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Covid vaccinations among US Latinos are rising thanks to community outreach

1 day 18 hours ago

Grassroots groups are mobilizing churches, soccer coaches and cartoon abuelas to reassure underserved Spanish-speaking communities and remove barriers to get them their shots

Liliana Borrero balanced her sleeping baby on one leg as she sat and waited out the 15 minutes a nurse asked her to stick around in case she had any reactions to her first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

Borrero, 38, was accompanied by all nine of her children, three of whom also received the shot.

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Timothy Pratt in Flowery Branch, Georgia

Take care with claims about unvaccinated case rates | David Spiegelhalter and Anthony Masters

1 day 18 hours ago
Different estimates of the population can produce wildly different rates

ITV’s political editor, Robert Peston, wrote a Twitter thread with the headline: “Infections higher among double vaxxed for those [aged] 40 to 79 than for non-vaxxed.” ITV changed that headline, but Peston was surprised that these figures “occasioned so little debate”. So let’s debate them.

A Public Health England report on 9 September showed that over the previous four weeks there had been, for example, more than 97,000 cases among people aged between 40 and 49. The huge majority (more than 82,000) had been vaccinated. This is expected when vaccine coverage is high and protection not perfect: most car occupants who die in road incidents are wearing seatbelts.

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David Spiegelhalter and Anthony Masters

Victoria Covid restrictions: Melbourne lockdown, curfew and regional Vic coronavirus rules explained

1 day 18 hours ago

Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews has announced eased restrictions across most of Victoria as the state reaches its 70% first-dose vaccination target. Here’s what you need to know about schools, travel, childcare and work

The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, has previously announced eased restrictions across most of Victoria.

There are now six reasons to leave the home in metropolitan Melbourne, the city of Ballarat, greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire, and time permitted outside has doubled from two hours to four.

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Guardian staff

A friend leans in for a hug. Do I dive for cover, muttering ‘Covid’, or hug back? | Hephzibah Anderson

1 day 18 hours ago
As we engage again in social situations, the new etiquette rules are bewildering

The other day, flogging tickets to the school summer fair – now the autumn fair due to last term’s endless self-isolation – another parent leaned across the trestle table and squeezed my arm.

The sheer unexpectedness of it threw me. It felt as surprising as a slap. When did I last make physical contact with someone outside my immediate family? This woman wasn’t someone I knew well, despite having kids in the same class. It was, nonetheless, a gesture of unmistakable warmth, but 18 months of fear-driven pandemic precautions can be hard to shake off.

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Hephzibah Anderson

Five-star to no-star: holidaymakers face nightmare in quarantine hotel

1 day 19 hours ago

When one member of a family tested positive for Covid on a sunshine break to Greece, they had to move out of their luxury hotel to a cockroach-infested room

Yulia Brill’s £4,500 package holiday on the Greek island of Rhodes turned into a nightmare on just the third day when her eight-year-old son felt unwell. He tested positive for Covid-19 and the family of four was moved from their five-star hotel to a room in a government quarantine hotel for 14 days.

“The hotel was on the flightpath to the island with planes flying metres overhead every eight minutes,” she said. “The room was filthy with dirt on all surfaces, lines of ants marching all over the floor among the hair of previous guests, and there were cockroaches in the bathroom. The drains were blocked and stank. There was no bottled water, cutlery or crockery.

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Anna Tims

Slow but steady has seen the EU win out in the vaccine race

1 day 19 hours ago

Ursula von der Leyen says the union’s vaccination programme is now a success after its stumbling start

We did it,” said Ursula von der Leyen in her annual state of the union address last week. With more than 70% of its adult population now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, Europe is, “against all critics, among the world leaders”.

Moreover, the Commission president said, the EU had exported half its vaccines: “We delivered more than 700 million doses to the European people, and we delivered more than 700 million doses to the rest of the world. We are the only region to achieve that.”

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Jon Henley

To mask or not to mask? Opinion split on London underground

1 day 19 hours ago

Commuters explain their reasons for not covering up

The “do as I say, not as I do” approach to political messaging was again displayed last week when Boris Johnson urged people to wear masks in enclosed spaces, shortly after leading a cabinet meeting of 27 maskless ministers and eight similarly uncovered observers.

Studies suggest masks cut Covid-19 transmission by up to 80%.Although there is disagreement about how much protection different types of mask offer the wearer, the science indicates that pretty much any covering protects the community from the wearer. It is this uneven interdependence that means masks are extremely effective at revealing hypocrisy.

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Andrew Anthony

Noisy neighbours spark 67% rise in police complaints

1 day 20 hours ago

Cash-strapped councils ‘struggling to deal’ with spike in anti-social behaviour reports

Police forces across England faced a sharp increase in complaints about noisy neighbours during last year’s lockdown, with claims that years of cuts have left councils struggling to deal with antisocial behaviour.

More than half of all police forces across England saw a surge in noise nuisance complaints as the nation was stuck at home, with one force seeing the number of complaints increase fourfold over just two years.

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Michael Savage and James Tapper

NSW Covid update: restrictions to ease in western Sydney and pools to reopen as 13 deaths reported

1 day 20 hours ago

NSW records 1,038 Covid cases on Sunday as premier Gladys Berejiklian announces ‘equalisation’ of rules across Sydney

The New South Wales government will relax Covid restrictions in the western Sydney local government areas subjected to harsher lockdown rules to bring them into line with the rest of the city.

The NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said the “equalisation” of rules across the whole of greater Sydney from Monday would involve an easing of restrictions in the 12 hotspot LGAs of concern.

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Michael McGowan

Give £200 to every child for catch-up lessons – Lib Dems

1 day 20 hours ago

Ed Davey reveals £5bn ‘listen to parents’ scheme to spend on extra tuition

Parents should be handed a £200 voucher for each child to spend on extra tutoring, music lessons or sports clubs as part of a £5bn programme to help pupils catch up after the pandemic, the Liberal Democrats announce today.

In an interview with the Observer, the party leader, Ed Davey, said he wanted to encourage the increased demand from parents to be part of their children’s education as a result of the crisis. Awarding an annual £200 for each child for three years would amount to one of the most radical parent empowerment programmes ever undertaken.

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Michael Savage Policy Editor

The Observer view on the government’s flawed winter plan for Covid | Observer editorial

1 day 22 hours ago

Measures taken now, such as mask wearing and better ventilation in schools, would help the NHS avoid further costly delays to non-Covid treatment

A small room, with the windows shut, packed tightly with more than 30 people, none wearing masks. This is the image the government released last week of Boris Johnson’s reshuffled cabinet at their first meeting. The people around the table may have changed but the fundamentals remain: this is still a government determined to cut support for low-paid parents during a pandemic and to target asylum seekers in its willingness to stoke the culture war. And it is still a government acting with gross hypocrisy with its measures to control the pandemic. Ministers say they “expect” us to wear masks in crowded and enclosed spaces but that expectation appears not to extend to the senior politicians running the country.

With the prime minister and his cabinet publicly flouting their own guidance, it is perhaps little wonder mask wearing has dropped significantly since mid-July, when the government made face coverings in England a recommendation rather than compulsory on public transport and in shops. Surveys suggest only six in 10 people had worn a mask when in public places in the past two weeks, down from seven in 10 a few weeks earlier.

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Observer editorial

Victoria Covid roadmap: premier declares ‘we are opening up’ with lockdown to end in late October

1 day 23 hours ago

Melbourne curfew will be scrapped once vaccinations reach 70% double dose with more substantial freedoms to follow at 80% milestone

Melbourne’s lockdown will be lifted – with reasons to leave home and the curfew ditched, people allowed to travel 25km and a return to outdoor dining and drinking – once 70% of Victorian adults are fully vaccinated against Covid, expected about 26 October.

Further substantial changes to the state’s restrictions, however, won’t be made until 80% of over-16s are immunised, forecast to occur about 5 November.

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Caitlin Cassidy with AAP

Victoria police should have deployed riot squad to ‘horrific’ anti-lockdown protest, union says

1 day 23 hours ago

Uniformed police were left without back-up at violent rally that left several officers in hospital

The police union will ask Victoria police why the riot squad was not deployed to a violent anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne that left several officers in hospital.

Between 500 and 700 demonstrators gathered in Richmond about midday on Saturday after the location of the protest was changed from Melbourne’s city centre at the last minute in an attempt to evade authorities.

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Australia Associated Press

New Zealand coronavirus update: 24 new cases reported ahead of Auckland lockdown decision

1 day 23 hours ago

A total of 44 new cases recorded over the weekend, with more expected because of spread among large households

New Zealand recorded 24 new local cases of coronavirus on Sunday, all in Auckland, a day before a decision is due on whether to ease the city’s level 4 lockdown.

Health officials warned that case numbers would increase in coming days because some recent cases had come from large households. The director of public health, Caroline McElnay, said they were still “cautiously optimistic” that the bulk of the outbreak was under control.

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Staff and agencies

Coronavirus news as it happened: UK records a further 164 deaths and 30,144 new cases; anti-vaxxers protest in London

2 days 3 hours ago

Figure brings the total UK death toll to 135,147; Russia reports 20,329 new cases in 24 hours; anti-lockdown protesters clash with police in Melbourne

12.01am BST

Australia’s second most populous state, Victoria, reported 507 new locally acquired coronavirus cases and one related death on Sunday, as the state remains in a months-long lockdown imposed to rein in the highly infectious Delta variant.

There are now 5,262 active cases of the virus in Victoria, home to nearly 7 million people, Reuters reports.

11.55pm BST

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Nadeem Badshah (now),Jane Clinton and Jedidajah Otte (earlier)

Covid and Afghanistan ‘reveal weakness of UK’s security policy’

2 days 3 hours ago

Cross-party MPs and peers say the response to the two crises has exposed system as inadequate

The rapid fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban and the response to the Covid-19 pandemic have revealed “serious weaknesses” in the government’s approach to dealing with national security, according to a highly critical cross-party report.

MPs and peers found that the two critical events had highlighted the shortcomings of the national security council – a cabinet committee of senior ministers and officials designed to handle major security challenges. The Lords’ and Commons’ joint committee on the national security strategy (JCNSS) said the system had been exposed as inadequate. It warned that national risk management across government is “loose, unstructured, and lacking in central oversight and accountability”.

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Michael Savage