In the UK, Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for Ilford North and shadow child poverty secretary, has said NHS waiting lists of over 5m is an “intolerable situation”.
He told Sky News that waiting lists must be cut and not left to “spiral out of control”.
The UK government is considering plans that would allow nightclubs and concert venues to avoid social distancing rules in future coronavirus surges by admitting only the fully vaccinated, reports the Telegraph.
The measures could be used as an alternative to making vaccine passports compulsory, a proposal that the prime minister has said could be implemented next month.
The UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has pledged to put a free market approach at the centre of its plans for coronavirus recovery.
Officials are working on a national enterprise strategy to encourage small businesses and entrepreneurs that will be released later this year, he told the Financial Times.
The challenge, he said, would be “to reassert what we strongly believe in as a centre-right government: in the free markets, enterprise, entrepreneurship,” adding: “These are all things we want to celebrate.”
Officials warn of ‘catastrophe’ in Texas as Delta surges
As Delta surges in the US, intensive care unit capacity is running out in hospitals in Austin and officials have warned of “catastrophe” in Texas.
Reporting from Austin, Alexandra Villarreal writes that local governments have urged residents to stay at home, wear masks and get vaccinated as the state again becomes an epicentre of the pandemic.
“The situation is critical,” Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis county’s health authority, said in a statement. “Our hospitals are severely stressed and there is little we can do to alleviate their burden with the surging cases.”
The Texas trauma service area that includes Austin has just six ICU beds available, 499 available hospital beds and 313 ventilators for a population of nearly 2.4m.
Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, has said coronavirus has been “devastating” for performing arts.
But, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today that the UK government has responded and that there have not yet been any “major failures” by arts institutions.
He said that “of course” he and others are worried about the autumn, but that he hopes the government will want to build on the Culture Recovery Fund going forward.
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Australian PM’s public approval rating at pandemic low
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison’s public approval rating hit its lowest level since the pandemic began amid growing frustration over lockdowns and a sluggish vaccination drive, according to a poll published on Monday.
A Newspoll conducted for the Australian newspaper showed Morrison’s public support dropped four points to 47%, the lowest level since he fielded criticism early last year over his government’s response to devastating bushfires.
Reuters: Morrison’s Liberal-National party coalition government is also trailing opposition Labor on a two-party preferred basis, where votes for minor parties are distributed, by 47-53. If the poll result were replicated at an election, the conservative government would lose office to centre-left Labor.
Morrison has been under fire for a slow vaccine rollout, which critics said had plunged large parts of the country into a cycle of stop-and-start lockdowns to quell outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta variant.
Approval of Morrison’s handling of the pandemic has almost halved from a high of 85% in April last year, during the peak of the first wave of infections, to 48% in the latest survey.
Sydney and Melbourne – Australia’s two largest cities – are under hard lockdowns while south-east Queensland, home to the third-largest city of Brisbane, came out of strict stay-home orders on Sunday.
Snap lockdowns, tough border controls and swift contact tracing have helped Australia keep its pandemic numbers relatively low, with just over 36,250 cases and 938 deaths.
Nightclubs reopen in Scotland
Nightclubs across Scotland opened their doors as the clock moved a minute past midnight on Monday and the country’s Covid-19 Levels system was scrapped.
Nightclubs were among the last venues to reopen in Scotland, long after bars were allowed to welcome back customers.
Following initial confusion last week, the Scottish government clarified that masks would not have to be worn when dancing or drinking.
China’s Wuhan completes citywide Covid tests on 11 million residents
Authorities in Wuhan said they had completed citywide testing of more than 11 million people for Covid-19 on Sunday, after a resurgence of cases more than a year after the coronavirus first emerged there, AFP reports.
The tests – which began on Tuesday – provide “basically full coverage” of all residents in the city except for children under the age of six and students on their summer break, senior Wuhan official Li Tao told a press conference, according to the state-run Xinhua.
By Saturday, the city had recorded 37 locally transmitted cases and found 41 local asymptomatic carriers in the latest round of mass testing, Xinhua reported.
Sunday’s 125 new confirmed infections on the mainland included 94 locally transmitted cases, up from the previous day’s figure of 96, with 81 locally transmitted, while the rest were imported from abroad, the NHC said on Monday.
City officials announced last week that seven locally transmitted infections had been found among migrant workers in Wuhan, breaking a year-long streak without domestic cases after it squashed an initial outbreak with an unprecedented lockdown in early 2020.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Authorities in Wuhan said they had completed citywide testing of more than 11 million people for Covid-19 on Sunday, amid a resurgence of cases more than a year after the coronavirus first emerged there.
Meanwhile, nightclubs across Scotland opened their doors as the clock moved a minute past midnight on Monday and the country’s Covid-19 Levels system was scrapped.
In Glasgow, dancers took to the floor at the Boteco Do Brasil club.
Here are the other key recent developments:
France’s health minister has appealed for volunteer doctors and nurses to travel to the overseas territories of Guadalupe and Martinique as a wave of Covid-19 infections overwhelms hospitals on the two Caribbean islands.
The UK has recorded 27,429 new coronavirus cases and a further 39 deaths in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total deaths to 130,321, government figures show.
Seven more countries have joined the green list from Sunday – and France has left the “amber-plus” list, under widespread changes to the UK’s traffic light system for travel.
Russia reported 22,866 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, including 2,761 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 6,447,750 since the pandemic began.
The Philippines’ health ministry recorded 9,671 new coronavirus cases and 287 additional deaths on Sunday, the biggest single-day rise in the country’s death toll since 9 April.
Authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo said the coronavirus outbreak had eased in many parts of the country but remained worrying in the economic capital of Lubumbashi where not wearing a mask will now be punishable by up to seven days in jail.
Iran reported record new infections and deaths across the country on Sunday, as it grapples with its most severe surge of the coronavirus to date
Vietnam’s health ministry reported 9,690 coronavirus infections on Sunday, a record daily increase.