Fewer people have returned to work in UK than any other major European country

Only 34 per cent of Britons are back at work – GETTY IMAGES Coronavirus Article

Only 34 per cent of Britons are back at work - GETTY IMAGES
Only 34 per cent of Britons are back at work – GETTY IMAGES
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

Britons are continuing to work from home more than people in any other major European country, new figures have shown.

Only one in three British workers has returned to their office since the Government began its push to get people back to their desks.

In France, 83 per cent of office staff are back in their workplaces, while 76 per cent have returned to work in Italy, according to a survey by investment bank Morgan Stanley.

In Spain and Germany, 73 per cent and 70 per cent of workers are back in the office respectively.

In the UK, the figure is 34 per cent.

Of the Britons working from home, nearly half are doing so five days a week. In France, the figure is 15 per cent, and 19 per cent in Germany.

Follow the latest updates below.

04:45 AM

Japan denies claims PM is seriously ill

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offers a silent prayer for the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing, at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan, on Thursday - Kyodo/via REUTERS
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offers a silent prayer for the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing, at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan, on Thursday – Kyodo/via REUTERS

Officials in Tokyo have played down suggestions that Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is seriously ill after a news magazine reported that he vomited blood at his office on July 6 and cancelled his engagements for the rest of the day. 

Mr Abe, 65, attended the memorial ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima on Thursday, although it has been pointed out that he has not given any press conferences or attended parliamentary sessions for more than one month. 

There is speculation in the halls of government that the prime minister is exhausted as he leads Japan’s campaign against coronavirus.

Read the full story here.

04:10 AM

Michelle Obama reveals pandemic contributed to ‘low-grade depression’

Michelle Obama has opened up about her mental health during the pandemic - AP Photo/Hau Dinh
Michelle Obama has opened up about her mental health during the pandemic – AP Photo/Hau Dinh

Former First Lady Michelle Obama has revealed she has “low-grade depression” from coronavirus quarantine, racial strife in the United States and the “hypocrisy” of the Trump administration.

Mrs Obama made the remarks in the latest episode of “The Michelle Obama Podcast” released on Spotify on Wednesday.

“I’m waking up in the middle of the night because I’m worrying about something or there’s a heaviness,” the 56-year-old former First Lady said.

“I try to make sure I get a workout in, although there have been periods throughout this quarantine where I just have felt too low.”

READ MORE: Michelle Obama reveals she has ‘low-grade-depression’ due to coronavirus and Trump administration

03:58 AM

Japanese governor declares a state of emergency

Aichi Gov. Hideaki Ohmura shows off a placard "State of Emergency" in Nagoya, Aichi prefecture, central Japan - Kyodo News via AP
Aichi Gov. Hideaki Ohmura shows off a placard “State of Emergency” in Nagoya, Aichi prefecture, central Japan – Kyodo News via AP

A governor in central Japan announced a state of emergency on Thursday due to rising virus cases.

Aichi prefecture has recorded more than 100 new infections daily since mid-July after an extended period of zero new daily cases.

The prefecture includes the major city of Nagoya and the headquarters of Toyota, Japan’s top automaker.

Gov. Hideaki Ohmura told reporters businesses were being asked to close completely or close early, and people were urged to stay home at night to prevent infections from spreading.

The requests continue through until August 24, a period that coincides with Japanese Obon holidays, when schools and many companies close.

“Please avoid non-essential activity during the Obon holidays,” Mr Ohmura said, asking people not to dine out in big crowds or go out partying. “The situation we are in is very serious.”

About 70 per cent of recent cases were people in their 30s, and most were showing no or mild symptoms, but Mr Ohmura said worries were growing about more vulnerable people getting sick.

Japan has not had a lockdown. The voluntary emergency measures put in place in April, asking for social distancing to be used and businesses to close, were gradually lifted.

Coronavirus Japan Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus Japan Spotlight Chart – cases default

02:50 AM

Case number drops in Victoria after deadliest day

Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria said on Thursday that eight people died from coronavirus in the past 24 hours.

It comes after the state reported its deadliest day of the pandemic on Wednesday with 15 deaths.

The state reported 471 new cases of the virus on Thursday compared with a record 725 a day earlier.

READ MORE: Australia suffers worst day of Covid pandemic with record deaths and cases

Coronavirus Australia Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Australia Spotlight Chart – Cases default

02:26 AM

‘Singing, breathing and wellbeing’ for patients

A hospital trust is prescribing lullabies to help patients recover from Covid-19, in partnership with English National Opera.

Patients suffering from breathlessness and anxiety will be given a six-week, online programme of “singing, breathing and wellbeing”.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said some patients continue to experience breathlessness for some time after other Covid symptoms have disappeared.

READ MORE: Hospitals prescribe lullabies to help Covid patients breathe easier

02:22 AM

Brazil on track for bleak milestone

Five months after confirming its first case of coronavirus, Brazil is fast approaching the bleak milestone of 100,000 deaths, a tragedy experts blame on the country’s lack of coherent response.

It will be just the second country to cross that grim threshold, after the United States.

Brazil has registered an average of around 1,000 deaths per day for more than a month.

The toll stands at 2.859 million infections and 97,256 deaths.

The country appears to be on track to record its 100,000th death at the weekend.

The 10 countries with the biggest weekly rise in confirmed Covid-19 cases
The 10 countries with the biggest weekly rise in confirmed Covid-19 cases

02:05 AM

US fast approaching five million infections

People not wearing masks walk right past a sign advertising masks for sale on the boardwalk at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire in the United States - JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP
People not wearing masks walk right past a sign advertising masks for sale on the boardwalk at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire in the United States – JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP

The United States has added 1,262 more deaths to its Covid-19 toll in 24 hours, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The world’s largest economy also added 53,158 new cases of the virus.

The US has recorded 4,818,328 total cases, which have resulted in 157,930 deaths, making it by far the worst-hit country in the world.

President Donald Trump nonetheless remained optimistic on Wednesday.

“This thing’s going away. It will go away like things go away and my view is that schools should be open,” he said.

The pandemic has seen a resurgence in the US since June in many states, particularly in the south and west.

One of them, Florida, on Wednesday surpassed half a million cases since the start of the crisis.

In Arizona, another badly hit state, more than 500 inmates in a Tucson jail – more than half the facility’s population – tested positive for coronavirus, local prison officials said.

READ MORE: Twitter bans Donald Trump’s campaign from tweeting until he deletes false coronavirus claim

01:54 AM

Deaths in Mexico approach 50,000

A 10-year-old boy helps position a cross at the San Miguel Xico cemetery in Mexico - PEDRO PARDO/AFP
A 10-year-old boy helps position a cross at the San Miguel Xico cemetery in Mexico – PEDRO PARDO/AFP

Mexico is nearing 50,000 confirmed deaths from Covid-19.

The federal Health Department reported 829 newly confirmed deaths on Wednesday, giving the country a total of 49,698 deaths – the third-highest number of pandemic deaths in the world.

Mexico’s number of confirmed infections rose by 6,139 to 449,961.

Authorities acknowledge Mexico’s real number of deaths could be much higher, in part because it has done so little testing. Only about one million tests have been performed in the country of almost 130 million people since the pandemic began.

01:47 AM

Kim Jong-un offers aid to North Korean town in lockdown

Kim Jong-un at Wednesday's meeting - TR/KCNA VIA KNS/AFP
Kim Jong-un at Wednesday’s meeting – TR/KCNA VIA KNS/AFP

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un directed his government agencies to act immediately to stabilise the livelihoods of residents in a city locked down over coronavirus concerns, state media reported on Thursday.

North Korea declared an emergency and locked down Kaesong near the inter-Korean border in late July after finding a suspected virus case there. It hasn’t confirmed yet if the person tested positive and still says the country hasn’t had a single case of Covid-19, a claim questioned by outside experts.

Kim presided over a meeting on Wednesday of the ruling Workers’ Party’s executive policy council where they discussed a special supply of food and funds to Kaesong, the Korean Central News Agency said. The report didn’t specify the measures that were to be taken.

North Korea has said the suspected virus patient is a runaway who fled to South Korea three years ago, before slipping back to Kaesong last month.

Some experts speculate North Korea is aiming to hold South Korea responsible for a potential virus spread in the North or try to save face before winning aid items from the South.

11:58 PM

Facebook removes Trump post over ‘false’ virus claims

Facebook has removed a post from the page of President Donald Trump over what it called “harmful Covid misinformation”.

The post was a video clip from a Fox News interview in which Mr Trump claimed that children are “almost immune” from the deadly virus.

“This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from Covid-19, which is a violation of our policies around harmful Covid misinformation,” a Facebook spokesperson told AFP.

In June, Facebook removed adverts by Mr Trump’s re-election campaign which breached its policies on hate, after activists compared it to practices used by the Nazis.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, has previously been criticised for his company's decision to not moderate posts spreading misinformation about coronavirus - AP
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has previously been criticised for his company’s decision to not moderate posts spreading misinformation about coronavirus – AP

11:09 PM

Help patients with long-term symptoms, Government urged

Up to half a million Britons are suffering the effects of “long Covid”, MPs have been told, with some doctors dismissing many of the long-term symptoms suffered in the wake of coronavirus as ME.

Psychosis, fatigue, loss of eyesight and mobility issues are among the wide-ranging conditions that have been identified in those who have previously had the virus.

Claire Hastie, the founder of the Long Covid Support Group, warned that GPs were regularly misdiagnosing ongoing problems as anxiety or ME, saying: “Many people in our group to this day are being told by their GPs that it’s caused by anxiety and it’s all in their heads.

“It can cause anxiety, but it is not caused by anxiety. The science needs to catch up with us.”

Read more: Half a million patients have ‘long Covid’ with after-effects lingering for months

Fatigue and mobility issues are among the conditions identified in those who have had the virus - BLOOMBERG
Fatigue and mobility issues are among the conditions identified in those who have had the virus – BLOOMBERG

11:01 PM

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