12pm Coronavirus UK latest – Contact tracing app to launch in September as Portugal put on quarantine list

12pm Coronavirus UK latest – Contact tracing app to launch in September as Portugal put on quarantine list

September 11, 2020

THE Covid-19 app will be launched across England and Wales on September 24, health bosses said.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the app's launch as "a defining moment" and said it will help to contain the virus "at a critical time".

Before then, Brits will be scrambling to return home after Portugal was added back onto the UK's quarantine list.

Travellers arriving back to Britain from 4am on Saturday will now be forced to isolate for 14 days.

Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion have also been taken off the safe travel list.

Follow our coronavirus blog for the latest news and updates…


    The Covid-19 app will be launched across England and Wales on September 24, the Department of Health and Social Care says.

    Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas are being urged to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new app can use their smartphones to check-in.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The launch of the app later this month across England and Wales is a defining moment and will aid our ability to contain the virus at a critical time.

    “It is vital we are using the NHS Test and Trace system to reach as many people as possible to prevent outbreaks and stop this virus in its tracks. “


    Northern Ireland has not announced any changes to how many people can gather. However, localised coronavirus restrictions are to be introduced in Belfast and Ballymena.

    • People from two or more households in these areas will not be able to meet in private settings.
    • There are a number of limited exceptions, including childcare provision and households that have formed a social bubble with another.
    • No more than six people, from no more than two households, will be allowed to meet in private gardens.
    • In Northern Ireland, the number of people who can gather indoors in a private home was already reduced from 10 people from four households to six people from two households last month due to a rise in Covid-19 cases.
    • Up to 15 people can meet outdoors.


    A maximum of six people from two households will be allowed to meet together in Scotland.

    • Just like in England, the new limit applies when people meet in restaurants, pubs and beer gardens, as well as in homes.
    • However, children under the age of 12, who are part of the two households meeting will not count towards the limit of six people, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
    • There will be “some limited exceptions”, covering organised sports and places of worship.
    • Up to 20 people will be able to attend weddings, civil partnerships and funerals, as well as receptions and wakes, which is more stringent than both England and Wales.


    People in Wales will only be able to meet in groups of six – or under – indoors and must all belong to the same extended household group.

    • Up to four households are able to join together to form an extended household.
    • But, unlike in England, children under 12 will be exempt and will not count towards that total.
    • Also unlike in England, people will also still be able to meet up in groups of up to 30 outdoors, as long as social distancing is maintained.
    • The changes will not apply in Caerphilly county borough due to its rise in Covid-19 cases.


    From Monday, gatherings of more than six people will be illegal.

    The rules will apply across England to all ages and in any setting either indoors and outdoors, at home or a pub.

    • A single household or support bubble that is larger than six will still be able to gather.
    • Covid-secure venues like places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality settings can still hold more than six in total.
    • Education and work settings are not affected by the new rules.
    • Weddings and funerals can still go ahead with a limit of 30 people if conducted in a Covid-secure way.


    Cops fear a weekend of boozed-up mayhem as revellers plan one final blowout before the new “rule of six” law comes into force.

    Forces across the country are bracing themselves for Brits packing into pubs and bars as they enjoy a last gathering of up to 30 people.

    Cops are also readying themselves for an onslaught of illegal raves and huge house parties.

    From midnight on Sunday, the number of people allowed to gather in homes and hospitality venues will be slashed from 30 to six.

    Under Boris Johnson's drastic coronavirus measures, those flouting the new rule will be slapped with a £100 fine.

    Read our full story HERE.


    After a chunk of coronavirus restrictions were lifted, the British economy recouped some further lost ground during July, official figures show today.

    The Office for National Statistics said the economy grew by a monthly rate of 6.6% as many sectors started reopening after months of being idle during the lockdown.

    This includes hotels, pubs and restaurants, which reopened at the start of July, for example.

    Other sectors, such as manufacturing and house-building also continued their recovery.

    But, most economists think the economy will end the year around 8% smaller than it was before the pandemic.


    British holidaymakers face another race against time to get home before new quarantine rules on countries including Portugal and Hungary come into force.

    The Government announced on Thursday evening that Portugal, Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion have been removed from the quarantine exemption list.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that travellers arriving in England from those countries after 4am on Saturday will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

    It comes as reports suggested ministers are divided over new social distancing rules in England that will limit social gatherings to groups of just six people both indoors and outside from Monday.


    Australia's Victoria state, which is at the centre of the country's coronavirus outbreak, on Friday reported 43 new cases and nine deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours.

    Australia's second-most populous state a day earlier reported 51 new cases and seven deaths.

    Victoria, home to one-quarter of Australia's 25 million population, now accounts for about 75% of the country's more than 26,500 COVID-19 cases and 90% of its 797 deaths.

    A flare-up in cases forced the Victoria government to put the state into a hard lockdown in early August. But it has helped to bring down the daily rise in infections to double digits in recent days after it touched highs of more than 700.


    The widow of a man who died after catching Covid-19 in a Skye care home says she hopes legal action will stop anyone else going through what her family did.

    Mandie Harris, 47, lost her husband Colin in April after he contracted coronavirus in the then HC-One owned Home Farm in Portree.

    Mrs Harris said she wants to know what HC-One did to protect residents in the home as well as holding them accountable to stop it from ever happening again.

    She said she has questions over the home's use of PPE and why they took in residents during the pandemic following a ban on new residents in January.

    Mrs Harris said she does not blame the staff members at the home, saying they were working under difficult conditions.

    Mr Harris was diagnosed with Covid-19 on April 29.


    A coronavirus outbreak in an NHS hospital may have killed at least 18 people, an investigation has found.

    Weston General Hospital in Somerset temporarily stopped accepting new patients, including to its accident and emergency department, from May 25 and reopened fully in June.

    Now an internal report has revealed that 31 patients who died in the hospital between May 5 and 24 had contracted Covid-19.

    In 18 of these patients the infection “may have contributed to their death”, the report stated.

    University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust has expressed its “deep regret” over the deaths and said it is “deeply sorry”.

    More on the story here.


    She also revealed she had a “false positive” test for Covid-19 and was held in lockdown for four days in Rwanda.

    Charly claimed a second negative result later confirmed the first was inaccurate.

    Last Wednesday, after arriving in Rwanda, she told followers she was “definitely corona free haha” while posting the crying face emoji.

    She had travelled to the nation to work with a gorilla conservation group, according to the TikTok she posted on Sunday.


    A Tiktok star has been blasted for travelling to Rwanda from hard-hit America during the deadly coronavirus crisis.

    Charly Jordan now admits her jaunt to Africa came at the “incorrect time” and said she was “completely in the wrong” to do it.

    Earlier she was accused of acting like she was “invincible” after heading overseas from the world's “most infected country.”

    One pointed out: “Charly Jordan was Covid positive three months ago and flew to Rwanda to do charity work!”

    The 21 year old – who has five million social media followers – has now apologised.

    More on the story here.


    Speaking more quietly can drastically reduce the spread of deadly coronavirus, a study has found.

    A reduction of just six decibels can have the same effect on cutting transmission than doubling a room's ventilation, scientists claim.

    “The results suggest public health authorities should consider implementing 'quiet zones' in high-risk indoor environments, such as hospital waiting rooms or dining facilities,” wrote researchers from the University of California.

    In July, the World Health Organisation changed its guidance to acknowledge the possibility of aerosol transmission, such as during choir practice, or when in noisy restaurants or fitness classes.

    Microscopic droplets ejected while speaking quickly evaporate to leave behind aerosol particles big enough to carry the virus, the new paper showed.

    More on the story here.


    Brazil recorded 40,557 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 983 deaths from the disease, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

    Brazil has registered more than 4.2 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 129,522, according to ministry data.


    France has been rocked by almost 10,000 new coronavirus cases in just 24 hours – its highest daily toll since the start of the outbreak.

    Medics reported 9,843 new confirmed Covid-19 cases this evening easily beating the previous record of 8,975 set six days ago.

    The worrying news comes just a day before a crucial cabinet meeting which will look at imposing new local lockdowns to curb the spike.

    President Emmanuel Macron said the summit would give the public a clear idea of what can be expected in the coming weeks.

    “We need to be as transparent and clear as possible,” he said.

    “We need to be demanding and realistic without giving in to any kind of panic.”

    More on the story here.


    Demand for Covid-19 tests trebled this week, forcing the HSE to suspend testing in meat and food plants over laboratory capacity concerns.

    Serial testing in meat plants was due to begin on Monday, however the plans were delayed following requests for 13,000 community tests and 3,000 hospital tests in one day.

    Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said the HSE has rescheduled the testing of all factory workers to next week.

    “At times of high demand, when there are a lot of patients with symptoms that need to be tested, those people have to be prioritised and that's what happened in the last couple of days,” he told the Dail.

    “There was a surge in demand for tests from people with symptoms.”


    A hospital has “apologised unreservedly” to the families of patients who contracted coronavirus at the hospital and died.

    University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust said it had carried out a “robust” internal investigation to understand what may have contributed to the outbreak at Weston General Hospital in Somerset in May.

    Weston General Hospital temporarily stopped accepting new patients, including to its accident and emergency department, from 8am on May 25 and reopened fully in June.

    The trust's medical director Dr William Oldfield on Thursday said the trust had reviewed the clinical notes of everyone who was an inpatient at the hospital between May 5 and 24 who had either tested positive or became positive for Covid-19.


    Canada is “aggressively negotiating” with drugmakers on delivery schedules for potential COVID-19 vaccines and shipments would begin early in 2021 under existing deals, Canada's minister of public services and procurement told Reuters on Thursday.

    The Canadian government has announced four vaccine purchase deals and is negotiating more, while also funding local projects that are less advanced, and building new vaccine manufacturing capacity at a facility in Montreal.

    The exact timing of deliveries depends on the result of clinical trials, regulatory approvals and manufacturing capacity, the minister, Anita Anand, said.

    Should approvals come earlier than expected, the government will negotiate earlier deliveries, she added.

    “Make no mistake, suppliers are reserving manufacturing capacity to supply doses to Canada based on those aggressively negotiated delivery schedules,” Anand said in a phone interview.


    Turkey is considering a request from Russia to conduct Phase III trials of Russia's COVID-19 vaccine, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Thursday, adding a decision would be made in the next week.

    Russia announced the development of the “Sputnik-V” vaccine, the world's first registered coronavirus vaccine as proof of its scientific prowess.

    But, Moscow's decision to grant approval for its vaccine before finishing clinical trials has raised concerns among some experts.

    Speaking to reporters after holding talks with local health officials in southeastern Turkey, Koca said Phase III work had already started on a vaccine from China and Pfizer, and added that the Russian request was being evaluated.


    Sweden now has just 13 coronavirus patients in intensive care and an average of one death per day.

    The news comes despite the country's controversial decision not to introduce a lockdown at the start of the pandemic.

    Sweden opted to stick with the “herd immunity” strategy first pursued by Downing Street and allow the virus to partially spread through its population.

    The approach initially saw its infection rate rise far above that in countries where lockdowns were imposed, but authorities argued it would be easier to maintain in the long-term.

    More on the story here.


    Citizens Advice Scotland has joined calls for the UK Government's job retention scheme to be continued, as a new survey showed many Scots still have “significant worries” about paying their bills.

    The advice charity made the plea as new research found that almost two out of five Scots were concerned about their incomes.

    Research for Citizens Advice Scotland found 38% were worried about this, with almost a fifth (19%) concerned about affording their mortgage payments.

    Meanwhile 21% were concerned about being able to pay their rent, with a similar amount (22%) concerned about utility bills.

    There were also 22% who were worried about council tax payments, and 27% who were worried about meeting ongoing debt repayments.


    The coronavirus can infect brain cells causing delirium and confusion as it hijacks the cells to make copies of itself, a new study claims.

    The Yale research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, also concluded: “neuroinvasion, but not respiratory infection, is associated with mortality.”

    The new findings, published online at BioRXiv, concludes that the coronavirus invades brain cells then starves neighbouring cells of oxygen as the virus directly invades the central nervous system.

    “If the brain does become infected, it could have a lethal consequence,” Akiko Iwasaki, the study’s lead researcher, told The New York Times.

    More on the story here.


    A woman who received an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed severe neurological symptoms that prompted a pause in testing, a spokesman for drugmaker AstraZeneca said Thursday.

    The study participant in late-stage testing reported symptoms consistent with transverse myelitis, a rare inflammation of the spinal cord, said company spokesman Matthew Kent.

    We don't know if it is (transverse myelitis),” Kent said.

    More tests are being done now as part of the follow-up.

    On Tuesday, AstraZeneca said its standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data.” It did not provide any details other than to say a single participant had an unexplained illness.

    “The vaccine was initially developed by Oxford University after the coronavirus pandemic began this year.”

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