Coronavirus live news: Melbourne under curfew; worldwide cases near 18m

edited August 2 in UK Political Debate

Hundreds of ‘mystery cases’ have forced decision in Australian state of Victoria; India records nearly 55,000 new cases; UK planning to avoid a second national lockdown;

Hello, I’m taking over from my colleague Ben, as always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have relevant tips and pointers to share, you can get me on Twitter @JedySays or via email.

Why has the UK done so badly when it comes to having the most excess deaths in Europe from Covid 19? There are no simple answers but one hint may be given by an interactive map provided by an official statistical report last week, which shows the development of excess mortality at a local level across Europe.

That’s according to Prof David Spiegelhalter, a statistician who earlier this year asked the UK government to stop using an article he wrote for the Guardian as justification for why Britain’s death toll from coronavirus should not be compared with that of other countries.

We see strong hotspots in northern Italy and central Spain, which stay fairly localised – for example, Rome has seen no excess mortality.

But it is genuinely chilling to see these extra deaths erupt fairly evenly across the whole of the UK, as the thousands of people returning from winter holidays in Spain and Italy seeded hundreds of separate outbreaks across the country.

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