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Coronavirus UK: Daily cases jump 40% in a week to 19,724

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coronavirus uk daily cases jump 40 in a week to 19724

Britain’s daily Covid-19 cases have jumped 40 per cent in a week as health officials today announced 19,724 more infections and 137 new deaths. 

Department of Health figures show 14,162 cases and 70 deaths were recorded last Wednesday, as well as 17,234 cases and a four-month high of 143 fatalities yesterday. For comparison, more than 100,000 Britons were getting infected and at least 1,000 were dying every day during the darkest period of the first wave in March and April. 

The figures come as Boris Johnson today sounded defiant on his local ‘Tiers’ lockdown plan, despite warnings from scientists that it is the ‘worst of all worlds’. Rumours were swirling that the Prime Minister is seriously considering a ‘circuit breaker’.

But in brutal clashes at PMQs, Mr Johnson dismissed calls from Sir Keir Starmer and SAGE for a ‘miserable’ national ‘circuit breaker’. He insisted that his job was to balance the economic and wider interests of the country with the science.

Northern leaders today backed Sir Keir Starmer’s calls for a nationwide ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown and refused to accept the Prime Minister’s plans for tier three restrictions.

The Greater Manchester mayor and its local council leaders said they were resisting the ‘fundamentally flawed’ highest level of local restrictions without more financial help, adding to calls also made by the Labour leader for new national measures. 

And Welsh ministers faced fury today after unveiling an extraordinary bid to ban people from coronavirus hotspots entering the country. First Minister Mark Drakeford was accused of being obsessed with ‘banning the English’ after he announced the move saying people were ‘anxious and fearful’ about importing infection.

In other coronavirus developments today: 

  • Northern Ireland will close its pubs for a month from Friday and shut schools for a fortnight from next week under a circuit-breaker lockdown, First Minister Arlene Foster announced;
  • The leader of Lancashire County Council has said it is ‘inevitable’ the area will be upgraded to Tier Three coronavirus restrictions soon; 
  • As many as 12 London boroughs have breached the infection threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 people as Sadiq Khan warns Tier 2 restrictions for the capital are ‘inevitable’; 
  • Health officials in Liverpool expect to see the number of Covid-19 patients in the city’s hospitals surpass the levels of the first peak in the next seven to 10 days; 
  • Royal Liverpool hospital has no more beds available in its intensive care unit, according to Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, and a senior doctor warns 58 of 60 beds are filled;
  • Quarantine for travellers returning to the UK from virus hotspots will be slashed to seven days with travellers taking a test a week after landing, the Transport Secretary has said; 
  • Nicola Sturgeon has urged Scots not to travel to Blackpool saying 180 recent infections north of the border had been linked to the town;
  • The UK’s total coronavirus deaths rose to 43,155 today, while the number of cases diagnosed since the outbreak began in March reached 654,644.
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Graphs from the paper show what effect different circuit breakers would have on deaths, hospitalisations and infections. Yellow represents the most strict form of circuit breaker, while the dotted black line shows what would happen if no measures were in place

Graphs from the paper show what effect different circuit breakers would have on deaths, hospitalisations and infections. Yellow represents the most strict form of circuit breaker, while the dotted black line shows what would happen if no measures were in place

Graphs from the paper show what effect different circuit breakers would have on deaths, hospitalisations and infections. Yellow represents the most strict form of circuit breaker, while the dotted black line shows what would happen if no measures were in place

Wales says it will BAN people from Covid hotspots in England 

Welsh ministers faced fury today after unveiling an extraordinary bid to ban people from coronavirus hotspots entering the country.

First Minister Mark Drakeford was accused of being obsessed with ‘banning the English’ after he announced the move saying people were ‘anxious and fearful’ about importing infection.

He put the blame for the action squarely on Boris Johnson, saying the PM had ignored two letters requesting he introduce travel restrictions in areas of England with high case rates.

But there were immediate questions about how the measure, due to come in from 6pm on Friday, can possibly be enforced.

Police commissioners in Wales suggested they could set up road blocks and follow up tips from the public.

But they have admitted there is not the capacity to ‘line the border with patrol cars’.

Tory member of the Welsh Parliament Andrew RT Davies said: ‘The Welsh Government’s unhealthy obsession with travel restrictions and ”banning the English” flies in the face of all the evidence.

‘Last month’s SAGE advice said such a move would have a ”low impact” and would be ‘complicated’ to enforce.’

The drastic restrictions come after Nicola Sturgeon suggested she is also considering a ban, and warned Scots not to travel to Blackpool because 180 cases north of the border had been linked to the seaside town recently.

In Wales, there are 17 areas under higher local lockdowns, which include rules against entering or leaving the area without a reasonable excuse such as work or education.

However, currently people living in Covid-19 hotspots elsewhere in the UK are free to enter areas of Wales not under restrictions where levels of the virus are low.

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The rolling seven-day average of daily infections — considered a more accurate measure because it takes into account day-to-day fluctuations — is 15,767, having soared from 3,000 this time last month. 

And data shows the average number of daily deaths is 91, having steadily increased following a record-low of seven in mid-August.

Only the US, Brazil, India and Mexico, all countries with substantially larger populations, have suffered more fatalities than the UK’s tally of 43,155. 

But experts consider this to be an underestimate because it only takes into account patients who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. A lack of testing at the peak of the pandemic meant many hospital patients and care home residents passed away without being diagnosed.

In fierce clashes across the dispatch box in PMQs Sir Keir pointed out that Mr Johnson had promised in May his approach would be ‘governed entirely by the science’, but SAGE documents revealed they had been calling for a national ‘circuit breaker’ for weeks.

He swiped: ‘Why did the Prime Minister reject that advice and abandon the science?’

But Mr Johnson shot back: ”Since he quotes the SAGE advice I might just remind him that on page one it says that all the interventions considered have associated costs in terms of health and well-being and that policymakers will need to consider announcements and economic impacts and the associated harms alongside this epidemiological assessment.’

The premier went on: ‘He wants to close pubs, he wants to close bars, he wants to close businesses in areas across the country where the incidence is low.’

Mr Johnson accused Sir Keir of ‘opportunism’, and urged him to encourage Labour’s local leaders in the North to sign up to tougher curbs. He said his Tiered strategy was the way to ‘avoid the misery of another national lockdown’.

However, as the blows turned personal, Sir Keir said: ‘I know that for someone who has been an opportunist all his life this is difficult to understand, but having read and considered the Sage advice I have genuinely concluded that a circuit-break is in the national interest.’

As the three-Tier Covid alert level system comes into force across England, the Liverpool City region is currently the only area in the highest bracket. However, the government’s ‘Gold Command’ group is expected to discuss today whether Greater Manchester and Lancashire should be escalated.

Mr Burnham and local leaders effectively declared war this morning by dismissing the idea of moving into Tier Three as ‘fundamentally flawed’ and ‘unacceptable’ – potentially leaving the PM having to decide whether to force the issue.

Relations with the scientific community – and crucially chief advisers Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance – appear to have deteriorated dramatically as divisions are played out in public.

In a brutal Twitter thread overnight, Wellcome Trust director Professor Jeremy Farrar warned that the government risked damaging the economy and should have acted three weeks ago to avoid an even worse March-style lockdown.

‘The latest government plans are an attempt to compromise between health and the economy but may end up damaging both,’ he said.

‘We didn’t use the summer months to get an effective, supportive & trusted track-trace-isolate system in place as other countries managed to do. That would have helped get R right down. Instead we headed into autumn with R too high. We’re sadly seeing the consequences of this now.

‘New measures shift responsibility to local authorities, but as the CMO made crystal clear, at base they will have little to no effect on transmission. This is the worst of all worlds, the economic damage of more restrictions without the gain of a reduction in transmission.’

Professor Farrar said the best time to act would have been three weeks ago, but an immediate ‘circuit breaker’ would help. ‘If we wait, the government will inevitably have to change course again in 4-6 weeks, but the longer they leave it the harsher restrictions will have to get and the longer they will need to be imposed,’ he warned.

By September 15 the UK seven-day rolling average of cases was tracking at more than double that of Germany

By September 15 the UK seven-day rolling average of cases was tracking at more than double that of Germany

By September 15 the UK seven-day rolling average of cases was tracking at more than double that of Germany

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Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer trade blows over circuit-breaker lockdown

Sir Keir pointed out that Mr Johnson had promised in May that his approach would be ‘governed entirely by the science’, but SAGE documents revealed that they had been calling for a national ‘circuit breaker’ for weeks.

He swiped: ‘Why did the Prime Minister reject that advice and abandon the science?’

But Mr Johnson shot back: ”Since he quotes the Sage advice I might just remind him that on page one it says that all the interventions considered have associated costs in terms of health and wellbeing and that policymakers will need to consider announcements and economic impacts and the associated harms alongside this epidemiological assessment.’

The premier went on: ‘He wants to close pubs, he wants to close bars, he wants to close businesses in areas across the country where the incidence is low.’

Mr Johnson accused Sir Keir of ‘opportunism’, and urged him to encourage Labour’s local leaders in the North to sign up to tougher curbs.

He said his Tiered strategy was the way to ‘avoid the misery of another national lockdown’.

However, as the blows turned personal, Sir Keir said: ‘I know that for someone who has been an opportunist all his life this is difficult to understand, but having read and considered the Sage advice I have genuinely concluded that a circuit-break is in the national interest.’

As the three-Tier Covid alert level system comes into force across England, the Liverpool City Region is currently the only area in the highest bracket. However, the government’s ‘Gold Command’ group is expected to discuss today whether Greater Manchester and Lancashire should be escalated.

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The academics behind the startling study which found half-term coronavirus lockdown could save up to 100,000 lives by New Year have also admitted Britain may have ‘missed the boat’ on a circuit breaker.

Professor Matt Keeling – from the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling – revealed today he wished he ‘hadn’t put these numbers in the study’ because the extreme scenario was only included ‘for illustration’.

Professor Keeling told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning: ‘I really, really wish I hadn’t put these numbers in the paper because they were there for illustration.

‘We looked at a range of different scenarios from a relatively low growth rate going forward where we might reduce deaths by a third between now and new year to some extreme scenarios, which I think are the ones that have been quoted in the papers, which really were ‘what happens if we don’t do anything?’ between now and the new year.’

The finding was based on the assumption that all lockdown measures currently in place would be lifted, leaving the virus unchecked from now until January. Professor Keeling noted in the paper that this worst-case scenario would never be allowed to play out without the government intervening.

However, the paper’s findings have already been used as ammunition by those calling for the mini-lockdown, including Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

As ministers traded blows over the restrictions, MailOnline exclusively revealed that Public Health England had sought to pour cold water on official concerns by informing politicians the UK appeared to be on ‘the same trajectory as Germany’ and would avoid spikes like those in France and Spain.  

The assessment was given by the deputy head of the Emergency Response Department at the key body as he briefed senior peers.

Minutes from the meeting on September 15 show that Dr Nick Gent insisted the UK was ‘on the same trajectory as Germany’ – which has seen a substantial rise in cases, but far lower than many other European countries.

The position contrasted sharply with the government’s SAGE experts, which were calling for far tighter restrictions to curb the spread at the same time.

A PHE spokesman said: ‘Advice was given at the time which was in line with the pandemic and what was seen across the continent.’

Although the most drastic estimates have not been borne out, the PHE stance will raise further questions about its role in the crisis. The body is being replace by a new organisation headed by testing tsar Dido Harding. It also underlines the difficulties for ministers in balancing different assessments from scientists.

By September 15 the UK seven-day rolling average of cases was tracking at more than double that of Germany. The UK rate is now four times that in Germany, and close to the levels in Spain and France.

And a week later SAGE scientists were demanding the government imposes a ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown, cautioning that cases could be doubling every seven days. 

Dr Gent gave an update to a meeting of the ruling Lords Commission, including the Lord Speaker and other senior peers, along with Professor Virginia Murray, Senior Public Health Adviser and Head of Global Disaster Risk Reduction.

He cautioned that there was no reason to believe the disease had become less virulent, and the lower level of deaths was likely down to younger people being less vulnerable.

But he also said that ‘international comparisons suggested that the UK was on the same trajectory as Germany and would not see the same significant increase as France and Spain.’

Richmond upon Thames (140.4), Hackney and City of London (133.1) and Ealing (132.5) have the highest infection rates in London, according to the Department of Health

Richmond upon Thames (140.4), Hackney and City of London (133.1) and Ealing (132.5) have the highest infection rates in London, according to the Department of Health

Richmond upon Thames (140.4), Hackney and City of London (133.1) and Ealing (132.5) have the highest infection rates in London, according to the Department of Health 

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WHICH BOROUGHS HAVE MORE THAN 100 CASES PER 100,000? 

Seven–day rolling rate of new cases by specimen date ending on 08 October:

Richmond upon Thames: 140.4

Hackney and City of London: 133.1

Ealing: 132.5

Redbridge: 128.4

Harrow: 123

Barnet: 110.4

Haringey: 106.5

Hounslow: 104.6

Kensington and Chelsea: 103.8

Hammersmith and Fulham: 101.5

Kingston upon Thames: 101.4

Tower Hamlets: 100.4 

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As arguments raged over where lockdown restrictions should be imposed, as many as twelve London boroughs have begun to record Covid-19 infection rates tipping over the worrying threshold of 100 cases per 100,000.

Richmond upon Thames (140.4), Hackney and City of London (133.1) and Ealing (132.5) had the highest daily new cases per 100,000 people in the week to October 8, according to Government statistics. None of the 32 boroughs had tipped the threshold before now, according to separate Public Health England data.

Croydon (69.8), Bromley (67.1) and Sutton (64), all in the south, sit at the other end of the scale with the fewest new cases per day — but all of them have still seen a significant hike in infections over the past month.

The average coronavirus infection rate across London’s boroughs is 94.15 cases per 100,000 people, according to the most recent Department of Health data — the equivalent of nearly one person in every 1,000 in the last week.

However, London’s figures appear to be being skewed upwards by the inclusion in the data of infected students studying in other cities. In Richmond, the capital’s supposed hotspot, analysis shows that a quarter of positive cases in the borough since are actually in places including Manchester, Leeds, Exeter and Durham.

Of 212 cases recorded in Richmond since September 20, 49 were in other towns and cities, the Evening Standard reports The vast majority of these people were aged 17 to 21, suggesting they were students originally from London whose cases were recorded using their home address.

It comes after Mayor Sadiq Khan said it is ‘inevitable’ the capital will pass a ‘trigger point’ to join swathes of the North West in the higher Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions in the ‘next few days’. It would see the city’s nine million residents banned from seeing their friends and family indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

Mr Khan and other London bosses are in support of a national two-week ‘circuit break’ lockdown across the whole of England to stem rising infections to avoid ‘sleepwalking into a bleak winter’. But Tory London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey slammed Mr Khan as ‘incredibly irresponsible’ and accused him of ‘governing by press release’ for supporting drastic action without clear scientific backing. 

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Quarantine for people returning to UK slashed to seven days 

Quarantine for people returning to the UK will be slashed to seven days under a radical overhaul of the Government’s coronavirus travel ban.

Grant Shapps told the virtual ABTA travel industry conference today that travellers will self-isolate at home and take a Covid test a week after landing.

The Transport Secretary ruled out testing on arrival at UK airports and ports, adding: ‘We’re proposing a domestic test regime, where people land and wait a week, have a test and get early release.’

The test will need to take place ‘in person,’ he said, and will be provided by the private sector, in order to prevent putting additional strain on the NHS. Mr Shapps added the test will be paid for by the traveller.

‘We’re also proposing an internationally recognised system, in which Britain would be a trailblazer, where tests and isolation take place prior to travel and after travel and would require no quarantine,’ Mr Shapps said.

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Reports say 100 cases per 100,000 people is considered one of the thresholds for an area being moved into Tier 2. But ministers are bound to take into consideration an array of different sets of statistics, including ones that show the speed of growth, hospitalisations and deaths.

Data shows hospitalisations for Covid-19 in London have barely risen over the past month, despite cases having increased. Almost 5,000 infected patients were being treated by NHS doctors during the darkest days of the first wave in April — but the figure currently stands at around 300.

But in Liverpool there are mounting warnings spaces could run out next week after a doctor claimed 58 out of 60 critical-care beds in the city are already full. 

The city’s NHS critical care beds are usually 85 per cent full at this time of year, with 51 out of 60 beds occupied across three hospitals, according to NHS England data from the past six years.

But councillor Paul Brant has warned Liverpool’s intensive care units are already at 95 per cent capacity, sparking fears of an impending crisis. One senior doctor has claimed only 58 out of 60 beds are currently full, with half thought to be filled by coronavirus patients.

Professor Callum Semple, a doctor in the city and academic at Liverpool University, said in a video released by the council 90 per cent of critical-care beds in the city are full. He warned it was likely capacity would be exceeded in a week. 

NHS England data also shows the national capacity of critical care beds is around 80 per cent and has been for several years. There are around 4,000 intensive care beds across the country, health chiefs say.

University Liverpool Hospitals Trust, which runs four hospitals in the city, has yet to reveal exactly how many intensive care beds it has available for the winter. But one of the hospitals it runs says it has 70 beds geared up with breathing apparatus to help Covid-19 patients, meaning the true number could be much higher than last winter.

It is thought this number has risen after Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledged to create thousands more beds to treat critically-ill patients in the wake of Britain’s first wave, amid fears hospitals could be overwhelmed by future waves.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Man Who Likely Ate a Gecko on a Dare Dies of Salmonella 10 Days Later: He ‘Basically Rotted from the Inside Out’

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Olympian Allyson Felix Breaks Usain Bolt’s Record—10 Months After Emergency C-Section

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Where’s REALLY had the most Covid-19 deaths? Study says Belgium but data reveals SAN MARINO

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wheres really had the most covid 19 deaths study says belgium but data reveals san marino
A US study of 19 countries found Belgium has had the highest death toll per 100,000 people. It was followed by Spain, the UK and US

A US study of 19 countries found Belgium has had the highest death toll per 100,000 people. It was followed by Spain, the UK and US

A US study of 19 countries found Belgium has had the highest death toll per 100,000 people. It was followed by Spain, the UK and US

Belgium has suffered the most coronavirus deaths for the size of its population – while the UK and US are third and fourth, according to a study.

Researchers analysed data from 19 countries with more than five million citizens and compared how many Covid-19 victims there has been for every 100,000 people living there up until September 19.

It revealed Belgium had the worst mortality rate (86.8), followed by Spain (65), the UK (62.6) and the US (60.3). For comparison, South Korea’s stood at just 0.7 – 85 times smaller than that of Britain or America. 

But when statistics for every country in the world is taken into account, Belgium falls to being the third worst-hit nation. The tiny European state of San Marino claims the grim accolade, followed by Peru and then Belgium. 

San Marino, a mountainous state surrounded by Italy, has only seen 42 Covid-19 deaths since February. But this equates to a rate of 123 per 100,000 residents when its tiny population of 33,800 is taken into account. Peru – which is home to 32million people – actually has a rate of 101 deaths per 100,000. 

Our World in Data, a website that publishes figures on large global problems using official sources, reveals the UK is 11th and the US 12th, with Andorra, Ecuador, and Mexico higher. 

India, on the other hand, has had the third highest cumulative deaths in the world, with 112,161. But due to its huge population, it places 87th in deaths per population. 

The US study, published in a medical journal, was designed to work out how many excess deaths there had been in America compared with 18 other countries.

All countries analysed were chosen because they had more than five million citizens and a GDP of at least $25,000 (£19,300) per capita, the researchers explain in their paper published in JAMA.

It showed the pandemic has directly or indirectly led to 225,000 deaths in the US, whether those people died of Covid-19 itself or an issue linked to the pandemic, such as delayed medical care over fears of going to hospitals amid outbreaks of the disease.

Looking at all the countries in the world, Belgium is actually not the worst-hit nation. San Marino is followed by Peru and then Belgium

Looking at all the countries in the world, Belgium is actually not the worst-hit nation. San Marino is followed by Peru and then Belgium

Looking at all the countries in the world, Belgium is actually not the worst-hit nation. San Marino is followed by Peru and then Belgium

Researchers at University of Pennsylvania showed 150,000 people died of Covid-19 between March and August 1. But an additional 75,000 deaths had occurred beyond what would be expected for that time period. 

The team said as of September 19, the US reported a total of 198,589 Covid-19 deaths – 60.3 deaths per 100 000.

Had it had a death toll comparable to Australia (3.3 deaths per 100 000), the US could have avoided 94 per cent of its deaths (187,661 fewer), the researchers revealed, as they blamed ‘weak public health infrastructure and a decentralised, inconsistent US response to the pandemic’.

But the US did not have the highest death toll from March to September, according to the small analysis. It was fourth, following Belgium (86.8), Spain (65) and the UK (62.6).

At the bottom of the table, South Korea and Japan have had less than one death (0.7) per 100,000 people, despite being two of the first countries to report coronavirus cases.

But the study does not paint a full picture because it’s only a small analysis of 19 countries.

PICTURED: Of the countries with the largest cumulative death tolls, these are their death rates per million people

PICTURED: Of the countries with the largest cumulative death tolls, these are their death rates per million people

PICTURED: Of the countries with the largest cumulative death tolls, these are their death rates per million people  

Our World in Data shows South America has had the highest deaths per million people to date (640), followed by North America (550) and Europe (313). Asia has had just 47 deaths per million people in comparison

Our World in Data shows South America has had the highest deaths per million people to date (640), followed by North America (550) and Europe (313). Asia has had just 47 deaths per million people in comparison

Our World in Data shows South America has had the highest deaths per million people to date (640), followed by North America (550) and Europe (313). Asia has had just 47 deaths per million people in comparison

20 COUNTRIES WITH THE WORST DEATHS

The data shows the countries with the highest death toll per 100,000 people, and their cumulative death toll in brackets.

San Marino: 123.7 (42)

Peru: 101.8 (33,577)

Belgium: 88.7 (10,327)

Andorra: 76.3 (59)

Bolivia: 72 (8,407)

Spain: 71.7 (33,553)

Brazil: 71.7 (152,513)

Chile: 70.2 (13,434)

Ecuador: 69.7 (12,306)

Mexico: 66.1 (85,285)

United States: 65.7 (220,889)

United Kingdom: 63.7 (43,293)

Italy: 60.1 (36,372)

Panama: 58.6 (2,529)

Sweden: 58.5 (5,918)

Argentina: 56 (25,342)

Colombia: 55.9 (28,457)

Sint Maarten (Dutch part): 51.3 (22)

France: 50.7 (33,125)

Macedonia: 39.1 (815)

Source: Our World in Data 

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Our World in Data shows that of all the 198 countries in the world, San Marino has had the highest death toll per 100,000 people by far (123.7).

It has only reported 742 confirmed Covid-19 cases since its first on February 27. But due to its small population, it means the coronavirus is highly prevalent, relative to the rest of the world. 

It has had more than 22,000 cases per million people in total – the equivalent of two people in every 100 (two per cent). It’s twice the official rate of the UK – which has recorded 9,600 cases per million people, the equivalent of 0.9 people in every 100. 

But experts insist at least 10 per cent of Britain has actually been infected since the virus first landed on UK soil in January. Millions of infected patients were never spotted because of the Government’s lacklustre testing regime.

San Marino’s estimate of prevalence is also likely to be an underestimate because a huge proportion of infected people are thought to never show any symptoms, meaning they never get swabbed. 

San Marino was declared ‘Covid-free’ on 26 June although has had several small outbreaks since, and is now recording cases every day once more, albeit it in low numbers. 

The seven-day average has hovered between one and four cases in the past week, according to Our World in Data. But no new fatalities have been recorded since June.

However, San Marino has just been added to the UK’s quarantine travel list, meaning anyone that travels there has to self isolate for 14 days on their return to the UK.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also announced that Italy and Vatican City State have lost their exemptions from the UK’s quarantine requirements as of Sunday at 4am.

It came after Italy recorded its biggest single-day jump in infections since the start of the outbreak, adding another 8,804 cases on Thursday. 

Looking at cumulative deaths per million people, San Marino is followed by Peru (101.8), with a number of other South American countries – Bolivia (72), Brazil (71.7), Chile (70.2) and Ecuador (69.7) – in the top 10 worst-hit nations.

Belgium (88.7), Andorra (76.3), Spain (71.7), the UK (63.7) and Italy (60.1) have had the highest death tolls per capita in Europe, after San Marino. 

They come above countries that on the surface look like they have had the highest death toll when looking only at cumulative figures.

San Marino was declared 'Covid-free' on 26 June although has had several outbreaks since, and is now recording cases every day once more, albeit it in low numbers

San Marino was declared 'Covid-free' on 26 June although has had several outbreaks since, and is now recording cases every day once more, albeit it in low numbers

San Marino was declared ‘Covid-free’ on 26 June although has had several outbreaks since, and is now recording cases every day once more, albeit it in low numbers

WHO URGES EUROPE TO STEP UP COVID-19 CONTROL 

Imposing tighter controls to curb COVID-19 contagion could save hundreds of thousands of lives across Europe before February as the continent battles an exponential surge in infections, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. 

The WHO’s European director Dr Hans Kluge cited projections from what he described as ‘reliable epidemiological models’ and said they were ‘not optimistic’ for the European region.

‘These models indicate that prolonged relaxing policies could propel – by January 2021 – daily mortality at levels 4 to 5 times higher than what we recorded in April,’ he said.

But taking simple, swift tightening measures now – such as enforcing widespread mask-wearing and controlling social gatherings in public or private spaces – could save up to 281,000 lives by February across the 53 countries that make up the WHO European region, he said.

Urging governments to ‘step up’ swiftly to contain in a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Kluge said the current situation was, ‘more than ever, pandemic times for Europe’.

New infections are hitting 100,000 daily in Europe, and the region has just registered the highest weekly incidence of Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with almost 700,000 cases reported.

‘The fall (autumn) and winter surge continues to unfold in Europe, with exponential increases in daily cases and matching percentage increases in daily deaths,’ Kluge told an online media briefing.

‘It’s time To step up. The message to governments is: don’t hold back with relatively small actions to avoid the painful damaging actions we saw in the first round (in March and April).’  

‘Under proportionately more stringent scenarios, the models are reliably much more optimistic, he said, adding: ‘Pandemic times do not necessarily mean “dark times”.’

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India, for example, has suffered exponentially as a result of Covid-19, with 112,161 deaths. But home to 1.3billion people, it means it comes 87th in the league table of deaths per population.

Similarly Iran is 28th, despite having the 9th highest cumulative death toll (29,605).

China, where the coronavirus first emerged in December 2019, has a staggeringly low figure of three deaths per million people, putting it at 183rd place.

Singapore (0.4), South Korea (0.8) and Japan (1.3) also appear to have escaped lightly relative to the rest of the world. Thailand (0.85) and Vietnam (0.36) are within the ten countries with the lowest death per capita despite being among the first to report coronavirus cases in January this year.

It is not clear why deaths rates per capita are slightly different for the countries included in both the list given by Our World in Data, and by the US researchers. For example Spain’s is 71 per 100,000 in the former and 65 in the latter. But it’s likely because they use different data sources and collected their figures roughly one month apart.

The findings lay bare how the crisis has led to more destruction in Western countries than in Asia.

Our World in Data shows South America has had the highest deaths per million people to date (640), followed by North America (550) and Europe (313). Asia has had just 47 deaths per million people in comparison.

Experts often put down to the fact Asia is more familiar with epidemic control, and was therefore prepared to fight against a highly contagious virus.

The south-east region has been stung with a history of emerging infectious diseases going back more than two decades, the most recent being SARS – a coronavirus similar to that which has caused the current pandemic – in 2004.

Dealing with outbreaks allowed the governments there to establish robust contact tracing systems and an action plan for when things escalate.

Behaviours such as wearing face masks were also widespread before the virus hit, making it easier to control the outbreak.

European countries, on the other hand, have not had to use contact tracing systems on a nation scale and face-mask wearing is an alien concept.

For example, it took months for the UK to set one up with potential to control the outbreak. Even now it is failing to track down a third of close contacts of Covid-19 positive cases.

And wearing a face mask in public places was not made compulsory until at least June, despite the worst of the coronavirus crisis being over.

There have now been more than one million deaths in the world from Covid-19 and 38million cases. While some countries are seeing a lull in deaths, they are accelerating in others.

EUROPE CASES AND DEATHS: Infections have been on a different path to fatalities for some time, with cases surging thanks to mass testing while hospital cases and deaths grow more slowly in much of Europe

EUROPE CASES AND DEATHS: Infections have been on a different path to fatalities for some time, with cases surging thanks to mass testing while hospital cases and deaths grow more slowly in much of Europe

EUROPE CASES AND DEATHS: Infections have been on a different path to fatalities for some time, with cases surging thanks to mass testing while hospital cases and deaths grow more slowly in much of Europe 

EUROPE 7-DAY AVERAGE DAILY NEW CASES PER MILLION PEOPLE: The Czech Republic, in purple, has the highest infection rate in Europe - ahead of hard-hit Western European countries such as the Netherlands (in red), France (in blue) and Spain (in orange)

EUROPE 7-DAY AVERAGE DAILY NEW CASES PER MILLION PEOPLE: The Czech Republic, in purple, has the highest infection rate in Europe - ahead of hard-hit Western European countries such as the Netherlands (in red), France (in blue) and Spain (in orange)

EUROPE 7-DAY AVERAGE DAILY NEW CASES PER MILLION PEOPLE: The Czech Republic, in purple, has the highest infection rate in Europe – ahead of hard-hit Western European countries such as the Netherlands (in red), France (in blue) and Spain (in orange)

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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