Zoos and safari parks will be allowed to reopen next week, in the latest moves to relax coronavirus lockdown rules being announced by Boris Johnson.
Bowing to pressure from MPs, animal-lovers and conservationists – including his own father Stanley – the prime minister will declare that zoos can reopen from next Monday, 15 June.
Outdoor attractions where people stay in their cars, such as safari parks and drive-in cinemas, will also be allowed to reopen from Monday, given the low risk of coronavirus transmission.
The economic downturn in the US triggered by the pandemic has been officially declared a recession.
The National Bureau of Economic Research made the designation on Tuesday, citing the scale and severity of the current contraction.
It said activity and employment hit a “clear” and “well-defined” peak in February, before falling.
The ruling puts a formal end to what had been more than a decade of economic expansion – the longest in US history.
Meanwhile, US markets continued their rebound on Monday, as investors remained optimistic that the downturn will be short-lived.
WHO expresses caution on whether there may be protection from prior exposure to some cold viruses; scientists examine if some people are more vulnerable to infection than others
New figures sent in by civil registries show an additional 12,000 fatalities in Catalonia, the Madrid region and Castilla-La Mancha
Between March 1 and May 12, Spain recorded 43,295 more deaths than what would be considered normal for this time of the year, based on past mortality rates. This is up 52% from the expected deaths for the period.
The figure includes 27,302 confirmed fatalities from Covid-19, but there are an additional 15,993 deaths that show up on civil registries but are not recorded as coronavirus victims, even though many of them probably are.
On Wednesday, a system update with new data sent in by civil registries turned up 12,000 more excess deaths than were previously known. Of these, 7,300 were in Catalonia (mostly in Barcelona), 2,500 in the Madrid region and 800 in Castilla-La Mancha.
- An effective coronavirus vaccine is yet to be developed anywhere in the world
- Matt Hancock said if one is made he hopes ‘everybody would have the vaccine’
- He then left the door open to a mandatory coronavirus vaccination programme
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock today left the door open to the UK having a mandatory coronavirus vaccination programme.
An effective vaccination for the disease is yet to be developed anywhere in the world but Mr Hancock said if one is he would hope that ‘everybody would have the vaccine’.
But asked directly if getting the jab could be made mandatory, Mr Hancock said the question was ‘not one that we have addressed yet’.
The UK’s coronavirus testing tsar, Professor John Newton, then went further as he confirmed requiring people to get vaccinated is an option available to the Government.
England has reported the lowest rate of COVID-19 deaths per total fatalities in a study of European nations.
The study by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) provides some welcome relief to the UK government which has come under increasing criticism for its handling of the care home crisis.
The research, using ONS data as of May 9, shows there were almost 7,000 COVID-19 care home fatalities in England, amounting to 21% of 33,000 fatalities. Wales reported a higher rate of 25%, while care home COVID-19 death rates in Scotland amounted to 45% of 3,200 COVID-19 fatalities as of May 10.
Elsewhere, the share of care home fatalities per total ranged from 37% in Germany to 66% in Spain, which had seen 18,000 deaths officially reported in care facilities as of May 11.
Rates were also high in France (50%) which reported more than 13,500 COVID-19 care home deaths as of May 11, Belgium (51%), Norway (61%) and Stockholm, Sweden (45%). Italy, which has Europe’s second highest overall fatality rate after the UK, was not included in the research.
While the European comparison favoured England, it should be borne in mind that the ONS is generally accepted to be underreporting the true number of care home fatalities with the latest estimates suggesting that the ‘real’ death number of deaths is more than double their figure.