‘There was a lot of loss and fear’: how Oldham fought back against Covid

11 hours 41 minutes ago

Voluntary sector that stepped up during the pandemic now struggling due to lack of funding

“We have literally fed all sections of the community,” Fr Tom Davis, the chair of the trustees of Oldham Foodbank, says of the charity’s work in the town in Greater Manchester during the pandemic. “People struggling with kids being at home during lockdown and needing more meals, people on furlough who got into huge debt, homeless people who were put into hostels, and a couple who were living in a car.”

Oldham, which has five neighbourhoods that are among the 1% most deprived in England, is one of the places worst hit by Covid-19. Last summer, the town had the highest coronavirus infection rate in the country, and, after another sharp rise this summer, it has the fifth highest total number of confirmed cases.

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David Batty

US horse owners face ivermectin shortage as humans chase unproven Covid ‘cure’

11 hours 55 minutes ago

Anti-parasitic drug has been baselessly touted as a coronavirus treatment, leading some livestock suppliers to run out

Some US horse owners are finding ivermectin hard to come by, due to the anti-parasitic’s popularity as an unproven and potentially dangerous treatment for Covid-19 in humans.

Related: Alabama population on course to shrink for first time ever as Covid takes toll

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Oliver Milman

Alabama population on course to shrink for first time ever as Covid takes toll

13 hours 28 minutes ago

State’s chief medical officer says ‘Our state literally shrunk in 2020’ as deaths exceeded births

Alabama is shrinking under the onslaught of Covid-19, its chief medical officer said, as deaths in the state outnumber births for the very first time.

Related: Mississippi governor claims vaccine mandate is ‘attack on hardworking Americans’

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Martin Pengelly in New York

US children aged 5 to 11 on track to receive Pfizer vaccine by Halloween

14 hours 2 minutes ago

Company chairman announces first results from ‘pivotal trial’ showing effectiveness against Covid at reduced dose

In news sure to be greeted by parents across the US, Pfizer and BioNTech said on Monday children aged five to 11 are on track to receive the two companies’ Covid-19 vaccination by Halloween.

Related: Covid vaccinations among US Latinos are rising thanks to community outreach

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Martin Pengelly in New York

Shares in China’s Evergrande plunge again as fears of contagion grow

15 hours 59 minutes ago

Hong Kong stock fell up to 19% amid default fears that are beginning to have a knock-on effect on other markets

Shares in the embattled Chinese property company Evergrande have plunged again as investors weigh up whether the group’s massive debt problems could trigger a broader sell off across all financial markets.

Related: ‘China’s Lehman Brothers moment’: Evergrande crisis rattles economy

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Martin Farrer

NSW records 935 cases and four deaths; protests over mandatory construction jabs in Melbourne – as it happened

16 hours 26 minutes ago

Labor will refer Christian Porter to privileges committee; Victoria records 567 cases and one death. This blog is now closed

10.41am BST

Righto then, once more with feeling. We are actually closing this news odyssey now. My usual thanks and best wishes. Be well, all of you.

10.37am BST

OK – the shutdown to Victorian construction has not yet been confirmed. But this is what we can tell you now:

The Victorian government is holding crisis talks with the construction industry and unions after a protest against mandatory vaccines for workers in the sector became violent.

Related: Victoria holds construction crisis talks after protest against mandatory Covid vaccination turns violent

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Ben Doherty and Matilda Boseley

Daniel Andrews warns Victorians not to wait for Pfizer after uncertainty around arrival of 9m doses

16 hours 30 minutes ago

Premier says head of national vaccine taskforce has told states there is a ‘problem’ with supplies due next month

The Victorian government has warned people not to wait for the Pfizer vaccine, with the commonwealth advising state and territory leaders it is still unsure when more than 9m doses due in October will arrive.

On Monday, the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, said the head of the national vaccine taskforce, Lt Gen John Frewen, had advised states of a “problem” with Pfizer supplies in October, urging people to book in for AstraZeneca rather than wait.

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Sarah Martin Chief political correspondent

Victoria set to shut down construction for two weeks after anti-vaccine mandate protest

16 hours 39 minutes ago

State government held crisis talks Monday night after Victoria police used pepper spray and rubber bullets to move crowd outside CFMEU office

The Victorian government is set to announce a two-week shutdown of the construction industry after a protest against mandatory vaccines for workers in the sector became violent.

The closure across metropolitan Melbourne, Geelong, the Surf Coast, Ballarat and Mitchell Shire was decided on Monday night after the CFMEU building was damaged and riot police deployed in chaotic scenes in the CBD.

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Zena Chamas and Australian Associated Press

Trump may be gone, but Covid has not seen off populism

17 hours 13 minutes ago

It is liberal fantasy to imagine that poor handling of the pandemic has lessened the allure of Modi and Bolsonaro. They are learning fast how to subvert voting

When the pandemic struck, newspaper opinion pages were full of pieces predicting the end of authoritarian populism. Surely Donald Trump, Narendra Modi and Jair Bolsonaro couldn’t survive their mishandling of Covid-19? Finally, people were waking up to the reality of what these leaders represented.

Trump may not have lasted, but the expectation that the pandemic might see off populism is mistaken. Liberal observers have long assumed that populists are by definition incompetent demagogues. But populism is not all about promising simplistic solutions in a complex world and, contrary to a complacent liberal narrative, populist leaders are not incapable of correcting failed policies. The threat of authoritarian populism is compounded by the fact that these leaders are learning from each other – though what they are copying are not more effective strategies to combat the pandemic, but techniques for disabling democracy.

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Jan-Werner Müller

Crash and burn: the intense and fleeting romances of the Covid era

17 hours 13 minutes ago

The unspoken rules of dating went out the window as people found themselves deeply alone – perhaps it’s no surprise these couples didn’t make it

On 4 July 2020, 34-year-old Samantha Higdon, a tech worker in Austin, Texas, was swiping through the dating app Hinge when she came across a profile that made her thumb pause and hover over the screen.

His smile struck her as warm and somehow familiar: “He just felt right,” she says. And so it began.

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Diana Spechler

Lincoln Project says ad attacking Greg Abbott pulled from Texas football game

18 hours 13 minutes ago

Anti-Trump Republican group targets governor with ad showing border wall made of coffins of Covid victims

A group of disgruntled Republicans has questioned if the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, used political influence to pull a TV ad criticising his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: Beto O’Rourke set to run against Greg Abbott for Texas governor – report

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Richard Luscombe

Victoria Covid update: Moderna vaccine headed for pharmacies as construction protest turns violent

19 hours 28 minutes ago

Daniel Andrews says rally outside CFMEU headquarters in Melbourne ‘not safe’ and ‘not smart’ as state pushes for reopening

Victorians will have access to 300,000 doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine this month at hundreds of pharmacies across the state, premier Daniel Andrews says.

Andrews announced Moderna will be available at 440 pharmacies across the state this week, and a further 281 next week.

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Josh Taylor

New Zealand Covid update: Auckland to move out of level 4 lockdown as 22 cases reported

20 hours 45 minutes ago

Restrictions will be eased from midnight on Tuesday with more businesses allowed to provide click-and-collect services, PM says

After nearly five weeks in lockdown Auckland will move out of the highest setting, New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said, adding she was confident there was no undetected transmission of the Delta variant in the community.

New Zealand recorded 22 new cases of coronavirus in the community – including three cases outside Auckland – on Monday which some had feared could put the brakes on the easing of restrictions.

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Eva Corlett in Wellington

Fresh calls for windfall tax on companies that prospered during Covid

21 hours 12 minutes ago

Research highlights six firms that increased their profits by a total of £16bn

Campaigners have issued fresh calls for a windfall tax on companies that prospered during the pandemic, after research highlighted six firms that increased their profits by a total of £16bn.

The outsourcing firm Serco and online clothes retailer Asos were among the companies that saw their global profits more than double over the last financial year, while one investment trust, Scottish Mortgage, saw its returns grow to nine times the average of preceding years.

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Gwyn Topham