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Covid live: UK reports 45,066 new cases, highest since mid-July; Russia daily cases pass 30,000 for first time Covid live: UK reports 45,066 new cases, highest since mid-July; Russia daily cases pass 30,000 for first time
(about 1 hour later)
Highest daily cases in UK since mid-July with a further 157 Covid-linked deaths; Russia registers 31,299 new cases in one dayHighest daily cases in UK since mid-July with a further 157 Covid-linked deaths; Russia registers 31,299 new cases in one day
Lupus sufferers pleaded for more supplies of hydroxychloroquine two months before the federal government told billionaire Clive Palmer it didn’t want more of the 33m doses he wanted to donate as a potential Covid-19 treatment.
One tonne of Palmer’s hydroxychloroquine – equivalent to 5m doses – was destroyed after it was left unclaimed in Melbourne due to a lengthy standoff with the commonwealth, Guardian Australia revealed on Wednesday.
When Palmer first promised to donate 33m doses of hydroxychloroquine to Australia, there was some optimism – since disproven – that it could be used as a treatment for Covid-19.
The fervour around hydroxychloroquine’s potential value in treating coronavirus led to the hoarding of the drug and put significant pressure on supplies for other patient groups – sufferers of malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus, among others – who have a legitimate need for it.
The pressure on supplies was so significant that Lupus Australia wrote to the federal health minister, Greg Hunt, on 25 March last year, expressing concerns that patients were unable to fill their prescriptions, due to major shortages.
Hunt responded to the letter and outlined the steps taken by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to ensure continued supply for those who needed hydroxychloroquine, including lupus sufferers.
Lupus Australia president, Barbara Ward, said hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were critical drugs for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, particularly where “a patient’s symptoms do not respond to other treatments”.
In the United States, Bloomberg News is reporting that the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will send drugmaker Merck & Co’s Covid antiviral drug, molnupiravir, to a panel of its outside advisers for review.
Bloomberg cited a person familiar with the plans.
The advisory committee will weigh in on safety concerns, which have been raised by some experts, before the FDA makes a decision on authorisation of the drug, the report said.
Russia has called on pension-age doctors who quit during the pandemic for safety reasons to return to their jobs.
It came on Thursday as the authorities reported a record one-day tally of coronavirus cases, as well as a record number of deaths.
The Kremlin has blamed the rising toll on Russia’s slow vaccination campaign and has appealed to people to get the shot. Take-up has been slow, with many Russians citing distrust of the authorities and fear of new medical products, Reuters reported.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters:
Thursday’s case tally of 31,299 new cases marked the first time Russia has officially reported more than 30,000 cases in a single day since the pandemic began.
The government taskforce reported 986 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, a record death toll for the third day in a row. Health minister Mikhail Murashko was quoted by the TASS news agency as saying:
In Australia, teachers are warning that schools in New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria are not yet ready to go back, raising concerns over poor ventilation, a lack of air filters, and no guidance on how to safely manage class sizes.
“We have situations where room capacity leaves eight to 10 students out in the cold, literally,” the senior vice-president of the NSW Teachers Federation, Amber Flohm, said.
Teachers had asked the government to audit classroom sizes three months ago but had been ignored, she said.
In NSW, teachers say the government’s policy to have schools open their windows for natural ventilation means some students have already been forced to learn in freezing conditions.
One teacher in the Blue Mountains said students currently in face-to-face learning were bringing in blankets.
“It’s currently 13C here and raining,” she said on Wednesday. “We have been told that we can put the heater on, but the warmth is just blowing outside.
“Summer will be interesting too. We often have days well over 40 and have been told we can’t use the air-con as it recirculates the air in the room,” she said.
Many of the teachers Guardian Australia spoke to for this story are not allowed to speak to the media, so their identities have been kept anonymous.
Italy recorded 40 coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday, up from 37 the previous day, the country’s health ministry said.
It comes as the daily tally of new infections fell to 2,668 from 2,772 .
Italy has registered 131,461 deaths linked to Covid since the outbreak in February last year. It has the second highest toll in Europe behind Britain and the ninth highest in the world. The country has reported 4.71 million cases to date.
Patients in hospital with Covid - not including those in intensive care - stood at 2,479 on Thursday, down from 2,552 a day earlier.
There were 22 new admissions to intensive care units, increasing from 19 on Wednesday. The total number of patients in intensive care with Covid fell to 359 from a previous 367.
The Latvian government has cancelled most planned hospital operations from Monday amid an increased need for beds and staff as Covid cases climb, the Health Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
“Epidemiological predictions suggest that hospital use of COVID-19 patients will continue to increase rapidly”, the statement said.
Hospitals will continue to provide only urgent and life-saving operations, such as chemotherapy or invasive cardiac procedures, the news portal Delfi reported.
Latvia confirmed 2,408 new novel coronavirus cases on Thursday, a record surge, and 21 deaths, BNS news wire reported.
Only 52% of Latvian adults have been fully vaccinated thus far, well below European Union average of 75%, EU health figures show.
Italy is bracing itself for further unrest and labour market mayhem as the strictest vaccine mandate in Europe takes effect on Friday.Italy is bracing itself for further unrest and labour market mayhem as the strictest vaccine mandate in Europe takes effect on Friday.
All workers will be obliged to present a coronavirus health pass before entering their workplaces, a move that is expected to leave some industries struggling with staff shortages.All workers will be obliged to present a coronavirus health pass before entering their workplaces, a move that is expected to leave some industries struggling with staff shortages.
The measure, an expansion of the “green pass” introduced in August, will require public and private sector workers to have been double vaccinated, to show proof of a negative test taken within the previous 48 hours or of having recently recovered from Covid-19.The measure, an expansion of the “green pass” introduced in August, will require public and private sector workers to have been double vaccinated, to show proof of a negative test taken within the previous 48 hours or of having recently recovered from Covid-19.
Those who flout the rules face being suspended without pay or fined up to €1,500 (£1,270). Employers face fines for failing to check if staff are complying.Those who flout the rules face being suspended without pay or fined up to €1,500 (£1,270). Employers face fines for failing to check if staff are complying.
More than 80% of the population over the age of 12 has been double-vaccinated and the majority of Italians have taken the green pass – also required for dining inside restaurants, entering museums, theatres and cinemas, and for use on planes and long-distance trains – in their stride.More than 80% of the population over the age of 12 has been double-vaccinated and the majority of Italians have taken the green pass – also required for dining inside restaurants, entering museums, theatres and cinemas, and for use on planes and long-distance trains – in their stride.
However, protests over the workplace rule have gathered pace in recent weeks, with a demonstration in Rome last weekend turning violent as neofascist groups exploited the discontent. The motive behind Italy’s green pass is to boost inoculations and contain infections in the hope of avoiding another lockdown.However, protests over the workplace rule have gathered pace in recent weeks, with a demonstration in Rome last weekend turning violent as neofascist groups exploited the discontent. The motive behind Italy’s green pass is to boost inoculations and contain infections in the hope of avoiding another lockdown.
In the UK, the government confirmed today that there had been a further 45,066 lab-confirmed Covid cases.In the UK, the government confirmed today that there had been a further 45,066 lab-confirmed Covid cases.
It is the highest daily figure since mid-July.It is the highest daily figure since mid-July.
The official data also confirmed a further 157 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid as of Thursday, bringing the UK total to 138,237.The official data also confirmed a further 157 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid as of Thursday, bringing the UK total to 138,237.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have been 163,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid was mentioned on the death certificate.Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have been 163,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid was mentioned on the death certificate.
In the US, health advisers are debating if millions of Americans who received Moderna vaccinations should get a booster shot – this time using half the original dose.In the US, health advisers are debating if millions of Americans who received Moderna vaccinations should get a booster shot – this time using half the original dose.
Already millions who got their initial Pfizer shots at least six months ago are getting a booster of that brand.Already millions who got their initial Pfizer shots at least six months ago are getting a booster of that brand.
On Thursday, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration evaluated the evidence that Moderna boosters should be offered too.On Thursday, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration evaluated the evidence that Moderna boosters should be offered too.
US officials stressed that the priority is to get shots to the 66 million unvaccinated Americans who are eligible for immunisation – those most at risk as the extra-contagious delta variant of the coronavirus has burned across the country.US officials stressed that the priority is to get shots to the 66 million unvaccinated Americans who are eligible for immunisation – those most at risk as the extra-contagious delta variant of the coronavirus has burned across the country.
“It’s important to remember that the vaccines still provide strong protection against serious outcomes” such as hospitalization and death from Covid, said FDA vaccine chief Dr Peter Marks.“It’s important to remember that the vaccines still provide strong protection against serious outcomes” such as hospitalization and death from Covid, said FDA vaccine chief Dr Peter Marks.
Only one in seven Covid cases in Africa are being detected, meaning the continent’s estimated infection level may be 59 million people, according to a new study by the World Health Organization (WHO)Only one in seven Covid cases in Africa are being detected, meaning the continent’s estimated infection level may be 59 million people, according to a new study by the World Health Organization (WHO)
“With limited testing, we’re still flying blind in far too many communities in Africa,” said Matshidiso Moeti, regional director for the WHO in Africa in a press briefing Thursday.“With limited testing, we’re still flying blind in far too many communities in Africa,” said Matshidiso Moeti, regional director for the WHO in Africa in a press briefing Thursday.
To get more accurate numbers of infections and to better curb transmission, the UN plans to increase rapid diagnostic testing in eight African countries with the goal of testing 7 million people in the next year. The Associated Press reported:To get more accurate numbers of infections and to better curb transmission, the UN plans to increase rapid diagnostic testing in eight African countries with the goal of testing 7 million people in the next year. The Associated Press reported:
The rapid testing will also provide officials with data to help avoid overwhelming health systems and implementing restrictions that can be “disastrous as far as economic consequences,” said Ngozi Erondu, senior scholar at Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute.The rapid testing will also provide officials with data to help avoid overwhelming health systems and implementing restrictions that can be “disastrous as far as economic consequences,” said Ngozi Erondu, senior scholar at Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute.
Poland has confirmed it is set to donate a million AstraZeneca Covid shots to Iran.Poland has confirmed it is set to donate a million AstraZeneca Covid shots to Iran.
Poland had fully vaccinated 19.6 million people as of Wednesday, but a slowing rate of uptake has left it with spare doses which it has sent to Egypt, Vietnam, Taiwan, Kenya, Ukraine, Australia and Norway among other countries.Poland had fully vaccinated 19.6 million people as of Wednesday, but a slowing rate of uptake has left it with spare doses which it has sent to Egypt, Vietnam, Taiwan, Kenya, Ukraine, Australia and Norway among other countries.
Iran’s economy has been hit hard by sanctions reimposed by former US President Donald Trump as well as the Covid pandemic, making it difficult for the country to pay for food and medicine.Iran’s economy has been hit hard by sanctions reimposed by former US President Donald Trump as well as the Covid pandemic, making it difficult for the country to pay for food and medicine.
While the vaccines sent to Iran were donated free of charge, in some other cases Poland has sold shots on a non-profit basis, deputy foreign minister Paweł Jabłoński said, adding that more than 30 countries had approached Poland concerning vaccine supplies.While the vaccines sent to Iran were donated free of charge, in some other cases Poland has sold shots on a non-profit basis, deputy foreign minister Paweł Jabłoński said, adding that more than 30 countries had approached Poland concerning vaccine supplies.
“We are doing this to support the Iranian people. It is not a sign of any change in our international policy vis-a-vis Iran,” he said.“We are doing this to support the Iranian people. It is not a sign of any change in our international policy vis-a-vis Iran,” he said.
Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš has received a third dose of a coronavirus vaccine and used the opportunity to appeal to his country’s people to get vaccinated.Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš has received a third dose of a coronavirus vaccine and used the opportunity to appeal to his country’s people to get vaccinated.
The 67-year-old Babiš is among more than 30,000 Czechs who have had booster shots.The 67-year-old Babiš is among more than 30,000 Czechs who have had booster shots.
The Czech Republic has offered vaccine boosters since 20 September to individuals over age 60, health care workers and other vulnerable groups.The Czech Republic has offered vaccine boosters since 20 September to individuals over age 60, health care workers and other vulnerable groups.
Yet more than 340,000 people over the age of 65 have not received a single shot, a reason for concern, Babiš said. He added:Yet more than 340,000 people over the age of 65 have not received a single shot, a reason for concern, Babiš said. He added:
The Czech Republic has reported about 1,500 new coronavirus cases for three straight days, numbers unseen since early May.The Czech Republic has reported about 1,500 new coronavirus cases for three straight days, numbers unseen since early May.
Indonesia’s holiday island of Bali reopened to foreign tourists after 18 months of pandemic hiatus today.Indonesia’s holiday island of Bali reopened to foreign tourists after 18 months of pandemic hiatus today.
The government recently announced Bali’s reopening after a sharp fall in coronavirus cases since July, when Indonesia was Asia’s Covid epicentre. But new visitors from overseas were nowhere to be seen on Thursday due to a lack of international flights arriving on the island.The government recently announced Bali’s reopening after a sharp fall in coronavirus cases since July, when Indonesia was Asia’s Covid epicentre. But new visitors from overseas were nowhere to be seen on Thursday due to a lack of international flights arriving on the island.
Though the island’s Ngurah Rai international airport has carried out exercises to prepare for tourists to return, it is not expecting much to happen soon, according to Reuters.Though the island’s Ngurah Rai international airport has carried out exercises to prepare for tourists to return, it is not expecting much to happen soon, according to Reuters.
Bali governor I Wayan Koster told reporters:Bali governor I Wayan Koster told reporters:
He added that he had received reports that hotels in Bali have started to receive bookings by foreign visitors, mainly from Europe, for November visits.He added that he had received reports that hotels in Bali have started to receive bookings by foreign visitors, mainly from Europe, for November visits.
Experts fear women in Africa may be the least vaccinated population globally, partly because of widespread misinformation and vaccine scepticism across the continent.Experts fear women in Africa may be the least vaccinated population globally, partly because of widespread misinformation and vaccine scepticism across the continent.
But vaccine access issues and gender inequality reach far beyond Africa, with women in impoverished communities worldwide facing obstacles including cultural prejudices, lack of technology, and vaccine prioritisation lists that didn’t include them, Reuters reported.But vaccine access issues and gender inequality reach far beyond Africa, with women in impoverished communities worldwide facing obstacles including cultural prejudices, lack of technology, and vaccine prioritisation lists that didn’t include them, Reuters reported.
While global data by gender in vaccine distribution is lacking in many places, officials agree that women are clearly being left behind men in some places, and that the issue must be addressed for the world to move past the pandemic.While global data by gender in vaccine distribution is lacking in many places, officials agree that women are clearly being left behind men in some places, and that the issue must be addressed for the world to move past the pandemic.
Sarah Hawkes, who runs a global tracker of coronavirus information by sex at University College London, noted that Pakistan and other countries gave initial vaccine priority to groups such as military personnel and migrant workers, likely contributing to continued gender gaps.Sarah Hawkes, who runs a global tracker of coronavirus information by sex at University College London, noted that Pakistan and other countries gave initial vaccine priority to groups such as military personnel and migrant workers, likely contributing to continued gender gaps.
China’s foreign ministry has warned against what it calls possible “political manipulation” of a renewed probe by the World Health Organization (WHO) into the origins of the coronavirus.China’s foreign ministry has warned against what it calls possible “political manipulation” of a renewed probe by the World Health Organization (WHO) into the origins of the coronavirus.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China would “continue to support and participate in global scientific tracing and firmly oppose any forms of political manipulation”.Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China would “continue to support and participate in global scientific tracing and firmly oppose any forms of political manipulation”.
The WHO released a proposed list of 25 experts yesterday to advise it on next steps in the search for the virus’ origins after its earlier efforts were attacked for going easy on China, Reuters reported.The WHO released a proposed list of 25 experts yesterday to advise it on next steps in the search for the virus’ origins after its earlier efforts were attacked for going easy on China, Reuters reported.
The first human cases of coronavirus infections were detected in central China in late 2019. Beijing was accused of withholding raw data on early cases during a visit by a WHO team in February.The first human cases of coronavirus infections were detected in central China in late 2019. Beijing was accused of withholding raw data on early cases during a visit by a WHO team in February.
The findings of the original WHO team were inconclusive, and the experts released a report saying it was “extremely unlikely” the coronavirus leaked from a Wuhan lab. That prompted criticism from outside scientists that the theory had not been properly vetted.The findings of the original WHO team were inconclusive, and the experts released a report saying it was “extremely unlikely” the coronavirus leaked from a Wuhan lab. That prompted criticism from outside scientists that the theory had not been properly vetted.
This winter is going to be “exceptionally difficult” for the NHS, England’s chief medical officer has warned.This winter is going to be “exceptionally difficult” for the NHS, England’s chief medical officer has warned.
Prof Chris Whitty told delegates at the annual conference of the Royal College of GPs in Liverpool that while some things had gone wrong, it was a mistake to think lessons from one pandemic would automatically apply to the next one.Prof Chris Whitty told delegates at the annual conference of the Royal College of GPs in Liverpool that while some things had gone wrong, it was a mistake to think lessons from one pandemic would automatically apply to the next one.
It came as he admitted “there are certainly some quite significant things we got wrong at the beginning of Covid”.It came as he admitted “there are certainly some quite significant things we got wrong at the beginning of Covid”.
He warned of tough months ahead for the health service as it battles Covid-19, flu, other viruses and the usual winter problems such as trips and falls, PA Media reported.He warned of tough months ahead for the health service as it battles Covid-19, flu, other viruses and the usual winter problems such as trips and falls, PA Media reported.
But he praised GPs – who are currently under fire over face-to-face appointments – for all their “outstanding” hard work and professionalism over the last two years. He said:But he praised GPs – who are currently under fire over face-to-face appointments – for all their “outstanding” hard work and professionalism over the last two years. He said:
The European Union’s medicines regulator has announced that it has started a “real-time review” of AstraZeneca’s antibody-based Covid therapy.The European Union’s medicines regulator has announced that it has started a “real-time review” of AstraZeneca’s antibody-based Covid therapy.
It comes after the combination medicine showed success in treating and preventing severe illness.It comes after the combination medicine showed success in treating and preventing severe illness.
In August, the British drugmaker said its new antibody therapy reduced the risk of people developing any coronavirus symptoms by 77% in a late-stage trial. The Reuters news agency reported at the time:In August, the British drugmaker said its new antibody therapy reduced the risk of people developing any coronavirus symptoms by 77% in a late-stage trial. The Reuters news agency reported at the time:
Penny Ward, visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine at Kings College in London, said:Penny Ward, visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine at Kings College in London, said:
Covid infections in children in England rose in September after schools returned from summer holidays, helping to keep cases high even as there was a fall among adults, a large prevalence study showed on Thursday.Covid infections in children in England rose in September after schools returned from summer holidays, helping to keep cases high even as there was a fall among adults, a large prevalence study showed on Thursday.
Infection numbers in Britain are currently much higher than in other western European countries, but have not risen above summer levels following the return of schools in September in England despite higher infection rates in children.Infection numbers in Britain are currently much higher than in other western European countries, but have not risen above summer levels following the return of schools in September in England despite higher infection rates in children.
The React-1 study, led by Imperial College London, found that prevalence in 13- to 17-year-olds was 2.55% between 9 and 27 September, with prevalence in those aged five to 12 at 2.32%.The React-1 study, led by Imperial College London, found that prevalence in 13- to 17-year-olds was 2.55% between 9 and 27 September, with prevalence in those aged five to 12 at 2.32%.
Prevalence for every adult age group was estimated below 1%, PA Media reported.Prevalence for every adult age group was estimated below 1%, PA Media reported.
“Prevalence was high and increasing in school aged children during September,” Paul Elliott, director of the study, told reporters, adding that increased vaccination uptake in school-aged children and adults would help limit transmission.“Prevalence was high and increasing in school aged children during September,” Paul Elliott, director of the study, told reporters, adding that increased vaccination uptake in school-aged children and adults would help limit transmission.
The study, which analysed 100,527 valid swabs, found that the epidemic was growing among those 17 and under, with an estimated reproduction number of 1.18.The study, which analysed 100,527 valid swabs, found that the epidemic was growing among those 17 and under, with an estimated reproduction number of 1.18.
Just returning to Russia for some news, a government taskforce has said it will lift its Covid ban on flights to countries including Tunisia, Thailand, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Iran, Slovenia, and Oman.Just returning to Russia for some news, a government taskforce has said it will lift its Covid ban on flights to countries including Tunisia, Thailand, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Iran, Slovenia, and Oman.
The ban will end on 9 November, the Russian government coronavirus task force said on Thursday.The ban will end on 9 November, the Russian government coronavirus task force said on Thursday.
The government stopped normal commercial flights abroad when the pandemic struck last year, but it has since been gradually relaxing the restrictions.The government stopped normal commercial flights abroad when the pandemic struck last year, but it has since been gradually relaxing the restrictions.
The flight bans dealt a heavy blow to Russia’s airlines, according to Reuters.The flight bans dealt a heavy blow to Russia’s airlines, according to Reuters.