Covid-19 wrap: Tokyo Olympics to require tests for athletes, UK's new measures met with scepticism

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Here are the latest coronavirus news from around the world.

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Tokyo Olympics to require Covid-19 tests for athletes - draft of planned measures

Organisers of the delayed Tokyo Olympics will require Covid-19 tests for non-Japanese athletes and other participants upon arrival in Japan, according to a draft of measures proposed by organisers and released on Wednesday.

Japanese Olympic athletes and other participants living in Japan will be subject to the same measures, according to the draft measures still under discussion. Tokyo 2020 organisers were forced to delay the games due to the pandemic.

- Reuters


UK's new Covid measures met with scepticism, confusion

The British government on Wednesday defended its new, stricter coronavirus measures against criticism that they did not got far enough, saying it was trying to balance supporting the economy while protecting health.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told citizens on Tuesday to work from home if possible and ordered restaurants and bars to close early, in an effort to slow a fast-spreading second wave of Covid-19, saying restrictions would likely last six months.

Britain has the highest Covid-19 death toll in Europe, with a total close to 42 000. New infections have been accelerating in recent weeks, leading scientists to say they could hit 50 000 per day by mid-October if left unchecked.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab gave a round of interviews on Wednesday - six months to the day since the government first imposed a national lockdown on 23 March - seeking to persuade the public to abide by the new rules to avoid a second lockdown.

"What we don't want is to have to take even more severe measures as we go through Christmas," Raab said on LBC radio. "And that's why we need to take the proportional, targeted measures we're taking now."

Asked on BBC radio if the new measures were part of a Swedish-style plan to live with the virus rather than try to get rid of it, Raab rejected that suggestion.

But a decision by Scotland's semi-autonomous government to take more stringent measures, such as banning any socialising between households, cast doubt over whether the steps taken in more populous England would be sufficient.

- Reuters


Russia reports 6 431 new coronavirus cases, 150 deaths

Russia on Wednesday reported 6 431 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, its highest daily increase since July 13.

The authorities said 150 people had died in the day, bringing the official death toll to 19 799.

The new figures pushed Russia's national tally of cases to 1 122 241, the fourth-largest in the world.

- Reuters


Slovakia reports highest daily Covid-19 tally

Slovakia on Wednesday reported its highest daily tally of new Covid-19 cases since the pandemic started, recording 338 infections the previous day, according to Health Ministry data.

Slovakia has one of Europe's lowest Covid-19 death tolls, but cases have spiked this month, like elsewhere on the continent.As on Wednesday, Slovakia had 7 269 cases, of whom 3 888 had recovered, with 41 deaths.

- Reuters


World's workers lost $3.5 trillion in wages amid pandemic: UN

The coronavirus pandemic is taking a heavier toll on jobs than previously feared, the UN said Wednesday, with hundreds of millions of jobs lost and workers suffering a "massive" drop in earnings.

In a fresh study, the International Labour Organization (ILO) found that by the mid-year point, global working hours had declined by 17.3% compared to last December - equivalent to nearly 500 million full-time jobs.

That is nearly 100 million more job-equivalents than the number forecast by the ILO back in June, when it expected 14% of working hours to be lost by the end of the second three-month period of the year.

"The impact has been catastrophic," ILO chief Guy Ryder told reporters in a virtual briefing, pointing out that global labour income had shrunk by 10.7% during the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2019.

That amounts to a drop of some $3.5 trillion, or 5.5% of the overall global gross domestic product (GDP), the ILO said.

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