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Coronavirus live news: South America is now pandemic’s epicentre, says WHO | World news

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In the UK, police have spoken to the prime minister’s key adviser Dominic Cummings about breaching the government’s lockdown rules after he was seen in Durham, 264 miles from his London home, despite having had symptoms of coronavirus.

Officers approached him days after he was seen rushing out of Downing Street when the prime minister tested positive for the virus at the end of March, a joint investigation by the Guardian and the Mirror has found.

At the time, the government had instructed people not to travel and to stay at their family homes. Cummings, however, was seen in Durham. A member of the public is understood to have seen him and made a complaint to the police.

Downing Street has previously refused to disclose where Cummings was staying during the lockdown.

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Chile’s president Sebastian Piñera has kicked off a programme to provide support for families struggling during the pandemic.

About 2.5m packages of food and hygiene products will be distributed over the weekend to families in Santiago before the scheme expands to other parts of the country. Piñera said:


It is a support and relief for millions and millions of Chilean families who need urgent help.

However, poorer communities claim they are not receiving the support they need to survive during the pandemic, with many unable to work as parts of the country approach a second month of strict lockdown measures. Among those most affected are the 30% of the Chilean workforce who make up the country’s informal economy.

Unrest broke out earlier this week in several parts of the country over hunger, most notably in the Santiago district El Bosque, when dozens of people took to the street to express their desperation.

Police swiftly arrived, leading to violent clashes between police and protesters.

“After four weeks of quarantine, despair and hunger begin to appear,” said the mayor of El Bosque Sadi Melo Moya who condemned the police’s heavy-handed reaction.

The hunger protests have led to the emergence of dozens of makeshift soup kitchens in the city’s working-class neighbourhoods, where communities have united under the mantra “only the people help the people”.

Videos circulating on social media show police interrupting community support efforts, confiscating donated goods and shutting down soup kitchens.

The police denied accusations of excessive repression, claiming one of the gatherings filmed required intervention as it had “initiated disorder” and did not respect the quarantine.

Chile’s former president and the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said: “It is key to generate important mechanisms for social protection.”

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South America is now pandemic’s epicentre – WHO

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The British Grand Prix faces a race against time to resolve the problem created by the government’s imposition of quarantine on all entry into the UK, writes Giles Richards for the Guardian’s sports desk.

The chances of the race at Silverstone being held look increasingly slim but Formula One is understood to be remaining in a dialogue with the government in an attempt to find a solution.

F1 has yet to comment and is studying the full quarantine document before entering further talks with the government. As things stand, with F1 denied any exemption from the quarantine procedures, not only is the British GP under threat but the sport faces an increasingly complex challenge as it attempts to create and implement a new calendar for the 2020 season.

















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Germany has announced a series of reforms of the country’s meat industry, including a ban on the use of subcontractors and fines of €30,000 (£26,000) for companies breaching labour regulations, as slaughterhouses have emerged as coronavirus hotspots, writes Holly Young in Berlin.

A number of meat plants across the country have temporarily closed after hundreds of workers tested positive for Covid-19 in recent weeks.

This week more than 90 workers were reported to have fallen ill at a plant in Dissen, Lower Saxony. Following an outbreak at a plant in Coesfeld, where more than 270 out of 1,200 workers tested positive, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia announced mass testing of industry employees.

An outbreak at a plant in Bavaria in the district of Straubing-Bogen coincides with numbers of infections reaching the “emergency break” level of 50 cases per 100,000 residents. States passing this point are allowed to reimpose lockdown restrictions.

“The corona outbreaks have not surprised us at all,” said Jonas Bohl, from the German Food, Beverages and Catering Union. “Rather the surprise was that they took a while to emerge.

“The people not only work closely together but more importantly they live together, in very cramped conditions where there is no possibility to keep social distance.”

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Spain’s Covid-19 daily death toll has remained under 100 for the sixth consecutive day, according to the latest health ministry figures, which show that 56 deaths have been recorded in the past 24 hours, reports Sam Jones, the Guardian’s Madrid correspondent.

To date, the country has recorded 234,824 cases of the disease and 28,628 deaths.

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80 million infants may have missed out on routine vaccines

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Africa’s Cases of COVID-19 Top 1 Million: Reuters Tally | World News

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Africa’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 1 million, a Reuters tally showed on Thursday, as the disease began to spread rapidly through a continent whose relative isolation has so far spared it the worst of the pandemic.

The continent recorded 1,003,056 cases, of which 21,983 have died and 676,395 recovered.

(Reporting by Tim Cocks; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Austria Warns Against Travel to Spain Except Balearic, Canary Islands | World News

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VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s foreign ministry on Thursday warned against trips to Spain except for the Balearic and Canary Islands, as concerns grow that holidaymakers could catch the coronavirus and spread it once they return.

The measure will take effect from Monday, and people returning to Austria will be required to present a negative test for COVID-19, the ministry said.

Austria’s measures are the latest blow to Spain’s tourism-dependent economy after Britain, Germany and Switzerland recently warned their citizens against summer holidays on Spanish beaches or at least in certain regions of the country.

The spread of the disease in Spain slowed after the government imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe. However, new cases have started rising again and hit a post-lockdown record of 1,772 new cases on Wednesday.

Austria has weathered the coronavirus crisis quite well so far but also saw infections increase with the summer holiday season.

The state of 8.9 million has reported 21,689 COVID-19 cases and 719 deaths as of Thursday. It counted 148 new cases on Wednesday, the highest increase since July 30.

Austria already imposed tight testing requirements for arrivals from the Balkans after it saw an increase in infections among people returning from the region.

It has travel warnings for Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia in place, as well as for European Union member states Bulgaria and Romania.

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Lisa Shumaker)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Preston faces fresh coronavirus lockdown, health official says | World news

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Preston is facing a fresh lockdown within days amid a surge in coronavirus cases, a public health official has said.

Cases of the disease in the Lancashire city have doubled in a week and Preston could follow in the footsteps of nearby east Lancashire, Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire by reintroducing stringent lockdown rules.

Lancashire county council’s director of public health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, expects stricter rules to be imposed in the city in the next few days, with residents already being asked to follow a number of extra measures in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.

Data from Public Health England shows the city recorded 49 new cases of Covid-19 in the week to 31 July – equating to almost 35 cases per 100,000 population – which is more than double the week before, with 18 cases recorded in one day alone.

The number is the second-biggest increase behind Blackburn with Darwen, which recorded 119 new cases.

Karunanithi told BBC Radio Lancashire he expected the government to impose restrictions “in the next few days”. “That is my personal and professional opinion, given the statistics, the direction of travel and given the size of the issue,” he said.


Further updates on possible measures are expected on Thursday after a government meeting to discuss local authorities, Karunanithi said.

“We will get to know after that meeting if there are any restrictions that will be brought in or [if] any support will be given to us as well,” he added.

Preston was not included in the official measures enforced by central government, but residents have been advised to take extra precautions. On Friday, guidance was issued by the city council calling on locals to avoid having visitors from another household in homes and to wear face coverings in all indoor public places.

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