Australians returning from India face jail amid deadly Covid surge

0 0
Read Time:32 Minute, 21 Second

Australians returning home from India will be banned from entering the country from Monday and could face jail if they disobey.

Government officials have said that it will be a criminal offence for Australian residents and citizens who have been in India to return home, including those who have been in India within 14 days of the date they plan to return.

The temporary emergency ruling, issued late on Friday, is the first time Australia has made it a criminal offence for its citizens to return home.

The move is part of strict measures to stop travellers entering Australia from the world’s second most populous nation as it contends with a surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

On Saturday, India saw another record daily rise in cases, making it the first country in the world to surpass the 400,000 mark.

The new restrictions come into effect in Australia from May 3, and those who breach the ban risk civil penalties and up to five years imprisonment, Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement.

“The government does not make these decisions lightly,” Mr Hunt said. “However, it is critical the integrity of the Australian public health and quarantine systems is protected and the number of COVID-19 cases in quarantine facilities is reduced to a manageable level.”

The government will reconsider the restrictions on May 15.

04:31 PM
Summary of today’s news
Here is a roundup of today’s coronavirus news:

New modelling to be presented to ministers ahead of stage three of reopening on May 17 will show the risk of a “third wave” of Covid cases in the UK has diminished dramatically and may not happen at all, according to experts.

For the past month daily Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales have been lower than the typical number of people dying from the flu, data shows.

Australian residents and citizens who have been in India within 14 days of the date they plan to return home will be banned from entering Australia as of Monday and those who disobey will face fines and jail, government officials said.

Care home residents will be allowed to reunite with friends and family outdoors without having to self-isolate on their return as Boris Johnson signalled that further easing of restrictions would happen as Covid rates continue to decline.

Clubbers have been able to return to the dancefloor at a pilot event for 3,000 people.

Fewer than 10 countries are expected to be on the Government’s quarantine-free “green list” of destinations for summer holidays from May 17 – but more could be added by the beginning of June.

The ban on overseas holidays will end on May 17, the Government is set to announce next week, in the first step to reviving foreign travel.

Face masks in the classroom risk causing children “physical and psychological harm”, the High Court has been told.

04:22 PM
Covid modellers ‘optimistic’ third wave may not happen at all
New modelling to be presented to ministers ahead of stage three of reopening on May 17 will show the risk of a “third wave” of Covid cases in the UK has diminished dramatically and may not happen at all, according to experts.

The last set of projections, published by Sage on March 31, presented ministers with a difficult dilemma because they suggested a third wave of infections could be expected to kill another 15,000 to 20,000 people in the late summer if steps three and four of the exit roadmap were implemented as planned.

Ministers are expected to proceed with step three of the roadmap, with the return of indoor household mixing and indoor hospitality, as modelling teams which provided projections for ministers via the SPI-M subgroup of Sage are said to be more optimistic.

Read Paul Nuki’s full report here.

04:15 PM
Covid deaths lower than typical flu fatalities for past month
For the past month daily Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales have been lower than the typical number of people dying from the flu, data shows.

Since late March there have been fewer Covid-19 deaths each day than the five-year average of deaths from influenza and pneumonia, which normally stood at 86 during the months of March and April, according to preliminary figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Read the full report from Alex Clark here.

03:56 PM
Surge testing to be deployed in parts of East London after cases of variants found
Surge testing is to be deployed across parts of east London after several cases of the South African and Brazilian variants were detected, health leaders have said.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that NHS test and Trace was working with Tower Hamlets Council to provide additional testing and genomic sequencing in targeted areas within the E1 postcode from Sunday.

It follows the identification of “several” confirmed cases of the variant B.1.351, first seen in South Africa, and the P1 variant, first identified in Brazil.

The department said all the confirmed cases were self-isolating and there were no links between the new cases and the cluster of cases recently identified in the south London area.

Everyone aged 11 and over who lives, works or is educated in these postcodes is being encouraged to take a test when invited, whether they are showing symptoms or not, the DHSC said.

03:35 PM
Daily coronavirus figures for Saturday, May 1

03:14 PM
How has a hug become an act of Covid rebellion?
‘Exclusive: hugging expected to get go-ahead by June 21.” Of all the headlines the last 14 months have produced, this one, in Friday’s Telegraph, was jolt-inducing in its oddness: that basic greetings now require Government instruction – and clarifying, and qualifying.

On Wednesday, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, urged that we “hold the line a teeny bit longer” before pressing our dear near; vaccines minister Nadim Zahawi doubled down the following day, saying that while 38 million people are living in areas of England where no new infections have been recorded, social guidelines won’t be updated to reflect this because “we just need to be careful”.

That night, a Government source said “the expectation was that people would be able to resume full contact by June 21” – meaning a first hug will be officially permitted at the same time as mass gatherings.

Read more of Charlotte Lyton’s comment piece.

A son hugs his father at the Geriatric Clinic in Gravatai, Brazil – Lucas Uebel/Getty Images South America
A son hugs his father at the Geriatric Clinic in Gravatai, Brazil – Lucas Uebel/Getty Images South America
02:48 PM
Coronavirus around the world, in pictures
Braga, Portugal

Health workers prepare Rapid Antigen Tests for COVID-19 to be performed on people who will attend a trial music concert in Braga in northern Portugal – CARLOS COSTA/AFP
Health workers prepare Rapid Antigen Tests for COVID-19 to be performed on people who will attend a trial music concert in Braga in northern Portugal – CARLOS COSTA/AFP
More
Louisville, Kentucky, United States

Security checks people’s temperature at the entrance of Churchill Downs in the day of the 147th Oaks, the day before Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky – AMIRA KARAOUD/REUTERS
Security checks people’s temperature at the entrance of Churchill Downs in the day of the 147th Oaks, the day before Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky – AMIRA KARAOUD/REUTERS
More
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The NGO Rio de Paz held this Friday morning (30) a public act in memory of the 400,000 victims of Covid-19 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Lorando Labbe/Avalon
The NGO Rio de Paz held this Friday morning (30) a public act in memory of the 400,000 victims of Covid-19 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Lorando Labbe/Avalon
More
02:24 PM
Ukraine to buy extra 10m doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine
Ukraine has signed a contract with Pfizer for an additional 10 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, brining the total number of doses to 20 million, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office said on Saturday.

“We signed a contract. Hence, we will receive a total of 20 million doses of Pfizer vaccine this calendar year,” the presidential office quoted Health Minister Maksym Stepanov as saying.

Ukraine is expecting to receive the first 500,000 doses in the next few weeks, with a further 4.5 million doses in the third quarter and the remaining 15 million doses in the fourth quarter, the statement said.

The first contract with Pfizer for 10 million doses was signed last month.

Ukraine also plans to source vaccines from AstraZeneca, China and the global COVAX scheme.

01:59 PM
Care home isolation rule that ‘falsely imprisoned’ residents to be relaxed
Care home residents will be able to leave their homes for “low risk” visits without having to self-isolate for 14 days on their return, the Government has said, after a campaign warned it was “falsely imprisoning” residents.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) removed the requirement for outdoor, “low risk” visits after being threatened with legal action by the charity John’s Campaign.

Campaigners said the rule encourages care homes to act unlawfully by “falsely imprisoning” residents, with family members calling it “barbaric”.

This means that from Tuesday, residents leaving their home for a walk or to visit a loved one’s garden will no longer have to isolate for two weeks on their return.

Family members of care home residents called the 14-day isolation rule “barbaric” – Peter Byrne/PA
Family members of care home residents called the 14-day isolation rule “barbaric” – Peter Byrne/PA
But those leaving for medical appointments and for overnight visits will still be required to self-isolate for 14 days, the Telegraph understands.

Asked if she was celebrating the change, John’s Campaign co-founder Julia Jones said: “I still struggle to see what legal right the Government thinks it has for preventing people with full mental capacity from walking out of their homes the same as every other member of the population.”

She added that the remaining requirement to isolate for 14 days if residents visit the doctor is “massively inadequate”.

01:48 PM
Portugal extends Covid-19 air travel curbs until mid-May
Portugal said on Saturday it was extending flight restrictions until May 16 that stop non-essential travel from countries with high coronavirus incidence rates, including Brazil and India, which is a new addition to the list.

Travellers from countries where 500 or more cases per 100,000 people have been reported over a 14-day period, which also include South Africa, France and the Netherlands, among others, can only enter Portugal if they have a valid reason, such as for work or healthcare, the government said. They must then quarantine for 14 days.

01:42 PM
New daily figures for Covid-19 in Scotland
Scotland has recorded one new coronavirus death and 175 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to latest data.

It means the death toll under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – stands at 7,660.

Scottish Government figures published on Saturday show the daily test positivity rate remained at 1.1%.

There were 67 people in hospital on Friday with recently confirmed Covid-19, which was no change over 24 hours.

12:54 PM
The WHO has given the go-ahead for emergency use of Moderna
The mRNA vaccine from the US manufacturer joins vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson in receiving the World Health Organization’s emergency use listing.

Similar approvals for China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are expected in the coming days and weeks, WHO has said.

The greenlight for Moderna’s vaccine, announced late Friday, took many months because of delays that WHO faced in getting data from the manufacturer.

Many countries without their own advanced medical regulatory and assessment offices rely on the WHO listing to decide whether to use vaccines.

12:34 PM
Pictured: Disneyland in Anaheim, California, reopens
Guests walk down Main Street USA at Disneyland in Anaheim – Jae Hong/AP
Guests walk down Main Street USA at Disneyland in Anaheim – Jae Hong/AP
Employee Norali sheds a tear as they prepare to open the gates at Disneyland in Anaheim – Jae Hong/AP
Employee Norali sheds a tear as they prepare to open the gates at Disneyland in Anaheim – Jae Hong/AP
Disneyland – Getty Images North America
Disneyland – Getty Images North America
12:15 PM
Indian scientists flag virus mutations that could ‘evade immune response’
A forum of scientific advisers set up by the Indian government has told authorities about minor mutations in some samples of the coronavirus that could “possibly evade immune response” and require more study.

However the advisers said while they were flagging the mutations, there was no reason currently to believe they were expanding or could be dangerous.

Scientists are studying what led to the current surge in cases in India and particularly whether a variant first detected in the country, called B.1.617, is to blame.

The World Health Organization has not declared the Indian variant a “variant of concern,” as it has done for variants first detected in Britain, Brazil and South Africa.

11:54 AM
Urgent need for international response to the surge of Covid-19 cases, says charity
The Wellcome Trust’s director has called on wealthy countries to share vaccines after the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) called for the urgent mobilization of an international response to fight the surge in cases of Covid-19.

Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome and a member of the Government’s Sage advisory committee, said: “While in some parts of the world it is easy to hope the worst is almost over, Covid-19 is now charting a catastrophic course globally. The world ignores the unfolding disaster at its peril.

“No-one, either as an individual country or through collective global leadership, is acting on the scale needed right now. Public health and humanitarian crises are escalating not only in India but in many part of South Asia, Central and South America and the Middle East, and are at grave risk of spreading further.

“Leaders in the G7, G20 and at the United Nations Security Council cannot stand back. Sharing vaccines with vulnerable countries, and all the tools needed to tackle the virus, is urgent. Any decision to delay further will have dire consequences.

“Rich countries, including the UK, US and EU, have bought up the majority of existing vaccine supplies. They must start sharing vaccines with the rest of the world now through COVAX, alongside national rollouts.”

11:25 AM
Memorial for Covid-19 victims will help grieving process, organisers say
The Dean of St Paul’s, the Rev Dr David Ison, said the physical memorial at the cathedral will “anchor” the online book in a place where significant events and people have been commemorated for many centuries.

He told BBC Breakfast on Saturday: “We have been helping people who have come here to be able to engage in that process of grieving and having the online memorial back has been a way of doing that.

“Having a physical memorial now is taking the next step in being able to make that happen.”

Dr Ison said the origin of the memorial came from people not being able to come together and added: “The whole genesis of this was because people were not able to come together, not able to be in a physical place, so that’s why we did the online book.

“This is enabling people to take that together, the online and the physical, so we have a memorial which can remember literally thousands and thousands of people in a way that chiselling people on a piece of stone or even writing in a physical book you can’t do.”

11:06 AM
India’s daily Covid-19 cases pass 400,000 as second wave worsens
India’s rampant second wave of Covid-19 topped 400,000 new daily cases for the first time on Saturday, as the country opened up its massive vaccination drive to all adults, although several states warned of acute shortages.

Authorities reported 401,993 new cases in the previous 24 hours, the highest daily count globally, after 10 consecutive days over 300,000. Deaths from Covid-19 jumped by 3,523, taking the total toll in India to 211,853, according to federal health ministry data.

The world’s biggest producer of Covid-19 vaccines has a limited number of shots available, worsening a surge in infections that has overwhelmed hospitals and morgues while families scramble for scarce medicines and oxygen.

10:57 AM
‘Incredible energy’ at Liverpool test pilot event, says DJ
DJ Marea Stamper, aka The Blessed Madonna, said that there had been an “incredible energy” at the pilot club night in Liverpool.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Saturday she said the event was also “incredibly emotional” and she had seen people crying.

She added: “Of course the whole thing sort of operated silently as a science experiment, they were studying ventilation and crowd patterns, but every precaution was taken to make sure we were safe.

“People presented their test results very proudly.

“I think we felt excited but also proud to be a part of creating the protocols that would lead to the reopening of all kinds of things, from football matches to any kind of event, it doesn’t have to be a big rave.”

liverpool – Mercury Press
liverpool – Mercury Press
liverpool – Anthony Devlin/Getty Images 
liverpool – Anthony Devlin/Getty Images
10:41 AM
Nightclub test event is ‘another huge moment in our journey back to normality’, says culture secretary
Following the Circus club night test event, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This weekend is another huge moment in our journey back to normality.

“This week Liverpool have hosted the first major indoor events without social distancing or Covid restrictions and tonight 3,000 clubbers will once more head to the Bramley-Moore Dock warehouse to enjoy another night of brilliant DJ sets, with 5,000 people at an outdoor gig at Sefton Park tomorrow.

“I have seen first hand just how important these research events are.

“Yesterday, I visited the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield to watch the Snooker World Championship.

“With the event initially requiring social distancing – starting with a third of the venue’s capacity – this is being gradually eased in time for the finals, where capacity will rise to 100% on Sunday and Monday.”

10:21 AM
Campaign launched to build memorial for Covid-19 victims
A campaign has been launched to raise £2.3 million to build a memorial in London to commemorate those who have died of Covid-19.

As part of the online memorial project Remember Me, and in partnership with the Daily Mail, the country is being encouraged to support a memorial to be built in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Remember Me, led by St Paul’s Cathedral and supported by the Prince of Wales, has more than 7,300 names of those who have died as a result of the pandemic since it launched in May last year.

It is hoped that the campaign will prompt others to add the names of their loved ones.

The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Dr David Ison, said: “The physical memorial at St Paul’s will anchor the online book in a place where significant events and people have been commemorated for many centuries.

“Together with the online memorial it will allow members of the public to call up a person’s photograph and short epitaph written by their family or friends into a reflective space, as a way of inspiring reflection, prayer or lighting a candle.”

A woman looks at the hearts and messages on the National Covid Memorial Wall on the embankment – TOLGA AKMEN/AFP
A woman looks at the hearts and messages on the National Covid Memorial Wall on the embankment – TOLGA AKMEN/AFP
09:49 AM
Watch: Liverpool clubbers enjoy first nightclub event without Covid restrictions
Liverpool director of public health Matt Ashton said it was “wonderful” to see the looks on clubbers’ faces as they returned to the dancefloor at a pilot event for 3,000 people in the city.

He told BBC Breakfast on Saturday that the event gave a glimpse of what the future might hold but stressed it was still a scientific experiment about how more events could be opened in the future.

Mr Ashton added: “This is a scientific experiment, both before and after the event people have to return to doing the things they are supposed to, so following the rules in place.

“We have to deal with Covid still as if it is still around because it is, even if it is at low levels, so we have to be cautious in our approach. And for me that’s why it is so important that we collect the science around this to allow us to do this safely and properly in the future.

“But it is still wonderful to see the looks on people’s faces as they were at the event last night. It just gives a glimpse of what think we think the future might hold.”

09:34 AM
NHS suspends recruitment of Indian medics amid deadly crisis
NHS recruitment from India has been suspended amid concern over doctors and nurses leaving when they are most needed during India’s devastating Covid-19 crisis.

The Government is expected to introduce the pause on arrivals of clinicians from India who have been recruited to join NHS trusts but have not yet travelled.

It comes as India continues to be engulfed by a Covid wave, with hundreds of thousands of people infected by coronavirus each day.

Anger is growing across the country and critics have accused the Indian government of abdicating responsibility, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi dubbed #superspreaderModi on social media.

No 10 is said to have been in contact with the Indian government to oversee the arrival of aid including ventilators and oxygen supplies, both of which are dwindling in supply.

09:20 AM
UK doctors deploying telemedicine and resources to colleagues in India
UK-based doctors are deploying telemedicine and resources to their colleagues in India to try and help them battle the growing coronavirus crisis there.

Members of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BPIO) are working to help their counterparts get some “breathing space” as case numbers grow.

BPIO member Professor Parag Singhal told Sky News: “We are trying to do as much as we can in the form of fundraising to send equipment in the form of oxygen concentrators, creating capacity for ICU beds.

“So that’s one stream of work, but we are also trying to offer help to our exhausted colleagues in India – doctors are overstretched, they’re working too hard.”

Prof Singhal said that BPIO’s telemedicine project had so far had 250 volunteers, and they are aiming to get 1,000.

08:50 AM
Covid cases can still ‘reignite’ as many adults are unvaccinated, says former Sage member
A potential for coronavirus cases to “reignite” still exists as many adults remain unvaccinated, a former chief scientific adviser to the Government has warned.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are on the cusp of being able to move to the next step of relaxation, it’s absolutely right that vaccines have been spectacularly successful but not everybody is protected.

“We’ve got 35% of adults who are not vaccinated and 60% who have only had one dose and the truth is the virus has not gone away.

“The mistake that has been made repeatedly really is relaxing just slightly too early. What we need to do is get the numbers right down, it’s important that we don’t act as an incubator for variant cases that might be able to resist immunity.”

He said there are still around 4,600 new cases a day across the UK, adding: “There’s the potential for that spark to reignite, it seems increasingly unlikely, but we need to get the numbers down.”

08:31 AM
Deadline missed for release of holiday lists
A deadline for grading countries under the new traffic light system for international travel has been missed by the Government.

The Commons’ Transport Select Committee issued a report last week which stated that the green, amber and red lists of destinations must be published by Saturday “at the latest”, but this has not happened.

Instead, the Department for Transport has only said the lists will be made public in “early May”.

The ban on overseas leisure travel is expected to be lifted for people in England from May 17 as part of the next easing of coronavirus restrictions.

The traffic light system will be risk-based, with different rules for people returning to England depending on which list their destination is on.

Many people are eager to discover what countries are on the green list to avoid the need to self-isolate.

A DfT spokeswoman said: “The Government has not missed a deadline.

“We have always said we will confirm by early May if international travel can resume on 17 May and which countries will fall into which list.

“This will determine the requirements for travel for passengers.”

She added that the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce is working towards restarting international in a “safe and sustainable way”.

08:11 AM
Clubbers return to the dancefloor in Liverpool as 3,000 attend pilot event
Clubbers have been able to return to the dancefloor at a pilot event for 3,000 people.

Club night Circus hosted The First Dance in Liverpool, where revellers – who all had to produce negative Covid tests – did not have to wear face coverings or socially distance for the first time since before lockdown began.

It is hoped the event, the first of two on consecutive nights, will pave the way for clubs across the country to reopen their doors.

Inside the Bramley-Moore Dock warehouse, people packed the floor to dance shoulder-to-shoulder for the first time in more than a year. Club-goers were seen hugging and kissing each other.

UK clubbers return to the dance floor as nightclub Circus hosts the first dance event – Anthony Devlin/Getty Images
UK clubbers return to the dance floor as nightclub Circus hosts the first dance event – Anthony Devlin/Getty Images
nightclub –  Mercury Press
nightclub – Mercury Press
07:53 AM
South America drowning under new Covid surge as deaths outstrip other regions
It’s the league nowhere wants to top: where Covid-19 is hitting hardest.

But while the horrendous crisis in India has been rightly leading the news this week, many countries across South America are in a similarly catastrophic position.

Last week, the Americas region – including the US as well as South America – accounted for 41 per cent of all Covid-19 deaths reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO), or 36,530 of 88,272 deaths. For context, the region represents roughly 13 per cent of the world’s population.

Read Jennifer Rigby’s full report.

07:38 AM
‘Massively inadequate’ easing of care home restrictions, says campaigner
A campaigner has described as “massively inadequate” the Government’s easing of care home restrictions to allow residents to leave for “low-risk” visits without having to self-isolate.

Asked if she was celebrating the move, John’s Campaign co-founder Julia Jones told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m waiting until we see the guidance.

“I still struggle to see what legal right the Government thinks it has for preventing people with full mental capacity from walking out of their homes the same as every other member of the population. I struggle to see why they should be under surveillance.”

Asked about the requirement to isolate for 14 days remaining if residents visit the doctor, she said: “It’s massively inadequate.”

care homes – Hugh R Hastings/Getty Images
care homes – Hugh R Hastings/Getty Images
07:06 AM
Care home changes a ‘cautious step forward’
The National Care Association said the easing of restrictions for care home residents is a “cautious step forward”, but criticised the short period of notice.

Executive chair Nadra Ahmed told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it’s a cautious step forward and we have to make these steps forward.

“I don’t welcome it on a Friday night with guidance to follow on Tuesday, which is when it comes into effect, because providers are going to have to have some preparations and communicate with families to make sure everybody knows where we are.”

Care home residents will be able to visit people outdoors without self-isolating

07:03 AM
Overseas holidays get green light from May 17
Britons will be preparing for holidays overseas – ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP
Britons will be preparing for holidays overseas – ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP
The ban on overseas holidays will end on May 17, the Government is set to announce next week, in the first step to reviving foreign travel.

It will no longer be illegal to go abroad from that date, meaning summer holidays overseas will be allowed, with a traffic light system for countries to be introduced.

Initially only a “tiny handful” of countries are expected to be on the “green list”, and everyone – even those who have been vaccinated – will have to take a PCR Covid test after returning to Britain.

Most European countries are expected to be on the “amber list”, which will require tests and quarantine on return.

Read the full story by our Political Editor Ben Riley-Smith and Home Affairs Editor Charles Hymas here.

05:34 AM
Covid patients die in hospital fire
Patients died before rescuers could save them – KK PRODUCTIONS via AP
Patients died before rescuers could save them – KK PRODUCTIONS via AP
Eighteen patients are dead after a fire broke out in a Covid-19 hospital ward in western India today.

The fire, which started on the ground floor of Welfare Hospital in Bharuch, a town in Gujarat state, was extinguished in an hour. The cause is being investigated.

Thirty-one other patients at the hospital were rescued by staff and firefighters.

On April 23, a fire in an intensive care unit killed 13 Covid patients in the Virar area on the outskirts of Mumbai.

India is facing an unprecedented surge in cases that has filled hospitals and crematoriums.

The country today set yet another daily global record with 401,993 new cases, taking its tally to more than 19.1 million.

Another 3,523 people died in the past 24 hours, raising the overall fatalities to 211,853, according to the Health Ministry. Experts believe both figures are an undercount.

05:17 AM
Gas shortage risks al fresco diners feeling the cold
A shortage of patio gas risks leaving al fresco diners feeling the cold after record demand for outdoor heating affected supplies.

Gas canister supplier Calor said the prolonged lockdown, warm weather and the boom in staycations had led to rocketing demand and “sporadic shortages”.

The company is prioritising existing customers seeking to exchange an empty cylinder and apologised for any inconvenience caused by the delays.

A combination of frosty weather and the lifting of coronavirus restrictions means people are continuing to meet in pubs or private gardens despite the UK registering some of the coldest weather in April for decades.

But the issues with gas supply mean some pubs have struggled to power their heaters.

Read the full story here.

04:40 AM
India sets a concerning coronavirus record
India posted a record daily rise of 401,993 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, while deaths from Covid jumped by 3,523 over the past 24 hours, according to health ministry data.

India has added about 7.7 million cases since the end of February, when its second wave picked up steam, according to a Reuters tally. In contrast, it took India nearly six months to add the previous 7.7 million cases.

A Covid patient receives oxygen inside a car provided by a Gurdwara, a Sikh house of worship, in New Delhi – Altaf Qadri/AP
A Covid patient receives oxygen inside a car provided by a Gurdwara, a Sikh house of worship, in New Delhi – Altaf Qadri/AP
More
In hopes of taming a monstrous spike in infections, India opened vaccinations to all adults today, launching a huge inoculation effort that is sure to tax the limits of the federal government, the country’s vaccine factories and the patience of its 1.4 billion people.

A relative of a person who died of Covid mourns at a crematorium in Jammu, India – Channi Anand/AP
A relative of a person who died of Covid mourns at a crematorium in Jammu, India – Channi Anand/AP
The world’s largest maker of vaccines is still short of critical supplies – the result of lagging manufacturing and raw material shortages that delayed the rollout in several states. And even in places where the shots are in stock, the country’s wide economic disparities make access to the vaccine inconsistent.

Only a fraction of India’s population will be able to afford the prices charged by private hospitals for the shot, experts say, meaning that states will be saddled with immunising the 600 million Indian adults younger than 45, while the federal government gives shots to 300 million healthcare and frontline workers and people older than 45.

Funeral pyres of victims of Covid burn at a ground that has been converted into a crematorium for mass cremation in New Delhi – Altaf Qadri/AP
Funeral pyres of victims of Covid burn at a ground that has been converted into a crematorium for mass cremation in New Delhi – Altaf Qadri/AP
More
04:21 AM
Covid worse for England’s South Asian communities, say experts
South Asian communities in England experienced greater levels of Covid-19 infection, severe disease and death during the second wave compared to other minority ethnic groups, according to scientists.

Researchers said that while disparities for hospital admissions and death improved for most minority ethnic groups between the first and second waves of the pandemic, it widened for those from South Asian backgrounds.

The findings, published in the journal Lancet, are based on 17 million adults in England and is thought to be the largest study to date.

Dr Rohini Mathur, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, said: “This highlights an urgent need to find effective prevention measures that fit with the needs of the UK’s ethnically diverse population.”

The scientists said health factors – such as body weight, blood pressure and underlying health conditions – as well as household size could be some of the key factors for disparity in Covid-19 mortality for South Asian groups.

03:49 AM
Jail threat as Australia bans arrivals from India
Australian residents and citizens who have been in India within 14 days of the date they plan to return home will be banned from entering Australia as of Monday and those who disobey will face fines and jail, government officials said.

The temporary emergency determination, issued late on Friday, is the first time Australia has made it a criminal offence for its citizens to return home.

The move is part of strict measures to stop travellers to Australia from the world’s second most populous nation as it contends with a surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

The restrictions come into effect from May 3 and breaching the ban risks civil penalties and up to five years imprisonment, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

READ MORE: Australia bans return of residents and citizens from India – offenders face fines and jail time

03:12 AM
NHS recruitment of medics from India put on hold
NHS recruitment from India has been suspended amid concern over doctors and nurses leaving when they are most needed during India’s devastating Covid-19 crisis.

The Government is expected to introduce the pause on arrivals of clinicians from India who have been recruited to join NHS trusts but have not yet travelled.

It comes as India continues to be engulfed by a Covid wave, as hundreds of thousands of people catch the virus each day.

A relative mourns next to the ashes of a Covid-19 coronavirus victim after a mass cremation in New Delhi, India – TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP
A relative mourns next to the ashes of a Covid-19 coronavirus victim after a mass cremation in New Delhi, India – TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP
More
The Department of Health said on Friday that that any doctors and nurses “planning to travel to the UK in the coming months will not have their NHS job offer withdrawn if they are unable to travel or choose to delay”.

No 10 is said to have been in contact with the Indian government to oversee the arrival of aid including ventilators and oxygen supplies, both of which are dwindling in supply. – By Jack Hardy

READ MORE: Why has India been hit by Covid so badly now – and where could be next?

02:51 AM
Hospitality bosses launch legal action over ‘toxic’ curbs
Scotland’s bar and nightclub bosses have taken legal action aimed at overturning “toxic” coronavirus rules that they say can no longer be justified due to plummeting Covid-19 rates.

The Night Time Industries Scotland trade body is to seek a judicial review aimed at ending draconian curbs on venue capacity and opening hours, saying their continuation would amount to a breach of their human rights.

Pubs in Scotland have been allowed to open since Monday but there are limits on opening hours and they can only serve alcohol outdoors. It is expected that restrictions will be eased further next month, but venues would still have to close by 10.30pm with distancing rules in place.

Nicola Sturgeon has refused pressure to bring forward her plan for easing lockdown.

READ MORE: Hospitality bosses launch legal action against SNP government over ‘toxic’ Covid curbs

12:38 AM
Today’s top stories
The ban on overseas holidays will end on May 17, the Government is set to announce next week, in the first step to reviving foreign travel.

Care home residents will be allowed to reunite with friends and family outdoors without having to self-isolate on their return as Boris Johnson signalled that further easing of restrictions would happen as Covid rates continue to decline.

Just one in 100 people hospitalised with Covid since the start of Britain’s vaccine rollout had received a jab at least three weeks before, new data shows.

Clubbers have been able to return to the dancefloor at a pilot event for 3,000 people.

Fewer than 10 countries are expected to be on the Government’s quarantine-free “green list” of destinations for summer holidays from May 17 – but more could be added by the beginning of June. So how does the traffic light system work?

The chief executive of AstraZeneca has hit back at critics in Brussels over jab shortages, saying the firm had “done its best” to deliver while rivals failed to come up with their own Covid vaccines.

Replacing quarantine and self-isolation with daily tests is under consideration, papers released by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies suggest.

Face masks in the classroom risk causing children “physical and psychological harm”, the High Court has been told.

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *