Italy reopens schools despite coronavirus concerns

  • The World Health Organization has reported a record-breaking number of coronavirus cases worldwide, with at least 307,930 cases confirmed in just one day.

  • Victoria, the second-most populous state in Australia and the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, has reported 35 new cases – the lowest daily rise in three months.

  • More than 28.9 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and more than 922,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. About 19.5 million people have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, September 14

12:11 GMT – Pope Francis ‘constantly monitored’ for virus: Vatican

Pope Francis is being “constantly monitored” for signs of the coronavirus, a top Vatican official said, after the 83-year old pontiff met with a cardinal who later tested positive.

Philippine cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, 63, had a private audience with Francis on August 29. He went on to test positive for COVID-19 on his return to Manila on September 10.

“We are being prudent,” Secretary of State Pietro Parolin told ANSA news agency.

“There is no particular alarm [in the Vatican]”, but the health of the head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics was being “constantly monitored,” he added.

Pope Francis, whose birth name is Jorge Bergoglio, has shown little fear for his own health since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic early this year.

12:04 GMT – Scotland says concerned about coronavirus testing backlog

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was concerned about a backlog of coronavirus test results which was starting to affect the swift reporting of the state of the national outbreak.

“We now have a very serious concern about the backlog of test results being faced by the UK lab network,” Sturgeon told reporters. “This apparent delay in turnaround is causing us concern.”

11:14 GMT – UK’s opposition Labour leader Starmer is self-isolating

The leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, is self-isolating after a member of his household showed COVID-19 symptoms.

“The member of his household has now had a test,” a Labour spokeswoman said. “In line with National Health Service guidelines, Keir will self-isolate while awaiting the results of the test and further advice from medical professionals.”

10:45 GMT – Eli Lilly’s rheumatoid arthritis drug helps recovery in COVID-19 patients

Eli Lilly and Co said its rheumatoid arthritis drug Olumiant helped reduce the time taken to recover from COVID-19 in hospitalized patients in a clinical trial.

The US drugmaker said the drug, in combination with Gilead Sciences Inc’s remdesivir, met the main goal of shortening recovery when compared to remdesivir alone.

10:41 GMT – India’s parliament meets after six months as COVID cases surge

India’s parliament met for the first time in six months, as coronavirus cases across the country rose by more than 90,000 in the space of a day and the total number of infections neared 5 million.

Members, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wore masks and sat in seats enclosed by glass partitions designed to prevent the spread of the virus.

The assembly’s hours have been truncated; the lower house will sit in the morning and the upper house in the afternoon.

“There can be no laxity when there is no medicine. We hope that a vaccine is available soon, whichever part of the world it comes from,” Modi said in remarks to the media before the session began.

Federal Home Minister Amit Shah, Modi’s close aide, was absent from Monday’s session. He spent most of August in hospital after contracting the virus, and returned to hospital over the weekend for what hospital authorities said was a check-up.

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