But the tourism board in Singapore, a key port and transport hub in Asia, is holding talks with cruise lines on putting on voyages that depart from and return to the city-state
The coronavirus pandemic has killed over a million people and infected more than 35 million worldwide. Here are the developments for October 5: A woman wearing a face mask to protect against the coronavirus disease walks with an umbrella in front of a sign reading “Moscow” on a rainy day in Moscow on September 28, 2020. (AFP) Spanish groups urge scientific response to virus
Groups representing more than 170,000 health workers are urging Spanish politicians to base their response to the pandemic on scientific grounds rather than politics.
A 10-point manifesto by 55 scientific societies published Sunday in all the major newspapers said “decisions must be based on the best available scientific evidence, completely detached from the continuous political confrontation.”
The campaign comes after a dispute between the left-wing national government and the conservative regional authorities of the Madrid region led to weeks of back and forth bef ore partially locking down the Spanish capital late Friday amid a surge of infections.
The manifesto also calls for less red-tape in adopting measures against virus outbreaks, for authorities in Spain’s 19 regions to abide by a set of national scientific standards that would dictate the response, and calls for stopping interference in medical decisions.
Addressing “politicians” in general, the scientists write: “On behalf of more than 47 million Spaniards, including you and your families, we have to change so much political, professional and human inconsistency.”
Virus levels rise in Stockholm's sewage system
A technology institute in Sweden has found large concentrations of the virus in Stockholm’s sewage system, saying it “has doubled in the last weeks and is now back at the same levels as in May 2020.”
In a statement, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology said the increased number of cases in recent weeks is reflected in the wastewater and thus not due to more people being tested.
“My interpretation is that this latest increase is definitely about an increased number of infected people in society,” said Cecilia Williams, a professor at the institute in Stockholm.
Sweden, which has opted for a much debated approach of keeping large parts of the society open, has reported 94,283 cases and 5,895 deaths.
UK PM Johnson says soaring cases in line with forecasts
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the current soaring number of cases was about where government forecasts had predicted so the next weeks would be crucial to see if local lockdowns could get on top of the virus.
“The incidence that we're seeing in the cases really sort of corresponds to pretty much where we thought we were,” Johnson said after Britain reported a jump in daily Covid-19 cases to a record 22,961 on Sunday.
A technical glitch had meant that over 15,000 test results had not been transferred into computer systems on time, including for contact tracers.
“To be frank, I think that the slightly lower numbers that we'd seen didn't really reflect where we thought that the disease was likely to go so I think these numbers are realistic,” Johnson said.
“The crucial thing is that in the next few days, weeks we'll we'll see more clearly whether some of the restrictions that we put in … whether that starts to work in driving down the virus.”
Malaysia PM quarantines after having contact with minister
Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said he will self quarantine for 14 days after being in contact with a minister who has tested positive.
In a statement, Muhyiddin said all his recent tests for were negative.
Muhyiddin said he was at a Saturday meeting with the religious affairs minister, Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri, who on Monday confirmed he had tested positive.
Poland's incoming education minister tests positive
Poland's incoming education minister said he had tested positive, as new cases in Poland have continued to reach records over the past week.
Przemyslaw Czarnek, 43, announced he had been infected ahead of an event at the presidential palace, where President Andrzej Duda was expected to confirm new ministers after a government reshuffle announced last week.
“I was tested this morning due to a headache so as not to expose the President, the cabinet and other participants in today's events. I feel good. Don't underestimate the symptoms,” Czarnek, said in a tweet posted on Monday.
A government spokesman was not immediately available to comment on whether the prime minister and the other ministers present were planning to be tested.
Lithuanian foreign minister self-isolating after French visit
Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Linas Linkevicius will self-isolate for a week after contact with members of visiting French President Emmanuel Macron's delegation, who later tested positive.
The minister was present at several events during the Sept. 28-29 visit, spokeswoman Rasa Jakilaitiene said.
Lithuania's BNS news agency reported that two members of staff at the French embassy in Vilnius, who were part of the delegation, had tested positive for coronavirus last week. The embassy could not immediately be reached for comment.
It was not immediately clear if Linkevicius, who had met Macron during the visit, had been tested
President Gitanas Nauseda, his wife and several members of his office took coronavirus tests on Sunday. All the results were negative, the president's office said in a statement.
On Saturday, five members of the president's office were asked to self-isolate due to having had close contact with the French delegation. The president and his family are not among them, his office said.
Moscow's schools to switch to online education
Schools in Moscow and the regions of Ulyanovsk and Sakhalin will switch to online remote learning soon due to a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, the Interfax news agency cited the Education Ministry.
Russia's daily tally of new coronavirus cases rose to its highest since May 12 on Monday as authorities reported 10,888 new infections nationwide, including 3,537 in Moscow.
Malaysia reports 432 new cases, biggest daily jump
Malaysia reported 432 new cases, the country's biggest daily jump in infections.
Most of the cases were local transmissions, the health ministry said on Twitter.
Malaysian health authorities said an individual who attended a meeting at the prime minister's department over the weekend has tested positive.
The health ministry said in a statement that the individual had attended a meeting on October 3. The individual was asymptomatic at the time and has since been hospitalised.
Indonesia reports 3,622 new cases, 102 new deaths
Indonesia confirmed 3,622 new cases, taking the total number of infections in the Southeast Asian country to 307,120, official data showed.
It also reported 102 new deaths, according to its task force, with total fatalities in Indonesia reaching 11,253.
Russia's new cases surge to highest since May 12
Russia's daily tally of new cases rose to its highest since May 12 on Monday as authorities reported 10,888 new infections nationwide, including 3,537 in Moscow.
Authorities said 117 people had died overnight, pushing the official death toll to 21,475.
The total number of cases registered since the beginning of the outbreak stands at 1,225,889, they said.
Ukraine expects new jump in cases later this week
The daily number of new cases in Ukraine could exceed 5,000 later this week, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said.
Ukraine reported a record of 4,661 new cases on Saturday, but the number fell to 4,140 cases on Sunday and 3,774 on Monday.
“The situation is tense but not critical,” Stepanov told a televised briefing.
The daily tally of infections spiked above 4,000 in late September and early October, prompting the government to extend lockdown measures until the end of this month.
The health ministry said a total of 226,462 cases had been registered in Ukraine as of October 5, with 4,397 deaths.
Philippines confirms 2,291 new cases, 64 more deaths
The Philippine health ministry reported 2,291 new infections and 64 more deaths.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases in the Philippines have increased to 324,762, the highest in Southeast Asia, while deaths have reached 5,840.
UK technical failure in testing data system now fixed
A technical failure in England's testing data system has now been fixed and should not be repeated, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said.
Britain reported a jump in daily cases to a record 22,961 on Sunday, after authorities said a technical issue had meant that over 15,000 test results had not been transferred into computer systems on time, including for contact tracers.
“The glitch has been found and fixed and I'm sure that the changes are brought in straight away to make sure this sort of problem doesn't happen again,” Coffey told Sky.
“I'm sure that PHE (Public Health England) will not be allowing that issue to happen again,” she said.
Uganda reports blood shortages amid pandemic
Health authorities in Uganda say the supply of blood has sharply declined since the start of the pandemic as fewer people donate and schools remain closed. The consequences are sometimes deadly.
Students, especially those in secondary school, are the largest group of blood donors in the East African country but schools have been closed since March amid efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
This means the government agency charged with collecting blood is failing to meet its targets.
The head of Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, Dr. Dorothy Byabazaire, told lawmakers earlier this year that her agency collected 56,850 units of a targeted 75,000 between April and July.
Facilities across the country submit blood orders to the agency, and there is a sharing mechanism among facilities in the event of emergencies. But “borrowing” blood can be time-consuming, Batiibwe said.
The Uganda Red Cross, which helps authorities to mobilise blood donors, said it hasn't been easy to recruit donors during the pandemic. The country has confirmed more than 8,600 coronavirus cases, including 79 deaths.
EU top official self-isolating after contact with virus case
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen says she has placed herself in isolation after being in contact with a person infected with the coronavirus.
In a message posted on Twitter Monday, the head of the EU's executive arm said she took part in a meeting last Tuesday that was attended by “a person who yesterday tested positive.”
She said she tested negative for the virus on Thursday and that she will undergo another test later Monday.
Von der Leyen attended a two-day summit of EU leaders in Brussels late last week.
Von der Leyen said she will be in quarantine until Tuesday morning.
Her isolation will keep her close to work, however: She has a small living quarters next to her office in the EU headquarters in Brussels.
Two weeks ago, EU Council President Charles Michel was forced to postpone a summit of EU leaders because he was quarantining.
New Zealand PM says 'we beat the virus again'
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared New Zealand “beat the virus again” and announced restrictions in the country's largest city would be eased, after a second wave was contained.
The virus was believed to have been eradicated in late May after a strict national lockdown led to New Zealanders enjoying 102 days without community transmission.
But a new cluster emerged in Auckland in August, forcing the city of 1.5 million into lockdown for almost three weeks.
With no new confirmed cases in Auckland for 12 days, Ardern said the virus was now under control and congratulated residents for enduring the second lockdown.
“It felt longer and dragged on in what was already starting to feel like a very long year,” she said.
“But despite this, Aucklanders and New Zealanders stuck to the plan that has worked twice now, and beat the virus again.”
Singapore 'cruises to nowhere' plan sparks virus fears
Singapore hopes to start “cruises to nowhere” in a bid to revive its coronavirus-hit tourism industry, but critics warned against a risky move that could spark outbreaks.
But the tourism board in Singapore, a key port and transport hub in Asia, is holding talks with cruise lines on putting on voyages that depart from and return to the city-state.
Officials will put in place “appropriate measures that will enable cruises to resume in a safe manner,” the board's cruise director Annie Chang told AFP.
She did not say when the cruises might start.
However Marcie Keever, oceans and vessels programme director at Friends of the Earth, warned about “the potential to have Covid outbreaks” on cruise liners.
“The cruise industry was a large contributor to Covid outbreaks in several ports around the world,” she told AFP.
She also warned about the environmental impact of restarting cruises.
Venezuela's Maduro says son to join virus vaccine trial
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said his son will join trials of Sputnik V, Russia's vaccine which has been met with caution around the world.
An initial batch of the vaccine arrived in Venezuela on Friday, the government announced, and 2,000 residents will participate in the trials.
“In this clinical trial phase, my son, Nicolas Ernesto Maduro Guerra, told me of his decision to be vaccinated with the Russian vaccine, to join the trial. I think it is very good,” the socialist leader said in a speech on state television network VTV.
Maduro's sister is also a volunteer for the clinical trials.
Maduro Guerra, 30, is also a politician and a member of his father's governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
India record almost 75,000 new daily cases
India has registered a single-day spike of 74,442 new cases, driving the country’s overall tally since the pandemic began to 6.6 million.
The Health Ministry also reported another 903 virus deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 102,685.
India has reported the second most infections globally after the US, but its daily new infections are now on a downward trend, though still the highest in the world.
The number of active virus cases in the country has also remained below 1 million for the past two weeks.
The country’s recovery rate stands at 84%, the highest in the world, with more than 5.5 million people recovered from coronavirus so far, according to the Health Ministry.
Remote-learning begins in virus-hit Philippines
Grade and high school students in the Philippines began classes at home Monday after the pandemic forced remote-learning onto an educational system already struggling to fund schools.
The shift to distance-learning has been a logistical nightmare for the poverty-stricken Southeast Asian country that has long lacked enough classrooms, teachers and educational equipment.
Nearly 25 million students enrolled this year in mostly 47,000 public schools nationwide that would have to be replicated in homes and enlist the help of parents and guardians as co-teachers.
A majority of families, especially from poor and rural communities, opted to use government-provided digital or printed learning materials or “modules,” which students would read at home with the guidance of their elders before carrying out specified activities.
Most lacked computers and reliable internet connections. Teachers could answer questions by telephone.
The rest of the families preferred for their children to get lessons online or through regional radio and TV educational broadcasts.
South Korea reports virus numbers trending lower
South Korea has reported 73 new cases, its fifth straight day of below 100, although officials expressed concern that could rise because of increased travel during a five-day holiday period that ended Sunday.
The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency Monday brought the national caseload to 24,164, including 422 deaths.
Fifty-one of the new cases were reported from the greater capital area, where health workers have scrambled to stem transmissions tied to various places, including churches, hospitals, schools, restaurants and workplaces.
The newest cluster of infections in the region is an army unit in Pocheon, north of capital Seoul, where more than 30 troops have so far tested positive.
Germany's confirmed cases rise by 1,382 to 300,619
The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 1,382 to 300,619, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.
The reported death toll rose by five to 9,534, the tally showed.
Mexico reports over 200 more deaths
Mexico's confirmed coronavirus cases have increased to 761,665 with a total reported death toll of 79,088, according to the health ministry.
Authorities reported 3,712 new cases and 208 deaths on Sunday, but the true figures are likely significantly higher due to limited testing.
Auckland restrictions will be lifted from Wednesday midnight
New Zealand Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern has said all coronavirus restrictions in the country's largest city Auckland will be lifted at 11.59 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 7.
Auckland will move to alert level 1, joining the rest of the country, Ardern said at a news conference on Monday.
China records 20 new cases
Mainland China has reported 20 new Covid-19 cases on Oct. 4, up from 16 reported a day earlier, the country's national health authority has said.
The National Health Commission said in a statement on Monday that all new cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed Covid-19 cases, rose to 27 from 26 a day earlier.
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mainland China now stands at 85,470, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.
Brazil reports over 350 new fatalities
Brazil has registered 365 new coronavirus deaths, the health ministry said, bringing the death toll in the country to 146,352.
Confirmed cases of the virus rose by 8,456 to 4,915,289, according to the official data released on Sunday.
Biden tests negative
US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tested negative again for Covid-19 in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, his campaign said, according to a press pool report.
Biden, who shared a debate stage with President Donald Trump last Tuesday in Cleveland, also had tested negative in two tests on Friday, the day Trump disclosed his coronavirus infection.
The campaign gave no other details when asked about the frequency of Biden's recent testing, according to the pool report.
UK daily cases jump to 22,961 on Sunday after glitch
Britain reported a jump in daily Covid-19 cases to a record 22,961 on Sunday, after authorities said a technical issue had meant that over 15,000 test results had not been transferred into computer systems on time, including for contact tracers.
News of the glitch was likely to cast further doubt over the robustness of the national test-and-trace system, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said would be “world-beating” but which has experienced a series of delays and setbacks.
Sunday's daily cases figure represented a dramatic jump from the 12,872 cases reported on Saturday.
The Sunday numbers were published hours behind schedule, just after a statement from Public Health England (PHE) about the technical problem.
“Today and yesterday’s headline numbers are large due to the backlog of cases flowing through the total reporting process,” PHE said in a statement.
Paris bars to close as French capital placed virus alert
Paris is to be placed on maximum Covid-19 alert, meaning bars will be forced to close for two weeks from Tuesday and restaurants will have to put in place new sanitary protocols to stay open, the prime minister's office said.
Prime Minister Jean Castex's office said there had been no improvement in the Paris region since the capital passed all three of the government's criteria for being put on the highest level of alert mid last week.
Working from home should be prioritised “now more than ever” in the Par is area and university lecture halls should be no more than half full, Castex's office said in a statement.
The reinforced restrictions will take effect from Tuesday.
“These measures, indispensable in the fight to curb the virus' spread, will apply to Paris and the three departments immediately surrounding it, for a duration of two weeks,” it said.
Source: TRTWorld and agencies