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Spain surpasses 500,000 coronavirus cases in first for Western Europe

Spain became the first country in Western Europe to register 500,000 coronavirus infections on Monday, after a second surge in cases that coincided with schools reopening.

Health Ministry data showed a total of 525,549 cases, up from 498,989 on Friday, and 2,440 infections registered in the last 24 hours. Spain updates its data retroactively, so the latest numbers could be revised.

Recent infections have been more common among younger people who often develop no symptoms thanks to their stronger immune systems, and the death rate remains far below the March-April peak when daily fatalities routinely exceeded 800.

Despite the unwanted milestone, unlike then, hospitals have enough beds to treat Covid-19 patients.


Trump again raises idea of decoupling US economy from China

With the US election approaching, President Donald Trump on Monday again raised the idea of separating the US and Chinese economies, also known as decoupling, suggesting the United States would not lose money if the world’s two biggest economies no longer did business.

“So when you mention the word decouple, it’s an interesting word,” Trump told a Labor Day news conference at the White House in which he vowed to bring jobs back to America from China.

“We lose billions of dollars and if we didn’t do business with them we wouldn’t lose billions of dollars. It’s called decoupling, so you’ll start thinking about it,” Trump said.


WHO says working with China on requirements for Covid-19 vaccine approval

The World Health Organisation is working with China on requirements for international approval of any Chinese Covid-19 vaccine, a senior official said on Monday.

“WHO’s office in China and WHO headquarters has been working with the regulatory authorities in China,” assistant director-general Mariangela Simao told a briefing in Geneva.

“We are in direct contact, we have been sharing information and the requirements for international approval of vaccines.”


Britain imposes quarantine on Greek islands in Covid-19 strategy shift

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government imposed a 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving from seven Greek islands in a shift to its coronavirus strategy, as domestic cases of the disease continued to rise.

It’s the first time London has taken a regional approach to quarantine rules and will be a blow to the islands, which are popular destinations for British holidaymakers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the measure amid mounting concern in Johnson’s administration after 2,948 further virus cases were reported Monday, on top of 2,988 on Sunday, in highs not seen since May.


Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan repay money for renovation of home on Windsor Estate

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have refunded British taxpayers 2.4 million pounds (S$4.3 million), the cost of renovating their UK home, in line with a commitment they made after announcing in January they would step back from royal duties.

The refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, a house within the grounds of Queen Elizabeth’s Windsor Castle west of London, had been criticised by some British media as too expensive.

The repayment comes as Harry and Meghan, an American former actress, seek to forge new careers for themselves and attain greater financial independence.


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