TODAY the UK coronavirus death toll reached 45,053 as 85 more deaths were recorded.
Meanwhile, VAT reductions in the tourism and hospitality industries were put in place today in an economy boost that takes the tax from 20 per cent to just 5 per cent.
Kings College London scientists claim that skin rashes are a symptom of coronavirus along with the three most common, being a fever, a persistent cough and a loss of taste or smell.
In a study they found that 8.8% of people who tested positive for coronavirus also had a rash, and that the virus can target organs other than the lungs despite being a respiratory disease.
Follow the latest news and updates surrounding coronavirus below…
– LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN CASES TOP 3.5 MILLION: In a week when The total confirmed coronavirus deaths in Latin America and the Caribbean surpassed the death toll in the U.S. and Canada, 3.5 million cases have now been reported in the region.
– AMERICAN AIRLINES WARNS EMPLOYEES OF UP TO 25,000 JOB CUTS: Executives warned employees late Wednesday that the airline will have to lay off as many as 25,000 front-line workers this fall, which amounts to around 30 percent of front-line staff.
– PROMINENT PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS QUESTION U.S. LEAVING W.H.O.: Three prominent public health experts have questioned Trump support for the World Health Organization, comparing the decision to firing a team of firefighters in the middle of a raging forest fire.
– REPUBLICAN CONVENTION MAY BE HELD OUTSIDE: Vice President Mike Pence has said “we’ll put the health of everyone participating first” and hinted that next month’s Republican National Convention in Florida may be held outside amid coronavirus concerns.
– WHITE HOUSE DEFENDS TRUMP OVER DECISION NOT TO WEAR MASK: The White House said President Trump followed the necessary guidelines after being pictured without a mask at an airport in Atlanta, where an executive order requires people to wear masks.
– CHINA’S ECONOMY EXPANDS DURING SECOND QUARTER: After shrinking by 6.8 percent in the first quarter, China’s economy expanded 3.2 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, officials said on Thursday.
CHINA’S ECONOMY EXPANDS DURING SECOND QUARTER
China’s economy expanded 3.2 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, officials said on Thursday.
The recovery is a sign of success for a country that brought the virus under control with widespread testing and travel restrictions – though there may be caveats.
The announcement comes after China’s economy shrunk by 6.8 percent in the first quarter – the country’s first acknowledged contraction in nearly half a century.
China’s government has continued to rely on infrastructure spending on highways and rail lines, with some experts questioning whether such an approach is sustainable as the demand for the consumer goods it produces may be languishing.
REPUBLICAN CONVENTION MAY BE HELD OUTSIDE, U.S. VP PENCE SAYS
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has said that the upcoming Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, may need to be held in an outdoor setting.
On a campaign call with reporters, Pence said the convention, which is set to be held next month, is a “work in progress.”
Pence added that the “we’ll put the health of everyone participating first.”
It has previously been indicated by the RNC Host Committee that all those within the perimeter of the convention may be tested on a daily basis.
PROMINENT PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS QUESTION U.S. LEAVING W.H.O.
Three prominent public health experts have questioned President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States’ support for the World Health Organization.
On Wednesday, the experts compared the decision to firing a team of firefighters in the middle of a raging forest fire.
Trump and his aides have blamed WHO and China for the rapid spread of the coronavirus, which has more cases in the US than any other country.
“At some point there should be a reckoning, an evaluation of why the United States has done so poorly and who is responsible for the tens of thousands of excess deaths and billions of dollars in economic damage that have resulted,” the experts wrote.
AMERICAN AIRLINES WARNS EMPLOYEES OF UP TO 25,000 JOB CUTS
American Airlines executives warned employees late Wednesday that the airline will have to lay off as many as 25,000 front-line workers this fall.
The cuts will cover unionized employees – including pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and airport workers.
They will make up nearly 30 percent of the company’s 85,000 front-line workers in the U.S.
American Airlines – which previously cut 30 percent of corporate staff – said the cuts come as travel has not rebounded as the company hoped.
The New York team here, taking over the live blog for the next few hours.
COVID CASES IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN TOP 3.5 MILLION
As of Wednesday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America and the Caribbean has topped 3.5 million.
The tally, based on data from Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center, also included more than 150,000 deaths.
In total, 33 countries in the region have reported a total 3,524,908 Covid-19 cases and 150,973 deaths.
For the first time this week, the total confirmed coronavirus deaths in Latin America and the Caribbean surpassed the death toll in the U.S. and Canada.
That’s all from us tonight, but we’ll be back with all the latest developments on the coronavirus from 7am.
Here’s a rundown of the key news stories of the day.
- The UK coronavirus death toll reached 45,053 as 85 more deaths were recorded.
- Kings College London scientists claim that skin rashes are a symptom of coronavirus along with the three most common, being a fever, a persistent cough and a loss of taste or smell. In a study they found that 8.8% of people who tested positive for coronavirus also had a rash, and that the virus can target organs other than the lungs despite being a respiratory disease.
- Boris Johnson is poised to rip-up the work-from-home guidance on Friday – giving bosses the green light to welcome staff back to the office.
- People will NOT have to wear face masks in cafes and coffee shops if they are picking up take away food, No10 has said. But this morning Matt Hancock said customers paying for food at a counter at cafes such as Pret a Manger or Costa would have to cover up.
- Oxford scientists believe they have made a breakthrough in the discovery of a coronavirus vaccine, the Daily Telegraph reports. According to the paper, Phase 1 human trials have revealed that it generates an immune response against the disease.
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Robert Peston on ITV that a formal decision on when the Leicester lockdown will end will be taken in the next 24 hours.
Here are some of the day’s most striking images from across the globe, as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
STUDY FINDS THAT EARLIER LOCKDOWN IS LINKED TO REDUCTION IN CASES
Imposing lockdown restrictions earlier has been linked to greater reductions in new coronavirus cases, a study has found.
The research, published in the British Medical Journals, also found that physical distancing measures, such as closing schools, workplaces and public transport, and restricting mass gatherings, were associated with a “meaningful reduction” in coronavirus cases.
Based on data gathered from 149 countries and regions, the study found that on average the implementation of any physical distancing measure was associated with an overall reduction in Covid-19 incidence of 13%.
A team of UK and US researchers compared the change in new cases of the virus before and up to 30 days after implementation of physical distancing measures in the early stages of the pandemic.
Their findings are based on daily reported cases for 149 countries or regions that implemented one or more of five physical distancing measures between January 1 and May 30.
ICU PATIENTS SURVIVAL RATE HAS IMPROVED, STUDY FINDS
The death rate for COVID-19 intensive care patients has dropped by about one-third since the start of the pandemic, a review of published studies has found.
The global analysis of 24 observational studies of coronavirus was published on earlier today in the medical journal Anaesthesia.
The research, led by Professor Tim Cook of England’s Royal United Hospitals Bath, found the overall mortality rate of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICUs) has fallen from almost 60% since the end of March to 42% at the end of May.
“Optimistically, as the pandemic progresses, we may be coping better with COVID-19,” the researchers said.
KHAN HITS OUT AT GOVT’S MESSAGING ON FACE MASKS
Sadiq Khan has accused the government of “risking the health of the public to cover the back of a Cabinet Minister”.
It comes amidst a sustained controversy over the compulsory use of face masks, with the Prime Minister’s spokesperson claiming they will not be required when buying takeaway food.
Earlier this week, Downing Street announced that face masks would be compulsory in shops and supermarkets from July 24.
This is frankly ridiculous. The virus doesn’t know if you’re in a take-away or a supermarket. The Government is risking the health of the public to cover the back of a Cabinet Minister.
Please wear a face covering in all shops and take aways. https://t.co/wvSJ7m6yL5
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) July 15, 2020
LOCKDOWN FOR 90% OF LEICESTER NO LONGER JUSTIFIED, MAYOR SAYS
Inner-city areas of Leicester with high levels of deprivation are the “most significantly” affected by coronavirus and keeping the remaining 90% of the city under lockdown is no longer justified, its mayor has said.
Sir Peter Soulsby said yesterday that only 10% of the city was showing higher transmission rates and claimed the local lockdown was “unnecessary and unjustified”.
It comes as Matt Hancock said a decision will be made over the next 24 hours but the infection rate in Leicester was still “a lot higher than elsewhere”.
In a tweet Sir Peter said: “Data highlights only 10% of leicester showing higher transmission rates – should have had this information weeks ago to focus efforts.
“Other 90% must share my anger that delay in data caused unnecessary and unjustified lockdownleicester.”
SUNAK WARNS THAT A FIFTH OF BUSINESS MAY NOT PASS ON VAT SAVINGS
Rishi Sunak has warned a FIFTH of businesses might not pass on savings from VAT being slashed to customers.
The Chancellor said today some businesses will choose to keep the savings from VAT being slashed from 20 per cent to 5 per cent.
Mr Sunak told the Treasury Select Committee: “I obviously am not going to be able to sit here and direct the pricing of every single business in the country and that wouldn’t be right or appropriate.
“But I think throughout this crisis businesses have been doing a difficult job and they’ve responded well when things have been asked of them.
“What we do know is last time around we had a generalised VAT cut in 2008/09 about 4 out of 5 businesses passed that VAT cut on to consumers.”
Read more on that here.
HANCOCK: ‘BEST CASE SCENARIO IS THAT WE WILL HAVE A VACCINE THIS YEAR’
The Health Secretary is speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston on the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
Asked about the timeline for this, Matt Hancock said; “The best-case scenario is some time this year.
“But more likely is next year.
“So we are all working towards the best-case scenario.”
FAUCI SLAMS ‘BIZARRE’ WHITE HOUSE ATTACKS
Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’ foremost expert on infectious diseases, said the recent “bizarre” attacks from the White House are “nonsense” that make the Trump administration look bad.
It comes as over the weekend, the White House released a list that noted all of Fauci’s apparent “mistakes” during the coronavirus outbreak.
The list included comments made in January that coronavirus — which has infected more than three million Americans — was not a “major threat.”
An official said: “Several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr Fauci has been wrong on things.”
But Fauci hit back, responding: “I think they realise now that that was not a prudent thing to do, because it’s only reflecting negatively on them.”
BRAZIL CASES SOAR
Brazil has seen its coronavirus cases inch closer to 2 million, recording another 39,924 cases today.
It takes the total in the country to a staggering 1,996,748, with 75,366 fatalities.
VACCINE HOPES RISE
Oxford scientists believe they have made a breakthrough in the discovery of a coronavirus vaccine, the Daily Telegraph reports.
According to the paper, Phase 1 human trials have revealed that it generates an immune response against the disease.
A senior source told the paper that blood samples taken from volunteers given a dose of the vaccine showed that it produced antibodies and “killer T-cells”.
The source said: “I can tell you that we now know the Oxford vaccine covers both bases – it produces both a T cell and an antibody response.
“It’s the combination of these two that will hopefully keep people safe…
“So far, so good. It’s an important moment. But we still have a long way to go.”
FURIOUS MCDONALDS CUSTOMER BEATS STAFF MEMBER ‘WHO REMINDED HIM TO PUT ON FACE MASK’
A violent McDonald’s customer punched and stomped on an employee who asked him to wear a face mask in Hong Kong.
Another diner videoed the sickening encounter, which saw the helpless young staff member brutally thrown to the ground.
Filmed at an outlet in Tuen Mun, it shows the McDonald’s customer – wearing a black T-shirt, black trousers and white trainers – yelling at the employee.
Here’s the terrifying footage below.
DECISION ON LEICESTER TO BE TAKEN TOMORROW
Health secretary Matt Hancock is speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston this evening.
Asked about when the Leicester lockdown would end, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Peston: “The formal decision will be taken over the next 24 hours.
“Tomorrow I will be speaking to the leadership of Leicester and having meetings on this.
“The infection rate has come down in Leicester. It’s still a lot higher than elsewhere. And, so, I don’t want to prejudge a decision tomorrow.”
STURGEON HEADS TO HAIRDRESSER
Nicola Sturgeon has hailed “the sweetest reunion of all” in posting a selfie while getting her hair cut.
Scotland’s First Minister was among the many across the country to return to a hairdresser as lockdown restrictions were relaxed further.
OKLAHOMA GOVERNOR TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt has tested positive for coronavirus, making him the first US Governor to contract the virus.
He said in a video conference call to reporters: “I got tested yesterday for Covid-19 and the results came back positive.
“I feel fine, really, I mean you might say I’m asymptomatic or just slightly kind of a little bit achy.”
Oklahoma reported a record case increase for the second day in a row on Wednesday, with 1,075 new cases, bringing its total to 22,813.
HANCOCK INDICATES PHARMACY CLOSURE PLAN TO BE SCRAPPED
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has indicated the Government will reverse cuts to pharmacies as the coronavirus crisis.
Theresa May’s government had planned to close 3,000 pharmacies in England but that is now in some doubt after high street pharmacies have remained open throughout the pandemic.
Addressing the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) conference on Monday, Mr Hancock said of the cuts: “The day that idea ended was the day I became Secretary of State.”
He added: “I completely understand that if we’re going to ask pharmacies to do more it has to be paid for… we need to make sure we are paying properly for those services to make sure that it works for both sides.”
BOLSONARO TESTS POSITIVE… AGAIN
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has again tested positive for coronavirus, CNN Brasil reports.
It comes after the leader – who has been criticised for his dismissal of the virus as a “little flu” – initially tested positive last week, suggesting he has not yet recovered.
According to the network, he will take another test in a few days but says he remains in good health.
Bolsonaro has faced criticism for his handling of the pandemic, which has seen Brazil record 74,000 deaths – the second highest toll in the world behind the US.
ISRAELIS TO GET SPENDING GRANTS
Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has announced plans to distribute hundreds of dollars in grants to every member of the public in a bid to boost the country’s sagging economy.
In a nationally televised news conference, Mr Netanyahu said that individuals and households without children will receive one-time payments of just over $200, while families will receive roughly $600 to $900 depending on how many children they have.
But the plan will still require government approval, and local media say that it is vehemently opposed by the country’s Finance Ministry.
According to the Ministry, the plan does not sufficiently distinguish between richer and poorer households – though Netanyahu has denied this.
It comes as unemployment in Israel surged to 20% following the easing of lockdown restrictions, with Mr Netanyahu’s popularity plummeting.
WALT DISNEY WORLD REOPENS
Walt Disney World welcomed back visitors today to two more theme parks that were shuttered since March because of the coronavirus.
The Florida theme park resort reopened Epcot and Disneys Hollywood Studios, completing a phased opening of Disney Worlds theme parks that started last weekend with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom welcoming back visitors.
The parks were the last of Orlando’s major theme parks to reopen, after both Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando opened their doors last month.
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