Cabinet colleagues had earlier been told to restrict movements as a precaution; WHO chief warns of school closures’ effect on children
Sweden records its fewest daily cases since March
Foreign Covid workers in France to be fast-tracked for nationality
Covid cases near 30m; China expects vaccine in November
World map: which countries have the most cases and deaths?
See all our coronavirus coverage
16:37 Dáil reconvenes after Irish minister tests negative for Covid-19
13:56 World still at the beginning of the pandemic, WHO expert warns
12:33 Irish cabinet to self-isolate and parliament to close for a week
12:17 Half the world’s schoolchildren still unable to attend classrooms
12:12 Closing schools should be ‘last resort’ in handling pandemic, says WHO
11:16 Virus may have infected nearly a fifth of South Africans
10:44 Sweden records its fewest daily Covid-19 cases since March
China has blocked imports from an OK Foods poultry plant in Fort Smith, Arkansas, because of coronavirus cases among workers, the president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council said on Tuesday.
The plant is the second US poultry facility to be blocked because of an outbreak, after Beijing suspended imports from a Tyson Foods Inc plant in June.
Dáil reconvenes after Irish minister tests negative for Covid-19
Ireland’s minister for health Stephen Donnelly has told RTE that his Covid-19 test has come back negative.
Earlier today, Irish cabinet ministers were told to restrict their movements as a precaution after Donnelly contacted his GP to request a test after feeling unwell.
However, ministers no longer need to do this following the negative test result and were back in the chamber by 8pm.
Meanwhile, the minister of state for European affairs Thomas Byrne has gone into self-isolation. He was tested for Covid-19 today after waking with a “mild cough” yesterday.
After an earlier adjournment of the Dáil for one week, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that the Dáil would reconvene this evening.
The full RTE story is here.
Large numbers of dolphins returned to Hong Kong waters within weeks of the Covid-19 crisis shutting down high-speed ferries, and researchers are now calling for protections before the ferries resume, Helen Davidson reports.
Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, also known as Chinese white dolphins and pink dolphins, are native to the Pearl River estuary, but typically avoided the waters between Hong Kong and Macau because of the high volume of high-speed boats.
But researchers say that with the pandemic drastically reducing water traffic, including the suspension of ferries, dolphin numbers in the area have risen by 30% since March.
At least seven people have died in connection with a coronavirus outbreak that continues to afflict people in the US state of Maine following a wedding reception held over the summer that violated state virus guidelines, the Associated Press reports.
The August wedding reception at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket is linked to more than 175 confirmed cases of the virus, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.
Maine authorities have identified overlaps between the wedding reception and outbreaks elsewhere in the state. An employee of the York County Jail attended the wedding, Maine CDC officials have said. The officials have also said a staff member from a Madison rehabilitation centre, which is the site of six of the seven deaths, attended the event.
The virus cases stemming from the wedding have spanned hundreds of miles in a state that had largely controlled the spread of the coronavirus through the summer. Maine has reported less than 5,000 cases of the virus in total since March.
But the growing number of cases linked to the wedding, which exceeded the state’s guidelines of 50 people or less at indoor gatherings, could undo some of that progress if it continues to swell. Authorities have said more than 65 people attended the wedding.
The six people from the Madison rehabilitation facility who died were all residents of that facility and none of them attended the wedding reception, said Nirav Shah, director of Maine CDC.
Maine CDC is concerned about where we are, and I’m asking everyone else to share in that concern. Covid-19, right now, is not on the other side of the fence. It is in our yards. The gains that Maine has made against Covid-19 are ones that could, and unfortunately can, be washed away.
The wedding was also officiated by pastor Todd Bell of Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford. The Maine CDC is currently investigating to determine if an outbreak at the church is connected to the wedding outbreak. That outbreak has caused 10 people to fall ill, Shah said.
Calvary Baptist Church issued a statement on Tuesday that said a number of Calvary Baptist Church members attended the wedding reception. The statement said the church was taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus, and will defend its right to continue holding services.
The Calvary Baptist Church has a legal right to meet. The authority of a local Christian church, a Jewish synagogue, or a Muslim mosque to gather for their respective religious services is a time- honoured part of our nation’s history since its inception, the statement said. These religious activities are also fully protected under the First Amendment to our United States Constitution.
Bell has been critical of government attempts to control coronavirus, and videos show he has held services without the use of social distancing. He hired a lawyer known nationally for defending the religious rights of churches. Neither Bell nor Gibbs personally responded to a request on Tuesday for comment.
Maine CDC was unaware of the church’s statement and couldn’t comment on it, Shah said.
Shah said the state’s positivity rate has ticked up to 0.63% for the previous seven days. At one point, the rate was less than half a percentage point. The rate remains well below the national average of about 5%, Shah said.
Researchers have said that governments’ failure to recognise the land rights of indigenous communities and their role in protecting biodiversity could lead to more coronavirus-like pandemics, PA Media reports.
A study of more than 40 countries found many local people’s land claims were being ignored, amid increasing deforestation and wildlife exploitation, which may be contributing to a rise in diseases, like Covid-19, that pass from animals to humans.
Andy White of the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the study’s co-author, said in a statement:
Despite compelling evidence that indigenous peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendants protect most of the world’s remaining biodiversity, they are under siege from all sides.
Our work suggests the answer is to invest in the countries and communities that are ready to scale up land rights. Failure to do so puts at risk the health of the planet and all of its people.
The study by the RRI – an alliance of more than 150 organisations advocating for community land rights – comes ahead of a United Nations pledge expected to be agreed in 2021 to set aside 30% of the planet’s land and sea for conservation by 2030.
Despite local people managing and protecting 50% of the area studied – which included Brazil, India, China, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia – governments recognised only half of community land claims, RRI said.
This needs to be addressed urgently, said researchers, as a growing number of zoonotic diseases including Ebola, MERS, West Nile fever, Zika, SARS and Rift Valley fever have recently jumped from animal hosts into the human population.
The most dramatic example is coronavirus, which is believed to have emerged in a market in China last year after jumping the species barrier from the animal kingdom to infect humans. It has killed more than 930,000 people across the globe so far.
Anthony Waldron, a conservation finance researcher based at Cambridge University, told a virtual briefing that securing indigenous peoples’ land rights was key to stemming the spread of such diseases.
If there is chaotic development in a forest where people and wildlife are coming more into contact with one another, then it’s only a matter of time before a virus jumps into the human population.
If you don’t have defined land rights, you don’t know who owns what part and anyone can happily invade. If you have clearly defined land rights … which indigenous groups can manage … there is smaller risk those viruses can jump.
About 60% of known infectious diseases in humans and 75% of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, largely due to the increased interaction between humans, animals and the environment, according to the United Nations.
Most efforts to control zoonotic diseases have been reactive rather than proactive, said environmental experts, calling on governments to invest in public health, farm sustainability, end over-exploitation of wildlife and reduce climate change.
Footballer Kingsley Coman is self-isolating at home after coming into contact with someone infected with coronavirus, Bayern Munich has announced.
In a statement, Bayern said that France attacker Coman, who scored the only goal in last season’s Champions League final victory over his boyhood club Paris Saint-Germain, tested negative for Covid-19 on Sunday.
AFP reports that the six-time European champions did not say how long the 24-year-old would be in isolation, nor when he would undergo a new test for the virus.
Bayern also did not disclose whether he would miss the opening fixture of their Bundesliga title defence, against Schalke on Friday evening.
Here is the UK health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, telling MPs the UK government is working around the clock to fix what he describes as “operational challenges” in the coronavirus testing system caused by a surge in demand.
Speaking in parliament, Hancock said there had been a sharp rise in people coming forward for tests, including those who were not eligible.
Hello from London! I’m Lucy Campbell, I’ll be bringing you all the latest global coronavirus developments for the next few hours. If you would like to get in touch to share a story that we should be covering here, I would love to hear from you:
Here’s a summary of the key global coronavirus developments over the past few hours:
The world is still at the beginning of the pandemic, a World Health Organization special envoy has warned. Addressing UK MPs at a foreign affairs committee on Tuesday, Dr David Nabarro also described the situation as “grotesque”.
Half the world’s schoolchildren are still unable to attend classrooms due to the pandemic. Around 872 million – more than half of whom have not been able to study remotely – are not allowed to attend school in person, Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore said.
Nearly a fifth of South Africans may have contracted coronavirus, the country’s health minister has said. South Africa has recorded 650,749 cases, but the actual number of infections could be “about 12 million”, Zweli Mkhize said.
Sweden has recorded its fewest daily Covid-19 cases since March. The country’s rolling seven-day average of new cases stood at 108 on Tuesday, its lowest level since 13 March.
The Netherlands has hit a daily record of new coronavirus cases. A total of 1,379 new infections – the majority reported in Amsterdam and The Hague – were recorded in the country on Tuesday.
Following on from a since-corrected post on the blog earlier, members of the Irish cabinet have been told to restrict their movements after the country’s health minister reported feeling unwell.
Stephen Donnelly has contacted his GP for a Covid-19 test, according to Irish broadcaster RTÉ.
It was initially understood the cabinet would have to self-isolate and the Irish parliament – Dáil – would be adjourned indefinitely.
However, it has since been reported that it would resume business on Tuesday night or Wednesday.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin told RTÉ the decision to ask cabinet to restrict their movements came from “an abundance of caution”.
World still at the beginning of the pandemic, WHO expert warns
The world is still at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, a World Health Organization special envoy on Covid-19 has said.
Dr David Nabarro described the situation as “grotesque” during a sitting of the UK’s foreign affairs committee.
He told MPs:
It’s much worse than any of the science fiction about pandemics. This is really serious – we’re not even in the middle of it yet. We’re still at the beginning of it.
“And we’re beginning to see what damage it’s going to cause the world. And it’s getting nastier as we go into this particular phase in Europe of watching the thing come back again.”
He added: “None of us find the present situation anything other than horrible, grotesque, really embarrassing.
“It’s a terrible situation, a health issue has got so out of control it’s knocking the world into, not just a recession, but a huge economic contraction which would probably double the number of poor people, double the number of malnourished, lead to hundreds of millions of small businesses going bankrupt.”
Health authorities in France have recorded 7,852 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, rising from 6,158 new cases on Monday.
The French health ministry also reported the number of arrivals in hospitals for Covid-19 over the last seven days had risen to 2,713 compared with 2,561 recorded on Monday.
These included 479 admissions to intensive care units over the past seven days, up from 448 in Monday’s count, it said.
The number of people in France who have died from Covid-19 infections rose by 37 to 30,999.
The cumulative number of cases now totals 395,104.
Ireland has reported 357 new cases of Covid-19, the highest daily figure since mid-May and up from an average of 203 cases per day over the previous seven days, health department data showed.
New restrictive measures to contain the spread of coronavirus have been announced in Greece where alarm bells are ringing over the rise in infection rates in the greater Athens area, home to more than 5 million people.
Addressing reporters, the epidemiologist Gkikas Magiorkinis, who sits on the 29-strong committee advising the government, described the urban centre as “the Achilles heel” of a surge that was spreading among people with no known link to one another. Of the 310 cases announced Tuesday, 197 were in the Greek capital.
The sharp increase has begun to place worrying pressure on the country’s health system, with the number of intubated patients also rising. The measures, which include mask wearing in all enclosed spaces, had been made more imperative by the government’s decision to re-open schools, the deputy civil protection minister Nikos Hardalias also said in Tuesday’s press briefing.
For the next 14 days nightclubs will remain closed while cinemas and theatres will only be able to work at 60% capacity – and only if audiences agree to wear masks.
Street markets, similarly, will only be able to operate at 50% capacity and again with stall owners and patrons wearing masks. No more than six people will be able to dine at any one time at a restaurant while social gatherings will be capped at 50 people at any one time.
Greece has recorded a total of 13,730 cases and 313 deaths. Infections almost doubled in August, with scientists describing the situation in increasingly alarmist terms.
Irish cabinet to self-isolate and parliament to close for a week
Ireland’s cabinet ministers have been told to self-isolate after its health minister requested a Covid-19 test after feeling unwell.
The Irish parliament in Dublin has also been suspended for a week.
According to national broadcaster RTÉ, Stephen Donnelly contacted his doctor for a Covid-19 test this afternoon after feeling unwell.
“Arising out of events today, the cabinet must now self-isolate, therefore the possibility of proceeding with business does not arise and the house stands adjourned until Tuesday next or until I am directed [by the prime minister]”, the speaker of the lower house, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, told parliament.