Call for mass testing of taxi drivers, airport arrivals and NHS staff

Medicine

A member of the armed forces directs people to deposit their self-tests into a container in Spinney Hill Park in Leicester - AFP
A member of the armed forces directs people to deposit their self-tests into a container in Spinney Hill Park in Leicester – AFP
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

Taxi drivers, people arriving at airports and NHS staff could be subject to mass coronavirus testing in efforts to identify asymptomatic people and their contacts, Jeremy Hunt has suggested.

The former health secretary said certain groups within the population, as well as people in particular parts of the country, could be tested to try to better track Covid-19 infections.

Mr Hunt has previously warned that the Government’s test and trace system “will fail” unless a way of reaching infected people is found.

Speaking on Wednesday during an online conversation with Prof Sir Simon Wessely, the Royal Society of Medicine president, he said: “I think looking at healthcare staff, looking at taxi drivers is another group, airport arrivals is another group.

“I think we need to think about mass testing amongst groups of the population as well as parts of the country like Leicester and so on, as our best way of finding out where the asymptomatics are and feeding them into the system so that their contacts can be isolated.”

Follow all the latest updates below.

12:04 AM

Governor of Venezuelan hotspot seeking treatment

The governor of the Venezuelan state of Zulia, which President Nicolas Maduro has identified as a coronavirus hotspot, has checked into a clinic to seek treatment for respiratory trouble, three sources familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

Omar Prieto was admitted on Tuesday night to a private clinic near Zulia’s capital of Maracaibo where he is receiving preventative treatment while he awaits the results of a Covid-19 test, according to two of the sources.

A positive test result would underscore the severity of the outbreak in Zulia, which borders neighbouring Colombia, and signal that high-ranking officials in Mr Maduro’s government are at risk in the pandemic.

Zulia has been among states hardest hit by Venezuela’s crumbling power and water services, hampering efforts to maintain basic sanitation even in hospitals.

Officials say many of the cases originated in a sprawling food market known as the Maracaibo Flea Market that has long been known for its overcrowding and poor sanitation.

A municipal worker disinfects a salesman who works outside the flea market in Maracaibo, Zulia State, Venezuela - AFP
A municipal worker disinfects a salesman who works outside the flea market in Maracaibo, Zulia State, Venezuela – AFP

11:42 PM

Bob Marley song reimagined to raise money for Unicef fund

Members of Bob Marley’s family have reimagined the late reggae star’s song One Love to raise money for Unicef’s coronavirus fund.

Tuff Gong International, the label and recording studio founded by Marley in the 1970s, and global record company Amplified Music will release the recording on July 17.

Proceeds from the song will go to Reimagine, Unicef’s global campaign to prevent the Covid-19 pandemic from becoming a lasting crisis for children.

Originally recorded in 1977 by Bob Marley And The Wailers, the new version of One Love features Marley’s daughter Cedella, son Stephen and grandson Skip, as well as musicians from conflict zones and children living in vulnerable communities.

Read more: Aftershock of Covid-19 forces millions of children into begging, child labour and early marriages

A reimagination of late reggae star Bob Marley's song One Love, to raise money for Unicef's coronavirus fund - PA
A reimagination of late reggae star Bob Marley’s song One Love, to raise money for Unicef’s coronavirus fund – PA

11:31 PM

Attenborough appeals for donations to save charity behind zoos

Veteran broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough has appealed for donations to save the conservation charity behind two leading British zoos, London and Whipsnade, which has been hammered financially by the pandemic.

The short video clip, which will air on British television on Thursday, draws attention to the scientific work of the Zoological Society of London and features images of animals both in the two zoos and their native habitats.

“The Zoological Society of London has made an outstanding contribution to conservation and our understanding of wildlife for 200 years,” said Attenborough, noting that the two zoos are home to over 20,000 animals, some of them endangered.

“The national institution is now itself at risk of extinction,” said Attenborough, 94, who is famed worldwide for his documentaries on the natural world.

The ZSL has lost vital income after the pandemic forced its zoos to close for the first time since WWII, he said, urging people to make donations via the link zsl.org/justgiving.

11:16 PM

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