China’s 56-day streak without new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases has been broken after officials reported six infections in the eastern coastal province of Shandong on Tuesday. For weeks, China had only seen imported cases of the virus, a cause for celebration as residents returned to work and began travelling again.
All six cases were linked to the Qingdao chest hospital in the coastal city of Qingdao, best known for the beer of the same name.
On Monday, authorities in Qingdao had reported nine new cases also linked to the hospital, prompting a citywide effort to test all 9 million residents by the end of this week. By Monday, more than 200,000 close contacts connected to the hospital had been tested, all with negative results. As of Tuesday, more than 3 million people in the city had been tested.
Residents line up to be tested for Covid-19 on Monday, as part of a mass testing programme following a new coronavirus outbreak in Qingdao, in China’s eastern Shandong province. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
The new cases come after an estimated 637 million people travelled across the country, visiting families and tourist destinations during the eight-day holiday known as “golden week”. Qingdao, popular for its seafood and beaches, had more than 4.4 million visitors.
The National Health Commission has deployed a team to Qingdao while other cities have begun imposing new restrictions on travel to the area. Health officials in Beijing told residents not to travel to Qingdao unless absolutely necessary and ordered those who have been recently to undergo a nucleic acid test. Schools in Beijing are also asking families to report any recent travel to Qingdao.
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Ahead of a French cabinet meeting on Tuesday to discuss further measures to control the coronavirus pandemic, a minister has said the government could not rule out imposing curfews on cities such as Paris.
“Everything is being examined. Nothing can be excluded,” Marlène Schiappa told LCI television, after another minister also hinted the government could take such a move.
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Also in the UK, the government has warned it may have to impose even stricter measures if the second wave of coronavirus accelerates in high-risk areas.
On Monday, prime minister Boris Johnson introduced a three-tier system in England, with Liverpool and surrounding Merseyside placed in the highest level – meaning that pubs will be forced to close – to curb a surge in cases.
“The message that we did deliver to those leaders in Merseyside was that we need to take these steps, we probably even need to go further but that we want to design those steps jointly between ourselves and local government,” housing secretary Robert Jenrick said on Tuesday morning.
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The unemployment rate in the UK rose to 4.5% between June and August amid the economic fallout from the pandemic, official data shows.
An estimated 1.5 million people were unemployed during the period, 209,000 more than a year earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Office for National Statistics (ONS)
The employment rate in June to August was down 0.3 percentage points on the previous three months, while unemployment was up 0.4 percentage points. The economic inactivity rate was unchanged https://t.co/VJV2eagePA pic.twitter.com/dWxsyWYzBA
October 13, 2020
That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan, for today.
Here’s brief bit of joy in the form of a story about what Nobel prizes are like in a time of coronavirus:
A small story about having your neighbour wake you up in the middle of the night to tell you you've won the Nobel prize https://t.co/1BNxXBZiht
October 13, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic is expected to cause a record 7% decline in global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, but governments are not doing enough to prevent a rapid rebound, according to an influential report.
Carbon dioxide emissions from energy use are expected to fall to 33.4 gigatonnes in 2020, the lowest level since 2011 and the biggest year-on-year fall since 1900 when records began, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its annual world energy outlook:
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This is an interesting visualisation by independent web developer Dan Goodspeed, using New York Times data, of the rise and fall and (and rise) of cases in US states this year – showing whether states are mostly Democrat (shades of blue) or Republican (shades of red).
The chart of states with the highest number of infections turns mostly red by October:
This is a really crazy visualization pic.twitter.com/km36MFCXxx
October 12, 2020
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Here are the key developments from the last few hours:
Johnson & Johnson said on Monday it has temporarily paused its Covid-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study. The participant’s illness is being reviewed and evaluated by an independent data and safety monitoring board as well as the company’s clinical and safety physicians, it said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump has tested negative for Covid-19 and he is not infectious to others, the White House physician said on Monday. In a memo released by the White House, Dr Sean Conley said Trump had tested negative on consecutive days using an Abbott Laboratories BinaxNOW antigen card. He said the negative tests and other clinical and laboratory data “indicate a lack of detectable viral replication”.
As Donald Trump declared himself “immune” at his Florida rally, a new case study published in The Lancet revealed a 25-year-old man in Nevada was infected with coronavirus twice this year. This is the first confirmed case of reinfection in the US. The two infections in this one patient occurred six weeks apart. Reinfections are rare – there are only five such cases documented worldwide. But much is still unknown about how or why this happens.
Top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said the president Donald Trump’s campaign team should take down an advertisement that draws on a public statement Fauci made that he says is being used out of context. Fauci also said ahead of the Trump rally in Florida on Monday night, that holding large rallies is “asking for trouble”.
Joe Biden told a drive-in rally in Ohio that Donald Trump ‘turned his back on you’ during the pandemic and its economic fallout. Biden questioned why Republicans had time for supreme court hearings but no time to come to an agreement with House Democrats on another economic relief package to help individuals, businesses and city and state governments.
New Zealand has recorded its 18th consecutive day of no new cases of Covid-19 spread in the community, health officials said on Tuesday. All 39 active cases of the virus in New Zealand were diagnosed in travelers returning to the country, who remain in quarantine facilities run by the government. One imported case was reported on Tuesday, in a traveler who had entered New Zealand from the United States on 8 October.
South Korea reported 102 new coronavirus cases as of Monday midnight, marking a triple-digit increase in six days, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Tuesday. Daily infections had fallen largely into the double-digit range in the past two weeks, which led the government to relax some rules on social distancing this week.
The Czech government will order bars, restaurants and clubs to close from Wednesday until 3 November and shift most schools to distance learning as it puts new measures in place to curb the fast spread of Covid-19 cases in the country. Public gatherings will also be limited to six people, alcohol consumption in public spaces will be banned, and masks will be required at public transport stops.
France reported a three-month high in ICU patients. Health authorities said the number of people treated in intensive care units for Covid-19 surpassed the 1,500 threshold on Monday, for the first time since 27 May, raising fears of local lockdowns in the country.
In France, prime minister Jean Castex has urged people to limit gatherings in their homes but said he “cannot regulate” them. He added that the battle against the virus will last “several months more, I think”.
In Spain, the government agreed protocols to establish travel corridors between European states and the Canary and Balearic Islands, both of which rely heavily on tourism and have been hit hard by the Covid crisis. Unemployment in the Balearics has risen by 90% since last year as a result of coronavirus.
For the second day in a row, Iran has announced the highest single-day death toll from the coronavirus, with 272 new victims, as well as its single-day highest count of new cases, with 4,206.
Malaysia announced that it will impose some restrictions on movement in its capital city and in the neighbouring state of Selangor from Wednesday, as the country grapples with a fresh surge of cases.
In China, the city of Qingdao in eastern Shandong province announced plans to test each of its 9 million residents, after six new cases emerged linked to a hospital treating infections in returning international travellers.
The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, set out a new, three-tiered system for Covid restrictions to “simplify and standardise” rules in England. The city region of Liverpool was immediately put into the “very high” category, with pubs and bars closed and almost all household mixing banned.
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First confirmed case of reinfection in US
As Donald Trump declared himself “immune” at his Florida rally, a new case study published in The Lancet revealed a 25-year-old man in Nevada was infected with coronavirus twice this year.
This is the first confirmed case of reinfection in the US. The two infections in this one patient occurred six weeks apart.
Reinfections are rare – there are only five such cases documented worldwide. But much is still unknown about how or why this happens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently advises that those who have recovered from Covid-19 generally appear to be protected from reinfection for three months – but this newly documented case bucks that expectation.
Australia’s most populous state said on Tuesday it will ease restrictions despite reporting the biggest one-day jump in new Covid-19 cases in six weeks, Reuters reports.
New South Wales said that from 16 October venues that offer outdoor dining will be allowed to have double the number of patrons outside. NSW previously required such venues to ensure four square metres (13 square feet) for each patron.
“We know particularly in our state during this pandemic some of the hardest hit industries have been arts and recreation and hospitality,” NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet told reporters in Sydney.
Australia’s federal government hopes easing state restrictions will help revive the country’s ailing economy.
The easing of restrictions comes despite NSW reporting 13 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the biggest one-day rise in infections since 2 September.
Australia has now reported just over 27,000 infections and 899 deaths from the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The bulk of Australia’s infections have been in Victoria state, which is entering its third month of a stringent lockdown.
Victorian authorities have said most of the restrictions will be eased when the average number of daily Covid-19 infections over a two-week period falls below five. The average stood at 10 on Tuesday, threatening to prolong the lockdown.
Covid-19 prompts ‘enormous rise’ in demand for cheap child labour in India
Hannah Ellis-Petersen and Manoj Chaurasia report:
Over 70 children were crammed into a bus, heading from Bihar to a sweatshop in the Indian city of Rajasthan, when the authorities pulled it over. Among the faces half hidden behind colourful masks was 12-year-old Deepak Kumar.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Kumar had been enrolled in grade four at the school in his small district of Gaya in the impoverished Indian state of Bihar. But when Covid-19 hit and the country went into lockdown, the school gates shut across India and have not opened since. With his parents, both daily wage labourers, unable to make money and put food on the table, last month Kumar was sent out to find work:
Podcast: training dogs to sniff out the virus
What does a disease smell like? Humans might not have the answer, but if they could talk, dogs might be able to tell us. Able to sniff out a range of cancers and even malaria, canines’ extraordinary noses are now being put to the test on Covid-19. Nicola Davis hears from Prof Dominique Grandjean about exactly how you train dogs to smell a virus, and how this detection technique could be used in managing the spread of Covid-19.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 4,122 to 329,453, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday.
The reported death toll rose by 13 to 9,634, the tally showed.
Couples have rushed to get married over China’s national day holiday in the first wedding season since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Months of delayed nuptial celebrations were crowded into the “golden week” holiday, traditionally a popular time for weddings, that ended on Wednesday as hotels, banquet halls and other wedding venues were booked out.
Officials have hailed the holiday that saw 1.4 billion people moving across the country in a bout of so-called “revenge travel” as a sign of effective measures against the virus and the beginning of a consumer-led economic recovery. According to the ministry of culture and tourism, people spent about 466bn yuan ($69.5bn).
China promotes ‘revenge travel’ to boost economy after Covid lockdownsRead more
In Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in December, 99 couples, many of them frontline medical workers, were wed in a mass outdoor ceremony. The naval airforce of the eastern theatre, based in Ningbo, also held a group wedding of 15 couples:
Reuters reports that US voters have already cast more than 10 million votes for the presidential election on 3 November, significantly outpacing the 2016 figures and suggesting a large turnout, according to data compiled by the US Elections Project.
Here is the full story on Johnson & Johnson pausing its trial:
Johnson & Johnson has paused its Covid-19 vaccine trial due to an “unexplained illness” in a participant, the company confirmed.
The pharmaceutical giant was unclear if the patient was administered a placebo or the experimental vaccine, and it’s not remarkable for studies as large as the one Johnson & Johnson are conducting – involving 60,000 patients – to be temporarily paused: