I’ll be closing the blog for today but you can catch up with the latest coronavirus coverage here.

Thanks for following along with all our Covid developments today.

Here’s a quick rundown of all the highlights you might have missed.

  • Senior figures in the UK say the failure to a prevent second wave was inexcusable given what was known about the virus. The failure to prevent tens of thousands of deaths during Britain’s brutal second wave of Covid infections was a more serious error than the timing of the first lockdown, senior scientists have told the Guardian, after a damning report by MPs on the handling of the pandemic.
  • Bereaved families call for acceleration of UK Covid public inquiry to be accelerated and for ministers to apologise after a damning report by MPs on the handling of the pandemic.
  • A first official report on the UK’s early handling of the pandemic, published on Tuesday by cross-party MPs, described it as one of the worst public health failures in British history. “Groupthink” by ministers and scientists, including a deliberately slow approach to imposing the first lockdown, led the UK to fare “significantly worse” than other countries, it concluded.
  • Canberra, Australia’s capital city, is set to become the most Covid vaccinated city in the world. “The current evidence suggests that the ACT will be one of the most vaccinated cities in the world,” said the territory’s chief minister, Andrew Barr. “We expect to be at around 99% of the eligible population fully vaccinated by the end of November. It’s a testament to ACT residents and their willingness to protect themselves, their family and their community.”
  • IMF says Covid support has left world open to new financial crisis. The emergency support provided by central banks and finance ministries during the Covid-19 pandemic has fuelled speculation and left the world vulnerable to another financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has warned.
  • The US has administered 403,576,826 doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of Tuesday morning and distributed 488,178,975 doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
  • The UK reported 38,520 further cases of Covid-19, down from 40,224 yesterday.
  • Russia will test a nasal spray form of its Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19 among adult volunteers, according to a state document published on Tuesday.

Updated

The parliamentary inquiry into the UK’s response to the Covid crisis raises the serious issue of transparency around scientific advice, Nicola Davis writes.

The 151-page Coronavirus: lessons learned to date report, led by two former Conservative ministers, has made it clear that advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) should be rapidly placed in the public domain, she argues.

Read more of her analysis here:

The US has administered 403,576,826 doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of Tuesday morning and distributed 488,178,975 doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Those figures are up from the 401,819,240 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by 9 October, out of 487,277,035 doses delivered.

Reuters reports:

A total of 217,403,897 people had received at least one dose while 187,714,829 people are fully vaccinated as of 6am ET on Tuesday.

The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine.

About 8.55 million people received a booster dose of either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine since 13 August, when the U.S. authorised a third dose of the vaccines for people with compromised immune systems who are likely to have weaker protection from the two-dose regimens.

Updated

The failure to prevent tens of thousands of deaths during Britain’s brutal second wave of Covid infections was a more serious error than the timing of the first lockdown, senior scientists have told the Guardian, after a damning report by MPs on the handling of the pandemic.

The scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage) warned ministers in September 2020 that the country faced a “very large epidemic with catastrophic consequences” unless they took immediate action and imposed a “circuit breaker” to bring soaring cases under control.

But the advice went unheeded and was only made public three weeks later, after Boris Johnson announced the three-tier system as an alternative. It was abandoned for a national lockdown in November.

Several scientists advising the government said that the failure to prevent the second wave was inexcusable given how much was then known about the virus and the imminent availability of Covid vaccines.

Russia to test Covid-19 vaccine in form of nasal spray

Russia will test a nasal spray form of its Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19 among adult volunteers, according to a state document published on Tuesday,

It comes after the country recorded its highest single-day death toll since the start of the pandemic, with 973 deaths.

Reuters reports:

Russia was quick to develop and launch its Sputnik vaccine when the coronavirus pandemic struck last year, but take-up has been slow, with many Russians citing distrust of the authorities and fear of new medical products.

The nasal spray is to be applied in two doses in a clinic in St Petersburg, according to the document published on the state register of medicines, which did not provide the planned timing of the clinical tests.

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday Russia needed to speed up its vaccination campaign against Covid-19 as the country recorded its highest single-day death toll since the start of the pandemic.

Former UK health secretary Matt Hancock has been appointed a special representative to the United Nations, tasked with helping African countries recover from Covid-19, PA reports.

He said he was “honoured” to have been given the role, adding on Twitter: “I’ll be working with the UN, the UN Economic Commissions for Africa to help African economic recovery from the pandemic and promote sustainable development.”

It comes four months after he resigned from his Cabinet role for breaking social distancing rules by kissing and embracing an aide in his office.

According to the UN, African countries face paying more than 300 billion to recover from the pandemic.

The under secretary-general of the UN, Vera Songwe, said Mr Hancock’s “success” in handling the UK’s pandemic response is a testament to the strengths he will bring to the role.

New York state cannot impose a Covid-19 vaccine mandate on healthcare workers without allowing for religious exemption requests, a US judge has ruled.

Reuters reports:

The decision by US District Judge David Hurd in Albany, New York, prevents the state from interfering with religious exemptions requests.

Seventeen workers sued over the mandate, alleging their employer revoked an exemption or refused to consider it because of the state’s emergency vaccine requirement, which was announced on 26 August.

The ruling provides a test case as vaccine opponents gear up to fight plans to be unveiled soon by the Biden administration to extend Covid-19 vaccine requirements to tens of millions of unvaccinated Americans.

New York’s department of health on 26 August ordered healthcare professionals to be vaccinated by 27 September and the order did not allow for the customary religious exemptions.

The plan was challenged by a group of healthcare workers who said they opposed Covid-19 vaccines because some vaccines were developed from cell lines of aborted foetuses.

Updated

Bereaved families call for acceleration of UK Covid inquiry after MPs’ report

Bereaved families have called for the UK Covid public inquiry to be accelerated and for ministers to apologise after a damning report by MPs on the handling of the pandemic, Robert Booth, Peter Walker and Steven Morris report.

Dr Cathy Gardner, whose father died from coronavirus after his care home was infected by the discharge of untested patients in March 2020, said the government must appoint a chair for the planned inquiry now rather than by Christmas as Boris Johnson has promised.

The Royal College of Nursing also called for a faster start to the inquiry, while Keir Starmer and the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group said ministers must say sorry for their handling of the crisis.

Lobby Akinnola, a spokesperson for the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said:

Had the government taken different decisions, thousands of those lost would still be here today.

The very least that should happen is the government should apologise for this – but what families need even more is a rigorous inquiry with bereaved families involved at every single step of the process.”

Stephen Reicher, a member of the Sage subcommittee advising on behavioural science, has responded to a cross-party report into the UK government’s response to the Covid pandemic in a Twitter thread.

The report suggested early failings resulted from apparent groupthink among scientists and ministers which led to “fatalism”.

Reicher references a piece previously written in the Guardian, warning that the term groupthink “misunderstands the issues and lets the government off the hook”.

He argues that the failings were not inevitable, but a result of the government’s underlying ideology.

The failures of the Government response were down to 'groupthink' we are told. But the term groupthink misunderstands the issues and lets the Government off the hook - as we have previously explained in these two pieces:https://t.co/hQygESU4rchttps://t.co/YKpDh9qetF

— Stephen Reicher (@ReicherStephen) October 12, 2021

'Groupthink' implies a general inability of groups to take a wider perspective and allow views which challenge the consensus. According to this view. such failure is inevitable, it is a characteristic of all groups and so specific groups cannot be held accountable for it.

— Stephen Reicher (@ReicherStephen) October 12, 2021

Similarly, the decisions of the Government don't reflect a general psychological failure but a specific ideology and culture which led to a set of disastrous decisions. For instance the key decision to delay action in March 2020 - the cause of so many needlessly lost lives...

— Stephen Reicher (@ReicherStephen) October 12, 2021

on the grounds that people would 'game the system'. Moreover, these decisions were not part of a 'groupthink' which included Government and scientists. It was not a matter of Government following bad advice from advisors...

— Stephen Reicher (@ReicherStephen) October 12, 2021

... it was actually Government following their ideology and using it to reject the scientific advice which argued strongly against 'behavioural fatigue', which argued strongly for support for self-isolation and which more generally argued that derision for the public...

— Stephen Reicher (@ReicherStephen) October 12, 2021

will undermine any relationship of trust between government and public which is the foundation of an effective pandemic response.
So let's stop using the term 'groupthink'. It isn't a repudiation of the government's anti-popular ideology. It is their ideology.

— Stephen Reicher (@ReicherStephen) October 12, 2021

Updated

France has reported 5,880 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours.

This compares with 38,520 further cases in the UK over the same period.

The latest figures show 73% of local authorities in the UK saw a week-on-week rise in cases rates of Covid-19, PA reports.

Of the 377 local areas in the UK, 276 have seen a week-on-week rise in rates and 101 have seen a fall.

The figures, for the seven days to 8 October, are based on the number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in either a lab-reported or rapid lateral flow test, by specimen date.

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

Trafford in Greater Manchester has the highest rate, with 2,009 new cases in the seven days to 8 October - the equivalent of 845.6 per 100,000 people.

This is up sharply from 531.2 in the seven days to 1 October.

Torfaen has the highest rate in Wales (712.8), Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon has the highest rate in Northern Ireland (529.8), and Stirling has the highest rate in Scotland (460.2).

Updated

IMF says Covid support has left world open to new financial crisis

The emergency support provided by central banks and finance ministries during the Covid-19 pandemic has fuelled speculation, leaving the world vulnerable to another financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

Policymakers were faced with a “challenging” trade-off between continuing to support economic activity while preventing unintended consequences and medium-term financial stability risks, the IMF said in its half-yearly Global Financial Stability Review (GFSR).

Noting that share prices appeared to be overvalued and house prices had risen rapidly in many countries, the Washington-based body said investors were becoming increasingly concerned about the economic outlook amid rising virus infections and greater uncertainty about the strength of the recovery, particularly in emerging markets.

Warning signs – for example, increased financial risk-taking and rising fragilities in the nonbank financial institutions sector – point to a deterioration in the underlying financial stability foundations.

If left unchecked, these vulnerabilities may evolve into structural legacy problems, putting medium-term growth at risk and testing the resilience of the global financial system.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, has welcomed a cross-party report into the UK government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, PA reports.

The inquiry, led by two former Conservative ministers, found that the early handling of the pandemic was one of the worst public health failures in UK history.

Burnham, a former health secretary, said the report “validates” concerns raised in Greater Manchester over the past 18 months.

The evidence is now clear that we have been harder hit by the pandemic than other parts of the country and not helped by some of the decisions that were made at a national level.

That has led our health service to be more disrupted than other parts of the country, our schools and younger people to have their education more disrupted than other parts of the country and also greater damage to the economy.

We don’t want to see any return to local lockdowns. If there has to be drastic action taken then we would say it’s got to be done at a national level.

Updated

Singapore today reported 2,976 Covid cases, up from 2,263 on Monday and 11 deaths, up one from yesterday.

The UK today reported 38,520 further cases of Covid-19, down from 40,224 yesterday. The number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test was 181, compared to 28 reported on the previous day, but fewer deaths are processed on weekends meaning figures are usually lower on Mondays.

UK Summary

Last updated on Tuesday 12 October 2021 at 4:00pm

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK.

Deaths within 28 days of positive test.
Daily
181

Total Deaths
137,944

Cases. People tested positive.
Daily
38,520#coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) #COVID19 #UK pic.twitter.com/PnA8cdHz3o

— WORLD UPDATES #coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (@WorldCOVID19) October 12, 2021

The UK’s health secretary has urged people to get their flu jab and Covid-19 booster shot to “give themselves and their loves ones the best possible protection in the months ahead”, reports PA Media.

Sajid Javid said he had “done his bit” after having his flu vaccination at a pharmacy in central London. It comes as the NHS rolls out its biggest ever flu jab campaign amid fears that if the viral infection is left unchecked this winter then thousands of lives could be lost.

“I’ve done my bit by getting my flu vaccine, and it’s vital that all those who are eligible come forward for both their flu and Covid-19 booster vaccines, to give themselves and their loved ones the best possible protection in the months ahead,” said Javid.

Last winter, under Covid restrictions, there were very few hospital admissions for flu, but the health service is braced for a big surge in the coming months due to a lack of population immunity, people meeting more indoors, and cooler temperatures helping the virus spread.

A report in the summer from the Academy of Medical Sciences assessed how the triple threat of coronavirus, flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) might affect the NHS this winter.

It found that hospital admissions and deaths from flu and RSV could be more than double those seen in a normal year, leading to as many as 60,000 flu deaths and 40,000 children in hospital with RSV.

Free flu jabs are available for about 30 million frontline health and social care workers, people aged 50 and over, children up to school year 11, those who are pregnant and those at clinical risk.

Those not eligible can make an appointment for a paid-for dose at pharmacies.

Updated

As mentioned earlier (at 13:33), two Wisconsin parents are taking legal action against their school districts for failing to protect their children.

Two Wisconsin mothers whose children had Covid-19 in September have sued their school districts, for “needlessly and recklessly endangering the health and safety” of their children and other students.

Both lawsuits accuse the school districts of creating a “snake pit” for students by not implementing Covid-19 safety measures recommended by health officials, such as indoor masking, at their schools this year.

Read the full story from Amanda Holpuch, my colleague at Guardian US

Today so far

  • Russian president Vladimir Putin said today that Russia needed to speed up its vaccination campaign against Covid-19 as the country recorded its highest single-day death toll since the start of the pandemic with 973 deaths. “Vaccination safeguards people from infection, from serious symptoms,” Putin told lawmakers. “We need to increase its pace.”
  • Russia’s Health minister Mikhail Murashko told a televised government meeting that 1.1 million people were currently being treated for symptoms of Covid-19. Anna Popova, head of Russia’s consumer health watchdog, said Russian regions were stepping up efforts to enforce mask use in public spaces.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide will die needlessly from Covid this autumn as wealthy nations prioritise booster shots for their own “highly protected” people instead of sharing doses, the head of the Oxford vaccine group has warned.
  • Vaccine manufacture Moderna has released documentation ahead of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel later this week. The pharmaceutical company said that its data supports the public health benefit of a booster dose of its vaccine to restore immune response, while reducing the number of so-called “breakthrough” infections in fully-vaccinated adults.
  • A UK government minister has refused to apologise after a damning overnight report said delays to lockdown and releasing people with Covid back into care homes in the UK had caused unnecessary deaths at the start of the pandemic.
  • The landmark inquiry found Britain’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic was one of the worst public health failures in UK history, with ministers and scientists taking a “fatalistic” approach that exacerbated the death toll. “Groupthink”, evidence of British exceptionalism and a deliberately “slow and gradualist” approach meant the UK fared “significantly worse” than other countries, according to the 151-page Coronavirus: lessons learned to date report led by two former Conservative ministers.
  • People in Wales have had their first night out with new restrictions that require mandatory Covid checks to enter nightclubs and venues. Not everybody was impressed.
  • Thailand is set to reopen its borders to sun-seeking vaccinated tourists from November. Mandatory quarantine requirements will be dropped for visitors from the UK and US and alcohol will be allowed to be served at restaurants from 1 December.
  • Amazon says it will allow those in “corporate roles” to continue working remotely indefinitely as long as they can commute to the office “within a day’s notice” when necessary.
  • Spain marked its national day with a military parade in Madrid today, in a sign that the coronavirus crisis was easing. While it was smaller than the 2019 event, and participants wore face masks, last year it was cancelled entirely.
  • A surge in Covid-19 conspiracy theories risks boosting antisemitism, hate crime campaigners have warned after the opening of an exhibition shedding light on interwar British fascism and its parallels today.
  • Two families in Wisconsin in the US are taking legal action against local school boards for failing to take measure to prevent their children catching Covid.
  • Also in the US, Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson has claimed the cancellation of thousands of flights by Southwest Airlines was “a direct consequence” of the Biden administration’s vaccination mandate for federal workers. Southwest is a private company, not subject to federal vaccine rules.
  • Sydney has been experiencing a second day out of lockdown, with some retailers saying that Covid passes are “an annoying add-on.” Shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs, gyms, hairdressers and stadiums now require people to show their vaccine certificates before entry.
  • Cape Town-based Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines is leading a pilot project, backed by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) and the Covax initiative, to adapt the Moderna’s vaccine so that it is more easily stored and transported in hotter climate conditions which have hampered the delivery of mRNA vaccines to some parts of Africa.

Tucker Carlson has claimed the cancellation of thousands of flights by Southwest Airlines was “a direct consequence” of the Biden administration’s vaccination mandate for federal workers.

Southwest is a private company, not subject to federal vaccine rules.

On his primetime Fox News show on Monday night, Carlson also said a group of Florida air traffic controllers – who are subject to federal rules – “apparently” walked out on Friday to protest against Covid-19 rules, contributing to difficulties facing Southwest passengers.

Local media has reported that the head of Jacksonville Aviation Authority rejected reports of a walkout.

Resistance to vaccines and other Covid-19 public health measures is strongest in Republican states, as politicians and media figures, Carlson prominent among them, seize on the issue. Carlson has also repeated conspiracy theories about negative health effects from vaccines. It is not known whether he is vaccinated himself.

Read more of Martin Pengelly’s report here: Tucker Carlson blames Southwest flight disruption on Biden vaccine mandate

Moderna releases data on booster shots ahead of FDA hearing later this week

In the US, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel will be meeting on Thursday and Friday to debate whether to approve extra doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Today Moderna has released some documentation ahead of that hearing.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the documents come out in favour of giving the extra shots. Moderna say the FDA should authorise booster doses in fully vaccinated older adults and high-risk individuals.

Reuters report that the company said its data supports the public health benefit of a booster dose of its vaccine to restore immune response, while reducing the number of so-called “breakthrough” infections in fully-vaccinated adults.

Johnson & Johnson today has also cited data showing increased protection after a booster dose, which it said could be either administered as early as two months after the original dose of its vaccine.

Putin: Russia needs to 'increase its pace' of vaccination after record daily death toll

Russian president Vladimir Putin said today that Russia needed to speed up its vaccination campaign against Covid-19 as the country recorded its highest single-day death toll since the start of the pandemic with 973 deaths.

Reuters report that speaking to newly elected lawmakers, Putin urged them to actively support efforts to have more of the population vaccinated.

“Vaccination safeguards people from infection, from serious symptoms,” Putin told lawmakers. “We need to increase its pace.”

Although Russia was quick off the blocks with its Sputnik V vaccine, take-up in Russia has been slow, with only around a third of the population having had at least one shot. A distrust of authorities is often cited as part of the reason for the low take-up rate.

Updated

Russian health minister: 1.1m people being treated for Covid symptoms

Just a little bit more from Reuters here on that situation in Russia. Health minister Mikhail Murashko has said “the main feature of the current wave is a rapid increase in the number of cases, as well as a large number of patients whose infection shows rapid progression over two or three days and require resuscitation”.

He told a televised government meeting that 1.1 million people were being treated for symptoms of Covid-19.

Anna Popova, head of Russia’s consumer health watchdog, said Russian regions were stepping up efforts to enforce mask use in public spaces.

Updated

We’ve been used to stories coming out of the US about legal action to try and prevent Covid mitigation measures. Governor Greg Abbott, for example, is attempting to bar vaccine mandates in his state, even as the Texas death toll approaches 70,000.

Today, Madeline Holcombe and Raja Razek at CNN have the opposite of that, with a report on some school parents who are taking legal action in Wisconsin over a failure to protect their children from getting infected. They write:

Gina Kildahl filed a complaint against the Fall Creek School District, the board, its superintendent and individual board members for “recklessly refusing” to implement Covid-19 mitigation strategies recommended by the CDC, according to the complaint.

“By bringing students back to class around unmasked staff, reinstituting extracurricular activities, and allowing potentially contagious visitors and volunteers into the schools without masks, FCSD and the BOARD threw students into a Covid-19 ‘snake pit’ creating an affirmative duty to keep their students safe from Covid-19,” Kildahl’s complaint read.

A separate lawsuit by Shannon Jensen alleges that the Waukesha School District and others are “’knowing, needlessly, unreasonably and recklessly exposing the public’ to the virus by continuing to hold classes ‘without adequate Covid-19 mitigation.’”

Read more here: CNN – Wisconsin parents file lawsuits against school districts over their children’s Covid-19 infections

Updated

In another pharmaceutical industry development, Cape Town-based Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines is leading a pilot project, backed by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) and the Covax initiative, to tweak Moderna’s mRNA vaccine so that it better suits poorer countries in hot climates.

Agence France-Presse report that the aim would be to manufacture a tough, resilient vaccine that would not need to be stored all the time at ultra-cold temperatures – a difficult requirement in places where power cuts can be a problem and with significant remote populations.

More than 10 months after the world’s first Covid shot was administered and nearly two years into the pandemic itself, barely five percent of eligible Africans have been fully immunised. The problem has exposed the continent’s dependence on imported vaccines, and a lack of investment in manufacturing capabilities within the region itself.

Employees at the Afrigen biotechnology company and Vaccine Hub facility in Cape Town.
Employees at the Afrigen biotechnology company and Vaccine Hub facility in Cape Town. Photograph: Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images

Twenty-two scientists are working on the project. AFP quotes Afrigen’s managing director, Petro Terreblanche, saying their new vaccine “will have a different stability and ]be] more suitable to be distributed at a temperature which is feasible for Africa.”

The Afrigen team say they are “reverse-engineering” the vaccine in a first step to see how it works. “This is considered research and development, so there isn’t any infringement of intellectual property and in the process we learn how you make mRNA, to be able to produce it at a scale that would be useful for clinical trials,” said Afrigen’s technical director, Karen Fenner.

“What we are looking for is to have a second-generation vaccine,” said Martin Friede of the WHO’s Initiative for Vaccine Research. “We have to start with a Moderna look-alike and be as close to Moderna as we can get,” he said. “It’s not a copy of Moderna.”

Moderna last week announced plans to build an mRNA facility in Africa with the capacity to manufacture up to 500m vaccines doses annually, but did not state where the factory will be located nor the start date.

Updated

I feel like we all know more about the global pharmaceutical industry now than we did when the pandemic started, and Reuters have news today that Johnson & Johnson has announced that their chief scientific officer will retire at the end of the year. Paul Stoffels spearheaded the development of the company’s single-shot Covid-19 vaccine.

A screengrab from a video where Johnson & Johnson’s Chief Scientific Officer was talking about the company’s single-shot Covid vaccine.
A screengrab from a video where Johnson & Johnson’s chief scientific officer was talking about the company’s single-shot Covid vaccine. Photograph: Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies/PA

Updated

I mentioned earlier that Russia has yet again recorded a record number of Covid deaths in a 24 hour period – 973. The number has crept past the previous record several times in the last few days.

Vladimir Isachenkov at Associated Press reports a bit more background on this today, reminding us that daily infections have also been hovering near all-time highs, with 28,190 new confirmed cases on Tuesday.

In total, Russia’s coronavirus task force has registered more than 7.8m confirmed cases and 218,345 deaths — the highest death toll in Europe. It is worth noting that the state statistics agency Rosstat also counts deaths where the virus wasn’t considered the main cause, and has reported a much higher total – about 418,000 deaths of people with Covid-19.

An elderly woman walks past a mobile vaccination site at the Yuzhnaya Galereya shopping mall.
An elderly woman walks past a mobile vaccination site at the Yuzhnaya Galereya shopping mall. Photograph: Sergei Malgavko/TASS

The Russian government has blamed a sharp rise in infections and deaths that began last month on a slow vaccination rate. Only 47.8 million Russians, or almost 33% of its population, had received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine. About 29%, were fully vaccinated, the government said Friday.

Despite the rapidly mounting coronavirus caseload and mortality, the Kremlin has ruled out a nationwide lockdown, delegating the power to make decisions on toughening coronavirus restrictions to regional authorities.

Some Russian regions have restricted attendance at large public events and limited access to theatres, restaurants and other places to people who have been vaccinated, recently recovered from Covid or tested negative in the previous 72 hours. In Moscow, authorities have expanded free coronavirus tests in shopping malls, hoping it would help stem contagion.

However, life remains largely normal in Moscow, St Petersburg and many other Russian cities, with businesses operating as usual and mask mandates loosely enforced.

Updated

Far-right Covid conspiracy theories fuelling antisemitism, warn UK experts

A surge in Covid-19 conspiracy theories risks boosting antisemitism, hate crime campaigners have warned after the opening of an exhibition shedding light on interwar British fascism and its parallels today.

The Wiener Holocaust Library in London is staging the exhibition – focusing on the motivations and propaganda of British fascists and their European peers in the 1920s and 30s – out of concern about the recent growth of far-right ideas and populism in the UK and abroad.

David Rich, the director of policy at the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity providing security for the Jewish community, said the pandemic had resulted in people with antisemitic views taking central roles in the campaign against Covid vaccines and public health measures.

“We’ve increasingly been seeing people not really attached to one particular ideology but who are part of this amorphous mass fuelled by conspiracy theories. An entry point to that has come with the pandemic and the anti-vaccination movement where the language is not explicitly anti-Jewish. It means that a lot of people are at risk of getting sucked in,” said Rich, who will be among speakers at events taking place as part of the exhibition.

Read more of Ben Quinn’s report here: Far-right Covid conspiracy theories fuelling antisemitism, warn UK experts

CNN have an interesting report this morning on the CEO of a rural Missouri hospital who says if they enforce a vaccine mandate on staff, he fears they will quit. The report says:

Dr Randy Tobler, CEO of Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, Missouri, has struggled to retain staff during the Covid-19 pandemic, losing 10 of his 57 nurses in the main hospital and three rural health clinics.

“Our reality is we need staff to work. And in return for your working, we’re not going to ask you to get a vaccine mandate,” he told CNN. “There were people in the hospital that freely shared that if the vaccine mandate happened on our account or on anyone else’s, they would not work here. That’s just something they weren’t going to put in their body.”

At Scotland County Hospital in rural northeastern Missouri, the difference is stark: Just 60% of the staff is vaccinated, according to the hospital.

Among those who are not is Sheila Balch, who works the hospital’s front desk and is often the first person people see when they arrive. So far, she has decided not to get a Covid-19 vaccine, but that’s not because she doesn’t think the virus is a threat, she told CNN.

”I do believe Covid is terrible. I believe it’s dangerous,” she said. “I watch people every day. And I watch the fear in people’s eyes every day ... But I do not think the government has the right to step in and mandate and tell us what we have to do.”

Asked what she would do if Scotland County Hospital mandated that she get vaccinated, Balch said she’d look for another job.

Read more here: CNN – A Covid-19 vaccine mandate won’t force staff at this rural Missouri hospital to get the shot, CEO says. It will make them quit

Spain holds first national day parade since pandemic started

Spain marked its national day with a military parade in Madrid today, in a sign that the coronavirus crisis was easing. Prime minister Pedro Sanchez urged unity on social media after it appeared he was booed by some sections of the crowd.

Spanish troops march during the Spanish National Day military parade in Madrid.
Spanish troops march during the Spanish national day military parade in Madrid. Photograph: Óscar del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images

Javier Barbancho reports for Reuters that 2,656 soldiers took part in a march past along with 115 military vehicles, while air force planes took part in a fly past, and events also featured a parachutist with a giant Spanish flag.

A paratrooper carries a huge Spanish flag at the start of the military parade on the occasion of Spain’s National Day.
A paratrooper carries a huge Spanish flag at the start of the military parade on the occasion of Spain’s national day. Photograph: Chema Moya/EPA

Last year, the parade was cancelled because of Covid-19 restrictions. This year, particpants wore face masks, and the military force on display was about half of that which marched in the 2019 pre-pandemic parade.

Spain’s coronavirus incidence dropped below 50 cases per 100,000 people on 7 October, reaching the threshold considered “low risk” by the health ministry for the first time in over a year.

Updated

Today so far

  • Russia has again recorded its highest daily deaths figure from Covid, with 973 fatalities in the last 24 hours. It is the third time a previous record has been breached in the last few days, albeit in small increments. There were 28,190 new cases recorded yesterday.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide will die needlessly from Covid this autumn as wealthy nations prioritise booster shots for their own “highly protected” people instead of sharing doses, the head of the Oxford vaccine group has warned.
  • A UK government minister has refused to apologise after a damning overnight report said delays to lockdown and releasing people with Covid back into care homes had caused unnecessary deaths at the start of the pandemic.
  • The landmark inquiry found Britain’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic was one of the worst public health failures in UK history, with ministers and scientists taking a “fatalistic” approach that exacerbated the death toll. “Groupthink”, evidence of British exceptionalism and a deliberately “slow and gradualist” approach meant the UK fared “significantly worse” than other countries, according to the 151-page Coronavirus: lessons learned to date report led by two former Conservative ministers.
  • People in Wales have had their first night out with new restrictions that require mandatory Covid checks to enter nightclubs and venues. Not everybody was impressed.
  • Thailand is set to reopen its borders to sun-seeking vaccinated tourists from November. Mandatory quarantine requirements will be dropped for visitors from the UK and US and alcohol will be allowed to be served at restaurants from 1 December.
  • Amazon says it will allow those in “corporate roles” to continue working remotely indefinitely as long as they can commute to the office “within a day’s notice” when necessary.
  • Japan’s ruling party has launched a manifesto for the 31 October election with a focus on ending the coronavirus pandemic. “We would like to show solid measures and appeal to the people, first, how to confront the coronavirus … and to bring peace of mind and hope to the people,” LDP policy chief Sanae Takaichi told a news conference.
  • Sydney has been experiencing a second day out of lockdown, with some retailers saying that Covid passes are “an annoying add-on.” Shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs, gyms, hairdressers and stadiums now require people to show their vaccine certificates before entry to confirm they are fully vaccinated.
  • The tiny town of Merrigum in regional Victoria in Australia may lose its only post office because its operator has refused to be vaccinated for Covid-19, citing her “freedom of choice”.

Kevin Rawlinson has a UK politics live blog running for us today, which will undoubtedly be dominated by responses and fallout to the findings of that Covid inquiry. You can find that here.

Updated

There’s a lot of UK Covid and politics news floating about today and you can follow that now as it develops with my colleague Kevin Rawlinson’s UK politics live blog. I’ll be carrying on here with global coronavirus news.

The tiny town of Merrigum in regional Victoria in Australia may lose its only post office because its operator has refused to be vaccinated for Covid-19, citing her “freedom of choice”.

Angela Spedding has operated the Merrigum post office and newsagent for more than six years.

On Tuesday, in a post on social media, Spedding said she had been told by Australia Post that the post office would have to close if she had not booked in to receive a vaccine by the end of the working week, and she would also have to cease delivering mail.

Australia Post denied Spedding had been told to close the office, but said she had advised them it would close from Thursday after discussions about her compliance with state health orders.

Read more of Caitlin Cassidy’s report here: Tiny Victorian town could lose its only post office as operator refuses Covid vaccine

Russia sets new record for daily Covid deaths

It is only a marginal increase on last week’s record figures, but today Russia has again recorded its highest every daily deaths figure from Covid, with 973 fatalities in the last 24 hours.

Reuters report that the new case numbers have dropped slightly, to 28,190 as opposed to 29,409 yesterday, however they’ve been running at a consistent level of around 28,000-29,000 for days.

Updated

Here’s my colleague Alexandra Topping summing up those media appearances from Stephen Barclay this morning: Cabinet minister refuses to apologise after report on UK Covid response

A cabinet minister has refused to apologise to the families who lost loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic after a damning report from MPs on the government’s response found that tens of thousands of lives were lost because of a delay to the first lockdown.

Stephen Barclay, the minister for the Cabinet Office, insisted the government “did take decisions to move quickly” despite the inquiry finding that Britain’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic was one of the worst public health failures in UK history, with ministers and scientists taking a “fatalistic” approach that exacerbated the death toll.

On Sky News on Tuesday, Barclay was repeatedly asked to apologise to the families who lost loved ones, but pointedly refused to do so. Asked about the inquiry, he said he had “not had a chance to read it”.

Barclay said: “Of course there are going to be lessons to learn, that’s why we’ve committed to an inquiry, but the government took decisions at the time based on the scientific advice it received, but those scientists themselves were operating in a very new environment.”

He added: “We protected the NHS, we got the vaccine deployed at pace, but we accept where there are lessons to be learned, we’re keen to do so.”

According to the 151-page Coronavirus: lessons learned to date report, led by two former Conservative ministers, the crisis exposed “major deficiencies in the machinery of government”.

Read more of Alexandra Topping’s report here: Cabinet minister refuses to apologise after report on UK Covid response

Updated

There was an extra thing for the hundreds of young people waiting in the queue outside Pryzm nightclub in Cardiff to worry about.

As usual, they needed to show ID, undergo a search and make sure they still had their phone, keys and friends with them – but for the first time they also had to produce a Covid pass, showing they were fully vaccinated or had tested negative.

People in Cardiff dance inside Prysm Nightclub last night.
People in Cardiff dance inside Prysm Nightclub last night. Photograph: Gareth Phillips/The Guardian

“It’s a bit of a pain, to be honest,” said 19-year-old Kelyse, a fashion marketing student who had a ticket for the club, but not a Covid pass and was trying to work out if it was worth the bother of going home, doing a lateral flow test and paying for another taxi to return. “Students like to be spontaneous,” she said. “This slows you down.”

Her friend, Elvia, 22, also a student, had a Covid pass but not a ticket. If they had to go home, she would probably lose her chance of getting in. “It’s another thing to remember – keys, phone, ticket, ID, Covid pass,” she said.

Read more of Steven Morris’ report here: No Covid pass, no entry – Cardiff clubbers divided on new Welsh rules

You can see here that Sky News’ Kay Burley was somewhat unimpressed that minister Steve Barclay on her show this morning hadn’t actually read the report he was there to discuss.

"I've not had a chance to read it."@SteveBarclay's shock admission that he hasn't read a scathing cross-party report into the Govt's pandemic response. RC#KayBurley pic.twitter.com/yHSppou6pd

— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) October 12, 2021

On the business side of things this morning, John Lewis has revealed the items it sold more of – and less of – during the pandemic. Zoe Wood reports:

The John Lewis retail report, which identifies the key shopping trends of the past 12 months, reveals shoppers “couldn’t get enough of slippers”, with sales up 13%. Even with feet hidden from view on Zoom, Britons were not content with bog-standard slip-ons. John Lewis now sells more than 200 styles of slippers, having increased the size of its range by a fifth to include designer brands and the latest trends, which this winter included sheepskin slingbacks and glamorous bejewelled faux fur. The bestselling pair were sheepskin-lined mules from Ugg that cost £80.

As social lives were put on hold and more people worked from home, the going out look was ditched in favour of cosy comfort. Demand for pyjamas and dressing gowns rocketed while the casualties included neck ties (down 75%), briefcases, makeup bags and thongs, which had been enjoying a revival.

Read more here: Slippers up, ties down: John Lewis reveals its Covid winners and losers

The logistical challenges of having to check vaccine certificates for customers was dawning on businesses in Sydney as they experienced their second day out of lockdown.

In the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta, one of the 12 areas of concern during the peak of the latest outbreak, retailers were using a combination of carefully placed barriers, security and rotating staff to check on customers before they enter.

“It’s an annoying add-on,” admitted Sheida, a manager at a fashion retailer in Parramatta, who did not want her full name used. “I feel worse for the customers than the businesses, it’s such a hassle having to pull out your certificate in each store, as well as checking in.”

Sheida is one of the thousands of workers who have seen their job description change since greater Sydney emerged from lockdown on Monday for the vaccinated.

Shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs, gyms, hairdressers and stadiums now require people to show their vaccine certificates before entry, to confirm they are fully vaccinated.

Residents over 16 who are unvaccinated or cannot produce proof of their status are legally banned from those venues.

Read more of Mostafa Rachwani’s report here: ‘A bit annoying’ – Sydney businesses praise customers but admit vaccine checks can be trying

Updated

Also doing the media round in the UK this morning is Conservative MP Greg Clark, who chairs the Commons science and technology committee who compiled and published the report dominating the headlines. [You can read it in full here, by the way].

He told the BBC this morning that the UK wasn’t the only country to make mistakes. PA Media has this quote from his appearance:

[Going into lockdown later was a] consensus decision – it wasn’t that the government went against the scientific advice, or that there was some great row about it. Everyone agreed that this was the right thing to do. We now know that it wasn’t – that is using the benefit of hindsight, but it’s important to do so.

So what were the reasons for that? Well, one of the mistakes that was made was that we thought – there was a widespread assumption – that people wouldn’t obey lockdown measures for a very long period of time, so you had to delay imposing them until almost the last possible moment, so that they could have the longest effect.

What we discovered in practice was that people were perfectly prepared to follow instructions to stay at home because they realised the importance of it, so that was an error that we made.

We also didn’t have enough testing capacity at the outset, we had to stop testing in the community, and if you’re not testing that means you don’t have information as to how quickly the virus is spreading, who is getting it, how ill they’re becoming. And so that means that we were operating in the dark.

I’m not entirely convinced everybody’s recall will be that there was a consensus and “everyone agreed that this was the right thing to do”. It might be worth refreshing your memory with this timeline of how and when the UK went into lockdown: Covid timeline – the weeks leading up to first UK lockdown

It is also worth noting that a one point the UK government began claiming that the UK had, in fact, entered lockdown on 16 March when Matt Hancock said in parliament that “all unnecessary social contact should cease”, and not 23 March when the prime minister said “people ‘must’ stay at home and certain businesses must close”.

You can re-litigate that row from last year here: Full Fact – When did lockdown begin in the UK?

Updated

The UK has lost its place as Europe’s vaccine leader in recent months as countries such as France, Italy and Spain have leapfrogged it in terms of the share of people who are fully vaccinated.

Throughout September, the UK was vaccinating an average of 1,461 people per million a day, much lower than the 3,925 being jabbed in Italy, 3,694 in France, 3,280 in Spain and 2,305 in Germany.

The UK’s rate of vaccination was the fastest in Europe until the end of April, according to data from Our World in Data. But the subsequent slow down in the UK’s vaccine rollout meant it lost its place as Europe’s leader in vaccination coverage in July.

Ten months after the first coronavirus jab in the UK was administered to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan at University hospital Coventry, the UK’s vaccine coverage has stalled in recent weeks and stands at about 86% of those who are eligible for a jab.

Figures suggest this is largely due to slow uptake among younger people.

Read more of Niamh McIntyre and Ashley Kirk’s explainer here: Why has the UK’s vaccination rate slowed down?

Updated

I’ve been a little bit preoccupied with news out of the UK so far this morning in the wake of a damning report into the government’s handling of the initial stages of the Covid crisis. Here’s some developments in Japan though, via Reuters, where the country faces an election on 31 October.

Ju-min Park writes for the news agency that Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP) unveiled its manifesto today with a focus on ending the coronavirus pandemic. The party’s leader, prime minister Fumio Kishida, is just a week into the job.

Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida in parliament yesterday.
Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida in parliament yesterday. Photograph: Keizo Mori/UPI/Rex/Shutterstock

“We would like to show solid measures and appeal to the people, first, how to confront the coronavirus … and to bring peace of mind and hope to the people,” LDP policy chief Sanae Takaichi told a news conference.

The coronavirus situation in Japan has improved, with the smallest number of new cases recorded on Monday since the middle of last year.

But Kishida told parliament earlier today that the government would continue to plan for a worst-case coronavirus scenario.

Updated

That last block mentioned that Prof Sir Andrew Pollard had written for us. As well as a message for governments, he had a message for individuals too: Individuals cannot solve vaccine inequality. If you’re offered a booster, take it

The “to boost or not to boost” moral dilemma is not in the purview of individual citizens who ponder whether to roll up their sleeve when offered a booster by a vaccine clinic this week. A dose that is in the vaccine clinic fridge (or freezer) cannot be redirected to someone else in another country, because the regulatory hurdles and shelf-life simply make redistribution of this dose not practical. Redistribution has to happen prior to the release of vaccine doses to the national health system. A protest against vaccination at individual level will be misdirected and risks wasting these precious doses. If you are asked to roll up your sleeve, then you should do so.

Read more here: Professor Sir Andrew Pollard – Individuals cannot solve vaccine inequality. If you’re offered a booster, take it

Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide will die needlessly from Covid this autumn as wealthy nations prioritise booster shots for their own “highly protected” people instead of sharing doses, the head of the Oxford vaccine group has warned.

Prof Sir Andrew Pollard said that while it was “possible” a third dose might help protect some people, the “potential benefit” for the vast majority was “small” because most double jabbed people were already “highly protected” against Covid-19.

Writing for the Guardian, Pollard said the “failure” of wealthier nations to share more vaccines this summer – coupled with their decisions to embark on large-scale booster programmes – meant large numbers of avoidable deaths were now inevitable.

Supply of vaccines to poorer countries is improving and likely to “get better”, he said. “But for many hundreds of thousands of people, it won’t be soon enough.”

Read more of our health editor Andrew Gregory’s report here: Rich nations warned hogging Covid jabs will lead to huge global death toll

Here’s just a couple more key lines from that Sky News interview with UK minister for the cabinet Steve Barclay. On whether the nation locked down quickly enough he said:

At the time the concern was if we locked down too soon, there wouldn’t be a willingness to lock down for a long period of time. Now we actually know now that actually there was a willingness of the British public to lock down for far longer than we envisaged.

On the claim that politicians did not challenge scientists enough on their advice:

There was was rigorous debate within government with science, but of course it was unprecedented, so it was a developing picture for the scientists themselves.

On sending care home residents back from hospital while they had Covid:

The principal concern at the time was around this surge of patients in the NHS, the concern around delayed discharge, and how that would lock up the capacity of the NHS. The understanding around asymptomatic infection was very different. We didn’t have the testing regime that we now have that had to be built from a standing start.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Steve Barclay has persistently refused to apologise for the government’s early handling of the Covid crisis during his appearance on Sky News, and has also said that that he’s gone on air this morning without having read the report that he is being questioned about.

Presenter Kay Burley has made the point that “you don’t need to go through the whole hefty report in order to know that it says 20,000 people died needlessly.”

Barclay’s line pretty much boils down to repeating variations on this point:

We followed the scientific advice. We protected the NHS. We took the decisions based on the evidence before us. But of course we’ve always said with something as unprecedented as the pandemic there will be lessons to learn. We’re keen to learn them. That’s why we’ve committed to an inquiry, and that will be the opportunity to look at what could be done differently, and what lessons we take into the future.

While minister Steve Barclay is being pressed in the UK on Sky News – without much success – for an apology over the government’s handling of Covid by Kay Burley, here’s how Politico’s morning newsletter summarised the findings of the report:

Reading the report is pretty sobering, even if you’ve been following the evidence sessions to the inquiry. A few things that stand out: Hesitating over full lockdown “reflected a fatalism about the spread of Covid that should have been robustly challenged at the time.” … The UK made a “serious early error” in not considering a rigorous targeted public health approach to stop the spread of the virus as adopted by many East and South East Asian countries, and preparations were based too heavily on a flu-like illness, rather than zoonotic or novel diseases …

… The machinery of government was ill-equipped to respond, with long-term planning sacrificed to short-term demands … The NHS mobilized “quickly and strongly,” but compared to other health systems it often “runs hot” with little spare capacity to cope with unexpected demand … The NHS Test and Trace system was singled out for its “slow, uncertain and chaotic” performance last year … Existing social, economic and health inequalities were exacerbated … Mistakes in social care, including lack of scientific advice early on, a failure to prioritize PPE for its staff and rapid discharge of patients from hospitals back into homes without proper testing led to “many thousands of deaths which could have been avoided.”

Good morning, it is Martin Belam here in London taking over from Samantha Lock. It looks like Minister for the Cabinet Office Steve Barclay has drawn the short straw of doing the UK’s media round in the wake of that damning report describing the country’s Covid response as “one of UK’s worst ever public health failures”. I’ll have the key quotes from that shortly. Here’s our lead story:

Amazon staff to work remotely indefinitely

Amazon says it will allow those in “corporate roles” to continue working remotely indefinitely as long as they can commute to the office “within a day’s notice” when necessary.

The new policy was announced by CEO Andy Jassy in a blog post on Tuesday.

The company previously stipulated that most employees would need to be in the office at least three days a week after offices reopen in January.

Most of Amazon’s more than 1 million employees worldwide cannot work remotely because they are in the company’s fulfillment and transportation division.

New Zealand’s pivot from Covid elimination ‘surprised’ top health experts

A number of epidemiologists and public health experts who have been central to helping chart and communicate New Zealand’s Covid response thus far say they were taken by surprise by its new direction, and not consulted by the government as it pivoted away from elimination and outlined a controversial set of “steps” out of level 3 restrictions last week.

“We were obviously surprised on Monday last week when the government seemed to say that we were moving away from elimination,” said prof Michael Baker, one of the country’s most prominent pandemic communicators and a member of the ministry’s Covid-19 Technical Advisory group. “A decision of that size – changing your major strategy – you’d think you would consult with [the] quite small batch of scientists and other advisers who work very hard to support the government … explaining things to the public.”

“That was very unusual. I think the government’s done a great job generally with consultation and getting us all to at least understand the rationale for change.”

Read the full story here:

Texas governor orders ban on vaccine mandates

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Monday to prohibit any entity, including private business, from enforcing a Covid-19 vaccine mandate on workers and called on state lawmakers to pass a similar ban into law.

The move comes as the Biden administration is set to issue rules requiring employers with more than 100 workers to be vaccinated or test weekly for the coronavirus.

Several major companies, including Texas-based American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, have said they would abide by the federal mandate.

“No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a Covid-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from Covid-19,” Abbott wrote in his order.

Read the full story here:

Summary

Hello and welcome to our rolling coronavirus news coverage. I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be giving you a rundown of the latest updates as they happen.

A landmark inquiry has found Britain’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic to be one of the worst public health failures in UK history.

The 151-page report, ‘Coronavirus: lessons learned to date’, led by two former Conservative ministers, found authorities took a “fatalistic” approach that exacerbated the nation’s death toll.

Despite being one of the first countries to develop a test for Covid in January 2020, the UK “squandered” its lead and “converted it into one of permanent crisis”, the report said.

In more positive news for travellers, Thailand is set to reopen its borders to sun-seeking vaccinated tourists from November.

Mandatory quarantine requirements will be dropped for visitors from the UK and US and alcohol will be allowed to be served at restaurants from 1 December.

Tourism made up almost 20% of the nation’s income prior to the pandemic, attracting nearly 40 million visitors a year. However, Covid-related travel restrictions have left the economy battered, contributing to its worst performance in more than 20 years.

  • French study of over 22m people finds vaccines reduces the risk of dying or being hospitalised in people over the age of 50 with Covid-19 by 90%. The research published on Monday also found that vaccines appear to protect against the worst effects of the most prevalent virus strain, the Delta variant.
  • The UK reported a further 40,224 Covid cases on Monday, according to official data. Meanwhile, a further 28 deaths were reported.
  • Covid pandemic pushes poor countries to record debt levels, the World Bank says. David Malpass, the bank’s president warned the virus had widened the gap between rich and poor nations, setting back progress by years and, in the case of some countries, by a decade. Figures show the debt burden of more than 70 low-income nations had increased by a record 12% to $860bn (£630bn) in 2020.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended immunocompromised people be given an additional dose of the Covid vaccine, due to their higher risk of breakthrough infections after standard immunisation.
  • From today people in Wales must show an NHS Covid Pass or demonstrate their vaccination status to enter nightclubs and attend large events in the country.
  • People in Germany will now need to pay for lateral flow coronavirus tests out of their own pockets, as the government is trying to nudge vaccine-hesitant citizens into getting the jab.
  • Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, seen coughing during a televised government meeting, reassured officials on Monday that he was fine and said he was being tested for Covid virtually every day.
  • Meanwhile, Russia’s daily Covid numbers remain close to their highest figures with 957 coronavirus-related deaths and 29,409 new cases in the past 24 hours.
  • Germany ends free lateral flow tests as part of vaccination drive. From Monday, people in Germany will need to pay for lateral flow coronavirus tests out of their own pockets, as the government is trying to nudge vaccine-hesitant citizens into getting the jab. The government says it can no longer justify paying for free tests out of the public purse since all residents over the age of 12 can now get the jab if they want to.
  • Rome’s violent protests against Covid-19 vaccine prompts calls to abolish Italian neofascist movements.
  • Wales will enforce showing an NHS Covid Pass or vaccination status for those who wish to enter nightclubs and attend large events in the country. It means all over-18s need one to enter nightclubs, indoor non-seated events for more than 500 people, such as concerts or conventions, outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people and any setting or event with more than 10,000 people in attendance. People will also be able to show they have had a negative lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours.
  • Australia still lags behind many other countries on vaccine rollout – but it’s catching up fast. After a slow start and sluggish vaccine rollout, 68.2% of Australians have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine as of 8 October. This is ahead of Germany at 67.9%, the United States at 64.39%, and the European Union at 67.8%.
  • Slower vaccination rates in eastern Europe are leading to a dramatic surge in cases in comparison to higher vaccination rates and lower Covid infection and death rates in western Europe, figures from Our World In Data suggests. The exception is in the UK where case numbers are surging.
  • Ryanair bans Covid refund passengers from boarding new flights. The budget airline has been accused of barring passengers who pursued chargebacks during the pandemic from taking new flights this year – unless they return their refunds. An investigation by MoneySavingExpert (MSE) found that holidaymakers who sought refunds from their credit card provider faced last-minute demands of up to £600 if they want to board a Ryanair plane.
  • Relatives of coronavirus victims in Italy are pushing for a full public inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic as documents from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) show the first Covid-19 cases registered in 16 European countries originated from Italy.

Contributors

Euan O'Byrne Mulligan (now); Haroon Siddique, Maya Wolfe-Robinson, Martin Belam and Samantha Lock (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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