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57 countries see surge in new cases as global count passes 25m with Portugal likely to return to UK quarantine list

Rise in new coronavirus cases worldwide as Glasgow lockdown tightened

Chiara Giordano,Jane Dalton
Tuesday 01 September 2020 20:13 BST
WHO state cooperation is key to coronavirus recovery

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More than 50 countries around the world are experiencing a rise in new coronavirus cases, figures show.

Europe, north Africa and south Asia have the highest concentration of countries that are experiencing an upswing in coronavirus cases, as the worldwide total passed 25 million.

The UK is among the worst hit. Infections have spiked in two northern areas of England due to be released from lockdown against the advice of local officials.

Meanwhile, there have been hints that Portugal will be put back on the list of countries arrivals from which must self-isolate for 14 days.

Lockdown restrictions have been tightened in Glasgow after a spike in coronavirus cases in the area.

Please see below for how the day’s events unfolded.


Good morning and welcome to today's live blog. We'll be bringing you all the latest updates on the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Millions of students are returning to classrooms in England this morning for the first time in months after the coronavirus outbreak caused schools to close across the UK.

  • A survey of almost 3,000 school leaders has warned the majority of pupils are on average three months behind on their studies as a result of the shutdown.

  • Education unions are calling for a temporary ban on fines for parents who do not send their children back to class due to fears around coronavirus.
Chiara.Giordano1 September 2020 07:40

As millions of pupils return to schools in England and Wales, a shock report has warned that students are on average three months behind in their learning because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Worst affected by the five-month absence are children in the most deprived schools as well as pupils from Bame (black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds, found the National Foundation for Educational Research.

Labour said the report should be a “wake-up call” to Boris Johnson and education secretary Gavin Williamson, who risk “failing a whole generation of children” unless they provide the support needed for the class of 2020 to catch up.

Chiara.Giordano1 September 2020 07:41

Unions call for temporary ban on school absence fines

Education unions are calling for a temporary ban on school absence fines as thousands of pupils return to classrooms in England and Wales.

Approximately 40 per cent of schools are expected to welcome back students for the start of the autumn term today, despite concerns being raised about their ability to reopen safely.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said the government should temporarily scrap fines for parents who do not send their children back to class due to fears around coronavirus.

General secretary Paul Whiteman said: "If you are a parent and you are worried about safety, a fine is unlikely to make you feel any safer.

"The government understands this, but the threat of fines still remains, so we're urging the government to take the threat of fines off the table for the coming term.

"This would send a powerful signal to parents and families and could well mean that more of them are willing to bring their children back to school, which is what we all want to see."

The school leaders' union said while it hoped attendance would be "as close to 100 per cent as possible", it understood "there will be some families who do not yet feel ready to return".

Chiara.Giordano1 September 2020 07:46

‘I’m worried about it being a bit antisocial’ 

Many students applied to university before coronavirus and social distancing had entered the UK’s day-to-day vocabulary.

Now, they are preparing to start courses as universities adapt to become as safe as possible during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zoe Tidman speaks to university students about returning to the classroom after lockdown:

Chiara.Giordano1 September 2020 07:54

In a move likely to have been signed off by ministers, Britain’s ambassador to Lisbon has signalled that Portugal is likely to be back on the “no-go” list after just two weeks.

The UK government warned against travel to Portugal for over five months from 17 March before revoking self-isolation for inbound travellers on 22 August.

But the number of new coronavirus cases in Portugal has increased sharply over the past 10 days, triggering the ambassador to warn: “Travellers should consider their plans carefully.”

Chiara.Giordano1 September 2020 08:12

Hospitals 'likely to see increase in Covid-19 patients this autumn'

Hans Kluge, World Health Organisation Europe regional director, has said a host of factors means hospitals are likely to see an increase in the number of Covid-19 patients this autumn.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that local lockdowns were the best way to target any outbreaks, however, rather than national shutdowns.

"Let's not forget that we're entering three phenomena - one is the reopening of the schools for the academic year, the second is the flu season and the third is the excess mortality in the elderly population during the winter," he said.

"So I wouldn't be surprised, unfortunately, if we see an increase in October, especially towards late November (of hospital admissions) - there's no reason for panic but we have to be aware.

"It is far too early to draw all the conclusions for the time being but we know what needs to be done.

"This is the key message: if we look back in February, the full option was lockdown and re-booting but now we should target the virus and not the schooling, the economy and society."

Chiara.Giordano1 September 2020 08:20

Nicola Sturgeon has said she feels “a greater sense of anxiety” than at any time in the past couple of months after the number of positive coronavirus cases in Scotland hit a three-month high.

Scotland’s first minister said the increased number of cases is “undoubtedly a concern” and urged Scots to remain vigilant in suppressing the virus if the country is to “retain a bit more normality in our lives”.

A total of 160 Covid-19 infections over 24 hours were reported on Monday, the highest total since mid-May and an increase on the 123 cases announced on Sunday.

Chiara.Giordano1 September 2020 08:29

Hot-desking office spaces 'do not make sense'

A a leading hygiene and cleaning firm has warned hot-desking office spaces "do not make sense" in a coronavirus working environment.

Tautvydas Karitonas, research and development manager at Inivos, said hot-desks in offices "ruin" the ability of employers to track the spread of the virus.

Inivos said it has seen a surge in demand for infection control and deep cleaning services from commercial clients.

He told the PA news agency that hot-desking environments complicate cleaning and infection prevention if a staff member tests positive for Covid-19.

"It makes it very hard to put in place the measures needed to stop infection if you have hot-desking," he said.

"If people are using a desk, people should know what happened there before them, who was using that last, what cleaning has been happening there."

Chiara.Giordano1 September 2020 08:47

Russia coronavirus cases pass 1 million mark

The total number of coronavirus cases in Russia has today passed the 1 million mark after 4,729 new infections were reported.

The latest cases have brought the country's total tally to 1,000,048.

Russia's coronavirus crisis centre said 123 new deaths have been confirmed in the last 24 hours.

Chiara.Giordano1 September 2020 08:54

Tightening of Irish lockdown restrictions 'appears to be working'

A senior health official has said a significant tightening of Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland two weeks ago appears to be working.

Philip Nolan, Chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, told national broadcaster RTE: "It's early to say, but we would be optimistic. We have had a stable daily case count now since 19 August.

"It needs to be lower, to be honest with you. I wouldn't want to be hit with another event (outbreak) from a baseline of 100 cases per day... (But) I do think it is working."

Chiara.Giordano1 September 2020 09:11

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