Here are the coronavirus morning headlines for Sunday, October 17, as UK cases remain high with a further 43,423 daily infections recorded on Saturday.
According to the latest official statistics the total number of cases recorded between October 10 and October 16 was up 12.8% from the previous seven days.
The daily data released by the UK government on Saturday, October 16, showed 148 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, with the seven-day total up 5.4% from the previous week.
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In Wales Public Health Wales do not release figures on Saturdays but as of Friday the country's infection rate had dropped slightly to 531.7.
Despite Britain faring far worse than its European neighbours, with a rate of deaths per million people nearly triple those seen in France, Germany and Italy, experts say people have become "tolerant" of sky-high rates.
“We’re in a phase where we still have large numbers of people dying from this disease,” Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, told The Guardian.
“But it has gone into the background. We’ve become used to something that has not gone away. I think there’s been a desensitisation to the mortality.”
On Thursday the UK reported more than 45,000 new coronavirus cases – the most since mid-July – and more than 800 deaths were reported in the past seven days. Hospitalisations are rising, with one-fifth of ICU beds occupied by Covid patients, and the latest figures showed an estimated 200,000 pupils absent from school.
The places in Wales where Covid cases are still growing
Six areas of Wales have seen an increase in Covid cases since the start of October,
The infection rate across Wales as a whole was 531.7 cases per 100,000 people based on the seven days up to October 10 – down from a figure in excess of 600 at the start of October.
WalesOnline has compared Public Health Wales data to see the places in Wales where the virus is spreading most quickly. We compared the figures released on October 15 with the start of the month.
Most places in Wales have seen a fall with the areas of RCT, Merthyr Tydfil, and Blaenau Gwent seeing a reduction of more the 40%.
Below are the four areas where Covid has risen the fastest. The other areas to also see modest growth in their rates are Carmarthenshire (4%) and Monmouthshire (1%).
Pembrokeshire, Powys and Cardiff are among some of the areas where coronavirus is growing fastest. Find out the growth rates in every local authority here.
Latest infection rates for Wales
Fifteen more people have died with coronavirus in Wales according to latest figures from Public Health Wales (PHW).
The data published on Friday, October 15, also revealed there were 3,130 new positive cases bringing the total number since the pandemic began to 392,282. The 15 additional deaths recorded brings the overall toll within 28 days of a positive Covid test to 6,005 in Wales.
The latest seven-day infection rate across Wales based on the cases for every 100,000 people (seven days up to October 10) now stands at 531.7 – a very slight drop on the 531.9 reported on Thursday. The figures announced on Friday are for the 24-hour period up to 9am on October 14 according to PHW.
The local authority with the highest infection rate in Wales is now Torfaen with 709.9 cases per 100,000 population over seven days followed by Cardiff with 705.4 and Vale of Glamorgan with 696.9.
First weekend of Covid passes in Wales
This weekend has marked the first one where Covid passes to attend nightclubs and large events have been mandatory in Wales (go here to read about how border bars, which have many English regulars, were having to prepare).
Since October 11 you need proof you are either fully vaccinated or have had a negative Covid test in the last 48 hours before you can go to nightclubs, indoor non-seated events for more than 500 people, outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people, and any event with more than 10,000 people.
Sunday, October 17, will see a football Welsh derby as Swansea and Cardiff meet for the first time since the passes were introduced.
About 20,000 supporters are expected at the Swansea.com Stadium for the game. It is also the first time fans will be able to attend the fixture in person since January last year with the past two being played behind closed doors.
There is a "mixed reaction" to the passes among fans, reports the BBC.
Melbourne to ease world's longest Covid-19 lockdown
Melbourne, which has spent more time under Covid-19 lockdowns than any other city in the world, is set to lift its stay-at-home orders this week, officials said.
By Friday, when some curbs will be lifted, the Australian city of five million people will have been under six lockdowns totalling 262 days, or nearly nine months, since March 2020.
Australian and other media say this is the longest in the world, exceeding a 234-day lockdown in Buenos Aires.
While coronavirus cases keep rising in Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital, the state's double-vaccination rate is set to reach 70% this week, allowing for the ease in restrictions.
"Today is a great day," said Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews in announcing the move. "Today is a day when Victorians can be proud of what they have achieved."
When hospitality venues and some businesses re-open their capacity will remain heavily restricted. More easing, including the reopening of many retailers, will come once 80% of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated – estimated to be by November 5 at the latest.
Former UK prime minister urges UK to send vaccines to Africa
More than 100,000 lives can be saved in Africa by undertaking the emergency airlift of 240m unused vaccines in the next fortnight, Gordon Brown has said.
The former prime minister called on a group of rich nations to back “the biggest peacetime public policy decision” by supporting an October airlift that would see unused vaccines handed to parts of the global south struggling the most.
He told the Observer’s policy editor Michael Savage: "While vaccines have been pledged for donation from all donors we are not getting the vaccines into people’s arms and urgently need a month-to-month timetable to meet our interim targets and prevent further loss of lives.
"An immediate emergency airlift of 240m vaccines this month from the global north to the global south should be followed by the transfer of a further 760m vaccines transferred by February. This would be the biggest peacetime public policy decision, which could save 100,000 lives and prevent many of the one million Covid-induced deaths projected over the next year."
With only 5% of the population vaccinated in Africa Brown urged the leaders of the US, the EU, Canada, and the UK to back an emergency airlift. He said that 40% of Covid deaths in Africa had happened since the start of August making the need for action urgent.
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