th over: India 227-7 (Rana 25, Pandey 7) Sciver comes back. Her first 10 overs of the innings went for a combined total of one run, and this one goes for five thanks to a last-ball slash by Rana which sent the ball flying wide of the slips and away for four.

86th over: India 222-7 (Rana 21, Pandey 6) Shrubsole is getting quite a lot of inswing here, but the batters are handling the new ball very nicely and precious time keeps passing.

NOT OUT! Not a whisper on Ultra Edge, and England’s last review has gone.

ENGLAND REVIEW! They think Rana was caught behind. Even Anya Shrubsole didn’t see an edge, and the umpire certainly didn’t, but Amy Jones was convinced, so England roll the dice.

85th over: India 222-7 (Rana 21, Pandey 6) Another maiden from Brunt, who still looks a bit bothered by that ankle.

84th over: India 222-7 (Rana 21, Pandey 6) Rana flicks Shrubsole away through midwicket for four, nice shot. And then a few cracking deliveries, a couple of big inswingers followed by one that moves away off the seam and just beats Rana’s edge. There are 49 overs remaining, and India lead by 57.

Updated

83rd over: India 218-7 (Rana 17, Pandey 6) Katherine Brunt doesn’t look very happy, and at the end of her over she kneels down to give her left ankle a bit of a rub, potentially a futile-attempt-at-boundary-prevention injury. She still bowls a maiden, mind.

82nd over: India 218-7 (Rana 17, Pandey 6) Shrubsole bowls, and Rana hits through the covers, all timing. Brunt chases it all the way, throws herself at it to try to keep it from the rope, and fails. Then she hits just wide of the fielder at short leg for a couple. India’s lead is now 53.

81st over: India 212-7 (Rana 11, Pandey 6) England turn to Brunt, and after a couple of deliveries with the old ball she calls for the new nugget and two balls later produces a ripper, which somehow misses both Rana’s bat and off stump by millimetres.

80th over: India 211-7 (Rana 10, Pandey 6) Ecclestone’s 29th over of the innings, and there’s a drop at silly point! It was, as they often are, an outlandishly difficult chance, coming at pace at ankle height. Now for some drinks, presumably with a new ball and a new challenge to come.

79th over: India 211-7 (Rana 10, Pandey 6) Another nice cut, this time from Rana for a couple.

Updated

78th over: India 209-7 (Rana 8, Pandey 6) Ecclestone’s first ball is dinked just wide of the fielder at silly mid-off, who was busy thinking she had to get out of the way and couldn’t react in time to the idea of trying to get closer to the ball rather than trying to get further away. Pandey celebrates that let-off (of sorts) with a nice cut for four.

Updated

77th over: India 205-7 (Rana 8, Pandey 2) A run off the first ball, an lbw appeal off the last.

Updated

NOT OUT! The impact was well outside the line, so not out it remains.

REVIEW! England have a couple of reviews up their sleeve so they’re going to throw one at this appeal against Rana. The question is whether the ball was doing too much, and going wide of leg stump.

76th over: India 204-7 (Rana 8, Pandey 1) Rana chops the ball into the ground, and it seems to be heading towards the stumps only for some reason to decide to turn left after bouncing. She celebrates this lifeline by hitting the last for four.

75th over: India 200-7 (Rana 4, Pandey 1) A maiden from Heather Knight.

74th over: India 200-7 (Rana 4, Pandey 1) I can only think that Kaur was trying to the guilt being felt by Pooja Vastrakar, and give captain and coach someone else to shout at. In that context, her dismissal was really quite noble. India lead by 35.

WICKET! Kaur c Jones b Ecclestone 8 (India 199-7)!

Kaur wants to score big and fast, but gets a thick top-edge and sends the ball steepling into the Bristol sky. When it comes down, Amy Jones is underneath it.

England players celebrate wicket of India’s Kaur Harmanpreet.
England players celebrate wicket of India’s Kaur Harmanpreet. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Action Images/Reuters

Updated

73rd over: India 199-6 (Kaur 8, Rana 4) Knight starts her over with a full toss, which is duly despatched by Kaur.

72nd over: India 194-6 (Kaur 3, Rana 4) The last ball of Ecclestone’s over was off-stump bound until, inches from its target, Rana got her bat to it and cut it away for four.

71st over: India 189-6 (Kaur 1, Rana 0) That was an absolutely shocking shot from Vastrakar, worse in the context of the match and the situation India are in. Pure trash.

WICKET! Vastrakar b Knight 12 (India 189-6)

Another one! An absolutely wild shot from Vastrakar, who loses shape and control, gets none of the ball with a massive heave, and loses her off stump!

India’s Pooja Vastrakar bowled out by England’s Heather Knight.
India’s Pooja Vastrakar bowled out by England’s Heather Knight. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Action Images/Reuters

Updated

70th over: India 188-5 (Kaur 1, Vastrakar 12) Better from Ecclestone, with no easy hits and consequently no runs conceded.

Updated

69th over: India 188-5 (Kaur 1, Vastrakar 12) Another Sciver maiden. This is getting silly now.

Updated

68th over: India 188-5 (Kaur 1, Vastrakar 12) Four runs! Ecclestone drops one short and Vastrakar has plenty of time to lean back, size the ball up, and send it through midwicket. And then four more! This one goes wide of mid-on, who dives despairingly but can’t reach it. And another! This one is even sweeter, and mid-on doesn’t bother diving. In the first innings Vastrakar came in at No10, scored three fours and was out for 12.

Updated

67th over: India 176-5 (Kaur 1, Vastrakar 0) Another Sciver maiden.

66rd over: India 176-5 (Kaur 1, Vastrakar 0) Ecclestone continues, and Kaur gets off the mark with a single to midwicket.

Updated

65rd over: India 175-5 (Kaur 0, Vastrakar 0) So Sciver has the wicket she deserves. She’s an absolute metronome at the moment, not a wayward delivery. It’s another maiden, obviously. Her figures now: 8-7-1-1

Updated

WICKET! Raut c Ecclestone b Sciver 39 (India 175-5)

Raut pulls the ball straight to the fielder at square leg, and India have lost three wickets for four runs, lead by 10, have two new batsmen at the crease and are creaking!

England’s Nat Sciver celebrate after taking a wicket from India’s Punam Raut.
England’s Nat Sciver celebrate after taking a wicket from India’s Punam Raut. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

Updated

64th over: India 175-4 (Raut 39, Kaur 0) And another maiden, from Ecclestone. There has been just one scoring shot in 6.1 overs since lunch. It did go for four, though.

63rd over: India 175-4 (Raut 39, Kaur 0) Yet another Sciver maiden. Figures of 7-6-1-0 now, building the pressure. “Just curious,” writes Da Beej. “Since 2000, what proportion of women’s test matches have finished in draws? I’m scared this one is headed that way too.” According to Cricinfo there have been 28 draws, 16 wins/defeats and no ties since the start of 2000.

62nd over: India 175-4 (Raut 39, Kaur 0) Raj edges into her pad, and the ball flies low just wide of the fielder at silly point. It’s only a temporary reprieve.

WICKET! Raj b Ecclestone 4 (India 175-4)

BIG WICKET! For the second time in the match Mithali Raj is out cheaply to Ecclestone! This time the ball zips off the surface and just clips the very outermost of off stump!

England’s Sophie Ecclestone celebrates taking the wicket of India’s Mithali Raj with teammates.
England’s Sophie Ecclestone celebrates taking the wicket of India’s Mithali Raj with teammates. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Action Images/Reuters

Updated

61st over: India 175-3 (Raut 39, Raj 4) Sciver’s sixth over, her fifth maiden, and she’s leaked just a single run so far.

Updated

60th over: India 175-3 (Raut 39, Raj 4) Ecclestone drops one a bit short, and Raj gets off the mark with a back-foot cover drive for four.

59th over: India 171-3 (Raut 39, Raj 0) Nat Sciver’s fifth over of the innings goes the way of three of the four previous ones, being as it was a maiden.

Updated

58th over: India 171-3 (Raut 39, Raj 0) Sophie Ecclestone completes her 18th over, without drama.

Updated

Right then. The players are on their way back out. Meanwhile, an update from Raf Nicholson. “Wicket Women did indeed exist,” she confirms. “It was produced by the Women’s Cricket Association and then the ECB when they took over the women’s game in 1998; unfortunately the ECB discontinued it in 2003. There are some copies online here.” Do tell Self Esteem/Rebecca Lucy Taylor if you get the chance, she might be quite excited.

I’m off for a breather. I leave you with this really quite excellent track from Self Esteem as performed in last night’s Later with Jools Holland on ye BBC.

And here’s an interview with her from a couple of years back which explains why she’s worth a plug on this liveblog. Specifically, this bit:

Look at those reactions – that’s my cricketing! Did you know that about me? I got into South Yorkshire when I was younger – that was going to be my career. I was a spin bowler but they changed the ball from a wind ball to a real ball when I was 15 so I gave it up. I haven’t been down the nets for a while. So there used to be a magazine called Wicket Women. I can’t find any evidence of this online, but I used to subscribe to it monthly, I swear. It was definitely around in the ’90s.

LUNCH: India 171-3 (lead by six)

57.5 overs: India 171-3 (Raut 39) Sharma heaves to midwicket for four, but then tries to do it again when the ball is a little too full for that kind of treatment, and pays for it. Lunch is promptly taken, with India holding a narrow lead and England hoping to knock over a few more in short order to bring the win back into play.

WICKET! Sharma b Ecclestone 54 (India 171-3)

Just before lunch, a breakthrough! Sharma swings across the line and edges into her stumps!

India’s Deepti Sharma is bowled.
India’s Deepti Sharma is bowled. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

Updated

57th over: India 166-2 (Sharma 50, Raut 38) Another Sciver maiden. She’s going at 0.25 an over. In other cricket news, here’s the England men’s squad for the ODI series against Sri Lanka, which starts in 10 days’ time. Sussex’s George Garton gets his first call-up:

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex) Captain
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire)
Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire)
Sam Billings (Kent)
Jos Buttler (Lancashire)
Sam Curran (Surrey)
Tom Curran (Surrey)
Liam Dawson (Hampshire)
George Garton (Sussex)
Liam Livingstone (Lancashire)
Adil Rashid (Yorkshire)
Joe Root (Yorkshire)
Jason Roy (Surrey)
David Willey (Yorkshire)
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
Mark Wood (Durham)

India lead by one

56th over: India 166-2 (Sharma 50, Raut 38) An excellent back-foot cover-drive from Raut brings her four runs, and takes India level with England. A leg bye next ball puts them in the lead.

Frustration for England’s Heather Knight.
Frustration for England’s Heather Knight. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Action Images/Reuters

Updated

55th over: India 159-2 (Sharma 50, Raut 32) Sky boot the women’s Test off their Main Event channel, meaning that I can no longer get it in HD, which on my screen makes an extraordinary amount of difference. So I watch a strangely diffuse Deepti Sharma score the single she needs to complete her half-century, off 157 balls with seven fours. Sciver has now conceded a run. Just the one, mind.

54th over: India 158-2 (Sharma 49, Raut 32) Run out chance! Raut hits to mid-on, and gets back just before the ball, which doesn’t hit the stumps anyway.

53rd over: India 156-2 (Sharma 48, Raut 31) Three maidens and two runs in the last four overs, Sciver’s figures reading 2-2-0-0.

52nd over: India 156-2 (Sharma 48, Raut 31) Sophie Ecclestone is back. All sorts of close fielders. No sort of chance.

Updated

51st over: India 154-2 (Sharma 48, Raut 29) And another maiden, Nat Sciver’s first over of the innings.

50th over: India 154-2 (Sharma 48, Raut 29) Every time you think India might have decided to accelerate in the hope of provoking England into a nasty little run chase, they bat out a maiden.

49th over: India 154-2 (Sharma 48, Raut 29) Another Sharma sweep, no edge this time, goes for four, and she sends the next through cover but it’s stopped on the rope.

48th over: India 148-2 (Sharma 42, Raut 29) Cross bowls, and Raut heaves over mid-on for four. India trail by 17.

47th over: India 144-2 (Sharma 42, Raut 25) India are motoring pretty handily here. Sharma top-edges a sweep from the last ball of Knight’s over, but it bounces away safely for four.

46th over: India 140-2 (Sharma 38, Raut 25) A Kate Cross maiden.

45th over: India 140-2 (Sharma 38, Raut 25) Sharma leans back and heaves Knight’s final delivery, a bit too wide, through the covers for four.

Updated

44th over: India 127-2 (Sharma 33, Raut 19) What a remarkable stat this is: Shafali Verma, who made her debut in this match and is 17 years old, already holds the all-time record for most sixes hit in women’s Test cricket with three. There is some uncertainty, because we don’t know all the numbers, but still. Here’s Cricinfo’s list of every woman to have hit a Test six.

43rd over: India 131-2 (Sharma 34, Raut 24) Heather Knight bowls for the first time this innings. Her first-innings figures of 11-8-7-2 were pretty extraordinary, but this time she starts with a full toss, which Raut tucks away for four.

Updated

42nd over: India 127-2 (Sharma 33, Raut 19) Kate Cross replaces Ecclestone and bowls a maiden, after which the players will have some drinks. Just the one wicket for England this morning and not a whole lot of other chances, while their lead has shrunk to 38, and they need to accelerate things.

41st over: India 127-2 (Sharma 33, Raut 19) A nice over from Brunt, but without reward. Then Raut flicks the last through midwicket for a couple, and the bowler returns to the outfield with her cap covering her face, apparently rather disappointed.

NOT OUT! There was a fairly hefty inside edge off Raut’s bat, so she bats on.

WICKET! But Raut reviews! Is she out lbw here? She took it upstairs pretty quickly, so maybe there’s some bat on it…

40th over: India 125-2 (Sharma 33, Raut 17) Ecclestone slides one down the leg side, and Sharma gets a tiny tickle on it to add four to her total.

39th over: India 121-2 (Sharma 29, Raut 17) Raut ducks under the last ball of the over, which doesn’t bounce anything like as sharply as she expects and zips past her shoulder.

38th over: India 120-2 (Sharma 28, Raut 17) Ecclestone bowls to Raut. Two slips, a leg slip, short leg and silly point, a crowd of players around the bat. She inside-edges one and gets away with it, and then drives through the covers for four off the back foot, nice shot.

37th over: India 114-2 (Sharma 28, Raut 11) Brunt prepares to deliver her final ball of the over, but Sharma isn’t ready so she turns back, starts her run-up again, but Sharma still isn’t ready so she turns back again. “Oh my god!” she complains.

36th over: India 112-2 (Sharma 27, Raut 10) An Ecclestone maiden.

Updated

35th over: India 112-2 (Sharma 27, Raut 10) Three singles and three dots from Brunt’s over, and England’s lead is now 53.

34th over: India 109-2 (Sharma 26, Raut 8) Ecclestone motors through a maiden over.

33rd over: India 109-2 (Sharma 26, Raut 8) Katherine Brunt comes on. Good idea, I think, to give her the ball while she’s still buzzing from that catch. An interesting over, plump with opportunity: again Amy Jones, standing up, doesn’t catch the ball when there was a brief stumping opportunity, and there are a couple of edges, but no instant reward.

32nd over: India 107-2 (Sharma 26, Raut 6) Sharma doesn’t quite control a sweep, but the ball lands well short of the fielder. Raut, with a short leg and a silly point crowding the bat, hits just past one of them and through the covers for four and then, after that review, deals well with one that bounces wildly off the pitch. Encouraging unpredictability, that, for England and Sophie Ecclestone.

NOT OUT! The ball was missing leg stump by the slenderest of margins, so Raut survives and England lose one of their three reviews.

REVIEW! England reckon Raut might be lbw here, though the umpire disagrees. Upstairs they go.

England appeal for LBW on India’s Punam Raut.
India’s Punam Raut looks sheepish as England’s players appeal for LBW. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

Updated

31st over: India 101-2 (Sharma 25, Raut 1) A couple of singles take India into triple figures. They trail by 64.

Updated

30th over: India 99-2 (Sharma 24) Six! Verma heaves Ecclestone straight down the ground! Then she tries to repeat the trick off the last ball of the over, a bit of a rank full toss, and doesn’t.

WICKET! Verma c Brunt b Ecclestone 63 (India 99-2)

WHAT A CATCH THAT IS! Katherine Brunt sprints round from long-on to take a low, diving catch as Verma attempts to take on Ecclestone!

England’s players celebrate Katherine Brunt’s catch.
England’s players celebrate Katherine Brunt’s catch. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

Updated

29th over: India 93-1 (Verma 57, Sharma 24) A brief appeal for lbw from Anya Shrubsole, but the ball clipped the edge of Sharma’s bat on its way into the pad. The Indian left-hander clobbers the next through the covers for four.

28th over: India 89-1 (Verma 57, Sharma 20) A bit of a wild swing from Verma, but the ball loops over cover and land safely.

27th over: India 86-1 (Verma 56, Sharma 19) Amy Jones, standing up to the stumps as Anya Shrubsole bowls, lets slip a stumping half-chance, failing to gather the ball with Sharma out of her crease. A single each, and I have been informed that commentary in the UK is on Radio 4 Long Wave (online here).

That Shafali Verma action.
That Shafali Verma action. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Action Images/Reuters

Updated

26th over: India 85-1 (Verma 55, Sharma 18) A couple of leg byes off Sophie Ecclestone’s over, and a couple of edges from Verma, albeit completely unthreatening ones, one into her pads and the other sending the ball rolling to mid-off.

25th over: India 83-1 (Verma 55, Sharma 18) A two-day maiden from Cross, Deepti Sharma in no hurry to start scoring.

The players are out and play is about to get under way with the second half of a rain-interrupted Kate Cross over.

“Do you know where I might listen to this on the radio?” wonders Tim Bartlett. “The BBC seems to have abandoned it in favour of the test championship – men’s – but it’s irksome that I’ve been listening to 3 days of women’s cricket and will miss the finale!” No need for that – it sounds like there will be BBC commentary somewhere. 5 Live Sports Extra is as you see men-focused, and I’m not sure where you can find it on the radio, but on an interweb browserbox you can find it here.

If one cricket liveblog isn’t enough for you, the World Test Championship final has just got under way in Southampton, and India are 5-0.

The ubiquitous Adam Collins is in Bristol on Sky broadcasting duties and sounds optimistic. It’s grey, but no rain is forecast until late afternoon, maybe 5pm or so.

Hello world!

The rain that fell on the third day of England’s only Test of the summer has really messed things up a bit. It started at lunch, then after a little under 14 more overs it fell again, then they played another six, and then they were off for the rest of the day, with no play possible in the final session. It made it hard for England’s bowlers to build up rhythm or momentum, and though they made an early breakthrough, dismissing Smriti Mandhana with the score on 29, at 83-1 at stumps and with rain forecast for the late afternoon, wickets will have to fall in a hurry if there is to be a positive result. So, here’s hoping!

Here’s yesterday’s match report from Raf Nicholson in Bristol:

On day three at Bristol, Sophie Ecclestone proved why she is considered the No 1 bowler in the world, taking three for 27 in a 10-over spell that included four maidens and helped bowl India out for 231, 165 runs behind on first innings – enabling Heather Knight to enforce the follow-on.

“I’ve not played a Test match for a while, so it was just about getting back into it,” Ecclestone said at the close. “It’s a weird situation that I’m not used to. It helped this morning getting that first wicket with my first ball, made me a bit more relaxed.

“After a mad hour last night, it was just about getting into the battle again and making sure we stayed one up on India. It was about being patient, and bowling my best ball over and over again.”

Though 17-year-old Shafali Verma (55 not out) battled her way to a second half-century in the match, becoming the first Indian woman to score two fifties on Test debut, India finished the day on 83 for one, still 82 in arrears. A frustrating afternoon interspersed with rain breaks, and an evening session entirely wiped out by rain, prevented England from making further inroads.

Much more here:

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US NEWS, World

Biden threatened with communion ban over position on abortion

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Biden threatened with communion ban over position on abortion ” was written by Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent, for The Observer on Saturday 19th June 2021 17.36 UTC

Roman Catholic bishops in the US have voted to press ahead with moves that could result in Joe Biden being banned from receiving communion because of his stance on abortion, and that risks increasing tensions in a divided church.

After three days of online debate, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted by three to one to draft new guidance on the eucharist. The unexpected strength of support for the move among the bishops was a rebuff to the Vatican, which had signalled its opposition.

Biden, a devout Catholic who attends Mass every weekend and carries a rosary that belonged to his late son, said in response to the vote that the matter was private: “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Conservative bishops are behind the push to draw up a new teaching document expected to say that Catholics who diverge from the church’s standpoint on abortion should be denied holy communion.

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, who proposed the motion, said: “We need to accept the discipline that those who obstinately persist in grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke, a leading conservative and critic of Pope Francis, has previously said that politicians who “publicly and obstinately” support abortion are “apostates” who should not only be barred from receiving communion but deserve excommunication.

But some US bishops warned against the “weaponisation” of the eucharist. Speaking at the USCCB meeting, Cardinal Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, said most priests would be “puzzled to hear that bishops now want to talk about excluding people at a time when the real challenge before them is welcoming people back to the regular practice of the faith and rebuilding their communities”.

The new teaching document, to be drafted by the doctrine committee of US bishops, will not be binding on individual bishops, who have the right to decide whether a parishioner should be denied communion.

Wilton Gregory of Washington and Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Delaware – the dioceses where Biden usually attends mass – have both made it clear that the president is welcome to receive communion at their churches.

Biden, only the second Catholic to occupy the White House after John Kennedy, has said his faith shapes “all that I do” and it will “serve as my anchor” through his term in office.

On abortion, Biden has said he personally believes life begins at conception, but recognises others do not share his view. “What I’m not prepared to do is impose a precise view that is borne out of my faith on other people,” he said in 2015.

The Biden administration has lifted restrictions on federal funding for research involving human foetal tissue, rescinded a Trump policy barring organisations that refer women for abortions from receiving federal grants, and allowed women to remotely obtain a prescription for an abortion pill during the pandemic.

The Catholic church says that Catholics in public life should uphold principles consistent with its doctrine. But in a survey carried out by the Pew Research Center in March, more than two-thirds of US Catholics said Biden’s views on abortion should not disqualify him from receiving communion.

According to exit polls taken during last November’s presidential election, just over half of US Catholics (51%) voted for Biden and 47% voted for Trump.

 

Catholics for Choice, an abortion rights group, said it was profoundly saddened by the bishops’ vote. Jamie Manson, the group’s president, said: “In a country and church already riven with tension and division, today the bishops chose to be partisan instead of pastoral, cruel rather than Christ-like.”

The bishops will hold a debate on the teaching document in November, when it will require a two-thirds majority for it to proceed.

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Corona Virus, Health, India, World

Coronavirus live news: Brazil records more than 500,000 deaths from Covid; US has given more than 317,100,000 jabs – as it happened

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Coronavirus live news: Brazil records more than 500,000 deaths from Covid; US has given more than 317,100,000 jabs – as it happened ” was written by Nadeem Badshah (now) and Kevin Rawlinson and Jedidajah Otte (earlier), for theguardian.com on Saturday 19th June 2021 23.00 UTC

A summary of today’s developments

  • Brazil surpassed 500,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Saturday, the Health Ministry said, registering 2,301 new fatalities in the past 24 hours.
  • Belgium will ban entry to non-EU travellers from Britain in order to limit the spread of the Delta variant. Britain is on a list of 27 nations that will also face the order which will take effect by June 27 at the latest, Jan Eyckmans, the spokesman for health minister Frank Vandenbroucke, told AFP.
  • Thousands took to the streets across Brazil to protest against President Jair Bolsonaro’s pandemic response, including his not acquiring vaccines fast enough and for questioning the need for mask-wearing, Reuters reports.
  • The UK has recorded 10,321 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, compared to 10,476 on Friday, bringing the total to 4,620,968. A further 14 deaths were recorded, bringing the total to 127,970.
  • Mexico City schools that had just gone back to in-person classes will be closed again starting on Monday as the capital climbs into a higher tier of coronavirus risk, education authorities said. Mexico City officials had loosened restrictions on gatherings in schools, hotels, stores and restaurants just two weeks ago as the dense urban zone moved into the lowest risk tier of the government’s four-level “traffic light” model, Reuters said. But the federal health ministry put Mexico City a step higher on the scale for 21 June to 4 July.
  • Cambodia reported 20 deaths – its worst one-day death toll. The southeast Asian nation detected its first Delta variant cases and authorities urged people to be vigilant. Cambodia has recorded one of the world’s smallest caseloads thus far, but the outbreak that was first detected in late February has caused infections to climb to 42,052 cases with 414 deaths.
  • A third wave “is definitely under way” in the UK, according to a government scientific adviser. Prof Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said: “It’s going up, perhaps we can be a little bit optimistic it’s not going up any faster, but nevertheless it’s going up, so this third wave is definitely under way.”
  • Surge testing is to begin in two parts of England, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care said. The county of Cumbria, in the north-west, and the south London borough of Lambeth will see intensive testing and genomic sequencing from Saturday.
  • Several English football grounds were being used as vaccination centres, including the London Stadium and Stamford Bridge. Long queues formed as the UK government pushes everyone aged 18 or older to start getting jabs.

Mexico’s health ministry reported 3,964 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country and 192 more fatalities, bringing the total figures to 2,475,705 infections and 231,151 deaths.

The government has said the real number of cases is likely significantly higher, and separate data published in March suggested the actual death toll is at least 60% above the confirmed figure, Reuters reports.

Protest against Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration in Rio de Janeiro.
Protest against Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Pilar Olivares/Reuters

Belgium to ban non-EU travellers from Britain

Belgium will ban entry to non-EU travellers from Britain in order to limit the spread of the Delta variant.
Britain is on a list of 27 nations that will also face the order which will take effect by June 27 at the latest, Jan Eyckmans, the spokesman for health minister Frank Vandenbroucke, told AFP. With Belgium’s restrictions, which already apply to South Africa, India and Brazil, only EU citizens or residents of Belgium will be able to enter the country. Those travellers will still have to meet tight quarantine rules as well as take Covid tests before being free to move in Europe. The only exceptions for British or other non-EU travellers coming from a banned country will be diplomats on essential work and transport personnel, the government said.

Experts see the death toll in Brazil, already the highest in Latin America, climbing far higher, Reuters reports.

“I think we are going to reach 700,000 or 800,000 deaths before we get to see the effects of vaccination,” said Gonzalo Vecina, former head of Brazilian health regulator Anvisa, predicting a near-term acceleration in fatalities.

“We are experiencing the arrival of these new variants and the Indian variant will send us for a loop.”

Raphael Guimaraes, a researcher at Brazilian biomedical center Fiocruz, said delays in the vaccination program in Latin America’s most populous nation meant its full effects would not be felt until September or later.

Guimaraes warned Brazil could revisit scenes from the worst of its March-April peak, when the country averaged 3,000 deaths per day.

“We are still in an extremely critical situation, with very high transmission rates and hospital bed occupancy that is still critical in many places,” he said.

Brazil surpasses half a million Covid-19 deaths

Brazil surpassed 500,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Saturday, the Health Ministry said, registering 2,301 new fatalities in the past 24 hours.

The country recorded an additional 82,288 cases of coronavirus on Saturday, with nearly 17.9 million cases of the disease registered since the pandemic began, Reuters reports.

When the panic set in at the start of the pandemic, Australians rushed out and bought a whole lot of carbs, new food sales data reveals.

Sales of cereals – which include pasta, rice and flour – spiked by 40% in March 2020 compared with the month prior as people stocked up for the first of the Covid-19 lockdowns, the figures show.

The total amount of food scanned at supermarket checkouts rose by 4.5% that month compared with the year before. The year-on-year spike was even higher in Victoria at 8.4% in March 2020 and it jumped to more than 14% in September as the lockdowns dragged on.

The new research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that cereals, as well as other long-life categories of foods, were especially popular at the start of the pandemic. The purchase of condiments, spreads and pantry staples like oils, coffee and tea also surged.

Dubai’s supreme committee of crisis and disaster management said it would allow travellers from South Africa who have received two doses of a UAE-approved vaccine to enter Dubai starting from 23 June, Reuters reports.

Travellers from India who have valid residence visas and have received two doses of a UAE-approved vaccine will also be allowed into the emirate.

Meanwhile, travellers from Nigeria must only present a negative PCR test taken 48 hours before departure and will also undergo another PCR test on arrival in Dubai.

Updated

A summary of today’s developments

  • Thousands took to the streets across Brazil to protest against President Jair Bolsonaro’s pandemic response, including his not acquiring vaccines fast enough and for questioning the need for mask-wearing, Reuters reports. Brazil is expected to surpass 500,000 deaths from Covid-19 when official figures are released later on Saturday, the world’s highest death toll after the US.
  • The UK has recorded 10,321 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, compared to 10,476 on Friday, bringing the total to 4,620,968. A further 14 deaths were recorded, bringing the total to 127,970.
  • Mexico City schools that had just gone back to in-person classes will be closed again starting on Monday as the capital climbs into a higher tier of coronavirus risk, education authorities said. Mexico City officials had loosened restrictions on gatherings in schools, hotels, stores and restaurants just two weeks ago as the dense urban zone moved into the lowest risk tier of the government’s four-level “traffic light” model, Reuters said. But the federal health ministry put Mexico City a step higher on the scale for 21 June to 4 July.
  • Cambodia reported 20 deaths – its worst one-day death toll. The southeast Asian nation detected its first Delta variant cases and authorities urged people to be vigilant. Cambodia has recorded one of the world’s smallest caseloads thus far, but the outbreak that was first detected in late February has caused infections to climb to 42,052 cases with 414 deaths.
  • A third wave “is definitely under way” in the UK, according to a government scientific adviser. Prof Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said: “It’s going up, perhaps we can be a little bit optimistic it’s not going up any faster, but nevertheless it’s going up, so this third wave is definitely under way.”
  • Surge testing is to begin in two parts of England, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care said. The county of Cumbria, in the north-west, and the south London borough of Lambeth will see intensive testing and genomic sequencing from Saturday.
  • Several English football grounds were being used as vaccination centres, including the London Stadium and Stamford Bridge. Long queues formed as the UK government pushes everyone aged 18 or older to start getting jabs.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will suspend travellers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Namibia from entering the country on national and foreign flights, effective from 23.59 on 21 June, Reuters reports.

Restrictions would also include transit passengers, with the exception of transit flights travelling to the UAE and bound for those countries.

Cargo flights between those countries and the UAE will continue, as usual, a statement added.

It said the restrictions were being introduced to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Updated

The joint covid-19 supervisory officer makes an appeal to residents who gathered and places of culinary business around the Duren Sawit area, East Jakarta, Indonesia. It was carried out due to the case of the transmission of Covid-19 increased and tightened all activities were limited to 9pm.
Joint Covid-19 supervisory officers patrolling Duren Sawit area, East Jakarta, Indonesia. Photograph: Dasril Roszandi/NurPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock

Updated

Thousands took to the streets across Brazil on Saturday to protest against President Jair Bolsonaro’s pandemic response, including his not acquiring vaccines fast enough and for questioning the need for mask-wearing, Reuters reports.

Brazil is expected to surpass 500,000 deaths from Covid-19 when official figures are released later on Saturday, the world’s highest death toll after the US.

“We are protesting against the genocidal Bolsonaro government that did not buy vaccines and has done nothing to take care of its people in the last year,” said 36-year-old Aline Rabelo, while protesting on the national mall in Brasilia.

Only 11% of Brazilians are fully vaccinated and 29% have received a first dose, health ministry data shows.

The country’s largest broadcaster, Globo, reported that by early afternoon, protests had been held in at least 44 cities in 20 states.

Here is more on today’s rallies:

Updated

More than 75% of Canadians aged 12 and older have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine and more than 20% have received both doses, broadcaster CBC News reported.

Updated

The US administered 317,117,797 doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the country as of Saturday morning and distributed 379,003,410 doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Those figures are up from the 316,048,776 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by 18 June out of 377,935,390 doses delivered.

The agency said 176,737,141 people had received at least one dose while 149,125,164 people are fully vaccinated as of Saturday.

Updated

Mexico City schools to be closed again from Monday

Mexico City schools that had just gone back to in-person classes will be closed again starting on Monday as the capital climbs into a higher tier of coronavirus risk, education authorities said.

Mexico City officials had loosened restrictions on gatherings in schools, hotels, stores and restaurants just two weeks ago as the dense urban zone moved into the lowest risk tier of the government’s four-level “traffic light” model, Reuters said.

But the federal health ministry put Mexico City a step higher on the scale for 21 June to 4 July.

Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said the city’s Epidemiological Traffic Light, a calculation of risk factors, has climbed to nine points from eight points, putting the capital into the more restrictive tier.

Mexico City’s Federal Educational Authority said in a statement the suspension of classes applied to both private and public schools.

Mexico reported more than 230,959 deaths from the coronavirus and 2,471,741 confirmed infections.

Updated

Women hold up placards with a message that reads in Portuguese; “500K deaths! His fault!” during a demonstration against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and economic policies protesters say harm the interests of the poor and working class, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazil is approaching an official COVID-19 death toll of 500,000 — second-highest in the world.
Women hold up placards with a message that reads in Portuguese ‘500K deaths! His fault!’ during a demonstration against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: Bruna Prado/AP

Updated

Israel’s health ministry insisted a shipment of Covid-19 vaccine doses the Palestinians rejected as about to expire were “completely valid”.

The Palestinian Authority on Friday called off a deal that would have seen Israel provide it with one million jabs in exchange for doses from Pfizer that the Palestinians are scheduled to receive later this year.

PA spokesman Ibrahim Melhem said an initial delivery of some 90,000 Pfizer doses failed to conform “to the specifications contained in the agreement, and accordingly prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh instructed the minister of health to cancel the agreement”.

“The government refuses to receive vaccines that are about to expire,” Melhem said, in a statement carried by the official WAFA news agency.

The Israeli health ministry said the vaccines it delivered were “completely valid”, although the prime minister’s office acknowledged Friday that they were “about to expire”, without specifying the use-by date.

“The Palestinian health ministry received Pfizer vaccines that were valid, with expiration dates that were known, agreed on and that matched the agreement between the two sides,” the ministry said.

Updated

Five police officers were injured overnight in western France as they broke up a 1,500-strong illegal rave, authorities said on Saturday, with one party-goer losing a hand in the clashes.

Police fired teargas to disperse the crowd, who defied an 11pm coronavirus curfew on Friday and stayed on into Saturday afternoon at a racecourse near Redon in Brittany, AFP reports.

There were “very violent clashes” when 400 police intervened, local prefect Emmanuel Berthier said, adding the violence lasted more than seven hours through the night.

Police detained five men on Saturday and opened an inquiry into violence against people in positions of public authority.

Two of the five injured police officers had to be taken to the hospital in Redon, Berthier said.

Updated

This year’s World Refugee Day offers a chance to reflect on the uncertainty faced by those forced to flee their homes, actor Cate Blanchett said as the world grapples with the unpredictability of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Oscar winner and UNHCR goodwill ambassador said the annual 20 June event came during a time of “challenge and reflection”.

“We’ve been forced to confront what uncertainty feels like and of course that is the situation that the majority of refugees live with, year in, year out,” Blanchett told Reuters.

“There’s a kind of an opportunity … to think about how we have dealt with uncertainty and perhaps place ourselves in the shoes of mothers and fathers and doctors and lawyers who have been, through no fault of their own, displaced and have been living with, often for upwards of 18, 19 years, in that state that we have been dealing with for 18 months.”

Updated

Turkey has received five million more doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac, Reuters reports.

Turkey’s vaccination programme has accelerated this week, with more than one million injections a day being administered since Monday.

Turkey’s tourism sector is facing a second summer in the doldrums because of international travel restrictions, but could get a late boost if the vaccination pace continues and Covid-19 cases, now around 6,000 a day, are contained.

The president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, told members of his ruling AK party in the summer resort of Antalya on Saturday that an easing of restrictions in countries like Germany and Russia could provide a major boost.

“Countries that are critical for our tourism sector have started easing travel restrictions. As of Tuesday, God willing, Russia is lifting the ban,” Erdoğan said, referring to Russia’s decision to resume flights to Turkey.

Updated

People hold a banner during a demonstration against Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic and to impeach him, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,. The banner reads: “Take Bolsonaro down in fights and on the streets”.
People demonstrating against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic and calling for his impeachment in Rio de Janeiro. The banner reads: ‘Take Bolsonaro down in fights and on the streets’. Photograph: Pilar Olivares/Reuters

Updated

Delays in coronavirus vaccine shipments to Malawi have caused health facilities to run out of doses as hundreds are due to receive a second shot, the health minister said.

The southern African country has so far received 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the United Nations, 102,000 from the African Union and 50,000 donated by India.

Inoculations started in April and the country was expecting a second UN shipment of 900,000 by the end of May, four weeks before the first vaccinated Malawians would be due a second dose.
But health minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said that batch had been delayed by a recent surge in coronavirus cases in India, the world’s main AstraZeneca supplier, which forced the country to temporarily halt major vaccine exports to meet local demand.

“The situation in India has delayed the supply,” Kandodo told AFP, adding the vaccines would arrive in July or August.

Updated

Afghanistan is ramping up supplies of oxygen as a deadly third surge of Covid-19 worsens, a senior health official told the Associated Press.

The government is installing oxygen supply plants in 10 provinces where up to 65% of those tested in some areas are Covid positive, health ministry spokesman Ghulam Dastigir Nazari said.

By WHO recommendations, anything higher than 5% shows officials are not testing widely enough, allowing the virus to spread unchecked.

Updated

Italy reported 28 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections was up to 1,197 from 1,147.

Italy has registered 127,253 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the eighth-highest in the world.

The country has reported 4.25 million cases to date, Reuters reports.

Patients in hospital with Covid-19 – not including those in intensive care – at 2,504 on Saturday, down from 2,680 a day earlier.

There were 10 new admissions to intensive care units, down from 11 on Friday. The total number of intensive care patients fell to 394 from 416.

Updated

In the UK, 218,636 first doses were given yesterday and 188,858 second jabs. It was the second day in a row more first doses were administered than second.

Government data up to 18 June shows that of the 73,766,593 jabs administered so far, 42,679,268 were first doses and 31,087,325 were second doses.

Updated

The US will ship 2.5m Covid-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan on Saturday, a senior administration official told Reuters, more than tripling Washington’s previous allocation of shots for the island.
Washington, competing with Beijing to deepen geopolitical clout through so-called “vaccine diplomacy,” had initially promised to donate 750,000 doses to Taiwan but is increasing that number as President Joe Biden’s administration advances its pledge to send 80m US-made shots around the world. China has repeatedly offered to send coronavirus vaccines to the island, which has been battling a spike in domestic infections. Taipei has expressed concern about the safety of Chinese doses.

Updated

Queues have formed at pop-up vaccination centres at football grounds in London.

Giant jab clinics have been set up at the Olympic Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Charlton Athletic FC, Selhurst Park and Crystal Palace Athletics Centre.

Smaller events are also taking place in local community venues in a drive to vaccinate as many people in the capital as possible.

Chelsea FC had 6,000 Pfizer vaccines to administer on Saturday, with the jab being offered to all adults over the age of 18 yet to receive a first dose, as well as those awaiting a second Pfizer dose.

UK death toll rises by 14

The UK has recorded 10,321 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, compared to 10,476 on Friday, bringing the total to 4,620,968.

A further 14 deaths were recorded, bringing the total to 127,970.

Summary

Here’s a summary of the most recent developments:

  • Cambodia reported 20 deaths – its worst one-day death toll. The southeast Asian nation detected its first Delta variant cases and authorities urged people to be vigilant. Cambodia has recorded one of the world’s smallest caseloads thus far, but the outbreak that was first detected in late February has caused infections to climb to 42,052 cases with 414 deaths.
  • A third wave “is definitely under way” in the UK, according to a government scientific adviser. Prof Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said: “It’s going up, perhaps we can be a little bit optimistic it’s not going up any faster, but nevertheless it’s going up, so this third wave is definitely under way.”
  • Surge testing is to begin in two parts of England, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care said. The county of Cumbria, in the north-west, and the south London borough of Lambeth will see intensive testing and genomic sequencing from Saturday.
  • Several English football grounds were being used as vaccination centres, including the London Stadium and Stamford Bridge. Long queues formed as the UK government pushes everyone aged 18 or older to start getting jabs.

I’m now handing over to my colleague, Nadeem Badshah.

Brazil’s death toll is expected to pass 500,000 on Saturday, Reuters reports, as experts warn that the world’s second-deadliest outbreak may worsen due to delayed vaccinations and the government’s refusal to back social distancing measures.

Only 11% of Brazilians have been fully vaccinated and epidemiologists warn that, with winter arriving in the southern hemisphere and new variants of the coronavirus circulating, deaths will continue to mount even if immunisations gain steam.

Brazil has registered 498,499 deaths from 17,801,462 confirmed cases, according to health ministry data on Friday, the worst official death toll outside the United States. Over the past week, Brazil has averaged 2,000 deaths per day.

Updated

Music fans attend day 2 of Download PILOT at Donington Park
Music fans attend day 2 of Download PILOT at Donington Park Photograph: Katja Ogrin/Getty Images

Thousands of heavy metal fans are camping, singing and even moshing in the rain at Britain’s first full music festival since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The Associated Press reports:

The three-day Download Festival, taking place at Donington Park in central England, is one of a series of test events to see whether mass gatherings can resume without triggering outbreaks.

About 10,000 fans, a tenth of the festival’s pre-pandemic attendance, have tickets to watch more than 40 bands including Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Bullet for My Valentine.

Attendees all took Covid tests before the event, and don’t have to wear masks or follow social distancing rules during the festival.

Promoter Andy Copping said there was a “real sense of euphoria” at the event, which runs through Sunday, despite the wet weather. He said: “It wouldn’t be Download unless there was a bit of rain.”

Britain has recorded almost 128,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest toll in Europe. The government has delayed the planned lifting of remaining social and economic restrictions until 19 July amid a rise in cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant.

Updated

The former business secretary Andrea Leadsom has warned that some people are reluctant to return to work because furlough has been “great” for them while others were “terrified” of going back to the office, sparking criticism from workers and business-owners.

The Conservative MP said some businesses in her South Northamptonshire constituency were struggling to get employees to go back to work because “people have, to be perfectly frank, become used to being on furlough”.

Vaccination queues form at football grounds

Several English football grounds are being used as vaccination centres, including the London Stadium, where long queues have formed as the UK government pushes everyone aged 18 or older to start getting jabs:

Updated

We reported earlier that a government scientific adviser had said a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic is “definitely under way” as the vaccine programme races to outpace the Delta variant’s spread across the UK. Here’s the full story from my colleague Miranda Bryant:

On Friday morning, Leyla Çelik woke up with butterflies in her stomach. For weeks, the 22-year-old student at the Free University of Berlin had tried in vain to get an appointment for her first Covid-19 vaccine shot so she could volunteer as a polling station administrator at federal elections in September. “I’d basically given up hope.”

But last week her university got in touch via email, offering her a chance to get a first dose of Moderna vaccine on campus within a few days. By 9am on Friday, the anxiety had turned into euphoria. “It’s such a relief,” said the native Berliner, nursing her achey shoulder at the university’s biology institute, which was converted into a vaccine delivery point this week. “At last I can catch a train or a bus without feeling anxious.”

Millions of continental Europeans are currently experiencing similar thrills at the end of an emotional rollercoaster journey. In the spring, they had stared enviously at countries such as Britain and the US, where officials were administering vaccines at remarkable speed, while their own governments couldn’t shift out of first gear. Foreign Policy magazine wrote of “Europe’s vaccine disaster”.

But since then, EU member states have done a remarkable job of catching up. Since the start of this month, Germany, France and Italy have all administered more doses of vaccine on a seven-day average than Britain, Philip Oltermann, Angela Giuffrida and Kim Willsher write.

Updated

This year’s World Refugee Day offers a chance to reflect on the uncertainty faced by those forced to flee their homes, Oscar winner Cate Blanchett says as the world grapples with the unpredictability of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Australian actor, a goodwill ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, said the annual 20 June event came during a time of “challenge and reflection”.

She told Reuters:

We’ve been forced to confront what uncertainty feels like and of course that is the situation that the majority of refugees live with, year in, year out.

There’s a kind of an opportunity … to think about how we have dealt with uncertainty and perhaps place ourselves in the shoes of mothers and fathers and doctors and lawyers who have been, through no fault of their own, displaced and have been living with, for often for upwards of 18, 19 years, in that state that we have been dealing with for 18 months.

World Refugee Day honours those who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict or persecution. This year’s theme calls for greater inclusion of refugees in health systems, education and sport.

Gillian Triggs, UNHCR’s assistant high commissioner for protection, said in the joint interview:

Sadly, even in Covid [times], conflicts have continued around the world.

What we’re trying to talk about … is to support the host countries to enable people to be included in access to education, children to school, family members to work, but of course, most particularly in this time of Covid, access to health and to vaccines.

In its annual report released on Friday, UNHCR said the number of people forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution and human rights abuses had doubled in the past decade to reach 82.4 million at the end of 2020.

In her UNHCR role, Blanchett has travelled to Lebanon, Jordan and Bangladesh, and has addressed the UN security council on the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Updated

After a pandemic-induced break, Warsaw is set to hold the largest gay pride parade in the region on Saturday amid an intensifying campaign in Poland and Hungary against LGBT rights.

Euronews reports:

What is usually a joyful celebration is also tinged with fear of what the future holds for the rights of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people after setbacks first in Russia and Poland, now in Hungary.

“On the one hand we are united and we stand in solidarity with each other, and we get much joy and happiness in knowing we are strong,” said Ola Kaczorek, a co-president of the LGBT rights group Love Does Not Exclude. “Yet we are afraid of what could happen next.”

The parade comes days after Hungary’s parliament — with an election planned next year — passed a law that makes it illegal to show any materials about LGBT issues to people under 18.

Kaczorek said some participants Saturday would show gestures of solidarity with the LGBT community in Hungary.

“We are scared that this will happen in Poland,” Kaczorek said.

Participants of the Equality Jog hold rainbow flags while running on 19 June, 2021 in Warsaw, Poland.
Participants of the Equality Jog hold rainbow flags while running on 19 June 2021 in Warsaw, Poland. Photograph: Aleksander Kalka/Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

Updated

The Tokyo governor, Yuriko Koike, on Saturday cancelled all public viewing sites for the summer Olympics, diverting some venues to be Covid-19 vaccinations centres instead.

Reuters reports:

Foreign spectators are banned from attended the Games, delayed by a year due to the pandemic, but the government and Tokyo 2020 organisers have for months held off on deciding whether to allow Japanese spectators into the stadiums.

The ban on public viewing follows the metropolitan government’s decision this month to scrap plans for a public viewing site in Yoyogi Park in central Tokyo, converting the venue to a vaccination centre.

“I believe these are necessary measures, when looking from various perspectives, for a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Koike told reporters after meeting with the prime minister, Yoshihide Suga.

They are to talk on Monday with the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee.

Japanese medical experts said on Friday that banning spectators at the Olympics was the least risky option for going ahead with the event, while floating the possibility that venues could hold up to 10,000 fans in areas where “quasi-emergency” measures, such as shorter restaurant hours, have been lifted.

Demonstrators protest against hosting the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Demonstrators protest against hosting the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photograph: Kimimasa Mayama/EPA

Updated

Covid restrictions in German schools must remain in place for some time to come, according to the health minister, Jens Spahn.

“We will not be able to go back to school completely without protective measures,” he said on Saturday at an online conference of the Evangelical Academy in Tutzing about the time after the summer holidays.

He suggested that measures such as compulsory face masks in classrooms or rotational teaching will probably still be necessary in autumn and winter, despite the currently very low incidences of the virus in Germany.

“We should make better use of the summer time this time,” Spahn added.

Updated

Plans to vaccinate teenagers in Japan have prompted an angry backlash from the public.

The Japan Times reports:

As municipalities prepare to inoculate adolescents against Covid-19, some have been inundated with calls and emails from irate people opposed to the young people getting the shots.

Officials say many of those opposed to the move seem averse to the coronavirus vaccine, and are particularly sensitive about the prospect of teenagers being vaccinated. The high volume of calls and emails as part of the anti-vaccination campaign have almost crippled service lines, and in some cases have included death threats, prompting some municipalities to dial back their commitment to getting youngsters in full-time education vaccinated.

Pediatricians have recommended Covid-19 shots for teens, although they say they need to be conducted with caution.

According to municipalities, it wasn’t until they announced their plans to vaccinate schoolchildren — following the central government’s decision last month to approve Pfizer Inc shots for those as young as 12 — that they became the target of a flurry of calls from across the nation.

One such municipality is the city of Komaki, in Aichi Prefecture. Earlier this month, the city said it was considering prioritizing middle and high school students for vaccinations so they could get the shots during their upcoming summer vacations, which typically start in late July.

The idea was to help restore normalcy as soon as possible so that schools could go ahead with a series of “once-in-a-lifetime” school trips and other events, many of which have been downsized or cancelled due to the pandemic, said a Komaki city official who asked not to be named.

But soon after, the city faced a barrage of phone calls and emails urging it to rethink the decision.

“Many of them were voicing concerns about long-term side-effects the vaccine could have on children. Others also said children shouldn’t be used as guinea pigs and that their future shouldn’t be ruined,” the official said. The city took about 100 such calls and emails, which at one point hampered its ability to accommodate other vaccine-related inquiries and reservation requests, he said.

Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, announced on Thursday the country’s state of emergency would be lifted on Sunday except in Okinawa prefecture, as cases continue to decline nationwide and the fourth wave of the pandemic appears to have ebbed.

Japan has to date recorded 14,352 deaths from Covid-19.

I’m Jedidajah Otte and will be taking over for a bit. If you have anything you’d like to flag, you can get in touch on Twitter @JedySays.

Updated

Milkha Singh, one of India’s first sport superstars, has died of Covid-related complications at the age of 91.

Singh, who was popularly known as the Flying Sikh, died late on Friday in a hospital in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, his family said. He tested positive for Covid on 20 May. His wife, Nirmal Kaur, a former volleyball captain, had died of the virus days earlier. She was 85.

“He fought hard, but God has his ways,” Singh’s family said.

JCR had been a cook for 15 years, never struggling to find a job in New York city, where his friends would always find a place for him in a restaurant’s kitchen, writes Aldana Vales of Documented.

But when Covid-19 hit the city in March last year, work that immigrants had relied on vanished seemingly overnight, especially jobs in hospitality, events and cleaning.

While the restaurant industry in the city is now in recovery and struggling to re-employ workers it had laid off, jobs were extremely hard to find last year, JCR says.

After he lost his job he could not find another one in the food industry as the city became the global centre of the disease. “Only essential or very experienced workers were being hired,” he realized.

Many of his friends in the restaurant industry moved to construction, and there he finally got a part-time gig after months of searching.

JCR’s experiences are similar to thousands of immigrants from Latin America – and one that Documented, a local newsroom that covers immigration in the area, was able to quickly identify via its WhatsApp service, a Spanish-language channel that provides undocumented New Yorkers with valuable information.

Updated

The airport in China’s southern city of Shenzhen has cancelled hundreds of flights and tightened entry controls after a restaurant employee tested positive for the Delta variant. Agence France-Presse reports:

Anyone entering the facility must show a negative virus test from the last 48 hours, Shenzhen Airport Group said in a statement on its official WeChat social media account.

City health officials said a 21-year-old waitress at Shenzhen Baoan international airport had been infected with the Delta variant of the virus.

The woman tested positive during a routine test for airport staff conducted Thursday, they said.

Shenzhen, a mainland Chinese city neighbouring Hong Kong, is home to some of Asia’s biggest tech companies including telecoms equipment maker Huawei and gaming giant Tencent.

China reported 30 new cases on Friday, including six local transmissions in the southern province of Guangdong where Shenzhen is located.

The airport entry restrictions came into effect from 1pm local time on Saturday (5am GMT).

Nearly 400 flights to and from the airport were cancelled on Friday, data from flight tracker VariFlight showed. Dozens of flights scheduled for Saturday morning were also dropped.

Passengers would receive refunds on their tickets without penalty, the airport authority said.

Millions of Shenzhen residents have been tested for the virus in recent weeks after a small outbreak at the city’s port earlier this month.

Updated

Surge testing to begin in Cumbria and south London

Surge testing is to begin in two parts of England, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care has said. The county of Cumbria, in the north-west, and the south London borough of Lambeth will see intensive testing and genomic sequencing from Saturday.

Everyone who lives or works in Clapham, Brixton or Stockwell, as well as West Norwood or Vauxhall in the capital is strongly encouraged to take a PCR test, whether they are showing symptoms of not. At the same time, everyone aged between 12 and 30 years who lives, works or studies in Cumbria is being encouraged to get tested.

The NHS said that, in all of the areas, adults over the age of 18 should also come forward for a vaccine if they haven’t already.

Updated

Russia has reported 17,906 new cases, including a record 9,120 in Moscow, pushing the national infection tally up to 5,299,215 since the pandemic began.

Reuters reports that the government taskforce confirmed 466 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 128,911. The state statistics agency, which keeps separate figures, has said Russia recorded around 270,000 deaths in the year to April.

Updated

Australia’s largest state, New South Wales (NSW), has recorded two locally acquired cases on Saturday, as concerns grow over the further spread of infections amid an increase in exposure sites, Reuters reports

The agency says the point of transmission of the new infections hasn’t been determined, but authorities believed they are linked to the first case of the Sydney cluster of the highly-infectious coronavirus Delta variant, which now stands at six cases.

“This Delta virus would appear to be a near and present danger to anybody who is in the vicinity,” NSW’s health minister, Brad Hazzard, said. The list of exposure sites has been updated to now include 20 venues across Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

The latest cluster in NSW, which is home to more than 8 million people, is the state’s first in more than a month. It was traced back to a driver who occasionally used to transport overseas airline crew.

Updated

In Germany, the number of confirmed cases has increased by 1,108 to 3,721,139, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases shows. The reported death toll rose by 99 to 90,369, the tally shows.

China has reported 30 new confirmed cases in the mainland for Friday 18 June; up from 23 infections a day earlier, the country’s health authority have said.

Of the new cases, six were local infections in southern Guangdong province, while the rest were imported cases, Reuters reports, citing the National Health Commission.

The number of new asymptomatic infections rose to 42 from 25 a day earlier. China does not classify these as confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases in mainland China stood at 91,564 at the end of 18 June, with the death toll unchanged at 4,636.

Updated

Authorities in the Mexican border state of Baja California say they will include migrants in the new vaccination plan for border cities, which is aimed at accelerating the reopening of the shared land border with the United States. Reuters reports:

The state, which lies just across from California, began vaccinating adults over the age of 18 this week as part of a new mass vaccination push across northern Mexico, which relies on more than 1m Johnson & Johnson doses donated by the United States.

Baja California’s health secretary, Alonso Óscar Pérez, told Reuters on Friday that the agency had a plan to vaccinate migrants as part of this new border vaccination initiative. He added that the agency had allocated specific days for migrants, without providing additional details.

Mexico is rolling out its border initiative first in Baja California, home to one of the busiest land border crossings in the world, then plans to move west state-by-state until reaching Mexico’s eastern seaboard.

The decision to include migrants in Baja California may mean migrants will be included across Mexico’s border, where thousands of mostly Central American migrants wait, often for months, in hopes of being able to cross into the United States.

Migrant advocates have been pushing the state for information about how this vaccination drive will include the estimated 4,000 migrants living in Baja California, according to data provided by local shelters.

At least 1,000 migrants are camped at the base of an international bridge in the city of Tijuana.

Mexico has also reported 4,098 new confirmed cases and an additional 167 deaths, according to health ministry data, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,471,741 and the overall death toll to 230,959.

Updated

In Argentina, the laboratory Richmond has said it has produced almost half a million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine – the first to be made in the South American country.

The vaccines await approval from the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute for their release, Richmond said in a tweet.

We appreciate the hard work it took our staff to achieve this first objective, and continue with our commitment to have local vaccine production.

Reuters reports that Argentina has had a slow rollout of its inoculation programme with about 18m doses applied so far. But only a little more than 3.5m people have had both doses. The vaccines being applied in Argentina are Sputnik V, AstraZeneca , Sinopharm and previously CoviShield.

To date, Argentina has had 88,247 deaths. “Today we celebrate this new milestone in the production of Sputnik V,” Reuters quoted the Argentine production minister Matias Kulfas as saying.

Updated

Prof Finn was also asked if he feels confident the UK will outpace the Delta variant with the current rate of vaccination. He told Times Radio:

No, I don’t feel confident. But I think there’s some grounds for optimism.

The latest ONS figures continue to show a rise, but that rise has not accelerated quite as much as I’d feared over the last week.

So, the race is on. The sooner we can get, particularly second doses, into older people, the less of a hospitalisation wave we’ll see this time around.

That’s the critical thing, that’s what’s grounded us all in the past, and if we’ve managed to protect enough older people that we can avoid a great big surge of hospitalisations and deaths, then things will be able to move back towards normal.

We reported earlier that the prospect of people who have had two jabs no longer needing to adhere to self-isolation rules had been raised. Prof Finn of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), called it an “interesting” proposal. He has told Times Radio:

We know that the vaccine, particularly after two doses, is highly effective at stopping you from getting seriously ill. [You are] 20 times less likely to end up in hospital.

We also know that it will reduce your chances of getting milder illness and infecting other people. But it’s probably less good at doing that than it is preventing you getting seriously ill, so it’s a kind of balance of risk thing.

Asked if it would be safer to properly support people as they self-isolate rather than reduce the quarantine time, he said:

Yeah, difficult calculation because I think in practice, for whatever reason, that doesn’t happen reliably, so that people are being penalised by self-isolating and that probably results in some people not self-isolating and others suffering financial hardship as a result.

This is one way to avoid that, and presumably at somewhat lower risk than just letting everybody circulate when they potentially may have been exposed.

Updated

Dr Tildesley said those being hospitalised in the UK at the moment tend to be slightly younger and “slightly less sick” than in previous waves. He told BBC Breakfast:

Currently, we’re seeing slightly younger people are becoming infected and, actually, the people going to hospital tend to be slightly younger and, therefore, also slightly less sick, which is again quite a good sign that, even if we’re starting to see more people going into hospital, they tend to be younger people who have higher likelihood of recovering successfully.

I realise I’m being slightly cautious here. All of these are cautiously good signs. But, of course, we do need to keep an eye on this over the next couple of weeks so that we can give as much information as we can to the government prior to the 19 July reopening.

Dr Mike Tildesley, an epidemiologist and a member of the UK’s SPI-M modelling group, said he was “cautiously hopeful” the number of hospital admissions over the next few weeks would not be on the same scale as what happened in January. He has told BBC Breakfast:

We are now in a situation where if we sort of wind back a month ago we were starting to see signs of cases creeping up, and they have been creeping steadily for the last four weeks, but we haven’t yet seen that reflected in hospital admissions and deaths, which makes me sort of cautiously optimistic about the situation.

Hospital admissions are starting to rise a little bit, and of course there’s always a lag when cases rise that we see any signal in hospital admissions, but of course the vaccination campaign is doing very, very well, and so we’re not in the same situation we were back in October when cases were rising, we then got a big wave of hospital admissions and deaths.

There’s still a little bit of work to do for us over the next couple of weeks to really firm up the link between cases and hospital admissions, but I’m, I suppose at the moment, cautiously hopeful that whilst we probably will expect some sort of wave of hospital admissions over the next few weeks, it won’t be the same scale that we saw back in January.

Updated

Asked if double-vaccinated people would take other variants from abroad to the UK, Prof Bauld told Times Radio:

I think the chances of that are not zero, but they’re greatly reduced.

What we see from some well-conducted studies, including one in Scotland here where they looked at people who had both doses of the vaccine, they were healthcare workers, and then did they infect other people in their household? That was greatly reduced amongst those with both doses of the vaccine.

So, I think we can also say that people who are fully protected with vaccines are less likely to transmit, but the risk is not zero. That’s why I think we’re going have to continue to monitor this.

But, certainly, more evidence will come out on that, and it’s good news for the vaccines because, as I said, transmission was an area we were just very uncertain about.

Updated

Prof Bauld said countries need to reach agreement on rules about vaccinated people being allowed entry. She told Times Radio that having both doses of the vaccine is “not a free pass to everything”.

But we have to make these changes because in order to get back to some kind of normal life – or more normal than we have now – vaccines are going to be that protection.

And that means that showing, particularly for international travel, evidence of a vaccine. And I think that you know that’s uncontroversial compared to, remember, those discussions about vaccine passports to go to the pub, which are just not a runner. But, for travel, I think all countries need to reach agreement on this.

We need to have a common standard the way we do for yellow fever and that will really help with international travel in the future.

Prof Bauld said there would be discussions on moving away from large numbers of children self-isolating and instead carrying out regular testing.

She had been asked if she thinks any move away from 10 days of self-isolation for people who are double vaccinated could be the government’s way of getting out of properly supporting those who are self-isolating. She told Times Radio:

I hadn’t actually thought of it that way, to be perfectly frank. Is this a sort of a reason not to support self-isolation? That may be part of it.

I think it’s more that, as we move ahead and learn to live alongside this virus, we have to recognise – not just for adults actually around self-isolation – but there will also be a debate about school pupils and whether we could offer regular testing as an alternative to large groups of children having to stay at home and not have face-to-face education, which of course has been happening quite a bit as infection rates rise and it’s really unfortunate and should be avoidable.

Updated

People in the UK who have had two jabs and come into contact with someone infected with the virus may soon be spared 10 days of self-isolating, according to Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh. She told Times Radio:

It’s already in place in the US. The Centres for Disease Control changed their guidance a while ago to say that people who had had both doses of the vaccine and about 10 to 14 days after the second dose didn’t have to self-isolate, so I think we are moving in that direction.

As we’ve heard repeatedly from Chris Whitty and others, this virus isn’t going to disappear.

We’re going to have to live alongside it, means we are going to have infections in future, so being a contact of someone infected will always be a possibility.

Updated

Cambodia suffers worst day and UK ‘in third wave’

The south-east Asian nation reported 20 deaths on Saturday – its worst one-day death toll, as it detected its first Delta variant cases and authorities urged people to be vigilant.

According to Reuters, Cambodia has recorded one of the world’s smallest caseloads thus far, but the outbreak that was first detected in late February has caused infections to climb to 42,052 cases with 414 deaths. Its Communicable Disease Control Department said:

Please continue to be vigilant by practising hygiene, social distancing and not leaving your homes unnecessarily. Our country and the world continue to be plagued by the Covid 19 pandemic.

The ministry of health also reported seven cases of the Delta variant among travellers by land from neighbouring Thailand. “Every one must continue to be vigilant,” said Or Vandine, secretary of state and health ministry spokeswoman.

In the UK, a government scientific adviser has said a “third wave” of infections “is definitely under way”. Prof Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

It’s going up, perhaps we can be a little bit optimistic it’s not going up any faster, but nevertheless it’s going up, so this third wave is definitely under way. We can conclude that the race is firmly on between the vaccine programme, particularly getting older people’s second doses done, and the Delta variant third wave.

The University of Bristol academic said the JCVI is still working to decide whether children should be vaccinated but said that effort would not be the immediate priority if it was approved.

Even if some decision were made to immunise children it wouldn’t be appropriate right now, either here or anywhere else in Europe, to give our doses predominantly to children because it’s adults that get sick, so vaccinating adults is clearly the priority right now.

Updated

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Get ready to scroll: three graphs to help you make sense of the AstraZeneca vaccine risk

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Get ready to scroll: three graphs to help you make sense of the AstraZeneca vaccine risk” was written by Hassan Vally for the Conversation, for theguardian.com on Sunday 20th June 2021 02.09 UTC

Last week’s announcement that the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine would now only be recommended for Australians over 60 has highlighted the many ways we think about risk.

The decision reflects a greater understanding of the real, but extremely low, risk of the clotting disorder called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia for people aged 50 to 59, who are now recommended to have the Pfizer vaccine.

But errors in the way we perceive these extremely small risks, called cognitive biases, reflect the fact that when our brains evolved we did not have to grapple with risks this small. So we struggle to make sense of them and perceive these events as being much more likely than they actually are.

This can lead us to make decisions, such as not having a vaccine that could potentially save our life. And the misperception of the likelihood of TTS is one of the main reasons many are hesitant about receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.

So let’s start with what we know about the risk of dying from TTS associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, expressed the traditional way, with words and numbers. Then we’ll present the same numbers graphically.

What’s the risk of dying from TTS?

Initially, we thought about 25% of people with TTS associated with the vaccine would die. But as we learnt more about how to recognise and treat these rare blood clots, the risk of dying from it has changed. In Australia mortality is now down to about 4%.

This is a low risk of dying from a syndrome with a small likelihood of occurring. So we can express TTS risk in another way.

Two people in Australia have died from TTS after 3.8m doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine delivered. This makes the likelihood of dying from this syndrome about 0.5 in a million, or if you prefer whole numbers, about 1 in 2m.

And now, with graphics

Here’s one way of representing 1 in 2m visually. This figure shows just how small this risk is. Are you ready for some scrolling?

As you can see, the risk of TTS is so small it is almost too small to communicate effectively in this format.

Perhaps even more visually powerful is to compare the risk of dying from TTS to other risks we face in our lives, using a risk scale. This allows you to compare a range of risks and put them into perspective.

As the risk of TTS is a one-off risk normally associated with the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, one interesting comparison is with other one-off risks, such as adventure sports.

As you can see, the risk of dying from TTS is far lower than many activities some of us get up to at the weekend.

But not all of us spend our weekends scuba diving or rock climbing. So let’s look at the more common risks we take in our everyday lives but do not pay much attention to.

This is not a perfect comparison, as the risks are averaged across the whole population, across the entire year. But it’s useful nevertheless.

So the risk of dying from TTS after the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is similar to the risk of being killed by lightning in a year in Australia. And this pales in comparison when compared with other risks, such as the risk of dying in a car accident.

So what happens next?

One of the challenges for public health has always been putting the risks and benefits of our health choices into perspective. This task is even harder when the risks involved are so small.

Using visualisations like these is one way to effectively communicate just how small the risk of TTS is and also put this risk into perspective by comparing it with other risks we incur in our lives.

When you fully appreciate how small the risk of TTS is, the decision to have the AstraZeneca vaccine to protect yourself and others becomes a much easier one to make.

  • This article is republished from the Conversation. Hassan Vally as an associate professor in public health at La Trobe University

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Coronavirus live news: Belgium to vaccinate 16- and 17-year-olds next month; Italy gives 600,000 jabs in a day

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Coronavirus live news: Belgium to vaccinate 16- and 17-year-olds next month; Italy gives 600,000 jabs in a day” was written by Edna Mohamed (now); Kevin Rawlinson and Nicola Slawson (earlier), for theguardian.com on Saturday 5th June 2021 20.52 UTC

According to the latest health ministry data, Brazil registers 66,017 new cases and 1,689 new coronavirus-related deaths.

The country has now registered 16,907,425 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 472,531, according to ministry data, in the world’s third-worst outbreak after the US and India.

Updated

New England currently has the highest vaccination rate in the US and is seeing drops in cases, hospitalisations and deaths.
New England currently has the highest vaccination rate in the US and is experiencing drops in cases, hospitalisations and deaths.
Photograph: Michael Dwyer/AP

Updated

Contact tracers in Victoria are trying to find out the source of two Covid-19 cases which have been infectious in the community, AAP report.

The couple who tested positive were among five new local cases that were reported on Saturday.

One of the pair said to be a regular visitor to Craigieburn Central shopping centre came forward for testing due to health department efforts to test heavily in the area.

The other unlinked case is that person’s partner, a construction worker, which has prompted a Melbourne building site closure.

Testing commander Jeroen Weimar said: “Seven positive cases entered the Craigieburn shopping centre on different days, and contact tracers are working to ascertain the man’s exact movements to see if they overlap with any of them.”

AAP report:

The other three cases recorded on Saturday were less concerning, authorities said, because they were all primary close contacts of confirmed cases and had been quarantining during their entire infectious period.

Among these three cases are two Delta strain cases – a child of a family already infected with the virus and a family friend. That cluster appears separate from the rest of the Melbourne outbreak, which is made of the Kappa strain, which, like the Delta strain, has caused havoc in the UK and India.

Experts still don’t know how the Delta strain entered the community and have been analysing genomic sequencing from across the country in the hope of finding a match.

Prof Sharon Lewin from Victoria’s genomic sequencing centre, the Doherty Institute, said there was no evidence pointing to the Victorian family picking up the virus while on holiday in NSW.

Rather, her “strong hypothesis” is that it entered the community via hotel quarantine.

Updated

NHS boss says Delta variant ‘not significantly increasing hospital numbers’

The Covid-19 vaccine appears to have “broken the chain” between catching the virus and becoming seriously ill, the chief executive of NHS Providers has said.

Chris Hopson said that the number of people in hospital for the Delta Covid-19 variant was not increasing “very significantly”. He told BBC Breakfast that many of those in hospital in Bolton were younger than in previous waves of coronavirus.

Of the 12,431 Indian variant cases confirmed in the UK, 10,797 are in England, 1,511 in Scotland, 97 in Wales and 26 in Northern Ireland.

In England, the cases are spread across the country, with the most affected areas including Bolton in Greater Manchester (2,149 cases), Blackburn with Darwen in Lancashire (724), Bedford (608), Leicester (349), Manchester (278) and Birmingham (223).

Updated

Markets and shopping centres will be allowed to partially reopen from Monday in New Delhi, India, in a further easing of coronavirus restrictions, the chief ministers say as infections fall in major cities after weeks of rules.

The Delhi Metro will also resume services at 50% capacity, the city’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

AFP reports that the Maharashtra government, which includes the business hub, Mumbai, unveiled a five-stage plan to ease off on restrictions, depending o infection data and hospitality capacity.

Updated

Belgium to start vaccinating 16- and 17-year olds

Belgium is to begin vaccinating 16 to 17-year-olds from next month.

Ministers said in a statement: “Starting in the month of July, they will start receiving an invitation concerning the first dose.”

The new recipients will be inoculated with the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, which was the first vaccine to be approved for children by the EU medical watchdog.

Updated

A senior public health official says her “strong hypothesis” is that the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus that caused a second outbreak in Melbourne was caused by a hotel quarantine leak.

Victoria reported five new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday from 36,362 tests on day nine of Melbourne’s fourth lockdown, including two cases linked to the so-called Delta variant – which emerged in India during its devastating outbreak.

On Saturday the infectious diseases expert Prof Sharon Lewin from the Doherty Institute was asked whether she believed the West Melbourne family that caught the strain could have caught it while holidaying in Jervis Bay in New South Wales.

Lewin did not rule it out as a possibility – saying there was “extensive testing” occurring in the south coast holiday town – but said it was more likely the strain emerged from someone in hotel quarantine.

“My strong hypothesis is that it’s coming through an importation from overseas, through our quarantine hotels. That would be the most likely,” she said.

Lewin is leading sequencing efforts in Victoria in an attempt to track down the origin of the new strain but cautioned that it was possible the source would never be known definitively.

“Every effort is being made right now to look for that match, but we may not get the match,” she said.

More on the Delta variant in Victoria here:

Updated

Italy is expecting a 20% tourism increase over 2020 as summer travel restrictions ease, the Italian tourism federation said.

The federation has said: “The 2021 summer season is showing the first signs of a sector recovery. Between June and August, 33m arrivals are forecast along with 140m nights spent in official (tourist) structures – a 20.8% rise on 2020.”

Assoturismo added that the rise “would not be enough to return to pre-Covid levels” because during summer 2019, the last before the pandemic, an additional 73.5m nights were spent in the country.

AFP reports that, before the pandemic, tourism had accounted for 14% of Italy’s GDP, the EU’s third-largest economy, but the Covid fallout had helped to tip the country into its worst recession since the second world war.

Italy hopes to welcome 6.7m more foreign tourists this year than in 2020, but arrivals will still be down, by about two-thirds, on 2019 when the 100m mark was passed.

Assoturismo president Vittorio Messina said:

“After 12 terrible months, Italian tourism finally can detect concrete signs of recovery. But it is still a slow recovery, above all where foreign demand is concerned which will not be enough to pull back what was lost with the pandemic.

Our hope is that end of season sales give us better results thanks to the European health passport.”

Updated

While the first cruise ship set sail from Venice on Saturday, some residents protested over the return to normal, unhappy about the passage of liners throughout the historical lagoon city.

Hundreds of people gathered on land and on small boats, waving flags saying “No big ships” as the 92,000-tonne MSC Orchestra departed Venice port en route for Croatia and Greece.

Reuters reports:

We are here because we are against this passage but also against a model of tourism that is destroying the city, pushing out residents, destroying the planet, the cities, and polluting,” said Marta Sottoriva, a 29-year old teacher and Venice resident.

But port authorities, workers and the city government welcomed the departure of the Orchestra, operated by MSC Cruises, seeing it as a symbol of business kicking off after the health crisis that hit hard at the cruise industry and the wider travel sector.

“We are happy to be back … to restart the engines. We care a lot about Venice and we’ve been asking for a stable and manageable solution for ships for many years,” said Francesco Galietti, national director for the trade group Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Some residents have been urging governments for years to ban large cruise ships and other big vessels from passing through the lagoon and docking not far from the famed St Mark’s Square.

Campaigners worry about safety and the environment, including pollution and underwater erosion in a city already in peril from rising sea waters.

“The struggle is very long, I think we are against very big financial interests,” Marco Baravalle, a 42-year old researcher, and member of the No Grandi Navi (No big ships) group.

He and other protesters were worried that “everything will go back to what we had before the pandemic”, he added.

Italy’s government ruled in April that cruise ships and container vessels must not enter Venice’s historic centre but rather dock elsewhere.

But the ban will not take effect until terminals outside the lagoon have been completed, and a tender for their construction has not been launched yet. Part of the traffic may be diverted to the nearby port of Marghera from next year.

Environmental protesters from the “No Grandi Navi” group.
Environmental protesters from the “No Grandi Navi” group.
Photograph: Marco Sabadin/AFP/Getty Images

Updated

Britain’s decision to relegate Portugal to the amber travel list left Francina Pinheiro totally exasperated. “We’ve done everything by the book here,” said Pinheiro, the owner of a cafe beside Torre dos Clérigos, one of Porto’s landmark sights, as customers arrived for lunch on Friday.

“We sanitise everything, we’ve reduced our table numbers. All so we can welcome our friends from overseas. And, pah, now they shut the door on us!”

The usually perky Pinheiro was still shaking her head over the decision. After months in the doldrums, the sight of tourists recently returning to her pavement tables and sipping on a fino (small beer) or trying her prized bolinhos (fishcakes) had put a skip in her step.

Now British visitors are set to join her American and Brazilian customers – another important source of income – in disappearing from Porto’s streets. That leaves her falling back on local customers, who, loyal as they may be, tend to content themselves with a €0.95 cup of black coffee.

British tourists queue at Faro Airport for Covid-19 tests before flying home.
British tourists queue at Faro Airport for Covid-19 tests before flying home.
Photograph: Visionhaus/Getty Images

More of the story here:

Updated

The Indian airline IndiGo reports its fifth straight quarterly loss on Saturday as the pandemic continues to keep air travel well below normal pre-Covid levels.

The company reported a net loss of 11.47bn Indian rupees ($157.43m) in the three months ended 31 March, compared with 8.7bn rupees a year earlier.

Reuters reports:

This has been a very difficult year with our revenues slumping hard due to Covid, showing some signs of recovery during the period December to February and then slumping again with the second wave of the Covid,” IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta said in a statement.

The coronavirus pandemic is a period of great trial for IndiGo shareholders and staff, Dutta said, adding that the carrier was strengthening its core to emerge stronger when the sector recovers from the current situation.

India’s aviation sector is reeling under losses, with air travel brought to a halt for several weeks last year. The country’s airlines are expected to lose a total of $4bn this fiscal year, aviation consultancy CAPA estimated – similar to their losses last fiscal year through to 31 March.

Just as air travel in India was beginning to recover earlier this year, a second more deadly wave of the pandemic hit the nation, killing hundreds of thousands of people.

Most Indian states were under lockdown in April and May, and the government has restricted airlines to fly only 50% of their total capacity.

Updated

France recorded 57 new deaths on Saturday, adding to the total of 83,547 coronavirus-related deaths in hospital. The country’s health authorities also reported that were 2,525 people in ICU for Covid-19, with Saturday’s figures down by 46.

People watch World War II history enthusiasts in Normandy, on the eve of its 77th anniversary.
People watch second world war history enthusiasts in Normandy, on the eve of its 77th anniversary.
Photograph: David Vincent/AP

Updated

Coronavirus has resulted in the deaths of at least 3,714,923 people since the outbreak emerged in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

So far, at least 172,499,930 cases of coronavirus have been registered.

The figures compiled by AFP are based on the daily Covid-19 reports provided by health authorities in each country.

The World Health Organization estimates that the pandemic’s overall toll could be two to three times higher than official records due to the excess mortality that is directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19.

Based on the latest reports, the US is the worst affected country with 597,001 deaths from 33,346,365 cases.

After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Brazil, with 470,842 deaths from 16,841,408 cases, India with 344,082 deaths from 28,694,879 cases, Mexico with 228,568 deaths from 2,429,631 cases, and Peru with 185,813 deaths from 1,976,166 cases.

The country with the highest number of deaths compared with its population is Peru with 564 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Hungary with 309, Bosnia-Herzegovina with 286, the Czech Republic with 282, and The Republic of North Macedonia with 261.

Updated

Ministers from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade group have agreed to speed up the transit of Covid-19 vaccines and related goods at ports, a statement on Saturday said.

Reuters reports that the APEC ministers met in New Zealand, where they also agreed to consider voluntary actions to reduce the cost of vaccines to fight the pandemic.

Updated

Italy reports 57 coronavirus deaths

Italy has recorded 57 coronavirus deaths and 2,436 new cases, the Italian health ministry has reported. Saturday’s data is lower than the figures recorded yesterday, with 73 deaths reported on Friday and 2,557 new cases.

Not including those in intensive care, patients in hospital stood at 5,193 on Saturday, down from 5,488 a day earlier.

There were 20 new admissions to intensive care units, down from 22 on Friday. The total number of intensive care patients fell to 788 from a previous 836.

Nearly 238,632 Covid tests were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 220,939, the health ministry said.

Updated

UK records 13 deaths

The UK records 13 new deaths and 5,765 new cases on Saturday, government data showed.

The latest figures had also shown that 40,124,229 had now received their first vaccination shot, and 27,160,635 had received two doses.

Updated

An Amazon employee with a dose of the Covishield vaccine during a vaccination program for employees and dependent family members in India.
An Amazon employee with a dose of the Covishield vaccine during a vaccination programme for employees and dependent family members in India.
Photograph: Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images

Hi, I’m Edna Mohamed; I’ll be taking you through the next few hours, if I miss anything you can message me on Twitter or drop me an email at edna.mohamed.casual@theguardian

Updated

Summary

Here’s a brief summary of the major recent developments:

  • A record 600,000 vaccine doses were administered in Italy on Friday. Citing local authorities, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that that put the country in second place in Europe for the number of people fully vaccinated.
  • Going ahead with the UK’s planned reopening on 21 June would be “foolish” and a “major risk”, an expert on an advisory group to the UK government warned. Prof Stephen Reicher said there was enough evidence to say that one of the government’s four key tests for its road map out of lockdown has not been met.
  • India recorded 120,529 new cases in 24 hours as its capital, New Delhi, undertook a partial easing of its lockdown. The city was preparing to deal with an infection peak of 37,000 cases a day, its chief minister said.

That’s it from me – I’m handing over to my colleague, Edna Mohamed.

The people of Glasgow can finally hug loved ones, meet in homes and drink alcohol indoors for the first time in months, after the city dropped to level 2 of Scotland’s coronavirus measures – alongside an easing of restrictions across the country.

While the whole of mainland Scotland was supposed to move to level 1 on Monday, the city will join 13 other council areas in remaining in level 2 for another few weeks.

Announcing the move on Tuesday, the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said that while the level 2 restrictions were “still tough”, they were at least “not lockdown”. She added: “We can go into each other’s homes, we can see hospitality open, stay open indoors, so there are significant steps there.”

Updated

The planned scrapping of remaining restrictions in England on 21 June has been thrown into doubt with reports that the government is looking at contingency plans including a two-week delay to allow more adults to be fully vaccinated.

The Telegraph and the Financial Times reported on Saturday that civil servants were drawing up contingency plans to delay the easing lockdown restrictions by two weeks, possibly to 5 July. A senior Whitehall source told the FT:

A variety of options are being drawn up, including a delay to step 4 and trading off some measures against others.

These are the most pressing issues likely to be covered during Hancock’s grilling:

Matt Hancock, the UK’s health secretary, was calling on the government to take Covid more seriously as early as January last year, his allies have claimed, as he prepares to give his full response to explosive accusations over his handling of the pandemic.

Hancock is set to undergo hours of questioning before MPs on Thursday after Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former senior adviser, said the health secretary should have been fired on up to 20 separate occasions for various Covid failings. Cummings’ claim that Hancock misled the prime minister over sending untested hospital patients back to care homes – an allegation he denies – is set to be a key focus of the hearing.

However, with a highly pressurised grilling in prospect, insiders sympathetic to Hancock said he had regularly been one of the cabinet ministers urging most caution on the lifting of Covid restrictions – and had also been calling for the government’s Cobra emergency committee to meet from very early in 2020. They said Hancock had been pushing for quarantine for travellers from China to the UK before official advice supported the idea – when others in government were suggesting they should be allowed to travel home immediately by train.

Updated

NHS England data shows a total of 7,254,217 jabs were given to people in London between 8 December and 4 June, including 4,497,648 first doses and 2,756,569 second doses. This compares with 6,287,623 first doses and 4,477,536 second doses given to people in the Midlands, a total of 10,765,159.

The breakdown for the other regions is:

  • East of England: 4,003,822 first doses and 2,777,778 second doses, making 6,781,600 in total
  • North-east and Yorkshire: 5,221,289 first and 3,631,836 second doses (8,853,125)
  • North-west: 4,249,530 first and 2,954,182 second doses (7,203,712)
  • South-east: 5,464,828 first and 3,783,734 second doses (9,248,562)
  • South-west: 3,547,393 first and 2,632,020 second doses (6,179,413)

Updated

A further 471,939 vaccine doses have been administered in England in the last 24 hours, according to NHS England data. That took the total in the country between 8 December 2020 and 4 June 2021 to 56,602,996.

NHS England said 150,337 of the new administered shots were first doses and 321,602 were second doses, taking the respective totals to 33,525,485 and 23,077,511.

Updated

Italy administers record number of vaccine doses

A record 600,000 vaccine doses were administered in Italy on Friday, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports, citing local authorities. That put the country in second place in Europe for the number of people fully vaccinated.

“Yesterday was marked by a record number of injections in 24 hours which touched the 600,000 mark, while the number of doses administered crossed the 37 million mark,” the government body in charge of vaccinations said on Saturday.

“Italy is in second place in Europe in terms of the number of people fully vaccinated, just behind Germany and ahead of France and Spain,” it added.

According to AFP, it said Friday’s record vaccinations were in part due to an increase in the number of vaccination centres, which now stood at 2,666 against 1,500 at the start of March. About 800 new centres will be opened in the coming weeks.

According to official government figures, 37m vaccine doses have been administered and 12.7 million people – or nearly 24% of the population aged older than 12 years – have been vaccinated.

The pandemic has claimed 126,415 lives in Italy, where the number of cases and deaths has been falling steadily in recent weeks. The government has been slowly easing Covid restrictions, relaxing a night curfew and opening up indoor dining in restaurants and bars.

Updated

Progress is being made towards a deal on an intellectual property waiver for Covid-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization (WTO), the US trade representative Katherine Tai said on Saturday.

Backers of a patent waiver for Covid vaccines say it would boost vaccine production and improve delivery to poorer countries.

These countries are battling surges in Covid-19 infections and struggling to access vaccine supplies as well as diagnostics, therapeutics and medical devices.

Tai pointed to a revised proposal from the original proponents of the waiver, led by India and South Africa, as well as principles the EU has come up with to guide how they would like to negotiate the issues, Reuters reports.

In a surprise shift in May, the US moved to supporting a patent waiver, piling pressure on opponents such as the EU and Switzerland, where many drugmakers are based.

Tai told reporters before a meeting of trade ministers in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum:

We’re actually really encouraged to see more WTO members come forth with proposals on what they can support at the WTO with respect to intellectual property rules at the WTO and how they apply to the Covid vaccines.

The latest draft from proponents of the waiver sets a time span for a waiver of at least three years and would allow the WTO’s 164 members to determine when it ends.

Updated

A huge queue has formed outside a health centre in Harrow, in London, which is offering jabs to people aged 18 and over.

Belmont health centre in Stanmore, Harrow, is open on Saturday to over-18s who are still waiting for their first vaccine and who live or work in Harrow.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is being administered all day at the walk-in clinic and people do not need to be registered with the practice to get their vaccine.

A queue of people waiting for vaccine outside Belmont health centre in Harrow, London
A queue of people waiting for vaccine outside Belmont health centre in Harrow, London
Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

National eligibility criteria in England states that only those aged 30 and over are invited for their first jab, and it is understood that health officials want to prioritise that cohort in Harrow rather than younger age groups, PA news reports.

But the poster advertising the walk-in centre clearly states that people aged 18 and over can come along, and the majority of people waiting appeared to be in their 20s.

By mid-morning, a huge queue had formed in the area of the health centre, with the line snaking around a car park and stretching down the street.

People queuing for the first dose of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.
People queuing for the first dose of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.
Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

Among them were 20-year-old students Jamie Lesser and Daniel Simmons who arrived at around 8.15am.

Lesser said it will be a relief to get the jab, telling the PA news agency: “If all plans go ahead, clubs are going to open in three weeks’ time and we both have plans to go out.”

He said he had clubbing plans for “about five days in a row” if nightclubs open, “making up for the last year and a half”.

Lesser said he found out about Saturday’s walk-in through friends in a group chat who had forwarded on information about it.

The queue for vaccines is snaking around a car park and stretching down the street
The queue for vaccines is snaking around a car park and stretching down the street.
Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

He said:

To be honest we weren’t intending to give up the whole of the Saturday. We were going to go to the gym fairly early … Thought we’d get here very early to avoid the queue, which hasn’t been very successful.

Simmons said that as soon as he saw the chance to get the jab, he thought he would “jump on it”, adding: “I want to get it as soon as possible really.”

Queueing for his jab, Chand Shah, a 25-year-old accountant, said the walk-in centre was “heavily advertised” and he thought it was a “good idea” to get the vaccine before the possible further easing of restrictions on 21 June.

Asked if he expected to get his vaccine so soon, he said: “No. I was expecting August to be honest.”

Shah added: “I think if you get the vaccine you feel safer.”

Updated

South Korea’s respect for intellectual property rights makes it an ideal partner for the United States as it seeks to decouple its supply chains from China and forge partnerships to manufacture coronavirus vaccines, a trio of US senators said on Saturday during a visit to Seoul.

The Democrat senators Tammy Duckworth and Chris Coons, and the Republican senator Dan Sullivan, were in South Korea as part of their first official overseas trip since the pandemic began.

After last month’s summit in Washington between Joe Biden and South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in – who was only the second international leader to be welcomed by Biden as president – the senators said their visit was sign of the importance Washington places on South Korea’s role in countering China and shoring up global supply chains amid the pandemic.

Duckworth told a group of reporters:

We can trust in the legal system here, and we can trust that our intellectual property rights will be protected.

South Korea is a logical partner. This is critical whether it is manufacturing [computer] chips or pharmaceuticals.

A day after Biden and Moon met, the US drugmakers Moderna and Novavax entered into a deal with South Korea for its Covid-19 vaccines to be manufactured in the country, which has been seeking to secure more and faster deliveries of US-made vaccines.

Updated

Summary

Here’s a brief summary of the major recent developments:

  • Going ahead with the UK’s planned reopening on 21 June would be “foolish” and a “major risk”, an expert on an advisory group to the UK government warned. Prof Stephen Reicher said there was enough evidence to say that one of the government’s four key tests for its road map out of lockdown has not been met.
  • India recorded 120,529 new cases in 24 hours as its capital, New Delhi, undertook a partial easing of its lockdown. The city was preparing to deal with an infection peak of 37,000 cases a day, its chief minister said.

Updated

Covid-19 policies risk leaving psychological and socioeconomic scars on millions of young people across Europe, with far-reaching consequences for them and society, a wide-ranging Guardian project has revealed.

Taking a snapshot, the Guardian asked five members of Europe’s Generation Z how the worst global pandemic in a century has affected their lives, what they have learned and how they see their future after the pandemic.

 

Updated

The boss of Airlines UK has complained about a lack of transparency and consistency in the government’s changes to travel rules.

Tim Alderslade, the chief executive of the industry body that represents UK carriers, said ministers had not kept to promises over a “green watchlist” that would have given travellers increased warning about a country potentially coming off the safe list.

His comments came after the government decided to move Portugal out of the green list and into the amber travel category. It means people arriving in the UK from Portugal after 4am on Tuesday will need to self-isolate at home for 10 days, a change that has left holidaymakers scrambling for expensive return flights in an attempt to beat the quarantine deadline.

Speaking about the “green watchlist” proposal, Alderslade told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

It would be a list of countries that were on the cusp, [where] there was a risk that they would be moving from green to amber, so passengers were aware of that, it was fully transparent and they would be taking that risk when they booked.

It was entirely to stop what happened last summer when countries were moving up and down off the corridor list on a weekly basis and we saw people stranded overseas and then desperate to come home again because they couldn’t afford to quarantine.

It has caused complete pandemonium because we don’t have that watchlist that we were promised by the government and I think with the taskforce, the transparency is not there, we don’t know what has to happen for countries to move from green to amber, or amber to green for that matter.

Updated

Everyone aged older than 12 years in specific postcode areas of the English county of Berkshire will be offered PCR testing over the next two weeks from Monday in an effort to tackle the spread of the Delta variant.

Meradin Peachey, the director of public health for Berkshire West, said a “real concern” with this variant is that if it keeps circulating there may be more mutations. She told BBC Breakfast:

What’s happened in the last couple of weeks, especially in the last week, we’ve noticed that a lot of cases now coming through we can’t link to any travellers, which means we now have community transmission.

She said cases are mainly among young people, with “virtually nobody over 60 or anyone who has been vaccinated” affected. She added:

If the variant spreads and becomes even more, it may mutate again and the big concern is that vaccines won’t work. We really want to get people tested and isolated if they’ve got the virus, stop the spread so that we can make sure the vaccination programme works.

Updated

Earlier, Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) UK government advisory panel, said ministers had a “difficult call” to make. He told Times Radio:

It’s a hard one. I’m going to be annoying and sit a little bit on the fence on this, as I don’t think it’s our role as epidemiologists to call that.

I think the difficult thing that we have, the difficult situation the government have, is of course if you delay that then of course you’ll get a smaller subsequent wave.

I mean, that’s the case with any control policy – if you leave them in for a longer period of time then it’s going to reduce cases.

But, of course, if you delay that we know that negatively impacts businesses, people’s livelihoods, and so forth.

So, this is the difficult call that they have to make, and all we can do is put together as much evidence as possible and say this is what we expect to happen if you relax on 21 June, this is what we may expect if you delay that by two weeks for example, or four weeks and so on, so they have all the evidence they can to make the decision.

Updated

UK’s planned reopening would be ‘foolish’

It is clear that it would be “foolish” and a “major risk” to go ahead with the 21 June reopening, an expert on an advisory group to the UK government has said.

Prof Stephen Reicher said there was enough evidence to say one of the government’s four key tests for its roadmap out of lockdown had not been met, according to the PA news agency.

The member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (Spi-B), which advises the government, said the criteria about the current assessment of the risks not being fundamentally changed by new variants of concern was “not upheld” due to the spread of the Delta variant. Reicher told the news agency:

I think, by the government’s own criteria, it’s quite clear that it would be foolish to proceed on the data that we’ve got at the moment. The risk would be very great indeed. And of course it’s a balance of risks but I think it would be a major risk to go further in opening up.

Again, I make the point that it is about data not dates, and if you make it too much about the dates then you box yourself into a corner and I think that’s what the government has done.

Updated

Marton Aszalos, a Hungarian paramedic, and Eniko Tokacs-Mathe, a vet, had to cancel their wedding twice during the pandemic and are finally getting ready for their big day this summer as restrictions are lifted.

Tokacs-Mathe and Aszalos pose during their wedding photoshoot on a water limousine on the Danube
Tokacs-Mathe and Aszalos pose during their wedding photoshoot on a water limousine on the Danube
Photograph: Bernadett Szabó/Reuters

Reuters reports that the couple, who met in 2016 at a clinic where Eniko was working and Marton was then a trainee, say the emotional rollercoaster of the past 18 months has been draining but has made their relationship stronger. Eniko told the news agency:

Because of the pandemic, we had to replan our wedding for the third time; both its date and the venue. The pandemic has also had a serious mental and physical affect on my fiancé as he is an ambulance officer.

Reuters reports that the couple held a civil ceremony a month ago and are preparing for a wedding party with more than 100 guests in the town of Makó, near the Romanian border. Eniko is from Transylvania and many of her relatives will cross to Hungary to attend.

They have been rehearsing their waltz for the wedding night, after a photo shoot on a motor boat on the Danube. Eniko said:

Before, I thought my main worries would be whether we manage the lift in the dance, whether my makeup and hair would look good. But now, I am just happy and hope that all the guests and relatives can make it in health and we can celebrate together.

Many couples are relieved that with 53% of Hungarians vaccinated, they can now go ahead and get married, Reuters reports. Gabor Herendi, a wedding planner, usually handles 30 to 35 weddings a year. But, in 2020, about 70% were postponed to this year. After the long wait, “energies will be multiplied”, he said.

Updated

Hawaii will drop its quarantine and testing requirements for travellers once 70% of the state’s population has been vaccinated, the Associated Press reports, citing the governor, David Ige.

The state will also lift its requirement that people wear masks indoors once that level has been reached. The state health department website said 59% of Hawaii’s population had had at least one dose of a vaccine and 52% had finished their dosing regimen. The AP reports:

The state is using its figures, and not those provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to calculate thresholds for lifting restrictions. The health department director, Dr Libby Char, said that’s because Hawaii’s numbers are more accurate. She said it appeared the CDC had been counting some of Hawaii’s doses twice.

Right now, travellers arriving from out of state must spend 10 days in quarantine or, to bypass that quarantine, they must show proof of a negative test taken before departure for the islands.

Once 60% of Hawaii’s population is vaccinated, Ige said, the state will allow travellers to bypass a quarantine requirement as long as they can prove they were vaccinated in the US.

Restrictions on travel between the islands will open up before that.

Ige said that as of 15 June, people will be able to fly inter-island without taking a test or showing proof of vaccination. Also on that date, those who have been vaccinated in Hawaii may bypass quarantine when returning from a trip out of state.

Updated

Russia has reported 9,145 new cases, including 2,897 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 5,117,274. According to Reuters, the government’s taskforce said 399 people had died in the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 123,436.

Updated

Taiwan has reported 511 new domestic cases, including 35 cases added to totals for recent days. That is up from the 472 domestic infections reported on Friday, Reuters reports.

The agency also reports that Taiwan is in talks with US companies about making their vaccines, following similar talks with European firms, citing the health minister Chen Shih-chung.

Taiwan, like much of the world, has been trying to speed up its vaccination programme following a spike in domestic cases, but has been stymied by global supply shortages.

Chen told reporters that they previously had talks with European companies he did not name about producing their vaccines under licence.

“Only recently have we started to have talks with US companies to see if it’s possible or not to carry out relevant subcontracting work,” he added, without providing details.

Taiwan has ordered around 5m shots from the US firm Moderna, of which 150,000 have arrived. It has ordered 10m shots from the British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca.

Taiwan, also in talks with BioNTech, blames China – which claims the island as its own territory – for blocking a deal with the German company earlier this year.

Johnson & Johnson said on Friday it had been in talks with Taiwan about providing its vaccine since last year.

Updated

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 2,294 to 3,697,927, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) shows, while the reported death toll has risen by 122 to 89,148.

Updated

Mexico recorded 206 more deaths on Friday, bringing the total death toll to 228,568, its health ministry has said. Separate government data recently published suggests the real death toll may be at least 60% above the confirmed figure, Reuters has reported.

Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, has reported a small increase in locally acquired cases, as authorities hunt for the source of a new cluster of a highly infectious variant. Reuters reports:

Five new local cases were reported, taking Victoria’s total to 70 in the latest outbreak, as the state capital, Melbourne, entered its second weekend of a hard lockdown, due to end on 10 June. Curbs were eased for the rest of the state on Friday.

Saturday’s count was up from four new locally acquired cases on Friday.

Authorities were alarmed after detecting the highly infectious Delta variant for the first time in Melbourne, sparking concerns cases could surge. There are now seven known cases in the city.

The Delta variant, which has been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as among the four variants of concern due to evidence that it spreads more easily, probably caused the latest devastating outbreak in India.

Snap lockdowns, regional border restrictions and strict social distancing rules have helped Australia rein in prior outbreaks and keep its numbers relatively low at just 30,150 cases and 910 deaths.

Victoria’s outbreak, which began on 24 May, has spurred people to join long queues for vaccinations following a slow rollout since February. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, said 20% of the adult population had now had a first dose of a vaccine.

Updated

India records more than 100,000 new cases

India’s capital city is preparing to deal with an infection peak of 37,000 cases a day in future, its chief minister has said, as the country as a whole reports 120,529 new cases over the last 24 hours.

According to the Reuters agency, New Delhi’s political leader Arvind Kejriwal announced a partial easing of a lockdown, while the city is also preparing for oxygen storage capacity of 420 tons, and will set up genome sequencing labs to study coronavirus variants.

Citing the federal health ministry, the agency reported 3,380 more deaths across India in 24 hours and said the tally of infections stood at 28.69 million and the death toll at 344,082.

Updated

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US NEWS, World

‘We must speak the truth’: Liz Cheney defiant ahead of ouster from top Republican job

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “‘We must speak the truth’: Liz Cheney defiant ahead of ouster from top Republican job” was written by Maanvi Singh, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 12th May 2021 03.00 UTC

On the eve of a vote almost certain to remove her from a leadership role in the Republican party, a defiant Liz Cheney embraced her fall from party grace and offered a final appeal to her colleagues: “We must speak the truth.”

Republicans are poised to remove Cheney from her House leadership position over her refusal to support Donald Trump’s “big lie” that last year’s election was stolen from him. Cheney, a Wyoming representative who hails from a Republican political dynasty, was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” following the deadly 6 January attack on the Capitol.

In the weeks since, her assertions that the 2020 elections were valid, and that Trump was wrong to sir up supporters who rioted in his name, have driven a wedge between her and fellow Republicans who remain loyal to the former president.

In a speech on the House floor on Tuesday evening, Cheney was steadfast. “I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the president’s crusade to undermine our democracy,” she said.

Wearing a pin replicating George Washington’s battle flag, Cheney justified her positions by referencing her time at the US state department, comparing the Capitol attack to events she’s seen in authoritarian countries.

A staunch, lifelong conservative and the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, she is almost certain to be replaced on Wednesday as the No 3 House Republican by Elise Stefanik, a New York representative who holds more moderate views on most matters, bar the validity of the last elections.

“This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship,” Cheney said. “This is about our duty as Americans.”

Critics have said that Cheney’s appeals for a fair democracy sound hypocritical, considering that she voted against the For the People Act to protect voting rights, and against enfranchising Washington, DC residents.

Cheney’s fate is a sign of Trump’s enduring grip on the Republican party. Her ouster comes as Arizona Republicans carry through a sham audit of the votes in Maricopa county, Arizona, employing a firm called Cyber Ninjas to investigate conspiracy theories including the false claim that ballots with traces of bamboo were smuggled in from Asia.

As part of her swan song on the House floor, Cheney referred to Trump as a “threat” and reiterated: “The election is over. That is the rule of law.”

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Corona Virus, Health, World

‘Disowned’: family says pleas for help ignored as Australian man dies of Covid-19 in India

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “‘Disowned’: family says pleas for help ignored as Australian man dies of Covid-19 in India” was written by Elias Visontay with wires, for theguardian.com on Saturday 8th May 2021 05.44 UTC

An Australian permanent resident has died of Covid-19 while stranded in India, days after the government’s strict ban on arrivals from the country began.

The family of the 59-year-old claim their father was “disowned” by the Australian government before he died. Now, they are pleading for help so their mother, who is also stuck in India, can return to Australia so they can grieve together.

The foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, has acknowledged the man’s death, and Australia’s high commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrell, said consular assistance was being provided to the family.

However, Payne, O’Farrell and the department of foreign affairs, when asked by the Guardian, have not addressed the family’s claims that Australia’s high commission ignored requests to help repatriate or provide a ventilator to the man in the weeks before his death.

Sydney woman Sonali Ralhan’s father reportedly died in a New Delhi hospital on Wednesday, two days after an Australian government determination came into effect that made it a criminal offence for anyone to travel to Australia within 14 days of being in India.

The ban applies to citizens and permanent residents, who face fines of up to $66,600 or five years jail, or both, if they attempt to flee the worsening crisis in India.

In an open letter to the prime minister posted on Facebook, Ralhan, an Australian citizen, said she contacted consular officials in India a few weeks ago with “great hopes” they would help her parents, long-term residents of Australia, return home safely.

Instead, within weeks she would be mourning the death of her father.

“I write to you with so much anger brewing inside me,” she wrote on 6 May.

“I am an Australian citizen and highly disappointed to be one today.

“What nation disowns their own citizens? (It) is a matter of wonder for the entire world.”

India’s death toll has topped 230,000 and the country has been setting records each day with the tally of new cases. Hospitals are overwhelmed and oxygen supplies are low.

On Friday, the Senate’s Covid-19 committee heard from Dfat officials that the number of Australians in India registered as wanting to return had grown to 9,500, with 950 of them now classed as vulnerable. It also heard 173 unaccompanied children were among the Australians seeking to return from India.

At the committee hearing, O’Farrell was asked if he was aware of any citizens who had died of the disease while waiting to return home.

The former NSW Liberal premier said Dfat was providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian permanent resident who reportedly had died in India, but local authorities had not yet confirmed the cause.

O’Farrell said with the nightly infection rate in India being “greater than the population of Canberra”, and with reported daily deaths of about 4,000 people, he did not believe “anyone can put hand on heart” and say that Australian citizens or permanent residents were not among the deaths.

Payne on Friday extended her sympathies to the family, who she did not identify.

“Let me extend my sympathy, and that of the government, to the family of this person and to so many families that we know are dealing with what is an extraordinary challenge, with infection rates surging,” she told 2GB radio.

“There are very many families dealing with this challenge,” Payne said.

On Saturday, opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said “this was always foreseeable, and it is tragic”.

“The consequence of refusing to step up and do the job the prime minister should do, which is ensure that there is safe, national quarantine – it’s a federal responsibility – was always going to be that Australians would be placed in increasingly risky situations,” Wong said.

Ralhan told SBS News her parents travelled to India towards the end of last year and had been unable to secure flights back to Australia since – a symptom of the fluctuating number of quarantine spaces in Australia and the resulting impact on flight cancellations and ticket costs.

She said her father, who she has chosen not to identify, heard news of Australia’s entry ban while sick, “then his condition kept on deteriorating” while in a private hospital in New Delhi.

Ralhan said that without consular help, she was left to track down oxygen for her father in his final days.

“My father was still conscious and he heard the news. He got the email from the Australian government regarding the new rule and everything. He was sick, and in that condition, receiving this news really panicked him,” she told SBS.

Ralhan says her pleas for help – for repatriation or even assistance in obtaining her father a desperately needed ventilator – were ignored.

Instead of offering any real assistance, consular officials only called Ralhan’s mother periodically to “note down her distressed condition”.

Ralhan’s mother also contracted Covid and has since recovered, but is grief-stricken and isolated from her children and community in Australia.

“All I have left is my mother, who has been abandoned by her own government of Australia, with no way to come back to her children.

“We all want to cry our hearts out, but we are saving them for when we are all together again.

“With your current actions, there is not much to expect, but all I ask is to bring my mother home and gather the broken pieces of our souls together.”

The Guardian has contacted Dfat for comment.

With Australian Associated Press

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Food, Life and Style

How to make the most of leftover cooked potatoes – recipe

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “How to make the most of leftover cooked potatoes – recipe” was written by Tom Hunt, for The Guardian on Saturday 8th May 2021 05.00 UTC

Potatoes taste, travel and keep best when they’re covered in clods of soil, because the earth protects them from the light and easy bruising. Soil-encrusted or not, however, always store spuds in a cool, dark cupboard, though the jury is still out on whether they keep longer if stored with apples, because of the ethylene released by the fruit; the moisture produced by onions and other fruit and veg, meanwhile, may well accelerate sprouting, so keep those separate. (If your potatoes do start to sprout or go green, remove and compost these toxic parts; that said, if you have the outside space, you could also let them continue sprouting, then plant them out in the garden.)

Leftover cooked potatoes are a treasure for any cook, not least because they keep for up to a week in the fridge and save on cooking time for subsequent meals. Crush them and dress with vinaigrette, capers, eggs and herbs. Or make Portuguese “punched” potatoes, a skin-on, roast potato alternative that involves gently squashing cooked potatoes, then roasting in plenty of fat at a high temperature. Or cut into squares, then shallow-fry and serve with aïoli and spicy tomato sauce to make patatas bravas. Or turn them into today’s Indian-inspired dish adapted from my latest book.

Aloo chaat

In India, chaat is a popular street food snack typically served on palm leaf “plates”. This dish is a bit like a spiced potato hash, and is perfect for brunch, and for using up leftover cooked potatoes (it makes a glorious samosa filling, too). The tomato pieces turn into sweet, juicy flavour bombs that pop in your mouth, while the finishing touches of yoghurt and tamarind help to cool the spice levels and enrich the dish.

Chaat masala is an aromatic concoction of spices that gives chaat its unique flavour. You can buy it from Indian food shops or online, but it’s also easy to make yourself (and freshly ground spices are always more fragrant, much as coffee is). That said, if garam masala is all you have access to, it will still work well here.

Serves 1 generously, or 2 as a snack

1 tbsp cooking oil
250g leftover cooked potatoes
2
tsp chaat masala, or garam masala, plus 1 tsp extra to serve
120g cooked carlin peas
(or other pulses)
1 tomato, cut into eight wedges
1 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced from top to tail
3 sprigs coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
Green chilli, finely sliced, to taste
1 tbsp tamarind paste, to serve
Yoghurt (dairy or plant-based), to serve
1-2 lime wedges
, to serve

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Crush the potatoes, add to the hot pan and fry, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, until they begin to brown.

Stir in the chaat, cooked pulses and tomato and carry on cooking for a few minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown.

Stir in the spring onions, coriander and sliced green chilli to taste, keeping a little of each aside to use as a garnish.

Tip into a bowl, top with the reserved onion, coriander and chilli, sprinkle with a little more chaat and serve with a splatter each of tamarind paste and yoghurt and a lime wedge.

Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet by Tom Hunt is published by Kyle Books, £26.00, octopusbooks.co.uk. To buy a copy for £22.62, go to guardianbookshop.com

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US NEWS, World

Trump asserts power over Republicans as Liz Cheney faces ousting

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Trump asserts power over Republicans as Liz Cheney faces ousting” was written by David Smith in Washington, for theguardian.com on Thursday 6th May 2021 21.11 UTC

Donald Trump is poised to tighten his grip on the Republican party with the ousting of one of his most prominent critics in Congress.

Liz Cheney, the only woman in Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, is widely expected to be voted out next week by members loyal to Trump.

Cheney is a diehard conservative and daughter of George W Bush’s vice-president, Dick Cheney. Her removal for refusing to parrot Trump’s “big lie” that last year’s election was stolen would exemplify how the Republican party remains beholden to the disgraced ex-president.

“The whole @RepLizCheney saga has been so clarifying,” David Axelrod, former chief strategist for Barack Obama, tweeted on Thursday. “She’s as conservative as they come. Her only sin was to call BS on Trump’s election fraud. For that, she will be expelled as a @GOP leader. The party is branding itself.”

Multiple courts, as well as state and federal election officials, have rejected Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud. But Republican-controlled state legislatures are using his allegations to justify legislation imposing new restrictions on voting.

And far from backing down, Trump has issued several public statements in three days reiterating his baseless claims that Joe Biden’s 7m vote margin of victory was the result of fraud while attacking Republicans who refuse to buy into this narrative.

He also joined Republican House leaders in backing Elise Stefanik, a pro-Trump congresswoman, for Cheney’s job as chair of the party’s conference. A vote could come as early as next Wednesday.

Stefanik, 36, whose status in the party rose after she aggressively defended Trump during congressional hearings ahead of his 2019 impeachment, reportedly spoke to the former president by phone on Wednesday.

Trump said in a statement: “Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership … Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair.”

Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader, appears to have calculated that embracing Trump offers the party’s best chance of winning back the House in next year’s midterm elections. McCarthy was caught by a “hot mic” on Fox News saying of Cheney: “I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence.”

A statement from the office of Steve Scalise, the No 2 House Republican, made it explicit: “House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker Pelosi and President Biden’s radical socialist agenda, and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for Conference Chair.”

Congressman Jim Jordan, an outspoken Trump loyalist, insisted that “the votes are there” to oust Cheney. “You can’t have a Republican conference chair reciting Democrat talking points,” he told Fox News. “You can’t have a Republican conference chair taking a position that 90% of the party disagrees with, and you can’t have a Republican party chair consistently speaking out against the individual who 74m Americans voted for.”

During Trump’s presidency, Republicans lost control of both chambers of Congress as well as the White House. They are now looking to claw back narrow Democratic majorities in the House and Senate in the midterm elections next year.

But Cheney, the No 3 Republican in the House, is not going down without a fight. In an opinion column in the Washington Post on Wednesday, she urged her colleagues to reject the “dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality” in order to save the party, warning: “History is watching.”

Cheney wrote: “Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work – confidence in the result of elections and the rule of law. No other American president has ever done this.

“The Republican party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the constitution.”

Cheney, 54, held off an initial challenge to her leadership position earlier this year after she was among just 10 House Republicans to back Trump’s impeachment for inciting supporters to attack the US Capitol on 6 January. But she has few public supporters this time, dashing hopes that the former president might finally be losing sway.

Tara Setmayer, a former Republican communications director on Capitol Hill, said: “Most of the Republicans were just too cowardly to speak what Liz Cheney has been saying publicly, which is why she survived the vote of no confidence the first time. She’s not going to survive it this time because it’s been clear that Donald Trump still has that hold on the party and they need him to raise money.”

Stefanik, who represents an upstate New York district, began her House career in 2015 as a moderate who spoke out against Trump’s ban on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.

Setmayer added: “Elise Stefanik was an up-and-comer, a moderate who a lot of people saw potential to be a leader in the party. She was young, she was smart and she made a calculated decision to hop on the Trump train to bolster her political fortunes and if that’s not an example of selling your soul for political expediency, I don’t know what is.”

Biden, meanwhile, said a “mini-revolution” over identity appeared to be under way in the Republican party. “Republicans are further away from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than I thought they would be at this point,” he told reporters at the White House.

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