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Coronavirus latest news: Quarantine failure allowed 10,000 infected travellers into the UK

Failure to introduce quarantine at the start of the coronavirus outbreak led to 10,000 infected people entering the UK, accelerating the spread of disease, an investigation by MPs has found.

The all-party home affairs committee said the Government’s “inexplicable” decision to lift restrictions on about one million people who arrived in the UK between March 13 and lockdown on March 23 contributed to the pace and scale of the Covid-19 outbreak.

They said this “highly unusual approach” to the pandemic contrasted with other countries – from Singapore and New Zealand to Spain – that were introducing more comprehensive measures, including quarantine and self-isolation for international arrivals.

Experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told the MPs that they calculated up to 10,000 infected people, largely from Spain, France and Italy – including families returning from half-term breaks – imported Covid-19 into the UK. 

This was confirmed by Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, who pointed to evidence that hundreds of different strains of Covid-19 were brought into the UK after the Government abandoned special measures for international arrivals on March 13.

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1:47AM

US fraud losses near $100m as Covid scams double

Losses from coronavirus-related fraud and identity theft in the United States have reached nearly US$100 million (£76.4 million) since the pandemic emerged in March, while complaints of Covid-19 scams have at least doubled in most states, a consumer protection group said on Tuesday.

A report from the group, based on government data, highlighted the vast scope of a fast-growing criminal cottage industry – from phony stimulus-cheque offers to shopping scams and fake cures – preying on Americans already distressed by the pandemic and its economic fallout.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found California, Florida, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania – the most populous of the 50 US states – to be the five most targeted by coronavirus scams in the country.

1:15AM

Infections on the rise in Turkey

Turkish health ministry statistics show an increase in daily coronavirus cases, with confirmed infections back above 1,000.

Ministry figures showed 1,083 new cases and 18 deaths on Tuesday, bringing total infections to nearly 235,000 and deaths to 5,765.

Cases had dropped below 1,000 before Turkey began reopening businesses in early June.

The cases had decreased to an average of 945 for the past three weeks.

1:11AM

Pet owners in US urged not to abandon animals over virus concern

Louisiana’s agriculture department said a dog in the state tested positive for coronavirus.

It is the US state’s first confirmed infection in an animal and was determined through a nasal swab test.

Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain said no evidence suggested that pets played a significant role in spreading the virus.

He urged people not to abandon their pets because of worry.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said a small number of pets had been reported with coronavirus infections.

READ MORE: Latest advice for pet owners – can animals catch and spread coronavirus?

1:06AM

Tracers ‘overwhelmed’ in race to find US contacts

The soaring number of Covid-19 cases in the United States has far outstripped many local health departments’ ability to trace the contacts of those infected – a step critical in containing the virus’ spread.

With the pandemic claiming about 1,000 American lives a day, many city and county departments say they lack the money and staff to identify people who have been exposed, according to a Reuters survey of 121 local agencies, as well as interviews with dozens of state and local officials, epidemiologists and tracers.

12:55AM

‘Close pubs and shops to reopen schools’

Pubs and shops should be shut in order to reopen schools if a trade off needs to be made because of a rise in infections, the Children’s Commissioner has urged the government.

Anne Longfield said that if lockdown restrictions needed to be reimposed because of local flare-ups in infection rates, schools must only be closed to bring transmission down as a last resort once all other options had been exhausted.

She criticised ministers for treating children as an “afterthought” during the first lockdown, adding that they must be put at the heart of planning for a second wave.

Read the full story here.

12:53AM

Doctors criticise ‘barmy’ mask rules

GPs cannot refuse to treat patients who refuse to wear a face covering, according to new NHS guidance that doctors have denounced as “barmy”.

Under laws introduced last month, people can be fined for failing to wear a mask in shops or on public transport. Those powers will be extended to cover cinemas, museums and places of worship from Saturday.

Government advice, updated on Friday, said face coverings were needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings such as GP surgeries. However, advice sent to GPs on the same day said they could not refuse to treat patients who would not wear them.

Read the full story here.

12:46AM

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