Health services are planning for a second wave twice the size of the first. It comes as tens of thousands of people yesterday ignored social distancing rules aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus to flock to beaches on the hottest day of the year.
NHS documents drawn up by local planners in the South East show they are preparing for a “reasonable worst case scenario” of a second wave, which is 2-2.5 times the size of the first outbreak. Health officials insisted the scenario was for contingency planning only and not based on forecast or other intelligence.
But yesterday health experts warned of the need for an urgent review to ensure Britain is properly prepared for the “real risk” of a second wave of coronavirus after lockdown restrictions are eased. That appeal was backed by the presidents of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Surgeons, GPs and Nursing – as well as the chairman of the British Medical Association.
Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday the biggest easing of the lockdown as part of the beginning of the end of “national hibernation”.
The Prime Minister said the two-metre social-distancing rule would be replaced with a “one-metre plus” rule paving the way for pubs, restaurants, hotels and cinemas to begin reopening from July 4.
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One last clap for our carers
Britain will pause for an “epic applause” on Sunday, July 5, in what will mark a final clap for carers and other frontline workers who have helped the nation through the coronavirus crisis.
Broadcasters will suspend normal transmissions at 5pm as people across the country pause what they’re doing to think of others as part of the biggest ‘thank you’ the country has ever seen.
Read the full story here.
Schools to scrap social distancing
Social distancing will not be applied in schools and “bubbles” will be expanded to enable all pupils to return to their classes full-time in September, the Government will announce next week.
Pupils will not be expected to keep two metres or even one metre apart at all times while in the school building, The Telegraph understands.
Instead, schools will be asked to focus on limiting the extent to which children mix outside of their class or year group and on implementing strict hygiene regimes.
Read the full story here.
Mass testing reveals new cases in China
China has reported 19 new cases of coronavirus amid mass testing in Beijing, where a recent outbreak appears to have been brought under control.
Of the new cases reported on Thursday, 13 were in Beijing and one in the neighbouring province of Hebei. Officials said the other five were brought by Chinese travellers from outside the country.
No new deaths were reported.
China has reported 4,634 deaths among 83,4449 cases since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
This month’s outbreak in Beijing saw 249 people infected, most of them with links to the city’s biggest wholesale market.
Since then, three million test samples have been taken from 2.43 million people in the city.
Disney forced to delay reopening
Walt Disney Co’s reopening of theme parks and resort hotels in California will be delayed until Disneyland receives approval from the state, the company said on Wednesday.
Disney had originally planned to reopen the Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park on July 17.
The company had received pushback from unions representing 17,000 workers at its Disneyland Resort in Southern California, who said they were not convinced the theme park would be safe enough to reopen by the company’s target date.
Disney began closing its theme parks around the world in January in response to the spread of the virus. Disney in early May said that measures to contain the pandemic had cut its profits by $1.4 billion (£1.1 billion), most from its shuttered theme parks.
Disney began reopening its theme parks in May, starting with Shanghai Disneyland, and last week reopened Hong Kong Disneyland. In Florida, it has partially reopened its Disney Springs entertainment and shopping complex.
Latin America’s death toll expected to skyrocket
The coronavirus death toll in Latin America is expected to skyrocket to 388,300 by October, with Brazil and Mexico seen accounting for two-thirds of fatalities as other nations in the region contain their outbreaks, researchers said on Wednesday.
The region has emerged as a global hotspot for the fast-spreading pandemic as deaths surpassed 100,000 this week and cases tripled from 690,000 one month ago to two million.
High poverty levels and large informal sectors – which mean many workers cannot afford to quarantine – have combined with overcrowding in cities and inadequate public healthcare, particularly in isolated rural communities, to hamstring Latin America’s fight to stem the contagion.
PM says Australia will be able to handle outbreaks
Australia’s Prime Minister said he was confident the country could move ahead with easing restrictions because it could respond and deal with new coronavirus outbreaks.
“There will be outbreaks … we can’t go stop-go-stop-go and we can’t flick the light on-and-off-on-and-off-and-on-and-off,” Scott Morrison said, referring to restrictions to curb the spread of the virulent disease.
“So what I’m saying is we are going ahead, we built the protections to deal with outbreaks.”
Australia reported its first Covid-19 death in more than a month on Wednesday, as concerns about a second wave of infections saw thousands of people queue – sometimes for hours – to be tested for the virus.
Crew on Russian cargo ship infected
South Korea is testing 176 workers at the southern port of Busan following a coronavirus outbreak among crew members of a Russian cargo ship that has so far infected 16 people.
Kwon Jun-wook, director of South Korea’s National Institute of Health, said on Tuesday that all 21 crew members were tested after the ship arrived at Busan’s Gamcheon Port on Sunday carrying frozen seafood.
He said the ship’s captain failed to properly inform port authorities that three of the crew members had a high fever.
The 176 people being tested included cargo handlers, customs officials, repair workers and interpreters who made contact with the infected crew members. Port officials and workers earlier on Tuesday agreed to halt unloading cargo from the ship and another Russian ship at the port.
South Korea reported 46 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, including 30 linked to international arrivals.
The country has been struggling to stem a resurgence of the virus in the Seoul metropolitan area, where hundreds of infections have been linked to entertainment and leisure activities, church gatherings and sales and warehouse jobs.
Fears that Japan’s ‘izakaya culture will die’
Japan’s after-work drinking scene has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, forcing its often jam-packed izakaya dining bars to reinvent themselves to survive.
For decades, izakayas – a mainstay of Japanese working culture and late-night drinking – have thrived by offering cheap drinks to thirsty office workers in cozy settings.
Even though lockdown measures to contain the virus were lifted in late May, izakayas are facing an existential crisis as more people work from home and social-distancing rules force most eating and drinking outlets to halve their seating.
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Pubs and shops warned not to raise prices
Businesses have been warned by ministers not to hike their prices to make up for customers lost through social distancing because they have already been given billions of pounds by taxpayers.
Pubs and restaurants will only be able to operate at 70 per cent of normal capacity when they open on July 4, and a quarter of restaurants intend to put their prices up to make up for lost revenue under the new Covid-secure rules, according to a poll.
Virus ‘coming back and biting’ the US
A widely cited University of Washington computer model of the coronavirus outbreak has projected nearly 180,000 deaths in the United States by October 1.
A coronavirus resurgence is wiping out two months of progress in the US and sending infections to dire new levels across the South and West, with hospital administrators and health experts warning that politicians and a tired-of-being-cooped-up public are letting a disaster unfold.
The US recorded a one-day total of 34,700 new confirmed cases – the highest level since late April, when the number peaked at 36,400.
While newly confirmed infections have been declining steadily in early hot spots such as New York and New Jersey, several other states set single-day records this week, including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas and Oklahoma. Some of them also broke hospitalisation records, as did North Carolina and South Carolina.
“People got complacent,” said Dr Marc Boom, chief executive officer of the Houston Methodist hospital system.
“And it’s coming back and biting us, quite frankly.”
The virus has been blamed for more than 120,000 deaths in he US – the highest toll in the world – and more than 2.3 million confirmed infections nationwide.
Exclusive: Destinations for first set of air bridges revealed
“Air bridges” with a series of short-haul destinations are set to be unveiled at the weekend as the Government plots a three-stage approach to revive flying.
The first tranche of bridges are expected to be with popular “low-risk” holiday destinations including France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Germany, largely to “re-fire” the Mediterranean tourist industry from July 4, according to sources.
Portugal is not expected to be included after its spike in coronavirus rates, but the bridges mean people going on holiday to the other destinations will not be required to quarantine for 14 days on their return to the UK.
Ministers hope the plan will enable families to start planning Mediterranean summer breaks to the most popular destinations this weekend.
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