UK at a COVID-19 ‘tipping point’ as a second lockdown looms: Live

Mayor of London urges quick action to stop coronavirus resurgence; Myanmar’s stay-at-home order for Yangon takes effect.

Staff at a self administered Covid-19 testing site in London, Britain, 16 September 2020. The UK government''s Covid-19 testing program is coming under increasing pressure, with many people not able to
  • UK government warns that the country is at a “tipping point” on coronavirus, as London’s mayor urges quick action to address the spread of the virus.
  • A stay-at-home order has come into effect in Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital and biggest city, closing offices and schools.
  • More than 31 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus and almost 959,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 21.1 million people have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, September 21

05:30 GMT – Philippines to allow medical workers to leave for overseas work

Philippines - nurses
Tens of thousands of Filipino medical workers, many of them nurses, work overseas [File: Rolex dela Pena/EPA]

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to allow medical professionals to leave the country and work overseas, following a temporary ban due to reported shortage of health workers during the pandemic.

In a statement on Monday, Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said medical professionals, who have completed their documents as of August 31, are now allowed to work abroad.

At least 1,500 medical professionals are waiting for the government to lift the ban, Roque said. Thousands more medical workers are also stranded in the country due to delays in processing their documents during the lockdown.

05:14 GMT – Canada’s Quebec imposes restrictions to prevent COVID-19 resurgence

The government of Canada’s province of Quebec has announced new restrictions on gatherings in order to prevent a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said that starting on Monday, a maximum of 50 people will be allowed to gather, down from 250, in the province.

Dube also said three areas, including Montreal and Quebec City, gatherings will be limited to 25 as the coronavirus alert has been raised to “orange” level.

04:14 GMT – Coronavirus found in imported squid packaging in China

Health authorities in China’s province of Jilin reported that traces of coronavirus have been found on the packaging of imported squid.

Authorities said the squid was imported from Russia by a Chinese company.

Last month, authorities in two cities also found traces of the virus on cargoes of imported frozen food, although the World Health Organization said there is no evidence of the virus being spread by food or packaging.

03:36 GMT – Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 922

Germany’s infectious diseases agency has reported 922 new coronavirus cases, raising the total number of cases to more than 272,300.

The Robert Koch Institute reported that there were no new deaths recorded keeping the total to 9,386.

03:15 GMT – Singapore develops robotic equipment to do swab test

Clinicians in Singapore have developed robotic equipment that can carry out safe, gentle nasal swab tests, according to a report by the Straits Times.

The SwabBot allows the patients to control the test themselves, making it more comfortable and safe, the report said. It is equipped with a mechanism that automatically withdraws the swab stick if there is resistance

The process, developed by clinicians from two government hospitals and Biobot Surgical, can take 20 seconds.

02:48 GMT – Australia’s Victoria on course to ease restrictions

Australia’s second-largest state of Victoria is on course to ease more restrictions as the number of cases continues to drop.

The state capital of Melbourne reported 35 new cases on Monday – below the target of 50 cases or less by September 28, when many of the restrictions are expected to be lifted.

Meanwhile, New South Wales reported four new cases on Monday, prompting the government to warn residents to maintain safe distances to avoid infection.

02:32 GMT – China reports 12 new cases

China’s National Health Commission has reported 12 new coronavirus cases, raising the number of cases in the country to 85,291. Most of the infections have now recovered.

The agency said all the new cases are imported. At least 25 others were categorised as asymptomatic.

No new deaths were reported keeping the death toll at 4,634.

02:05 GMT – New Zealand PM announces easing of restrictions

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that coronavirus restrictions in the city of Auckland will be eased starting Thursday, while lockdown limits will be lifted in other parts of the country.

Ardern said that starting from midnight on Monday, the rest of the country will be free of movement restrictions, although health safety protocols will still be in place.

01:40 GMT – Stay-at-home order takes effect in Myanmar’s Yangon

Coronavirus - Myanmar
Under the new lockdown ordered on Sunday, classes are suspended and employees required to work from home [Shwe Paw Mya Tin/Reuters]

A stay-at-home order for Myanmar’s commercial capital, Yangon, has taken effect as the country tries to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Under the new lockdown, which was ordered on Sunday, classes are suspended and employees are required to work from home.

Myanmar has at least 5,541 COVID-19 cases and 92 deaths.

01:16 GMT – South Korea reports 70 new cases as schools reopen

South Korea has reported 70 new coronavirus cases, the second consecutive day that it reported infections below 100, but the government admitted that a “high number” of untraceable cases remain.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said at least 55 of the new cases were local infections. The total number of cases has now reached 23,045, and with two new fatalities reported, the death toll rose to 385.

The latest numbers come as in-person classes resumed in the capital Seoul and surrounding areas on Monday, according to Yonhap news agency.

00:48 GMT – Mexico reports 3,542 new coronavirus cases, 235 new deaths

Mexico’s health ministry has reported 3,542 new coronavirus cases and 235 new deaths.

The number of infections officially reported in the country now stands at 697,663, while the death toll has hit at least 73,493 although the government reported recently that excess deaths exceeded 120,000.

00:05 GMT – Brazil reports 16,389 new coronavirus cases, 363 deaths

Brazil’s health ministry has reported 16,389 additional confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections to more than 4.52 million, though the latest numbers do not include three states.

At least 363 new deaths were also reported. Nearly 137,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Brazil, second only to the United States.

00:01 GMT – Health minister warns UK at ‘tipping point’

UK health minister Matt Hancock has warned that the country is at a coronavirus “tipping point” in an interview with the BBC, saying: “either that everybody follows the rules … or we will have to take more measures,” such as a possible second national lockdown.

The government has reported almost 3,900 new cases on Sunday, prompting a call by London Mayor Sadiq Khan for quick action, with the situation in the capital “clearly worsening”.

The UK has more than 396,000 cases and more than 41,800 deaths.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Read all the key developments from yesterday (September 20) here.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies