Coronavirus - 31 August


• UK business confidence rises in August

• WHO is investigating a new variant detected in South Africa

• Global organ transplant rates fell 31% during the first wave

• EU removes six countries (including US and Israel) from white list

• US raises Canada to level 4. “do not travel”

World news

• The Lloyds Bank Business Barometer, a monthly survey of 1,200 firms, has found overall business confidence among UK firms rose by six points to +36% in August.

• Two Oregon counties (Josephine and Tillamook) are running out of space to hold bodies amid a rise in cases. Authorities have requested refrigerated trucks to help handle the overflow.

• The WHO and UNICEF have demanded that schools across Europe must stay open and be made safer for staff and children.

• South African scientists have detected a new variant that may have increased transmissibility. The C.1.2 variant, which has multiple mutations, has yet to be labelled as a variant of concern.

• The number of solid organ transplants fell dramatically around the world between 2019 and 2020, according to an international study published in the Lancet Public Health journal. The overall number of kidney, liver, lung, and heart transplants from human donors fell by 31% during the first wave of across 22 countries. In the UK, a report from NHS Blood and Transplant showed that in the year 2020 -21, transplant activity was down to around 80% of normal levels, with 3,391 transplants carried out in the UK compared with 4,761 in the previous 12 months. Overall, 487 patients died while waiting for a transplant, compared with 372 in 2019 -20 .

• France will provide 10 million doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines to African nations over the next three months.

• The Czech Republic will offer a booster vaccine to any previously vaccinated person from 20 September.

• The EU has removed the US, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and the Republic of North Macedonia from a Covid -19 “white list” of places whose tourists should be permitted entry without restrictions such as mandatory quarantine.

• The US State Department has raised its travel advisory alert for Canada to Level 4 “do not travel” status.

• Canberra has extended its hard lockdown by a further two weeks.

• In the European Union, 70% of the adult population is now fully vaccinated.

• Slovakia has formally ended using Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine today due to lack of interest. It received 200,000 doses on 1 March, but has since resold four -fifths of it back to Moscow.

• Public Health Scotland data shows Scotland's waiting list for specialist treatment has risen to a record 396,771 people – 48.4% higher than at 30 June 2020.