UK to roll out rapid COVID-19 testing in Liverpool
FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, a man wearing a face mask walks past a statue of the Beatles, as new measures across the region are set to come into force in Liverpool, England. A half-million people in the city of Liverpool will be regularly tested for COVID-19 in Britains first citywide trial of widespread, rapid testing that the government hopes will be a new weapon in combatting the pandemic. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)LONDON – A half-million people in the English city of Liverpool will be regularly tested for COVID-19 in Britain's first citywide trial of widespread, rapid testing that the government hopes will be a new weapon in combating the pandemic. Rapid testing for health-care workers, teachers and students will be particularly useful in helping the city return to normal after the national lockdown ends, he said. “This first deployment of whole city testing in Liverpool is a really important step forward and is thanks to the big increase in testing capacity and our investment in new testing technologies,'' said Dido Harding, the head of the Test and Trace program.
With concert halls shut, NY Philharmonic takes to sidewalk
The NY Phil Bandwagon travels to three unannounced locations around New York City, Friday through Sunday, for an impromptu pullup chamber music concert as part of the New York Philharmonic's Fall 2020 activities. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)NEW YORK – With performance halls shut because of the coronavirus pandemic, the best concert venue a violinist could hope for one recent October Friday was a sidewalk in the Bronx. Fiona Simon tuned her instrument as she prepared for one of her only public performances with the New York Philharmonic in months. On that Friday, Simon and a few colleagues played three corners of the city as part of the series they’re calling the NY Phil Bandwagon. The Philharmonic plans to hold its final Bandwagon concert of the year this weekend, and then resume the program in the spring.
As virus surges, critics say UK hasn't learned from mistakes
The virus is on the rise again in the U.K., which has recorded almost 42,000 COVID-19 deaths, with confirmed infections at their highest level since May. Britain quickly approved a test for COVID-19, but lacked the lab capacity to process those tests. By the time the government ordered a nationwide lockdown on March 23, the virus was out of control. Like some other countries, the U.K. released elderly patients from hospitals back to nursing homes without testing them for the virus. In Madrid, site of one of Europe’s fastest-growing outbreaks, it can take more than a week to get test results.
UK scraps public health body amid criticized virus response
LONDON The British government announced Tuesday it is scrapping a public health agency that has taken blame for the countrys uneven response to the coronavirus. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the work of Public Health England will become part of a new body, the National Institute for Health Protection, which will guard against infectious diseases and biosecurity threats. Hancock said it would learn from public health agencies in South Korea and Germany, which have been praised for their strong response to the pandemic. Public Health England has been criticized for taking an overly centralized approach to testing and contact-tracing, and of abandoning widespread testing for the virus in mid-March because it lacked the diagnostic capacity. Its defenders argue that Britains Conservative governments have been cutting public health budgets for years, leaving the country ill-prepared to deal with the pandemic.