UK records lowest daily virus death toll since start of lockdown

People walk past a food stall in Portobello Market in west London on June 1, 2020, following the easing of the lockdown restrictions during the novel coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)
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Updated 01 June 2020

UK records lowest daily virus death toll since start of lockdown

  • Country reports 111 more coronavirus deaths in a sign of “significant progress”
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced 1,570 more positive cases

LONDON: Britain on Monday reported 111 more coronavirus deaths — the lowest daily toll since the start of the nationwide lockdown on March 23.
Reporting is often lower after a weekend but Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a news conference it was a sign of “significant progress” in tackling the outbreak.
Hancock also said there had been 1,570 more positive cases, the lowest number since March 25.
The announcement came as lockdown measures were eased in England, with the youngest primary school pupils going back to school, with open air markets and car showrooms reopening.
Britain as a whole still has the second-highest cumulative toll in the global outbreak, with 39,045 deaths registered after a positive test for the virus.
The government maintains it is in a position to begin lifting its stay-at-home measures as transmission rates fall, but critics say this could lead to a second wave of infections.


NATO says Greece and Turkey cancel military exercises

Updated 23 October 2020

NATO says Greece and Turkey cancel military exercises

  • “This is a very welcome step,” Stoltenberg said after a videoconference of NATO defense ministers
  • Turkey has deployed a gas exploration vessel under military escort into Greek waters

BRUSSELS: Turkey and Greece have agreed to cancel rival military exercises that were to have been held next week on their respective national days, NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday.
The neighbors, while NATO members, are at loggerheads over energy drilling and maritime rights in the eastern Mediterranean and the alliance has set up a hotline to head off accidental clashes.
“This is a very welcome step,” Stoltenberg said after a videoconference of NATO defense ministers, including Greece’s Nikos Panagiotopoulos and Turkey’s Hulusi Akar.
“These are steps in the right direction, and it helps to reduce the risks for instance and accidents.”
Greece had been expected to conduct exercises on Wednesday October 28, its Oxi Day holiday, and Turkey on Thursday, celebrated there as Republic Day.
Turkey has deployed the Oruc Reis, a gas exploration vessel under military escort into Greek waters off the island of Kastellorizo, and Greek vessels are nearby.
Addressing a news conference after two days of talks on a variety of topics, Stoltenberg confirmed he had raised the situation with the Greek and Turkish ministers.
“I will say that we had a good and constructive talks and allies expressed a strong support for the NATO de-confliction mechanism,” Stoltenberg said.
“I welcome now the fact that we have been able to see some concrete steps in that direction with the cancelation of the two exercises.”
French Defense Minister Florence Parly also hailed the decisions to cancel the military exercises, stressing the need to “respect international law and restore stability in the region.”
Stoltenberg also welcomed Germany’s diplomatic mediation in the underlying dispute.
On Thursday, he had warned that — while NATO could help keep the rival militaries apart — it would be down to Ankara and Athens to open a dialogue to resolve their long-standing differences.