UK at ‘tipping point’ as India passes grim milestone

 

Britain is at a "tipping point" in the COVID-19 crisis and must act quickly to avoid history "repeating itself" the country's deputy chief medical officer has warned.

Dr Jonathan Van-Tam issued a stark warning to the UK, stating the worst is yet to come if the country does not "all act now".

Dr Van-Tam said the country was "at a tipping point similar to where we were in March", and that the approach of the northern hemisphere winter made the situation serious.

"Winter in the [National Health Service] is always a difficult period, and that is why in the first wave our strategy was 'contain, delay, research and mitigate' to push the first wave into spring," he said.

"This time it is different as we are now are going into the colder, darker winter months. We are in the middle of a severe pandemic and the seasons are against us. Basically, we are running into a headwind."

An estimated 224,000 people have contracted the virus in the past week in the UK, up from 116,000 the week before, according to the Office for National Statistics. In his statement, Dr Van-Tam asked people to stick to the rules to suppress the resurgence of the virus by washing their hands regularly, wearing face coverings in confined spaces, practising social distancing and self-isolating after testing positive.

 

 

"I would say, actually, we are beyond the tipping point. To be perfectly honest, I think it's perhaps being a little bit optimistic. We are clearly on the path of exponential growth," said Martin McKee, the professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

It comes as cases spread across northern England, putting parts of the area back in lockdown.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself spent time in hospital for the virus in April, is to outline a new three-tier lockdown system on Monday.

Local leaders in the north of England bristled at the plans, with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham saying that "we will not surrender our residents to hardship this Christmas or our businesses to failure".

 

 

 

INDIA'S COVID CASES PASS SEVEN MILLION

India's coronavirus cases surged past seven million on Sunday (local time).

Governments across the globe are struggling to keep up with a sharp rise in infections and manage growing public frustration over new restrictions as the pandemic enters a second deadly wave.

Since it emerged in China late last year, it has killed more than one million worldwide, infected nearly 37 million and forced millions more out of work as the pandemic batters the global economy.

Indian health ministry data on Sunday showed a rise of almost 75,000 cases, taking the total to 7.05 million - second only to the US which has recorded 7.67 million infections.

But experts say the true number may be much higher, with testing rates in the country of 1.3 billion people - home to some of the planet's most crowded cities - much lower than elsewhere in the world.

In Europe, the virus closed doors early on Saturday on the German capital's legendary night-life, with bars and restaurants ordered shut at 11pm in Berlin under a partial curfew announced until October 31.

"This is not the time to party," said Berlin mayor Michael Muller in a message addressed to young people, who are driving new infections higher.

"We can and we want to prevent another more severe confinement."

Latin America and the Caribbean marked 10 million cases on Saturday and with more than 360,000 deaths, the region is the worst hit in terms of fatalities, according to official figures.

Brazil's virus death toll passed 150,000 people on Saturday, according to health ministry figures, although the rate of new coronavirus infections continues to slow in the South American country.

 

 

Authorities in France reported a record 27,000 new infections, although numbers in intensive care remained far short of peaks seen in the spring.

Spiralling cases in France have led to fears that the government may need to impose local lockdowns in major cities, which would mimic measures already announced in Spain where the government has prevented people leaving the Madrid region.

Residents can only leave the Spanish capital for work, school or medical reasons as part of restrictions that have been denounced by the city's right-wing authorities.

"We've always placed public health above all other considerations," Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said during a visit to Portugal.

In Poland, authorities told people to wear face masks in all public spaces after coronavirus cases hit a new record daily high of 4280.

 

A mask-wearing waiter serves diners at a Paris restaurant. Picture: Getty Images
A mask-wearing waiter serves diners at a Paris restaurant. Picture: Getty Images

 

VIRUS ALERT FOR MAJOR SYDNEY STORES

Meanwhile, a virus alert has been issued for a number of popular shops across Sydney including Bunnings, Chemist Warehouse and Aldi, after positive COVID-19 cases visited the shops.

The five retailers in west and south west Sydney have been issued with virus alerts after NSW Health confirmed people infectious with coronavirus visited the business in recent days.

NSW Health said it was alerting the public after confirmed cases of COVID-19 attended the five shops.

Anyone who visited the shops is considered a casual contact and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop. NSW Health said these people need to remain isolated until they receive a negative test.

The shops are:

- Big W in Carnes Hill - October 4, 3pm - 4.30pm

- Aldi in Edmondson Park - October 4, 6.30pm - 7.30pm

- Chemist Warehouse in Casula - 6 October, 12.30pm - 1pm

- Bunnings in Crossroads - 7 October, 2pm - 3pm

- Costco in Casula - 9 October, 3pm - 3.30pm

 

The Aldi in Edmondson Park is on the list.
The Aldi in Edmondson Park is on the list.

NSW said testing numbers have dropped recently "which is a concern".

"NSW Health is appealing to the community to come forward for testing right away if you have even the mildest of symptoms like a runny nose or scratchy throat, cough, fever or other symptoms that could be COVID-19."

"This is particularly important for people in the South Western Sydney and Western Sydney areas."

 

 

 

 

VICTORIAN PREMIER TO PROVIDE PHONE RECORDS

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says the inquiry into the botched hotel quarantine program has requested text messages and phone records from him and he will provide them.

The development comes after Victoria recorded 12 new cases of coronavirus and one death in the past 24 hours.

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day rolling average has dipped back down and stands at 9.3 while regional Victoria's is unchanged at 0.4.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaking at his Sunday briefing. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaking at his Sunday briefing. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty

Mr Andrews said the Victorian State of Emergency will also be extended again until November 8.

From Monday, regional Victorian businesses will be asked to check the addresses of clientele when taking bookings for cafes and accommodation, in order to ensure people do not have a Melbourne address.

Any business that does not comply and has been found to have allowed a Melbourne visitor to be seated at a restaurant can face fines of up to almost $10,000.

Businesses will be asked to request to see a drivers licence; if patrons are from Melbourne, they will only be able to get takeaway food.

Bans on travelling more than 5km or dining outdoors at restaurants across Melbourne will be reviewed in the coming days, however plans of lifting the full stage four restrictions next weekend have been scrapped, the Herald Sun reports.

 

 

 

 

Originally published as UK at 'tipping point' as India passes grim milestone


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