The Guardian: Corona Virus Outbreak

Downing Street parties: Met asks for references to its investigation to be removed from Gray report – live

1 hora 18 minutos ago

Latest news updates: Scotland Yard says it had contact with Cabinet Office to ‘avoid any prejudice to our investigation’ as report’s publication delayed

Scotland Yard has said it has asked for references to matters it is now investigating to be removed from Sue Gray’s report into parties held in breach of lockdown restrictions at Downing Street.

“For the events the Met is investigating, we asked for minimal reference to be made in the Cabinet Office report,” the Metropolitan police said in a statement on Friday morning.

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Nicola Slawson

Covid live: Russian daily cases approach 100,000 in new record; Philippines to reopen to vaccinated tourists

1 hora 28 minutos ago

Russia sets record daily caseload for eighth consecutive day; people from 150 countries able to enter Philippines again from 10 February

Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen in Wales from today as Covid restrictions are eased further and “alert level zero” came into effect from 6am this morning.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said in a statement overnight:

We have passed the peak of this omicron wave and there are encouraging signs that cases of coronavirus may be starting to stabilise. But we all need to continue taking steps to stay safe – unfortunately the pandemic is not over yet.

We are moving to alert level zero and we will retain some important protections, such as face coverings in most indoor public places and risk assessments.

For the events the Met is investigating, we asked for minimal reference to be made in the Cabinet Office report.

The Met did not ask for any limitations on other events in the report, or for the report to be delayed, but we have had ongoing contact with the Cabinet Office, including on the content of the report, to avoid any prejudice to our investigation.

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Martin Belam (now) and Samantha Lock (earlier)

Companies allegedly forged documents to bring unapproved RATs into Australia, TGA says

3 horas 33 minutos ago

Federal police are working with the TGA to investigate allegations of false documentation being used to attempt to import unregistered RATs

Australia’s medical regulator has sounded the alarm on companies allegedly trying to bring unapproved rapid antigen tests into Australia, with federal police investigating claims one firm forged the authorisation of health minister Greg Hunt on forms.

Many millions of rapid tests are due to arrive in Australia in coming weeks to fulfil large orders placed by state and federal governments. But local supply in Australia is patchy at best, with chemists saying supply is not keeping up with the huge demand for rapid tests among citizens, businesses and community groups.

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Josh Butler

At least 98 deaths on nation’s deadliest day – as it happened

3 horas 37 minutos ago

At least 98 Covid deaths recorded across NSW, Victoria, Queensland, SA and ACT; Scott Morrison comments on viral photos of Grace Tame meeting; Russia’s ambassador to Australian condemns ‘propaganda’ reporting; additional Covid deaths in Sydney aged care homes confirmed. This blog is now closed

Hazzard said NSW is supporting the Victorian government push to change the definition of fully vaccinated in Australia from two doses to three.

But he says there are some issues to be ironed out before that change can be made. He doesn’t know what issues, he says, because he is not a part of national cabinet.

I understand that most of these things require a range of medical expert input. In fact, they all require a range of medical expert input, and I think when you’ve got a committee of a large number of people, all giving their input, sometimes it takes a while to get there. Sometimes it is easier being a minister, I’ve got to say, than being on a committee.

So for everybody who is eligible, please go and get the booster as quickly as possible.

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Caitlin Cassidy (now) and Calla Wahlquist (earlier)

Even Johnson's own fraud minister couldn't bear the stink of this government | Simon Jenkins

4 horas 57 minutos ago

With £5bn lost to fraudulent Covid loan claims, Lord Agnew did a rare thing for a minister in 2022: he told the truth and quit

Theodore Agnew was the model of a modern Tory oligarch. A successful businessman, he made enough to dabble in the new politics. He did all the right things. He backed a chain of academy schools and joined a Conservative thinktank, Policy Exchange. He donated a dutiful £134,000 to the Tory party between 2007 and 2009. Part-owner of an AI consultancy called Faculty, Agnew set it to work for Johnson’s Vote Leave campaign. He received a knighthood, then a peerage, and was then offered a ministerial post in Boris Johnson’s government, at the time being advised by the former Vote Leave director, Dominic Cummings. Faculty won a fistful of government contracts worth almost £1m. All in all, Agnew could feature in an Armando Iannucci satire on Boris’s Britain.

Then this week, Agnew went bang. Even he had had enough. In February 2020, he was given the Yes Minister title of “efficiency and transformation”, and in a speech on Monday in the House of Lords he was supposed to congratulate himself on his work. He had been one of the custodians of the £47bn of public money that had been dished out to private companies and banks in bounce-back loans between 2020 and 2021. However, of this sum, Agnew reckoned £17bn had been lost and at least £5bn of those losses were to fraud, or 1p on income tax. He clearly choked on the task asked of him. And then something unprecedented took place. A Johnson minister proceeded to tell the truth and resign on the spot.

Simon Jenkins is a Guardian columnist

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Simon Jenkins

Australia records deadliest day of Covid pandemic as 35 cases of BA.2 Omicron variant detected

5 horas 25 minutos ago

Australian pathologists are closely monitoring the spread of BA.2 subvariant as 98 coronavirus deaths recorded

Australia has recorded its deadliest day ever of the Covid pandemic, with 98 deaths recorded, as the first cases of the BA.2 descendant of the Omicron variant were recorded in NSW.

There are now 35 cases of BA.2 in Australia overall including in Tasmania, ACT, Queensland, WA and Victoria.

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Melissa Davey and Australian Associated Press

Confident, optimistic, anxious: New Zealand readers tell us how they feel about Omicron

5 horas 37 minutos ago

Kiwis are experiencing a range of emotions over the expected surge in Covid cases, from resignation to relief, trepidation to fear

This week we asked Guardian New Zealand readers about the arrival of Omicron and how they are feeling and preparing. Hundreds of New Zealanders wrote in, about their hopes and anxieties, preparations and frustrations, confidence and worries.

The country has spent almost two years relatively sheltered from the pandemic’s worst effects, and many said they felt some trepidation at the prospect of widespread Covid, and the threat it could pose to the country’s small health system, as well as its immunocompromised or under-vaccinated communities. Some were concerned about divisions the pandemic had produced: between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, those inside the border and those locked out.

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Tess McClure in Auckland and Guardian readers

‘Catastrophic failure’: Covid out of control in the NT, say Aboriginal groups

6 horas 18 minutos ago

Territory government accused of failing to implement preprepared plans and urged to lock down central Australia

Covid is “out of control” in central Australia, representing a “catastrophic failure” by the Northern Territory government to carry out its own emergency plans, according to the three biggest Aboriginal organisations in the NT.

The groups have accused the NT government of failing to adequately carry out emergency plans that had been made “well in advance” of the current outbreak.

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Lorena Allam

NSW Covid update: 35 additional deaths in south-west Sydney aged care facilities this year – video

7 horas 38 minutos ago

New South Wales has reported 35 deaths in people with Covid-19 overnight, 2,737 people in hospital and 13,333 new cases. Kerry Chant said another 35 people, in addition to those previously reported, had died in aged care facilities in south-western Sydney between 2 and 20 January. There was a delay in reporting those deaths to the health department, she said

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Has China fallen into a Covid-zero trap?

7 horas 56 minutos ago

From the beginning, China’s response to coronavirus has been to quash outbreaks with ultra-strict lockdowns. But has the Omicron variant left its leaders trapped in the wrong strategy?

Ever since the first Covid-19 outbreak was detected in Wuhan, China has countered the virus with incredibly harsh social measures designed to restrict interpersonal contact and eliminate opportunities for the disease to spread. Closed borders, mass testing and entire neighbourhoods and cities quarantined in response to a single case – that’s what it has taken to maintain China’s strict “Covid zero” policy. And it’s been successful: officially, China’s lost fewer than 5,000 people to coronavirus since the start of the pandemic – that’s fewer than the number of people in the US killed by the virus in the past week.

As our China affairs correspondent, Vincent Ni, tells Michael Safi, for Chinese leaders, Covid zero isn’t just a policy – it’s a major achievement for their authoritarian system of government. But with the mutation of the Omicron variant now causing shutdowns in cities across the country, Covid zero is presenting officials with a new dilemma: what’s the exit strategy?

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Presented by Michael Safi with Vincent Ni; produced by Alex Atack and Rudi Zygadlo; executive producers Phil Maynard and Mythili Rao

Aged care executive condemns Scott Morrison’s strategy of ‘pushing through’ Covid crisis

9 horas 1 minuto ago

Omicron has magnified systemic flaws with staff ‘exhausted’ and residents ‘endlessly’ isolated, Baptistcare chief executive says

The chief executive of a major aged care provider has slammed the prime minister for suggesting Australians “push through” the Omicron crisis, warning his “exhausted” staff are at breaking point and some residents have been isolated in their rooms for 21 days straight.

Baptistcare chief executive, Charles Moore, penned a damning open letter on Thursday saying his organisation “cannot stay silent” over Morrison’s comments.

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Christopher Knaus

Boosters increase protection against death from Omicron in over-50s to 95% – UKHSA; UK records 338 deaths – as it happened

10 horas 14 minutos ago

Protection against death increases to around 95% two weeks after receiving a booster dose, UK health agency says; UK reports another 96,871 Covid cases

A couple of snippets from Politico’s London Playbook email this morning suggest we might all be here again on Monday waiting for Sue Gray to publish her report into a lockdown party culture at Downing Street and in Whitehall. They write:

The latest information is that Boris Johnson has still not received the document from Gray. It is possible it will arrive this morning and then be published this afternoon — however it is now just as likely that the whole publication process slips to next week, after a remarkable internal row broke out over what exactly can be made public following the police decision to launch a formal probe.

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Samantha Lock (now); Tom Ambrose , Lucy Campbell and Martin Belam (earlier)

Scott Morrison defends embattled aged care minister against ‘knockers’ amid cricket scandal

10 horas 45 minutos ago

Prime minister insists Richard Colbeck works ‘every day for the welfare of people living in our residential aged care facilities’

Scott Morrison has backed the embattled aged care minister despite saying he can “understand the criticism” of Richard Colbeck, who attended the Ashes cricket match in Hobart on the same day he failed to front a parliamentary inquiry into the Covid crisis.

The finance minister, Simon Birmingham, also defended Colbeck on Friday, saying people could “walk and chew gum at the same time”. He noted the aged care minister – who is also the sport minister – had held Covid meetings earlier in the day before attending the Test match a fortnight ago.

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Josh Butler

Lifting England Covid rules while 3bn people unvaccinated reckless – experts

10 horas 55 minutos ago

Scientists warn Boris Johnson that failure means new Covid variants will put thousands of lives at risk across UK

Boris Johnson has been accused of taking a reckless approach to public health by lifting all plan B Covid restrictions in England while failing to take enough action to get jabs to 3 billion unvaccinated people in poorer countries.

The prime minister has robustly defended his record on the pandemic this week while awaiting the findings of the Sue Gray report on the “partygate” scandal, insisting he “got the big calls right” on the biggest global health crisis in a century.

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Andrew Gregory Health editor

The simple numbers every government should use to fight anti-vaccine misinformation

10 horas 56 minutos ago

Here is a relatively simple way of giving people important context about the number of deaths and ICU hospitalisations with Covid between vaccinated and unvaccinated people

Ever since governments in Australia started sharing the vaccination status of those people unfortunate enough to have died due to Covid, or to require treatment in an intensive care unit, this information has been taken out of context.

The numbers often show that of the people who died, or are in the ICU, a significant number had been vaccinated.

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Nick Evershed

US federal health agency failing on crises, says watchdog

11 horas 47 minutos ago

Government Accountability Office says ‘persistent deficiencies’ at HHS have hindered response to public health emergencies

The US government’s main health agency is failing to meet its responsibilities for leading the national response to public health emergencies – including the coronavirus pandemic – extreme weather disasters and even potential bioterrorist attacks, a federal watchdog said Thursday.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said it is designating the Health and Human Services Department’s leadership and coordination of public health emergencies as a “high risk” area for the government.

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Associated Press

Wales set to lift most Covid restrictions after passing Omicron peak

12 horas 56 minutos ago

The first minister, Mark Drakeford, said the country would be moving to alert level zero on Friday

Many more Covid restrictions are being lifted on Friday in Wales, allowing nightclubs to reopen and some rules on social distancing to be scrapped.

But people will still be obliged to wear masks in most indoor places and on public transport while Covid passes will be needed for larger indoor events and gatherings.

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Steven Morris

‘Time for the truth’: MPs call on Boris Johnson to publish ‘partygate’ report

15 horas 26 minutos ago

Cabinet Office officials wrangle over final version of Sue Gray’s findings on alleged Covid rule-breaking parties

Boris Johnson has been told it is “time for the truth to be released” as he faced more calls to publish a long-awaited report into “partygate” in full and not “suppress crucial details”.

Officials in the Cabinet Office are still wrangling over the final version of Sue Gray’s findings on a string of alleged Covid rule-breaking parties in Downing Street and other parts of government.

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Aubrey Allegretti and Vikram Dodd

Domestic abuse rises sharply as cause of homelessness in England

15 horas 36 minutos ago

Statistics also show an increase in households with children made homeless since start of pandemic

The number of households being made homeless because they were fleeing domestic abuse has risen by more than a third in England since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest official figures.

Between July and September of 2021, 6,310 households were accepted as homeless by local councils because of domestic abuse, an increase of 13.7% from the 5,550 recorded in the same quarter last year, and up 34.3% from the 4,700 in the third quarter of 2019.

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Damien Gayle


The Guardian: Corona Virus Outbreak Suscribirse a Fuente de noticias The Guardian: Corona Virus Outbreak
Latest Coronavirus news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
57 minutos 33 segundos ago