NHS staff are being forced to stay off work because of coronavirus testing shortages, hospital bosses have warned.
Workers are having to self-isolate rather than work because tests are not available for either them or their family members, taking valuable staff away from the frontline, NHS Providers has warned.
Meanwhile, John Apter, national chairman of the National Police Federation of England and Wales, has called for more guidance over enforcement of the rule of six amid claims people were being asked to “snitch on their neighbours”.
Our reporter, Andy Gregory, has more details below on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer – who is self-isolating while he waits for a family member’s coronavirus test result:
Conrad Duncan15 September 2020 19:46
Ministers told to mobilise network of UK laboratories to boost coronavirus testing
Ministers have been urged to draft in university and research laboratories from across the UK to tackle the shortage of coronavirus tests amid growing concern over testing failures.
Sir Paul Nurse, director of London’s Francis Crick Institute, said there was a network of universities and research bodies “ready and able” to help deliver extra testing alongside the government’s centralised Lighthouse Laboratories.
Our health correspondent, Shaun Lintern, has the full story below:
Conrad Duncan15 September 2020 19:33
Bars and nightclubs may have to close to keep schools open, WHO expert warns
Adults must consider their behaviour this winter as countries face a stark choice between keeping children in school or keeping bars and nightclubs open, a global health expert has warned.
Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme, said infections would grow “no question” in Europe as people move back indoors in the coming months.
He said two priorities appeared to have been agreed globally – protecting the older and vulnerable populations who are most at risk and ensuring children continue to get an education.
“How do we hold those two principles – protecting the vulnerable from death, getting our children back to school?” Dr Ryan told a WHO press briefing on Tuesday.
“Something, in some sense, has to give.”
He warned adults must “separate themselves enough to drive transmission downwards”.
“So, what is more important, our children back at school or the nightclubs and the bars open? And I think these are decisions that we have to make coming into the winter months,” Dr Ryan added.
“These are trade-offs, there are no easy answers.”
Conrad Duncan15 September 2020 19:18
Canada’s health minister not ruling out second lockdown as cases surge
Canada’s health minister has said she cannot rule out another full lockdown in the country amid a surge in new coronavirus cases.
Patty Hajdu said the Canadian government was significantly more prepared than it was during the first wave of the pandemic but said ministers preferred a “surgical approach” to tackling outbreaks.
Canada reported 1,351 new cases on Monday, the highest daily total since 1 May, following the reopening of schools and flare-ups related to group gatherings.
“We see those numbers rising, but a full economic shutdown would be very difficult for this country,” Ms Hajdu told reporters on Tuesday.
“Not to rule it out, because … listen we will protect the health of Canadians and we will do what it takes.”
Canada’s 10 provinces are responsible for introducing health restrictions, but the federal government can use emergency laws to impose a lockdown if deemed necessary.
Conrad Duncan15 September 2020 19:07
Irish parliament to reconvene after brief suspension over suspected Covid-19 case
The Irish parliament is to reconvene this evening, ending a brief suspension announced a few hours earlier out of an “abundance of caution” when a minister fell ill, Ireland’s prime minister has said.
Michael Martin told RTE that government ministers were to restrict their movements while they wait for the results of a Covid-19 test being taken by Stephen Donnelly, the health minister.
Conrad Duncan15 September 2020 18:53
Older women bearing the brunt of coronavirus recession, new figures show
Older women are bearing the brunt of the recession brought on by the coronavirus crisis, new figures have shown.
Data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed 79,000 fewer women over 65 were in work between May to July than in the previous quarter – while just 13,000 fewer men of the same age were in employment during this period.
Our women’s correspondent, Maya Oppenheim, has the full story below:
Conrad Duncan15 September 2020 18:48
Spain’s coronavirus death toll surpasses 30,000
Spain’s official coronavirus death toll has surpassed 30,000, while its total number of cases has increased to more than 600,000 – making it the first European country to reach that threshold.
New data from the Health Ministry showed 9,400 new confirmed infections and 156 further deaths on Tuesday.
The country has seen new cases increasing since mid-July, but more than half of the newly-infected people have not developed symptoms and have largely not required treatment.
Health workers in the Madrid region staged small-scale protests in the gates of health centres and smaller clinics on Tuesday, demanding more resources to treat patients with Covid-19.
At least 8.5 per cent of hospital beds in Spain are being used to treat nearly 10,000 coronavirus patients and 1,273 patients in intensive care units.
Conrad Duncan15 September 2020 18:38
Labour’s Keir Starmer to miss PMQs due to coronavirus self-isolation
Sir Keir Starmer will not take part in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday as he is “still awaiting” a coronavirus test result for a family member, Labour has said.
“Keir Starmer is still awaiting the test result for a member of his family,” a spokesperson for the Labour leader said.
“He is therefore remaining in self-isolation and will not participate in Prime Minister’s Questions tomorrow.
“Angela Rayner, deputy leader and shadow first secretary of state, will be taking his place. We have informed Number 10.”
Conrad Duncan15 September 2020 18:23
World still ‘at beginning’ of pandemic, medical expert warns
The world is still “at the beginning” of the coronavirus pandemic, which could get worse as a second wave develops in Europe, a medical expert has told MPs.
David Nabarro, a World Health Organisation (WHO) special envoy on Covid-19, said coronavirus had got so “out of control” it now threatened a global economic contraction which could double the number of poor people in the world.
“It’s awful. And we really, really are, all of us, deeply saddened and troubled by it,” Mr Nabarro said.
Our political editor, Andrew Woodcock, has more on the story below:
Conrad Duncan15 September 2020 18:15
Irish cabinet ministers to self-isolate after health minister falls ill
Ireland’s parliament has been suspended for a week and cabinet ministers have been told to self-isolate after the country’s health minister fell ill, the speaker of parliament has said.
“Arising out of events today, the cabinet must now self- isolate, therefore the possibility of proceeding with business does not arise and the house stands adjourned until Tuesday next or until I am directed [by the prime minister],” Seán Ó Fearghaíl, the speaker, told parliament.
State broadcaster RTE reported that Stephen Donnelly, the health minister, requested a Covid-19 test on Tuesday afternoon.
Conrad Duncan15 September 2020 17:50