PM urges authorities to keep schools open even if local lockdowns are imposed

Eufemia Didonato

Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

Boris Johnson has urged local authorities to keep schools open even if local lockdowns are imposed.

Responding to the growing tension around children returning to schools in Septe, Boris Johnson said today that he hoped schools would not be forced to close as a result of local action – but has not ruled it out. 

The Prime Minister, who was visiting a school in east London, said: “I very much hope that doesn’t happen for any pupils but clearly what we are doing – the way we are trying to manage the Covid pandemic – is to have local measures in place and local test and trace to introduce restrictions where that’s necessary.

“But, as we have all said, the last thing we want to do is to close schools.

“We think that education is the priority for the country and that is simple social justice.”

A rota system for schools which would see pupils attend on a week on-week off basis would make “very little difference” to the overall Covid-19 infection rate, a leading scientist has said. 

Professor Russell Viner, the president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health who sits on the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said young children were “very minor players” in the spread of the virus. 

It came as Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, warned that schools were “losing patience” with the Government’s demands to have all children back in school next month, but with no official backup plan in place if this was not possible.

He said: “If you want to limit the number of children on site or travelling to and from school, a big part of that is using rotas and the obvious way to do it is ‘week on, week off ’

Coronavirus podcast newest episode
Coronavirus podcast newest episode

 Follow the latest coronavirus updates below.

04:15 PM

Fifth of Tokyo 2020 volunteers could pull out of rearranged Olympics

In sports news, Tokyo 2020 is facing the potential loss of a fifth of its volunteer workforce due to Covid-19 disruption, a survey published today has suggested.

In a questionnaire carried out in the first three weeks of July, 21.5 per cent of those due to work around the sporting venues and athletes’ village said they believed that they may need to pull out due to the impact the pandemic has had on their studies or job situation.

Two thirds of volunteers, meanwhile, expressed safety concerns over next summer’s postponed Games, even before cases spiked recently in the Japanese capital.

The cumulative total of infections in Japan surpassed 50,000 today, with Tokyo continuing to be the worst hit area, confirming 197 new daily infections, the first drop under 200 since July 27.

Tom Morgan has more detail on this story here. 

04:02 PM

15 year old boy admits ‘coronavirus hate crime attack’ 

A 15-year-old boy has today admitted punching a Singaporean law student and telling him that “I don’t want your coronavirus in my country”.

The teenager’s “vicious and completely unprovoked” attack on Oxford Street in February left victim Jonathan Mok, 23, with a bloodied and bruised face which required surgery, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said. 

Mr Mok was coming back home after a dinner in central London when he was “clearly targeted in this hate crime because of his ethnic appearance”, CPS senior crown prosecutor Daniel Kavanagh said.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Monday, the CPS said. He will be sentenced at the same court on September 7.

“Hate crime has a corrosive effect on our society and nobody should be subjected to such vile behaviour,” Mr Kavanagh said. 

“The prosecution case included CCTV footage of the incident, leaving the defendant little choice but to plead guilty and own up to his actions.”

03:50 PM

Iranian government closes newspaper that cast doubt on official numbers

In Iran the government has shut down a newspaper today after it quoted a former member of the national coronavirus taskforce as saying the country’s tolls from the epidemic could be 20 times higher than official figure.

“The Jahan-e Sanat newspaper was shut down today for publishing an interview on Sunday,” the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Mohammadreza Saadi, told IRNA, a state news agency.

On Sunday, the newspaper published an interview with Mohammadreza Mahboubfar, in which he said: “The figures announced by the officials on coronavirus cases and deaths account for only 5 per cent of the country’s real tolls”.

Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari rejected Mahboubfar’s remarks and said he was not a member of the National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce, according to IRNA.  It was not clear if she meant he had never been a member of the body, as claimed by the newspaper.

Iran is one of the worst-hit countries from Covid-19 in the Middle East, with 18,616 dead and 328,844 infected cases – you can see the trajectory of the country’s outbreak here:

Coronavirus Iran Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Iran Spotlight Chart – Cases default

03:37 PM

Fears of a ‘second wave’ of uncoordinated border restrictions in Europe

We’ve heard a lot about fears that about a resurgence in cases across Europe – but concerns are also  mounting about a “second wave” of uncoordinated border restrictions within the continent that threatens the free movement of goods and people.

Despite repeated warnings about the dangers of unannounced checks, some countries have imposed new restrictions or demanded that travelers quarantine, recalling the panic border closures after Europe’s first outbreak emerged in Italy in February, blocking traffic and medical equipment. 

Beyond the economic impact of uncoordinated measures, experts fear that countries are becoming so used to lowering the gates at their frontiers as they see fit that the future of Europe’s ID-check free travel zone known as the Schengen area is in real peril.

In a letter to national governments – seen by The Associated Press and sent to the 27 EU member countries and Britain – the European Commission warns that:

“While we must ensure that the EU is ready for possible resurgences of Covid-19 cases … we should at the same time avoid a second wave of uncoordinated actions at the internal borders of the EU.”

“The re-establishment of ineffective restrictions and internal border controls must be avoided. Rather, the response should be to have targeted, proportionate and coordinated measures, informed by scientific evidence.”

Belgium – where EU headquarters are based – does not allow travel to some regions in Spain, notably Catalonia in the north, and also has bans on people coming from parts of France, Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Romania and Switzerland.

Scandinavian nations are notably quick to react to any rise in infection rates. Denmark’s foreign ministry now has Spain, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Romania and Andorra on its so-called red list. Norway, which is not an EU member but is part of the Schengen area, has not hesitated either.

The use of compulsory Covid-19 testing is also growing. Germany is testing people arriving from high-risk areas, including parts of Bulgaria and Romania, which are EU partners but not members of the Schengen area. Greece and Italy are taking similar steps for the two countries.

The UK has also reintroduced travel restrictions for countries including Spain and Belgium – and according to senior government sources France ‘days away from being added to quarantine list’.

Find out more over on our travel liveblog. 

03:24 PM

UK: 816 new coronavirus cases confirmed

The latest daily coronavirus figures are out – in the 24 hours up to 9am this morning, the UK reported 816 new Covid-19 infections. 

This is a drop from yesterday’s figure of 1,062, which was the highest daily tally since late June. A total of 311,641 people have now been infected with the coronavirus, according to Public Health England figures, since the pandemic first arrived in the UK. 

 Related: Daily Covid-19 death count could be scrapped

Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart – Cases default

03:14 PM

Troubled test and trace system to be scaled back as local authorities told to take more control

The failing test and trace system will be scaled back nationally under new plans to put more “boots on the ground” to stop the spread of coronavirus, our Health Editor Laura Donnelly reports. 

Council workers will be told to knock on the doors of people who fail to respond to calls warning them that they have been in contact with positive virus cases. Every local authority will be instructed to send staff out to trace contacts if test and trace call handlers are unable to track them down. 

The major overhaul follows warnings that the safe reopening of schools depends on improvements in efforts to test and track the virus.  

The national service will be reduced from 18,000 to 12,000 contact tracers amid concerns that, in recent months, thousands of outsourced workers have been sitting idle. Some of the staff lost from call centres will be redeployed to help local tracing efforts, officials said. 

The new plans mean all councils can follow hotspots such as Blackburn with Darwen (see video below) in sending workers out to chase up the contacts of infected people who have failed to respond. 

 Read more about this story here. 

03:02 PM

Surge in cases threatens to derail Cuba’s reopening

Cuba reported a record 93 cases of the new coronavirus on Monday as a surge of the disease in the Havana area threatened to stall the re-opening of the country after a partial lockdown beginning in March.

Most of the cases were in Havana, where a partial lockdown was re-imposed on Monday, and in neighboring Artemisa province. The area has been isolated from the rest of the country where with but few exceptions no cases have been reported in more than two months.

In Havana, restaurants, bars and pools are once more closed, public transportation suspended and access to the beach banned.

Cuba has been hailed as a rare success story in Latin America for its textbook handling and containment of its coronavirus outbreak through contact tracing and isolation of potential asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.

Perhaps of most concern to officials in Monday’s health ministry report was that 22 cases had not been traced to contacts, a figure way above the usual two or three untraceable cases per day.

“We are witnessing a new epidemiological outbreak that puts our entire population at risk,” Cuban Health Minister Jose Angel Portal said during a daily coronavirus briefing on Saturday.

Cuba has reported just under 3,000 cases and 88 deaths to date. 

hildrens talk while wearing masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus pandemic in Havana, Cuba - Yander Zamora/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
hildrens talk while wearing masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus pandemic in Havana, Cuba – Yander Zamora/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

02:57 PM

Curfew imposed in Greece’s tourist hotspots

Greece has announced a night curfew for restaurants and bars in some of its top tourist destinations after new coronavirus infections hit a new high.

A government spokeswoman also announced new entry restrictions for Balkan arrivals and flight passengers from several EU countries.

Areas in which eateries and bars will be closed from midnight to 0700 include the popular islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, Rhodes and Crete, spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni said in a televised address.

The restriction will be in place from Tuesday to August 23, she said.

In addition, all passengers on flights from Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden arriving from August 17 must provide a negative COVID-19 result obtained up to 72 hours before entry, as must all land border arrivals. And only 750 people will be allowed in daily from Albania as of August 16, Peloni said.

Greece’s public health watchdog on Sunday announced 203 new infections, the most since the start of the pandemic. A total of 212 people have died from the virus.

Coronavirus Greece Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus Greece Spotlight Chart – cases default

02:49 PM

Six more die in England

A further six people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,419, NHS England said on Monday.

The patients were aged between 65 and 93 and all had known underlying health conditions.

No deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

The region with the highest number of deaths was the South East with four.

There were also two deaths in the North East and Yorkshire but all other regions of England recorded no deaths for the same time period, including the North West, where local lockdown measures are in place around Greater Manchester.

02:40 PM

Test and Trace may resort to door-knocks to track down contacts

People who have been in contact with confirmed coronavirus cases may get a knock on their door if tracers are unable to reach them over the phone after health officials announced plans to strengthen regional test and trace powers in England.

In pilot schemes, this has meant that local authorities have been able to visit people at homes where national contact tracers have been unable to reach them.

It comes after criticism that the national system was not tapping into local knowledge.

Now NHS Test and Trace will provide local authorities across England with a dedicated team of contact tracers for local areas.

NHS Test and Trace, Public Health England and local authorities will be able to work together to ensure more people are reached, the Department for Health and Social Care said.

02:32 PM

Online ordering prompts increase in lockdown plastic waste

The use of plastic has risen during lockdown with online ordering largely to blame, according to a survey. 

While households have tried to reduce their plastic waste output for several years, the coronavirus crisis seems to have reversed that progress.

The waste that rose most during lockdown included snack wrappers, delivery parcel bags and PPE (personal protective equipment).

Some 483 people across the UK stored up and recorded their household’s plastic waste for a week as part of the Everyday Plastic Survey during lockdown, collecting almost 23,000 pieces of rubbish between them.

The survey found households got through 128 pieces of plastic waste a week on average, up from 99 in similar surveys conducted before lockdown.

Helena Horton reports. Read more here.

Examples of household plastic waste - Everyday Plastic / PA
Examples of household plastic waste – Everyday Plastic / PA

02:20 PM

Abandoned department stores could become Amazon fulfillment centers

Amazon is said to be considering turning department stores into distribution hubs, as shoppers continue to avoid the high street.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon has been in talks with US shopping centre group Simon Property over converting JCPenney and Sears department stores into storage centres for its online site. There are 63 Penney and 11 Sears stores in Simon shopping centres.

The report said it was not yet clear how many stores were being considered and that an agreement may not come to fruition. 

Hannah Boland has more on this here.

the logo of US online retail giant Amazon - INA FASSBENDER / AFP
the logo of US online retail giant Amazon – INA FASSBENDER / AFP

02:05 PM

WHO chief praises north England lockdown

Reimposing restrictions in areas of northern England demonstrates a “strong and precise” approach to suppress coronavirus flare-ups, according to the World Health Organization. 

Speaking at a virtual press conference in Geneva Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, praised several governments, including the UK, France, South Korea and Germany, for “using all the tools at their disposal to tackle any new spikes”.

“Over the last few days, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson put areas of northern England under stay at home notifications, as clusters of cases were identified,” Dr Tedros said.

“In France, President Macron introduced compulsory masking in busy outdoor spaces of Paris in response to an increase in cases.

“Strong and precise measures like these, in combination with utilising every tool at our disposal, are key to preventing any resurgence in disease and allowing societies to be reopened safely,” he added. 

Sarah Newey has the full details here.

01:53 PM

Kenya is battling rising Covid-19 infections in prisons

Kenyan health officials are grappling with a rise in Covid-19 cases in congested prisons across the country with the effects of infections in the correctional facilities spiralling to courts, the Daily Nation has reported.

Court proceedings have been disrupted in various parts of the country as the Covid-19 situation worsens.

In Migori County, health officials have blamed the rise in Covid-19 cases to congestion in correctional facilities, with 96 infections having been reported at the Migori GK Prison.

While at the Kakamega Law Courts, criminal proceedings have been suspended for 14 days after prosecutors and staff at the Western region Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions tested positive for Covid-19.

Kenyan medical staff, in a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) gear checks the medical records of a handcuffed Covid-19 patient and a prisoner - Daniel Irungu/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Kenyan medical staff, in a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) gear checks the medical records of a handcuffed Covid-19 patient and a prisoner – Daniel Irungu/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

01:35 PM

Rise in UK Covid-19 cases: is better testing fuelling the increase?

Fears of a fresh Covid-19 surge mounted this week as the UK saw its largest rise in new cases since the end of June, with a total of 1,062 people testing positive for Covid-19 in a single day. 

But could better testing be fueling the increase? Dominic Gilbert and Alex Clark looked at the story behind the data.

Read up on it here.

UK Covid-19 figures
UK Covid-19 figures

01:28 PM

Parisians left confused as face masks made mandatory on some city centre streets  

Many Parisians were confused on Monday about the areas where they are required to wear face masks outdoors, under a new rule introduced amid a spike in new coronavirus infections.

People strolling along the banks of the River Seine or window-shopping in some of Paris’s busiest areas, where social distancing is difficult, could be fined €135 (£121) or jailed for six months if they breach the rule three times in a month. But police say they will simply caution people and ask them to put on a mask for the time being.

The rule, which came into force on Monday and is valid for a month initially, applies to about 100 Paris streets, mainly those often crowded with shoppers, as well as outdoor markets, the banks of the Seine, and paths along canals where crowds of young people gather for picnics and drinks. But Parisians said they were having trouble deciphering a map released by the city authorities specifying the locations covered. 

David Chazan has more on this here.

People wearing protective face masks walk at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France - Benoit Tessier / Reuters
People wearing protective face masks walk at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France – Benoit Tessier / Reuters

01:10 PM

New Zealand to extend travel bubble to Cooks Islands

New Zealand plans to open a virus-free “travel bubble” with the tiny Pacific realm of Cook Islands before year’s end, Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, said yesterday, while expressing caution about a similar arrangement with Australia.

Ms Ardern said the quarantine-free travel corridor was possible because New Zealand and the Cooks – an archipelago of under 10,000 people – had successfully contained the coronavirus.

“Our expectation is that it would be in place before the end of the year,” she told reporters, adding that officials were being careful not to move too quickly on the proposal.

“The last thing anyone wants is to reopen travel, only to have it closed down again because it hasn’t been done properly.”

New Zealand has recorded only 22 coronavirus deaths in a population of five million, and marked 100 days since its last case of community transmission on Sunday, while the Cooks declared itself virus-free in mid-April.

The economic benefits of the travel bubble are expected to be felt mostly in the Cooks, a popular tourist destination where Ms Ardern estimated 60 percent of pre-virus visitors were from New Zealand.

12:50 PM

Iraq records more than 3,400 new Covid-19 cases 

On Monday, Iraq’s Ministry of Health reported 3,484 new confirmed cases of coronavirus cases. This brings the total number of cases in the country to at least 153,599. 

The health ministry also reported at least 72 Covid-19 related deaths. That brings the total number of deaths in Iraq to at least 5,464.

12:38 PM

Child cases surge in the US

More than 97,000 children have tested positive for coronavirus across the US in the last two weeks of July, according to a new report.

The report, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, said in those two weeks, there was a 40 per cent increase in child cases across the states and cities that were studied.

The age range for children differed by state, with some defining children as only those up to age 14 and one state – Alabama – pushing the limit to 24. As new academic year looms, public school nurses call for more funding to battle the coronavirus.

The compiled data comes during back-to-school season as health officials are trying to understand the effects of the virus on children and the role young people play in its spread. 

12:25 PM

California public health director resigns

The head of California’s public health department resigned late on Sunday, just days after the state announced a fix for a glitch that caused a lag in collecting coronavirus test information that’s used to make decisions about reopening businesses and schools.

Dr. Sonia Angell said she was departing from her role as director and state public health officer at the California Department of Public Health in a letter to staff released by the California Health and Human Services Agency. Angell did not give a specific reason for her departure.

Sandra Shewry, vice president of external engagement for California Health Care Foundation, will fill the role of acting health director, the health and human services department said. Dr. Erica Pan, who was recently appointed state epidemiologist, will be the acting state public health officer.

Angell’s announcement comes after California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the glitch caused up to 300,000 records to be backlogged, though not all of them were coronavirus cases and some could be duplicates. The problem affected the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange, also known as CalREDIE.

“I am grateful to Dr. Angell for her service to the people of California,” Ghaly said in the statement late Sunday. “Her leadership was instrumental as Californians flattened the curve once and in setting us on a path to do so again.”

12:19 PM

India struggles to contain world’s fastest-growing epidemic

India witnessed more than 1,000 daily Covid-19 deaths on Sunday, as the world’s second-most populous nation struggles to contain the world’s fastest-growing epidemic.

India has now recorded over 2.2 million cases and 44,386 deaths, although the fatality rate is thought to be a huge underestimation with many hospitals recording Covid-19 deaths by the victim’s co-morbidity instead.

The deadly virus is not only surging in India’s megacities of New Delhi and Mumbai but has also taken hold in its rural areas, after millions of migrant labourers lost their jobs and returned to their remote hometowns and villages during a nine-week lockdown which ended on June 1.

India’s public healthcare system is one of the most underfunded in the world, with just £2 spent per person annually, and its hospitals are not only running out of beds but also healthcare professionals.

One doctor in the western city of Surat told the Telegraph that untrained physiotherapists and interns were being expected to look after ventilated Covid-19 patients after just one-hour training, causing avoidable deaths.

The Serum Institute of India is undergoing final trials of the Oxford Vaccine and if successful, hopes to begin immunising some of India’s most vulnerable citizens by November.

Without a vaccine, India is not expected to reach its Covid-19 peak until next February, when 280,000 new cases would be predicted every day, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study.

Joe Wallen reports from New Delhi.

Indians wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus walk at a market in Jammu, India - Channi Anand / AP
Indians wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus walk at a market in Jammu, India – Channi Anand / AP

12:07 PM

Today’s key events

Good afternoon, if you’re just joining us, here is everything you need to know: 

  • The world is creeping every closer to 20 million coronavirus cases. John Hopkins University has the current total at 19,887,261 against 731,570 deaths.

  • The World Health Organization has said that it has received just 10 per cent of the funds need to fight Covid-19 and if the funding needs are not met then the window of opportunity to turn the pandemic around will continue to narrow.

  • Boris Johnson urged authorities to keep schools open even if local lockdowns are imposed.

  • The official Covid-19 death toll may never be brought back following an investigation into Public Health England’s method of counting it, the Telegraph understands.

  • Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of NHS workers have said their mental health and general well-being has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, a new study has found.

  • France is days away from being added to the UK’s quarantine list, according to senior sources within the Government. 

  • More than half of Nepal’s female students will be unable to return to school after the Covid-19 pandemic as economic hardship forces them to find employment to keep their families afloat, according to a new study.

  • The United States and Taiwan have signed a historic memorandum of understanding on health cooperation, acknowledging their “deep friendship and partnership across security, economic, health care and democratic, open, transparent values.”  

11:46 AM

WHO says it trusts G7 to act together on crises amid overhaul talk

The World Health Organization trusts powerful nations such as the Group of Seven to reach a consensus on how to approach health crises such as the coronavirus, Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said today.

France and Germany have quit talks on reforming the WHO in frustration at attempts by the United States to lead the negotiations, despite its decision to leave the WHO, three officials told Reuters.

The move is a setback for President Donald Trump as Washington, which holds the rotating chair of the G7, had hoped to issue a joint roadmap for a sweeping overhaul of the WHO in September, two months before the U.S. presidential election.

“We are all vulnerable to risks, we need to find global solutions,” Ryan said. “…We trust the G7 will play a major part in that in the months and years to come.”

11:43 AM

Developing world’s burgeoning middle class risk being wiped out in coronavirus crash

The world’s poorest have been hard hit by Covid-19, which the World Bank estimates could push up to 71 million people back into extreme poverty in 2020.

But as well as reversing years of poverty reduction, the pandemic has also punctured the growth of the developing world’s burgeoning middle class.

Susannah Savage and Yashab Osama interview the professionals being forced into low-skilled jobs in low-income countries hit hardest by the pandemic. 

Read more here.

 Dhaka's rickshaw pullers - Tousif Farhad
Dhaka’s rickshaw pullers – Tousif Farhad

11:33 AM

‘Vast global gap’ in funds to fight coronavirus, WHO says

There is a “vast global gap” between funds needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic and funds committed, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today as he admitted that the WHO is only “10 per cent of the way” there.

“The coming three months present a crucial window of opportunity to scale out the impact of the ACT accelerator for global impact,” Tedros told a briefing in Geneva, referring to the “Access to COVID-19 Tools”.

“However to exploit this window, we have to fundamentally scale up the way we are funding the ACT Accelerator and prioritise the use of new tools. There is a vast global gap between our ambition for the ACT accelerator, and the amount of funds that have been committed.”

He said the WHO was only “10 per cent of the way” to funding the billions of dollars required.

“For the vaccines alone, over $100 billion will be needed,” Tedros said. However he said he saw “green shoots of hope”.

“It is never too late to turn the pandemic around,” Tedros said. The message is to “suppress, suppress, suppress”.

11:30 AM

Don’t take pressure off Covid-19 fight, warns WHO

The coronavirus sweeping the world has shown no seasonal pattern and if health authorities take the pressure off fighting it, it will bounce back, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

Dr Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said Western Europe and elsewhere needed to react fast to new flareups.

11:12 AM

Half of Nepali girls will never return to school after Covid-19

More than half of Nepal’s female students will be unable to return to school after the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a concerning new study by the Room to Read NGO.

The economic devastation caused by Nepal’s four-month-long Covid-19 lockdown – which was only lifted on July 22 – has resulted in girls across the country being put under pressure to quit their studies and seek employment.

Many Nepalis work informally and without an agreed salary, typically in agriculture or industry. Lockdown has since left many parents without a job and without a source of income for months.

In times of previous crisis in Nepal, remittances from Nepalis abroad have been able to bridge the gap – they constitute over one-quarter of Nepal’s economy. However, Nepalis abroad have also been unable to work and send back money during the pandemic.

Almost 24 million children worldwide are at risk of not returning to school because of the financial impact of the Covid-19 virus, according to the United Nations, rolling back development gains.

Joe Wallen reports from New Delhi.

A volunteer provides free face mask for a girl attending Lalitpur's Machindranath chariot festival, Nepal - Niranjan Shrestha / AP
A volunteer provides free face mask for a girl attending Lalitpur’s Machindranath chariot festival, Nepal – Niranjan Shrestha / AP

10:55 AM

Greece sees highest daily case count since the start of the pandemic

Greece recorded its highest ever daily tally of Covid-19 cases yesterday.

The country reported 203 new cases, most of which are in its two largest cities: Athens and Thessaloniki. Twenty-two patients in Greece are intubated, up from 14 on Friday.

The Greek government is expected to announce new pandemic measures this week amid the rising numbers.

Greece has so far recorded 5,623 coronavirus cases and 212 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus Greece Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus Greece Spotlight Chart – cases default

10:46 AM

‘Every life lost matters’, says WHO chief

This week the world will reach 20 million coronavirus cases and 750 thousand deaths, said Dr Tedros, the World Health Organization chief. 

“Behind these statistics is a great deal of pain and suffering,” he told a press conference. “Every life lost matters”

However it is not all doom and gloom, he suggested:

“I know many of you are grieving and that this is a difficult moment for the world.  But I want to be clear, there are green shoots of hope and no matter where a country, a region, a city or a town is – it’s never too late to turn the Covid-19 outbreak around”

Some countries, including the Mekong Region, New Zealand, Rwanda, and many island states across the Caribbean and the Pacific have been able to suppress the virus, he said.

While “other countries like France, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Italy and the UK had major outbreaks of the virus but when they took action, they were able to suppress it. Many countries globally are now using all the tools at their disposal to tackle any new spikes,” he said.

Recent actions by these Governments have shown that the virus can be brought under control, Dr Tedros said.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization - Salvatore Di Nolfi
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization – Salvatore Di Nolfi

10:38 AM

World Health Organization briefing begins

The latest Covdid-19 briefing from the World Health Organization has begun. We’ll bring you all the latest updates from the conference, but for now you can follow along live below: 

10:37 AM

Racial bias found in formula for distributing US Covid-19 hospital aid

A formula used by the United States’ federal government to distribute funds to hospitals through the CARES Act has shortchanged those that serve largely Black populations, new research has found.

The formula allocated chunks of a $175 billion (£134,1 billion) relief package based on a hospital’s past revenue from Medicare and not where the most Covid-19 cases currently were, STAT News has reported.

The study found that large hospitals with many resources went on to gain more funding, while leaving smaller hospitals, which tend to serve black patients, wanting.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which was responsible for distributing the funding, said in a statement that the department allocated the money in a “data-driven manner” in order to provide relief to hospitals swiftly in the weeks after the legislation was passed. 

However, the study adds to a growing body of evidence showing that communities with large numbers of people of color are getting hit harder during the pandemic, with higher rates of infection than wealthier white communities, STAT news said.

10:26 AM

Government will ‘not hesitate’ to impose quarantine on travellers

Boris Johnson has said ministers will “not hesitate” to impose a quarantine system for travellers from other countries to the UK if needed.

The Prime Minister said:

“I don’t want to advise people about their individual holidays, individual decisions, they should look at the travel advice from the Foreign Office clearly.

“But what I will say, and I hope people would expect us to do this, in the context of a global pandemic, we’ve got to keep looking at the data in all the countries to which British people want to travel.

“Where it is necessary to impose restrictions or to impose a quarantine system, we will not hesitate to do so.

“It’s been a huge effort for the entire population of this country to get the disease down to the levels that we are currently seeing, but we do not want reinfection and that’s why we’ve got to keep a very, very close eye on the data in destinations around the world.”

10:16 AM

India’s former President tests positive for virus

Pranab Mukherjee, India’s president from 2012 – 2017, has just announced that he has tested positive for Covid-19.

A tweet from his official handle also urged anyone who had come into contact with him to self-isolate and get tested.

The 84-year-old added that he had discovered he had the disease while in hospital for a “separate procedure”.

Mr Mukherjee is one of several high-profile Indians to announce that they have contracted the virus in recent days. The federal home minister Amit Shah is receiving treatment for Covid-19 in the capital Delhi, and just last week, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan and his family left a hospital in Mumbai after recovering from the disease.

India is the world’s third-most affected country, recording more than 2.2 million cases in total. More than 63,000 cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours alone.

Coronavirus India Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus India Spotlight Chart – Cases default

10:05 AM

 Boris Johnson says he ‘hopes’ schools will not be shut during local lockdowns 

Boris Johnson has said he hoped schools would not be forced to close as a result of local action – but has not ruled it out. 

The Prime Minister, who was visiting a school in east London, said:

“I very much hope that doesn’t happen for any pupils but clearly what we are doing – the way we are trying to manage the Covid pandemic – is to have local measures in place and local test and trace to introduce restrictions where that’s necessary.

“But, as we have all said, the last thing we want to do is to close schools.

“We think that education is the priority for the country and that is simple social justice.”

10:04 AM

Russell Group universities prepare to lower entry grades after struggle to fill courses

Russell Group universities are preparing to drastically lower their entry requirements as over 4,000 courses remain unfilled.

With less than a week to go until students receive their A-level results, nearly three quarters of the country’s most prestigious institutions are struggling to fill places on their undergraduate programmes.

Seventeen of the 24 Russell Group universities still have vacancies on courses, according to the university admissions site Ucas.

Camilla Turner has the story here.

09:49 AM

Hong Kong reports 69 new cases

Hong Kong reported 69 new coronavirus cases on Monday, of which 67 were locally transmitted, as authorities battled to contain a resurgence of the virus over the last six weeks.

Since late January, over 4,000 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 55 of whom have died. On Sunday, Hong Kong reported 72 new cases.

09:34 AM

Business lending to hit 13-year high as further redundancies loom

Banks will lend more to British businesses this year than at any point since the financial crash, as the UK seeks to stave off waves of redundancies. 

In its interim bank lending forecast, EY said it was expecting business lending to grow by 14pc this year, in what would be a 13-year high. Last year, business lending grew by 2pc. 

EY said in March banks lent non-financial companies more than £30bn net of repayments, which was around 100 times the average net lending of the twelve months to February.

Omar Ali, financial services managing partner at EY, said Covid-19 had resulted in a “staggering amount of money being lent to firms over a short period of time”.

“With a weakened economy, banks face increasing write-offs on all types of lending and, with slow growth for consumer credit forecast, this will add pressure to their profitability and ultimately their ability to lend more to businesses to help kick start growth,” he said.

Hannah Boland has more here. 

09:19 AM

US health secretary praises Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen in ‘breakthrough’ meeting

S Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday during the highest-level visit by an American Cabinet official since the break in formal diplomatic ties between Washington and Taipei in 1979.

Ms Tsai said to reporters at the Presidential Office Building that said she looked for “even more breakthroughs and fruits of cooperation” in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and other issues to “jointly contribute to the sustained peaceful development of the Indo-Pacific region.”

Mr Azar praised Taiwan’s response to Covid-19 and said its success was a tribute to the “open, transparent, democratic nature of Taiwan’s society and culture.”

“It’s a true honour to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from President Trump to Taiwan,” Mr Azar said.

Our foreign staff have more on this here.

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, left, is greeted by Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, right, during a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan - Pool Central News Agency
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, left, is greeted by Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, right, during a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan – Pool Central News Agency

09:09 AM

France ‘days away from being added to quarantine list’ 

France is days away from being added to the UK’s quarantine list, according to senior sources within the Government. 

The Foreign Office is due to update its ‘safe’ list this week, with Portugal hoping to gain its first travel corridor of the pandemic, meaning returning holidaymakers will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days. France, however, is one of several countries in Europe to have seen a rise in its number of coronavirus infections in recent days. 

Paul Charles, spokesperson for campaign group Quash Quarantine and founder of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said he understood France, along with Switzerland, Poland and the Netherlands, could be subject to fresh restrictions. 

“I know from senior government sources that anything above 20 per 100,000 for a period of seven days or more is likely to lead to that country being added to the quarantine list,” he wrote in Telegraph Travel. 

“On that basis, France has just two days to gets its numbers below 20 – which is highly unlikely despite face masks now being mandatory in many outdoor public spaces, not just indoors in shops.”

Our travel blog has all the latest on this here.

Coronavirus France Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus France Spotlight Chart – Cases default

08:56 AM

Shame and embarrassment stopping NHS workers from seeking mental health support, study finds 

Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of NHS workers have said their mental health and general well-being has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study from charity Duty To Care.

Though this statistic is relatively unsurprising, 60 per cent have not considered seeking help for these issues and nearly a quarter (23 per cent) cited “shame and embarrassment” as a key barrier for doing so.

The charity, which provides free mental health and well-being support via online consultation, surveyed 500 NHS workers about how their mental health has been impacted by the pandemic.

Survey respondents also cited experiencing anxiety (70 per cent), sleep problems (64 per cent), depression or low mood (51 per cent), irritability (49 per cent), and low self-esteem (27 per cent) among other challenges they are currently facing.

Nicky Perl, therapist for Duty To Care, said:

“I’m not surprised to see that a high percentage of NHS workers have not considered seeking help. All my clients admitted they found it hard to accept the free support on offer. 

“It often took the intervention of a concerned colleague to encourage them to take that first step, which perhaps says something about the ethos of the NHS – to just carry on.

“The pandemic has completely turned the lives of our healthcare professionals upside down, making an already stressful job and working environment much harder to deal with. Many are suffering from ‘imposter syndrome’, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from, not only what they’ve experienced day to day on the front line, but also past traumas, and general mental and physical exhaustion.”

08:42 AM

Malta poised for quarantine restrictions as cases rise 

Malta is at risk of losing its travel corridor with the UK after a rise in coronavirus cases saw fresh lockdown measures introduced.

The island nation saw its 14-day cumulative number of new cases rise above 50 per 100,000, a figure that last week saw Belgium removed from the Foreign Office’s ‘safe list’.

Malta has seen a sharp uptick in infections in recent days, prompting authorities to enforce the mandatory wearing of face masks in public and ban large gatherings. The country has recorded just over 1,000 cases and nine deaths. 

Malta relies on tourism for a third of its GDP; one hotel manager told Telegraph Travel last week that any new restrictions would be “devastating”. 

The UK Government is expected to make further amends to its list of travel corridors this week, with a number of countries in the firing line for quarantine restrictions. On the other hand, Portugal is hoping to be added to the ‘safe’ list for the first time.

Our travel blog has more on this here.

Valletta, the Maltese capital - iStockphoto
Valletta, the Maltese capital – iStockphoto

08:30 AM

Increasing numbers of women over 50 forced into retirement

Women over the age of 50 have been hardest hit by the economic impact of coronavirus, new research has revealed, with just under 100,000 being forced into early retirement since the start of the pandemic.

A new study by jobs site Rest Less found that economic inactivity rates fell in all female age groups apart from the over 50s, which has risen by 1.3 per cent since the start of the crisis.

Founder of the recruitment website Stuart Lewis said that the figures coupled with a “large pension savings gap” would leave many women in a “financially precarious position ahead of retirement”.

Amy Jones reports. Read more here.

08:14 AM

School coronavirus outbreaks ‘exception not the norm’, first major study across Europe finds

School outbreaks of coronavirus are the “exception rather than the norm”, the first Europe wide study has found, with most countries reporting no infection spread in classrooms. 

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has found that across the continent evidence “suggests that re-opening schools has not been associated with significant increases in community transmission”. 

Hayley Dixon has more on this here.

Some children wearing masks as they return to school in Germany in the midst of the pandemic - FELIPE TRUEBA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Some children wearing masks as they return to school in Germany in the midst of the pandemic – FELIPE TRUEBA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

08:07 AM

‘Schools are safe’ says care minister

Care Minister Helen Whately has tried to reassure parents that schools returning in September do not pose a risk to children.  “Absolutely it’ll be safe for children to be back in schools”, she said.

Ms Whately told BBC Breakfast: “The evidence that we have is on the one hand of very low transmission and also that the risks to children from Covid are very low, so absolutely it’ll be safe for children to be back in schools, and our national priority is to get to children back in school this autumn.”

Asked about the one week on, one week off suggestion, she said: “Our priority is to make sure that children are fully back in school come the autumn.”

She added: “Schools are safe and there are extra measures that schools are being advised by Public Health England to take; for instance, to have staggered start and finish times, staggered breaks, to teach children in bubbles, and teachers can enforce, encourage hand washing, hand sanitising, so all the steps that will make schools even safer for our children to be back.”

Asked if schools should stay open in the event of a local lockdown, she said: “Yes, that is the approach, so, for instance, in places like Leicester and Greater Manchester, and areas where we have local restrictions going on, absolutely schools should be still going back. It is essential that children get back into school this autumn term.”

Care Minister Helen Whately - DAVID WOOLFALL
Care Minister Helen Whately – DAVID WOOLFALL

07:51 AM

Daily covid death count could be scrapped

The official Covid-19 death toll may never be brought back following an investigation into Public Health England’s method of counting it, the Telegraph understands.

The conclusions of the review, which was ordered by Matt Hancock after it emerged officials were “over-exaggerating” deaths from the virus, are expected this week.

One expected recommendation would be to stop daily reporting altogether and move to a weekly official death toll instead, a government source said on Sunday night.

Anna Mikhailova has the story here.

Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart - DEATHS default
Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart – DEATHS default

07:44 AM

Russian infections rise by 5,118

 Russian authorities confirmed 5,118 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, pushing the national case tally to 892,654, the fourth largest in the world.

The official death toll rose to 15,001 after authorities said in their daily coronavirus report that 70 people had died in the last 24 hours. 

Coronavirus Russia Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Russia Spotlight Chart – Cases default

07:31 AM

Manchester mayor compares self-isolation measures to jury service

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham compared the request to self-isolate to jury service and said people should be supported to do it.

He told the BBC:

“Our poorest communities are going to be very, very exposed in the second half of this year if we have people who can’t self-isolate when we have the virus circulating in those areas and schools going back adding to the risk.

“It’s a simple request we are making, a bit like when you are called up to serve on a jury, when you get a request from the Government to go and be a juror.

“This also is a request from the Government when you’re being asked to self-isolate, so let’s give everybody the ability to follow that request.

“Test and trace will start working much better if we do that.”

07:03 AM

Getting children back to school ‘a national priority’ – minister

Helen Whately, the care minister, has said it is a “national priority” to get children back to school in autumn.

Ms Whately told Sky News: “Sadly we have seen children from disadvantaged backgrounds more likely to fall behind during this time, so it’s essential that we have children back at school this autumn.”

She added: “Schools will be a safe environment for children to be taught in, of course in the event a child has a temperature or any type of symptoms, it’s very important they get a rapid test.

“Schools will be provided with home test kits.”

06:51 AM

Facemasks become mandatory in Paris

Parisians will be legally required to wear facemasks in the busier parts of the French capital from Monday, as authorities sought to get a handle on the rising infection rate. 

The news measures will apply to anyone aged over 11 in areas that are particularly crowded, as the rate of infection in Paris rose above the national average. 

06:48 AM

Lockdown eases in Wales

Gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres are reopening in Wales on Monday as lockdown restrictions are further eased.

While the reopening of fitness venues comes several weeks after England, Wales will become the first part of the UK to allow children’s indoor soft players to reopen. 

Councils have been given beefed up powers to enforce the rules governing social distancing in the hope it will help stamp out any fresh outbreaks.

05:37 AM

India records record number of fatalities

India has registered a record 1,007 fatalities in the past 24 hours as infections surged by another 62,064 cases.

The Health Ministry says the total fatalities touched 44,386 on Monday.

The number of positive cases reported so far are 2,215,074. At least 634,935 patients were still undergoing treatment.

India has recorded more than 60,000 cases of the virus daily in the last four days and more infections than any other country in the world for six consecutive days. It has averaged around 50,000 new cases a day since mid-June.

Infections in India remain concentrated in 10 states that contribute nearly 80 per cent of the new cases.

Accredited Social Health Activist, who are also involved in collecting coronavirus disease related data, launched a two-day strike for various demands including better wages, protection from the infectious disease and medical insurance in New Delhi, India - STRINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Accredited Social Health Activist, who are also involved in collecting coronavirus disease related data, launched a two-day strike for various demands including better wages, protection from the infectious disease and medical insurance in New Delhi, India – STRINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

05:27 AM

Business lending to hit 13-year high as further redundancies loom

Banks will lend more to British businesses this year than at any point since the financial crash, as the UK seeks to stave off waves of redundancies. 

In its interim bank lending forecast, EY said it was expecting business lending to grow by 14pc this year, in what would be a 13-year high. Last year, business lending grew by 2pc. 

EY said in March banks lent non-financial companies more than £30bn net of repayments, which was around 100 times the average net lending of the twelve months to February.

Read the full story

04:06 AM

NZ to open travel bubble with Cook Islands

New Zealand plans to open a virus-free “travel bubble” with the tiny Pacific realm of Cook Islands before year’s end, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, while expressing caution about a similar arrangement with Australia.

Ms Ardern said the quarantine-free travel corridor was possible because New Zealand and the Cooks – an archipelago of under 10,000 people – had successfully contained the coronavirus.

“Our expectation is that it would be in place before the end of the year,” she told reporters, adding that officials were being careful not to move too quickly on the proposal.

“The last thing anyone wants is to reopen travel, only to have it closed down again because it hasn’t been done properly.”

New Zealand has recorded only 22 coronavirus in a population of five million, and marked 100 days since its last case of community transmission on Sunday, while the Cooks declared itself virus-free in mid-April.

Read more: Portugal could come off the quarantine list – visitors to France may have to isolate on return

Coronavirus live map cases tracker
Coronavirus live map cases tracker

03:41 AM

Red Cross training 43,000 volunteers for North Korea

The Red Cross has been training more than 43,000 volunteers to North Korea, including to the locked-down city of Kaesong, to help fight the novel coronavirus and provide flood assistance, an official with the relief organisation said on Monday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared an emergency last month and imposed a lockdown on Kaesong, near the inter-Korean border, after a man who defected to the South in 2017 returned to the city showing coronavirus symptoms.

Heavy rain and flooding in recent days have also sparked concern about crop damage and food supplies in the isolated country.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has built an extensive network of North Korean volunteers to help residents in all nine provinces to avoid the virus and reduce damage from floods and landslides, spokesman Antony Balmain said.

Read more: Kim Jong-un sends aid to border city in lockdown

02:58 AM

Summary of news from around the world

  • New locally transmitted cases  in China fell to just 14 over the past 24 hours, the National Health Commission reported on Monday. 

  • Australia has reported fewer new daily cases from its virus hotspot in the city of Melbourne than on any single day since last month. 

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says officials have agreed to allow live performances to resume outdoors with audiences divided into 20-person “capsules”. 

  • Britain has recorded more than 1,000 new infections in a day for the first time since late June. 

  • Greek authorities have announced a record daily number of 203 new cases, with one death. 

  • Italy‘s tally of daily cases leaped higher on Sunday, with 463 cases, according to Health Ministry figures. 

  • The Indian Medical Association says 196 doctors have died of Covid-19 so far and, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requested adequate care for physicians and their families. 

  • Brazil has surpassed a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths.

A woman looks at an Brazilian actor disguised as death to raise awareness of the importance of wearing face masks and keeping social isolation in Formiga, Minas Gerais state, Brazil - AFP
A woman looks at an Brazilian actor disguised as death to raise awareness of the importance of wearing face masks and keeping social isolation in Formiga, Minas Gerais state, Brazil – AFP

02:26 AM

Scientists in spat over whether to infect people in vaccine trials

Scientists working on Britain’s best hope for a vaccine are understood to be at odds about whether to deliberately infect healthy patients in order to test it.

Professor Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, wants to recruit young volunteers for such tests in the hope it will speed up the race for a successful jab.

He is among hundreds of scientists advocating the use of “human challenge trials” which would see healthy people under the age of 30 deliberately infected in order to test the jab.

But Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the institute, is understood to have clashed with him over his intentions, believing the risk to volunteers is too high.

Read the full story

Read more: When will a Covid-19 vaccine be ready?

The potential hurdles to a vaccine
The potential hurdles to a vaccine

12:28 AM

China reports spike in cases

China reported on Monday 49 new cases in the mainland for August 9, compared with 23 cases a day earlier, the health authority said.

The National Health Commission said in a statement 35 of the new infections were imported cases. There were no new deaths.

China also reported 31 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 11 a day earlier.

As of August 9, mainland China had a total of 84,668 confirmed cases and  death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

A Chinese boy and his father wear protective masks on a ride while shopping at a toy store in Beijing - Getty
A Chinese boy and his father wear protective masks on a ride while shopping at a toy store in Beijing – Getty

12:08 AM

The West Yorkshire village split down the middle by lockdown

The village of Menston in West Yorkshire, is used to having something of a split personality.

It is almost a local in-joke: given half of the village pays taxes to the council in Bradford, eight miles away, but the other half pay theirs to the council in Leeds, 10 miles away, residents either pick a side and proudly stick to it, or else live in a state of constant confusion. To make things worse, the village postcodes are all Leeds.

Historically, it is not a division that causes serious problems,but since the Government’s partial lockdown of the Bradford council area, however, Menston has effectively been cut in two.

Read the full story

Michael Rhodes in Menston Park - Charlotte Graham
Michael Rhodes in Menston Park – Charlotte Graham

12:04 AM

Australia reports record number of daily deaths

Australia reported a record number of daily  deaths on Monday, although the number of new infections in the country’s virus hot spot fell to a near two week low.

Officials in Victoria state, which is the epicentre of Australia’s second coronavirus wave, reported that 19 people died from the virus over the past 24 hours. With other states still to report daily new case and death numbers, that already marks the country’s biggest single day rise in fatalities.

In more positive news, Victoria officials also reported 322 new cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest number of single day new infections since July 29.

Australia has recorded about 21,000 cases, and 314 deaths, still far fewer than many other developed nations.

11:22 PM

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