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UK to remove Belgium, Bahamas, Andorra from safe COVID-19 list

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UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that travellers returning from Belgium, the Bahamas and Andorra will have to quarantine at home for 14 days, due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the three countries.

Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Shapps said the measures will come into effect on Saturday except in Wales, where it has already begun, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Data shows we need to remove Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas from our list of Icoronavirus) travel corridors in order to keep infection rates down.

“If you arrive in the UK after Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days,” he said in the tweet.

The Foreign Office is also warning against “all but essential travel” to the three countries.

People who do not self-isolate when required can be fined up to 1,000 pounds in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and those returning to Scotland could be fined 480 pounds, with fines up to 5,000 pounds for persistent offenders, the BBC reported.

Up to 1.8 million British nationals visit Belgium every year, while 150,000 visit Andorra.

The Bahamas, meanwhile, saw more than 36,000 visits from the UK in 2018.

The countries are the latest to have a change in rules, after quarantines were reimposed for Spain and Luxembourg.

Source: IANS

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France’s Macron urges UN mission to visit China’s Xinjiang region

“This is the reason why … France has requested that an international mission under the aegis of the United Nations go to Xinjiang in order to take into account the concerns that we collectively have on the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority,”

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PARIS : France’s president on Tuesday called for an international mission under the auspices of the United Nations to visit China’s Xinjiang due to concerns over the Muslim Uighur minority.

U.N. experts and activists say at least a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centres in Xinjiang. China describes them as training centres helping stamp out terrorism and extremism and giving people new skills.

“Fundamental rights are not a Western idea that one could oppose as an interference … these are the principles of our organisation, enshrined in texts that the member states of the United Nations have freely consented to sign and to respect,” Emmanuel Macron said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

“This is the reason why … France has requested that an international mission under the aegis of the United Nations go to Xinjiang in order to take into account the concerns that we collectively have on the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority,” he said.

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Israel reports 2,445 new Covid-19 cases; 193,374 in total

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Jerusalem, Sep 23 : Israel’s Ministry of Health reported 2,445 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 193,374.

The total count of deaths from the coronavirus in Israel rose by 12 to 1,285, while the number of patients in serious condition rose from 653 to 668, out of 1,352 patients currently hospitalised, Xinhua news agency reported.

The number of recoveries in the country increased by 3,971 to 140,751, while the number of active Covid-19 cases stood at 51,338.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli government approved a plan to expand the national economic safety net to deal with the pandemic’s impact.

“Expanding the plan will enable immediate economic assistance for businesses and wage-earners who are expected to be hurt by the current Covid-19 nationwide lockdown,” said a joint statement by the Prime Minister’s Office and Finance Ministry.

The expansion includes the lowering of damage threshold for businesses to receive fixed expenditure grants to 25 per cent, providing advances against the fixed expenditure grants, a comprehensive worker retention plan, and deferring the reduction in unemployment benefits.

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United States Covid deaths top 200,000 as questions linger over halting virus spread

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The US death toll from the coronavirus exceeded 200,000, as some guidelines and practices for stopping the disease’s spread have been called into question.

While the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University indicated that 52,000 new cases had been reported on Monday, some 21,800 of those new cases came from the release of backlogged data in Texas.

The US logged 36,695 new cases on Sunday, Johns Hopkins reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused uncertainty Monday when it removed from its website newly posted guidelines saying the coronavirus could be transmitted by tiny particles that linger in the air.

The agency said a draft version of proposed changes was posted in error.

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COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.