The UK could be facing a collapse in its health and leisure infrastructure, industry leaders have warned, as pools and gyms were finally allowed to open their doors.
Only around 20 per cent of pools in England will be opening today, the head of the national governing body for swimming has said, with thousands potentially shutting up shop unless the Government intervenes.
Jane Nickerson, chief executive of Swim England, said that even before Covid-19 struck 40 per cent of the country’s ageing pool stock was facing closure before the end of the decade.
She said many local facilities have had no support at all over the last three months.
Ms Nickerson told Radio 4’s Today programme: “We know every single pool returns around £7.2 million in community benefits – in social cohesion, crime prevention, education attainment and health benefits.
“So a little bit of support now from the Government will have its payback within months.
“It is not like it’s asking for money that just gets thrown away – by tackling the health and obesity crisis in the pool, it actually saves a lot of money.”
Her warning comes as the Government revealed yesterday that it is preparing plans to tackle obesity as part of its strategy to minimise the impact of future waves of Covid-19.
It said it would be revealing its obesity strategy “very soon” after a Public Health England (PHE) review found a dramatic rise in the risk of hospitalisation and death from coronavirus.
Follow the latest updates below.
Fourteen-year-old girl raped in Delhi coronavirus quarantine centre
Fears for the safety of women and girls have been sparked after a 14-year-old girl was raped by two men while staying at India’s largest Covid-19 quarantine centre in New Delhi.
The Delhi Police have charged a 19-year-old with the sexual assault, while an accomplice is accused of standing guard and filming the incident.
The attack took place in the female bathroom of the 10,000-bed Sardar Patel Covid Care Centre and Hospital in the Chhatarpur neighbourhood.
The facility was opened for people with moderate symptoms who cannot self-isolate at home – typically families from poor backgrounds who share one-room apartments in slum areas.
The assault took place on July 15 but the two men, who were also quarantining in the facility, could not be arrested until Wednesday when they had tested negative for Covid-19.
Joe Wallen has the full story here
England: 25 more Covid-19 related hospital deaths today.
Another 25 fatalities have been reported in England today:
The last 4 weeks of English hospital deaths by date of death.
The 7-day average now sits at 14 on the 19th of July.
As you may be aware – All data is subject to change as deaths are reported and historical adjustments made. pic.twitter.com/UTeEEcnS7s
— UK COVID-19 (@UKCovid19Stats) July 25, 2020
Judge in hot water after accidentally broadcasting comments post hearing
A High Court judge is to stop hearing a case centred on the care of a child after “pejorative comments” she made about the youngster’s mother during a private telephone conversation with her clerk were accidentally broadcast to people who had been taking part in a hearing via an online link.
Mrs Justice Judd had said the woman was pretending to have a cough and was trying “every trick in the book” to avoid answering difficult questions, PA reports.
She had not realised that a link to the virtual courtroom remained open on her, closed, laptop.
Court of Appeal judges have decided that another judge should take control of the case.
Mrs Justice Judd had been overseeing a private, partly-virtual – or hybrid, hearing in the Family Division of the High Court, earlier this month.
She had been sitting in a courtroom at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The woman, and lawyers representing her, had also been in the courtroom.
Coronavirus crisis could spark huge waves of migrants and refugees
The dire economic impact of the global coronavirus pandemic is likely to propel new waves of migrants and refugees towards the richer parts of the world, the head of the Red Cross has warned.
People from poor countries may also seek to reach wealthier nations in order to access anti-Covid 19 vaccinations, particularly if rich countries try to buy up supplies if and when they become commercially available.
“We should not be surprised if there is a massive impact on migration in the coming months and years,” said Jagan Chapagain, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
National lockdowns and the collapse of businesses around the globe are likely to propel huge numbers of migrants, in addition to the vast flows that have been seen in recent years as a result of war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.
Nick Squires has the full story here.
PM: ‘Very open questions’ over whether lockdown was too late
An important story you might have missed yesterday: Boris Johnson has suggested there are “very open questions” about whether the UK should have gone into lockdown earlier as he acknowledged there were things “we could have done differently” at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Asked if the Government responded too slowly to slow the spread of the virus, the Prime Minister said there were things “we didn’t understand in the way we would have liked in the first few weeks and months.”
Speaking on the first anniversary of his premiership, Mr Johnson added that the “single thing” that the UK had not foreseen at the beginning was the extent to which the virus was being “transmitted asymptomatically”.
Pressed on what went wrong, he told the BBC: “I think it’s fair to say that there are things that we need to learn about how we handled it in the early stages. There will be plenty of opportunities to learn the lessons of what happened.”
Read the full story here.
Greece unveils vaccine allocation plan to prioritse the elderly
Developing vaccines is just one part of the problem facing scientists and policy makers – who will get immunisations first when they’re in short demand is also bound to be controversial.
Today Greece’s health minister has said that the country will prioritise giving coronavirus vaccines to the elderly and high-risk groups if and when they become available.
“If and when a vaccine comes, we will prioritise those who must take it above all,” Vassilis Kikilias told Skai TV. “Who is that? Our very aged fellow citizens, the very elderly, high-risk groups…we will protect those in danger.”
He added that vaccines will not be compulsory but they will be “strongly recommended.”
Greece has so far recorded 201 Covid-19 deaths and more than 4,100 infections.
Related: Deprived communities should be front of line for vaccine
Thousands of stranded Filipinos crammed into baseball stadium
An interesting story here via Reuters from the Philippines:
Thousands of Filipinos were crammed into a baseball stadium in Manila today, breaking social distancing rules despite coronavirus risks, after people wanting to return to their home provinces flooded a government transportation program.
Officials had reserved the stadium as a place to test people before transporting them back to their home provinces under a program to help people who had lost their jobs in the capital return to their families elsewhere.
Officials had planned for 7,500 people to arrive at the stadium from Friday, but were caught out when another 2,000 people who were not yet scheduled to travel headed there anyway.
“Because of the overflowing number of people, we can no longer control (the situation) and the relevance of social distancing had been diminished,” Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo, who is overseeing the government’s transportation assistance program, told Reuters by phone.
Police were deployed to urge social distancing, but people, including the elderly, children and pregnant women, were seen in close contact with each other. Some were not wearing masks.
Many of those at the stadium had got stuck in the capital when it imposed one of the strictest and longest lockdowns in mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Related: Philippines turns to ‘war on drugs’ tactics to beat Covid, sparking human rights fears
Masks and Matisse: what’s it like inside the re-opened Tate Modern?
On Monday, Tate reopens its doors after more than four months in lockdown. The nation’s museums and galleries have been allowed to do so since July 4, with the National Gallery first out of the block on July 8. So why the delay? Find out here.
Analysis: NHS waiting times surge
Some stark analysis from George Batchelor, co-founder and Director of Edge Health, a firm which specialises in the use of economics and data science science to help the NHS be more productive and effective:
Football star Xavi Hernandez tests positive for Covid-19
In sports news – former Barcelona star Xavi Hernandez has tested positive for coronavirus, his Qatari club Al-Sadd said today, adding he would miss their league restart fixture against Al-Khor.
Xavi, 40, recently quashed rumours that he was preparing to move back to Barcelona and signed on for another season at the helm of the Qatari top-flight side.
“A few days ago, following the Qatar Stars League protocol, I tested positive in the last Covid-19 test,” Xavi said on Twitter. “Fortunately, I’m feeling ok, but I will be isolated until I am given the all clear. When the health services allow it, I will be very eager to return to my daily routine and to work.”
Almost 4 percent of Qatar’s 2.75 million people have had coronavirus, with 108,638 cases reported since the start of the pandemic – giving the tiny Gulf state one of the highest per capita total infection rates.
However the Gas-rich country has reported just 164 deaths meaning it has one of the world’s lowest virus death rates and 105,420 people have recovered from Covid-19, according to official statistics.
France: Concerns that R value has reached 1.3
France’s coronavirus infection rate is continuing its worrisome upward creep, with health authorities saying the closely watched “R” gauge is now up to 1.3, suggesting that infected people are on average contaminating 1.3 others.
Also increasing is the daily number of new cases, up to 1,130 yesterday. In their daily statement on the French outbreak that has claimed 30,192 lives, health authorities warned that the country is going backward in its battle and that infection indicators now again resemble those seen in May when France was coming out of its strict two-month lockdown.
“We have thus erased much of the progress that we’d achieved in the first weeks of lockdown-easing,” health authorities said.
They appealed for a return to “collective discipline,” asking that people work from home and get tested if they have any suspicions of infection.
Here’s a look at the trajectory of the country’s outbreak:
Osteoporosis drug reduces coronavirus infection by 85 per cent
An osteoporosis drug reduces coronavirus infection by 85 per cent in human cells, say scientists, opening the door to a quick new treatment for the condition.
The widely used drug apilimod is one of 13 new medications that have been found to fight coronavirus when scientists screened nearly 12,000 treatment to see if any could battle Covid-19.
Repurposing drugs is a fast way to find new treatments because safety concerns have already been addressed, which speeds up their availability.
Other drugs discovered to have anti-Covid-19 properties include an HIV medication called R 82913, and a diabetes treatment.
A drug developed to treat autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s disease, may also be effective, the scientists conclude in a paper published in the journal Nature.
Sarah Knapton has the full story here.
The ‘new normal’: Your guide as gyms reopen
Here you can find everything you need to know as gyms and swimming pools reopen in England today:
Record daily increase in cases in Hong Kong
A spike in cases is continuing in Hong Kong, where 133 new coronavirus caseswere reported today. This number included 126 that were locally transmitted – a record for a daily increase – as authorities warned that the city faces a critical period in containing the virus.
Since late January, more than 2,000 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 18 of whom have died.
In other numbers updates – Indonesia reported 1,868 new coronavirus infections on today, bringing the total to 97,286, while Russia has reported 5,871 new infections.
Today in pictures: Megacities under Covid-19
New York, US
New Delhi, India:
Government considers drive-through flu-jab clinics
Drive-through flu-jab clinics are being considered to deliver the biggest-ever vaccination programme this winter, Laura Donnelly reports.
Yesterday Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that more than half the population of England will be offered free jabs, to ensure the NHS can cope if there is a second wave of coronavirus.
Health officials are now in talks about how to ensure good uptake, with ambitions to vaccinate 30 million people, up from 15 million last year.
However, most GP practices are restricting face-to-face consultations, and the Royal College of General Practitioners has warned that administering the jabs could take twice as long as normal, because of the need to wear protective equipment.
Find out all the details here – and if you’re interested in the threat of influenza, we wrote about how Latin America (where flu season has already started) is trying to prevent a double whammy of infections here.
Batwoman: ‘Trump owes us an apology’
The Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli, widely nicknamed ‘batwoman’, has been thrown into the limelight during the pandemic. She is a world leading expert on bat coronaviruses and works at the Wuhan Insitute of Virology (WIV), in the city where the pandemic first began.
Both Shi and the lab have been the subject of widespread conspiracy theories throughout the outbreak, with people including President Donald Trump pushing the idea that the virus accidentally escaped from the WIV – or was perhaps even engineered there.
But in an interview with Science Magazine Shi has finally broken her silence on the attacks against her and the details of her work. Here are a few of the key elements of the interview:
Shi said that Trump “owes us an apology” as his claims that the virus escaped from the lab contract the facts and jeopardises both the academic work and personal lives of researchers at the WIV.
She said the lab has isolated and grown only three bat coronavirus in the last 15 years, all of which related to Sars.
Some 2,000 other bat coronaviruses held at the lab are simply genetic sequences that have been extracted from animal samples – they are not live viruses.
Shi said it is “absurd” that the US has suspended funding for EcoHealth Alliance to work in China (the Telegraph spoke to the organisation’s head, Peter Daszak, about this here).
Related: The origins of Covid-19 and why the next pandemic may already have started
European nations tighten travel restrictions for Spain
In a blow to the European tourism season, France’s prime minister Jean Castex has called on Spain to severely limit border crossings and advised French people against travelling to Catalonia due to “deteriorating sanitary indicators.”
France is has also announced plans to test all French people arriving or coming from 16 “red list” countries for Covid-19.
Germany announced it would offer returning holidaymakers free coronavirus tests in airports to prevent a new wave of infections, as the country recorded its highest number of daily cases for two months.
Norway, which has an estimated 10,000 tourists in Spain, announced it would reimpose a ten-day quarantine for people arriving from Spain from today.
Here’s a look at the trajectory of Spain’s pandemic – and you can follow all the latest travel news over on our travel-specific liveblog.
A record surge in global infections
The World Health Organization has reported a record surge in daily new infections, with cases rising by 2,84,296 as the epidemic continues to grow exponentially across the globe.
But it’s worth taking a moment to see just what that looks like – here’s the chart from the WHO’s daily situation report that visualises the increase.
It’s notable just how small the outbreak in China now looks, but the chart also clearly demonstrates how the pandemic has ebbed and flowed in different regions of the globe as the epicentre has shifted:
In terms of the details – aases rose by 284,196 in just 24 hours, driven by surges in the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa. Deaths rose by 9,753, the most in one day since a record high of 9,797 deaths on April 30.
The previous WHO record for new cases was 259,848 on July 18. Deaths have been averaging 5,000 a day in July, up from an average of 4,600 a day in June.
Obesity: ‘Telling people what to do isn’t enough’
In the UK, gyms, swimming pools and the governments upcoming strategy to combat obesity really are the the hot topics this morning.
Professor John Newton, of Public Health England, has told BBC Radio Four saidhe believes calorie labelling would help people make decisions when it comes to their diet.
“Telling people what to do isn’t enough on its own. But at the same time people do need information, people need to understand, for example, if you’re ordering a takeaway and it turns out it’s got 3,000 calories in it, it would be helpful to know that at the time of ordering.
He added that the timing of the PHE report into Covid and obesity – which found that those who have a high BMI are at far higher risk from the virus (details here) – was “not accidental”.
“There was a need to respond to the pandemic and we are optimistic that Government is serious about tackling obesity and that is just based on what the Prime Minister has been saying,” Prof Newton said.
Ukraine: highest number of new cases reported for a month
In Ukraine, just over 1,100 cases have been reported within the last 24 hours – the highest daily total since June 26.
The number of new daily infections has increased sharply in the past two months following the gradual lifting of restrictions that began in late-May. A total of 63,929 cases, including 1,590 deaths, have now been reported.
Health Minister Maksym Stepanov urged people to stick to the rules when he addressed an online briefing this morning.
This week, Ukraine’ sgovernment extended a nationwide lockdown until Augysee 31, requiring people to wear masks and adhere to social distancing rules in restaurants and public places. But separate regions will be able to ease the regime if warranted.
Here’s a look at the trajectory of the country’s outbreak:
Swimming pools hit hard by financial losses in lockdown
There’s much excitement this morning as gyms and swimming pools are able to reopen for the first time since lockdown came into effect.
But Jane Nickerson, chief executive of Swim England, has estimated that just 20 per cent of pools will be able to open their doors.
“They haven’t had any money over the last three months at all,” she said, adding that even before Covid-19 hit the UK was facing losing 40 per cent of its pool stock by the end of the decade.
“Without some Government support, I think a lot of pools will fail to open this year or if ever,” she told BBC Radio Four this morning.
“One of our biggest, biggest fears is that there will be a lost generation of children this year who don’t learn to swim,” she added.
Watch: Spain extends coronavirus restrictions as second wave looms
Just joining us? Here’s a roundup of all the international news to be aware of this morning:
The total number of cases in Africa has surpassed 800,000 as the pandemic rapidly spirals across the 54-nation continent. South Africa has well over half the reported cases, but infections are now climbing rapidly in other countries including Kenya.
India began its first human trials of a coronavirus vaccine candidate, as the world’s second-most populous country recorded nearly 49,000 new cases.
In Brazil Sao Paulo has postponed its 2021 Carnival celebrations. This comes as Formula One scrapped its next planned race here, underlying the enduring effects policymakers expect the coronavirus pandemic to have on the country.
South Korea has reported 113 newly confirmed infections over the past 24 hours – its first daily jump above 100 in nearly four months. The jump was expected, though, as it is driven by imported cases from cargo-ship crews and hundreds of South Korean construction workers flown out of virus-ravaged Iraq.
Vietnam was back on high alert for the novel coronavirus today after medical officials in the central city of Danang detected what appears to be the first local Covid-19 case in the Southeast Asian country for three months.
In the US the mayor of New Orleans has announced that the city’s bars will be shut and is forbidding restaurants from selling take away alcoholic drinks because of rising coronavirus numbers. Mississippi has also announced new restrictions on bars and social gatherings – the mayor says this is due to “young, drunk, careless folks”.
People urged to loose weight as gyms reopen
The pandemic has shone a bright light on the nation’s waistline. According to research published by Public Health England overnight, obesity increases the risk of dying from Covid-19 by 40 per cent, while a body mass index of 40 or more increases the risk by 90 per cent.
The report comes as the Government prepares to reveal its own obesity strategy “very soon”, with junk food adverts expected to be banned on television before the 9pm watershed and outlawed entirely online.
The Telegraph also understands that there are plans for calorie labels on pints of beer and bottles of wine as part of a crackdown on alcohol (full story here).
“The case for action on obesity has never been stronger,” said Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE.
With all this in mind, perhaps many will be relieved that gyms and pools are able to reopen across the country today, as part of the lasing of easing of lockdown measures.
At the start of the pandemic there were hopes that the nation would turn to exercise. But the PHE data also showed that the public has been snacking more in lockdown and, despite increases in sales of bikes and exercise equipment, overall activity levels appear to have dropped compared to before the pandemic.
Could gloves be the next step?
During a debate in the House of Lords on coronavirus regulations health yesterday, it emerged that Ministers are considering requiring the public to wear gloves to combat coronavirus – as well as face coverings.
Health minister Lord Bethell said gloves are “an area we’re looking at” as the Government considers how best to protect the public.
Speaking in the Lords, Conservative Baroness McIntosh of Pickering asked: “Has the Government formed a view on the use of gloves?
“Obviously we’re all following the guidance of washing our hands but surely the correct use of gloves outdoors and indoors could prevent the passing on of the virus?”
Lord Bethell, concluding a debate on coronavirus regulations, replied: “To date, gloves are not in the guidance but they remain an area that we’re looking at.”
Read more about this story here.
Record numbers of cases in every global region
Almost 40 countries have reported record single-day increases in coronavirus infections over the past week, around double the number that did so the previous week.
A Reuters tally has shown a pick-up in the pandemic in every region of the world.
The rate of cases has been increasing not only in countries like the United States, Brazil and India – which have dominated global headlines with large outbreaks – but also in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Bolivia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Uzbekistan and Israel, among others.
Many countries, especially those where officials eased earlier lockdowns, are experiencing a second peak more than a month after recording their first.
Vietnam reports first local infection in 100 days
Vietnam reported its first local coronavirus infection for more than three months on Saturday after a man in the central city of Danang tested positive four times for the virus, a government statement said.
Thanks to strict quarantine measures and an aggressive and widespread testing programme, Vietnam had kept its virus total to an impressively low 415 cases, and had reported no locally transmitted infections for 100 days.
The health ministry said a 57-year-old man from Danang, a tourist hot spot, had tested positive, prompting the isolation of 50 people he came into contact with.
The ministry said 103 people connected to the patient were tested for the virus, but all returned negative results.
The government said on Saturday that a new test had confirmed the man’s infection, bringing the total number of cases in Vietnam to 416.
It did not say how the man contracted the virus but that he had not left Danang for nearly a month. He was initially diagnosed with pneumonia.
Bus driver beaten with baseball bat
A passenger on a bus in San Francisco beat the driver with a baseball bat after he and two companions were asked to wear masks.
The driver asked the three men several times and pulled over to let them off when they refused.
“As the victim was escorting the males off the bus, one of the males pulled out a wooden bat and struck the victim several times,” police said.
‘Social media influencer’ arrested for breaking quarantine
Investigators with the Hawaii attorney-general’s office have arrested a 20-year-old woman after seeing videos of her dancing in a store and dining out when she was supposed to be obeying a travel quarantine.
Anne Salamanca arrived in Honolulu on July 6 and, four days later, the Hawaii Tourism Authority learned she was out in public – in violation of the 14-day quarantine, the state said on Friday.
The tourism authority informed attorney-general special agents, who were shown videos of her dancing and dining.
The state said Ms Salamanca is from Birmingham, Alabama.
She’s also a “social media influencer” in the Philippines, who goes by Mika Salamanca and arrived from Manila, KITV reported.
The Honolulu news station reported she apologised on social media, but claimed law enforcement went to the house where she was staying and told her that if she had a negative Covid-19 test, she could go out.
“None of my investigators would convey that information, as it is incorrect,” Hawaii Attorney-General Clare Connors said.
“The fact Ms Salamanca has so many followers makes her actions that much more dangerous and concerning. The spread of misinformation can have very severe consequences during an emergency situation like we are in now.”
50-person limit on church services upheld in Supreme Court
The US Supreme Court on Friday declined to lift a 50-person limit on religious services adopted by Nevada’s Democratic governor in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
By a 5-4 vote, the justices denied a request by Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley in rural Nevada for an interim order that would have allowed it to host services for about 90 congregants.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a dissent that Nevada was discriminating against religious groups in favour of casinos, which under Governor Steve Sisolak’s reopening plans do not face the same 50-person limit on indoor gatherings.
Beijing cinemas reopen
Beijing partially reopened cinemas on Friday as the threat from coronavirus continues to recede in China’s capital.
Cinemas in parts of the city deemed at low risk of cross infection began admitting moviegoers under social distancing rules.
Tickets must be booked in advance, attendance is capped at 30 per cent of capacity and no eating or drinking is allowed during the show.
As with most venues in China, a temperature check and online travel record were required for entry.
Cinemas have been closed for around six months but began reopening this week in major cities throughout the country.
China reported 21 new virus cases on Friday, six of them imported.
Cases spike in South Korea
South Korea has reported 113 newly confirmed cases of Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, its first daily jump of more than 100 in nearly four months.
Health authorities forecast a temporary spike, driven by imported infections found among cargo ship crews and hundreds of South Korean construction workers airlifted out of virus-ravaged Iraq.
The figures released by South Korea’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention brought the national cases to 14,092, including 298 deaths.
The KCDC said 86 of the new cases were linked to international arrivals, while the other 27 were local transmissions.
Brothers charged after fight over masks
Two brothers in California have been charged after getting into a brawl with store security guards for not wearing masks.
Phillip, 31, and Paul Hamilton, 29, were confronted by the guards at a Target store in Van Nuys after they were spotted without face coverings.
As they were being escorted out, the pair allegedly punched one of the four security guards and a brawl ensued, leaving one of the guards with a broken arm, according to the complaint.
“Not wearing a mask is selfish, wrong and illegal,” Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said on Friday.
“We will absolutely not tolerate violence in response to appropriate efforts to assure business patrons wear face coverings.
“We have one common enemy – and it’s the virus, not each other.”
The brothers have been charged with multiple counts of battery and trespass and face more than a year in jail if convicted.
Wills by Zoom to be made legal
Wills that are witnessed using video technology such as Zoom and FaceTime are to be made legal in England and Wales, making it easier for people to record their final wishes during the coronavirus pandemic.
The reforms legalising the remote witnessing of wills will be backdated to January 31, 2020, the date of the first confirmed coronavirus case in the UK, the Government said.
It means that any will witnessed by video technology from that date will be legally accepted.
The measures will remain in place until January 2022.
Now you might have to wear gloves
Ministers are considering requiring the public to wear gloves to combat coronavirus, as well as face coverings.
During a debate in the House of Lords on coronavirus regulations, Health Minister Lord Bethell said gloves are “an area we’re looking at” as the Government considers how best to protect the public.
The exchanges came on the day people in England were required to start wearing face coverings in shops, shopping centres, banks, takeaways, post offices, sandwich shops and supermarkets or risk a £100 fine.
Read more: Gloves may be next step after masks in battle against coronavirus