My prediction of 100,000 cases per day was wrong, admits Professor Neil Ferguson

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Professor Neil Ferguson - Thomas Angus/Imperial College London
Professor Neil Ferguson - Thomas Angus/Imperial College London

04:36 PM

What happened today?

Good evening, that's all for today's Covid updates. Here's a summary of what happened:

  • Professor Neil Ferguson has admitted that his prediction that Britain would face 100,000 Covid cases per day once lockdown restrictions eased on July 19 was wrong. He also said that lockdowns are "unlikely" to be needed to control the pandemic in the UK in future.

  • In an effort to boost take-up of Covid vaccines among young people, Sussex University is offering 10 £5,000 cash prizes to students who can prove they have been fully vaccinated.

  • England's vaccine rollout continues to stall, with European countries including France now having jabbed a higher proportion of young adults, data show.

  • Boris Johnson will not be self-isolating despite a member of his team on the recent visit to Scotland testing positive for Covid, Downing Street has said.

  • Children’s Covid jabs are being scheduled at schools even though approval is yet to be given, it has emerged.

  • New analysis by Public Health England found little difference in how much virus was present in people who had been jabbed, leading to fears that the vaccines will not suppress spread as much as hoped.

  • Protesters marched in cities across France on Saturday in a fourth consecutive weekend of demonstrations, denouncing what they see as oppressive rules compelling health workers to get Covid-19 shots and citizens to have a health pass for many daily activities.

  • More than a thousand Thai anti-government protesters clashed with police, as they demonstrated against the government's failure to handle coronavirus outbreaks and its impact on the economy.

Anti-government protesters rally in Bangkok, Thailand - NARONG SANGNAK/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Anti-government protesters rally in Bangkok, Thailand - NARONG SANGNAK/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

03:56 PM

'We don't want your health pass', say protesters in France

Protesters marched in cities across France on Saturday in a fourth consecutive weekend of demonstrations, denouncing what they see as oppressive rules compelling health workers to get Covid-19 shots and citizens to have a health pass for many daily activities.

In Lyon, police fired teargas to disperse protesters hurling projectiles at their lines, TV images showed.

Protesters also rallied through the streets of Paris, Nice, Montpellier and other towns waving placards reading "No to dictatorship" and chanting "Macron, we don't want your health pass".

The protests have united a disparate group against President Emmanuel Macron's legislation, which is meant to help contain a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections spreading across France and help safeguard the country's economic recovery.

03:19 PM

Daily UK coronavirus figures for Saturday, August 7

02:53 PM

Thai anti-government protesters clash with police in Bangkok

More than a thousand Thai anti-government protesters clashed with police on Saturday, as they demonstrated against the government's failure to handle coronavirus outbreaks and its impact on the economy.

About a hundred police officers in riot gear sealed off a road near Victory Monument in the capital Bangkok with containers and used water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets to stop a march toward Government House, the office of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

"Tear gas and rubber bullets were used for crowd control. Our goal is to maintain order," Krisana Pattanacharoen, a police spokesman, told reporters.

The demonstrators threw ping pong bombs, stones and marbles, he added.

Dozens of protesters were seen being carried away on motorcycles and in ambulances. The Erawan Emergency Medical Centre said at least two civilians and three officers had been injured.

Riot police stand guard on a street strewn with debris after confronting anti-government protesters on Saturday -  Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images
Riot police stand guard on a street strewn with debris after confronting anti-government protesters on Saturday - Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

02:17 PM

Top scientists remain puzzled over how and why Covid spreads

In 15th-century Italy, a puzzling epidemic swept through the population, its origins and spread so baffling it was named “influenza” from the Italian “influence of the stars”.

Today, nearly 600 years later, the world is facing an equally perplexing respiratory virus, with unclear origins and confounding transmission dynamics.

Even now, after nearly two years of scientific endeavour, which has given us multiple vaccines and drugs to fight coronavirus, we’re still not completely sure about how it spreads or how to stop it. It is why the mask debate rages on.

One of the biggest arguments between scientists is whether the virus is truly airborne, by which we mean that it is floating around in sufficient quantities to have a noticeable impact on infections.

Read more from our Science Editor, Sarah Knapton

01:50 PM

Pictured: Protests in France against Covid health pass

Protesters took to the streets across France on Saturday for the fourth weekend in a row to rally against a new coronavirus health pass needed to enter a cafe or travel on an inter-city train, two days before the new rules come into force.

People march during a demonstration against the mandatory Covid-19 health pass - STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP
People march during a demonstration against the mandatory Covid-19 health pass - STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP
Protesters march during a demonstration that is part of a national day of protests against the Covid health pass - FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP
Protesters march during a demonstration that is part of a national day of protests against the Covid health pass - FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP
Demonstrators hold up banners and placards, during a national day of protest against the compulsory Covid-19 vaccination for certain workers  - PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP
Demonstrators hold up banners and placards, during a national day of protest against the compulsory Covid-19 vaccination for certain workers - PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP

01:22 PM

Schools scheduling children's Covid vaccinations before approval is given

Children’s Covid jabs are being scheduled at schools even though approval is yet to be given, it has emerged.

Parents have said they were “shocked” to receive letters from their children’s schools informing them of a Covid vaccine schedule for the autumn term for children aged 12 to 15.

Earlier this week, the Covid vaccine was approved for healthy 16- to 17-year-olds and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has not ruled out extending jabs to younger children.

Scientific advisers are continuing to review the evidence for immunising those aged 12 to 15.

But some secondary schools are already making preparations for the vaccine to be rolled out to younger children later this year.

Read the full story here

People queue outside a vaccination centre for young people and students at the Hunter Street Health Centre - HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS
People queue outside a vaccination centre for young people and students at the Hunter Street Health Centre - HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS

12:46 PM

Analysis: Fully vaccinated and unvaccinated 'can both transmit Covid'

People who are fully vaccinated have a similar viral load to the unvaccinated, suggesting both can transmit Covid.

New analysis by Public Health England found little difference in how much virus was present in people who had been jabbed, leading to fears that the vaccines will not suppress spread as much as hoped.

Scientists believed the jabs would prevent transmission as well as protecting people against the disease by lowering viral replication.

Minutes of a Sage meeting from July 22, published on Friday, also show growing concern among government scientists that the delta variant causes a higher viral load than the alpha strain, even after vaccination.

Read the full analysis here

12:17 PM

New protests as France to implement Emmanuel Macron's Covid health pass

Protesters took to the streets across France on Saturday for the fourth weekend in a row to rally against a new health pass needed to enter a cafe or travel on an inter-city train, two days before the new rules come into force.

The new rules championed by President Emmanuel Macron make it obligatory to have either a full course of vaccination against Covid-19, be in possession of a negative test or be recently recovered from the virus to enjoy usually routine activities.

Mr Macron, who faces re-election next year, hopes the new rules will encourage all French to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and defeat the virus and its fast-spreading delta variant.

But opponents, who have turned out en masse in the streets in the past weeks, argue that the rules encroach on civil liberties in a country where individual freedom is prized.

A protester holds a sign reading 'Our freedom is dying' in front of riot forces during a demonstration against the mandatory Covid health pass to access most of the public space  - STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP
A protester holds a sign reading 'Our freedom is dying' in front of riot forces during a demonstration against the mandatory Covid health pass to access most of the public space - STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP

11:45 AM

Australia suffers worst Covid day this year with millions in lockdown

Australia saw a record daily number of new coronavirus cases this year on Saturday, with the country's most populous states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland recording a total of 361 cases of the highly infectious delta variant.

With about 15 million people in the three states, or 60pc of Australia's population, under a strict lockdown, the country also reported five coronavirus-related deaths, one of the highest this year.

NSW suffered its worst pandemic day, reporting 319 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases, with Sydney and neighbouring regional centres spanning 200 km (120 miles) of coastline under a stay-at-home order for six weeks already.

11:15 AM

Herd immunity slips further away as vaccine uptake among England’s young falls behind France

England's vaccine rollout continues to stall, with European countries including France now having jabbed a higher proportion of young adults, data show.

Figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reveal that England has given a first dose to 61 per cent of under-25s, compared to 68 per cent in France and 66 per cent in Ireland.

Current trends suggest Italy, Finland and Sweden will also soon move ahead of England.

Data from Public Health England (PHE) show that just 69 per cent of adults under 30 have received a Covid jab, despite all adults having been eligible since mid-June.

Read the full story here

10:47 AM

University offers £5,000 cash prizes to double-jabbed students

In an effort to boost take-up of Covid vaccines among young people, a university is offering cash prizes to students who can prove they have been fully vaccinated.

All students at Sussex University are being entered into a draw, with 10 winners receiving £5,000 if they can prove they are double-jabbed or exempt.

The university’s vice chancellor, Professor Adam Tickell, denied that the move amounted to "bribing" the students to get vaccinated.

The prize draw will take place at the end of November to give students time to get their vaccines.

Professor Tickell told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the university will automatically enter every student in the draw, unless they want to opt out, and then will "randomly" choose 10 names.

He added: "We're not bribing them. What we're doing is we're just giving an incentive.

"Whilst these are significant prizes for our students, the cost to the university is small compared with the human, social and financial cost if students were to experience the kind of disruption we faced last year."

Brighton and Sussex Medical School student Dibon Somarib being vaccinated by Practice Nurse Janet Devlin at Sussex University - STUART ROBINSON
Brighton and Sussex Medical School student Dibon Somarib being vaccinated by Practice Nurse Janet Devlin at Sussex University - STUART ROBINSON

10:10 AM

Boris Johnson will not self-isolate after aide tests positive for Covid

Boris Johnson will not be self-isolating despite a member of his team on the recent visit to Scotland testing positive for Covid, Downing Street has said.

However, Mr Johnson could yet be told to stay at home, with Scottish contact tracers expected to be mapping out the interactions of the person involved.

The Telegraph understands the person who caught the virus was a junior civil servant working with the advance party for the Prime Minister.

The individual is understood to have been with him on a plane journey between Glasgow and Aberdeenshire on Wednesday. On Friday, a Downing Street source argued that the pair had sat at opposite ends of the plane and that the usual contact tracing rules applied on aircraft.

Read the full story here

Boris Johnson at the Sovereign's Parade at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Camberley on Friday - Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Boris Johnson at the Sovereign's Parade at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Camberley on Friday - Steve Parsons/PA Wire

09:50 AM

Coronavirus around the world, in pictures

Tourists wearing face masks walk in Rua Augusta in Lisbon, Portugal -  Horacio Villalobos/Getty Images
Tourists wearing face masks walk in Rua Augusta in Lisbon, Portugal - Horacio Villalobos/Getty Images
A nurse holds a sign as she attends a protest against the coronavirus disease vaccine mandates being implemented by various hospitals, universities and business across the state of Michigan as the delta variant surges - SETH HERALD/REUTERS
A nurse holds a sign as she attends a protest against the coronavirus disease vaccine mandates being implemented by various hospitals, universities and business across the state of Michigan as the delta variant surges - SETH HERALD/REUTERS
A visitor's Covid-19 Green Pass is checked at the entrance to a Pizzeria in Turin, Italy - JESSICA PASQUALON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
A visitor's Covid-19 Green Pass is checked at the entrance to a Pizzeria in Turin, Italy - JESSICA PASQUALON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

09:29 AM

Philippines records near four-month high in daily Covid-19 cases as delta variant takes hold

The Philippines' health ministry recorded on Saturday 11,021 new coronavirus cases, the highest single-day case increase in almost four months, and 162 additional deaths.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed infections in the Philippines have increased to almost 1.65 million, while deaths have reached 28,835.

"We are already feeling the effects of the delta variant in our country," health ministry undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told a public briefing on Saturday. "Based on our projections, these cases will continue to rise."

09:05 AM

India approves Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use

India has approved Johnson & Johnson's single-dose Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use on Saturday, health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in a tweet.

The shot will be brought to India through a supply agreement with homegrown vaccine maker Biological E Ltd, J&J said.

Indian health authorities have so far approved the use of vaccines developed by AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech, Russia's Gamaleya Institute and Moderna.

India has reported an average of 30,000 to 40,000 new coronavirus cases every day since July, and the federal government has warned that although cases have dipped from a high of 400,000 daily at the peak of the deadly second wave, the danger has not abated yet.

People line up to get inoculated against coronavirus at a vaccination camp in Mumbai, India - Rajanish Kakade/AP
People line up to get inoculated against coronavirus at a vaccination camp in Mumbai, India - Rajanish Kakade/AP

08:44 AM

Prof Ferguson expresses sympathy for Matt Hancock over his resignation as Health Secretary

Prof Ferguson expressed sympathy for Matt Hancock over the affair that ended his tenure as Health Secretary, rather than calling him a hypocrite for his criticism when Prof Ferguson's own private life was subjected to scrutiny after a visit from his girlfriend that broke social distancing rules.

He stepped back from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) following that incident in May last year but remains on other Government advisory committees.

When Mr Hancock's own private life exploded into the media this year over the affair with an aide that led to him stepping down as Health Secretary, Prof Ferguson said he did not join in allegations of hypocrisy towards the politician.

"Actually no, I didn't. I felt very sorry for everybody involved. Being in the centre of that sort of media storm is horrific, even if there is reason for it," he told The Times.

Mr Hancock had said he was "speechless" when news of Prof Ferguson's girlfriend's visit broke - criticism the scientist found "unnecessary", since he had already stepped down from Sage.

Matt Hancock with his former aide, Gina Coladangelo - PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS
Matt Hancock with his former aide, Gina Coladangelo - PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS

08:19 AM

We will have to accept the continuing presence of Covid-19, Prof Ferguson says

Prominent Government scientific adviser Professor Neil Ferguson has said the UK, like elsewhere, would likely have to accept the continuing presence of Covid-19 as a potentially lethal threat, adding: "I suspect for several years, we will see additional mortality. There's a risk in the winter coming of thousands to tens of thousands more deaths."

In a wide-ranging interview with The Times, Prof Ferguson said there would still likely be higher numbers of deaths each year than before as the world learns to live with the new disease, much like deaths are caused by the flu each winter.

He warned Covid case numbers could rise again even though lockdowns are "unlikely" to be needed to control the pandemic in the UK in future.

He said it was "unlikely we will need a new lockdown or even social distancing measures of the type we've had so far", though that could change if the virus "changes substantially".

08:01 AM

Top scientific adviser says lockdowns are 'unlikely' to be needed again

A top scientific adviser to the Government has said lockdowns are "unlikely" to be needed again to control the Covid pandemic.

The claim comes as the number of people in hospital with the virus has fallen, and the average rate of infection has decreased.

The number of Covid infections is expected to rise again in September, when school and university terms begin and more workers are expected to return to the office.

But immunologist Professor Neil Ferguson, among the Government's most prominent scientific advisers on Covid, has predicted it is unlikely a lockdown will be needed again to control the virus.

07:39 AM

Today's front page

Here is your Daily Telegraph for Saturday, August 7.

daily tel
daily tel

05:50 AM

Fully vaccinated 'can transmit Covid'

People who are fully vaccinated have a similar viral load to the unvaccinated, suggesting both can transmit Covid.

New analysis by Public Health England (PHE) found little difference in how much virus was present in people who had been jabbed, leading to fears that the vaccines will not suppress spread as much as hoped.

Scientists believed the jabs would prevent transmission as well as protecting people against the disease by lowering viral replication.

Minutes of a Sage meeting from July 22, published on Friday, also show growing concern among government scientists that the delta variant causes a higher viral load than the alpha strain, even after vaccination.

Read the full story

05:25 AM

Parents divided as US schools set to reopen

Greater numbers of American children are being swept up in a wave of infections driven by the delta variant, causing renewed anxiety for parents and a bitter political fight as schools prepare to reopen within weeks.

Much of the surge is concentrated in the southeastern state of Florida, where some school districts are defying an order by the Republican governor forbidding mask mandates, in the latest political twist in the health crisis.

"Parents are put into an impossible situation of having to choose between the health and life of their child and returning (to) school," said a lawsuit against the governor's order filed by parents of children with disabilities on Friday.

The majority of children who catch the virus will have a mild or asymptomatic disease, and until recently they had not been a major focal point of the pandemic.

People protest against the school mask mandate, enacted to help slow the spread of COVID-19, outside a Hillsborough County School Board meeting in Tampa, Florida,  - Reuters
People protest against the school mask mandate, enacted to help slow the spread of COVID-19, outside a Hillsborough County School Board meeting in Tampa, Florida, - Reuters

04:58 AM

Insurance scheme won't work, say producers

Leading theatre producers have criticised the Government's events insurance scheme, claiming it will not work for the West End.

Theatres have been stifled by a lack of insurance covering Covid cancellations, making staging shows a high-risk enterprise and prompting producers to call for a state-backed scheme.

The Government has offered a £750 million insurance scheme for live events, but leading West End figures have warned the cover does not protect against the "pingdemic".

Theatre bosses said the insurance would only cover shows in the case of an authorised lockdown and not in the event of staff illness.

Read the full story

Theatre goers queue for a performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace Theatre on July 21, 2021 in London, England. Several UK theatre productions have either closed or been unable to premiere due to cast members having to isolate after being "pinged" by the NHS test and trace app. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has postponed the opening of Cinderella in the West End saying that the government's isolation policy is a "blunt instrument" after there was a covid case amongst the cast. - Getty Images
Theatre goers queue for a performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace Theatre on July 21, 2021 in London, England. Several UK theatre productions have either closed or been unable to premiere due to cast members having to isolate after being "pinged" by the NHS test and trace app. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has postponed the opening of Cinderella in the West End saying that the government's isolation policy is a "blunt instrument" after there was a covid case amongst the cast. - Getty Images

04:38 AM

US Governor orders care home workers to get jab

Connecticut has become the latest state to mandate that workers in nursing homes be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Governor Ned Lamont on Friday directed an executive order that requires all employees of long-term care facilities to receive at least the first dose of a vaccine by September 7.

In a statement, he said it would "absolutely irresponsible" for staffers not to be vaccinated, given the vulnerability of the people in their care.

According to the governor's release, more than half of all nursing homes in Connecticut have a staff vaccination rate lower than 75 percent. Connecticut joins at least five other states that have issued similar mandates.

03:51 AM

California splashes more cash on incentives

California has announced another round of vaccine incentives, including $50 grocery store gift cards.

The California Department of Health Care Services on Friday said it would spend $350 million (£250 million) to vaccinate more people on the state's Medicaid program.

Medicaid is the joint state and federal health insurance program for people who are disabled or have low incomes.

About 76 percent of California residents aged 12 and over have received at least one dose of the vaccine. But only 45 percent of the state's Medicaid population has been vaccinated.

In this Jan. 13, 2021, file photo, health care workers receive a COVID-19 vaccination at Ritchie Valens Recreation Center, in Pacoima, Calif. California will require all of its roughly 2.2 million health care and long term care workers to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Sept. 30. Gov. Gavin Newsom said last month he would require health care workers to either be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) - AP
In this Jan. 13, 2021, file photo, health care workers receive a COVID-19 vaccination at Ritchie Valens Recreation Center, in Pacoima, Calif. California will require all of its roughly 2.2 million health care and long term care workers to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Sept. 30. Gov. Gavin Newsom said last month he would require health care workers to either be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) - AP

03:10 AM

Mexico City on red alert as cases surge to new peak

Mexico City and at lease six of the country's 32 states are now on "red" alert as Covid-19 infections rose to their highest level ever.

As of Friday, Mexico had more than 144,000 active coronavirus cases nationwide, 4.6 percent more than the previous peak during the country's surge in January.

The country has seen 243,733 test-confirmed deaths, but Mexico does little testing and studies of death certificates indicate the real toll is closer to 370,000.

Almost a quarter of the country is now on the highest level of alert, which requires some non-essential businesses to close and forces others to serve fewer customers at a time.

A picture taken with a drone of new graves construction in a pantheon in the Acapulco resort, Guerrero state, Mexico, 06 August 2021. The Ministry of Health of Mexico reported this 06 August 21,563 new confirmed infections of covid-19, for a total of 2,944,226 cases, in addition to 568 new deaths, reaching 243,733 deaths, in the middle of the third wave of the pandemic. Mexico reports 21,563 new infections, third highest number in the pandemic, Acapulco - - Shutterstock
A picture taken with a drone of new graves construction in a pantheon in the Acapulco resort, Guerrero state, Mexico, 06 August 2021. The Ministry of Health of Mexico reported this 06 August 21,563 new confirmed infections of covid-19, for a total of 2,944,226 cases, in addition to 568 new deaths, reaching 243,733 deaths, in the middle of the third wave of the pandemic. Mexico reports 21,563 new infections, third highest number in the pandemic, Acapulco - - Shutterstock

02:44 AM

Mississippi doctors urge schools to mask up

The Mississippi State Medical Association on Friday urged all school districts to require masks for students and employees as Covid-19 cases continue to proliferate with the highly contagious delta variant.

"At MSMA, we love to follow the science. We digested it, and we believe in mask mandates for the schools," the association's president, Dr Mark Horne, said during an online briefing about the pandemic.

The state health officer, Dr Thomas Dobbs, said during the briefing that he applauds school administrators and school board members who stand firm for mask mandates, even as some face pushback from angry parents.

"It's tough to be a good leader, but it's good for the kids," he said. "It's going to save lives."

Vernon Jones, Republican gubernatorial candidate for Georgia, speaks during a Gwinnett County Public Schools 'Unmask Our Children' protest in Suwanee, Georgia, U.S., on Friday, July 30, 2021. In the face of the spreading of the highly contagious delta strain of the coronavirus, the CDC changed its guidance on July 27, advising that everyone should wear masks in schools.
Vernon Jones, Republican gubernatorial candidate for Georgia, speaks during a Gwinnett County Public Schools 'Unmask Our Children' protest in Suwanee, Georgia, U.S., on Friday, July 30, 2021. In the face of the spreading of the highly contagious delta strain of the coronavirus, the CDC changed its guidance on July 27, advising that everyone should wear masks in schools.

01:42 AM

Australian state breaks daily record — again

Australia's most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) reported 319 Covid-19 infections on Saturday, the highest number since the start of the pandemic, eclipsing the previous record of 291 cases set the day before.

Five more people have died in the current outbreak of the highly transmissible delta variant, which began in NSW in mid-June. The number of deaths in the latest outbreak has risen to 27, bringing the total number who have died in the state since the start of the pandemic to 84.

There are 345 people in hospital, with 56 in intensive care, of whom 23 require ventilation, state authorities said.

Members of the public are tested at a pop up COVID-19 clinic at Roselands shopping centre in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), Australia, 06 August 2021. Australian Defence Force (ADF) troops have joined NSW police patrolling streets in Sydney's west and southwest to ensure COVID-19 health orders are being observed in the hotspots where the virus is surging.  - Shutterstock
Members of the public are tested at a pop up COVID-19 clinic at Roselands shopping centre in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), Australia, 06 August 2021. Australian Defence Force (ADF) troops have joined NSW police patrolling streets in Sydney's west and southwest to ensure COVID-19 health orders are being observed in the hotspots where the virus is surging. - Shutterstock

12:41 AM

All Amazon warehouse workers told to wear masks

Starting Monday, Amazon will be requiring all of its 900,000 US warehouse workers to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.

The move follows steps by a slew of other retailers, including Walmart and Target, to mandate masks for their workers. In many of those cases the mandates apply to workers in locations of substantial Covid-19 transmission.

Amazon said Friday that its call for a nationwide mask mandate for its warehouse workers was in response to the spread of Covid-19 variants in the US, and guidance from public health authorities and its own medical experts. Amazon has been requiring only warehouse workers not vaccinated against Covid-19 to wear masks.

Amazon's Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said last week that rising coronavirus infections linked to the delta variant are pushing the company to get more workers vaccinated. It's also working with local authorities on safety measures.

Amazon workers move containers to delivery trucks at an Amazon warehouse facility in Goodyear, Ariz. Starting Monday, Aug. 9, 2021, Amazon will be requiring all of its 900,000 U.S. warehouse workers to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. The move follows steps by a slew of other retailers, including Walmart and Target, to mandate masks for their workers. In many of those cases the mandates apply to workers in locations of substantial COVID-19 transmission - AP
Amazon workers move containers to delivery trucks at an Amazon warehouse facility in Goodyear, Ariz. Starting Monday, Aug. 9, 2021, Amazon will be requiring all of its 900,000 U.S. warehouse workers to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. The move follows steps by a slew of other retailers, including Walmart and Target, to mandate masks for their workers. In many of those cases the mandates apply to workers in locations of substantial COVID-19 transmission - AP

12:02 AM

Victoria records highest daily jump in cases this year

Australia's Victoria reported 29 new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Saturday, the highest daily jump this year, as the state remains under a seven-day strict lockdown imposed earlier this week to try to curb the highly infectious delta variant.

Health authorities said that all of the new infections are linked to previously reported cases but were not in quarantine during their infectious periods.

Victoria, Australia's second most populous state and home to almost seven million people, on Thursday night entered into its sixth lockdown since the pandemic began, just weeks after exiting the last one.

A woman wearing a face mask crosses a street in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 06 August 2021. Victoria has entered a seven-day lockdown in an effort to contain a growing outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta variant in the state. COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne, Australia - Shutterstock
A woman wearing a face mask crosses a street in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 06 August 2021. Victoria has entered a seven-day lockdown in an effort to contain a growing outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta variant in the state. COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne, Australia - Shutterstock

11:33 PM

United Airlines gives employees deadline for vaccinations

United Airlines will require employees in the US to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by late October, perhaps sooner, joining a rising number of big corporations that are responding to a surge in virus cases.

United was the first major US airline to announce such a move. A smaller carrier, Frontier Airlines, said later Friday that it will require employees to be fully vaccinated by October 1, or face "regular" testing for the virus.

Other airlines have offered extra pay or time off to employees who get vaccinated, but have not required them to get the shots.

United officials called their decision a matter of safety and cited "incredibly compelling" evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccines.

A United Airlines passenger jet takes off with New York City as a backdrop, at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, U.S. December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo
A United Airlines passenger jet takes off with New York City as a backdrop, at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, U.S. December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

11:03 PM

Today's top stories

  • England's vaccine rollout continues to stall, with European countries including France now having jabbed a higher proportion of young adults, data show.

  • Boris Johnson will not be self-isolating despite a member of his team on the recent visit to Scotland testing positive for Covid, Downing Street has said.

  • Children’s Covid jabs are being scheduled at schools even though approval is yet to be given, it has emerged.

  • Travel test firms could be rated for reliability and value for money on the Government's official website under plans to crack down on rip-offs.

  • Remaining Covid-19 restrictions such as face coverings and home working could still be in place next year, “sleekit and secretive” Scottish government guidance has disclosed.

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