The Republican leader said the vaccine would be in circulation before voters head to the polls on November 3 when he will face off with Democrat Joe Biden. His comments came as the US State Department lifted its Global Level 4 Health Advisory, imposed in March, which advised citizens against international travel. Speaking about a vaccine, Mr Trump struck a more optimistic tone than timing put forth by his own White House health experts.
Asked on the Geraldo Rivera radio program when a vaccine might be ready, Mr Trump said, “Sooner than the end of the year, could be much sooner.”
Meanwhile, a coronavirus outbreak has struck a Royal Mail office in Manchester as 19 workers tested positive for the invisible killer disease.
The office in Oldham Road is being deep cleaned and a mobile testing unit has been set up at the site. The outbreak comes as England’s coronavirus daily death total is expected to be dramatically altered due to a change to how COVID-19 statistics are calculated by officials.
The numbers released by Public Health England each day refer to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 anytime leading up to their death.
Scientists have claimed this does not present a true picture of the overall epidemic as someone could die from a non-related illness while still being counted as a virus fatality.
Donald Trump said a coronavirus vaccine would be ready within weeks
Health Secretary Matt Hancock will now move to bring the recording of deaths in line with Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Both count a coronavirus death only if it occurs 28 days after testing positive.
The new measure is expected to be announced by the end of the week.
Professor Carl Heneghan, from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, told The Sun: “It is a sensible decision.
“There is no point attributing deaths to Covid 28 days after infection.
“All it does is muddy the water. While deaths are falling in Scotland, PHE data suggests matters are worse in England.
“But if it’s someone who picked up the virus in a care home in March and recovered, and last week died of a heart attack, what does that actually tell us?”
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The PM told reporters in Warrington on Thursday that workers need confidence to return to offices
12:32am update: WHO warns countries against coronavirus ‘vaccine nationalism’
World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned richer countries against “vaccine nationalism”, saying they will still be at risk if poorer countries remain exposed to COVID-19.
Mr Ghebreyesus has said it “will not help us” if countries do not share vaccines with other countries.
He added: “For the world to recover faster, it has to recover together, because it’s a globalised world: the economies are intertwined. Part of the world or a few countries cannot be a safe haven and recover.
“The damage from COVID-19 could be less when those countries who… have the funding commit to this.”
11:13pm update: NHS risks tens of thousands dead if it shuts down in second wave, experts warn
Doctors and health experts are warning that the NHS will risk tens of thousands of patients health if it has to shut down amid a second wave of coronavirus.
The group is urging NHS bosses not to issue sweeping closures amid a resurgent wave of the virus, as they did in March, to help cope with a surge in patients.
Professor Neil Mortensen, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England said: “The NHS must never again be a COVID-only service.
“There is a duty to the thousands of patients waiting in need and in pain to make sure they can be treated.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of council at the British Medical Association added: “We cannot have a situation in which patients are unable to access diagnostic tests, clinic appointments and treatment which they urgently need and are simply left stranded.
“If someone needs care – for example for cancer, heart trouble, a breathing condition or a neurological problem – they must get it when they need it.”
11pm update: Dylan Donnelly takes over from Laura O’Callaghan
10.44pm update: Brazil approaches 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 – ministry
Brazil reported 53,139 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 1,237 deaths from the disease caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.
Brazil has registered 2,912,212 confirmed cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 98,493, according to ministry data.
It is the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak after the United States.
9.53pm update: Irish food plant closes after 80 workers test positive
A food production plant in Co Kildare has suspended operations after 80 workers tested positive for coronavirus.
O’Brien Fine Foods said it stopped operations at its Timohoe facility at 9pm on Wednesday.
The company has been engaging with the Health Service Executive (HSE) to test all employees after three confirmed cases.
The company said in a statement: “Of 243 tests completed, 80 have been confirmed as positive for COVID-19.
“Of the 80 confirmed, the level of asymptomatic infectivity appears to be very high.
“We are completing testing of a further 42 employees today.”
The US State Department has lifted its strict travel advisory against international travel
8.58pm update: Trump attacks China over virus as US health secretary heads to Taiwan
US President Donald Trump on Thursday intensified his attacks on China for its handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 700,000 people worldwide, as his health secretary headed to Taiwan for a visit sure to irk Beijing.
Mr Trump, whose public approval ratings have fallen amid continued COVID-19 infection rates and economic woes, sought to shift the focus to Beijing, claiming again, without evidence, that it may have intentionally let the virus spread globally.
The Republican president said it was a “disgrace” that Beijing had limited the spread of the virus at home but allowed it to reach the rest of the world.
“What China did is a terrible thing … whether it was incompetence or on purpose,” he said, reviving a refrain that has strained ties between the world’s two largest economies and raised questions about a U.S.-China trade deal signed in January.
8.11pm update: UK to remove Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas from safe travel list
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said arrivals from Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas will have to quarantine from 4am on Saturday.
In a tweet he said: “Data shows we need to remove Andorra, Belgium and The Bahamas from our list of #coronavirus Travel Corridors in order to keep infection rates DOWN.
“If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.”
7.14pm update: US Department of State lifts strict travel advisory
The US has lifted its Global Level 4 Health Advisory.
The advisory was initially put in place on March 19 and advised citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of coronavirus.
It was the highest level of travel advisory issued by the State Department.
CNN’s Jennifer Hansler tweeted: “@StateDept lifted its Global Level 4: Do Not Travel Advisory today after more than four months of warning US citizens against traveling abroad and “is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice.”
In a statement, the State Department said: “With health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice,.”
Boris Johnson said the UK’s test and trace system is world beating
6.29pm update: Dutch PM says no second lockdown needed despite rising cases
The Netherlands’ Prime Minister said on Thursday the country does not need to undergo a second lockdown, despite a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases.
Mark Rutte said: “The virus is making a dangerous advance and we’re at risk of losing the gains we’ve made together in the past month.
“We don’t want a second lockdown and we don’t have to have one, but that won’t happen by itself.”
His has asked tourists to avoid busy parts of Amsterdam and the country’s youth to obey social distancing rules.
The Netherlands’ National Institute for Health reported 601 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, up from 426 a day earlier.
5.38pm update: Ohio Governor tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of Trump’s arrival
The Governor of Ohio has tested positive for coronavirus as Donald Trump left the White House for his Ohio trip.
Governor Mike DeWine posted a statement on Twitter saying he has no symptoms and plans to isolate at home for the next two weeks.
4.33pm update: 49 new deaths in UK
Of the 49 new fatalities, 46 were in England and three were in Wales.
There were no new COVID-19 deaths in Scotland or Northern Ireland.
The number of infections declared across the UK has risen by 950 to 308,134.
4.21pm update: 23 coronavirus clusters identified in Northern Ireland since May
More than 20 coronavirus clusters have been identified in Northern Ireland.
Of the 23 pinpointed in the region since May 25 when the test and trace programme went live, 11 clusters remain open, according to the Public Health Agency (PHA).
Some 168 cases of COVID-19 have been associated with these clusters, with nine of the clusters having had five or more cases associated with them.
Earlier this week, two businesses in Newcastle, Co Down, closed temporarily following outbreaks among their staff.
The statement from the PHA came on Thursday as the Department of Health’s daily updates showed 43 more positive cases of coronavirus have been detected in the region, bringing the total to 6,049.
3.59pm update: R rate may be as high as 1.8in Northern Ireland, warns Government
The R rate of coronavirus has risen dramatically in Northern Ireland.
The devolved government said it since last week it has risen from between 0.5 and 1 to between 0.8 and 1.8.
The rate is a crucial measure of how quickly COVID-19 spreads.
3.19pm update: PM says UK test and trace system is world beating
Boris Johnson stood by his description of Britain’s system of testing and tracing coronavirus infections on Thursday, despite a fall in the number of people contacted by tracers.
Asked whether, in light of the latest data, he thought it was still a world beating system, Mr Johnson said: “If you look at what we’re doing, actually I think it certainly is and it certainly does fit that description as world beating.”
3.11pm update: Workers need confidence to return to offices to aid UK’s economic recovery – PM
People need to have the confidence to go back to workplaces in order to help the country’s economic recovery, Boris Johnson has said.
The Prime Minister said workers must have the confidence to return to their offices “in a Covid-secure way” to help get the economy moving.
His comments came as the Government urged employees in England to return to work this week following five months of home working during the peak of the pandemic.
However, reports suggest that most employees are continuing to work remotely.
During a visit to a housing development in Warrington, the Prime Minister told reporters there were “real signs of strength in the UK economy”.
He added: “Unquestionably it will require people to have the confidence to go back to work in a Covid-secure way.”
2.26pm update: 19 workers test positive for coronavirus at Royal Mail delivery office
The office on Oldham Road, Manchester, is currently undergoing a deep clean as staff continue to work as normal.
A mobile test unit has also been set up at the office.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Following further positive tests for coronavirus at the Manchester Delivery Office, as a precautionary measure, we are working with Public Health England to provide tests for all of our staff from a mobile unit on site.
“An enhanced clean of the building has already been carried out.”
Director of Public Health for Manchester, David Regan said: “We have put in place a range of preventive measures to protect both our customers and our colleagues.
“As well as encouraging good hand hygiene, standard ways of working have been revised to ensure that colleagues stay two metres apart at all times.”
2.16pm update: Three deaths in Wales
Public Health Wales has said three people have died of COVID-19 in Wales in the past 24 hours.
The total number now stands at 1,571 while the number of cases increased by 15 to take the total to 17,389.
2.09pm update: 43 new cases in Northern Ireland
There have been 43 new cases of coronavirus in Northern Ireland over the last 24 hours, the Department of Health has confirmed.
The number of cases now stands at 6,049 while no new deaths were reported.
The death toll remains at 556.
1.13pm update: Keir Starmer calls for inquiry into Government face mask purchase
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for an inquiry into the Government’s purchase of 50 million face masks as part of a £252million contract.
The masks are not usable due to the type of strapping which makes it impossible for them to be properly secured on a person.
Sir Keir said: “For months we were told that the Government was purchasing the right equipment for the front line. Yet again it hasn’t happened.
“There needs now to be an investigation, an inquiry, into what went wrong with this particular contract because it’s just not good enough to people who need that protective equipment that we find ourselves in this position.”
Coronavirus: Keir Starmer
12.34pm update: No new deaths in Scotland
There have been no new deaths in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.
A total of 2,491 patients have died while there have been 18,847 cases, up 67 from yesterday.
12.06pm update: Almost 80 percent of in-person tests returning results in 24 hours
Almost 80 percent (77.9) of all in-person tests returned results within 24 hours in the week ending July 29.
This is an increase from the 76.4 percent in the previous week.
11.58am update: Test and Trace figures released
The latest Test and Trace figures have been released following the ninth week (ending July 29) of the programme.
Of the 4,966 people tested in the week, 4,642 were transferred to the system.
Of those, 79.4 percent were reached and asked to self-isolate.
A further 19,150 people were identified as coming into contact with someone who has tested positive.
And 72.4 percent of those were reached and asked to self-isolate.
That is a decrease from 76.2 the previous week.
Unite national officer for health, Jackie Williams, said: “Nursing staff and other allied health pro
11.48am update: Unite comments on protest
Unite national officer for health Jackie Williams said: “Nursing staff and other allied health professionals have reacted with anger to being overlooked when pay rises were given to many in the public sector last month and the Government not hearing the health trade unions’ call to bring their pay rise forward from April 2021.
“Last week, health workers marched to Downing Street to vent their anger that all their efforts during the pandemic, which has claimed so many of their colleagues’ lives, have appeared to be ignored when it comes to recognition in their pay packets.
“In a decade of Tory austerity, NHS staff has seen their pay cut by 20% in real terms – and no amount of Thursday evening clapping and warm ministerial words can compensate for this dramatic loss in income.”
11.06am update: NHS workers protest over pay
Thousand sof NHS workers are expected to take part in protests this weekend to demand a pay rise.
The Unite union, which has 100,000 members in the health service, has said it will support those who wish to attend socially distanced protests.
Coronavirus cases around the world
10.26am update: Urgent lessons must be learned from PPE blunder, warns Labour MP
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves has said: “Many health and care workers experienced inadequate protection, relied on community donations and even bought their own PPE from DIY shops.
“Ministers repeatedly assured the country that things were fine, yet lives of health workers were lost, the infection was spread in health settings while all that time masks bought by the Government could not be used for their intended purpose.
“The case for the National Audit Office to investigate the Conservative Government’s mishandling of PPE is overwhelming and as well as apologise, ministers must urgently learn lessons to save lives in the future.”
9.56am update: Lib Dem leadership contender on PPE controversy
Responding to the story over the Government’s £252million deal for medical supplies, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran has called for a review on medical supply contracts.
She said: “The Government has serious questions to answer over this shocking waste of taxpayers’ money.
“We urgently need a clear strategy for procuring PPE so that NHS and care staff on the frontline are not left without. That should include a review of the process for handing out contracts to prevent these colossal errors from happening again.
“It’s vital that ministers act on the recommendations of the cross-party inquiry I’m chairing so that lessons are learned ahead of a potential second spike later this year.”
Coronavirus Live: Stats as of August 6
9.14am update: JD Wetherspoon to cut head office jobs
The pub chain has written to head office staff informing them about plans to cut up to a third of jobs.
Chief executive John Hutson said that all head office staff, including those who are regionally based, will be affected.
He added: “The decision is mainly a result of a downturn in trade in the pub and restaurant industry generally, a reduction in the company’s rate of expansion and a reduction in the number of pubs operated from 955 in 2015 to 873 today.”
8.42am update: Preston could be next to face lockdown measures
Preston could be the next area to face localised lockdown restrictions after a rise in cases.
The city council’s chief executive, Adrian Phillips, said: “We are not waiting for some government announcement.
“We know our rates are increasing and they have increased over the last week to a level now where we are concerned that we could face government intervention.
“We’ve been working with our communities to make sure we get those key messages out.”
8.26am update: UK death total to be adjusted
The Government is set to announce a new way of recording the UK’s death total.
Previously, if a person had tested positive for Covid at any time before their death then the fatality was added to the overall toll.
According to The Sun, virus deaths will now be recorded only if someone dies within 28 days of the infection being diagnosed.
8.07am update: Robert Jenrick defends Government planning reforms
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has defended the Government’s planning reforms which include allowing developers to be given automatic planning permission to build homes and schools.
Mr Jenrick told Sky News: “Today it takes seven years to produce a local plan, we want to reduce that to around two and a half years.
“And it can take five years to get spades in the ground on a housing estate.
“We believe that can be cut very significantly and everybody will benefit from that – the people who work in the industry and those people who want to get on the housing ladder as well.”
Coronavirus Live: UK cases as of August 6
7.52am update: Economic downturn less severe than feared
The Bank of England had initially estimated that the UK economy would shrink by 14 percent this year.
This has now be scaled back to 9.5 percent although this would still represent the biggest economic decline in 100 years.
Interest rates will remain at 0.1 percent while unemployment is expected to jump to 7.5 percent.
7.25am update: 150 million masks not to be used
At least 150 million protective masks will not be used after officials expressed concern over their safety standards.
The masks were part of a £252million contract struck in April.
According to the Good Law Project, they will not be used due to the type of strapping used to make them.
Of the overall number of masks, 43.5 million FFP2 masks which have been delivered so far are fit for use.
The firm involved, Ayanda Capital, has insisted the masks adhered to the standards needed at the time of purchase.
Source Daily Express :: UK Feed