Coronavirus live news: Greater Manchester facing tier 3 restrictions, Argentina passes 1m cases - The Guardian

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Greater Manchester has until noon on Tuesday to agree deal on restrictions

In England, the strictest Covid restrictions will be imposed on nearly 3 million people across Greater Manchester if no deal is reached by midday on Tuesday, the government has said in a dramatic ultimatum, write the Guardian’s Josh Halliday and Helen Pidd.

The communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, warned northern leaders late on Monday night that if they fail to agree to pub closures and a ban on household mixing, the tier 3 measures will be brought in unilaterally.

He said he would have to “advise the prime minister that despite our best endeavours we’ve been unable to reach agreement.”

The statement, which came only hours after a government meeting with Greater Manchester leaders ended in chaos and confusion, makes it highly likely that tier 3 restrictions will be imposed on the region within 48 hours.

The high-stakes ultimatum was met with fury in Greater Manchester, where the Labour MP Andrew Gwynne accused the government of being “completely contemptuous” of the region, and council leaders said ministers had offered no compromise as they sought to close pubs, bars and other venues.

You can read our full story below:

Hannah Ellis-Petersen

India is at heart of global efforts to produce a Covid vaccine, writes the Guardian’s Hannah Ellis-Petersen.

As the largest global supplier of drugs and producer of 60% of the world’s vaccines, India has long been known as the “pharmacy of the world”.

Now, as the frenzied hunt for a Covid-19 vaccine gathers momentum, the country is playing an increasingly strategic and central role in the development, manufacturing – and, crucially, possible future distribution – of several possible Covid shots.

With more than 7.5 million cases and about 115,000 deaths, India is also one of the worst affected countries by the virus, second only to the US.

A deal has already been struck for the Serum Institute of India, based in the city of Pune, to produce 1bn doses of the the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, seen as the forerunner in the vaccine race. In anticipation of its success, it has already begun production of almost 2m samples of the vaccine and is carrying out phase 3 human clinical trials on thousands of patients spread across 15 Covid-19 hotspots in India.

This week, the Serum Institute of India said it was confident the AstraZeneca vaccine would be ready by December and would be licensed for distribution in India by March.

A research scientist works in a laboratory at the Serum Institute of India.
A research scientist works in a laboratory at the Serum Institute of India. Photograph: Euan Rocha/Reuters

Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of the Serum institute of India, said he was “very optimistic” that more than one successful vaccine was imminent.

“A lot of the data that I have seen off-the-record in a lot of these vaccines is very promising and more than three to four vaccines will be successful very soon in the next year,” said Poonawalla.

The Serum Institute, which this week also began human trials on an intranasal Covid vaccine, is just one of the dozens of Indian companies in the running to produce the much-coveted vaccine, of which there are almost 200 different types being developed across the world.

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Trump confirms he will debate Biden, complains it's 'very unfair'

Back on the news that the presidential debate will go ahead on Thursday with mute buttons to ensure both Trump and Biden can finish their answers without interruption .... aboard Air Force One after his rally in Arizona, Trump confirmed he would take part.

“I’ll participate, I just think it’s very unfair,” Trump told reporters.

“I will participate but it’s very unfair that they changed the topics and it’s very unfair that again we have an anchor who’s totally biased.”

NBC journalist and White House correspondent Kristen Welker will moderate the debate and she selects the topics, according to Presidential Debate Commission. It’s website says:

Subject to possible changes because of news developments, the topics are as follows, not necessarily to be brought up in this order:

Fighting Covid-19 American Families Race in America Climate Change National Security Leadership

It will be held on Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee at 9pm Eastern Time and will run for 90 minutes without commercial interruption.

Kristen Welker from NBC will moderate the final presidential debate on Thursday.
Kristen Welker from NBC will moderate the final presidential debate on Thursday. Photograph: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Updated at 5.25am BST

Still in New Zealand and Stuff reports that 440 fishermen from Russia and the Ukraine arrived on Friday and are isolating at the Sudima Hotel, near Christchurch Airport. The outlet says:

Stuff previously reported about 440 fishermen from Russia and Ukraine were due to arrive (in NZ) on two flights chartered by fishing companies – the first of which is thought to have touched down from Moscow via Singapore on Friday.

Many of the 237 people onboard have been isolating at the Sudima Hotel, near Christchurch Airport, since their arrival.

On Tuesday afternoon, in response to questions from Stuff, a Ministry of Health spokeswoman said there were 11 positive cases at the facility and another 14 were “under further investigation”.

The cases were all imported. They were detected as part of routine day three testing.

Earlier on Tuesday the health ministry had reported one new imported case and no new community cases.

The country had gone 22 days with no new Covid-19 cases in the community, until a port worker tested positive on Saturday.

Updated at 4.54am BST

New New Zealand cases in Christchurch hotel

The New Zealand Herald is reporting that 11 international sailors in a Christchurch hotel have tested positive for Covid – 14 more cases are “under further investigation”, according to the ministry of health.

“All are imported cases detected at routine day 3 testing. None involve cases in the community,” the ministry said, according to the Herald.

nzherald (@nzherald)

#BREAKING Health officials have confirmed 11 international seamen in a Christchurch hotel have tested positive for Covid — 14 more cases are 'under further investigation". https://t.co/huU1IMW9fj pic.twitter.com/UiXWm7nevj

October 20, 2020

Updated at 4.44am BST

Vietnam has been one of the most effective nations in reducing coronavirus infections, and deaths.

The southeast Asian country of 95 million people has reported just over 1,110 Covid-19 infections, and only 35 deaths. It has reported no locally transmitted infections for 47 days.

Workers manufacturing ventilators at a factory outside Hanoi, Vietnam.
Workers manufacturing ventilators at a factory outside Hanoi, Vietnam. Photograph: KHAM/Reuters

But the closure of economic growth is seen slowing down to 2% to 3% this year from an expansion of 7.02% last year due to the wider impact of the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Tuesday.

Phuc said Vietnam’s first priority will continue to be containing the spread of Covid-19.

“We have done a good job in containing the virus, paving the way for reviving economic activities,” Phuc told a meeting of the National Assembly, the country’s lawmaking body.

In Germany, 6,868 new confirmed coronavirus cases were detected in the past 24 hours. The country has recorded 373,167 infections overall, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The death toll from the virus rose by 47 to 9,836.

Signs from Germany’s health ministry remind people in Berlin of measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19. The sign says “Social distancing, Hand washing, Wearing mask, Ventilate, Reduce social contacts, Use the Corona App”.
Signs from Germany’s health ministry remind people in Berlin of measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19. The sign says “Social distancing, Hand washing, Wearing mask, Ventilate, Reduce social contacts, Use the Corona App”. Photograph: Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Like many countries in western Europe, Germany is battling a surging second wave of the coronavirus.

In Victoria, the Australian state hardest-hit by Covid-19, more than 200 people who went through hotel quarantine must be screened for HIV amid fears of cross-contamination from the incorrect use of blood glucose test devices.

Several such devices were used on multiple people in quarantine between 29 March and 20 August, necessitating screenings for blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B and C and HIV.

It should be stressed the mistaken use of the devices carries a “very low clinical risk” according to the state’s premier, Dan Andrews.

Earlier I mentioned that President Trump had held a rally in Tucson, Arizona .... and he has tweeted a photo of the crowd. You can make your own mind up about social distancing in the video.

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

THANK YOU TUCSON, ARIZONA! Together, we are going to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!! pic.twitter.com/GYB2zG0f4H

October 19, 2020

Argentina becomes 5th country to record 1m cases

Argentina has become the fifth country with more than 1 million coronavirus cases, its Health Ministry said, after an acceleration of cases in the past few weeks.

There were 1,002,662 confirmed cases of the virus in the South American country by Monday night, the ministry said in a statement.

In the past 24 hours, there were 12,982 new cases reported and 451 deaths, it said.

The latest figures put it alongside the United States, India, Brazil and Russia, all with populations greatly exceeding Argentina’s 45 million people.

It means one in every 45 Argentinians have had the virus.

FILE - Cots fill Tecnopolis Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, April 17, 2020. Authorities set up the field hospital in Buenos Aires. The space normally hosts museum exhibits, fairs and other attractions.
FILE - Cots fill Tecnopolis Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, April 17, 2020. Authorities set up the field hospital in Buenos Aires. The space normally hosts museum exhibits, fairs and other attractions. Photograph: Víctor R Caivano/AP

More than 26,000 people have died, giving the country fatality rate of about 2.7%, according to health ministry data.

The country ranks 15th in the world on deaths per 100,000 population, at 59.03, according to Johns Hopkins data. Peru (105.35), Brazil (73.36) and Chile (72.80) and Ecuador (72.5) top the rate of deaths per 100,000 in South America. By comparison the US’s rate is 67.14.

Argentina is also grappling with low levels of testing. But for those getting tested, more than 60% of recent tests are coming back positive, one of the world’s highest positivity rates.

Argentina’s borders remain closed to tourism, though domestic flights have resumed for people with government approval to travel for medical, family or work reasons.

Canada passes 200,000 cases

Canada’s total infections passed 200,000 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Ontario and Quebec, which account for around 60% of Canada’s 37.6 million people and just under 80% of the country’s reported Covid cases, have seen sharp increases in cases in recent weeks.

Both provinces have taken fresh measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Less-populated provinces, including Manitoba and Alberta, are also seeing worrying increases.

Canada’s chief medical officer, Dr Theresa Tam, said on Monday she was concerned the country will see an uptick in “severe impacts” of the virus in the coming weeks.

Canada announced on Monday that its border with the United States would remain closed until at least 21 November.

US customs officers speak with people in a car beside a sign saying that the US border is closed at the US/Canada border in Lansdowne, Ontario.
US customs officers speak with people in a car beside a sign saying that the US border is closed at the US/Canada border in Lansdowne, Ontario. Photograph: Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images
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