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Coronavirus latest news: Donald Trump now a fan of face masks

Donald Trump appears to have changed his tune about the use of face masks to stop the spread of coronavirus, with the US president now saying he is “all for masks”.

Mr Trump said on Wednesday that he would wear one if in close quarters with other people to prevent the spread of the virus in an apparent softening of position. 

He has been reluctant to wear a face mask when seen in public, but now in a Fox Business interview he said that he thought masks were “good”. 

However Mr Trump continued to decline to issue an order making the wearing of masks in public compulsory, saying: “I don’t know if you need mandatory.”

The comments come amid coronavirus case numbers surging across America, with the daily record for new cases being broken four times in the past week. 

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1:25AM

California takes a step back with reopening

California dramatically rolled back efforts to reopen its economy on Wednesday, banning indoor restaurant dining in much of the state, closing bars and stepping up enforcement of social distancing and other measures as Covid-19 infections surge.

Indoor activities at restaurants, movie theatres, museums and other facilities will be banned in 19 counties where 70 per cent of the population lives for at least three weeks, Governor Gavin Newsom said.

“Do your best not to mix with strangers, not to mingle with people outside your household,” Mr Newsom said at a press briefing.

With more Californians hospitalised and requiring intensive care than at any prior point in the pandemic, the state also moved late on Wednesday to re-activate four non-hospital sites where about 300 additional patients can be treated.

1:23AM

President ‘all for’ face masks

Donald Trump appears to have changed his tune about the use of face masks to stop the spread of coronavirus, with the US president now saying he is “all for masks”.

Mr Trump said on Wednesday that he would wear one if in close quarters with other people to prevent the spread of the virus in an apparent softening of his position on the issue

He has been reluctant to wear a face mask when seen in public, but now in a Fox Business interview he said that he thought masks were “good”. 

However Mr Trump continued to decline to issue an order making the wearing of masks in public compulsory, saying: “I don’t know if you need mandatory.”

The comments come amid coronavirus case numbers surging across America, with the daily record for new cases being broken four times in the past week. 

Read the full story here.

1:16AM

Fears that jab will not be ready before Christmas

The first vaccine for coronavirus has been delayed after the number of infections fell because of the lockdown, the Oxford professor developing it has said.

Professor Sarah Gilbert told MPs on the science and technology select committee that it was difficult to recruit enough people to test whether the vaccine was working because virus cases had fallen substantially since the end of March.

That has resulted in the Oxford team having to recruit thousands of new test subjects in Brazil and South Africa, where the disease still has a firm grip.

Read the full story here.

12:54AM

Many people likely to have ‘background level’ of protection

Large numbers of the population may have natural immunity against coronavirus even if they have never been infected, scientists believe.

Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, who is leading an Oxford team to develop a vaccine, said there was likely to be a “background level” of protection for a “significant number of people”.

Recent studies have suggested the immune system can be primed by other coronaviruses, such as the common cold, giving the body a head start in fighting off Covid-19.

Read the full story here.

12:29AM

Concern that overcrowded homes may contribute to Covid spread

A review by Public Health England has found that overcrowding can contribute to the spread of Covid-19 and is more prevalent in black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) households.

A committee has been told that the government must urgently provide temporary accommodation and guidance to help people in multi-generational and overcrowded households self-isolate safely.

People living in overcrowded homes have received no advice on how to isolate if they develop symptoms, said Dr Zubaida Haque, from the independent race equality think tank Runnymede.

Dr Haque said this was a particular issue in Leicester, which has returned to full lockdown, and parts of which are ethnically diverse and overcrowded.

The lockdown in Leicester covers the whole of one of Britain’s biggest cities 

The lockdown in Leicester covers the whole of one of Britain’s biggest cities  Credit: REUTERS/PHIL NOBLE

Leicester has become the first city in Britain to be plunged back into lockdown after public health officials expressed alarm at a significant rise in cases.

“When you’ve got multi-generational, overcrowded households, it means that you can’t protect the elderly in your house, you can’t socially distance and you can’t isolate them,” Dr Haque said.

The committee also was told how the so-called bedroom tax may now be making it more difficult for families to self-isolate at home because they no longer have a spare room.

The controversial policy sees social housing tenants receive reduced benefits payments for unused bedrooms in their properties.

12:13AM

Food-delivery drivers fed up with more work for less pay

Delivery workers protest to demand better working conditions for those who work for app-based food-delivery platforms amid the pandemic in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Delivery workers protest to demand better working conditions for those who work for app-based food-delivery platforms amid the pandemic in Sao Paulo, Brazil Credit: AP Photo/Andre Penner

More than 1000 food-delivery drivers on motorcycles gathered in Sao Paulo on Wednesday to protest their work conditions set by Uber Technologies and makers of other apps.

The protest comes as drivers’ services remain in high demand due to coronavirus lockdowns.

They seek better pay and improved health measures, with Brazil now a coronavirus epicentre and delivery workers facing exposure to the virus.

Drivers gather to protest at Paulista Avenue

Drivers gather to protest at Paulista Avenue Credit: Sebastiao Moreira/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Drivers blocked traffic as they paraded through Sao Paulo’s Paulista Avenue, the city’s main thoroughfare, and also protested in other Brazilian cities.

The government said this week that about 50 per cent of working-age Brazilians are out of work due to coronavirus, as the crisis pushes more people into precarious employment options.

Lockdown measures have drawn more demand for delivered food in Latin America’s largest economy. Brazil’s iFood is the market leader, followed by Colombia’s Rappi and Uber, which are larger companies but more prominent in other countries.

Drivers say the apps pay them less while making them work more, and they face possible suspension if they do not comply. 

11:39PM

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