Coronavirus live news: UK to send 20m vaccine doses to developing countries; China
Inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which her mother worked on in the 1980s, a teenager in California has been stitching a quilt over the last 18 months to honour and remember people lost to Covid-19.
Madeleine Fugate started the memorial quilt in May 2020, then 13, as a seventh grade class project. She encouraged families in Los Angeles, where she lives, to send her fabric squares representing their lost loved ones, the Associated Press reports.
“I really want to get everyone remembered so that families can heal and represent these people as real people who lived,” she said.
It has grown to include around 600 memorial squares representing individuals or groups, such as New Zealand’s more than two dozen virus victims, stitched together by Fugate, her mother and a small group of volunteers.
Fugate said she would like to see a formal national memorial for Covid-19 victims.
“It would be amazing to see that happen, but we’re still technically fighting the war against this virus,” she said. “We’re not there yet, so we just have to keep doing what we’re doing. We are the triage. We’re helping stop the bleeding.”
Beijing’s Universal Studios theme park tested all staff after close contacts of Covid cases visited the resort this week, it announced on social media.
The close contacts were isolating and had tested negative for Covid, the theme park said in a post on its official Weibo account, adding that it had increased health monitoring at the park.
The resort would enter “emergency pandemic prevention status”, state media reported, citing the Beijing government.
“Out of prudent consideration for the health and safety of visitors, we are fully cooperating with the disease control and prevention department to notify those who visited the park on 24 October to undergo nucleic acid tests and necessary health monitoring,” Universal Studios said in the post.
It comes as China recorded its highest daily number local cases in more than six weeks on Friday.
Greece’s health ministry has struck deals with five private clinics to free up almost 300 beds as state hospitals reach capacity.
The agreement with the private clinics, which are in Thessaloniki, Larissa and Volos, will offer 296 beds and comes after Greece reported 3,643 new cases, 661 of which were in Thessaloniki. Attica, which has a population about four times Thessaloniki’s size, had just 599, the Kathimerini newspaper reported.
“The solution is to decrease demand by increasing mandatory vaccination,” the head of intensive care at Thessaloniki’s Papanikolaou Hospital said on Friday. “There is no other way, we need vaccination.”
Greece has a double vaccination rate of 61.7%, while 59.3% have had just one dose.
Theories that the coronavirus was created as a biological weapon are based on “scientifically invalid claims” and disseminated by proponents “suspected of spreading disinformation”, according to a study by US intelligence agencies.
While most of the 17 agencies also agreed that it had not been genetically engineered, they were split between whether the virus spread due to animal-to-human transmission or as the result of a lab accident.
“We remain skeptical of allegations that SARS-CoV-2 was a biological weapon because they are supported by scientifically invalid claims, their proponents do not have direct access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), or their proponents are suspected of spreading disinformation,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) study said.
Julian Borger has the story here:
Welcome to today’s global coronavirus live blog.
China’s local daily cases reached a six-week high on Friday, with most new cases concentrated in its northern provinces.
There were 59 new locally transmitted infections on Friday, according to the National Health Commission, via Reuters, an increase from 48 the previous day and the highest number since 16 September. There were no further deaths, meaning the official death toll remains at 4,636.
Infections were mainly reported in northern China, including Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Beijing and Ningxia. Including imported infections, there were 78 new cases for Friday, up from 64 the day before.
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The UK will send 20m Covid vaccine doses to developing countries by the end of the year, Boris Johnson will announce to world leaders as they gather in Rome.
Leaders of the G20 countries are meeting in Rome in the run-up to the UN Cop26 summit, in the hope that progress can be made on securing commitments before the summit.
Earlier this year, the UK promised to provide at least 100m doses as part of a G7 aim to offer 1bn doses – a target criticised as too low. Johnson will call on leaders to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022.
“Like a waking giant, the world economy is stirring back to life. But the pace of recovery will depend on how quickly we can overcome Covid,” Johnson is expected to tell G20 leaders. “Our first priority as the G20 must be to press ahead with the rapid, equitable and global distribution of vaccines.”
It comes after 100 former leaders and ministers globally urged the Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, who is hosting the G20 meeting, to ensure more equitable vaccine distribution. The US, EU, UK and Canada would be stockpiling 240m unused vaccines by the end of the month, the group said.