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Coronavirus latest news: Reopening schools without better test and trace ‘threatens second wave twice as big as first’

Reopening schools without an improvement in test and trace could result in a second coronavirus wave more than twice the size of the first, a Lancet study suggests. 

Researchers said pubs may have to be closed or millions of people urged to work from home if significant progress in tracking the spread of the virus is not made in the next month.

The study, by University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, simulated how the virus might spread when schools open at the start of September. It found that, if test and trace was more successful – so that 68 per cent of the contacts of positive cases were traced – the spread could be held in check.

Researchers warned that just 50 per cent of contacts of positive cases are currently reached. They said only one in seven infections in the country is being detected by the programme when its results are compared with surveillance sampling. 

Follow the latest updates below.

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2:13AM

In pictures: Circus acts take to the streets of Peru

Due to the pandemic, circuses in Peru remain closed, leading this group of clowns travelling in their mototaxi circus to perform in the streets of Lima.

A clown gets ready before performing at Puente Piedra district, in the northern outskirts of Lima

A clown gets ready before performing at Puente Piedra district, in the northern outskirts of Lima

Credit:
AFP

Clowns wearing face masks pose for a picture before performing 

Clowns wearing face masks pose for a picture before performing 

Credit:
AFP

The performers are travelling around in a mototaxi

The performers are travelling around in a mototaxi

Credit:
AFP

1:56AM

Hurricanes increase risk of infection in Caribbean

Caribbean nations were scrambling to adapt storm shelters to prevent the spread of coronavirus and stock up on supplies, with thousands of people already evacuating their homes as the hurricane season gets underway, aid agencies warned on Monday.

A busier than normal Atlantic Ocean hurricane season has been predicted for 2020, and the coronavirus could “spread easily in crowded emergency shelters” where social distancing would be difficult, said UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency.

“In the coming days and weeks, children and families will be at risk of being hit simultaneously by two disasters, Covid-19 and hurricanes,” said Bernt Aasen, UNICEF’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“This is the perfect storm we fear for the Caribbean and Central America,” he said in a statement.

With more than 4.5 million cases and about 190,000 deaths, Latin America and the Caribbean have become a global hot spot for infections.

About 5,000 people in the Dominican Republic were evacuated from their homes over the weekend as Tropical Storm Isaias churned through the Caribbean and up the Atlantic coast.

Storm Isaias batters the Dominican Republic

Storm Isaias batters the Dominican Republic

Credit:
ORLANDO BARRIA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

1:43AM

Trump threatens to sue Nevada over mail-in ballots

President Trump vowed on Monday to sue Nevada after the state’s Democratic lawmakers passed a bill to send mail-in ballots to every voter before November’s presidential election in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Trump, who has repeatedly claimed without evidence that voting by mail will lead to rampant fraud, wrote on Twitter that the legislation approved on Sunday was an “illegal late night coup” and told reporters his administration was already preparing a lawsuit.

“We will be suing in Nevada. And that’s already been taken care of, we’ll probably file something tomorrow,” he said during a White House briefing.

Mr Trump told reporters he had a right to issue an executive order regarding mail-in ballots but did not elaborate on what that would involve. “We haven’t gotten there yet,” he said.

Read more: President threatens to sue Nevada in latest attack on election

Trump has frequently claimed, without evidence, that mail voting leads to fraud

Trump has frequently claimed, without evidence, that mail voting leads to fraud

Credit:
EPA

12:45AM

GCSE English literature students to get choice of topics

Students taking GCSE English literature exams next summer will not have to cover all the topics as planned, due to lengthy school closures, England’s exams regulator has announced.

Ofqual has confirmed pupils will be offered a greater choice of subjects in exam papers for English literature, history and ancient history in 2021.

But school leaders have criticised the regulator’s decision not to offer optional questions in exams for the remaining GCSE and A-level subjects after students have faced months out of the classroom.

Read more: Students get choice of topics because of school closures

12:16AM

Government drops plan to make over-50s shield

Plans to extend shielding to some over-50s this winter have been abandoned after Cabinet ministers mounted a backlash against the proposal. 

Downing Street killed off the plan to tell over-50s to stay at home after ministers warned it was impractical, could damage the economy and sent out mixed messages on the day the Government wanted workers to get back to the office.

Industry chiefs and prominent backbenchers including former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith also warned it was “economic madness” by depriving business of key managers and experience at a time when they were needed to help rescue industry in face of a recession.

The plans led to a row within Government with business and economic ministers distancing themselves from the policy and warning of economic consequences. 

Read more: Shield plan dropped after Cabinet backlash

Boris Johnson was challenged by his Cabinet ministers over the plans

Boris Johnson was challenged by his Cabinet ministers over the plans

Credit:
GETTY IMAGES

12:02AM

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