Rota system for schools ‘makes very little difference’, says Sage scientist

Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds his arms out like an aeroplane, demonstrating the two metre distancing rule, during his visit to St Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Upminster, east London - Lucy Young/Evening Standard/PA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds his arms out like an aeroplane, demonstrating the two metre distancing rule, during his visit to St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Upminster, east London – Lucy Young/Evening Standard/PA
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

A rota system for schools which would see pupils attend on a week on-week off basis would make “very little difference” to the overall Covid-19 infection rate, a leading scientist has said. 

Professor Russell Viner, the president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health who sits on the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said young children were “very minor players” in the spread of the virus. 

It came as Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, warned that schools were “losing patience” with the Government’s demands to have all children back in school next month, but with no official backup plan in place if this was not possible.

He said: “If you want to limit the number of children on site or travelling to and from school, a big part of that is using rotas and the obvious way to do it is ‘week on, week off ’

Responding to the growing tension, Boris Johnson said today that he hoped schools would not be forced to close as a result of local action – but has not ruled it out. 

The Prime Minister, who was visiting a school in east London, said:”I very much hope that doesn’t happen for any pupils but clearly what we are doing – the way we are trying to manage the Covid pandemic – is to have local measures in place and local test and trace to introduce restrictions where that’s necessary.

“But, as we have all said, the last thing we want to do is to close schools.

“We think that education is the priority for the country and that is simple social justice.”

Coronavirus podcast newest episode
Coronavirus podcast newest episode

 Follow the latest coronavirus updates below.

10:38 AM

World Health Organization briefing begins

The latest Covdid-19 briefing from the World Health Organization has begun. We’ll bring you all the latest updates from the conference, but for now you can follow along live below: 

10:37 AM

Racial bias found in formula for distributing US Covid-19 hospital aid

A formula used by the United States’ federal government to distribute funds to hospitals through the CARES Act has shortchanged those that serve largely Black populations, new research has found.

The formula allocated chunks of a $175 billion (£134,1 billion) relief package based on a hospital’s past revenue from Medicare and not where the most Covid-19 cases currently were, STAT News has reported.

The study found that large hospitals with many resources went on to gain more funding, while leaving smaller hospitals, which tend to serve black patients, wanting.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which was responsible for distributing the funding, said in a statement that the department allocated the money in a “data-driven manner” in order to provide relief to hospitals swiftly in the weeks after the legislation was passed. 

However, the study adds to a growing body of evidence showing that communities with large numbers of people of color are getting hit harder during the pandemic, with higher rates of infection than wealthier white communities, STAT news said.

10:26 AM

Government will ‘not hesitate’ to impose quarantine on travellers

Boris Johnson has said ministers will “not hesitate” to impose a quarantine system for travellers from other countries to the UK if needed.

The Prime Minister said:

“I don’t want to advise people about their individual holidays, individual decisions, they should look at the travel advice from the Foreign Office clearly.

“But what I will say, and I hope people would expect us to do this, in the context of a global pandemic, we’ve got to keep looking at the data in all the countries to which British people want to travel.

“Where it is necessary to impose restrictions or to impose a quarantine system, we will not hesitate to do so.

“It’s been a huge effort for the entire population of this country to get the disease down to the levels that we are currently seeing, but we do not want reinfection and that’s why we’ve got to keep a very, very close eye on the data in destinations around the world.”

10:16 AM

India’s former President tests positive for virus

Pranab Mukherjee, India’s president from 2012 – 2017, has just announced that he has tested positive for Covid-19.

A tweet from his official handle also urged anyone who had come into contact with him to self-isolate and get tested.

The 84-year-old added that he had discovered he had the disease while in hospital for a “separate procedure”.

Mr Mukherjee is one of several high-profile Indians to announce that they have contracted the virus in recent days. The federal home minister Amit Shah is receiving treatment for Covid-19 in the capital Delhi, and just last week, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan and his family left a hospital in Mumbai after recovering from the disease.

India is the world’s third-most affected country, recording more than 2.2 million cases in total. More than 63,000 cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours alone.

Coronavirus India Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus India Spotlight Chart – Cases default

10:05 AM

 Boris Johnson says he ‘hopes’ schools will not be shut during local lockdowns 

Boris Johnson has said he hoped schools would not be forced to close as a result of local action – but has not ruled it out. 

The Prime Minister, who was visiting a school in east London, said:

“I very much hope that doesn’t happen for any pupils but clearly what we are doing – the way we are trying to manage the Covid pandemic – is to have local measures in place and local test and trace to introduce restrictions where that’s necessary.

“But, as we have all said, the last thing we want to do is to close schools.

“We think that education is the priority for the country and that is simple social justice.”

10:04 AM

Russell Group universities prepare to lower entry grades after struggle to fill courses

Russell Group universities are preparing to drastically lower their entry requirements as over 4,000 courses remain unfilled.

With less than a week to go until students receive their A-level results, nearly three quarters of the country’s most prestigious institutions are struggling to fill places on their undergraduate programmes.

Seventeen of the 24 Russell Group universities still have vacancies on courses, according to the university admissions site Ucas.

Camilla Turner has the story here.

09:49 AM

Hong Kong reports 69 new cases

Hong Kong reported 69 new coronavirus cases on Monday, of which 67 were locally transmitted, as authorities battled to contain a resurgence of the virus over the last six weeks.

Since late January, over 4,000 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 55 of whom have died. On Sunday, Hong Kong reported 72 new cases.

09:34 AM

Business lending to hit 13-year high as further redundancies loom

Banks will lend more to British businesses this year than at any point since the financial crash, as the UK seeks to stave off waves of redundancies. 

In its interim bank lending forecast, EY said it was expecting business lending to grow by 14pc this year, in what would be a 13-year high. Last year, business lending grew by 2pc. 

EY said in March banks lent non-financial companies more than £30bn net of repayments, which was around 100 times the average net lending of the twelve months to February.

Omar Ali, financial services managing partner at EY, said Covid-19 had resulted in a “staggering amount of money being lent to firms over a short period of time”.

“With a weakened economy, banks face increasing write-offs on all types of lending and, with slow growth for consumer credit forecast, this will add pressure to their profitability and ultimately their ability to lend more to businesses to help kick start growth,” he said.

Hannah Boland has more here. 

09:19 AM

US health secretary praises Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen in ‘breakthrough’ meeting

S Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday during the highest-level visit by an American Cabinet official since the break in formal diplomatic ties between Washington and Taipei in 1979.

Ms Tsai said to reporters at the Presidential Office Building that said she looked for “even more breakthroughs and fruits of cooperation” in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and other issues to “jointly contribute to the sustained peaceful development of the Indo-Pacific region.”

Mr Azar praised Taiwan’s response to Covid-19 and said its success was a tribute to the “open, transparent, democratic nature of Taiwan’s society and culture.”

“It’s a true honour to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from President Trump to Taiwan,” Mr Azar said.

Our foreign staff have more on this here.

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, left, is greeted by Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, right, during a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan - Pool Central News Agency
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, left, is greeted by Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, right, during a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan – Pool Central News Agency

09:09 AM

France ‘days away from being added to quarantine list’ 

France is days away from being added to the UK’s quarantine list, according to senior sources within the Government. 

The Foreign Office is due to update its ‘safe’ list this week, with Portugal hoping to gain its first travel corridor of the pandemic, meaning returning holidaymakers will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days. France, however, is one of several countries in Europe to have seen a rise in its number of coronavirus infections in recent days. 

Paul Charles, spokesperson for campaign group Quash Quarantine and founder of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said he understood France, along with Switzerland, Poland and the Netherlands, could be subject to fresh restrictions. 

“I know from senior government sources that anything above 20 per 100,000 for a period of seven days or more is likely to lead to that country being added to the quarantine list,” he wrote in Telegraph Travel. 

“On that basis, France has just two days to gets its numbers below 20 – which is highly unlikely despite face masks now being mandatory in many outdoor public spaces, not just indoors in shops.”

Our travel blog has all the latest on this here.

Coronavirus France Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus France Spotlight Chart – Cases default

08:56 AM

Shame and embarrassment stopping NHS workers from seeking mental health support, study finds 

Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of NHS workers have said their mental health and general well-being has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study from charity Duty To Care.

Though this statistic is relatively unsurprising, 60 per cent have not considered seeking help for these issues and nearly a quarter (23 per cent) cited “shame and embarrassment” as a key barrier for doing so.

The charity, which provides free mental health and well-being support via online consultation, surveyed 500 NHS workers about how their mental health has been impacted by the pandemic.

Survey respondents also cited experiencing anxiety (70 per cent), sleep problems (64 per cent), depression or low mood (51 per cent), irritability (49 per cent), and low self-esteem (27 per cent) among other challenges they are currently facing.

Nicky Perl, therapist for Duty To Care, said:

“I’m not surprised to see that a high percentage of NHS workers have not considered seeking help. All my clients admitted they found it hard to accept the free support on offer. 

“It often took the intervention of a concerned colleague to encourage them to take that first step, which perhaps says something about the ethos of the NHS – to just carry on.

“The pandemic has completely turned the lives of our healthcare professionals upside down, making an already stressful job and working environment much harder to deal with. Many are suffering from ‘imposter syndrome’, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from, not only what they’ve experienced day to day on the front line, but also past traumas, and general mental and physical exhaustion.”

08:42 AM

Malta poised for quarantine restrictions as cases rise 

Malta is at risk of losing its travel corridor with the UK after a rise in coronavirus cases saw fresh lockdown measures introduced.

The island nation saw its 14-day cumulative number of new cases rise above 50 per 100,000, a figure that last week saw Belgium removed from the Foreign Office’s ‘safe list’.

Malta has seen a sharp uptick in infections in recent days, prompting authorities to enforce the mandatory wearing of face masks in public and ban large gatherings. The country has recorded just over 1,000 cases and nine deaths. 

Malta relies on tourism for a third of its GDP; one hotel manager told Telegraph Travel last week that any new restrictions would be “devastating”. 

The UK Government is expected to make further amends to its list of travel corridors this week, with a number of countries in the firing line for quarantine restrictions. On the other hand, Portugal is hoping to be added to the ‘safe’ list for the first time.

Our travel blog has more on this here.

Valletta, the Maltese capital - iStockphoto
Valletta, the Maltese capital – iStockphoto

08:30 AM

Increasing numbers of women over 50 forced into retirement

Women over the age of 50 have been hardest hit by the economic impact of coronavirus, new research has revealed, with just under 100,000 being forced into early retirement since the start of the pandemic.

A new study by jobs site Rest Less found that economic inactivity rates fell in all female age groups apart from the over 50s, which has risen by 1.3 per cent since the start of the crisis.

Founder of the recruitment website Stuart Lewis said that the figures coupled with a “large pension savings gap” would leave many women in a “financially precarious position ahead of retirement”.

Amy Jones reports. Read more here.

08:14 AM

School coronavirus outbreaks ‘exception not the norm’, first major study across Europe finds

School outbreaks of coronavirus are the “exception rather than the norm”, the first Europe wide study has found, with most countries reporting no infection spread in classrooms. 

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has found that across the continent evidence “suggests that re-opening schools has not been associated with significant increases in community transmission”. 

Hayley Dixon has more on this here.

Some children wearing masks as they return to school in Germany in the midst of the pandemic - FELIPE TRUEBA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Some children wearing masks as they return to school in Germany in the midst of the pandemic – FELIPE TRUEBA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

08:07 AM

‘Schools are safe’ says care minister

Care Minister Helen Whately has tried to reassure parents that schools returning in September do not pose a risk to children.  “Absolutely it’ll be safe for children to be back in schools”, she said.

Ms Whately told BBC Breakfast: “The evidence that we have is on the one hand of very low transmission and also that the risks to children from Covid are very low, so absolutely it’ll be safe for children to be back in schools, and our national priority is to get to children back in school this autumn.”

Asked about the one week on, one week off suggestion, she said: “Our priority is to make sure that children are fully back in school come the autumn.”

She added: “Schools are safe and there are extra measures that schools are being advised by Public Health England to take; for instance, to have staggered start and finish times, staggered breaks, to teach children in bubbles, and teachers can enforce, encourage hand washing, hand sanitising, so all the steps that will make schools even safer for our children to be back.”

Asked if schools should stay open in the event of a local lockdown, she said: “Yes, that is the approach, so, for instance, in places like Leicester and Greater Manchester, and areas where we have local restrictions going on, absolutely schools should be still going back. It is essential that children get back into school this autumn term.”

Care Minister Helen Whately - DAVID WOOLFALL
Care Minister Helen Whately – DAVID WOOLFALL

07:51 AM

Daily covid death count could be scrapped

The official Covid-19 death toll may never be brought back following an investigation into Public Health England’s method of counting it, the Telegraph understands.

The conclusions of the review, which was ordered by Matt Hancock after it emerged officials were “over-exaggerating” deaths from the virus, are expected this week.

One expected recommendation would be to stop daily reporting altogether and move to a weekly official death toll instead, a government source said on Sunday night.

Anna Mikhailova has the story here.

Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart - DEATHS default
Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart – DEATHS default

07:44 AM

Russian infections rise by 5,118

 Russian authorities confirmed 5,118 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, pushing the national case tally to 892,654, the fourth largest in the world.

The official death toll rose to 15,001 after authorities said in their daily coronavirus report that 70 people had died in the last 24 hours. 

Coronavirus Russia Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Russia Spotlight Chart – Cases default

07:31 AM

Manchester mayor compares self-isolation measures to jury service

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham compared the request to self-isolate to jury service and said people should be supported to do it.

He told the BBC:

“Our poorest communities are going to be very, very exposed in the second half of this year if we have people who can’t self-isolate when we have the virus circulating in those areas and schools going back adding to the risk.

“It’s a simple request we are making, a bit like when you are called up to serve on a jury, when you get a request from the Government to go and be a juror.

“This also is a request from the Government when you’re being asked to self-isolate, so let’s give everybody the ability to follow that request.

“Test and trace will start working much better if we do that.”

07:03 AM

Getting children back to school ‘a national priority’ – minister

Helen Whately, the care minister, has said it is a “national priority” to get children back to school in autumn.

Ms Whately told Sky News: “Sadly we have seen children from disadvantaged backgrounds more likely to fall behind during this time, so it’s essential that we have children back at school this autumn.”

She added: “Schools will be a safe environment for children to be taught in, of course in the event a child has a temperature or any type of symptoms, it’s very important they get a rapid test.

“Schools will be provided with home test kits.”

06:51 AM

Facemasks become mandatory in Paris

Parisians will be legally required to wear facemasks in the busier parts of the French capital from Monday, as authorities sought to get a handle on the rising infection rate. 

The news measures will apply to anyone aged over 11 in areas that are particularly crowded, as the rate of infection in Paris rose above the national average. 

06:48 AM

Lockdown eases in Wales

Gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres are reopening in Wales on Monday as lockdown restrictions are further eased.

While the reopening of fitness venues comes several weeks after England, Wales will become the first part of the UK to allow children’s indoor soft players to reopen. 

Councils have been given beefed up powers to enforce the rules governing social distancing in the hope it will help stamp out any fresh outbreaks.

05:37 AM

India records record number of fatalities

India has registered a record 1,007 fatalities in the past 24 hours as infections surged by another 62,064 cases.

The Health Ministry says the total fatalities touched 44,386 on Monday.

The number of positive cases reported so far are 2,215,074. At least 634,935 patients were still undergoing treatment.

India has recorded more than 60,000 cases of the virus daily in the last four days and more infections than any other country in the world for six consecutive days. It has averaged around 50,000 new cases a day since mid-June.

Infections in India remain concentrated in 10 states that contribute nearly 80 per cent of the new cases.

Accredited Social Health Activist, who are also involved in collecting coronavirus disease related data, launched a two-day strike for various demands including better wages, protection from the infectious disease and medical insurance in New Delhi, India - STRINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Accredited Social Health Activist, who are also involved in collecting coronavirus disease related data, launched a two-day strike for various demands including better wages, protection from the infectious disease and medical insurance in New Delhi, India – STRINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

05:27 AM

Business lending to hit 13-year high as further redundancies loom

Banks will lend more to British businesses this year than at any point since the financial crash, as the UK seeks to stave off waves of redundancies. 

In its interim bank lending forecast, EY said it was expecting business lending to grow by 14pc this year, in what would be a 13-year high. Last year, business lending grew by 2pc. 

EY said in March banks lent non-financial companies more than £30bn net of repayments, which was around 100 times the average net lending of the twelve months to February.

Read the full story

04:06 AM

NZ to open travel bubble with Cook Islands

New Zealand plans to open a virus-free “travel bubble” with the tiny Pacific realm of Cook Islands before year’s end, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, while expressing caution about a similar arrangement with Australia.

Ms Ardern said the quarantine-free travel corridor was possible because New Zealand and the Cooks – an archipelago of under 10,000 people – had successfully contained the coronavirus.

“Our expectation is that it would be in place before the end of the year,” she told reporters, adding that officials were being careful not to move too quickly on the proposal.

“The last thing anyone wants is to reopen travel, only to have it closed down again because it hasn’t been done properly.”

New Zealand has recorded only 22 coronavirus in a population of five million, and marked 100 days since its last case of community transmission on Sunday, while the Cooks declared itself virus-free in mid-April.

Read more: Portugal could come off the quarantine list – visitors to France may have to isolate on return

Coronavirus live map cases tracker
Coronavirus live map cases tracker

03:41 AM

Red Cross training 43,000 volunteers for North Korea

The Red Cross has been training more than 43,000 volunteers to North Korea, including to the locked-down city of Kaesong, to help fight the novel coronavirus and provide flood assistance, an official with the relief organisation said on Monday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared an emergency last month and imposed a lockdown on Kaesong, near the inter-Korean border, after a man who defected to the South in 2017 returned to the city showing coronavirus symptoms.

Heavy rain and flooding in recent days have also sparked concern about crop damage and food supplies in the isolated country.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has built an extensive network of North Korean volunteers to help residents in all nine provinces to avoid the virus and reduce damage from floods and landslides, spokesman Antony Balmain said.

Read more: Kim Jong-un sends aid to border city in lockdown

02:58 AM

Summary of news from around the world

  • New locally transmitted cases  in China fell to just 14 over the past 24 hours, the National Health Commission reported on Monday. 

  • Australia has reported fewer new daily cases from its virus hotspot in the city of Melbourne than on any single day since last month. 

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says officials have agreed to allow live performances to resume outdoors with audiences divided into 20-person “capsules”. 

  • Britain has recorded more than 1,000 new infections in a day for the first time since late June. 

  • Greek authorities have announced a record daily number of 203 new cases, with one death. 

  • Italy‘s tally of daily cases leaped higher on Sunday, with 463 cases, according to Health Ministry figures. 

  • The Indian Medical Association says 196 doctors have died of Covid-19 so far and, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requested adequate care for physicians and their families. 

  • Brazil has surpassed a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths.

A woman looks at an Brazilian actor disguised as death to raise awareness of the importance of wearing face masks and keeping social isolation in Formiga, Minas Gerais state, Brazil - AFP
A woman looks at an Brazilian actor disguised as death to raise awareness of the importance of wearing face masks and keeping social isolation in Formiga, Minas Gerais state, Brazil – AFP

02:26 AM

Scientists in spat over whether to infect people in vaccine trials

Scientists working on Britain’s best hope for a vaccine are understood to be at odds about whether to deliberately infect healthy patients in order to test it.

Professor Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, wants to recruit young volunteers for such tests in the hope it will speed up the race for a successful jab.

He is among hundreds of scientists advocating the use of “human challenge trials” which would see healthy people under the age of 30 deliberately infected in order to test the jab.

But Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the institute, is understood to have clashed with him over his intentions, believing the risk to volunteers is too high.

Read the full story

Read more: When will a Covid-19 vaccine be ready?

The potential hurdles to a vaccine
The potential hurdles to a vaccine

12:28 AM

China reports spike in cases

China reported on Monday 49 new cases in the mainland for August 9, compared with 23 cases a day earlier, the health authority said.

The National Health Commission said in a statement 35 of the new infections were imported cases. There were no new deaths.

China also reported 31 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 11 a day earlier.

As of August 9, mainland China had a total of 84,668 confirmed cases and  death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

A Chinese boy and his father wear protective masks on a ride while shopping at a toy store in Beijing - Getty
A Chinese boy and his father wear protective masks on a ride while shopping at a toy store in Beijing – Getty

12:08 AM

The West Yorkshire village split down the middle by lockdown

The village of Menston in West Yorkshire, is used to having something of a split personality.

It is almost a local in-joke: given half of the village pays taxes to the council in Bradford, eight miles away, but the other half pay theirs to the council in Leeds, 10 miles away, residents either pick a side and proudly stick to it, or else live in a state of constant confusion. To make things worse, the village postcodes are all Leeds.

Historically, it is not a division that causes serious problems,but since the Government’s partial lockdown of the Bradford council area, however, Menston has effectively been cut in two.

Read the full story

Michael Rhodes in Menston Park - Charlotte Graham
Michael Rhodes in Menston Park – Charlotte Graham

12:04 AM

Australia reports record number of daily deaths

Australia reported a record number of daily  deaths on Monday, although the number of new infections in the country’s virus hot spot fell to a near two week low.

Officials in Victoria state, which is the epicentre of Australia’s second coronavirus wave, reported that 19 people died from the virus over the past 24 hours. With other states still to report daily new case and death numbers, that already marks the country’s biggest single day rise in fatalities.

In more positive news, Victoria officials also reported 322 new cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest number of single day new infections since July 29.

Australia has recorded about 21,000 cases, and 314 deaths, still far fewer than many other developed nations.

11:22 PM

Today’s top stories

Source Article

Next Post

97,000 kids tested positive the last two weeks of July; US remains the world's most infected country

Mon Aug 10 , 2020
As the U.S. reached another bleak milestone on Sunday, a glimmer of hope from New York: The Empire State reported its lowest positivity rate since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. New York, for weeks the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, reported the rate — the average number of positive results for every 100 tests — hit […]