UK coronavirus LIVE: Gyms and pools reopen as WHO reports biggest one-day jump in deaths since April

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  • July 25, 2020
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England’s gyms and indoor pools have reopened their doors for the first time in four months, as the country sees its latest relaxation of the coronavirus lockdown.

Facilities must follow strict hygiene and social distancing measures, reduce class sizes and ensure adequate ventilation, to comply with the Government’s Covid-secure guidelines.

The move comes after a new Public Health England (PHE) review found that people who are overweight or obese are up to twice as likely to suffer hospitalisation or death from Covid-19 than those with a healthy BMI.

Downing Street is preparing to reveal its own obesity strategy “very soon”, with junk food adverts expected to be banned on TV before the 9pm watershed and outlawed entirely online.

In other developments, the World Health Organisation has reported a record increase in global cases of the virus – with Friday seeing the largest one-day jump in deaths since April.

Follow our live updates here…

Live Updates


The Department of Health (DHSC) has published it’s latest statistics – not including deaths.

The number of confirmed cases has risen by 767 overnight to 298,681.

The DHSC has paused its data on fatalities until an urgent PHE review is carried out.


Here’s a round-up of the latest hospital figures:

The number of people who have died after testing positive for coronavirus in UK hospitals has jumped by 25.

NHS England announced the additional 25 deaths on Saturday.

Meanwhile, statistics released today in Scotland show no new Covid-19 deaths have been recorded for the ninth day in a row, and Wales reported no new fatalities for the third day in a row.

Typically Northern Ireland doesn’t announce new figures at the weekend.


World sees biggest one-day rise in coronavirus cases to date

Global coronavirus cases have seen their biggest single-day increase to date, with a rise of more than 284,000 in just 24 hours.

Deaths from the disease also surged to their highest one-day level since April, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), after it warned the world would not return to the “old normal”.

Read more here…


Gym members take to the exercise equipment at Ultimate Fitness Gym in Birmingham

It comes as indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities were able to reopen today as part of the latest easing of coronavirus lockdown measures in England.


Latest figures reveal 25 people have died of coronavirus in hospitals in England

NHS England said a further 25 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,272.

Patients were aged between 52 and 93 years old and all had known underlying health conditions.

Another eight deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.


Germany considers introducing compulsory coronavirus testing for people arriving from high-risk destinations

Health Minister Jens Spahn told a local radio station the German Government wants to prevent the spread of coronavirus while respecting people’s basic rights.

Mr Spahn said: “We are also checking whether it is legally possible to oblige someone to do a test, because it would be an encroachment on freedom.”

He added that the courts were examining all Covid-19 measures to ensure they are appropriate when it comes to their impact on basic rights.

According to the Reuters news agency, the number of new confirmed cases  in Germany increased sharply on Friday to 815, the biggest tally since mid-May. It remained high on Saturday with 781 new cases.


Customers seemed slightly more cautious on the day that wearing face coverings became mandatory in England’s shops, retail footfall data has revealed.

The number of shoppers declined by 0.2 per cent on Friday compared to the previous Friday, following a week of relatively steady increases in traffic to stores and supermarkets.

Friday marked the first day that shoppers in England had been legally obliged to wear a face covering or risk a fine.

Anyone flouting the rules without an exemption risks a £100 fine – reduced to £50 if paid quickly.

Data from retail intelligence company Springboard revealed the drop in footfall in England compared to modest growth in shoppers elsewhere in the UK where different regulations on face coverings are in force.

Traffic to shops increased 5.9 per cent in Scotland, two per cent in Northern Ireland and 1.7 per cent in Wales on Friday.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s marketing and insights director, said: “It seems that on the first day of the mandatory wearing of masks in stores and enclosed destinations in England shoppers were cautious about making trips.”

But she added: “Footfall may well strengthen over the next days and weeks as consumers become used to wearing masks.”


And here are the latest figures for Wales:

Wales has reported no new coronavirus deaths overnight, bringing the country’s death toll to 1,548,

Another 30 cases have been confirmed in the country, according to Public Health Wales, taking the current total to 17,105. 


The latest figures for Scotland are in:

Scotland has recorded 27 new confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the latest Scottish Government figures.

A total of 18,547 people have now tested positive for the virus north of the border.

No deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19 have been recorded for nine consecutive days, meaning the toll remains at 2,491.

The percentage of people testing positive remains at 0.7 per cent, the figures indicate – up 0.3 per cent from Friday.


Profit – haven’t heard that word in a while, says leisure chief

Gyms and leisure centres will be unable to dig themselves out of a “financial hole” caused by lockdown closures for around “two to three years,” the chief executive of GLL has warned.

Speaking at the London Aquatics Centre and Gym at its reopening, Mark Sesnan, who leads the UK’s largest operator of public leisure facilities, said “profit” is a word he “hasn’t heard in a while”.

He said: “The reality is, you’ve got a business that has no income, and still has half the costs. Even though the furlough scheme, which has been very helpful, pays the staff costs – or most of them – the other half of our costs we’ve had to cover ourselves.

“We’ve used our reserves to pay for that, but they’re running out and running out fast. So getting open is important, but actually running at half capacity, as you can guess, is still not going to solve the problem.

“So it’s a long journey – it’s going to be two or three years before we can dig ourselves out of the financial hole.

“And of course, it’s not just GLL, it’s lots of leisure companies, private and public, up and down the country.”


World update:

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested negative for coronavirus, after his forth test since contracting the virus on July 7.

“Good morning everyone,” Mr Bolsonaro wrote on Facebook after reporting that the test was “negative.”

The 65-year-old leader didn’t say when he did the new test. On Wednesday, he had tested positive for the third time.

Mr Bolsonaro also posted a photo of himself with a box of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, although it has not been proven effective against the virus.

Now that Mr Bolsonaro is clear of the virus, he is expected to return to mingling in crowds as he used to do before his diagnosis.

He had spent many weekends since the beginning of the pandemic in close proximity to supporters, sometimes without wearing a mask.

On Thursday, he was photographed without a mask while talking to some sweepers in the garden of the presidential residence.

Brazil, Latin America’s largest nation, is one of the outbreak’s epicentres.

According to the Brazilian government, on Friday there were 85,238 confirmed deaths due to Covid-19.

The country has 2,343,366 confirmed cases. The real numbers are believed to be higher.

On Monday, two more ministers in Mr Bolsonaro’s Cabinet said they have tested positive for the new coronavirus: the 65-year-old minister of citizenship, Onyx Lorenzoni, and Milton Ribeiro, the 62-year-old minister of education.

Mr Bolsonaro’s administration last week completed two months without a health minister.

The interim minister, Gen. Eduardo Pazuello, who had no experience in the field before April, is facing pressure to leave the job.

He took over after his predecessor, a doctor and health care consultant, quit in protest over Mr Bolsonaro’s support for the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, a related drug, as a treatment for Covid-19.



Some lighter news for our readers here:

A mum-of-seven has gone viral after filming herself drinking wine while wearing a packet of baby wipes as a makeshift face mask.

Wearing a pair of over-sized sunglasses, Emily Rumbold, 36, opens the flip-top lid and takes a sip from a glass of white wine before pressing it shut again.

Ms Rumbold, from Gippsland, joked in the caption of her TikTok video: “Doing my bit to stop the spread [of coronavirus].”

Read more…


The Prime Minister has just shared this emotive video thanking public servants for making the UK “the best place in the world to live”.


World update:


Global coronavirus cases have seen their biggest single-day increase to date, with a rise of more than 284,000 in just 24 hours.

Deaths from the disease also surged to their highest one-day level since April, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), after it warned the world would not return to the “old normal”.

Covid-19 cases rose by 284,196 on Friday, while fatalities jumped by 9,753 – the highest number since the record of 9,797 set on April 30.

Read more…


World update:


Vietnam has been placed back on high alert after the country’s first locally transmitted coronavirus case for three months was detected in the city of Danang.

Vietnam has imposed strict quarantine measures and carried out an aggressive and widespread testing programme during the pandemic, keeping its total tally of reported infections to just 417, with no deaths.

It had reported no locally transmitted infections for 100 days until yesterday, when the Health Ministry said a 57-year-old man from Danang, a tourist hot spot, had tested positive.

State media reported late on Saturday (local time) that the man was in critical condition, and specialised doctors had flown from Ho Chi Minh City to treat him.

Authorities said 50 people the patient came into contact with have been isolated.

The ministry said 103 people connected to the patient were tested for the virus but all returned negative results.

More than 11,800 people are now being quarantined throughout the country, including 147 at hospitals.

The government did not say how the man contracted the virus but said he had not left Danang for nearly a month. He was initially diagnosed with pneumonia.

A fresh test on Saturday had confirmed the coronavirus infection, authorities said.

The case comes at a time when Vietnam was about to resume international commercial flights and as domestic tourism is surging.

Vietnam’s ban on international commercial flights is still in place, but foreign experts and skilled workers have been able to enter provided they undergo mandatory quarantine.

Of the nearly 150 cases reported over the past three months, all were found in people who had been quarantined on arrival. 


Queues as fitness fans flock back to gyms

Gym goer Peter Topping queued up outside his local gym in Hexham this morning, keen to get back inside.

He said: “We were queuing outside for just a few minutes, and the staff briefed people while we were waiting.

“It was brilliant to be back, but hard work after four months off.”

He said the Wentworth gym managed social distancing well, with a separate entrance and exit and other social distancing measures in place.



The nation could be facing a collapse in its health and leisure infrastructure, the industry has warned, as pools and gyms were allowed to open their doors in the latest easing of lockdown measures.

Only around 20 per cent of pools in England will be opening today, the head of the national governing body for swimming said, with thousands potentially shutting up shop unless the Government intervenes.

Jane Nickerson, chief executive of Swim England, said that even before Covid-19 struck 40 per cent of the country’s ageing pool stock was facing closure before the end of the decade.

She said many local facilities have had no support at all over the last three months.

Ms Nickerson told Radio 4’s Today programme: “We know every single pool returns around £7.2 million in community benefits – in social cohesion, crime prevention, education attainment and health benefits.

“So a little bit of support now from the Government will have its payback within months.

“It is not like it’s asking for money that just gets thrown away – by tackling the health and obesity crisis in the pool, it actually saves a lot of money.”

She added: “One of our biggest, biggest fears is that there will be a lost generation of children this year who don’t learn to swim.”

Ms Nickerson’s fears are shared by Community Leisure UK, the members’ association that specialises in representing charitable leisure and culture trusts across England, Scotland and Wales.

It estimates as many as 1,300 public leisure facilities could disappear by the end of the year, along with more than 58,000 jobs.

The gloomy predictions came as eager gym goers worked up a sweat on Saturday morning.

Fitness chain David Lloyd clubs opened the doors of its branch in Hampton, Twickenham, at exactly midnight on Saturday to hold what is believed to be the first post-lockdown indoor exercise class.

As well as the chance to take part in a “Blitz” HIIT (high intensity interval training) class, those who had patiently queued were also given free rein of the facilities in the early hours of the morning.

Elsewhere, the Aquabatics sunchronised swimming team were happy to be back in the water at the London Aquatic Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.


World update:


Thousands of Filipinos were crammed into a baseball stadium in Manila today, after people wanting to return to their home provinces flooded a government transportation programme.

Officials had reserved the stadium as a place to test people before allowing them to head back to their home provinces under a scheme to help people who had lost their jobs in the capital return to their families elsewhere.

Officials had planned for 7,500 people to arrive at the stadium from Friday, but were caught out when another 2,000 people who were not yet scheduled to travel headed there anyway.

“Because of the overflowing number of people, we can no longer control (the situation) and the relevance of social distancing had been diminished,” Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo, who is overseeing the government’s transportation assistance programme, said.

Police were deployed to urge social distancing, but people, including the elderly, children and pregnant women, were seen in close contact with each other. Some were not wearing masks.

Many of those at the stadium had got stuck in the capital when it imposed one of the strictest and longest lockdowns in mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus cases in the country have more than quadrupled to 78,412 since restrictions were eased in June, with more than half of those in the capital and surrounding areas.


Here are the key takeaways from the PHE report:

Severe obesity can increase the chance of dying from coronavirus by up to 90 per cent, new research shows, as Britons have been urged to shed the pounds.

A new Public Health England (PHE) report found a dramatic rise in the risk of hospitalisation and death from Covid-19, prompting an urgent Government campaign to slim down the nation.

The public has been snacking more in lockdown and, despite increases in sales of bikes and exercise equipment, overall activity levels appear to have dropped compared to before the pandemic, the PHE review said.

Read more…


World update:

A masked man walks past a shop window in central Kyiv (Reuters)

Ukraine has reported 1,106 new cases of the coronavirus within a 24-hour period –the highest daily toll since a record on June 26, when it reached 1,109, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov has said.

The number of new daily infections has increased sharply in the past two months following the gradual lifting of restrictions that began in late-May.

Mr Stepanov said that 205 people had been admitted to hospitals. “It means their lives are under threat and we have to understand that this disease is very serious,” he told an online briefing.

The total number of cases rose to 63,929, including 1,590 deaths, while 35,497 patients recovered as of July 25.

Mr Stepanov appealed to people to stick to rules aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

Ukraine’s government this week extended a nationwide lockdown until August 31, requiring people to wear masks and adhere to social distancing rules in restaurants and public places

 At the same time, it will allow separate regions to ease the regime if warranted.