Three killed in Russian hospital blaze thought to have been started by ‘faulty ventilator’
Hi, this is Kaamil Ahmed taking over the live blog until the evening. My colleague Libby Brooks has covered concerns in Scotland over the opening of a mixed fan zone for the Euro 2020 tournament starting this week.
The space in Glasgow will allow 6,000 football fans to gather daily without mandatory testing. Some of the public and health experts have questioned the step considering many restrictions are still in place and cases across Scotland are still rising.
Parents in particular have been voicing anger and frustration that the fan zone has been allowed to go ahead while continuing restrictions prevent them attending nursery, primary and high school leaving events as well as end of term sports days.
Martin Canavan, whose daughter attends a nursery on the Southside of Glasgow, told the Guardian: “Our wee girl was in tears when we told her we couldn’t come to her nursery graduation any more. They’ve been rehearsing their song for weeks. It feels like a pretty arbitrary decision to cancel these events when thousands can watch football, and people can drink in pubs.”
Pakistan has hailed the administering of 10m doses of coronavirus vaccines as an important step towards its goal of vaccinating 70 million people by the end of the year.
“Thank God, we have succeeded in administering 10m vaccine doses,” the minister in-charge for Covid-19 operations, Asad Umar, told a ceremony to mark the milestone in Islamabad.
“Our target is to vaccinate up to 70 million people by the end of this year,” he said of the total adult population eligible for the vaccination out of a 220-million nation.
A PA Media news agency analysis is showing that the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 in England is now a fifth higher than it was at the end of the second wave of the virus, with more regions reporting a rise in patients.
A total of 879 patients with Covid-19 were in hospital in England as of 8am on 8 June, according to NHS England. This is up from 776 one week earlier – a rise of 13%. It is also up 20% from a low of 730 patients on 22 May.
This comes as government ministers are reviewing the latest data on Covid-19 cases and the amount of people being taken to hospital to decide whether the planned easing of social restrictions in England on 21 June will go ahead.
Patient numbers are not increasing steadily, with the total sometimes falling slightly one day before jumping again the next. But even when using a seven-day average to smooth out these kinds of fluctuations, the trend is now upwards.
These figures are still well below the second-wave peak, when the number of patients reached a record high average of 33,594 on 22 January. The upwards trend is also not being reflected in every region of England.
Covid-19 case rates are currently rising in four out of five local areas of England – the highest proportion since early January.
Public health experts have said that the country could expect to see rising case numbers as restrictions were eased – but the key metric is whether this would lead to increased hospitalisations and a repeat risk of overwhelming the NHS.
Earlier today, NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson seemed very clear that vaccines appear to have “broken” the link between infections, hospital admission and deaths in the UK.
Andrew Sparrow has our UK live blog, which will have its main focus on Brexit, PMQs and the G7 meeting today. I’ll continue to bring you the top lines from the UK on Covid as well as the rest of the coronavirus news from around the world.
Indonesia has reported 7,725 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily number since 26 February, data from the country’s Covid-19 taskforce showed.
Reuters note that the task force also reported 170 people died from Covid on Wednesday, taking the total to 52,162.
Joseph Sipalan has this despatch for Reuters from Kuala Lumpur, where he reports Malaysia’s king has started a series of meetings with leaders of political parties, amid public discontent over the government’s handling of a coronavirus crisis that has forced the nation into a third lockdown.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration imposed strict Covid-19 measures from June 1-14 to address a surge in infections and deaths, on top of an ongoing national emergency to curb the spread of the disease.
But those have led to public frustration over a perceived slow rollout of vaccinations, haphazard policymaking and uneven enforcement of coronavirus curbs that critics say royalty and elites have been allowed to skirt.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who spent an hour with King Al-Sultan Abdullah, said the national emergency has done more harm than good.
“We presented our view that allowing this emergency to continue will lead to losses to the country,” Anwar told reporters. “It does not help with the handling of Covid and it effects the economy, especially those in the lower rungs of society.”
Muhyiddin was the first to meet with the king, ahead of his weekly cabinet meeting. Other political leaders are expected at the palace over the next few days, including ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad.
In a statement, the national palace said the king has convened a special meeting of the council of rulers on Wednesday to discuss efforts to battle the epidemic during the emergency.
Intensive care beds for Covid patients in Malaysia have reached full capacity [see 6.11], according to the country’s health director general, who said the country’s pandemic remained at a critical level.
My colleague Sarah Marsh has a recap here of those important words from NHS Providers chief executive, Chris Hopson, that the link between Covid cases and deaths has been broken.
Three people were killed in a fire that broke out at a Russian hospital treating patients with Covid-19, authorities said, with one official suggesting a faulty ventilator was to blame.
The fire broke out in the early hours of Wednesday at a hospital in the city of Ryazan, 180 kilometres (112 miles) from Moscow, in a ward treating Covid-19 patients.
The region’s governor, Nikolai Lyubimov, told state television that a ventilator in the ward had overheated and caught fire, the Interfax news agency reported.
Nurses attempted to extinguish the blaze, but were unsuccessful in doing so, with some of them sustaining severe burns, the governor said.
Reuters note that since the start of the pandemic, Russia has reported several fires at intensive care units that doctors said were caused by malfunctioning ventilators used to treat patients severely ill with the virus.
Andrew Sparrow has begun publishing our UK live blog for the day. I suspect there will be a lot of politics in it today. I’ll continue to have top UK lines as well as the global Covid news.
Russia has reported 10,407 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, its highest number of daily infections since early March, taking the national tally to 5,156,250 since the pandemic began.
Regular readers will note that I’ve expressed some scepticism about how Russia’s official figures basically haven’t moved for months, which doesn’t feel like how the pandemic has behaved elsewhere.
Reuters said the government coronavirus task force reported 399 people had died, pushing the national death toll to 124,895. The federal statistics agency has kept a separate toll and has said that Russia recorded around 270,000 deaths related to Covid-19 between April 2020 and April 2021.