World's coronavirus (Covid-19) death toll nears one million, with the US, Brazil and India making up nearly half of the total

World's coronavirus (Covid-19) death toll nears one million, with the US, Brazil and India making up nearly half of the total

World's coronavirus (Covid-19) death toll nears one million, with the US, Brazil and India making up nearly half of the total
The world's coronavirus death toll nears one million, with the US, Brazil and India making up nearly half of the total. It comes nearly 10 months after news began to emerge about mysterious cases of viral pneumonia in Wuhan, China. More than 33 million cases have been confirmed around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    The UK has seen nearly 42,000 deaths, and cases have been rising by an average of more than 5,500 a day. Nearly two-thirds of Wales' population will be under lockdown when new restrictions are imposed in three more areas from 18:00 BST

    Curbs on movement are being extended to cover one million people in the Spanish capital, Madrid, and its surrounding areas. The World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic on 11 March, when about 4,300 people had died. At the time, the global health agency warned of "alarming levels of inaction" in the fight against the new virus

    Greece reports first Covid-19 asylum seeker death

    A 61-year-old father of two has died of coronavirus in a Greek hospital, authorities said, marking the first death of an asylum seeker there since the pandemic began. The Afghan national had lived in the Malakassa migrant camp near the Greek capital, Athens. Officials have placed the site in quarantine amid concerns about the spread of the virus.

    More than 100,000 migrants live in Greek camps and there have been worries for months about what might happen if the illness took hold there. The largest such facility on the island of Lesbos burned down earlier in September, leaving some 13,000 people without shelter. Hundreds of migrants have now tested positive on the island.

    Cases continue to rise in Europe

    Russia has more confirmed cases than any other country in Europe. Cases continue to rise throughout Europe as infections return after authorities across the continent eased restrictions over the summer. Spain is struggling with a fresh outbreak, and has more than 700,000 infections.

    But the worst affected country in Europe is Russia, with more than 1.1 million recorded cases. On Monday authorities there reported 8,135 new cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 7,867 cases on Sunday. In total the country has recorded only around 20,000 deaths, but critics say the government is under-reporting the true toll.

    Officials in neighbouring Ukraine meanwhile reported that the country had surpassed 200,000 Covid-19 cases on Monday.

    In Germany, the Robert Koch Institute said the country had confirmed another 1,192 cases on Monday, compared with 1,411 on Sunday. Some have blamed returning holidaymakers for a fresh rise in infections.

    On Friday, German authorities added neighbouring Czech Republic and Luxembourg to its so-called "red list" of travel destinations, to which officials warn against all but essential travel. Sometimes entire countries are on the list, as is the case with Spain, but in other cases it is only certain regions of a country.

    Manchester university students able to get tests, mayor says

    About 1,700 students are isolating at their flatsImage caption: About 1,700 students are isolating at their flats

    More now from Andy Burnham, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, who was on BBC Radio 4's Today programme a bit earlier. He said students were able to leave their accommodation to get coronavirus tests amid a lockdown at Manchester Metropolitan University.

    About 1,700 students are isolating at their flats in Birley and Cambridge Halls.

    "I have spoken to the vice-chancellor and I am assured that people are able to leave if they have got good reason to do that," the mayor said.

    "But what has happened over the weekend is that the university has been dealing with a very worrying situation. It obviously required a firm response when there are over a hundred cases. I have been assured there is a support package now in place for students."

    Students have said they were given little warning about the lockdown and were not able to get food and other supplies.

    Students in Scotland can return home on long-term basis

    Students in Scotland have been told they can return home from university accommodation on a long-term basis, as long as they follow rules on self-isolating.

    Updated guidance from the Scottish government sets out what those who are studying higher education can do if they wish to change household. It also says students can visit parents if there is a "reasonable excuse" such as a family emergency.

    But short stays without "reasonable excuse" are still an "offence".

    The guidelines were issued after a flood of complaints from students who felt they were trapped in university or college accommodation.

    New cases in Brazilian city dash herd immunity hopes

    Authorities have closed down the river beachfront in Manaus as cases rise againImage caption: Authorities have closed down the river beachfront in Manaus as cases rise again

    Manaus is the largest city and capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, in the vast Amazon rainforest. After being hit hard by the outbreak in April and May - with cemeteries reportedly struggling to dig graves fast enough to bury the dead - deaths have dropped dramatically in the city.

    A scientific study posted on the website medRxiv

    suggested that Manaus may have reached herd immunity, the point at which enough people have antibodies to the virus that it slows or stops the spread. Scientists estimated that up to 66% of the population there had antibodies to Covid-19.

    "All signs indicate that it was the very fact of being so exposed to the virus that brought about the reduction in the number of new cases and deaths in Manaus," the study’s co-ordinator was quoted as saying.

    But now cases are once more on the rise. After reopening quickly, authorities on Friday banned gatherings and parties for 30 days and restricted opening hours for shops and restaurants.

    Mayor Arthur Virgilio told Reuters news agency that President Jair Bolsonaro was to blame. "The government must take this seriously and speak the truth," he said.

    Critics of the president accused him of downplayed the risks of the virus throughout the pandemic, ignoring expert advice on social distancing and other measures.

    In graphics: Where are cases still rising?

    The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases around the world has now passed 33 million. The virus is surging in many regions and some countries that had apparent success in suppressing initial outbreaks are also seeing infections rise again.

    But the number of confirmed cases during the spring peak is likely to be an underestimate of the true level of infection, as widespread testing was not available in many countries earlier in the year.

    Graphic showing second rise in cases in Europe

    Minister defends pub curfew amid criticism

    Health Minister Helen Whately has defended the government's 22:00 cut off time for pubs and restaurants in England amid criticism that it has led people to "bubble" out into the streets.

    On Sunday, shadow justice secretary David Lammy said drinkers were "hanging around towns and they're potentially spreading the virus" and questioned the science.

    But Whately told BBC Breakfast: "As people drink more they tend to socially distance less. So one approach to keeping people socially distancing is to limit the amount of time that people are in places where they're drinking and then this breaking down of compliance with the rules."

    She added over the summer places with higher infection rates had seen bars linked to outbreaks which was part of the reason for the rule.

    Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he thought the curfew was doing "more harm than good" and there needed to be an urgent review.

    "It creates an incentive for people to gather in the streets or more probably gather in the home and that is the opposite of what our local restrictions are trying to do," he said.

    Burnham said he thought supermarkets had been "packed out to the rafters" and lots of people had gathered after 22:00.
    Social embed from twitter

    Hard-hit India passes six million cases

    As we told you earlier, India has now more than six million confirmed cases of coronavirus, after authorities announced a further 82,170 recorded cases.

    India remains in the second spot worldwide for cases, and there are fears it could soon surpass the US, as new infections are rising there faster than anywhere else around the globe.

    Some in fact believe the situation could be even worse than reported. Health experts believe that low testing rates are covering up the scale of infections in the country, and there are allegations that authorities are undercounting deaths.

    But Dr Balgram Bhargava, the director-general of India's Council of Medical Research, told the Financial Times on Friday the country had done "exceedingly well in comparison to other developed countries until now, considering the vast and diverse population of the country".

    Two-thirds of Welsh population to be under local lockdown

    Nearly two thirds of Wales' population will be under local lockdown by this evening, when Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan are added to the list.

    Those covered by the restrictions - including residents of the country's two biggest cities, Cardiff and Swansea - are banned from mixing with other households indoors and cannot leave their county except for a limited number of reasons.

    In Vale of Glamorgan the rate of infection has risen to 34.4 people per 100,000 in the county borough. Currently the areas with highest rate of infection are Blaenau Gwent, 202 per 100,000, and Merthyr Tydfil, 169 per 100,000.

    Crackdown on Covid rule-breakers in England

    From Monday people in England who fail to self-isolate when they have Covid-19 symptoms or who do not seclude themselves when told to do so by NHS Test and Trace will face fines of £1,000 for first time offences. These could rise to £10,000 for repeat breaches.

    Ministers hope Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will bring in similar penalties - although there is growing disquiet among MPs about how they have come about and there is a possible Commons rebellion looming later this week.

    The crackdown comes after research found voluntary compliance with the rules was very low.

    The government says Test and Trace is crucial to fighting the pandemic, but NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts, is warning the system is not ready for the enormous demands of winter and capacity must be greatly increased.

    NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson told BBC Breakfast that NHS Test and Trace "has now become as important in a sense as catching criminals, fighting fires and treating heart attacks". He added: "It's a key public service and when it doesn't work, then we all suffer."

    Global confirmed cases pass 33 million

    The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world has passed 33 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the disease globally.

    The US has the highest number of confirmed infections, with 7.1 million, followed by India, with nearly 6.1 million, and Brazil, with 4.7 million.

    Calls for education secretary to update parliament over students

    Thousands of students are isolating after several virus outbreaksImage caption: Thousands of students are isolating after several virus outbreaks

    Thousands of students are isolating at university accommodation in England and Scotland after several outbreaks of Covid-19.

    Labour has called for Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to answer questions on the crisis on Monday.

    The situation has been described as "entirely predictable" by scientists and the opposition has criticised the government and said it should consider pausing the return to university.

    The Scottish government has changed its guidance and has said students can return home on a long-term basis, provided they socially distance.

    Manchester Metropolitan University, where about 1,700 people are in isolation with reports of security and police preventing them from leaving accommodation blocks, has said the next two weeks of tuition will be entirely online following a string of positive tests.

    Spanish authorities battle with Madrid over restrictions

    A woman in a face mask talks to a police officer in Madrid. Madrid accounts for more than a third of Spain's casesImage caption: Madrid accounts for more than a third of Spain's cases

    Cases have spiked across Spain in recent weeks. The latest data published on Friday reported 716,481 confirmed infections there - the highest recorded case total in western Europe.

    More than a third of those infected are in and around the capital Madrid. Regional health authorities have imposed tight new restrictions on eight more zones around the city, affecting more than a million people. From Monday, people will not be able to leave their area unless to go to school or work, public parks will close and opening hours will be restricted.

    But the Spanish government wants officials to go further. Health minister Salvador Illa said he had expected more ambitious measures from the city's authorities, arguing it was "time to act with determination" to control the outbreak.