UK risks new lockdown as COVID-19 cases hit peak since May: Live | News

  • The United Kingdom is likely to reintroduce national lockdown measures sooner rather than later, a leading epidemiologist has said, as new coronavirus cases rose to their highest level since early May.
  • Indonesia has recorded its largest daily jump in infections, with 4,168 new cases.
  • France has logged a record daily jump of more than 13,000 new cases. 
  • Spain has ordered a partial lockdown in its capital, Madrid, and the surrounding region.

More than 30.6 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus and 953,810 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Some 20.8 million people have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, September 19

20:45 GMT – Italy to allow 1,000 fans at Serie A games from Sunday

Italy will allow up to 1,000 supporters to attend top-flight Serie A football matches from Sunday following an agreement between the regions and various government departments, sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora has said.

Spectators have been barred from Serie A matches since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To avoid disparities between the teams and as an experiment in view of the further openings, I asked that this decision be extended to the entire national territory,” Spadafora said on his Facebook page.

“I thank [Health Minister Roberto] Speranza and the regions for sharing this view.”

18:13 GMT – Canada’s Ontario cracks down on parties

Canada’s most populous province is cracking down on private social gatherings as COVID-19 cases surge, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said in a surprise news conference.

Ontario has reported 407 new cases compared with about 80 per day two weeks ago. Canada on Friday recorded 1,044 new cases from a day earlier, making it the third time in five days that new daily infections have topped 1,000.

Private parties are a “significant contributor” to the recent rise, provincial health minister Christine Elliott said.

“Folks, we can’t have these wild parties right now. It’s just way, way too risky,” Ford said in a nationally broadcast news conference. “We have to come down hard on the rule breakers.”

Indoor social events can include no more than 10 people, down from a previous limit of 50.

As of Saturday and for the next 28 days, the cap on outdoor gatherings will shrink to 25 from 100. Anyone holding an illegal party can face a fine of $10,000 in Canadian dollars ($7,580), and those caught attending one a fine of up to $750 in Canadian dollars ($568), Ford said.

17:29 GMT – France records new daily record in COVID-19 cases

French health authorities have reported 13,498 new COVID-19 cases, setting another record in daily infections since the disease started to spread in the country.

The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections was up by 26, at 31,274, and the total number of cases is now 442,194.

‘Alarming’: WHO warns Europe over 300,000 COVID-19 cases in week

17:15 GMT – Germany records highest single-day rise in cases since April

Germany’s national disease control agency has recorded an increase in coronavirus infections of 2,297, the highest in a 24-hour period since April.

The increase is still far from the levels seen at the country’s peak in late March, when more than 6,000 cases were being confirmed daily.

16:20 GMT – Cases in Turkey exceed 300,000: Health ministry

The total number of coronavirus cases in Turkey has risen above 300,000, the health ministry has said.

The ministry said there were 1,538 new cases recorded in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 301,348. The death toll rose by 68 to 7,445.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the government needs to ramp up measures to curb the rise in cases, which has also prompted protests from doctors who say official data underplays the scale of the outbreak.

15:35 GMT – UK reports biggest increase in COVID cases since May 8

The United Kingdom reported 4,422 daily cases of coronavirus, 100 more new cases than on Friday and the highest daily total since May 8.

15:20 GMT – London police order anti-lockdown protest to disperse

London’s police have tried to break up a protest attended by more than a thousand people opposed to lockdown measures.

Demonstrators gathered in Trafalgar Square in central London carrying banners saying “Freedom Not Fear” and “Scam” and chanting at police: “Choose your side”.

Shortly before 14:00 GMT, police ordered protesters to leave, saying the demonstration was putting other members of the public at risk.

“This, coupled with pockets of hostility and outbreaks of violence towards officers, means we will now be taking enforcement action to disperse those who remain in the area,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

COVID-19 crisis escalates across Europe

14:15 GMT – Turkey overcoming pandemic’s economic effects: Erdogan

Turkey’s production levels have continued to rise in the third quarter as the country has overcome a significant part of the pandemic’s economic effects, the Turkish president has said.

“The number of people employed has been rising since April, when the impact of the pandemic was felt the hardest,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the inauguration of a new section of the North Marmara Motorway.

Erdogan, who addressed the ceremony via video link, said Turkey’s employment rate will increase further over the coming months, adding that he was hopeful that the third quarter will end with a “growth rate that satisfies every segment”.

“The Turkish government has set its unemployment rate target for this year at 11.8 percent, with the figure projected to drop gradually to 9.8 percent by 2022.


Hello, this is Mersiha Gadzo in Toronto, Canada taking over the live updates from my colleague Usaid Siddiqui in Doha, Qatar.


12:32 GMT – Nigerians elect governor in pandemic’s first poll

Nigerians in the southern state of Edo braved the coronavirus and went to the polls to elect a new governor in the country’s first election since the start of the pandemic.

The poll comes as Nigeria struggles to contain the spread of the virus which has so far infected some 56,956 people and killed 1,096.

More than 1.7 million voters in Edo are expected to elect a new governor for another four years amid heavy security, with gun-wielding police officers and soldiers seen on major roads, screening vehicles.

11:56 GMT – Germany’s Merkel asserts need to upgrade school technology

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for massive upgrades of school technology around the country.

Merkel said during her weekly video podcast that teachers were left scrambling to teach courses virtually when schools closed at the start of the country’s outbreak.

She says that underscored how important digital media and other tools are but also exposed widespread infrastructure failings.

German Chancellor Merkel welcomes EC President von der Leyen before in Berlin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel [Odd Andersen/Pool/Reuters]

11:20 GMT – Indonesia reports its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections

Indonesia reported its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections, with 4,168 new cases, taking the total to 240,687, data from the country’s health ministry showed.

The data added 112 new deaths, taking the total to 9,448, the biggest death toll in Southeast Asia.

10:45 GMT – Spike in France’s daily COVID-19 death toll tied to unreported hospital cases

A sudden jump in France’s daily death toll from COVID-19 stems from previously unreported cases in one hospital near Paris, according to statements by health authorities.

The health ministry reported on Friday that the total number of deaths from COVID-19 increased by 154 to 31,249, a four-month high in the daily death toll and triple the levels of the past week.

That figure included 76 deaths registered in a hospital near Paris, according to an explanatory note issued online by Sante Publique France, the country’s national health agency that reports new COVID-19 cases every day.

outside image - health workers

Medical workers tend a COVID-19 patient at a Strasbourg hospital in eastern France [File: Jean-Francois Badias/AP]

10:05 GMT – Iran’s coronavirus death toll climbs above 24,000

Iran’s coronavirus death toll has risen by 166 to 24,118, a health ministry spokeswoman told state television.

The total number of identified cases spiked by 2,845 in the last 24 hours to 419,043 in Iran, one of the Middle East’s worst-hit countries, spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari was quoted as saying.

09:28 GMT – Poland reports record daily coronavirus cases

Poland reported 1,002 new coronavirus cases, according to the health ministry’s Twitter account, the highest daily increase since the pandemic began.

The new record comes days after authorities tightened conditions under which doctors are obliged to send patients for testing. Critics say the new rules may limit the number of people going for tests.

A woman looks at cloth at Polish fashion retailer LPP brand Reserved shop in Warsaw

A woman looks at clothing at Polish fashion retailer Reserved’s shop in Warsaw [Kacper Pempel/Reuters]

08:50 GMT – Mainland China reports 14 new COVID-19 cases vs 32 a day earlier

Mainland China reported 14 new COVID-19 cases on September 18, down from 32 cases reported a day earlier, the Chinese national health authority said.

The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas. It also reported 24 new asymptomatic cases, up from 20 a day earlier, though China does not classify these patients without symptoms as confirmed COVID-19 cases.

08:15 GMT – Russia’s new COVID cases surpass 6,000 for first time in two months

Russia reported 6,065 new coronavirus cases, the first time the daily tally has been higher than 6,000 in two months. The national tally of infections rose to 1,097,251.

The coronavirus crisis centre said 144 people had died of the disease in the last 24 hours, bringing the Russian death toll to 19,339.

Russia local elections

Russia has nearly 1.1 million cases to date, according to Johns Hopkins University [Dmitri Lovetsky/AP]

07:38 GMT – New UK lockdown likely sooner rather than later – former adviser

Britain is likely to need to reintroduce some coronavirus lockdown measures sooner rather than later, a former senior government health adviser said.

“I think some additional measures are likely to be needed sooner rather than later,” Neil Ferguson, a professor of epidemiology at London’s Imperial College told the BBC news network.

06:45 GMT – Professional Rugby in Ireland could disappear without fans: IRFU chief

Professional rugby in Ireland could cease to exist if supporters cannot return to stadiums in large numbers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Irish Rugby Football Union chief Philip Browne has said.

The Irish union is projecting revenue losses exceeding 30 million euros ($35.51 million) due to the pandemic.

Browne said that despite implementing cost-cutting measures, including pay cuts of up to 20 percent and job redundancies, the union’s financial position is not sustainable.

06:10 GMT – India parliament session may be cut short as COVID-19 cases among politicians rise – sources

India’s parliament session that began this week is likely to be cut short after 30 politicians were found to be infected with the coronavirus, two senior parliamentary officials said, as the number of cases in the country rose to 5.3 million.

The Indian parliament met for the first time in six months on September 14 and was to function until October 1, but the two officials said its duration could be reduced by a week.


An Indian woman wearing white protective gear mourns after taking a glimpse of her husband’s body, a victim of COVID-19, at a crematorium in Guwahati, India. India has 85,619 deaths to date, according to Johns Hopkins University [Anupam Nath/AP]


Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha, taking over from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed.


05:29 GMT – India adds 93,337 new COVID-19 cases

India maintained its surge in coronavirus cases, adding 93,337 new confirmed infections and 1,247 deaths in the past 24 hours.

The health ministry raised the nation’s caseload to more than 5.3 million. A total of 85,619 people have died.

India has been reporting the highest single-day rise in the world every day for more than five weeks. It’s expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country within weeks, surpassing the United States.

04:20 GMT – Philippines to keep one-metre social distancing rule

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to retain the one-metre (three-foot) social distancing requirement on public transport to reduce coronavirus infections, rejecting moves to reduce it to 30 centimetres, according to his spokesman.

Health experts have warned that reducing gaps between passengers in trains, buses and jeepneys could result in a surge of infections in the Philippines, which has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.

Duterte studied recommendations and decided to retain the one-metre distancing requirement, including a ban on eating and speaking in public transport, presidential spokesman Harry Roque told state-run PTV4 network. Passengers still need to wear face shields and masks at all times, he added.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Manila

Passengers on board a bus wear face masks and face shields, both mandatory in public transportation, to help curb coronavirus disease in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines [Eloisa Lopez/ Reuters]

03:51 GMT – Leader of Canada’s opposition party tests positive for coronavirus

Erin O’Toole, the new leader of Canada’s main opposition party, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Conservative party said O’Toole was feeling well and that his family tested negative.

02:32 GMT – Rio to allow football fans from October 4

The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro authorised football fans to return to stadiums from October 4, after a six-month hiatus for the coronavirus pandemic.

“Rio city hall announces the return of fans to stadiums,” the city said in a statement. “They will be required to wear protective masks and undergo temperature checks at the entrance. Ticket sales will be online to avoid crowds.”

The decision still needs a green light from the Brazilian Football Confederation.

Cycling through COVID-19 outbreak: Challenges for Tour de France (2:24)

02:14 GMT – Slovakian coronavirus test data left exposed in online breach

Personal data of nearly 400,000 people tested for coronavirus in Slovakia ended up unsecured online after a breach in the state health system, the country’s national health information centre (NCZI) confirmed.

The breach has since been repaired, NCZI boss Peter Bielik told journalists, after a group of so-called ethical hackers had flagged the issue.

“We did not have the intention at all to look for data, it was a complete coincidence that we stumbled upon it during a simple Google search on the internet,” IT specialist Pavol Luptak told news site on Thursday.

01:50 GMT – NYC mayor ‘very confident’ in new school reopening timeline

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is “very confident” that New York City will meet a revised timeline to bring public school students back to classrooms within the next two weeks, following closures because of the coronavirus pandemic.

De Blasio had delayed the reopening plan for the United States’s largest school district for the second time since it was announced in July, citing a shortage of staff and supplies.

Under the revised timeline, most elementary school students will return to in-person learning starting from September 29, while middle and high school students will do the same on October 1.

“I feel very confident about that date,” de Blasio said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe programme.

01:18 GMT – Australia’s Victoria records fewest new cases since June

The Australian state at the centre of the country’s novel coronavirus outbreak reported its lowest daily increase of infections in three months, putting it on course to relax a hard lockdown in the capital city by the end of the month.

Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state and home to a quarter of its 25 million people, recorded 21 new cases of COVID-19 in the prior 24 hours, less than half the previous day’s number and its lowest since June 24.

Victoria also reported seven new deaths related to the virus, taking the national total to 844, according to government figures. The state has had 90 percent of Australia’s coronavirus-related deaths.

Australia has reported slightly fewer than 26,900 infections.

00:07 GMT – Emmy show will include $2.8m donation to fight child hunger

Every Emmy Award handed out on Sunday will come with something extra – a $100,000 donation to fight child hunger brought on by the coronavirus crisis.

The Television Academy announced that each network and streaming service competing on the telecast has pledged the donation for every Emmy they win.

With 23 Emmys being handed out and the academy committing $500,000, that will mean a donation of $2.8m to No Kid Hungry, a group working to relieve child hunger in the United States during the pandemic.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives. 

For all the key developments from yesterday, September 18, go here.

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