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Australia says China should allow in WHO Covid investigators ‘without delay’




Thousands of the UK’s most vulnerable children have been sent to unregulated care homes during the pandemic at a cost of millions to the taxpayer, a Guardian investigation has found.

Council bosses say they have nowhere else to put those most at risk as there are not enough places for the number of children in need, which has soared during the Covid crisis. The result is young people are placed in supported living facilities not monitored by Ofsted and therefore deemed a safety risk. One council chief described these homes as the “wild west”.

Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, said the children’s care system had been “left to slip deeper into crisis” this year and that children were now being put at risk of “abuse or exploitation” after being let down by the authorities:


Leak of November lockdown plan linked to ‘surge in new infections’

The leak of plans for a November lockdown in England to the media approximately a week before restrictions came into force has been linked by researchers to a jump in Covid-19 cases caused by people rushing to socialise before the deadline.

“There was a surge in new infections starting a couple of days before the lockdown – and running for about a week or so after the lockdown was implemented,” said the study’s lead author, Paul Hunter, a professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia.

The three-tier system, with varying degrees of restrictions, was introduced in England in mid-October. On Friday 30 October multiple outlets, including the Times, Daily Mail and Sun, reported that the government planned to announce a national lockdown the following Monday, prompting the launch of a leak inquiry. The lockdown eventually came into force on 5 November and ended on 2 December.

Using data procured from 315 local authorities, the researchers observed that case numbers were increasing up to about 24 October, after which they appeared to stabilise, even declining in tier 3 areas. However, over the “notice period” between the news becoming public and the start of lockdown, case numbers started to rise again until they reached a peak around 10 November:



Tokyo sees record new coronavirus cases




South Korea rolls out mass testing for 70,000 prisoners and staff



Anonymised Facebook data on people’s travels could be used to identify the spread of Covid-19 in locations where health officials are not yet aware of it, a new Australian study has found.

Published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface on Wednesday, University of Melbourne researchers analysed anonymised population mobility data provided by Facebook as part of its Data for Good program to determine whether it could be a useful predictor in determining the spread of Covid outbreaks based on where people were travelling:



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