Russia has reported 1,237 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, that is close to the record one-day toll recorded the previous day. Authorities are waiting to see whether the government-enforced paid holiday for non-essential workers has made a dent in the surge currently affecting the country.
This map is a useful reminder of how the Covid situation is worsening across Europe at the moment.
In the UK, small business minister Paul Scully said he had hoped unvaccinated care workers would “reconsider” their decision not to take up a Covid-19 jab before today’s deadline. PA Media quote his LBC radio appearance saying:
I’d hope that people would, if they haven’t had their vaccination, go back and reconsider and get that vaccination done if they want to continue working with those vulnerable people.
I think there is little point in having people have care off people who may unfortunately help to transmit the disease and send them to hospital.
So it is a slightly circular discussion and we want to make sure that people who are receiving care can be as safe as possible.
Vic Rayner, chief executive of the National Care Forum, said there was a “human cost” to the UK government’s mandatory jab policy for care home staff, which became effective from today.
PA Media quote her on BBC Breakfast saying that about 8% of staff are leaving their jobs, on top of those who have already quit the sector since the policy was announced.
“It’s really challenging for organisations all across the country and I think there’s a very human cost to this policy,” she said, pointing to the cost for the staff leaving, for the people they cared for and the breach of trust between staff and employers asking them to leave.
“What it feels like for the care home sector is that we’ve been sort of guinea pigs around the implementation and rollout of this policy.”
Asked about the impact of the staff losses, Rayner said: “People who need care who aren’t currently in receipt of it are unable to get it. You are also seeing organisations who are saying, unfortunately, they’re no longer able to provide the care for people they have been doing.”
Britain’s recovery from its third Covid-19 lockdown slowed sharply over the summer as the economy’s growth was hit by rising infection rates, the pingdemic and global supply shortages.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that national output expanded by 1.3% in the three months to September, leaving it still more 2.1% below its pre-crisis level in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The third-quarter performance followed expansion of 5.5% in the three months to June – a period when restrictions on activity were being lifted.
Staff shortages and supply constraints blunted the impact of the ending of remaining lockdown restrictions in July, with a poorer trade performance also acting as a brake on growth.
Read more of Larry Elliott’s report here: UK economic recovery slows sharply as GDP grows by 1.3%
A couple of responses in the media coming through to Germany’s new record of 50,196 daily Covid cases. [see 7.23am]
Reinhard Sager, the president of the association of German local authorities (DLT), called on the catering and event industry to more strictly check that customers are tested, vaccinated or recovered from the virus.
“The concern about losing potential customers should be significantly less than the concern about the consequences that threaten if they continue to do too little to fulfil the control obligations,” Sager told the Rheinische Post newspaper.
Reuters report that Dirk Wiese, the deputy parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats, has told ARD television that the parties hoping to form the next coalition government are also considering allowing employers to impose a requirement for their staff to be vaccinated, recovered or tested negative for coronavirus.
Chief exec of NHS Confederation warns health service in ‘unsustainable’ situation
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said a survey of more than 450 leaders across all parts of the health service found nine out of 10 of them said the situation they now face is “unsustainable”.
PA Media quote his appearance on the BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme saying:
We’ve still got thousands of people in hospital with Covid. Hospitalisation rates have started to fall in the last few days, that’s good, but there are still many patients in hospital. Then we’ve got the normal winter pressures, and then you add the huge amount of pent-up demand that has built up during the pandemic. You put those three things together and you’ve got a situation which almost every leader in the health service now says is unsustainable.
Asked what “unsustainable” means, Taylor said it means the quality of care and patient safety is “compromised”, and also means it is very difficult for hospitals to make inroads into the “huge” elective care backlog.
Taylor said people are turning up at emergency departments with quite advanced diseases, adding there is “overwhelming demand”.
The seven-day average number of patients in hospital with Covid according to the UK government dashboard was 9,000 on 6 November. This compares to a peak seven-day average in January at the height of the last wave of the pandemic of 38,434.
In the UK, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the current chair of the health and social care committee in parliament, has been asked on Sky News about the rules on vaccination for care home workers which come into force today.
He said that care staff would want to “take the trouble to make sure they’re not spreading the disease asymptomatically”, adding:
That is the first responsibility of every doctor, nurse or carer. And every single one that I know has been jabbed. So I think it is the right thing to do will keep patients safer. But I do recognise there are some practical challenges.
Asked whether daily testing might not be more effective, since vaccines do not provide 100% protection, he said:
Daily testing is not foolproof either. The one thing you can do, that you know will make a big difference, is to get jabbed. And I think that people working in health care do understand that, and they want to put the safety and the protection of the vulnerable people that they are, after all, giving their lives to looking after, they want to put that first. So, look, it’s a really difficult issue. It’s difficult in the care sector. It’s difficult in the NHS. But I do think [Health secretsary] Sajid Javid is right to a bite the bullet on it.
Robert Koch Institute reports a record 50,196 daily Covid cases in Germany
The Robert Koch Institute has recorded another record daily caseload of Covid-19 in Germany. 50,196 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Thursday, the fourth day in a row it has posted a fresh daily high.
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases is now 4.89m and total deaths rose 235 to 97,198, according to the Robert Koch Institute.
The institute reported a rise in the coronavirus seven-day incidence rate – the number of people per 100,000 to be infected over the last week – to 249 from 232 on Wednesday.
Emma Thomasson reports for Reuters that the three German parties in talks to form a coalition government by early December have agreed not to extend a nationwide state of emergency, despite a fourth wave of infections.
Instead, they presented a draft law on Monday that would amend existing legislation to allow for measures such as compulsory face masks and social distancing in public spaces to continue to be enforced until next March.
The draft law is due to be presented to the Bundestag lower house of parliament today and voted on in a special session a week later.
Two patients killed as fire breaks out in Covid hospital in Romania
Two patients died and a nurse was injured when a fire broke out in a Covid hospital in the central Romanian city of Ploiesti early today, officials have said.
The fire, which was quickly extinguished, broke out at around 2am, and affected one room. Fifteen patients in the wing were moved to another hospital.
Luiza Ilie reports for Reuters that there were more than 17,400 Covid-19 patients, including 310 children, being treated in Romanian hospitals on Thursday, including 1,823 in intensive care units.
Romania has the second lowest vaccination rate in the European Union and one of the highest Covid-19 mortality rates in the world, with record daily infection numbers throughout October stretching its hospitals.
Hello, it is Martin Belam here from London. The morning media round in the UK will be dominated, I expect, by discussion of developments at Cop26. I’ll bring you any Covid lines that emerge. The minister out fronting questions for the government today is minister for small business Paul Scully. Here’s a reminder of the UK’s latest coronavirus figures.
Europe Covid deaths rise by 10% over past week
The World Health Organization reports that coronavirus deaths rose by 10% in Europe over the past week, making it the only world region where both Covid-19 cases and deaths are steadily increasing.
It was the sixth consecutive week that the virus has risen across the continent as many nations experience their fourth or fifth waves.
WHO said there were about 3.1 million new cases globally, about a 1% increase from the previous week. Nearly two-thirds of the coronavirus infections – 1.9 million – were in Europe, where cases rose by 7%, according to a weekly report.
The number of weekly Covid-19 deaths fell by about 4% worldwide and declined in every region except Europe. The countries with the highest numbers of new cases worldwide were the United States, Russia, Britain, Turkey and Germany.
Out of the 61 countries WHO includes in its European region, which includes Russia and stretches to Central Asia, 42% reported a jump in cases of at least 10% in the last week.
A very happy Thursday to all and thanks for joining us we go through all the latest Covid developments.
I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be brining you the news from over here in Sydney, Australia.
Europe has emerged as the only region in the world where both Covid cases and deaths steadily increased over the past week, the World Health Organization reports.
Covid deaths rose by 10% and it now the sixth consecutive week that the virus has risen across the continent. Nearly two-thirds of global infections – 1.9 million – were in Europe, where cases rose by 7%, the UN health agency said in its weekly report.
A coalition of 10 Republican US states sued the federal government to try to block a Covid-19 vaccine requirement for healthcare workers on Wednesday.
The lawsuit contends that the vaccine requirement threatens the jobs of millions of healthcare workers and could “exacerbate an alarming shortage” in healthcare fields, particularly in rural areas where some health workers have been hesitant to get the shots.
New Biden administration rules will require federal contractors to ensure their workers are vaccinated and businesses with more than 100 employees require their workers to get vaccinated or wear masks and get tested weekly for the coronavirus. All of the mandates are scheduled to take effect on 4 January.
- Australia is set to surpass the 90% first-dose vaccination coverage rate. Health minister Greg Hunt said the “extraordinary” achievement is expected to be reached just after midday on Thursday.
- France is at the beginning of a fifth wave of the coronavirus epidemic, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Wednesday. “Several neighbouring countries are already in a fifth wave of the Covid epidemic, what we are experiencing in France clearly looks like the beginning of a fifth wave,” Veran said.
- New Zealand also hit a fresh Covid vaccination milestone, with 90% of Kiwis aged 12 and over having received at least one jab. Meanwhile, prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s popularity has plummeted in two new polls, as the country struggles to contain a Delta outbreak and transitions to a new era of endemic Covid.
- Moderna Covid-19 vaccine patent dispute headed to court after US National Institutes of Health scientists say they played “a major role” in developing the vaccine and intends to defend its claim as co-owner of patents on the shot, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins told Reuters.
- Australia will share a further 7.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses with Indonesia, bringing its total pledge to 10 million doses.
- The first case in the UK of a pet dog catching coronavirus, apparently from its owners, has reportedly been detected.
- A fifth lion at Singapore Zoo has also tested positive for Covid-19, the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) said on Wednesday.
- Israel to hold world’s first drill to test readiness for the possible emergence of a lethal ‘Omega’ variant. The drill, scheduled for Thursday, will take the format of a war games exercise and will test the capabilities of government departments and national agencies to respond to the emergence of the variant.
- Brazil has had 12,273 new cases of coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 280 deaths, the health ministry said on Wednesday.
- France is at the beginning of a fifth wave of the coronavirus epidemic, health minister Olivier Veran said on Wednesday.
- Demand for Covid booster jabs jumped in France after Emmanuel Macron said a top-up dose would be necessary for people to retain their vaccine passes.
- The US has brokered a deal between Johnson & Johnson and the Covax vaccine-sharing program for the delivery of the company’s Covid vaccine to people living in conflict zones.
- The UK reported another 39,329 Covid cases and a further 214 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official data showed.
- Russia’s coronavirus death toll surpassed 250,000. The country reported a record 1,239 Covid-related fatalities in the previous 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 250,454.