Today’s Coronavirus News: Global Virus Cases Surpass 30 Million; UN warns 270 million people are “walking to the brink of famine”; Israel returns to virus lockdown as cases rise


The last coronavirus news from Canada and around the world on Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

6 h: British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has hinted that new restrictions on social gatherings in England may be announced soon as part of efforts to suppress a sharp rise in confirmed coronavirus cases.

Following reports that the government was considering further restrictions on the hospitality sector, such as pubs and restaurants, Hancock said it was a “big moment for the country”.

He said another national lockdown is the “last line of defense” and that most transmissions of the virus take place in social settings.

Hancock says the government’s strategy over the next few weeks is to contain the virus as much as possible “while protecting education and the economy.”

The government faced sustained criticism last week over serious problems with its virus testing program.

5 h 45: Confirmed cases of the coronavirus have exceeded 30 million worldwide, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University.

The global number of known COVID-19 infections topped 30 million on Thursday, more than half of which in just three countries: the United States, India and Brazil, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins researchers .

The number has increased by 10 million in just over a month; global cases topped 20 million on August 12.

5 h 31: On Thursday, Joe Biden attacked President Donald Trump on several occasions for his handling of COVID-19, calling the minimization of the pandemic “criminal” and his administration “totally irresponsible”.

“You have to be on the same level as the American people – pull from the shoulder. There was no time when they could not intervene. The president should step down, ”the Democratic presidential candidate said to applause from a crowd at CNN town hall in Moosic, outside his hometown of Scranton.

Speaking of Trump’s admission that he was publicly downplaying the impact of the virus while being aware of its seriousness, Biden said, “He knew it and did nothing. It’s almost criminal.

Biden later decried the loss of basic “freedoms” of Americans as the United States struggled to contain the pandemic, such as the ability to go to a ball game or walk around their neighborhoods. “I never, ever thought that I would see such a comprehensive and totally irresponsible administration,” he said.

5 h 21: China says imported coronavirus cases have risen to 32 in the past 24 hours.

Thirteen of the cases reported on Friday were in the northern province of Shaanxi, whose capital Xi’an is a major industrial center. Shanghai East Financial and Commercial Center reported 12.

China has spent more than a month without reporting any cases of locally transmitted coronavirus cases within its borders.

5h18: The head of the United Nations World Food Program, David Beasley, warns that 270 million people are “walking to the brink of famine” due to the toxic combination of conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beasley on Thursday urged donor countries and billionaires to contribute $ 4.9 billion to feed the 30 million who he says will die without UN help.

He reminded the UN Security Council of its warning five months ago that “the world was on the brink of a pandemic of hunger”, and welcomed the response, which has averted famine and led countries to fight the coronavirus.

Beasley said the United Nations food agency was keeping people alive “and averting humanitarian catastrophe”, but said “the fight is far, far, far from over.”

5 h 14: Coronavirus cases in India have increased by 96,424 other infections in the past 24 hours, showing little sign of slowing down.

The health ministry on Friday raised the country’s confirmed total since the start of the pandemic to more than 5.21 million. He said an additional 1,174 people have died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 84,372.

India is expected to surpass infections reported in the United States, where more than 6.67 million people have been declared infected, the most in the world, within weeks.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday issued a new call for people to use face masks and maintain their social distancing as his government outlines plans to handle the large congregations expected during a major Hindu festival season starting next month.

5 h 10: The Australian government on Friday announced a grant of AU $ 5 million ($ 3.7 million) to the national news agency as part of the pandemic-related assistance to regional journalism.

Australian Associated Press is essential to media diversity and has consistently demonstrated its commitment to accurate, factual and independent journalism over its 85 year history, including a strong contribution to regional news, said the Minister of Communications, Paul Fletcher, in a statement.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered unprecedented challenges for Australia’s regional media industry, with severe declines in advertising revenue threatening the sustainability of many news outlets,” Fetcher said.



AAP provides services to over 250 regional news headlines across Australia, covering public interest content on national, state and regional news. This allows regional masters to focus on local news important to their communities, he said.

AAP Chair Jonty Low and Executive Director Emma Cowdroy hailed the funding as “endorsement of the role the AAP plays in providing a key part of Australia’s democratic infrastructure”.

5 am: Israel is set to return to full lockdown later on Friday to try to contain a coronavirus outbreak that has steadily worsened for months as its government is embroiled in indecision and infighting.

The three-week lockdown from 2 p.m. (11 a.m. GMT) will include the closure of many businesses and strict limits on public gatherings, and will largely confine people to their homes. The closures coincide with major Jewish holidays, when people typically visit their families and gather for large prayer services.

In a speech Thursday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that even stricter measures may be needed to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. There are currently more than 46,000 active cases, including at least 577 hospitalized in serious condition.

“We may have no choice but to make the guidelines more stringent,” Netanyahu said. “I will not impose a lockdown on the citizens of Israel for no reason, and I will not hesitate to add further restrictions if necessary.”

As part of the new lockdown, almost all businesses open to the public will be closed. People must stay within one kilometer (0.6 miles) of their homes, but there are several exceptions, including purchasing food or medicine, going to work in a business closed to the public, attend protests and even seek essential pet care.

4 h 05: Four conservative-minded prime ministers are due today to release their wishlists for next week’s Throne Speech on which the fate of Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberal government could hinge.

François Legault from Quebec, Doug Ford from Ontario, Jason Kenney from Alberta and Brian Pallister from Manitoba are planning to hold a press conference in Ottawa to explain what they hope to see in the speech.

Billions more for health care are likely to top the list.

Ford and Legault last week called on Ottawa to significantly increase annual federal transfer payments to provinces and territories for health care.

The transfer will amount to nearly $ 42 billion this year under a deal that will see it increase by at least 3% each year.

In addition, the federal government is providing provinces and territories with $ 19 billion to help them deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, including some $ 10 billion for health care.

4 am: Young people have vaped less frequently since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, new survey finds.

The survey, conducted by the Nova Scotia Lung Association and Smoke-Free Nova Scotia, found that respondents reduced vaping to five days per week, compared to six on average.

They also reduced to an average of 19 vaping episodes per day, down from 30.

The Heart & Stroke-funded survey also found that the decrease in frequency of vaping is most noticeable in British Columbia and Ontario.

Researchers say this could be linked to warnings of potential complications from COVID-19 for e-cigarette users.

The survey heard from over 1,800 respondents between the ages of 16 and 24, and found that most started vaping around the age of 15.

Thursday 8:18 p.m. British Columbia has once again surpassed its previous daily record for new COVID-19 cases, reports the Richmond Sentinel.

Provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry has announced 165 new cases since Wednesday. This brings the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 7,663. There are 1,705 active cases, an increase of 91 from yesterday and almost 300 from a week ago, Sentinel reports. .

Health Minister Adrian Dix said it was important to put the high number of cases in context; 7,674 tests were carried out in British Columbia yesterday, the highest number in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

Click here for more on Thursday’s COVID-19 coverage.


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