LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dismissed campaigners who oppose vaccinations, describing anti-vaxxers as "nuts.''
Johnson asked staff at a London medical center what they thought of anti-vaxxers, then added: "There's all these anti-vaxxers now. They are nuts, they are nuts."
Johnson was touring the east London center to promote a campaign for flu vaccinations before winter.
The anti-vaccination movement was fueled by a discredited article in the medical journal Lancet by Andrew Wakefield, who claimed the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was linked to autism. The article was later retracted and Wakefield lost his medical license.
Here is more news from around the world about the pandemic, which has infected 15.6 million people and killed 637,000.
Spain Cites Fears for and From Farmworkers
MADRID — Spain's farm minister says authorities are pressing agricultural employers to provide decent accommodation and transport for seasonal migrant workers, amid fears that poor living conditions are creating coronavirus hot spots.
Farm Minister Luis Planas said Friday that "infections in rural areas don't happen on farms or in fields, they happen in transport and accommodation."
He said that as in Germany and France, officials are concerned that the movement of tens of thousands seasonal workers spreads Covid-19. He said in an interview with Cadena Ser radio that employers must provide "dignified living conditions."
Spain's Health Ministry on Thursday reported 971 new coronavirus infections over the previous 24 hours — the country's biggest daily increase since a lockdown ended.
Planas’ comments came on the same day that a United Nations report demanded that Spain improve the "deplorable" living conditions that some of its seasonal workers endure.
3-Year-Old Dies of Covid in Belgium
BRUSSELS — Belgian health authorities say a 3-year old girl has died after testing positive for the coronavirus amid a surge of infections in the country.
The announcement Friday came a day after Belgium decided to reinforce restriction measures to slow the spread of the virus, including mandatory masks in crowded outdoor public spaces.
The girl suffered from several severe associated diseases, according to a statement released by health authorities. She is believed to be the youngest person to die from Covid-19 complications in Belgium after a 12-year-old died in March.
Belgium has been hard hit by the coronavirus, with 64,847 cases and 9,812 deaths.
The average infection rate has increased over the past two weeks and the number of new infections went up 89% from the previous week from July 14-20.
German Slaughterhouse Outbreak Continues
BERLIN — The company that runs a German slaughterhouse that was at the center of a major outbreak last month says 30 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus in new tests — but most of them were old cases.
Authorities have linked more than 2,000 cases to the outbreak at the Toennies slaughterhouse in the western town of Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, which led to a partial lockdown of the surrounding area in June. Those restrictions have been lifted and the facility has reopened after a four-week closure.
Toennies spokesman Andre Vierstaedte said Friday that the 30 employees and all other workers, were tested on their return to work and sent into quarantine when the results arrived.
The company said that in most cases the employees had previously tested positive for the coronavirus and it was still detectable, news agency dpa reported. In the case of eight employees, it had yet to be determined whether they had previously been infected.
No Herd Immunity Likely
LONDON — The chief scientist at the World Health Organization estimates that 50% to 60% of the population will need to be immune to the coronavirus for there to be any protective "herd immunity" effect.
Herd immunity is usually achieved through vaccination and occurs when most of a population is immune to a disease, blocking its continued spread.