Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.
Authorities in South Africa have imposed new restrictions in a last ditch attempt to stem a sharp rise in Covid-19 that is ravaging the country’s economic heartland.
Meanwhile all of Italy is now a “low-risk” zone for coronavirus, marking a dramatic milestone for the first European country to be hit by the global pandemic in February 2020.
In a decree that took effect Monday, the health ministry for the first time classified each of Italy’s 20 regions as “white”, signifying low risk, under the country’s colour-coded classification system that evaluates Covid-19 risk.
Here are the other key recent developments:
- UK opposition leader Keir Starmer said there are “huge questions still to answer” following the resignation of health minister Matt Hancock after footage emerged of him kissing an aide.
- Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel has tested positive for coronavirus and will spend 10 days in isolation while continuing to work from home remotely.
- The Delta variant is likely to spread across Europe, a British scientist suggested. Sir Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, said “stronger border measures” may have delayed its spread in the UK.
- English health authorities said they expect to have jabbed half of the country’s under 30 by the end of the weekend. More than 4.2 million people aged between 18 and 29 years in the England have received a Covid vaccine in the three weeks since the programme was opened up to those in their 20s, the NHS has said.