GREECE has enforced a strict midnight curfew on its holiday islands, after the country recorded the highest number of daily new coronavirus infections since the pandemic started.
Bars and restaurants in Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, Rhodes, Zante and Crete will be closed from midnight until 7am, according to the Greek government.
Along with the cities of Thessaloniki, Larissa, Volos and Katerini, also affected by the curfew, this will be in place from today until August 23.
Greece recorded 203 new cases on Sunday, the highest since the pandemic started, with overall cases now 5,749.
Meanwhile, Brits with reusable face masks will be stopped from boarding flights to France due to strict regulations enforced by the government.
According to French rules, only disposable masks are allowed on flights, despite reusable coverings being deemed safe by the majority of airlines.
This comes as deaths hit 46,595 after 21 more deaths were recorded.
Follow our coronavirus live blog for all the latest news and updates…
SMALL OUTBREAK RECORDED AT TEXTILE FACTORY
A coronavirus outbreak has been identified at a large textile firm in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.
Kirklees Council said that health officials are working with Camira Fabrics in the Meltham area after three staff members tested positive for the virus.
All three are now recovering at home.
P&O CRUISES CANCELS ALL SAILINGS UNTIL MID-NOVEMBER
P&O Cruises has extended the suspension of sailings until mid-November.
The UK's largest cruise line said this was due to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advising people to avoid cruises due to th pandemic.
It has cancelled all sailings until November 12, while two trips with longer itineraries due to begin in January 2021 have been suspended.
The firm had previously cancelled sailings until October 15.
DEBENHAMS TO CUT 2,500 MORE JOBS
Debenhams says it will cut 2,500 more jobs as the company struggles during the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes after the High Street giant already laid off 4,000 workers since May.
The new cuts will apply to its UK stores and distribution centres, though no new shops are set to shut.
GREECE: BEWARE OF FORM ERRORS
You'll also need to beware of possible errors in the entry form you fill out before you enter Greece.
Yesterday, The Independent reported that Wizz Air warned passengers that if they failed to add a middle initial on the form they will be denied boarding.
On Thursday 6 August, the airline offloaded 28 passengers from a Luton-Athens flight because of what the airline says was failure to comply.
GREEK EPIDEMIOLOGIST DESCRIBES SPIKE IN CASES AS 'TURNING POINT'
Professor Gkikas Magiorkinis, one of Greece’s leading epidemiologists, spoke to our travel team earlier.
He claims that the new spike in cases marks a possible “turning point” for the country.
He said: “It's a turning point. If this dramatic increase in cases continues, then we will be seeing more than 300 to 350 cases a day.”
GREECE: WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES?
Greece has become a new summer holiday option for Brits after the government imposed a two week quarantine on arrivals from Spain – with France potentially set to be subject to the same policy very soon.
But a new spike in cases in recent days has forced the country to impose new restrictions. We look at what that means below.
- Bars and restaurants in Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, Rhodes, Zante and Crete will be closed from midnight until 7am, according to the Greek government.
- Along with the cities of Thessaloniki, Larissa, Volos and Katerini, also affected by the curfew, this will be in place from today until August 23.
- Anyone entering Greece from Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Spain or Sweden will have to have a negative coronavirus test result to be allowed in.
- The test must be taken up to 72 hours before travelling, and will be enforced from August 17.
LABOUR SLAMS SERCO CONTRACT FOR TEST AND TRACE
The Labour party has hit out at the current test-and-trace contract with outsourcing firm Serco, describing it as “ineffective and not fit for purpose”.
Labour say the service should be led by directors of public health and supported by primary care and NHS labs.
Shadow health minister Justin Madders added: “Labour has been calling for a locally-led contact tracing system for months – it's welcome that local authorities are now finally being given additional support to tackle the virus in their areas.
“But it's clear Boris Johnson's £10 billion centralised contact tracing system is nowhere near 'world-beating' as he claims and the system is unable to fight local outbreaks successfully.”
PM: RETURN OF SCHOOLS 'CAN BE DONE SAFELY'
Quizzed by reporters on the safe return of schools, the PM insisted: “I have no doubt that it can be done safely. Schools are doing a huge amount to make sure that it is done safely.
“Just for the sake of social justice, ensuring that all our kids get the education they need, we need to get our pupils, our children, back to school in September and I am very, very impressed by the work that has been done to make those schools Covid-secure.”
PM 'IMPRESSED' BY SCHOOLS' PREPARATION
The PM was asked today about reports that work by Public Health England suggested secondary school pupils transmit coronavirus like adults.
Responding to the reports, Boris Johnson said “I'm very, very impressed by the way schools have got ready.
“Obviously we need to make sure that we don't have a second wave, that we do everything we can to avoid a second wave.”
But he added: “I'm afraid you are going to see outbreaks, we have seen them across the country in the last few weeks and months and we have also seen the immense efforts that local authorities have gone to, local communities have gone to, to get that outbreak under control.
“The most important thing for people to remember is that you have got to get schools back, we will get schools back, but also we have got to stick to our discipline – so in schools they have some very well thought through plans for how to manage it.”
REGULARLY TEST NHS STAFF TO AVOID WORKERS 'SILENTLY' PASSING ON VIRUS, EXPERTS WARN
NHS staff should have regular tests for coronavirus, scientists say, after a new study highlighted the proportion of staff carrying the disease with no symptoms.
The new study, published in the journal Anaesthesia, found that one in six maternity health workers have had Covid-19.
In total, 200 anaesthetists, midwives and obstetricians from University College London Hospital and St George's Hospital, with no previously confirmed diagnosis of Covid-19, were given antibody tests – which show whether or not a person has previously been infected.
And one in three of these were completely asymptomatic – meaning they continued to go about their work as usual, potentially passing the virus on to mothers and their new babies.
The authors wrote: “This has significant implications for the risk of occupational transmission of SARS-CoV-2 for both staff and patients in maternity units. Regular testing of staff, including asymptomatic staff, should be considered to reduce transmission risk.”
STURGEON HAILS 'MAJOR MILESTONE' AS SCHOOLS RETURN
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has hailed a “major milestone” in Scotland as schools returned in the country today.
Speaking at a news conference, she said: “Today's return has been made possible by the progress all of us have made in suppressing the virus but we know from all sorts of evidence here at home and elsewhere across the UK and across Europe that progress remains fragile and we all really need to continue to be vigilant and cautious.”
Ms Sturgeon said that some parents may see the return of schools as a way for them to get back into their workplace, but urged them to work from home if possible.
“I know it's not always easy, but if you can work from home, you should still continue to work from home because that remains the safest and best option for employees.”
WORLD'S VIRUS TOTAL TOPS 20M
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has topped 20million, it's been announced.
More than half of those cases are from the United States, India and Brazil.
It took around six months for cases to hit 10million after the virus first appeared in China.
But six weeks after that, cases around the world have doubled.
6,000 LOSE CONTACT TRACING JOBS
NHS Test and Trace has slashed 6,000 jobs – but Brits who fail to answer calls from the service could get a visit.
The Government is overhauling the way it hunts down the virus by cutting down on call handlers.
Those who keep their jobs will help local authorities to track down outbreaks.
NO NEW SCOTS DEATHS FOR ALMOST A MONTH
There have been no new coronavirus deaths in Scotland for 29 consecutive days, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today.
Confirmed cases in Scotland have risen by 52 in the past 24 hours.
It takes the total number of people in Scotland who have tested positive for the virus to 19,079.
VIRUS CASES JUMP AFTER LOCKDOWN EASES
New confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands jumped to 4,036 in the past week, continuing the rapid increase seen since the easing of lockdown measures last month, Dutch health authorities said today.
The number of infections was up 55 per cent from the 2,588 cases reported over the previous week.
Brits are being told to wear FACE MASKS during sex and avoid kissing to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The new guidelines, released by a sexual health charity, say the best way to stay protected is to avoid having sex with someone from outside your household.
Here's the full story.
NZ BACK IN LOCKDOWN AFTER 102 VIRUS-FREE DAYS
Big news from New Zealand now, where a quarter of the population has gone back into lockdown after four new Covid-19 cases were identified.
The country went 102 days without recording any new cases of community transmission.
The new outbreak reportedly involves four members of the same family.
Here's the story.
BRIT UNEMPLOYMENT SOARS
That sad news on Debenhams comes on the day it was announced UK unemployment since March has risen to 730,000.
A further 114,000 people lost their jobs last month alone.
The fall in employment between April and June is the largest quarterly drop since 2009.
2,500 JOBS TO GO AT DEBENHAMS
Since the beginning of lockdown, hundreds of thousands of Brits have lost their jobs.
Now Debenhams is the latest big employer to announce redundancies.
The company plans to cut 2,500 jobs. It comes after it fell into administration for the second time in 12 months earlier this year.
THE TRUE TOLL OF COVID
Elderly people are far harder hit by coronavirus than any other group.
The Office for National Statistics says:
- Two babies aged under one have died
- Five children aged between one and 14 died
- 557 people aged between 15 and 44 died
- 4,946 people aged between 45 and 64 died
- 7,621 people aged between 65 and 74 died
- Most of those who lost their lives were 75 or older, with 38,578 people in this age group dying with the illness
WEEKLY DEATHS 'LOWEST SINCE MARCH 20'
The coronavirus death toll has plunged to pre-lockdown levels.
The Office for National Statistics said today that in the week to July 31, 193 death certificates mentioned Covid – the lowest number since the week ending March 20, when it was mentioned on 103 death certificates.
Lockdown began in the UK on March 23.
Here's what you need to know.
DEATH TOLL PLUNGES
Coronavirus deaths in England and Wales are at the lowest level since before lockdown began in late March, figures show.
The number of people dying from the deadly bug has dropped drastically, with fatalities now around the same as they were 19 weeks ago.
More on this in the next post.
IN PICTURES: THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
Here are the most striking images from across the globe, as nations continue to grapple with the coronavirus crisis.
RUSSIA NAMES NEW VACCINE 'SPUTNIK V'
Russia has named its first approved COVID-19 vaccine 'Sputnik V' for foreign markets, a reference to the world's first satellite.
Kirill Dmitriev, head of the country's RDIF sovereign wealth fund, said Russia had already received requests from more than 20 countries for 1 billion doses of its newly-registered COVID-19 vaccine.
TRAVELODGE CUSTOMER TESTS POSITIVE, FORCING DEEP CLEAN
A guest at a Travelodge in Birmingham has tested positive for coronavirus, sparking a deep clean of the hotel.
A statement from Travelodge read: “We can confirm that a guest who stayed at one of our Birmingham hotels last week has contacted us to advise, that they have tested positive for Covid-19.
“As soon as we were informed, we took the room that they occupied offline and instructed a specialist cleaning company to deep clean it.
“We have not received any further reports from guests or staff of feeling unwell.