Coronavirus live news: UK health secretary won’t rule out national lockdown; global cases pass 30m | World news

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Two thousand ultra-Orthodox Jews are being blocked by armed guards from entering Ukraine for an annual pilgrimage to a rabbi’s grave, creating a makeshift camp at the country’s border with Belarus.

The men ignored warnings by the Ukrainian authorities not to travel after its borders closed at the end of last month in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19.

On Thursday, an official with Ukraine’s interior ministry official repeated that the pilgrims would not be allowed to cross the border. “Ukraine has shut its borders to foreigners, and no exclusions will be made for the Hasidic [ultra-Orthodox] pilgrims,” said Mykhailo Apostol. “It’s getting colder and we suggest that they… go home.”

The Israeli higher education minister, Ze’ev Elkin, appealed to the men to leave the border.

Czech Republic reports a record 3,130 new cases

UK hints at second national lockdown

Indonesia says its average daily death toll from coronavirus now stands at 105 cases – an increase of 25% from last week.

Wiku Adisasmito, the spokesman for the Covid taskforce, also announced a further 122 people had died from the virus as of 17 September, taking Indonesia’s death toll to 9,222.

Most days of September have seen more than 100 deaths from the virus in Indonesia, as the death toll has steadily risen towards the peak of 139 recorded on 22 July.

Adisamito also said there were now 56,720 active cases in the country.

Sekretariat Kabinet

The number of #COVID__19 active cases in Indonesia, as of 17 September 2020, was 56,720 cases, Spokesperson for the #COVID__19 Handling Task Force, Wiku Adisasmito, has reported.

September 18, 2020


Boris Johnson reached for an unlikely reference in attempts to clarify when exactly British people should call the police on neighbours who break the “rule of six”: the lurid 1978 college comedy Animal House.

In an interview with the Sun, the prime minister used the John Landis film, which focuses on a chaotic year at the fictional Faber College, as cultural shorthand for debauchery and the kind of parties with “hot tubs and so forth”, that would pose “a serious threat to public health”.

Landis’s college comedy, which came from the team behind National Lampoon magazine, is regarded as a seminal classic by its fans and an outmoded throwback that should be confined to history by its critics.

In a piece marking the film’s 40th anniversary, the film critic Charles Bramesco, said at a time when cultural commentators are looking at older works for “offences against modern mores” that there’s “no target fatter than Animal House”.

It has been criticised for having “gay-panic undertones”, using “casual” racism and normalising misogyny – in one scene a character debates whether he should rape a girl who has passed out:


Families with children have experienced greater financial pressure and mental health worries during the coronavirus pandemic than those without, according to analysis commissioned by the Scottish government.

The report, which captures parental anxieties during lockdown, was published on Thursday amid growing concerns that the latest “rule of six” guidance on socialising has a disproportionate impact on poorer children.

The results of the polling, conducted by Ipsos Mori between 27 April and 3 May, found that respondents with children in their household were more likely than those without to have difficulties paying their rent or mortgage – 10% compared with 5% – to have a lower income than usual, and to be worried about their own and others’ mental health:

More than 1,500 breast cancer patients in UK face long waits to have reconstructive surgery after hospitals could not operate on them during the pandemic because they were tackling Covid-19.

The women are facing delays of “many months, possibly years” because the NHS has such a big backlog of cases to get through, according to research by the charity Breast Cancer Now.

When the lockdown began in March the NHS stopped performing breast reconstructions for women seeking one after a mastectomy as part of its wider suspension of care. That was because so many operating theatres were being used as overflow intensive care units and because doctors and hospital bosses feared that patients coming into hospital might catch Covid:

CDC was made to publish watered-down Covid testing guidelines – report

Here’s our full story the Joe Biden town hall:

Joe Biden sent a message to voters on Thursday night that differed starkly from Donald Trump’s unlikely coronavirus promises, saying: “The idea that there’s going to be a vaccine, and everything is going to be fine tomorrow is just not rational, just not reasonable.”

Speaking at a drive-in town hall in the Pennsylvania town of Moosic, just south of Scranton, the Democratic nominee warned the country would not immediately return to normal life even if a coronavirus vaccine was soon approved.

Biden’s CNN town hall came two days after Donald Trump held a similar event in nearby Philadelphia, but the president sent a very different message on the pandemic, once again implausibly suggesting coronavirus was “going to disappear” and that a vaccine would be available in weeks:

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