California orders closure of bars and indoor operations of restaurants and theaters
California’s governor has ordered all bars to close statewide and all restaurants, movie theaters and museums to halt indoor operations, in a dramatic rolling back of reopening efforts as coronavirus cases continue to surge.
In addition to the statewide closures, the 30 counties on the state’s monitoring list must also shut down indoor operations at places of worship, fitness centers, hair salons, barbershops and malls.
California is contending with a rapidly growing caseload; the state has seen an average of 8,211 daily cases over the past week, an uptick from the 7,876 average from the week before. The positivity rate has increased to 7.4%, up from 6.1% a few weeks prior.
“It’s incumbent on all of us to recognize, soberly, that Covid-19 is not going away anytime soon,” said Gavin Newsom, California’s governor.
Australian agricultural exporters are reassessing their dependence on the China market after previously viewing financial benefits of such trade as being worth the risk, a senior public servant has said.
A range of agricultural groups and industry bodies will today give evidence to a parliamentary inquiry looking into the need to diversify Australia’s trade and investment profile.The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has told the inquiry the impact of Covid-19 had “highlighted the vulnerabilities from reduced demand and disruptions to global supply chains” and it warned that trade concentration could “sharpen” the consequences of a disruption in a key market.
In a submission, the department says exports to China accounted for 29% of the total value of Australia’s agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports in 2018-19, up from 21% four years earlier.
David Hazlehurst, the acting secretary of the department, was asked to explain the claim in the department’s submission that the “likelihood of a targeted trade disruption is reduced where there is mutual dependence, such as Australia’s live cattle exports to Indonesia and Vietnam or in the case of a range of Australia’s exports to China”.
The chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth, George Christensen, likened it to “mutually assured destruction” theory from during the Cold War.Hazlehurst replied that countries would operate in a way that they perceived to be in their own interests.
Explaining what had driven Australian exporters to focus on China, Hazelhurst said:
Particularly as many have observed in relation to China, the price premium for many agricultural products is so high that it’s led to many agribusinesses making the judgments that the risk is worth taking. Now those judgements may be being recalculated by those businesses over time, but the judgement they made at the time was that that premium was worth taking that risk.”
Nearly 10 million people were unable to attend the funeral of someone they knew during lockdown, according to a new study from the UK’s largest undertaker, which warned that the nation is heading towards a national grief “pandemic”.
In its report, Co-op Funeralcare found Covid-19 restrictions meant that 9.7 million mourners had to stay away from cremations and burials. The figure is based on an estimate that 243,000 funerals went ahead in the UK during lockdown with an average of 10 attendees due to coronavirus rules, compared with 50 in normal times.
Warning of the long-term psychological impact of being unable to grieve properly, the study said the UK could experience a prolonged period of mourning for months, or even years, to come.
UK experts fear up to 120,000 Covid-19 deaths this winter
Britain must start “intense preparations” for a second wave of coronavirus that has the potential to kill as many as 120,000 hospital patients in a worst case scenario, experts have warned.
Senior doctors and scientists convened by the Academy of Medical Sciences said on Tuesday that, without urgent action, a resurgence of cases this winter could overwhelm the NHS when services are already stretched because of flu and other seasonal pressures.
The experts were commissioned by Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, to model a “reasonable worst case scenario” for Covid-19 this winter. Their report, which has been shared with ministers and local health authorities, calls for immediate efforts to prepare for a second wave.
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