Earlier today the Health Secretary promoted a new £500million funding package to support trials of a 20-minute coronavirus test, which he claims would mark a “huge step forward” in the fight against the deadly virus. But Professor Jason Leitch, the Scottish government’s national clinical director, has claimed the new test is unlikely to be successful as “the logistics and science are behind”. This blog is no longer live, please follow here for the latest updates.
During this afternoon’s Scottish coronavirus briefing, he expressed significant doubts on whether the new scheme would be viable.
He said: “This particular pilot and prototype – it’s going to be Salford and I think Southampton, Southampton have been involved in some early trials of mass city testing – I don’t think this test will be the one.
“But, in a slightly fictional world, thinking forward, if you had a non-invasive, fast, home test, then you can imagine what that might be able to do.
“If it’s specific, then that may be able to tell you that today you are virus free, and if you could do it again tomorrow, then you would be virus free.
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“But think of the logistics of that. Just in our country, that is enormous.
“And the whole world would want that. So there is something in it, for certain. But the logistics and the science are behind.”
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UK coronavirus cases mapped
6.30am update: Germany cases rise by 782
Germany has registered 782 new coronavirus cases according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases on Friday.
The country now has a total of 246,948 confirmed cases.
Germany’s death toll has reached 9,399.
4.50am update: Leeds could become an ‘area of concern’
Leeds is expected to be added to Public Health England’s watch list as an “area of concern” as infection rates soar.
City council leader Judith Blake insisted it was “a pivotal moment in our efforts to control the spread of the virus”.
She said: “Nobody wants to see further restrictions on life in Leeds.
“The harsh reality is that if our infection rate continues to rise as it has been, we will be left with no alternative”.
The city’s infection rate rose to 29.4 cases per 100,000 people.
If cases continue to surge, stricter measures could be imposed in Leeds.
3.30am update: Brazil cases surpass 4 million
Brazil has registered more than 4million confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the country’s health ministry.
The nation reported 43,773 new cases and 834 deaths on Thursday.
Brazil now has a total 4,041,638 cases of the virus since the start of the outbreak.
The country’s death toll has risen to 124,614.
Brazil has the second worse coronavirus outbreak in the world after the US.
1.55am update: Cardiff holiday-goers may book hotels in England to avoid new quarantine rules
A holiday-goer from Cardiff said he might book a hotel in England to avoid the new Welsh quarantine restrictions.
The Welsh government has added Portugal, Gibraltar, French Ploynesia and some Greek Islands to its quarantine list.
Jonathan Lake has been on holiday with his wife and two children near Chania and is angry at the Welsh government’s decision.
He said: “It’s the lack of consistent messaging and management across the whole UK Government I’m really angry about now – and the fact they’ve announced it at five o’clock UK time, so 7pm they’ve said ‘you’ve got until 4am tomorrow to get home’. I mean, what, am I supposed to charter a private jet to try and get me and my family home?”
Mr Lake and his family are flying back to the UK on Tuesday, landing in Gatwick airport.
He added: “I’m almost at the point where I’m thinking I’m just going to book a Premier Inn or something in Bristol – if it costs me five or six hundred pounds I don’t really care, I can afford it, I’ll do it – and stay there and I’ll just live my life as normal.”
12.10am update: France reports over 7,000 new cases for second day
France has reported more than 7,000 new COVID-19 infections over 24 hours for the second consecutive day, according to the country’s health ministry.
Hospitalisations for the coronavirus also rose again on Thursday.
The health ministry recorded 7,157 new cases on Thursday and 7,017 on Wednesday.
The total number of confirmed cases in France now stands at 300,181.
Manon Dark takes over live reporting from Emily Ferguson.
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10.12pm update: Robert Pattinson believed to have tested positive for coronavirus during filming of Batman
British actor Robert Pattinson has tested positive for COVID-19, halting the production of “The Batman”, according to reports.
Movie studio Warner Bros. said in a statement that “a member of ‘The Batman’ production” in Britain had tested positive for the coronavirus, but did not give a name.
The statement added: “Filming is temporarily paused.”
Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and Vanity Fair all cited sources as saying the person who tested positive was Mr Pattinson, the film’s star.
9pm update: Portugal added to Scotland’s quarantine list
Passengers arriving in Scotland from Portugal or French Polynesia will have to self-isolate for two weeks as of Saturday, the Scottish Justice Secretary has confirmed.
Humza Yousaf revealed the measures around an hour after the Welsh Government announced a 14-day quarantine rule for travellers from the European country and a number of Greek islands.
The rules come into effect as of 4am on Saturday.
8.08pm update: US says coronavirus vaccine could be ready for October
US public health officials said a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready for distribution as soon as late October, just ahead of the November election.
President Trump has committed billions of federal dollars to rapidly develop vaccines against the virus, which has killed more than 185,000 people in the United States.
Critics have said the President’s lack of leadership on the pandemic has contributed to the world’s highest coronavirus death toll.
7pm update: Sturgeon criticises people who attended a house party of more than 300 people
Nicola Sturgeon has criticised those who attended a house party in Midlothian which had more than 300 people.
The Scottish First Minister tweeted: “It’s hard to put into words how utterly irresponsible this kind of behaviour is in current circumstances.
“It puts people at risk and threatens our progress out of lockdown.
“PLEASE do not attend house parties just now.”
6.30pm update: UK records highest daily coronavirus cases total since June
The UK has recorded 1,735 new cases of coronavirus, which is the highest daily total since June 4, which was 1,805.
6pm update: Wales changes its travel quarantine list
The Welsh government has announced that Wales is adding mainland Portugal to its quarantine list.
That means holidaymakers returning to Wales from there after 4am tomorrow morning will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
Gibraltar, French Polynesia and the Greek islands of Mykonos, Zakynthos, Lesvos, Paros and Antiparos and Crete are also being added to Wales’s quarantine list, again with effect from 4am tomorrow.
5.11pm update: Portugal will not be added to England’s quarantine list
Portugal will not be put back on the quarantine list in England, the Government has confirmed.
It was feared the country would be taken off England’s travel corridor list, after a recent rise in infections.
Cases in Portugal rose to 23 per 100,000 in the saven days up to Wednesday, up from 15.3 the week before.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “We continue to keep the Travel Corridor list under constant review & won’t hesitate to remove countries if needed. However, there are no English additions or removals today. Nonetheless, holidaymakers are reminded – 14-day quarantine countries can & do change at very short notice.”
4.09pm update: UK updates coronavirus death toll
NHS England has recorded a further 15 coronavirus hospital deaths today.
Scotland and Northern Ireland recorded one further death, while Wales reported no new deaths.
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3.44pm update: Labour criticises England’s test and trace figures
Labour’s Justin Madders, the shadow health minister, has described today’s figures from NHS Test and Trace as “hugely disappointing”.
He said: “With cases on the increase and the government pushing for everyone to return to work, it is more important than ever that test and trace is working to its potential.
“It is therefore hugely disappointing to see that the number of people the system reached went down again in the last week.
“There is also clearly a problem with testing infrastructure as people across the country are sent hundreds of miles for testing appointments.
3.05pm update: NHS Test and Trace failed to reach almost third of close contacts
NHS Test and Trace failed to reach almost a third of those identified as close contacts of pope testing positive in the most recent week, new data has found.
The report says that 69.4 percent of close contacts of people who tests positive for coronavirus in England were reached through test and trace in the week ending August 26 and told to self-isolate.
This is down from 77.1 percent the previous week.
The figure is concerning because according to the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergenncies (SAGE), test and trace has to reach 80 percent of contacts to be effective.
Emily Ferguson has taken over live reporting from Steven Brown
2.30pm update: Spain to continue furlough scheme for as long as possible
Spain’s ERTE furlough scheme will be extended “as long as necessary”, Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz told IB3 radio station today.
The scheme, which is currently due to end on September 30, provides furloughed workers with 70 percent of their base salary for the first six months, before dropping to 50 percent for the following months.
“The key to the mechanism is that it stays. It’s absurd to put an end date on it. I believe that the ERTEs should stay in place. For how long? As long as necessary,” she told IB3.
Scottish slaughterhouse closes after positive test
The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that the coronavirus R-number is surging in Scotland, as she bluntly told today’s daily briefing that “the virus is spreading again”.
Ms Sturgeon has pleaded with Scots to “take this seriously” after the rate of coronavirus infection surged in the country.
She told the coronavirus briefing that the R number, which signifies the average number of people who would be infected by another infectious person, had spiked.
The SNP leader went on to explain that the R-number in Scotland is likely to be above 1 and could be as high as 1.4.
Costa Coffee has announced 1,650 jobs are at risk due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The high street coffee chain has warned it needs to cut costs amid continued uncertainty as to when trade will recover.
It told staff on Thursday that it has started consultations which could impact more than a 10th of roles.
Despite the Government urging as many people as possible to get back to work, footfall in city centres remains significantly lower than before COVID-19.
12.20pm update: Scottish slaughterhouse closes after cases identified
The Millers of Speyside slaughterhouse in Grantown has shut for two weeks after 29 cases of the pandemic were linked to the abattoir.
There are currently 31 confirmed cases of coronavirus within the community.
NHS Highland has also advised local care homes to suspend visiting, given the high number of cases in the area.
Dr Tim Allison, director of public health, said: “NHS Highland and partners are working together to manage this community outbreak.
“Our health protection team is following up with contacts and the appropriate advice is being given to those identified.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the virus can recur even in rural communities and so everyone should continue to adhere to physical distancing guidelines, wear a face covering when in enclosed spaces, clean your hands and surfaces regularly and immediately self-isolate if you develop symptoms.”
Coronavirus cases hit high since end of May
12.10pm update: European finance ministers to discuss euro recovery package next week
European finance ministers will discuss at a meeting in Berlin next week the implementation of a 750 billion euro recovery package and how to give the EU its own fiscal resources to pay back joint debt, German Finance Minister Olaf Schulz said on Thursday.
“For the recovery to be truly successful, we must recover together and use this opportunity to transform our economy,” Scholz said in a key note speech at an event of the Brussels-based Bruegel institute.
“To get Europe’s economy back on track, investment is key.
“Coupled with smart, credible reform packages, it can create growth opportunities and make our economies more resilient.”
11.30am update: Weekly cases at highest level since the end of May
According to NHS figures, the number of people infected with the deadly virus in August was at its highest level since the end of May.
A total of 6,732 new cases were confirmed between 20 August and 26 August – an increase of 6 percent on the previous week, Test and Trace data showed.
Today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said cases in the UK remain “broadly flat”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that stopping transmission is “going well” but revealed the government is “very worried” about the possibility of a second wave.
Malaysia adds UK, US and France to travel ban
11.25am update: Matt Hancock hopes for mass testing using faster COVID-19 tests
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced plans to invest in trials of a 20 minute COVID-19 test.
Mr Hancock hopes mass testing could be rolled out towards the end of the year, adding they are key to restoring freedoms following months of lockdown restrictions.
“I want to solve the problem by having the next generation tests at a radically bigger scale. You can’t do that on the current technology very easily,” he told BBC television.
Asked when it would be available for everyone, he said: “Over the coming weeks and months ahead. We’re starting the roll out today.”
11.10am update: Malaysia expands entry ban to US, UK, France pass holders
Malaysia on Thursday added at least nine more countries, including the US, Britain and France, to its list of long-term immigration pass holders to be barred from the country, national news wire Bernama reported.
Malaysia’s government on Tuesday said it would bar entry of pass holders from India, Indonesia and the Philippines in a bid to curtail imported coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy from September 7.
Malaysia has reported just 9,374 COVID-19 cases and 128 deaths as of Thursday.
Russia reports nearly 5,000 new cases
The EU is set to be hit by a fresh crisis after the Hungarian parliament confirmed it could block the mammoth coronavirus recovery budget.
Hungary had previously threatened to revoke its support for the package, and has once again warned it could so if the recovery fund is linked to rule of law proceedings in the state.
The EU requires national parliaments to agree to the €750 billion (£666billion) package in order to provide needed funds to states recovering from the pandemic.
EU states agreed to the deal in July following tense negotiations, but two MEPs have revealed the Hungarian government will not provide its support if the package was linked to rule of law proceedings.
9.30am update: Indonesia reports new daily record
Indonesia on Thursday reported 3,622 new coronavirus infections, a record high in daily cases, and 134 new deaths, data from the country’s COVID-19 task force showed.
The number of new daily deaths reported was the highest since July 22.
That brought the latest COVID-19 tally in Southeast Asia’s biggest country to 184,268 infections and 7,750 deaths.
8.40am update: Russia reports nearly 5,000 new cases
Russia reported 4,995 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing its national tally to 1,009,995, the fourth largest in the world.
Russia’s coronavirus taskforce said 114 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 17,528.
Matt Hancock defends coronavirus testing regime
7.55am update: Australia’s COVID-19 cases hit 8-day high
Australia reported the biggest one-day rise in COVID-19 cases in more than a week.
Authorities said 127 cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the past 24 hours, up on the 109 cases recorded on Wednesday and the biggest one-day jump since Aug 28.
The bulk of the cases were detected in Victoria state which reported 113 new cases in the past 24 hours.
New South Wales reported 12 cases while Queensland accounted for the remaining two.
Australia has now recorded more than 26,000 COVID-19 cases, while the death toll rose to 678 after a further 15 people in Victoria died.
7.40am update: Matt Hancock defends coronavirus testing regime
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended the coronavirus testing regime despite people being directed to centres more than 100 miles away.
He told Sky News the issue was part of the reason why the Government was investing in trials of 20-minute Covid-19 tests.
Mr Hancock said: “At the moment the system works well. Of course there are operational challenges from time to time but it works well.
“And we’re finding a higher and higher proportion of people in the country who have coronavirus and getting them tests so they can be looked after.
“But absolutely we need to roll out more testing – we have done throughout this crisis and today’s another step in solving some of those problems with the existing technology.”
Source:Daily Express :: UK Feed