Covid news live: US set to open land borders, Bali prepares to welcome back tourists

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Bars and festivals lift UK economy in August after restrictions dropped

UK economic growth picked up in August after an unexpected fall in July, as bars, restaurants and festivals benefited from the removal of most remaining pandemic restrictions.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product rose by 0.4% in August as consumers increased their spending on leisure during the first full month without Covid controls in England.

However, the ONS cut its growth estimate for July from a rise of 0.1% to a fall of the same amount, after fresh economic data revealed a worse hit for car manufacturing caused by global supply chain problems and microchip shortages.

Growth in August was offset by a decline in the health sector amid a drop in testing and vaccinations for Covid-19. Retail sales fell, reflecting shortages on the high street and consumers switching more of their spending from goods to services after the easing of pandemic controls.

Read more of Richard Partington’s report here: Bars and festivals lift UK economy in August after July fall

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A regional Victorian newsagent in Australia has backed down on her refusal to be administered a Covid-19 vaccination after she closed her post office, citing state health orders.

Angela Spedding, who had operated Merrigum’s only post office for more than six years, said she had booked in a jab after being told the post office would close if she hadn’t secured an appointment by the end of the working week.

“I have booked in for the vaccination next week,” she said.

A spokesperson for Australia Post said the licensee had recently informed the organisation they would be complying with the latest health order requirements which mandated the vaccine for about 1.25 million authorised workers – including newsagents and post office workers – by Friday.

“We are pleased to say the outlet will continue to operate as normal,” the spokesperson said.

Read more of Caitlin Cassidy’s report here: Victorian post office licensee backs down over refusal to get Covid jab

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Ukraine daily death toll and cases rise

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Japan’s Covid infections fall to lowest levels in more than a year

Just days after the Tokyo Olympics drew to a close, Japan appeared to be hurtling towards a coronavirus disaster with the host city reporting a record 5,773 new Covid-19 cases.

Yet in the two months since Emperor Naruhito declared the Games closed a dramatic turn of events has seen infections plummet in Tokyo and across the country.

This week, almost a fortnight since emergency measures were finally lifted, new infections continue to fall while parts of Europe, including Britain, struggle to contain cases.

Infections in Japan have fallen to their lowest levels in more than a year, triggering optimism that the worst may be over for the world’s third-biggest economy.

On Monday, Tokyo reported 49 cases, the lowest daily figure since late June last year, while the nationwide count was 369.

Read the full story here:

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