Mexico reported 3,672 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country and 227 more fatalities on Thursday.
It brings the total infections to 2,445,538 and the death toll to 229,580, according to health ministry data.
Separate government data recently published suggested the real death toll may be at least 60% above the confirmed figure, Reuters reports.
The Edinburgh festivals in Scotland have been offered millions of pounds in emergency funding in the face of widespread fears they may never fully recover from the severe impacts of the Covid pandemic.
The Fringe, international and book festivals, which help make up the world’s largest annual arts season, have been forced to very significantly curtail this August’s events, the second year running it has done so. One of the most famous, the military tattoo staged at Edinburgh castle, has again been cancelled.
Many senior figures in the August festivals now believe it is unlikely the events will ever return to their record-breaking scale of 2019, when they sold more than 4m tickets over a four-week run, with well over a million people attending events.
British Airways has furloughed thousands of its staff, citing delays to travel as the reason behind its decision.
The airline confirmed a large number of its workers – including management staff – have been put back onto the scheme, PA reports.
Workers were being brought off furlough ahead of the summer holiday period after the government set May 17 as the date for the restart of international travel.
However, no top holiday destinations are on the green list, meaning travellers returning from places such as France, Spain and Italy must quarantine at home for 10 days.
A large number of BA staff were already on furlough before the latest furlough decision took place, it is understood.
The firm has called for the UK’s government to open international travel “as soon as possible” and add “low-risk” nations such as the US to its green list.
It confirmed reports that more members of staff are to go onto the flexible furlough scheme and work part-time.
A BA spokesman said: ?”Like many companies we’re using the furlough scheme to protect jobs during this unprecedented crisis.
“However, it’s vital the Government follows its risk-based framework to reopen international travel as soon as possible, putting more low-risk countries, like the US, on its green list at the next available opportunity”.
A higher-than-expected number of young men have experienced heart inflammation after their second dose of the mRNA Covid-19 jabs from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
The CDC is still assessing the risk from the condition and has not yet concluded that there was a causal relationship between the vaccines and cases of myocarditis or pericarditis, Reuters reports.
While some patients required hospitalisation, most have fully recovered from their symptoms, the CDC said.
More than half of the cases reported to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) after people had received their second dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines were in people between the ages of 12 and 24, the CDC said.
Pfizer said it supports the CDC’s assessment of the heart inflammation cases, noting that “the number of reports is small given the number of doses administered.”
“It is important to understand that a careful assessment of the reports is ongoing and it has not been concluded that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines cause myocarditis or pericarditis,” the company said in a statement.
Moderna said it has not established a causal association with the condition and its vaccine. It said it is actively working with public health and regulatory authorities to further assess the issue.
South Africa enters third wave of Covid cases
South Africa has entered its third wave of Covid-19 infections as the continent’s worst-hit country registered 9,149 new cases, Reuters reports.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID) said South Africa had exceeded the national 7-day moving average incidence of 5,959 cases as defined by the ministerial advisory committee (MAC).
The MAC advisory reported the latest wave of cases had a 7-day moving average threshold that was 30% of the peak incidence of the previous wave, which reached around 10,000 infections driven by a new variant.
A hotel, which media reported was being used by members of Germany’s delegation to a Group of Seven summit in England, has closed because members of staff tested positive for Covid-19.
The Pedn Olva hotel in St Ives, a seaside town adjacent to the location of the three-day G7 leaders’ meeting in Cornwall had shut temporarily on advice from health officials and the local authority, the owners said.
“Following extensive discussions over the last few days with PHE (Public Health England) and Cornwall Council, we have taken the decision to fully close the hotel,” said a spokesperson for the owners, St Austell Brewery.
“We fully appreciate the inconvenience given the limited accommodation options available in the area at the moment but the safety and security of our team and guests is our upmost priority.”
The spokesperson said the hotel would reopen once a full Covid-19 deep clean had taken place and there were enough staff to run it.
The Euro 2020 fan zone in Glasgow, Scotland, will be one of the safest places to watch the tournament, an official said.
Up to 6,000 people a day, split into two sessions, will gather in the fan zone in Glasgow Green to watch matches on every day of the football tournament.
Concerns have been raised about the safety of the event amid the pandemic with fans not required to take a lateral flow test before attending.
Chris Weitz, senior sport development officer at Glasgow Life, told the PA news agency: “We’re expecting people to come to the fan zone and enjoy the games in what I would describe as one of the safest places they could come to watch the football matches, we’re outside, the tables are separated, two metres social distancing.
“We’ve adhered to guidance, we’ve worked closely with the Scottish Government and other partners taking advice on what measures we need to have in place, and we will continue to do so.”
The United States will purchase half a billion Covid-19 vaccine doses for lower income countries with no strings attached, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday.
“Half a billion vaccines will start to be shipped in August, as quickly as they roll off the manufacturing line,” Biden said at a news conference before the G7 summit in Britain.
An extra 20 million will be invested in the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in England, it has been announced, amid a rise in Covid-19 cases across the country.
The NHS has said the cash will be used to provide extra support for GPs, pharmacists and local services at vaccination sites around the nation, PA news reports.
It will also help increase staffing numbers at sites over the next month to help with the ongoing jabbing efforts, with NHS England calling it the “drive for the finish line”.
NHS England medical director of primary care Dr Nikki Kanani said:
Our local GP and pharmacy sites have been an integral part of the vaccination programme, delivering around 75% of the jabs administered so far, and we are incredibly thankful for them going above and beyond to keep our families and communities protected from Covid-19.
This additional funding gives these essential local institutions, like general practices and pharmacies, the resources to bring more staff on board and help the country drive for the finish line as we enter the final stages of the vaccine rollout.
Local vaccination sites are also being urged to ensure second dose appointments are brought forward for those over 50 where possible.
It comes as around six in every seven people in England aged 50 and over are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to new figures.
An estimated 85.8% of people in this age group had received two doses of a vaccine by June 6, with government setting a target to offer both jabs to all over 50s by June 21.
The NHS has also said that a record-breaking number of vaccine appointments were booked on Tuesday as those aged 25 to 29 in England were able to book an appointment for the first time.
Up to 100,000 appointments were being booked every hour.
Britain said it agreed a partnership with the United States on Thursday to tackle new pandemics by bolstering disease surveillance and genomic sequencing worldwide, on the eve of a G7 leaders’ summit.
Britain used its presidency of G7 to pledge to improve global preparedness against emerging health threats in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.
Health minister Matt Hancock said:
To send this virus into retreat and stop the advances of future diseases, it is vital the whole world has access to the UK and U.S.’s sophisticated surveillance and sequencing technologies.
Through this new landmark partnership with our closest ally, we are sharing our expertise with the world, so together we can unite and take action to prevent the spread of future pandemics to keep people safe everywhere.
Covid-19 cases on the rise in every region in England
Covid-19 case rates have increased across every region in England with a sharp rise in the North West, new figures show.
The latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England (PHE), published on Thursday, shows that rates in north-west England increased to 149.6 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to June 6, up week-on-week from 89.4, PA news reports.
This is the highest for the region since the week ending February 21 and is also the highest of any region in England. South-west England has the lowest rate: 20.8, up week-on-week from 9.7.
Meanwhile, PHE also said that case rates have risen among almost all age groups in England, with a spike in rates amongst 20 to 29-year-olds, going from 54.0 in the week ending May 30 to 121.0 in the seven days to June 6.
This is the age group with the highest rate and the biggest week-on-week increase, while the second highest rate is among 10 to 19-year-olds, up from 73.7 to 99.4.
The latest figures come as Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs that the Delta variant first identified in India now comprised 91% of cases of coronavirus in the UK.
PHE medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle said:
Once again we are seeing cases rapidly rise across the country and the Delta variant is now dominant.
The increase is primarily in younger age groups who are yet to receive the vaccine and we are seeing more hospital admissions.
The vaccine rollout is a huge success, however there are many millions who still need one or two doses and protection is not immediate.
Therefore, follow the guidance and remember it is safer outside. Practise good hand hygiene and wear face coverings in enclosed spaces.
The government said that as of 9am on Thursday, there had been a further 7,393 lab-confirmed cases in the UK.
It added that seven more people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Thursday, bringing the UK total to 127,867.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have been 153,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
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