France saliva tests 'this month,' Ryanair's travel hopes: COVID-19 daily bulletin
Updated 00:16, 16-Sep-2020
Aden-Jay Wood


- Irish airline Ryanair has said it expects the European Commission to unveil a new travel system that will allow people to travel across most regions of the continent without quarantine. 

- Germany will not take risky shortcuts when developing a vaccine against COVID-19 and expects one will not be available until the middle of 2021, according to Research Minister Anja Karliczek.

- The Netherlands government will not cut public spending during "these insecure times," despite the budget deficit on course to soar to 7 percent of GDP this year. 

- Ireland has delayed the reopening of all pubs in Dublin following a surge in cases across the country's capital. Bars in the rest of the country will be allowed to reopen from next Monday. 

- The chairman of France's Scientific Council is hopeful it can roll out saliva tests for COVID-19 by the end of September or early October. 

- Sweden will lift its ban on visits to care homes, which came into force at the start of April, as infection rates continue to fall across the country. 

- There has been a sharp rise in road traffic congestion on the outskirts of London compared with last year, as people return to their cars following lockdown, according to data from the Waze for Cities program.

- Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has left hospital after recovering from COVID-19, describing the experience as "the most dangerous challenge" of his life. 

- European ministers, health experts and World Health Organization officials are set to discuss Europe's COVID-19 response and its strategy for health for the next five years, over the next two days. 

- Czechia's reproduction, or R, number, has risen to 1.59, according to the country's Institute of Health Information and Statistics (UZIS), as cases continue to surge across the nation. 

- Online retail sales in France have risen by 5.3 percent year-on-year in the second quarter as people turn to remote shopping amid the pandemic. 

- Slovakia has announced it is to put Czechia on it's "red list" of high-risk countries due to a recent surge of cases in the country. 

- Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co said its rheumatoid arthritis drug shortens the time of recovery in hospitalized COVID-19 patients when used alongside with Gilead Sciences' remdesivir.


Ireland's government has delayed the reopening of pubs in its capital, Dublin as cases continue to surge. /Reuters

Ireland's government has delayed the reopening of pubs in its capital, Dublin as cases continue to surge. /Reuters

Even when the world is waiting for a vaccine, we won't take risky shortcuts here
 -  Anja Karliczek, Sweden's research minister



Ross Cullen in Paris

Marseille and Bordeaux have announced new measures to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus. 

Private gatherings have been restricted to a maximum of 10 people, bars and restaurants have 12:30 a.m. curfews and visits to care homes are being reduced to only one visit to a resident by two people each week. 

Sporting events have been limited to 1,000 people and cultural events in the fall have been cancelled. 

The two cities are struggling with a surge in the number of hospital admissions and new infections and local officials say there is going to be a crackdown on people not wearing face masks and increased checks ensuring that cafes and bistros are following sanitary measures.

Mark Webster in Frankfurt

Germany has linked the outbreak of coronavirus at a popular Bavarian ski resort to a U.S. citizen staying at a lodge run by the U.S. military. The unnamed person had returned from a holiday abroad and allegedly chose to socialize despite having COVID-19 symptoms. 

In the wake of the incident, in which where 24 people tested positive for the virus, Bavaria's prime minister has warned the coronavirus is on the increase across the state.

A vaccine developed by the German company BioNTech, Chinese pharmaceuticals company Fosun pharma and the U.S. drugs giant Pfizer has entered late-stage clinical trials and could be available for mass inoculation as early as this winter, the German company has announced. 



Isobel Ewing in Budapest

Hungary's members of parliament will be required to be tested for the coronavirus and they will be exempt from the safety measures introduced for staff, which include a temperature check upon arrival at parliament buildings and mandatory masks in restrooms, elevators, canteens and other areas not designated for work.

On Tuesday, Hungary's registered coronavirus infections rose by 726 and four elderly patients died. The total number of active cases in Hungary is 13,879.

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Rahul Pathak in Madrid

Coronavirus numbers continue to rise in Spain, with the country's Health Ministry reporting 27,404 new infections across Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Nearly a third of all the new cases come from Madrid. Added to that, 21 percent of hospital beds in the capital are being taken up by coronavirus patients.

Meanwhile, 120 COVID-19 incidents have been recorded across various schools a week after they reopened to students. Some have even been forced to close, including one in the Galician city of Pontevedra.




Iolo ap Dafydd in London

New lockdown measures are in force in the West Midlands region of the UK after a significant increase in the number of coronavirus cases there. This latest local lockdown is in addition to new restrictions introduced on Monday. Up to 1.6 million people in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull are banned from meeting others who aren't part of their household at home or in gardens.

As in the rest of the UK, people can still go out to shops, restaurants and cafes but in groups of no more than six. Currently, on average, there are 3,000 new infections daily in the UK and rates in Birmingham, the second largest city, are increasing.

There are concerns about flaws in the testing system. It's problematic for the National Health Service (NHS) as it leads to staff absences and some services being put at risk, according to NHS managers. Staff are having to self-isolate rather than work because they cannot get tests for themselves or family members. This follows widespread reports of the general public finding it difficult to get tested for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the economy is being hit in the UK as the unemployment rate grew to 4.1 percent. Almost 700,000 jobs have been lost since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March. The Office for National Statistics shows the biggest drop in employment is young people aged between 16 and 24.





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