MATT Hancock updated the public on the latest coronavirus test and trace figures yesterday.
The Health Secretary is urging Brits with symptoms to get tested as part of their "civic duty".
Some 8,117 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England had their case transferred to the NHS system, of whom 5,407 (67%) were reached, while 2,710 (33%) did not provide information about their contacts or could not be reached.
Contact tracers identified 31,794 people who were at high risk of being infected and must self-isolate.
Of these, 26,985 were reached and advised to self-isolate – 85% of the total number of contacts.
But, of the remaining 15% (4,809), some were not reached, others said they were already taking action independently of the system and some simply refused to comply. People are contacted ten times in a 24-hour period.
Test and Trace chief, Baroness Dido Harding, admitted today that improvements are needed, but said the system was "fit for purpose".
"We are not at the gold standard yet that we want to be, of isolating all contacts within 48 hours of someone requesting a test," she told today's Downing Street press conference.
Prof Mark Harris, a virologist at the University of Leeds, said after yesterday’s presser: “Only 67% of positive individuals could be reached for a number of operational reasons, for example, they had the wrong contact details.
“What is both surprising and concerning is that the contacts identified are only being asked to self-isolate for two weeks.
"Why are they not being tested, as is undertaken in other countries?"
It comes as the coronavirus death toll in the UK reached 41,279 on Thursday – but the Office for National Statistics believes the actual figure is 51,766 up to June 9.
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About six American states have been hit with an increasing number of coronavirus patients – sparking fears of a second wave.
States including Texas and Arizona have reported more patients in hospital from the deadly bug.
The US has been the worst hit by the virus.
CARE HOMES SCANDAL
About 25,000 patients were discharged into care homes – without being tested for coronavirus.
A National Audit Office (NAO) report found the policy to allow patients to go into care homes least about a month.
It was finally changed, but the report found that 25,000 patients had already been put into care homes.
FINES AT LOWEST
Lockdown fines have virtually ceased in some areas of the country, official figures revealed yesterday.
London’s Met Police handed out just three Fixed Penalty Notices in the period between May 25 and 8 June.
West Midlands cops, who cover Birmingham, handed out three fines in the two-week period up to Monday – while Greater Manchester Police gave out just one.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said as many as 80 per cent of people who tested positive for coronavirus in England had not displayed any symptoms.
Mr Hancock was speaking as it emerged the new NHS test and trace programme was unable to track down thousands of people who had tested positive for Covid-19.
The Office for National Statistics has been carrying out a survey using swab testing to determine how many people from across the country at any one time are infected with Covid-19.
In the vast majority of cases, said Matt Hancock, those who had tested positive had not been presenting any symptoms.
CORONAVIRUS 6AM SUMMARY:
WORLD CASES SURPASS 7.5MILLION
The global number of confirmed coronavirus cases has surpassed 7.5 million, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. At least 421,032 people have died from the virus.
PANDEMIC MAY PUSH MILLIONS INTO CHILD LABOUR
The coronavirus pandemic may push millions into child labour, a new report from the International Labour Organization and UNICEF said. The organizations said as poverty increases due to COVID-19, children may be pushed into work – including “exploitative and hazardous jobs” – to help their families meet living means.
PANDEMIC ACCELERATING IN AFRICA
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that while it took 98 days to reach 100,000 cases, it only took 18 days to hit 200,000. At just five ICU beds per million people, the WHO warned that the continent could become the epicenter for the virus.
PRIMARY SCHOOLS FLOUT SAFETY GUIDANCE
Kids’ health is being put at risk as some schools ignore the Department of Educations’ guidance that classes should not be larger than 15 pupils. More than one in five (22%) support staff say primary schools have run classes larger than 15 students, according to a poll from Unison.
ONE IN THREE HOMES FOR ELDERLY SUFFERED OUTBREAKS
Care home residents in the UK have been “an afterthought”, a senior MP said, as a report found one in three homes for the elderly suffered virus outbreaks. The National Audit Office (NAO) said 25,000 hospital patients were discharged to care homes at the height of the pandemic – but not all were tested for coronavirus.
'NOT ENOUGH IMMUNITY DATA' FOR ANTIBODY TESTS
There is not yet enough data on immunity of antibodies to roll out tests for the public, the head of the NHS Test and Trace program said. The mass roll-out of the tests “will come in time” as data becomes more available, Baroness Dido Harding said at a Downing Street press conference.
MASSIVE VACCINE TRIAL TO KICK OFF NEXT MONTH
A massive coronavirus vaccine from Moderna Inc. and the National Institutes of Health will begin a large-scale trial in July.
Moderna announced Thursday that 30,000 people in the US will take part in the trial.
Some will be given a placebo, while others are given the vaccine to compare its effectiveness.
The vaccine is just one of several undergoing clinical trials as scientists race to find the life-saving prevention for falling ill with the virus.
US PRESIDENT'S CAMPAIGN SAYS NOT LIABLE IF ATTENDEES CATCH VIRUS
President Donald Trump's campaign said attendees cannot sue if they contract COVID-19.
When registering for rallies, attendees agree that they “are acknowledging” a risk of being exposed to the virus in a public place where there are other people.
““By attending the rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors or volunteers liable for any illness or injury,” a note on the website reads.
Read more here.
WORLD CASES SURPASS 7.5MILLION
The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has surpassed 7.5million, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.
At least 421,032 deaths have been confirmed around the globe.
The US remains the top country for virus cases, with numbers reaching over 2.03million.
Brazil is in the second top spot, with over 802,000 cases, and Russia remains third with numbers over 501,000.
BRAZIL CONFIRMS 30,000 CASES IN JUST 24 HOURS AS NUMBERS NEAR 800,000
Brazil has confirmed 30,412 new cases of coronavirus in just 24 hours, according to data from the country's Health Ministry.
This brings the country's total numbers to 802,828.
The South American country also reported 1,239 new deaths, bringing the toll to 40,919.
Brazil remains the second-hardest hit country worldwide, sitting behind only the US.
PANDEMIC MAY PUSH MILLIONS INTO CHILD LABOUR: UNICEF
The coronavirus pandemic may push millions into child labour, a new report from the International Labour Organization and UNICEF said.
“As the pandemic wreaks havoc on family incomes, without support, many could resort to child labour,” ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder said.
A rise in poverty caused by the pandemic could in turn, cause a rise in child labour as families works to meet means of survival.
Kids may be “forced into exploitative and hazardous jobs,” the organizations said.
Vulnerable populations – like migrant workers and those working in the informant economy –will be hit hardest, the report added.
CARE HOME RESIDENTS 'AFTERTHOUGHT'
Care home residents in the UK have been “an afterthought” during the pandemic, according to a senior MP, after a damning report found that one in three homes for the elderly suffered coronavirus outbreaks.
The National Audit Office (NAO) said 25,000 hospital patients were discharged to care homes at the height of the pandemic.
And shockingly, not all were tested for Covid-19 so it was not known how many had the killer bug.
Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons public accounts committee, said care homes had been left at the “back of the queue” for both personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing.
The Labour MP said: “Residents and staff were an afterthought yet again: out of sight and out of mind, with devastating consequences.”
The NAO's report said: “It is not known how many had Covid-19 at the point of discharge.”
The public spending watchdog said NHS England and NHS Improvement advice was to urgently discharge from hospital “all patients medically fit to leave” in order to free up bed space for coronavirus patients.
“Due to Government policy at the time, not all patients were tested for Covid-19 before discharge, with priority given to patients with respiratory illness or flu-like symptoms,” the report outlined.
The advice was changed on April 15 but the NAO noted that, as of May 17, one in three care homes had declared a coronavirus outbreak, with more than 1,000 homes dealing with positive cases during the peak of infections in April.
The North East was the worst affected region, with almost half of its care homes reporting an outbreak by the middle of May.
'NOT GOLD STANDARD'
The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care says 67% of those who tested positive for Covid-19 have provided details of their recent contacts to the new test and trace programme.
The department says 5,407 out of 8,117 people who tested positive provided details from May 28 to June 3.
Of the 31,794 contacts who were identified, 26,985 were reached and advised to self-isolate.
The efforts of the programme are being closely watched in the UK as a way to ease the nation out of its lockdown while still controlling the virus.
Britain has the second-highest confirmed virus death toll in the world with more than 41,000 fatalities, behind only the US.
“We are not at the gold standard yet that we want to be, of isolating all contacts within 48 hours of someone requesting a test,” said Test and Trace chief Baroness Dido Harding.
Pakistan's prime minister is defending his policy of avoiding a complete lockdown that experts blame for causing a surge in Covid-19 infections and deaths across the country.
Imran Khan's comments came hours after Pakistan for the second time recorded more than 100 Covid-19 deaths in a single day since May – when his government eased lockdown.
On June 11 Pakistan recorded 5,834 new confirmed cases, the highest single-day number of infections.
It increased overall cases to 119,536 while Covid-19 deaths climbed to 2,356 with 101 new fatalities in the previous 24 hours.
In a televised speech, Khan said Pakistan's economy would have collapsed if he had not eased lockdown last month.
However, he urged people to adhere to social distancing regulations, warning that a further rise in coronavirus-related fatalities could be expected in coming days.
PANDEMIC ACCELERATING IN AFRICA
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the pandemic in Africa is accelerating, as feared.
While it took 98 days for the continent to reach 100,000 coronavirus cases, it took just 18 days to hit 200,000 infections.
WHO Africa chief Matshidiso Moeti said on June 11 that community transmission has broken out across more than half of Africa's 54 countries and this is a “serious sign”.
The virus largely arrived on the continent via travellers from Europe.
It has since spread beyond capital cities and commercial hubs into more rural areas, where many health systems are ill-equipped to handle cases that require intensive care.
South Africa has the continent's highest number of cases with more than 55,000 infected.
Back in April, WHO warned that Africa would become the epicentre of coronavirus with just five ICU beds per million people.
Kathryn Llewellyn, CEO at international development charity United Purpose, told the Sun Online that it has partnered with popular Nigerian music artist, Sunny Neji on a new song called ‘Together we will beat it’.
This is to ensure important coronavirus messages reach the most vulnerable and remote people in sub-Sahara Africa.
With an illiterate adult population of 68% in Nigeria alone, behaviour change through song is vital, she said.
PRIMARY SCHOOLS FLOUT SAFETY GUIDANCE
Kids' health is being put at risk as some primary schools have ignored the Government's safety guidance and are operating larger class sizes since reopening to more children, says a survey.
Primary school classes in England should be split into classes of no more than 15 pupils per group, according to the Department for Education.
But more than one in five (22%) support staff say primary schools have run classes of more than 15 pupils, according to a poll by Unison – which says “corners have been cut” amid rushed Government reopening plans.
The survey, of more than 8,000 employees in schools across England, found respondents' biggest concern (56%) was contracting Covid-19 and passing it onto others,.
Nearly half (48%) said that social distancing between children was only being followed to a small extent or not at all.
The poll, of teaching assistants, cleaners and admin staff, comes after children in nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 in England began returning to primary school this month.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was forced to admit defeat this week over plans – set out in the Government's Covid-19 recovery plan – for all children to go back to primary school before the summer.
Weather maps could help predict where the next wave of coronavirus will hit, a new scientific study suggests.
Researchers found that areas affected early in the outbreak were on similar northern latitude locations such as Wuhan in China, Paris in France, and America’s Seattle.
The cities also shared ranges of cold temperatures and relatively low humidity from January through to March.
The study implies that the new disease behaves in a similar way to seasonal respiratory viruses such as the flu, which spreads rapidly in the winter and spring months.
Researchers based in the University of Maryland School of Medicine, US, said that their maps could help other scientists and policy-makers predict when and where outbreaks would occur.
For the study, the researchers collected climate data from 50 cities.
To read more, click HERE
YOUNG PEOPLE & RENTERS HIT HARD
Young people and renters are among the hardest hit financially by coronavirus as they lose more of their income to essential costs, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found.
It comes as nearly a quarter of British households say their household finances have been affected by the crisis.
On average, UK households usually spend £182 a week of their disposable income on leisure activities, such as holidays, travel and meals out.
But almost all of these activities have been shut down in the first few months of the 2020 financial year due to the government's lockdown.
The ONS suggests households could be putting the cash they've not spent – equal to 22% of the average £831 weekly budget – into savings or using it to cover any loss of income due to the pandemic.
But it warns that younger households, renters and those living in London are the hardest hit financially by the outbreak.
This is because they typically spend more of their weekly budget on essentials, such as bills and living costs, so aren't saving as much cash in other areas.
To read more, see HERE
SLEEP'S A NIGHTMARE FOR SOME
Scientists are to study sleep, or the lack of it, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
An international group of neuroscientists will examine how the world is sleeping as the outbreak upends work, social and family life for countless people.
The International Covid-19 Sleep Study will combine research from Austria, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Norway and the US.
The project co-led by neuroscientists at Britain’s Oxford University will investigate the impact on people’s health and daily rhythms.
“Sufficient good quality sleep helps us cope, so it’s worrying to see trends of poor sleep during this pandemic.
“We are hoping to study this in more detail,” said Colin Espie, an Oxford professor of sleep medicine.
Sleep is known to be critical to physical and mental health – essential for tissue repair, cell regeneration, immune function, memory, and for regulating mood and emotions.
However, many people are anecdotally reporting sleep problems due to the coronavirus – including difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep and having vivid dreams.
TWITTER TAKES DOWN BEIJING
Twitter has taken down a Beijing-backed influence operation pushing coronavirus messages.
The microblogging and social networking service said on June 11 that it had removed more than 170,000 accounts tied to China.
These had deceptively spread messages favourable to the Chinese government, including its tackling of the coronavirus.
The company suspended a core network of 23,750 highly active accounts, as well as a larger network of about 150,000 “amplifier” accounts used to boost the core accounts’ content.
Twitter, along with researchers who analysed the accounts, said the network was largely an echo chamber of fake accounts without much further traction.
The company also removed two smaller state-backed operations which it attributed to Russia and Turkey, both focused on domestic audiences.
Twitter said the Chinese network had links to an earlier state-backed operation dismantled last year by Twitter, Facebook and Google’s YouTube that had been pushing misleading narratives about political dynamics in Hong Kong.
PRINCE WILLIAM: FA CUP
The pandemic-delayed FA Cup final will be named after a mental health initiative spearheaded by Prince William.
The Duke of Cambridge is concerned about the psychological problems stemming from coronavirus, which has killed more than 40,000 in Britain and seen many people having to isolate for months.
William announced during a video call with the Arsenal squad.
He explained that the August 1 finale to the English season at Wembley Stadium would be known as the Heads Up FA Cup, rather than having the sponsorship of Emirates airline in the title.
The prince said: “We're going to really use the final as a moment to promote good, positive mental health for everyone.
“It's quite timely bearing in mind what we've all been through with this pandemic.
“I think there's going to be, sadly, a lot of repercussions from this in society, not just in football, in terms of people's mental health.
“Hopefully the FA Cup can be a bit of a pivot that people can rally around.”
'TURN THE TIDE' ON CORONA IN 12 WEEKS
PM Boris Johnson announced at the Downing Street press conference on March 19 that “we can turn the tide” on coronavirus “within the next 12 weeks”.
Those 12 weeks were up on June 11 – so have the latest stats shown the tide has been turned?
On the date Johnson made his speech, March 19, there were a total of 77 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
The daily total rose steadily through the rest of March and early April, peaking with 1,441 deaths on April 8.
Since then the number of deaths per day has been on a broadly downwards trend, dropping below 1,000 on April 24.
In terms of the volume of deaths taking place each day in the UK, a tide has been turned – though we are yet to return to the levels of mid-March, says the Press Association.
Up to the end of March 19, the date of his speech, 355 deaths involving Covid-19 had taken place in the UK.
This cumulative number, based on registered deaths, “went on to pass 20,000 on April 13; 30,000 on April 21; 40,000 on May 3; and 50,000 on May 25”, PA said.
However, it is clear that the rate of the increase in deaths is slowing down, the agency adds.
Looking at all four measures – deaths per day, cumulative deaths, hospital admissions and new cases – it does seem that the country has been able to “turn the tide” on coronavirus since Johnson made his speech 12 weeks ago.
One of Thailand’s major tourist attractions is barring entry to foreigners, due to fears that outsiders could spread Covid-19.
Signs at the main gate of Wat Pho, the Buddhist temple adjacent to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, say in English: “Open for Thai only” and “Now Not Open for Foreigners”.
One of the country’s grandest temples, it is best known for housing the 46-metre-long (151ft) Reclining Buddha.
The attraction has been complying with the government’s closure of gathering places to fight the coronavirus by barring all visitors for two months.
It reopened to Thais only last Friday.
Italy has registered 379 new cases of Covid-19, mostly in Lombardy, the northern region where the outbreak first exploded in Europe.
The daily update on Thursday raised Italy’s overall total coronavirus infections to 236,142.
Authorities say the country likely had far more cases, but that they went undetected since many with mild symptoms weren’t tested for the bug.
There were 53 deaths registered in the previous 24 hours, increasing the overall known death toll to 34,167.
Many restrictions on daily activities were lifted in recent weeks.
SCHOOL'S OUT FOR SUMMER HOLS
Downing Street has confirmed that schools in England would not remain open during the summer for the children of key workers.
The PM's official spokesman said Education Secretary Gavin Williamson had told MPs they would close over the summer holiday months.
The spokesman confirmed this would apply to key workers' children too.
“There would have been a reasonable expectation that parents would expect for schools not to be open over the course of the summer,” the spokesman said.
Schools had stayed open during the Easter break to help parents keep working through the coronavirus crisis.
2-METRE DISTANCING RULE UNDER REVIEW
PM Boris Johnson has promised to keep the two-metre social-distancing restriction, which is currently in place for all nations in the UK, under “constant review”.
There have been calls from industry leaders and MPs to halve the distance to help businesses such as pubs and restaurants reopen, and allow more children to return to school.
Some countries, including France, Denmark and Singapore, have been following a distancing restriction half the measure of the UK limit.
This is because the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended a “minimum” distance of one metre between people from different households to avoid transmission of the virus.
Jonathan Reid, a professor of physical chemistry at the University of Bristol, said large droplets can travel through the air a distance of one metre.
But smaller droplets – about the diameter of a human hair – can travel two metres.
Johnson said he is considering reducing the restriction to allow schools in England to reopen fully by September.
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