The official UK death toll has now passed 46,000 as a further 120 Covid-19 deaths have been recorded.
During today’s press conference, Mr Johnson slammed the breaks on further lockdown relaxation, postponing the opening of many leisure businesses for another two weeks.
Casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks were meant to reopen on August 1, but will remain closed.
Wedding receptions of up to 30 guests are also not permitted but ceremonies may still go ahead.
Meanwhile, Leicester’s local lockdown was last night partially lifted with pubs, restaurants and hairdressers to reopen on Monday whilst parts of northern England including Greater Manchester entered a local lockdown today.
Follow our coronavirus live blog for all the latest news and updates…
- Kassidy Vavra5 minutes ago
NEW ZEALAND ANNOUNCES TWO NEW CASES
New Zealand – which declared COVID-19 eliminated in June – recorded two new cases on Saturday.
The Ministry of Health shows 2 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, briginging the country’s total confirmed and probable cases to 1,562.
New Zealand now has a total of 22 active cases.
- Kassidy Vavra40 minutes ago
MEXICO PASSES UK FOR THIRD HIGHEST DEATH TOLL
Mexico passed the UK as the country with the third highest death toll on Friday, Reuters reported.
The North American country reported 688 new deaths on Friday, bringing the total to 46,688.
The UK, meanwhile, reported a total of 46,204 deaths, data from Johns Hopkins University shows.
As of early Saturday morning, Mexico reported 416,179 cases of COVID-19, while the UK has confirmed a total of 304,793, according to Johns Hopkins.
- Kassidy VavraToday, 02:22
VIRUS CAUSES SHORTAGE OF POLL WORKERS AHEAD OF US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Polls are facing worker shortages, as many senior citizens – who largely account for volunteers at the voting stations – are pulling out due to high virus risk, Politico reported.
Senior citizens are among those that are at risk of becoming severely ill if they contract COVID-19.
Officials are now scrambling to recruit people to keep voting stations staffed and open for the elections.
David Garreis, the president of the Maryland Association of Election Officials, said the state is short nearly 1 in 3 workers needed, Politico reported.
“We need 39,870 people for Election Day and early voting, and we don’t have anywhere near that,” Garreis said.
“The hardest thing that we have to do in any election is to recruit election judges. And in this year, it’s impossible,” he added.
- Kassidy VavraToday, 01:50
HUNDREDS OF VIRUS CASES TIED TO US SUMMER CAMP: CDC
Coronavirus spread rapidly at a US summer camp, infecting nearly half the campers and staff, a CDC report has found.
Many of those who contracted COVID-19 were “asymptomatic,” the CDC said.
Data showed 260 of the 597 Georgia staff and campers – roughly 44percent – contracted the virus in June.
A majority of the cases were in children ages 6 to 10, and ages 11 to 17, the report showed.
Campers ages 11 to 17 accounted for 69percent of virus cases, the CDC reported.
“These findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all age groups, despite efforts by camp officials to implement most recommended strategies to
prevent transmission,” the report stated.
Although staff were required to wear masks at the camp, the campers were not, the report said.
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 00:54
ONE OF THE UK’S LONGEST-SUFFERING PATIENTS LEAVES HOSPITAL
One of the UK’s longest suffering coronavirus patients has finally been discharged from hospital after a staggering 127 days.
Geoff Woolf, 73, spent more than four months in hospital, and an astonishing 67 days on a ventilator.
Son Nicky, 33, shared a video on Twitter of his medical team clapping him out of the hospital – as he finally left the Whittington Hospital, north London on Wednesday.
He told The Sun: “We’re so overwhelmed and happy dad has been discharged, there were some dark days when we thought he wouldn’t make it – so this is beyond our wildest dreams.
“Our family is just eternally grateful to the staff for their heroic efforts, patience and kindness towards dad during his time there.
“There’s still a long road ahead for him. He is now at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in Putney, south east London, to work on his speech and language as well as physical therapy.”
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 00:37
JET2 TELLS BRITS IN SPAIN TO RETURN
Jet2 has told all holidaymakers in Spain to bail on their holidays and return to Britain within four days.
The move comes after the Foreign Office banned all non-essential travel to Spain.
However, the FCO said there was no need for Brits to cut short their holidays.
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 00:21
COVID CASES IN CORNWALL TRIPLE
Cases of Covid-19 in Cornwall have tripled in a week as more tourists flock to the coastline.
The South West has the worst R rate in the country.
UK holiday bookings are booming following the last-minute travel ban in Spain, with fears of other European countries facing similar restrictions.
Yet in Cornwall, the rolling seven-day rate of new cases per 100,000 people has risen from 0.9 to 3.3, with 19 new cases confirmed, according to Cornwall Live.
Infection rates in the South West are now the highest in the country.
The R rate, which indicates how fast coronavirus is likely to spread, is now above 1 in the South West, estimated to be around 1.04.
The overall R rate in the UK is 0.8-0.9 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uklatest-r-number-and-growth-rate“>according to the government, with it needing to remain under 1.
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 00:01
MEXICO NOW HAS THE THIRD-HIGHEST DEATH TOLL WORLDWIDE
Mexico is set to overtake the UK with the world’s third-highest death toll as the pandemic spreads across Latin America.
Mexico on Thursday recorded 639 additional fatalities to bring its death toll to 46,000, with 416,179 confirmed cases.
Mexican officials say the pandemic is likely far more extensive than official figures reflect.
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 23:48
SAUNAS AND STEAM ROOMS WILL REMAIN CLOSED
Gym’s and pools opened over the weekend, but sadly saunas and steam rooms are still off-limits.
Saunas were set to reopen on on August 1 in England.
However, on July 31 Boris Johnson announced that businesses set to open on August 1 are to remain closed until at least August 15 after the government has postponed the further easing of lockdown measures.
The UK Spa Association (UKSA) told Spa Business that their trade body received written and verbal confirmation from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that saunas and steamrooms can reopen from 1 August.
Specific guidance for saunas and steam rooms has not been issued, though these could be discussed alongside the reopening of gyms – as many of these facilities available are at leisure centres.
According to the UKSA: “This reopening is subject to social-distancing guidelines.
“Operators of saunas and steam rooms must calculate how many people can be accommodated at one time… No face coverings are to be worn in the sauna or steam room and these facilities must be regularly cleaned.”
The Independent reports that spas are awaiting guidance from the government regarding thermal treatments – including steam rooms, jacuzzis and ice rooms.
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 23:28
MANCHESTER’S LOCKDOWN RULES ‘COULD DESTROY LOCAL BUSINESSES’
Manchester’s bombshell new lockdown rules could destroy local businesses, worried owners warned today.
Fresh restrictions were brought in for 4.5million people across Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire overnight – leaving locals reeling at the sudden change.
And the new rules – which mean people can still go to work and even visit shops and cafes but cannot go inside other homes – have sparked fears for local businesses.
Speaking to the Sun Online, Keith Appleby, the owner of Appleby’s Hearty English Refreshment cafe in Didsbury said there had been a “long-term impact” on his business.
The 66-year-old said: “Most people who come in here come in as individuals and this is about groups.
“People in hospitality have tight margins which become impossible to sustain below a certain level of takings. I have to work a lot harder or I will lose my business.”
And he said the only way to said the government needed to take action after being criticised for being too slow in tackling the virus.
He said: “In the last two weeks before lockdown customers wanted to sit outside when they could and kept on asking whether we were going to close down. I said I’d close down if I’m told to close down.
“Everyone says with hindsight that we got things wrong but the public were ahead of the government.”
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 23:13
JOHNSON SLAMMED BY SHIELDERS
Boris Johnson has been slammed for refusing to delay the end of ‘shielding’ support for millions in the high risk category.
The Prime Minister today announced a raft lockdown-easing measures due to take effect tomorrow would be postponed.
But the plan to end help for people at increased risk from Covid-19 will still go ahead – despite charities branding the move “desperately unfair.”
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 22:55
ULRIKA JONSSON REVEALS LIFE IN LOCKDOWN WITH HER TEEN DAUGHTERS
Ulrika Jonsson told in a Sun column this week about the trauma of being locked down with her two daughters, Bo, 19 and 16-year-old Martha.
The busy mum wrote: “Lockdown with these hoodlums forced me to question my sanity, made me feel like I was in freefall and made me wonder what the hell I had been thinking all those times in the past when my Fallopian tubes would jump for joy as soon as I saw a man.
“I certainly wasn’t prepared for the contempt, defiance, audacity and confrontation that has arrived.
“About everything, from changing the toilet roll to rudeness, politeness and lack of empathy (it’s only they who count, it turns out).” But this is not how Bo and Martha see it.
Here, they answer their mother’s criticisms – and tell her how lockdown has been for them.
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 22:37
I’M A CELEB STARS WON’T GET FIVE-STAR TREATMENT
I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! will go ahead this year — but contestants will not get the five-star treatment when they are evicted from the jungle.
Bosses have decided that the stars of the ITV show will not stay at the £1,000-a-night Versace hotel.
This year’s series will be a more low-key affair with no friends and family flown Down Under either.
Celebs will go back on a plane to the UK to avoid unnecessary mingling.
The show has had to make an agreement with Australia’s government and border force to stage the show in the midst of the global coronavirus crisis.
A source said: “ITV are in constant contact with the Australian authorities and are making sure everything they do is in line with their requirements.
“Part of that is that there will be no huge entourage waiting for celebrities to leave the jungle.
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 22:17
PHILIPPINES’ PRESIDENT TELLS CITIZENS TO DISINFECT FACE MASKS WITH PETROL
Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered citizens to disinfect coronavirus masks with petrol if they can’t use alcohol.
It’s the second time he has made the remarks but last week officials quickly moved to correct him, saying it was a joke.
The country’s health officials said cloth masks should be washed normally, and surgical masks replaced after use.
But on Friday he made similar remarks and added he “wasn’t joking”.
Mr Duterte, 75, added: “What I’ve said was true… go to a gasoline station”.
There is no evidence that petrol can disinfect masks and having prolonged contact with it can be harmful.
Pouring flammable liquids such as petrol can also be a fire risk.
The outspoken president said: “They [critics] said, ‘Duterte’s insane.’ Stupid! If I’m insane, you should be the president, not me.
“What I’ve said was true. If alcohol isn’t available, especially for the poor, just go to a gasoline station, and use [gas] to disinfect.
“I am not joking. I am not joking. You… you try to get inside my brain.”
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 21:46
WEBCAM GIRLS MAKE FRIENDS WITH SENIOR CITIZENS
Webcam girls are turning frowns upside down for lonely senior citizens.
ImLive, an adult content site offering both sexual and nonsexual webcam experiences, is launching a service to help lonely senior citizens get some much-needed face time with other people during the pandemic.
The webcam site is offering free G-rated, one-on-one sessions between models and seniors that may not venture outside due to health concerns and are in lockdowns in assisted-living facilities.
“They’re going to remain clothed,” ImLive’s vice president of business Adrian Stoneman said of the cam models. “The idea is for them to act like a friend or companion,” the 45-year-old told the New York Post.
“The idea is not sexual at all.”
The initiative marks ImLive’s 18th anniversary and was sparked when a member of the site referenced their grandfather who lives in a nursing home and is not allowed any visitors.
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 21:25
PEOPLE IN MANCHESTER CAN MEET FRIENDS IN PUB GARDENS
Northern Brits hit last night by bombshell new lockdown laws can meet in pub gardens – but NOT in back gardens.
The clarification comes after widespread confusion over the new restrictions, which were announced at 9.16pm last night.
The rules ban 4.5million people in Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire from meeting each other indoors from midnight last night.
People living in affected areas can still go to work and even visit shops and cafes – but cannot go inside other homes.
They’re also banned from visiting each other’s gardens.
Official guidance released for the north west of England this morning referred only to indoor areas at restaurants, cafes and bars.
However, new guidance has been issued by the Government that says people will be able to meet in groups of six at pub gardens.
The advice reads: “You can continue to meet in public outdoor spaces including outdoor seating or beer gardens in groups of no more than six people, unless the group includes
only people from two households.
“You cannot meet people you do not live with in a private garden.”
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 21:05
TRUMP SAYS SECOND STIMULUS CHECKS ARE ‘BEING HELD BACK BY DEMOCRATS’
Donald Trump has said that the second round of stimulus checks worth up to $3,400 are “being held back by Democrats.”
However, the Senate adjourned on Thursday afternoon and will not return until Monday.
Meadows said on Thursday: “I’m not very optimistic that we will have any kind of an agreement on a comprehensive bill in the near future.”
- Niamh Cavanagh31st Jul 2020, 20:47
BRITISH AIRWAYS TO RESUME FLIGHTS TO RUSSIE ON AUGUST 2
British Airways is expected to resume flights to Russia on August 2 Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency said on today, as Russia plans to restart some regular international flights on Saturday.
International flights were grounded on March 30 after the imposition of lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected nearly 840,000 people in Russia.
The first regular flight by Russia’s Aeroflot will fly from Moscow to Istanbul on Saturday.
Aeroflot also plans two Moscow-London flights on August 1.
- Niamh Cavanagh31st Jul 2020, 20:40
POLAND CONSIDERS NEW RESTRICTIONS AFTER RECORD RISE IN COVID-19 CASES
The Polish government will consider new restrictions for certain parts of Poland with the most new coronavirus cases, a government official said after the number of new cases rose by a record amount for the second successive day.
The Health Ministry reported 657 new cases and seven deaths, taking the total number of cases since the pandemic began to 45,688 and the death toll to 1,716.
Poland has reported fewer cases of COVID-19 than some other European countries, but the number of new infections is now climbing.
While a crisis meeting was held on Friday, no new immediate measures were announced.
“Limits could cover certain counties, the ones that have the biggest problems when it comes to a rise in infections,” Poland’s government spokesman Piotr Muller told a press conference on Friday, without specifying the areas.
Of the new cases, 227 were in the Silesia region, where there has been an outbreak among coal miners.
- Niamh Cavanagh31st Jul 2020, 20:31
SOUTH AFRICA WILL NOT HAVE UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME GRANT THIS YEAR, MINISTER SAYS
South Africa will not implement a universal basic income grant until at least March, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said in an interview on Friday, rolling back a pledge to have it ready by October.
Zulu unexpectedly announced the plan two weeks, reviving a policy that was the centrepiece of Nelson Mandela’s government when apartheid fell in 1994.
Zulu told Reuters a draft policy would be ready at the end of the financial year, in March. In the meantime, she would seek support from cabinet colleagues.
“In cabinet, no one has come to me and said this is nonsense,” she said. “We’re having the conversation, but I still need support in implementation.”
An emergency unemployment grant of 350 rand ($20.57), as well as top-ups to existing child and old age grants, were introduced earlier this year as South Africa entered a pandemic lockdown.
They are due to expire in October, but Zulu said it was unrealistic to expect a universal basic income grant by then.
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 20:06
CORONAVIRUS DISMISSING PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL HAS “MOULD” IN HIS LUNGS
Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro has revealed that he has “mould” in his lungs after his battle with coronavirus.
First lady Michelle Bolsonaro also tested positive for the virus, it was reported on Thursday.
The right-wing populist reportedly chuckled during a live broadcast as he told viewers that he had “mould” in his lungs.
“I just did a blood test. I was feeling kind of weak yesterday. They found a bit of infection also. Now I’m on antibiotics,” he said.
The 65-year-old added: “After 20 days indoors, I have other problems. I have mould in my lungs.”
The right-wing populist told journalists that he had tested positive for the virus on July 7.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the virus, claiming that he would “feel nothing” if he caught it and at one point described it as a “little flu.”
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 19:53
PUBS AND RESTAURANTS MAY HAVE TO SHUT FOR SCHOOLS TO REOPEN
Pubs and restaurants may have to shut in order for schools to reopen fully next month, Government scientists have warned.
Professor Chris Whitty said getting children back into the classroom is pivotal for the “wellbeing of our country” – and hinted that Brits will have to sacrifice other freedoms as cases rise.
The chief medical officer today warned that relaxing rules further will “absolutely, inevitably” lead to a resurgence of the virus.
And he said said the country had “probably reached near the limits” of what can be reopened.
“What that means potentially is that if we wish to do more things in the future we may have to do less of some other things,” he said.
“But people I think are very clear for example, that schools are an absolute priority for the welfare of children.”
Further relaxation of the rules must be “stopped now” – and maybe “pulled back a bit”, he said.
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 19:39
FACE COVERINGS TO BE MADE MANDATORY IN MORE PLACES
The home secretary has been asked to work with the police to ensure face mask wearing rules are properly enforced.
From August 8, face coverings will be made mandatory in more indoor settings and there will be a greater police presence to make sure the rules are being followed.
The government is now recommending the wearing of face coverings in places such as museums, cinemas, galleries and places of worship.
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 19:24
- Hana Carter31st Jul 2020, 19:05
SOME AREAS SEE CASES TRIPLE
In some areas, coronavirus cases have tripled – including North Yorkshire.
New restrictions brought in across the north west and some parts of Yorkshire mean it will be illegal for people who do not live together to meet in a private home or garden.
The rules also apply to people travelling outside of the area to meet friends or family in their homes.
It means people can also no longer socialise with people they do not live with in pubs, restaurants and cafes.