Coronavirus live: UK scientists warn of 'real risk' of second wave

Coronavirus live: UK scientists warn of 'real risk' of second wave

The latest developments:

UK scientists warn of 'real risk' of second wave of COVID-19 infections with local flare-ups likely

Scientists repeat warnings as Johnson announces England lockdown easing plan from July 4

Top US expert warns of 'disturbing surge' in coronavirus infections in some American states

Trump uses racist language as he again downplays seriousness of pandemic

Bulgaria's PM fined for breaking his own government's rules by not wearing mask

Germany, Portugal and Spain reimpose local lockdowns amid spike in infections

Djokovic 'sorry' as tennis champion and wife test positive for COVID-19

08:32

Over 100,000 deaths in Latin America and Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean region have now reported more than 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official data.

More than 2.1 million cases have been registered in the region since the start of the pandemic, with Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Chile the worst-hit countries in South America.

Brazil confirmed more than 39,000 new cases in a single day on Tuesday. Its death toll has now topped 52,600.

08:25

India reports highest spike of 16,000 cases

India has recorded the highest spike of 15,968 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total to to 456,183, with Mumbai and New Delhi as the worst-hit cities in the country --  AP reports.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday also reported a record 24-hour increase of 465 deaths due to COVID-19, driving fatalities to 14,476.

The ministry said the recovery rate was continuing to improve at 56.38%.

The actual numbers, like elsewhere in the world, are thought to be far higher due to a number of reasons, such as limited testing.

08:18

Fauci warns of 'disturbing surge' in cases as Trump's comments appal scientists

The next few weeks are critical to tamping down a disturbing coronavirus surge, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress on Tuesday.

The US infectious disease chief pledged that testing would increase as he spoke to a House committee conducting oversight of the Trump administration's response to the pandemic.

Fauci said health officials had not been asked to slow down testing, in contrast to Trump’s claim last weekend that he had ordered fewer tests be performed because they were uncovering too many infections.

Tuesday saw surges in infections in several US states, with Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada and Texas setting single-day records for new coronavirus cases.

Top public health leaders shot down Trump's assertions that the pandemic is "fading".

07:52

Trump again uses term 'Kung Flu' at rally

US President Donald Trump again used the term "Kung Flu" to describe the coronavirus at a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday.

Trump has used the term multiple times in recent days, even as people have criticised his use of the term as racist.

Since coronavirus infections started appearing in the United States in January, Asian Americans have shared stories of minor aggression to blatant attacks from people blaming them for the pandemic, which has killed more than 120,000 people in the United States.

Trump also said he didn't know what the 19 in COVID-19 referred to. The term is a reference to the novel coronavirus that originated in 2019.

"It's got all different names, Wuhan, Wuhan was catching on, coronavirus, right? Kung flu. COVID, COVID-19, COVID. I said, what's the 19? COVID-19. Some people can't explain what the 19. COVID-19. I said, that's an odd name. I could give you many, many names. Some people call it the Chinese flu. The China flu. Right. They call it the China as opposed to Chinese, the China. I've never seen they like it. But here's the story, we are going to be stronger than ever before and it's going to be soon," the President of the United States told his supporters, before going on to attack likely presidential rival Joe Biden.

07:39

Scientists warn again over easing of restrictions in England

Several scientists warned a few weeks ago that restrictions were being eased too early in England, and they are doing so again now that the government has announced major changes from July 4.

"I think it is early. The parameters for lifting it clearly indicate to us that we have got viral activity in the community, we have new cases in the community, and on top of that our testing and contact tracing systems are not fully operational," Dr Bharat Pankhania from the University of Exeter's College of Medicine and Health told Dailyrater Tonight.

A leading member of the government's advisory group SAGE also issued a warning.

“Relaxing the 2-metre rule at the same time as opening bars and restaurants does run the risk of allowing the epidemic to start to regain a foothold. These changes will have to be very carefully monitored and the NHS track-and-trace system will have to be working properly to help keep us safe,” epidemiologist Professor John Edmonds from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medecine was quoted by the Guardian as saying.

The UK's Chief Scientific Adviser on Tuesday warned that the coronavirus pandemic isn't over and that people need to stick to the rules in order to stop the disease from spreading further.

"We need to be absolutely sure that with the new relaxation that we stay rigorously to the things that need to happen in order to stop the spread contact to contact, said Patrick Vallance.

07:11

UK scientists challenge preparedness for second wave

Leading scientists in the UK have written an open letter to political party leaders calling for a rapid review of how ready the country is to deal with a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

In the letter published in the British Medical Journal, they say local flare-ups are increasingly likely and a second wave "a real risk".

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a major easing of lockdown restrictions in England from July 4. Pubs, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers will be able to reopen, and the 2-metre social distancing rule will be replaced with a "1-metre plus" rule.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are to keep the 2-metre rule for now.

The scientists writing in the BMJ repeat a call for the review to establish a "non-partisan, four nations approach" to produce recommendations for action.

06:59

Good morning, this is Alasdair Sandford with the latest updates on the pandemic today, Wednesday.

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