Tag: LIVE

Coronavirus live news: Italy reports record deaths after close to a thousand Covid-linked fatalities in 24 hours | World news

Rich nations stand to lose hundreds of billions of dollars in economic output over the next five years if poorer countries do not get equal access to Covid-19 vaccines, a report has said as concerns grow about “vaccine nationalism”.

As the World Health Organization (WHO) seeks to plug funding gaps in its ACT Accelerator programme for global Covid-19 treatments, researchers said their findings showed there was a financial – as well as a moral – case for ensuring equal access.

“Governments are increasingly focusing on investments that can help their own economies to rebound,” said Hassan Damluji, deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which commissioned the report by the Eurasia Group research firm.

“The ACT Accelerator is precisely one of those investments. It is both the right thing to do, and an investment that will pay dividends by bringing the global economy back from the brink, benefiting all nations.”

As nations prepare to roll out mass Covid-19 vaccination programmes, with Britain becoming the first to approve a vaccine for use this week, there has been concern that “vaccine nationalism” could see poorer countries left behind.

The WHO says the programme needs $38bn (£28bn) – of which about $28bn is still outstanding – without which lower-income countries will not be able to get prompt access to Covid-19 drugs including vaccines.

Thursday’s report assessed the economic benefits of ensuring swift, equal global access to vaccines to 10 major economies – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US.

It found boosts to the global economy as a result meant they stood to gain at least $153bn in 2020-21, and $466bn by 2025, in an analysis based on IMF World Economic Outlook forecasts of varying vaccination scenarios.

The WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, hailed the report, and said contributing to the ACT Accelerator was “the smart thing for all countries – socially, economically and politically”.

Its findings are in line with an earlier study that found wealthy countries stood to lose $119bn a year through uneven vaccine access, said Andrea Taylor, a researcher at the Duke Global Health Institute’s project tracking Covid-19 data.

“It is in the best interests of wealthy nations to invest in equity and it will cost all of us more if we don’t, both in terms of mortality and GDP,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Coronavirus live news: Iran passes 1m Covid-19 cases; WHO looks at possible ‘e-vaccination certificates’ for travel | World news

The information technology company said in a blog post published on Thursday that it had uncovered “a global phishing campaign” focused on organisations associated with the Covid-19 vaccine “cold chain” – the process needed to keep vaccine doses at extremely cold temperatures as they travel from manufacturers to people’s arms.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency reposted the report, warning members of Operation Warp Speed – the US government’s national vaccine mission – to be on the lookout.

Understanding how to build a secure cold chain is fundamental to distributing vaccines developed by the likes of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE because the shots need to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 F) or below to avoid spoiling.

IBM’s cybersecurity unit said it had detected an advanced group of hackers working to gather information about different aspects of the cold chain, using meticulously crafted booby-trapped emails sent in the name of an executive with Haier Biomedical, a Chinese cold chain provider that specializes in vaccine transport and biological sample storage.

The hackers went through “an exceptional amount of effort,” said IBM analyst Claire Zaboeva, who helped draft the report. Hackers researched the correct make, model, and pricing of various Haier refrigeration units, Zaboeva said.

“Whoever put together this campaign was intimately aware of whatever products were involved in the supply chain to deliver a vaccine for a global pandemic,” she said.

Haier Medical did not return messages seeking comment. Messages sent to the email addresses used by the hackers were not returned.

IBM said the bogus Haier emails were sent to around 10 different organizations but only identified one target by name: the European commission’s directorate-general for taxation and customs union, which handles tax and customs issues across the EU and has helped set rules on the import of vaccines.

Representatives for the directorate-general could not immediately be reached for comment.

IBM said other targets included companies involved in the manufacture of solar panels, which are used to power vaccine refrigerators in warm countries, and petrochemical products that could be used to derive dry ice.

Who is behind the vaccine supply chain espionage campaign isn’t clear. IBM’s Zaboeva said there was no shortage of potential suspects. Figuring out how to swiftly distribute an economy-saving vaccine “should be topping the lists of nation states across the world,” she said.

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Australia politics live: NSW hotel quarantine worker tests positive for Covid | Australia news

NSW Health is calling on people in Sydney’s north-west to get tested if they have even the mildest Covid-19 symptoms, after the state’s sewage surveillance program detected traces of the virus at a sewage treatment plant in Riverstone.

Fragments of the virus that causes Covid-19 have been detected in samples taken on Sunday 29 November from the sewerage system that drains parts of Riverstone, Vineyard, Marsden Park, Shanes Park, Quakers Hill, Oakville, Box Hill, The Ponds, Rouse Hill, Nelson, Schofields and Colebee.

Detection of the virus in sewage samples could reflect the presence of known cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in recent weeks in the area served by this sewage treatment plant. However, NSW Health is concerned there could be other active cases in the local community in people who have not been tested and who might incorrectly assume their symptoms are just a cold.

Particularly in light of the easing of restrictions on gatherings announced [yesterday], it is important that people in these areas be aware of any symptoms of illness, and immediately isolate and get tested should even the mildest of symptoms appear. Cold-like symptoms, including a runny nose or scratchy throat, cough, tiredness, fever or other symptoms could be Covid-19.

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Covid-19 Live News and Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

A student under quarantine in a dorm at Ohio State University last month.
Credit…Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Citing the spiraling rise in coronavirus cases nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday warned Americans not to travel over the holidays, and outlined two ways to shorten the recommended quarantine times for people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus, especially those who may choose to travel anyway.

“The best thing for Americans to do during the holiday season is to stay at home and not travel,” said Dr. Henry Walke, who oversees day to day management of pandemic response for the agency.

The C.D.C. previously had recommended a 14-day quarantine period following potential exposure, and officials said they still supported the longer period as the safest option. But officials also recommended two alternatives.

Those without symptoms may end quarantine after seven days, followed by a negative test for the virus, or after 10 days without a negative test, agency officials said at a news briefing. P.C.R. or rapid tests are acceptable, the agency said, and should be taken within 48 hours of the end of the quarantine period.

“We can safely reduce the length of quarantine, but accepting that there is a small residual risk that a person who is leaving quarantine early could transmit to someone else if they became infected,” said Dr. John Brooks, the C.D.C.’s chief medical officer for the Covid-19 response.

(Quarantine refers to people who are well but may become ill; isolation refers to those known to be ill.)

Agency officials also recommended that Americans who are traveling get tested for the infection one to three days before the trip and again three to five days after returning. Returnees should eliminate nonessential activities for seven days.

A shortened quarantine period may be more palatable to people, with reduced economic impact, and may improve compliance, officials said. But the more relaxed guidance may lead to some infections being missed.

Studies have found that the median incubation period for the virus is five days. But symptoms do not develop in a few patients until nearly two weeks after exposure.

C.D.C. officials also warned strongly against travel over the Christmas holiday.

Dr. Cindy Friedman, chief of the travelers health branch at the C.D.C., reiterated that with cases rising, “the safest thing to do is to postpone travel and stay home,” saying that even a small percentage of infected travelers could “translate into hundreds of thousands of additional infections.”

“Travel is a door-to-door experience that can spread the virus during the journey and into communities where travelers visit or live,” she said. “We know it’s a hard decision, and people need time to prepare and have discussions with family and friends and to make these decisions.”

“Our recommendations are trying to give them the tools they need to make these tough choices,” she said, adding that people should take the time before the Christmas holidays to

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Rape suspect who ‘attacked a woman in a London hotel’ is bailed to live in a migrant camp

A channel migrant has been arrested on suspicion of raping a woman weeks after arriving in Britain aboard a small boat.

The alleged sex attack took place at a hotel in London where the man was living at taxpayers’ expense.

The suspect, who is said to be from Sudan, was arrested by police on November 8 and later released on bail.

A channel migrant has been arrested on suspicion of raping a woman weeks after arriving in Britain aboard a small boat (pictured: Migrants arriving at Napier Barracks)

A channel migrant has been arrested on suspicion of raping a woman weeks after arriving in Britain aboard a small boat (pictured: Migrants arriving at Napier Barracks) 

After his release, he was sent to live at the former Napier Barracks near Folkestone, Kent, which has been converted to accommodate hundreds of asylum seekers.

In a separate incident, another migrant housed at the barracks has been arrested for alleged sexual harassment of a female charity worker.

The 30-year-old was arrested this week over claims that he sent explicit messages and images to the victim. 

He has been allowed out on bail and is still living at the camp.

A source at the former Army base said it ‘beggared belief’ that the two migrants were there on bail.

After his release, he was sent to live at the former Napier Barracks near Folkestone, Kent, (pictured) which has been converted to accommodate hundreds of asylum seekers

After his release, he was sent to live at the former Napier Barracks near Folkestone, Kent, (pictured) which has been converted to accommodate hundreds of asylum seekers 

The source added: ‘The Sudanese man has entered the country illegally and now been accused of an incredibly serious crime.

‘He should be in custody until the matter is resolved. Instead he’s living in quite a comfortable base where people can come and go, just by signing in and out.’

The source said of the sexual harassment allegation: ‘Everyone is really shocked that he was apparently targeting a charity worker. But again, he has been sent back rather than being held, which seems very risky.

‘There is nothing to stop these two making a run for it and never being found.’

The accusations will reignite concerns that migrants are able to enter the UK without border officials being able to make adequate checks on their criminal records. 

Many migrants are told by people traffickers to lie about their names, nationalities and ages to increase the chances of making a successful asylum claim.

The accusations will reignite concerns that migrants are able to enter the UK without border officials being able to make adequate checks on their criminal records (pictured: Border Force bringing migrants to shore)

The accusations will reignite concerns that migrants are able to enter the UK without border officials being able to make adequate checks on their criminal records (pictured: Border Force bringing migrants to shore) 

Last week MPs were told that some migrants have mutilated themselves to disguise their fingerprints, so they cannot be cross-referenced on a European Union biometrics database that logs previous asylum claims in other countries.

A protest broke out at the base last week with detainees chanting ‘freedom’ and complaining about cramped conditions.

Rooms at the centre are fitted with flat-screen TVs and an on-site canteen serves up three meals a day. Computer game consoles are available to migrants and they also have access to a gym.

It is understood migrants are given pay-as-you-go mobiles, loaded with free credit, as well as

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Victoria’s new hotel quarantine program may employ ‘fly-in-fly-out’ staff who live on site

Hotel quarantine staff in Victoria will be subject to contact tracing before beginning work and in some cases will live on site, the state’s premier Daniel Andrews has said.



Daniel Andrews wearing a suit and tie: Photograph: James Ross/AAP


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: James Ross/AAP

As Victoria celebrated its 26th consecutive day with no new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, Andrews announced a suite of new measures aimed at preventing a third outbreak of the virus when it resumes overseas hotel quarantine next month.

Andrews also said the state would employ an “exclusive workforce” to operate the hotel quarantine program, promising that workers “won’t have any second jobs”.

“We may well have groups, not necessarily every staff member, but some staff members who actually live in the hotel,” Andrews told the ABC.

Related: Victoria budget: treasurer announces $23.3bn deficit and record spending amid coronavirus recession

“A bit of a fly-in-fly-out arrangement. We’ll advance contact trace all of those people and know who they live with and what the people that they live with do for a living.

“So someone working wouldn’t share a house with someone in an aged care facility, for example. All of that work is going on to make sure that when the program is reset, it is safe and I’m confident that that is what people will be able to do.”

The commitments come as the state prepares to resume its mandatory two-week hotel quarantine for overseas arrivals on 7 December. The program, which is expected to accomodate about 160 returning travellers a day when it resumes, was suspended during the state’s devastating second-wave outbreak which stemmed in part from failures in the “hastily assembled” system.

The Victorian government is still waiting to receive the final report from an inquiry into the scheme which found widespread problems with its operation. An interim report released earlier this month recommended police should be on site 24 hours a day at quarantine sites, and that infection control experts should be “embedded” in each facility.

Video: Andrews announces $5 million sick pay scheme trial (Sky News Australia)

Andrews announces $5 million sick pay scheme trial

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On Wednesday, the inquiry announced it will hold a final hearing on Friday 27 November in order to tender final evidence and submissions.

Andrews has declined to comment in detail on the interim report, but in a separate interview on Tuesday said it was his “responsibility” to “make sure that we don’t make those mistakes ever again”.

The Victorian government has also sought to combat what Andrews has called the “toxic” nature of insecure work by announcing a pilot program in this week’s state budget to provide some casual and insecure workers in priority industries sick leave and carers leave.



Daniel Andrews wearing a suit and tie: Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said the state will employ an ‘exclusive workforce’ to operate the hotel quarantine program when it resumes on 7 December.


© Photograph: James Ross/AAP
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said the state will employ an ‘exclusive workforce’ to operate the hotel quarantine program when it resumes on 7 December.

“Insecure work isn’t just bad for those who work under those conditions, it’s bad for all of us and we pay

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Covid-19 Live Updates: Thanksgiving Travel Drops as Americans Rethink Rituals

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Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Americans have agonized over Thanksgiving this year, weighing skyrocketing case numbers and blunt warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention against the need, after a grim and worrying year, to gather with family for a traditional, carbohydrate-laden ritual.

Around 27 percent of Americans plan to dine with people outside their household, according to interviews conducted by the global data-and-survey firm Dynata at the request of The New York Times.

Views on whether to risk Thanksgiving gatherings appear to track closely with political views, with respondents identifying as Democrats far less likely to be planning a multihousehold holiday.

Megan Baldwin, 42, had planned to drive from New York to Montana to be with her parents, but last week, she canceled her plans.

“I thought I would get tested and take all the precautions to be safe, but how could I risk giving it to my parents, who are in their 70s?” she said, adding that they were not happy with the decision.

“All they want is to see their grandkids,” she said, “but I couldn’t forgive myself if we got them sick. It’s not worth it.”

Others decided to take the plunge, concluding that the emotional boost of being together outweighed the risk of becoming infected.

“We all agreed that we need this — we need to be together during this crazy, lonely time, and we are just going to be careful and hope that we will all be OK,” said Martha Dillon, who will converge with relatives from four different states on her childhood home in Kentucky.

Thanksgiving travel is clearly down compared with 2019.

The AAA has forecast a 10 percent overall decline in Thanksgiving travel compared with last year, the largest year-on-year drop since the recession of 2008. But the change is far smaller, around 4.3 percent, for those traveling by car, who make up a huge majority of those who plan to travel — roughly 47.8 million people.

About 917,000 people were screened by the Transportation Security Administration on Monday, less than half of the number seen on the same day in 2019, according to federal data published on Tuesday.

Airlines are struggling from a dramatic decline in demand that has forced them to drop flights and make big capacity cuts, said Katherine Estep, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, an industry trade group. “Currently, cancelations are spiking, and carriers are burning $180 million in cash every day just to stay operating,” she said. “The economic impact on U.S. airlines, their employees, travelers and the shipping public is staggering.”

Demand for travel by train is down more sharply, at about 20 percent of what it was last year, said Jason Abrams, a spokesman for Amtrak.

Susan Katz, 73, said she canceled plans

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Hotel quarantine staff could ‘live in a bubble’ under new scheme

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A rebooted hotel quarantine scheme in Victoria could include staff who stay on site to reduce the risk of infection in the community, Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged.

Questions remain about how the new version of the program will be managed when international flights return to the state in just two weeks’ time.

South Australia’s coronavirus outbreak, also linked to hotel quarantine, has triggered calls over whether states should isolate travellers in the regions or other low-density areas to reduce the risk of larger super-spreading events.

Mr Andrews said it was possible some employees could be asked to “live in a bubble” while working in risk points for infection.

“I think living on site is not just a function of being out in the suburbs or in regional Victoria,” he said.

“You might find that’s a feature of the reset system.

“Not necessarily every member of staff, but some. Particularly those that are in the highest risk group if you like, those who have got the most frequent contact.”

Mr Andrews said the program would start at 160 people a day and grow over time.

“We are very confident that we can have an exclusive workforce,” he said.

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Air Travel Rises Ahead of Thanksgiving, Despite Warnings: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

Credit…David Santiago/Miami Herald, via Associated Press

More travelers were screened at airport security checkpoints on Sunday than on any day since the pandemic took hold in March, a worrying sign that people flying to visit their families for Thanksgiving could increase the spread of the coronavirus.

A little more than one million people were screened by the Transportation Security Administration on Sunday, according to federal data published on Monday. That number is about half of what it was in 2019, but it represents a big increase from the spring, when less than a half a million people flew on any given day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, have been strongly discouraging holiday travel for fear that it would increase the number of new infections, which have surged in recent weeks as the weather turns colder and more people spend time indoors.

Airlines have said that flying is safe because of the precautions the industry has put in place, like high-end air filtration. They also point to the relatively few published cases of the coronavirus being spread during a flight. But the science on in-flight safety is far from settled, and travelers would still be at risk of contracting or spreading the virus at airports and once they are at their destination.

The increase in travel during the holidays has been encouraging for airlines. But it won’t be enough to offset the deep losses they have suffered during the pandemic. The nation’s largest airlines have collectively reported tens of billions of dollars in losses so far this year, and analysts expect demand to remain weak for a couple of years or more. The industry is hoping that the incoming Biden administration and Congress will give airlines more aid early next year.

Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

Black Friday has long been the biggest shopping day of the year, with doorbuster deals inspiring some die-hard shoppers to camp out all night in front of big-box stores.

But as coronavirus cases climb across the country and public health officials beg people to avoid crowds, will stores still try to lure customers inside? And if they do, will customers take the bait and show up?

“This year is going to be a Black Friday unlike any other,” said Kelly O’Keefe, managing partner at the Brand Federation, a consulting firm. “We’re not going to have crowds knocking down Walmart’s door this year. There will be fewer people in stores and there will be much better management of those people.”

Here’s what some of the biggest retailers are doing to keep customers safe on Black Friday this year:

Best Buy said it was selling this year’s new gaming consoles online only, to avoid lines

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Coronavirus live news: India passes 9m cases; China gives 1m people Sinopharm vaccine | World news





India passes 9 million cases

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Churches in the Philippine capital Manila have been told not to hold any Christmas carol activities this season as part of measures to limit the transmission of Covid-19.

The Philippines, a catholic majority country, has one of the longest Christmas periods in the world, with celebrations beginning at the start of September and, for some, lasting as late as Valentine’s Day.

It’s the country’s most important holiday, but this year’s festivities will be different: as well as a ban on carols in church, there are also limits on church attendance,

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