In a sign he may be on the mend, US President Donald Trump has sent a flurry of tweets trying to rally voters from his hospital bed.
It comes as his doctors suggested he could be released from Walter Reed Hospital in Maryland as early as today after being fever-free since Friday.
He is also no longer complaining of shortness of breath, according to Dr Sean Conley, who spoke to reporters outside the hospital on Sunday.
If the President continues to improve, he may be discharged and continue his treatment from the White House, according to his team.
In a series of capitalised, non-linked tweets, Mr Trump said: “LAW & ORDER. VOTE!”, “RELIGIOUS LIBERTY. VOTE!”, “BIGGEST TAX CUT EVER, AND ANOTHER ONE COMING” and “VOTE! BETTER & CHEAPER HEALTHCARE. VOTE!”
It follows the President’s “surprise” protocol-breaking visit to his supporters outside the hospital yesterday.
He was masked as he waved from inside his bulletproof vehicle during the short trip outside Walter Reed Military Medical Centre.
Follow the latest updates below.
WATCH: Boris Johnson: ‘I can’t give you figures’
The weekly rate of new Covid-19 cases has soared in dozens of areas of England, following the addition of nearly 16,000 cases that went unreported by because of a technical error with an Excel spreadsheet.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was unable to say this morning how many contacts of positive coronavirus cases had been missed. Watch below.
Iran registers record high in new cases
Iran has registered a record high 3,902 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, with the total number of identified cases in the worst-hit country in the Middle East rising to 475,674, state TV reported on Monday.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told the television station that 235 patients had died in the past 24 hours, equalling a daily death toll high set on July 28.
Rishi Sunak defends Government’s Covid-19 position
Chancellor Rishi Sunak praised the Conservative belief in “individual freedom” but said the Government will always stand “between the people and the danger” of the coronavirus pandemic.
He told the Conservative Party’s online conference: “And whilst we would not have wished for this burden, it has been for many, for the first time in their lives, a moment in which government ceased to be distant and abstract, but became real, and felt, and something of which people could be proud.
“Action met words.
“This Conservative Government stood between the people and the danger and we always will.”
All the President’s Meds…
The range of drugs that is being taken by President Donald Trump has led to confusion in the medical community over the state of his health, Dominic Penna reports.
Some doctors see the prescription of the powerful steroid dexamethasone as a sign that Mr Trump is seriously unwell, while others believe that he is being over-medicated because of the number of prospective treatments that he has received while at Walter Reed hospital.
Mr Trump will be receiving dexamethasone “for the time being”, according to his physicians, and has already been given the Remdesivir treatment plus vitamin D, an experimental antibody cocktail, and a sleeping potion.
Read all about what treatments the President is receiving, whether their use is currently widespread, and the risks that they could present, here.
Japan moves to approve new Covid-19 treatment drug
This just in by Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo:
The Japanese government is reportedly planning to approve the antiviral drug Avigan as a Covid-19 treatment as early as November.
Officials plan to fast track a review of the influenza drug as a coronavirus treatment with a screening period of just three weeks, according to Kyodo News reports, citing government sources. A new drug review would normally take about one year.
The review will reportedly take place after Avigan developer Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co submits a new drug application, which is likely to take place mid-October. The high-speed move to make the drug available is likely to raise concerns about whether its safety and efficacy have been adequately investigated.
The anti-flu drug, whose generic name is favipiravir, was approved for use in Japan six years ago but its usage is currently limited to flu outbreaks that are not addressed by existing medications.
The drug, which is normally taken orally as a pill, is understood to work by blocking the ability of a virus to replicate inside a cell.
Its makers Fujifilm Toyama Chemical last month announced plans to apply for the medication to be approved for treating coronavirus after trials showed it can shorten recovery times.
The drug is currently the subject of dozens of global clinical trials, although concerns have been raised over birth defects it caused in animal studies.
Read more: The first drugs targeted to fight Covid-19 near launch – but are they too expensive to use widely?
Expert reaction: Test and Trace ‘glitch’ could mean ‘large numbers’ exposed
The weekly rate of new Covid-19 cases has soared in dozens of areas of England, following the addition of nearly 16,000 cases that went unreported by because of a technical error with an Excel spreadsheet.
The problem has led to a delay in efforts by NHS Test and Trace to find the contacts of those who tested positive for the virus, in some cases by around a week.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was unable to say this morning how many contacts of positive coronavirus cases had been missed.
Reacting to the news, Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine at the University of East Anglia, said:
“The news about the latest ‘glitch’ is very disappointing. The very large number of cases that were not included in the daily case number reports or, apparently, not reported to the tracing system is a concern.
“Although we are told that individuals were informed of their results, these were apparently not passed onto the tracing system. For the test track and trace system to have a real impact on reducing transmission of COVID-19 it is essential that test results are communicated rapidly.
“We now know that people with COVID-19 are most infectious at around the time that they develop symptoms so any delay in following people up will potentially expose a large number of people.
“Most people know that if they have a positive test they have to self-isolate but contact from the test track and trace system is an important opportunity for this message to be re-enforced.”
More politicians test positive around the world
Following the news of US President Donald Trump testing positive for Covid-19, more politicians around the world have announced they are also isolating or undergoing treatment this morning.
In Poland, the incoming education minister tweeted he had tested positive for coronavirus. Przemyslaw Czarnek, 43, announced he had been infected ahead of an event at the presidential palace. “I was tested this morning due to a headache so as not to expose the President, the cabinet and other participants in today’s events. I feel good. Don’t underestimate the symptoms,” Mr Czarnek, said.
In Malaysia, the Religious Affairs Minister, Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri, has also tested positive after attending a special National Security Council (NSC) meeting on Covid-19, along with with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. President Yassin said he will now self quarantine for 14 days after being in contact with the minister.
While European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, said she is self-isolating after attending a meeting with someone who tested positive. “I’ve been informed that I participated in a meeting last Tuesday attended by a person who yesterday tested positive for COVID-19,” she wrote on Twitter.
Vaccine to be given to the most vulnerable first – PM
Boris Johnson said any Covid-19 vaccine would be offered first to the most vulnerable.
He told reporters: “Obviously, if and when we get a vaccine then the crucial thing would be to ensure that we have sufficient supplies in this country, that we’re able to make it in this country, distribute it fast in this country, and clearly the priority for a vaccine will be… those who are the most vulnerable groups.
“That’s how you would start.”
Johnson: Virus is where we expected it to be
Boris Johnson said the updated figures meant that the prevalence of the virus was where experts had expected it to be and it would soon be apparent if extra restrictions for some parts of the country were having the intended impact.
The Prime Minister told reporters: “The incidence that we are seeing in the cases corresponds to pretty much where we thought we were.
“And, to be frank, I think that the slightly lower numbers that we’d seen, you know, didn’t really reflect where we thought the disease was likely to go, so I think these numbers are realistic.
“The crucial thing is that in the next few days, week, we’ll see more clearly whether some of the restrictions that we put in – the extra enforcement of the rule of six, the extra enforcement of self-isolation, the rules on masks and so on – all the stuff that has come in, we’ll see whether that starts to work in driving down the virus.”
PM unable to provide details on scale of test and trace blunder
Boris Johnson was unable to say how many contacts of positive coronavirus cases had been missed as a result of the testing fiasco.
He told reporters he would not be able to give precise figures on the missed contacts, but said: “What happened here was that some of the data got truncated and it was lost.
“But what they have done now is not only contacted all the people who were identified as having the disease – that was done in the first place – but they are now working through all the contacts as well.
“The key thing, I would say, and it goes for everybody, is that if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace then you must self-isolate, if you are told you have been in contact with somebody who has the virus.”
Covid around the world – in pictures
Britain’s services sector enjoys continued growth
The UK services sector grew for the third successive month in September, although the speed slowed following the end of the Government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme, according to new data.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s stamp duty holiday helped, with estate agents and related businesses enjoying strong growth to offset falls elsewhere.
The IHS Markit/CIPS’s closely-followed services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) was 56.1, down from 58.8 in August.
Anything above 50 is considered a sector in growth but, due to the coronavirus restrictions and lockdown, it fell to just 13.4 in April.
Listen: Planet Normal podcast
Join us on our metaphorical rocket of right-thinking, our capsule of common sense, by listening to the latest Planet Normal podcast.
As lockdown restrictions bite, Liam Halligan and Allison Pearson this week talk to an expert medical research analyst about the Covidmania he sees infecting policy worldwide
It’s free – at www.telegraph.co.uk/planetnormal or via iTunes, Spotify or wherever else you get your podcasts.
Ireland on brink of fresh lockdown
Ireland was on the cusp of a nationwide lockdown on Monday after government experts recommended ramping up Covid-19 restrictions to curb a surge of new cases.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) recommended on Sunday evening that all of Ireland move to the highest level of Covid-19 restrictions, mirroring those issued during the original lockdown in March.
Coalition government leaders were to meet the chief medical officer to discuss the matter later on Monday.
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Animals could be susceptible to coronavirus, study suggests
Dozens of animals may be vulnerable to Sars-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19, a new study suggests.
Researchers suggest 26 animals, including pigs, horses and rabbits – regularly in contact with people, may be susceptible to infection.
The University College London (UCL) scientists looked whether mutations in the ACE2 protein in 215 different animals, that make it different from the human version, would reduce the stability of the binding complex between the virus protein and host protein.
Binding to the protein enables the virus to gain entry to host cells.
According to the study published in Scientific Reports, for some animals, such as sheep and great apes, the proteins would be able to bind together just as strongly as they do when the virus infects people.
Working from home is here to stay, survey suggests
Covid-19 has altered working patterns in the UK for good, a survey has suggested, with most office workers now not intending to spend the whole working week in the office.
The British Council for Offices asked 2,000 office workers to give their views on the future of working and found many want a flexible approach to work in future.
The majority of workers – 62 per cent of executives and 58 per cent of entry-level employees – want to alternate between their home and the office.
Only 30 per cent of the workers said they intended to spend five days a week in the office, while 15 per cent hope to work exclusively from home, The Guardian reported.
Markets rally amid suggestions Trump could leave hospital
Asian financial markets rallied on Monday following reports that Donald Trump’s health is improving after he tested positive for Covid-19.
World equities went into reverse last week after the US president fell ill, fanning fresh uncertainty just a month before the November 3 election, with some commentators questioning whether the vote would actually take place.
But after spending the weekend in hospital – with conflicting reports about the severity of his condition – Trump’s medical team said he had “continued to improve” and could return home as early as Monday.
Hong Kong, which reopened after a four-day weekend, rallied more than one percent along with Tokyo, Mumbai and Seoul, while Sydney piled on more than two percent and Singapore 0.5 percent.
Less than half of UK population could be vaccinated against Covid-19 – task force boss
The head of the country’s vaccine taskforce, Kate Bingham, has claimed that less than half of the UK population could be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The head of the immunisation programme told the Financial Times: “People keep talking about ‘time to vaccinate the whole population’ but that is misguided.
“There is going to be no vaccination of people under 18.
“It’s an adult-only vaccine for people over 50, focusing on health workers and care home workers and the vulnerable.”
Sunak to warn of ‘difficult decisions’ ahead
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will acknowledge that ministers have been forced to make “difficult trade-offs and decisions” due to the pandemic.
In a speech to the virtual Conservative Party conference on Monday, Mr Sunak will say the economy is undergoing significant change as a result of the crisis.
He will again stress that he cannot protect every job, admitting “the pain of knowing it only grows with each passing day”.
Mr Sunak will commit himself to “a single priority” as Chancellor to “create, support and extend opportunity to as many people as I can”.
“We will not let talent wither, or waste, we will help all who want it find new opportunity and develop new skills,” he is expected to say.
Wizz Air reveals sharp drop in passenger numbers
Wizz Air, one of Europe’s leading budget airlines, said passenger numbers were down 59% in September compared to the same month last year as the second surge of Covid-19 infections holds back travel.
The operator said planes were around 65% full on average throughout last month..
Many European countries brought back travel restrictions to fight a potential second wave, prompting Wizz to warn that the winter would be muted and that it would only operate at half capacity in October.
Russia announces high number of cases since spring
Russia’s daily tally of new coronavirus cases rose to its highest since May 12 on Monday, as authorities reported 10,888 new infections, including 3,537 in Moscow.
Authorities said 117 people had died overnight, pushing the official death toll to 21,475.
The total number of cases registered since the beginning of the outbreak stands at 1,225,889.
Ursula von der Leyen self-isolating
This just in from Reuters… the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is self-isolating after attending a meeting with someone who tested positive.
“I’ve been informed that I participated in a meeting last Tuesday attended by a person who yesterday tested positive for COVID-19,” she wrote on Twitter.
“In accordance with regulations in force, I’m therefore self-isolating until tomorrow morning. I’ve tested negative on Thursday and am tested again today.”
Minister unable to say how many contacts missed in tracing blunder
Therese Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, was unable to say how many close contacts of Covid-19 cases were not contacted because of a technical glitch.
The Cabinet minister was also unable to say whether those contacts had now been traced following the error that led to almost 16,000 Covid-19 cases going initially unreported, telling BBC Breakfast: “I know that people who had the initial results have all been contacted, I don’t know the answer to that question.”
Asked if she knows how many potential close contacts have not been traced, she said: “I’m afraid I just don’t have that information.”
UK car sales down amid slump in demand
New car registrations in Britain fell by around 4% year-on-year in September, usually one of the top two months of the year for sales, with the pandemic continuing to affect the sector, according to preliminary data from an industry group.
There is normally strong demand in September as it is one of two occasions per year when the licence plate series changes.
The monthly figure of below 330,000 units was expected to be the lowest in more than 20 years.
Glitch which triggered test and trace blundered now fixed – minister
A technical failure in the Covid-19 test and trace system has now been fixed and should not be repeated, a minister has said.
Britain reported a jump in daily cases to a record 22,961 on Sunday, after authorities said a glitch meant more than 15,000 test results were not transferred into computer systems on time, including for contact tracers.
Therese Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, told Sky News: “The glitch has been found and fixed and I’m sure that the changes are brought in straight away to make sure this sort of problem doesn’t happen again.
“I’m sure that PHE (Public Health England) will not be allowing that issue to happen again.”
Cineworld announces 127 cinema closures as pandemic bites
Cineworld has said it will be temporarily shutting its movie theatres in the UK, as it deals with a significant downturn in the industry brought on by the coronavirus crisis.
The world’s second-biggest cinema chain, which has already said it was looking at different ways of raising additional funds, confirmed it will suspend operations at all 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK from October 8.
“Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status,” the company said.
School exams should be stripped back next year, union suggests
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has said exams could be pared down next year as students continue to be affected by the pandemic.
Geoff Barton said suggestions that GCSEs and A-levels could be delayed by three weeks would not be enough, ahead of a meeting with schools minister Nick Gibb.
Asked if exams could be pared down, Mr Barton told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think we really ought to think about that.
“If the assumption is it can be business as usual but with three weeks extra teaching time you’re going to have some young people who won’t have covered, for example, the Tudors in history or photosynthesis in biology.
“It would be unthinkable that those young people would be tested in the same way that the previous generation would be, and therefore a modification of those exams would be useful.”
Drug used on Trump works best on ‘severe Covid’ cases
The British professor who led the trial on the new drug that Donald Trump is taking says it works best on serious cases of Covid-19, adding to fears over the seriousness of the President’s illness.
Mr Trump will remain on dexamethasone “for the time being” after first taking the steroid on Saturday, his medical team said on Sunday night.
The drug, which has been described as “groundbreaking”, is widely used to reduce inflammation and has been found to reduce a patient’s risk of death from Covid by around a third.
Read the full story here.
Coronavirus cases ‘lost’ in test and trace blunder
More than 15,000 positive Covid cases have become “lost” in Britain’s tracking systems, resulting in long delays being passed on to Test and Trace handlers.
It means that tens of thousands of people who should have been told to self-isolate after coming into close contact with an infected case are only now being contacted – in some cases 10 days after transmission occurred.
The Government blamed “computer issues” for a blunder which saw the number of daily cases appear to double overnight, and has been accused of “shambolic” handling by Labour.
Read the full story here.
Numbers on the rise again in Big Apple
New York is reporting “concerning” signs of a coronavirus resurgence, which would dash hopes that its high rate of immunity would spare it from a second wave.
The city, which had been the epicentre of the United States’ Covid-19 outbreak before it was hailed as a model of containment, was one of the few success stories in a country struggling to get the pandemic under control.
However, it is now seeing the most dramatic uptick in daily cases since June.
READ MORE: Fears New York – hailed as the model for containment – is seeing Covid-19 resurgence
Doctors told to prepare for ‘angry’ patients
Medics have been told to brace themselves for “anger and distress” when they contact more than four million patients waiting for surgery, in a bid to ensure the most urgent cases are prioritised.
Every patient on NHS hospital waiting lists will be reassessed, under a national review, with many who have already endured long waits sent to the back of the queue, The Telegraph can reveal.
Health chiefs will embark on the programme amid fears thousands of patients have seen their health deteriorate because of NHS delays during lockdown.
READ MORE: Patients face being sent to back of NHS queue as waiting list reviewed
Myanmar struggles against pandemic
The Telegraph’s Asia Correspondent, Nicola Smith, reports on Myanmar’s struggle in its fight against the pandemic:
Myanmar is struggling to contain a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases, with fatalities hitting a new one-day record on Sunday of 41, bringing the total to 412 from only seven one month ago.
The Southeast Asian nation of 53 million people had appeared to avoid taking a hit from the coronavirus pandemic this year, but the spread of the disease has now taken a worrying turn in a country that has one of the world’s weakest health systems.
The number of infections has now risen to 17,794, which is the third-highest toll in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia and the Philippines.
Deaths and case numbers are doubling faster than anywhere in the world, according to Reuters figures.
More than 45,000 people, including patients, those yet to be tested, their close contacts and returning migrant workers, are being housed in public buildings and helped by thousands of volunteers.
“The situation is not good. Our ambulances and crews can’t even get a break,” Kyi Myint, 66, who leads a volunteer group in the badly hit Yankin township, told the newswire.
India records nearly 75,000 cases in 24 hours
India’s coronavirus case tally rose by 74,442 in the past 24 hours to 6.63 million on Monday morning, data from the health ministry showed.
Deaths from coronavirus infections rose by 903 to 102,685.
India’s death toll from coronavirus rose past 100,000 on Saturday, only the third country in the world to reach that bleak milestone, after the United States and Brazil, and its epidemic shows no sign of abating.
Last week, India further eased restrictions and permitted states to open schools and movie theatres.
Warning for MP who took Covid to the Commons
Margaret Ferrier faces being kicked out of her seat by her constituents, the SNP’s Westminster leader has warned as she continues to ignore Nicola Sturgeon’s personal appeal to quit.
Ian Blackford said the Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP, who travelled from Scotland to the Commons and back by train while suffering from coronavirus, should “do the honourable thing” and resign her seat.
In a direct warning to Ms Ferrier, he told The Telegraph that failing to resign “on her own terms” would mean she risks “having her fate taken out of her hands”.
READ MORE: Margaret Ferrier faces being kicked out by her constituents if she refuses to resign
Secret Service agents ‘needlessly at risk for infection’
White House spokesman Judd Deere said “appropriate” precautions had been taken to protect Donald Trump and his support staff – including the use of protective gear – when he headed out to thank his supporters on Sunday.
“The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do,” Mr Deere said.
But Zeke Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and regular TV pundit, described the appearance as “shameful”.
“Making his Secret Service agents drive with a Covid-19 patient, with windows up no less, put them needlessly at risk for infection. And for what? A PR stunt,” he tweeted.
Trump criticised for putting lives at risk over ‘political theatre’
US President Donald Trump sparked an angry backlash from the medical community on Sunday with a protocol-breaking visit to his supporters outside the hospital where he is being treated for the highly infectious, potentially deadly coronavirus.
He was masked as he waved from inside his bulletproof vehicle during the short trip outside Walter Reed Military Medical Centre near Washington, which appeared designed to take back the narrative on his improving health after a weekend of muddled messaging from his doctors.
The last-minute limousine outing came with Mr Trump’s doctors satisfied enough about his progress to suggest the possibility of his being discharged on Monday.
But experts complained that the outing broke his own government’s public health guidelines requiring patients to isolate – and endangered his Secret Service protection.
Mr Trump, who has been repeatedly rebuked for flouting public health guidelines and spreading misinformation on the pandemic, said in a video that dropped on Twitter just before the appearance that he had learnt a lot about Covid by “really going to school” as he battled the virus.
But health experts took to the airwaves and social media to criticise the “stunt” which they said demonstrated that he had learnt nothing at all.
“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,” said James Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University.
“They might get sick. They may die. For political theatre. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theatre. This is insanity.”
’95pc probability’ of Auckland cluster elimination
Coronavirus restrictions in New Zealand’s largest city will be lifted this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday as she expressed confidence a second wave of Covid-19 infections in Auckland has almost been eliminated.
The city will move to alert level one from 11.59pm on Wednesday (local time) – joining the rest of the country – after reporting no new cases in the Auckland cluster for 10 consecutive days.
“There is now a 95 per cent probability of the cluster being eliminated,” Ms Ardern said.
“Covid-19 will be with us for many months to come. But we should still mark these milestones.”
The country recorded one new case on Monday, involving a New Zealander returning from overseas, taking its total number of confirmed cases to 1,499, including 25 deaths.
Biden tests negative again
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tested negative again for Covid-19 on Sunday in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, his campaign said.
Mr Biden, who shared a debate stage with President Donald Trump last Tuesday in Cleveland, also tested negative in two tests on Friday, the day Mr Trump disclosed his coronavirus infection.
The campaign gave no other details when asked about the frequency of Mr Biden’s recent testing.
Trump taking steroids after drop in oxygen levels
US President Donald Trump’s doctors have revealed his oxygen levels dropped two days running and that he is taking a steroid treatment to help counter coronavirus, admitting they gave an “upbeat” assessment of his health in an earlier briefing.
But the President’s physician, Dr Sean P. Conley, said Mr Trump’s health had improved and he could be discharged as early as Monday.
Dr Conley admitted giving an overly rosy picture of Mr Trump’s health in a Saturday briefing, where he did not admit the President had received supplemental oxygen.
Read the full story here.
White House under fire over contact tracing
The White House and the Trump campaign have yet to offer contact tracing to hundreds of people who may have been exposed to coronavirus in the days before President Donald Trump tested positive, according to reports.
According to The Washington Post, the Centres for Disease Control and Protection has yet to be asked to mobilise the contact tracing team it has on standby.
Health officials in Minnesota, New Jersey and Ohio, where Mr Trump held events recently, say they have also yet to be contacted by the White House.
Already three senators have tested positive for the virus.
Read the full story here.
Trump surprises supporters with a visit
Donald Trump has paid a surprise visit to the hundreds of supporters who gathered outside Walter Reed Medical Centre, where the US president has been treated since Friday night, waving as he drove by in his motorcade.
The huge crowds cheered and waved as the president left his hospital bed to offer a personal thank you to the well-wishers who had been stationed outside the facility for hours on end, waving “Trump 2020” flags and holding signs praying for his recovery.
Mr Trump made the announcement of his “little surprise” visit in a short video posted on Twitter moments before the presidential motorcade drove by the hundreds of supporters gathered outside.
READ MORE: ‘People drove 10 hours to see him’ – Donald Trump devotees gather outside treatment centre