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Coronavirus - 9th June


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Coronavirus - 9th June Empty Coronavirus - 9th June

Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 09 2020, 03:43

Summary for Tuesday, 9th June

  • From Tuesday, people in Moscow will be allowed to move around the city whenever they like
  • Moscow's mayor said this was possible as hospitals were discharging more people than they were admitting
  • But there remain concerns about a rush to reopen as the city still records 2,000 infections a day
  • The UK recorded its lowest daily death toll since 22 March - 55 people died with Covid-19
  • The WHO said that the pandemic was worsening globally, even as it seemed to be easing in Europe
  • In Brazil, the number of cases pass 700,000, but a controversy is growing over its data
  • There are more than 7 million infections globally, with over 400,000 deaths
  • The government is to drop plans for all English primary pupils to return to school before the end of summer
  • The Children's Commissioner for England told the BBC the news would be a "huge disappointment"

Welcome back to our coverage of the global pandemic. We'll keep you posted on all developments with our teams of journalists based across time zones from Australia to the Americas.
Here's what you need to know as Tuesday kicks off in Asia.

  • The Russian capital of Moscow is easing its lockdown restrictions, allowing people to move freely throughout the city
  • Officials there say hospitals are discharging more patients than they are admitting - although the city still records around 2,000 new infections each day
  • The World Health Organization warns that - even though the pandemic appears to be easing in some countries - it is overall still worsening around the globe
  • There are more than 7 million confirmed infections globally, with over 400,000 deaths
  • In Brazil, the number of cases has passed 700,000 - although there is controversy over the data
  • In the UK, health authorities have recorded the lowest daily death toll since late March, with only 55 deaths linked to Covid-19
  • New Zealand has lifted all domestic restrictions - the country has no Covid-19 cases

Which restrictions are easing in Moscow?

After more than two months in lockdown, Moscow is easing restrictions - citing a slowdown in the virus outbreak. Here's what will open in the capital from Tuesday: Residents will no longer need electronic passes for travel, and can walk, use public transport and drive without restrictions

  • Hairdressers and beauty salons will be allowed to reopen
  • Cafes and restaurants will be able to open outdoor terraces from 16 June. Public facilities like museums and libraries will also be allowed to open then
  • The third phase, which starts on 23 June, will see indoor dining resume, and facilities like gyms and swimming pools reopen

Under the lockdown imposed in March, all non-essential businesses were closed. Moscow is the epicentre of Russia's outbreak with more than 197,000 cases.

Could Aussie Rules see crowds this week?

It remains a possibility if state governments agree, Australian Football League boss Gillon McLachlan has hinted.
The hugely popular spectator sport is due to recommence its season on Thursday, playing nine games over the weekend to empty stadiums in four states.
But with Australian infections remaining low, there is speculation that small numbers of fans could be permitted to attend some matches.
Tony Cochrane, chairman of club the Gold Coast Suns, said he had pitched one proposal to the Queensland government.
"We are talking about 1,000 people," he told Channel Nine this morning.
Mr McLachlan said the league was closely watching the states to see if they loosened restrictions.
"I think there will be announcements this week but as we sit here... my understanding is there's not an authorisation [to allow crowds]," he told local radio SEN.

Global outbreak worsening, WHO says

More than seven million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed since the outbreak began, along with 404,000 virus-related deaths.
And - despite progress in tackling the virus in Europe - the WHO says the pandemic is "worsening" globally.
"More than six months into this pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal," WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
At a coronavirus briefing on Monday, he told reporters that more than 100,000 cases had been reported in nine of the past 10 days, and that 75% of Sunday's cases came from just 10 countries - most of them in the Americas and South Asia.
Tedros also said the WHO was encouraged by "positive signs" in several countries.
"In these countries, the biggest threat now is complacency," he said.
"Results from studies to see how much of the population has been exposed to the virus show that most people globally are still susceptible to infection."

US deaths fall to two-month low

The US recorded 450 deaths linked to the virus over the past 24 hours, the lowest daily increase in two months - although Monday figures tend to be lower because of a reporting delay over the weekend.
The US remains the hardest-hit country worldwide with 110,990 deaths and just under two million confirmed infections.
In mid-April the death toll increased by more than 3,000 per day. For the past two weeks, the daily number dipped below 1,000 multiple times.

New Zealand starts life without restrictions

For most of us, despite some easing of restrictions, lockdown measures are still noticeable - whether large or small.
But if you woke up in New Zealand this morning, you woke up to a country without any restrictions .
The county has no active cases and is now on alert level 1 - which means measures at the border remain, but except for that, life is back to normal.
New Zealand went into a strict lockdown on 25 March. After five weeks of declining cases, measures started to be lifted.
But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has urged people to remain careful - and said it was likely that at some point that new infections would occur.

The battle over Brazil's virus numbers

Katy Watson - BBC South America correspondent, Sao Paulo
The battle of narratives has already begun after Brazil’s government stopped publishing total death tolls and numbers of cases.
First up on Monday night, the media coalition that’s started collating Covid-19 figures said there were 849 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total number to 37,312. A further 19,631 cases were recorded, totalling 710,887.
But the National Council of Health Secretaries said there were 679 deaths and 15,654 cases. And that figure tallied with the Ministry of Health, which finally issued its own figures a few hours later.
There’s still a great deal of anger over the government’s actions in the past few days. This latest fiasco has made people feel the only input the government seems to be having is to cover up the extent of the problem.
But then again, even before this weekend, so many people doubted the official numbers because Brazil tests so little – in fact, it tests around 5% of what most European countries do. The view is that the real numbers are far, far higher than the official figures suggest.
One part of greater Sao Paulo though is trying to buck that trend. Sao Caetano do Sul, a suburb that is rated as having one of the highest qualities of life in Brazil, is trying to test a third of its 165,000 population.
It’s offering drive-through rapid testing for residents and business-owners, and for those with symptoms, a door-to-door testing service.
“Perhaps our most difficult job is giving out unified information to our population,” says the city’s mayor Jose Auriccio Junior.
“With the differences between the thinking of the central government and local governments, the upshot has been disinformation to citizens and that’s clearly confusing."
And doctors here are feeling deflated. Paula Camargo, a student medic, is part of the door-to-door service.
“I think this is still the country of football – nothing against football, far from it. But education and health, which need to be prioritised, are not.”

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 09 2020, 10:21

Could the virus finally finish off coal?

Justin Rowlatt - Chief Environment correspondent
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The coronavirus crisis has changed the way we use energy, at least for now. But could the pandemic finally finish off coal, the most polluting of all fossil fuels?
The Covid-19 crisis has been an extraordinary and terrifying time for us all, but it has been a fascinating period to cover environmental issues.
We've all enjoyed the unusually clean air and clear skies. They are the most obvious evidence that we have been living through a unique experiment in energy use.
Some industry observers are even saying that coal may never recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

California cinemas to reopen on Friday?

Cinemas in the US state of California - home to Hollywood and the American film industry - could reopen as early as Friday, state officials said. They have been closed as part of the lockdown since mid-March.
If cinemas do get the green light for Friday, operators will have to limit attendance to 25% of capacity - or to a maximum of 100 people.
Like much of the entertainment industry, the movie and cinema business has been severely hit by the pandemic .
Many movies - including the latest James Bond thriller - had to delay their release.

New Zealand's last Covid patient

New Zealand is now virus-free - but the case of the last Covid-19 patient shows just how serious the illness can be.
Lilian Su’a, a 55-year old woman, was battling the virus for more than two months. Her condition was so serious that at one point, the doctors told her family they didn't expect her to survive.
Now recovering back home, she told Radio New Zealand how she was finally taken off sedatives after four weeks in the intensive care unit.
“I didn't know how many days that I was asleep," she said. "But the thing that's coming from my mouth was 'Thank you, Lord'."

Indian state to resume film and TV shoots

Shooting for films and TV will be allowed in the southern state of Telangana, as India begins to exit its lockdown this week.
The state's chief minister said on Monday that shoots can resume as long as guidelines on limited staff and other social distancing measures are followed. Cinemas will remain closed, K Chandrashekhar Rao added.
Several prominent actors from the state met Rao recently and requested him to resume shooting for films and television, local media reported.
The state is home to Tollywood, one of India's biggest regional film industries, which routinely produces blockbuster hits that rival Bollywood's most popular films.
Experts say that India's thriving film industry could take at least two years to financially recover from the pandemic, having lost more than $100m in box office revenues due to the lockdown , according to some estimates.

Belgians allowed to dine out again

Belgium allowed almost all businesses to reopen on Monday - including bars and restaurants. And that meant - for the first time in almost 12 weeks - people were able to head out for more than just takeaways.
The rules meant some tables were left empty, and waiters wore face masks. But for many, it was a symbolic step in the right direction.

India's 'Slumdog' slum sees drop in cases

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More than 650,000 people live in Dharavi

Dharavi, India's biggest slum, has seen a decline in Covid-19 cases this week.
The slum is home to more than half-a-million people, who are spread over 2.5 sq km - which is less than a square mile.
Due to its cramped geography and large population, Dharavi - which has more nearly 2,000 cases - was seen as a hotspot within Mumbai.
On Monday, just 12 new infections were reported and local authorities say they've seen a drop in cases. According to some reports, the slum was seeing around 50 cases every other day in the last two weeks of May .
There have also been no deaths in the past week , officials told the Hindustan Times newspaper.
The slum was the inspiration for the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire film and city planners from all over the world have studied its throbbing economy and society.
Mumbai continues to be the worst-affected city in India, with cases breaching the 50,000 mark in the past 24 hours.

Nigeria's spike in deaths linked to Covid-19

Is’haq Khalid - BBC News, Abuja
Nigeria's health minister Osagie Ehanire says up to 60% of nearly 1,000 unexplained deaths in the northern state of Kano were probably due to Covid-19.
The deaths haven't appeared in the country's national total.
Investigators reached the conclusion after looking into a spike in deaths across Kano state in April and early May - mostly among elderly people with existing health conditions.
Some died in hospitals but more than half died at home. There have been similar unexplained spikes in other states across northern Nigeria.
With low testing rates and Africa's largest population, experts fear the virus could be spreading virtually undetected in Nigeria.
So far about 12,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed - with only 350 deaths.

Aussie Rules match to host 2,000 spectators

As we reported earlier, the Australian Football League (AFL) will play its first games since March this weekend amid debate over whether fans should be able to attend.
Chief executive Gillon McLachlan told fans this morning to hope for "announcements" by the week's end.
They didn't have to wait long: South Australia has just confirmed it will allow 2,000 spectators and another 240 in private boxes to a match in Adelaide on Saturday.
Clubs in Queensland and New South Wales (NSW) are pushing for similar arrangements.
Australia has reported only two new infections - both in NSW - in the past 24 hours.

Lowest new cases in Malaysia for three months

Like many of its South East Asian neighbours, Malaysia has avoided a large Covid-19 outbreak so far.
The country's health ministry has just announced the lowest number of new cases for two months - but it warned of a separate threat from dengue.

Copenhagen's Tivoli reopens for business

Copenhagen's famous Tivoli Gardens have reopened after the virus lockdown was eased in Denmark.
On Monday, the amusement park finally allowed guests back in and people clearly enjoyed their day out - even if many precautions remained in place.
The number of visitors to the attractions are limited, and places have to be booked via a smartphone app.
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Plan dropped for all England primary pupils to return

The plan for all primary school years in England to go back to school before the end of term is to be dropped by the government.
There was an aim for all primary pupils to spend four weeks in school before the summer break.
But it is no longer thought to be feasible - and instead schools will be given "flexibility" over whether or not to admit more pupils.
Head teachers' leaders said it had never been a practical possibility.
It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock conceded at Monday's Downing Street briefing that secondary schools in England may not fully reopen until September "at the earliest".
There are separate rules for managing the threat of coronavirus in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Children in England began returning to primary schools in a phased process last week, with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils heading back first.

Cathay Pacific gets $5bn state-backed bailout

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Cathay Pacific has said it will get a HK$39bn (£4bn; $5bn) Hong Kong government-backed bailout, as it struggles in the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the restructuring plan the company said it will also implement another round of executive pay cuts.
Cathay's shares were suspended earlier today before the announcement.

Key vote to take place in English Football League

Here's a round-up of some of the latest news in sport as it starts to return:

  • A key vote will take place today where English Football League clubs will decide how the remainder of the season is concluded. The Championship, like the Premier League, is set to resume later this month while League Two is set to end the season now. The situation is League One, however, is a little less certain
  • In Spain La Liga will use virtual images of fans in stands with added "fan audio" made by the makers of the Fifa computer game when it returns to action on Thursday.
  • Six-time Olympic cycling champion Jason Kenny is among the first dozen GB cyclists who have returned to training at the Manchester velodrome after a two-month hiatus
  • Royal Ascot may be taking place without spectators next week - but organisers hope people will still dress up at home to raise money for charity

Indian man dies after five hospitals refuse treatment

After being turned away from five hospitals in India's capital, Delhi, a Covid-19 positive man travelled 800km (497 miles) via train to Bhopal city for treatment over the weekend.
But he died hours after being admitted to a hospital in Bhopal on Sunday, reports the Times of India newspaper.
Authorities are trying to trace passengers who were on the train with the man. Officials are also concerned about how the man, who reportedly had a high fever, was able to board the train in Delhi - as authorities are meant to screen all passengers for temperature.
His 18-year-old son said his mother had a "severe asthmatic attack" on Sunday when she found out that her husband had died.
“I sent tweets and e-mails to the Delhi chief minister and health minister and even to the prime minister's office but in the end, we lost," his son said.
Other residents in the city have complained about being turned away from hospitals. And the Delhi government's smartphone app to track available hospital beds has added to the confusion.
The app showed vacancies at several city hospitals - which then told news channel NDTV they actually did not have any space for new patients.

NZ cuts Antarctic research to keep it virus-free

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Antarctica is the only virus-free continent in the world

New Zealand's research institute in Antarctica is scaling back the number of projects for the upcoming season, in an effort to keep the continent free of coronavirus.
The government agency, Antarctica New Zealand, told the BBC it was dropping 23 of the 36 research projects.
Only long-term science monitoring, essential operational activity and planned maintenance will go ahead.
"As Covid-19 sweeps the planet, only one continent remains untouched and [we] are focused on keeping it that way," said Antarctica New Zealand in a statement.
Read our full story here

Just joining us? Here's what's been happening

If you're just waking up and joining us, good morning. Here's a round-up of the latest coronavirus news:

  • The plan for all primary school years in England to go back to school before the end of term is set to be dropped by the government
  • After more than two months in lockdown, Moscow is easing restrictions from today - citing a slowdown in the virus outbreak - though critics say the infection rate remains worryingly high
  • The US recorded 450 deaths linked to the virus over the past 24 hours, the lowest daily increase in two months
  • New Zealand's research institute in Antarctica is scaling back the number of projects for the upcoming season, in an effort to keep the continent free of Covid-19

Infections rise rapidly in India's capital

Delhi added around 1,000 new infections on Monday, taking the total in the Indian capital to nearly 30,000.
Its highest daily spike - more than 1,500 - was recorded earlier this month, but its upward trajectory has experts worried as the city eases out of lockdown this week. Delhi has also reported more than 800 deaths.
A five-member expert committee of top doctors told reporters that Delhi could be looking at 100,000 Covid-19 cases by the end of June if current trends continue. Reports suggesting that patients are already being turned away from hospitals in the city have only added to concerns about how hospitals will cope.
The western city of Mumbai, India's financial capital, is still the worst-hit in the country with more than 50,000 cases. After a strict lockdown was imposed in the early stages of the pandemic, the virus is now on the rise in India as restrictions ease. There are more than 250,000 total cases and 7,466 deaths.

Primary school news a 'huge disappointment'

BBC Breakfast
One of the big stories we're reporting this morning in the UK is that the plan for all primary school years in England to go back to school before the end of term is to be dropped by the government.
The Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, told BBC Breakfast the news would be a "huge disappointment" to children who had expected to be going back to school "and now may not".
"It does mean that the vast majority - probably about eight million children - very likely won't return to the classroom until September, which means that again there will be a huge variation in their learning over that period," she said.
"Children will remain isolated, but also many will be living with those fragile family environments we've heard of."
She also said children would still need to learn during this period and called for "mitigation" to compensate for them not being in school, including online learning and summer camps.
Children in England began returning to primary schools in a phased process last week, with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils heading back first.

Brazilian doctor: Chinese tests were 'complete garbage'

Katy Watson - BBC South America correspondent, Sao Paulo
Before the debacle over Covid-19 data , many experts doubted Brazil's virus numbers anyway because the country tests so little.
Brazil has struggled on many fronts – and importing testing kits at a time when they’re in demand across the world has been one of the biggest challenges. But there has also been bad planning by the government.
“In February or March there was a huge flood of Chinese tests arriving in Brazil,” says Dr Celso Granato, the clinical director of Fleury laboratories in São Paulo.
“We tested 11 different brands of rapid tests and nine of the 11 were complete garbage.”
But, says Dr Granato, the government bought them anyway.
“They thought it was better to test with these kits than nothing but that’s not true – worse than not testing is testing with a bad test, you have bad results.”
Beyond political decision-making, the sheer size of Brazil is also a challenge.
Most of the laboratories capable of processing the RT-PCR molecular tests are in the south of the country. Safely transporting the tests from isolated areas such as the Amazon, which is one of the worst-affected areas, isn’t always successful – many tests have been ruined.
“Amazonia to São Paulo is about 3,000 miles (4,828km) and you have to keep the temperature constant from the moment you collect samples until the moment you receive the samples in the laboratory,” says Dr Granato.
That’s pushed the company into developing a test that detects the virus through its protein – it’s more resistant than the molecular test.
It’s early days, but a step in the right direction.

Levels of school disruption 'not seen since World War Two'

BBC Breakfast
The Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, was also asked on BBC Breakfast this morning about secondary schools not being able to reopen until beyond September.
"I think that is an immense change. It’s disruption we’ve not seen since the Second World War," she said.
She also warned that the education divide between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils was "broadening".
"Almost a decade of catching up on that education gap may well be lost."
She continued: "We have to avoid that a generation of children leave school in five years’ time, where the disadvantaged children have much poorer prospects because they weren’t given the support they need to learn during this period."

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 09 2020, 10:38

French economy to return to normal 'by mid-2022'

France's central bank has said the country's economy will only return to pre-coronavirus levels by mid-2022.
The French economy will shrink about 10% this year and unemployment is likely to hit highs of above 11.5% halfway through next year, the Bank of France said.
Phase two of France's lockdown easing began on 2 June, including an end to a 100km (62-mile) travel limit. Many bars and restaurants have reopened outside.
The head of the government's scientific advisory council said on Friday that the pandemic was "under control" in France

Academy trust welcomes England primary school news

Today Programme - BBC Radio 4
Ian Robinson, chief executive of the school academy group Oak Partnership Trust, said he welcomed news that ministers were set to abandon plans for all primary school children in England to return to classrooms before the academic year ends.
His trust runs three primary schools and a special school in Taunton, Somerset.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "From my own trust's point of view, it is all about simple practicalities, it is not about whether you want children in schools or not. We simply don't have enough physical space for any more year groups, and we don't have any more human resources for any more year groups."

What to expect on your next visit to the dentist

A dental surgery has shown what visitors in England can expect at their next appointments, as many dentists reopen following the coronavirus lockdown.
Courtyard Dental Practice in Saffron Walden, Essex, has introduced a number of safety measures, including escorting visitors from their cars into the surgery, handing out face masks, and checking people's temperatures.
Treatment rooms will be alternated to allow cleaning and improve social distancing, and staff will be wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE).
Carla Jones, who runs the practice, said people shouldn't be afraid to see the dentist and warned against any DIY treatment at home - just in case you were tempted...

Air bridges 'to be allowed from 29 June' - travel bosses

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Travel bosses in the UK furious about new quarantine rules for most international arrivals say they have received assurances from the government that air corridors, which will allow unrestricted movement between Britain and some other countries, will open from 29 June.
Quash Quarantine, which represents 500 travel and hospitality firms, said it was continuing to look at legal options to challenge the 14-day quarantine rule that is currently in place.
"We are still considering our options regarding legal action, including whether to join [British Airways'] claim or launch our own action, but would prefer that 29 June is confirmed as soon as possible for the start of travel corridors," spokesman Paul Charles said.

£2.5m musicians' fund runs out of cash

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A £2.5m ($3.17m) fund set up to help musicians in the UK during the coronavirus crisis is set to run out of cash after just five days.
More than 3,500 people have applied for financial assistance since Friday, says the charity Help Musicians UK.
But with the fund reaching capacity, and live music a distant prospect, other applicants may be left stranded.
"It's a bigger, longer crisis than any of us could have thought possible," said the charity's chief executive, Jack Ainscough.
Touring and gigging musicians have been particularly affected by the lockdown, as months of work simply vanished in mid-March.
Many of them (up to 25%) are not covered by the government's scheme to support freelancers, and have no other source of income.

The Sikh volunteers feeding thousands in lockdown

Places of worship in England will be able to reopen their doors on 15 June. Churches, temples, synagogues and mosques will be allowed to open to the public for private prayer only.
Full services and group worship will start later after a consultation. The prime minister is expected to update the cabinet on the plans at a meeting on Tuesday.
One of the largest Sikh temples, or Gurdwaras, in the UK has responded to the lockdown by reinventing itself as an emergency food operation, delivering thousands of meals a day to NHS staff and those most in need.
The BBC went to meet those taking part - and you might like the video above.

Covid-free New Zealand returns to normality

New Zealanders enjoyed their first full day of life being - almost - back to normal on Tuesday, after all remaining coronavirus restrictions (except those linked to overseas travel) were lifted.
At midnight local time all of the country moved to level one, the lowest of a four-tier alert system.
New Zealand has reported no new Covid-19 cases for more than two weeks.

Holiday firm reverses coronavirus refund policy

The UK's Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA), which oversees consumer protection laws, has chalked up a significant win for travellers whose holiday bookings have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The CMA stepped in following complaints about the company Vacation Rentals - which operates Hoseasons holiday parks and the short lets website Customers said that the firm had failed to offer full refunds after bookings were cancelled.
The company has now voluntarily changed its policy, but the CMA says it is continuing to investigate the actions of other holiday companies through its Covid-19 Taskforce.
If you'd like to know more about your consumer rights during the pandemic, click here .

Moscow comes back to life as lockdown eases

Moscow is enjoying its first day of an eased lockdown, meaning that everyone – including the over-65s – can move about the city freely again for the first time since the end of March.
Restrictions on movement in the Russian capital have been lifted, and hairdressers, beauty salons and vets have reopened.
The easing of lockdown comes despite a high number of new cases in the city – around 2,000 per day in the past fortnight.

Risk of 'epidemic of educational poverty'

Robert Halfon, a Conservative MP who chairs the Commons education select committee, says the UK is risking an "epidemic of educational poverty".
He was responding to the news that the government intends to drop plans for all primary school students in England to return to classrooms before the end of term.
"We're a strange country in which we turn a blind eye to mass demonstrations all over in every city, we campaign for pubs and cafes to open, and yet we say to open schools before September is too risky. Yet all the evidence from the World Health Organization, from many other European Union countries, from the chief medical officer in the UK, suggests otherwise.
"We are potentially damaging children's life chances. People worry about the pandemic but in the future there might be an epidemic of educational poverty."
Halfon added that he thought the government should "think again" about abandoning the plan and called for schools to continue being reopened in phases.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 09 2020, 12:09

China dismisses study suggesting Covid hit much earlier

China has dismissed a study suggesting the coronavirus might have been spreading in the city of Wuhan as early as August last year as "ridiculous".
The research carried out by Harvard Medical School used satellite imagery of hospital car parks in Wuhan - where Covid-19 was first identified towards the end of last year - and data for symptom-related queries on search engines for things such as "cough" and "diarrhoea".
The study found a steep increase in hospital car park occupancy in August 2019.
However, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: "I think it is ridiculous, incredibly ridiculous, to come up with this conclusion based on superficial observations such as traffic volume."

Can thermal cameras really help spot coronavirus?

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As lockdowns ease, thermal imaging cameras are popping up in all sorts of public places to assess the state of people's health and if they have a fever.
Using infrared technology, the cameras detect radiating heat from a body - usually from the forehead - and then estimate core body temperature.
They are often deployed by firefighters to track smouldering embers and police to search for out-of-sight suspects, but they are not designed to be medical devices. They can give a reasonable measure of skin temperature, to within half a degree - but that's not the same as body temperature.
"These devices, in general, are less accurate than medical device thermometers like those you stick in the ear," said Derek Hill, professor of medical imaging science from University College London.
Read more on thermal scanners here

Maltese get 100 euros to splash out on food and drink

The people of Malta are to be handed 100 euro (£89) vouchers to spend in the country's bars, hotels and restaurants as the government seeks to kickstart the economy.
Around a quarter of Malta's GDP comes from tourism, which has been halted completely since mid-March due to Covid-19.
In response, the government plans to hand out five 20 euro vouchers to everyone over the age of 16. Four must be used in hotels or restaurants.
Separately, a monthly wage subsidy of 800 euros per worker in the tourism sector will run until September

A new clue to when virus emerged?

Helen Briggs - BBC science and health journalist
When did the virus emerge? The precise events around the timeline are still unclear, more than six months on.
The first known cluster of cases in Wuhan in December 2019 was centred around a local seafood market, which also sold live animals, including wildlife.
Tests suggest the virus was present in some form, but not all cases were connected with the market and no animal source has been pinned down.
Evidence has since emerged suggesting the virus might have been circulating internationally earlier than thought, including from a French doctor who said his patient tested positive for coronavirus in late December.
Now there’s an intriguing new clue, gleaned not from direct evidence, but from studying satellite imagery and internet search terms, which suggests hospital traffic and internet searches for symptoms were on the rise in Wuhan as early as late summer/early autumn .
Only further research into the virus, both in animals and humans, will give an answer - though it’s possible we will never know exactly where and when it emerged.

West Indies cricketers arrive in UK - and go into quarantine

The West Indies cricket team arrived in Manchester earlier this morning ahead of their test series against England, which starts next month.
They are the first international sports team to fly into Britain since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
All the players were tested for Covid-19 before they left and there were no positive results. The team will spend three weeks in quarantine at a hotel at Old Trafford, which is one of two ''bio-secure'' grounds being used for the series.

Unions back decision not to fully reopen English primaries

Unions have welcomed the news that the government is set to ditch its plans for all primary school pupils in England to return before the end of term.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders' union the NAHT, said the plan would have presented "unsolvable practical barriers".
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "The 'ambition' to bring back all primary year groups for a month before the end of the summer term was a case of the government over-promising something that wasn't deliverable."
And Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said it had been "abundantly clear" the government's dates for reopening schools were "ill-considered, premature and unworkable".
Read our story on the latest school developments here

India ordered to help stranded workers

Ethirajan Anbarasan - South Asia editor, BBC World Service
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Many migrant workers have been left stranded due to lockdowns

The Supreme Court in India has given the authorities 15 days to transport home tens of thousands of migrant workers stranded due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Millions lost their jobs and were left without any transport to get home when strict restrictions were imposed with four hours notice in late March.
Many walked or cycled hundreds of kilometres from cities to reach their villages in other parts of the country. Scores died through exhaustion, illness and traffic accidents.
The Supreme Court took up the matter after the media highlighted several tragic stories.
The court has also asked officials to withdraw police complaints against workers for violating lockdown rules.
Since last month the authorities have been running special trains and buses to transport the labourers. Now the challenge for the government is to find employment for these workers in their home states.
Read more on the Indian migrants dying to get home

Analysis: Calls for a plan for English schools intensify

Hannah Richardson - BBC News education and social affairs reporter
Today's expected announcement on schools makes formal what head teachers and governors in England have said for some time: it's not possible to massively increase the space each class needs to meet social distancing rules and bring everyone back to primary schools in England - there's not enough room.
While No 10 and the education secretary pushed on with the plans, they lost the support of some groups of parents, people working in schools and teaching unions.
There are concerns that having more pupils in school will contribute to an increase in Covid-19 infections, both among pupils and staff and in their communities, while the science is inconclusive.
Against this are balanced the real fears of parents, about how on earth they are going to manage with their youngsters at home for another two or three months - minimum - let alone keep up to date with their educational needs.
There are growing voices for the government to start to think more strategically and more creatively.
A national plan is being called for, one that realises the scale of the problem and matches the scale of the support the economy has seen.

'We started going out in lockdown'

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Sarah and Tom had been on a few dates together, but when the UK lockdown began on 23 March they had to make a decision about their relationship.
They could either let it fizzle out or take the plunge. They decided to take the plunge.
Here, Sarah from Loughborough and Tom from Leicester share their experiences of what it was like to be in the early stages of a relationship at a time when you couldn't see one another

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 09 2020, 16:43

The strange new rules of cycling in Japan

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes - BBC Tokyo correspondent
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In Japan, like elsewhere, there has been a big increase in cycling during the Covid-19 pandemic. Why? Office workers keen to avoid the crowded subway systems and a big increase in home food deliveries (among other factors).
In response, the government has approved an enforcement order tightening regulations on dangerous bicycle riding. The strange thing about these new regulations is what they prohibit: ringing a bell to annoy other cyclists, unnecessary braking and blocking pathways.
As a daily cyclist in Tokyo these are not what come immediately to mind as primary threats to public safety. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of dangerous cycling in Japan. Lots of cyclists barrel down sidewalks, which is a legal grey area, and many completely ignore traffic lights, which is not. Little is done to stop them.
However, from 30 June, if you’re caught ringing your bell too much you could end up having to take a mandatory traffic safety course, or face a US$500 (£395) fine, unless you’re under 14 years old – in which case carry on ringing!

Almost nine million covered by UK government furlough scheme

Figures released by the UK Treasury show 8.9 million workers are having 80% of their monthly salary (up to a maximum of £2,500) covered by the government's furlough scheme , at a cost of £19.6bn.
The programme was introduced at the start of the coronavirus lockdown in a bid to avoid the loss of millions of jobs because firms couldn't trade. It was originally intended to last until the end of July, but has been extended until the end of October.
In addition, a scheme aimed at helping self-employed workers has had 2.6 million claims, worth £7.5bn.
For more on the government's schemes to support employment, we have an explainer here

Just joining us?

Here are some of today's coronavirus headlines from around the world...

  • The plan for all primary school years in England to go back to school before the end of term is to be dropped by the government
  • An apparent surge in traffic outside hospitals from August 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan suggests the coronavirus may have hit the area earlier than reported, a study says
  • The West Indies cricket team have arrived in England and will now be in quarantine in a "bio-secure" environment in Manchester before a three-Test series that begins on 8 July
  • New Zealand's research institute in Antarctica is scaling back the number of projects planned for the upcoming season, in an effort to keep the continent free of coronavirus
  • The mayor of South Africa's biggest city, Johannesburg, has gone into self-isolation after a member of his staff tested positive for coronavirus

Nearly 64,000 excess UK deaths since March

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
Since the middle of March, just over 200,000 people have died in the UK - that figure is nearly 64,000 more than would be expected at this time of year.
This number is larger than the deaths total we hear announced by the UK government in its daily briefing because that figure only includes people who died after testing positive for coronavirus.

Malaysia detains refugees who couldn't dock due to lockdown

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Rohingya refugees arriving in Malaysian waters

Malaysia has detained nearly 270 Rohingya refugees whose boat had drifted for nearly two months because of coronavirus lockdowns.
They fled southern Bangladesh in April but had been unable to dock. Dozens of those on board tried to swim to land when their trawler was intercepted by the Malaysian coastguard on Monday.
In recent years large numbers of Muslim Rohingya have fled Myanmar, where they face persecution.
More than one million have settled in neighbouring Bangladesh, but many have gone to Malaysia, which has been seen as a safe haven. However Malaysia has now refused to allow refugee boats to land, citing the pandemic as a reason.
On 31 May an elderly Rohingya man became the first person to die from Covid-19 in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.
At least 29 refugees have tested positive for the virus in the camps, although very little testing has been carried out.

Half of English primaries reopened to more pupils last week

Figures show that 52% of primary schools in England opened their doors to pupils in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 when the lockdown was eased last week.
According to the Department for Education, 11% of primary school children attended classes in schools last week.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he was encouraged by the number of schools which reopened.
Williamson is due to speak in the House of Commons shortly, and is expected to confirm that the government is dropping its plan to have all English primary school pupils return to classes for the final four weeks of the summer term.
Here's what parents think

Wales recommends three-layer face coverings

People in Wales are being asked to wear three-layer face coverings in situations where social distancing is not possible - including on public transport.
The recommendation was announced by Health Minister Vaughan Gething at a news conference on Tuesday.
It follows a similar statement by the World Health Organization last week.
The UK government has announced that from 15 June people must wear face coverings while travelling on public transport in England. From the same date, hospital visitors and outpatients in England will also have to wear face coverings and staff must use surgical masks.

Seven further deaths from Covid-19 in Scotland

There have been a further seven deaths of people who tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland - but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the figures show "further indication of a clear downward trend".
Speaking at Scotland's daily briefing, she said a total of 15,653 people have now tested positive for Covid-19, an increase of 14 from Monday.
There were 1,011 patients in hospital with a suspected or confirmed case - down 31, with 21 being treated in intensive care.
There have been a total of 2,422 deaths.
There had been two consecutive days of zero deaths registered - but Sturgeon says the new figures are "not a surprise" given the lag in registering deaths at weekends.
Last Tuesday 12 deaths were reported.

Williamson confirms primary schools full return dropped

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed in the House of Commons that the UK government is not going ahead with its plan to see all English primary school pupils return to classes for four weeks before the current term ends in July.
While children in Nursery, Reception and Years 1 and 2 were able to go back - in smaller classes - last week, head teachers have warned over the feasibility of having more pupils in school while maintaining social distancing.
More than half of primary schools in England admitted pupils from those year groups last week, Williamson tells MPs.
Some schools in areas including the North West are worried about the rate of transmission, he says, adding that scientists say the R rate is below one.
From 15 June, secondary school pupils in Years 10 and 12 will get some face-to-face support, Williamson says.
He says the Department for Education has published advice on hand-washing and social distancing, and safety remains his top priority.
There will also be a test and trace approach to schools, where pupils show symptoms of coronavirus.
Williamson says the government continues to work on the next steps so that those schools that can accept more children in reduced class sizes will be able to.
And the education secretary confirms that exams will take place next year.
There are separate rules for managing the threat of coronavirus in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Lockdowns in Europe saved millions of lives, says study

Lockdowns have saved more than three million lives from coronavirus in Europe, a study estimates.
The team at Imperial College London said the "death toll would have been huge" without the restrictions.
But they warned that only a small proportion of people have been infected with Covid-19, and we are still only "at the beginning of the pandemic".

China warns students about studying in Australia

China has warned students to "exercise caution" before deciding to study in Australia over fears of racist attacks.
A statement from China’s ministry of education said: “During the pandemic, Australia has seen multiple incidents of discrimination targeting those of Asian descent. The spread of the global Covid-19 outbreak hasn't been effectively controlled, and there are risks in travel and open campuses."
Australia had led calls for an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic, which was first detected in China before spreading to other countries.
Australian Education Minister Dan Tehan denied that his country was unsafe for students, saying: "Australia is a popular destination for international students because we're a successful, multicultural society and provide a world-class education.
"Our success at flattening the [coronavirus] curve means we're one of the safest countries in the world for international students."
In 2019, there were more than two million Chinese students studying in Australia.

Chechnya ruler gives bride money to hard-up grooms

The strongman ruler of a Russian region is offering to help men struggling to make traditional pre-nuptial payments because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bridegrooms in the predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya are required to make a payment either to the bride herself or her relatives, according to long-standing custom.
But because of the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, many Chechen men cannot afford to make the payment known as "urdu", local media report.
As a result, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov "has made bride money available to 207 grooms who have been left in need by the quarantine", Russia's official news agency RIA Novosti reports.
Each groom will get a payment of 50,000 roubles (£570), it says.
Read more here

School closed after pupil tests positive in southern England

A school in The New Forest, in southern England, has been closed after a pupil tested positive for Covid-19.
Pennington Infant School said staff were made aware that a child had the virus over the weekend.
Deputy headteacher Amy Wake said the "difficult decision" to close was based on "precautionary advice".
The affected pupil is in isolation with their immediate family. Others within the child's "bubble" have been told to self-isolate.

Face masks to remain compulsory in Spain

Wearing face masks will be compulsory in Spain until the coronavirus epidemic is over, Health Minister Salvador Illa says.
The measure will "remain in place until we permanently defeat the virus, which is when we have an effective treatment or vaccine against it", he added.
Since 21 May, it has been compulsory for everyone aged six and over to wear a mask in public where it is not possible to maintain a 2m (6ft) security distance from other people.
When the state of emergency formally ends on 21 June, the measure will remain in place, with the government introducing a fine of up to €100 (£89) for non-compliance. The new regulation will, however, slightly reduce the security distance to 1.5m.
The virus has killed more than 27,000 people in Spain but with the epidemic under control, the country has been easing out of lockdown.

Let us reopen, London Zoo urges government

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London Zoo has been closed since 21 March

London and Whipsnade Zoos say they face permanent closure if the government does not reverse its decision to keep zoos shut as lockdown restrictions are eased.
The charity the Zoological Society of London, which runs both attractions, said the sites are reliant on income from visitors to care for their animals and fund global science and conservation projects.
ZSL said it did not qualify for government help and has been spending £1m a month on expenses.
ZSL head Dominic Jermey said: "Unlike shops, museums and pubs, we couldn't just shut the gates, press pause, and wait for the green light to return.
"Our zookeepers, veterinary teams and facilities teams have continued to come to work every day to ensure our precious animals remain healthy and cared for."
ZSL says measures have been put in place so visitors can return to the zoos safely.
The issue is to be discussed in a parliamentary debate on Thursday.

Analysis: Schools dilemma worrying for families, troubling for government

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
The warnings came early that plans to reopen primary schools to all children may not be possible. But if there were suggestions that ministers had been overambitious, there are now also suggestions that they haven’t been ambitious enough.
How is it, some are asking, that non-essential retail is set to get the green light to reopen this month while the majority of children continue to be off school?
Downing Street would undoubtedly resist claims that it’s prioritised the economy over education.
And their watchwords, when it comes to schools, have been about taking a “phased” and “cautious” approach.
But there are fears that with every day that goes by, some young people are falling further and further behind, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
And while the education secretary expressed an ambition to get all children back in September, it appears to be just that - an ambition.
There’s a question: if bringing primary schools back now isn’t practical, with all the social distancing that’s required, what will have changed in three months’ time to allow all young people to return?
It’s a deeply worrying situation for families, and a dilemma for a government that’s put spreading opportunity, or “levelling up”, at the heart of its agenda.

Prosecutor probes France's handling of coronavirus crisis

Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz has opened an inquiry into the French state's management of the coronavirus crisis.
The investigation will be a judicial response to complaints received by the Paris public prosecutor's office during the lockdown, Mr Heitz told the agency.
Mr Heitz said the aim of the inquiry was not to "assign political or administrative blame... but to uncover possible criminal offences" by national decision-makers. Potential charges include endangering the life of others, homicide and involuntary injury and failure to assist a person in danger.
President Emmanuel Macron, as head of state, is not a target of the inquiries and has immunity from prosecution.

League One and Two football seasons ended in England

Clubs have voted to end the League One and League Two football seasons early in England.
Tables will be settled by a points-per-game format, while promotion, relegation and play-offs all remain.
Coventry and Rotherham go up to the Championship, but "ongoing disciplinary matters" mean it is not yet certain who will drop out of League Two.
Stevenage are currently bottom of the league, but they could yet be reprieved after Macclesfield Town were handed a fresh misconduct charge on 1 June.

Nepal police use water cannon during Covid-19 protests

Police in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu have used water canon to disperse hundreds of people protesting against the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis.
The demonstrators were demanding better testing and quarantine facilities for returning migrant workers, along with greater transparency in government spending.
Ten protesters who gathered near the prime minister's residence were arrested, police said.
Tens of thousands of migrant workers have returned to Nepal from India and the Middle East after losing their jobs.
A nationwide lockdown imposed in late March is due to end next week. About 4,000 people have tested positive so far, and 14 deaths have been recorded.

Airlines 'set for worst financial year ever'

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says it now expects global airline revenues this year to be $419bn (£329bn) lower than in 2019.
The projected fall is more than $100bn greater than previously forecast, and is expected to lead to a net loss for the industry of $84bn.
IATA says that, financially, 2019 will go down as the worst year in the history of aviation, thanks to the lockdowns and closures of international borders which forced airlines to ground entire fleets. At its lowest point in April, global air traffic was 95% down on last year’s levels. Although traffic is slowly recovering, IATA says airlines are burning through cash and state support remains crucial.
On Tuesday, Cathay Pacific secured a $5bn bailout largely funded by the Hong Kong government. Meanwhile France has unveiled a $17bn funding package to support its aerospace industry, which has been badly hit by a major fall in demand for new planes.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 09 2020, 22:11

UK press briefing begins
Business Secretary Alok Sharma is making the opening remarks at the daily UK government coronavirus briefing.

Sharma: UK coronavirus cases falling 'steadily'

Business Secretary Alok Sharma begins by going through the latest data on coronavirus in the UK.
He says there have been 102,930 tests in the last day.
He says the number of cases have been falling "steadily".
And the average number of daily deaths from coronavirus has fallen from 943 on 14 April to 216.

Sharma: Retail outlets can reopen from 15 June

Sharma says retail outlets will be able to reopen again from 15 June, so long as they comply with Covid-secure guidelines.
He says it's thanks to the "efforts of the British people" that they have "succeeded in getting the R-rate (the virus reproduction rate in the population) under control".
He says parts of the economy can open in a "phased manner".
He goes on to thank shop workers.

Sharma: Shops must follow Covid-19 secure guidelines

Shops should reopen once they are able to comply with Covid-secure guidelines, Sharma says.
Any business that is open must complete a risk assessment, he says, and take the necessary steps to protect staff and customers - this is a legal obligation.
These include measures like screens and ensuring people have enough space.
The minister says the government has provided a notice that shops can display in their windows to say they are complying.
A range of actions, including enforcement notices can be taken to those shops that don't comply, Sharma says.
He adds that safer working guidance for restaurants, hairdressers and barbers will be published as soon as possible.

Two-metre rule stays in place at the moment

ITV asks about a promised review of the social distancing two-metre rule by 15 June and where the outcome of that review is now.
Sharma says the two metre rule "stays in place at the moment".
The PM made it clear we keep it under review, he says.
He says he understands why businesses make the economic case for a shorter distance.
"But... we will only change it when we think it is safe to do so."

Sharma: Shops must follow Covid-19 secure guidelines

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Francis Elliott from The Times says non-essential shops were given three weeks' notice about reopening - and asks if Mr Sharma can commit to giving restaurants and other hospitality sectors at least three weeks notice.
He also asks about the two-metre distancing rule.
Sharma says they are having a consultation "right now" about safer working guidelines for the hospitality sector.
In terms of the distancing rule, he repeats that "we will keep it under review".
"We will only make changes when it is safe to do so."

Business secretary’s careful use of language on testing

Reality Check
At the start of today's briefing, Business Secretary Alok Sharma was careful to say “carried out or posted out” when talking about the daily test numbers. The latest figure was 102,930, for yesterday.
The head of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir David Norgrove, has criticised the way ministers have been speaking about testing figures - accusing them of simply talking about tests “carried out” when daily statistics also included numbers of testing kits “posted out” but not used or processed that day.
Sir David accused the government of using data to "show the largest possible number of tests, even at the expense of understanding". Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the data is as transparent as possible.
Read more: Why we don't know how many are being tested .

Analysis: Pandemic is still taking quite a toll

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
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The government has announced another 286 coronavirus deaths.
It comes after 55 were reported on Monday, which was the lowest since lockdown began.
A rise in deaths was to be expected.
The figures revealed on Monday covered the weekend, when we know there is a delay in recording deaths, which can influence the figures.
There are also a number of deaths included that happened a number of weeks ago – some go back to April.
If you compare it to the same days in previous weeks, the figure is lower.
And the seven-day rolling average at just above 200 is between four and five times lower than it was during the peak.
But it does show – despite Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s assertion on Monday that the virus was on the retreat – that the pandemic is still taking quite a toll.

Analysis: Government debates steps to reopen economy

Nick Eardley - Political correspondent
The government is continuing with its plan to slowly reopen the economy in England.
We had expected non-essential shops to open next week – that’s now been confirmed.
But we’ve seen with schools that some are still nervous about moving too fast, so it’s interesting that the business secretary was keen to focus on the safety measures in place and the moves that can be taken if businesses don’t follow Covid-19 safety guidelines.
There are also some in government who think the 2m social distancing guideline is too strict.
They point to other countries, where the rule is one or one-and-a-half metres.
We know Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked scientists to look at whether it can be reduced; something which would make reopening pubs and restaurants much easier.
No hints from the business secretary today on when that might happen though.

Test and trace will identify local flare-ups

The last question is from Laura from the Sunderland Echo - she asks whether there are city-by-city R numbers - the rate of infection - that will be used to determine where any local lockdown is?
She also asks about support for Sunderland businesses.
Sharma says the test and trace system is up and running and can identify local "flare ups".
But "given where the R rate is" right now, the government is taking a "national approach" and will continue to do that, he says.
On support for Sunderland, Sharma says there are "bounce back" loans available and a "range of other measures".

What did we learn from today's UK briefing?

Today's government press conference was led by Business Secretary Alok Sharma, joined by Sarah Albon, CEO of the health and safety executive.
Here's what they told us:

  • As had been planned, non-essential shops can open from Monday, as long as they comply with coronavirus guidelines
  • Local authorities and the health and safety executive will be able to take enforcement action against shops which do not follow the guidelines for keeping people safe
  • The plan to re-open bars, restaurants and pubs remains pencilled in for 4 July
  • The government does not have plans to reduce the 2m social distancing rule as some businesses have asked, but it is committed to keep it under review
  • The government is still focusing on the national situation, and the national rate of infection, rather than regional measures to determine the level of restrictions.

Which shops are allowed to reopen?

Coronavirus - 9th June 8d2f0e4d-2626-41cc-801c-c1b5cc6f389d
Reality Check
Supermarkets, corner shops, banks, pharmacies and petrol stations across the UK have been able to remain open throughout the lockdown.
Garden centres reopened in May and outdoor markets and car showrooms were allowed to reopen in England on 1 June, providing they’d taken steps to protect customers and workers.
Non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen in Northern Ireland on 12 June and in England on 15 June. This includes retailers offering clothes, books and electronics.
Other shops won’t be allowed to open in Scotland until at least 18 June and no date for this to happen in Wales has been announced.
Outlets such as hairdressers and nail salons are still not allowed to open. Cafes and restaurants are only allowed to offer a takeaway service, which is mainly due to the need to maintain a distance of two metres between people from different households.
You can read more about which shops will reopen and when here .
And you can read more about the evidence behind the two metre rule here

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 09 2020, 22:27

A sudden end to Moscow's lockdown

Sarah Rainsford - BBC Moscow Correspondent
The end of lockdown in Moscow has come as suddenly as the hot weather. On Monday, the mayor declared "victory" over coronavirus and the "self-isolation regime" over, and Muscovites are already making the most of their freedom.
With up to 2,000 coronavirus cases still being detected every day, there’s a lot of talk in newspapers and on social media about how this rapid reopening is political: an attempt to boost the mood, and the economy, ahead of a vote on constitutional reforms that will allow Vladimir Putin to stay on in power.
But on the streets, the main feeling today is relief. One older woman told us she was "joyful" on her first trip out; another called the relaxation well overdue as people had been violating the lockdown anyway. Most were confident they know enough about Covid-19 to take their own precautions.
While facemasks are obligatory, though, even on the streets, many wear them slung under their chins if at all. Hair salons are among the businesses now allowed to open, but that announcement was such a surprise that one owner, Laura, told us she still had to buy PPE for all her staff and put social distancing measures in place. Her phones have been ringing off the hook, though.

Brazil's top court wades into virus figures row

Brazil's Supreme Court has ordered the health ministry to resume the publication of figures for deaths and infections from the coronavirus.
The ministry controversially removed pages of detailed virus data over the weekend and said it would no longer publish cumulative totals.
The move triggered widespread condemnation of the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro, who has pushed for lockdowns to be lifted despite the increase in Covid-19 deaths.
But Supreme Court judge Alexandre de Moraes said on Tuesday that the government's actions "made it impossible" to monitor the spread of the virus and implement adequate controls.
Brazil has more than 700,000 confirmed cases - the second-highest in the world behind the US - and the death toll is now more than 37,000. The BBC's Katy Watson in Sao Paulo says that because Brazil tests so little, the real numbers are believed to be far higher.

Many US states record new infection highs

As the total US case count creeps toward 2 million, 14 states and Puerto Rico are facing record highs in their seven-day average of new Covid cases, according to the Washington Post.
Some states link the upsurge to improved testing, but many of these states - Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah - have been among the most aggressive in loosening social distancing restrictions.
In South Carolina, which yesterday set a new record for new cases in a single day, gyms, restaurants and salons are all open for business.
In Florida on Sunday, state officials recorded more than 1,000 new Covid-19 cases for the fifth day in a row, while Arizona now faces a particularly steep rise.

Eiffel Tower to reopen on 25 June

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People protested against racism and police brutality in Paris on Saturday

The Eiffel Tower in Paris will reopen on 25 June from its longest closure since World War Two after being forced to shut for more than three months because of the pandemic, the tower's management has said.
Wearing a face mask will be compulsory for all visitors aged at least 11, and the top level - which is much smaller than the other two - will remain closed for now.
The French government has eased lockdown measures from mid-May. The Palace of Versailles reopened on 6 June while the Louvre museum will welcome back visitors from 6 July.

What's been happening in the UK today?

It's been another day of fast-moving developments in the UK.
The business secretary earlier gave more details about how non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen in England from Monday. Meanwhile, figures showed that the number of deaths involving Covid-19 across the UK are continuing to fall.

  • Plans for all England's primary children to return for a month before the summer break have been dropped

  • Wearing three-layer face coverings in situations where social distancing is not possible is now the recommendation in Wales

  • The League One and League Two football seasons - cut short by the pandemic in March - have ended early

  • Scotland's chief medical officer has suggested coronavirus may have been spreading before the first cases were confirmed at the start of March

  • The Treasury confirmed that 8.9m workers are now being covered by its furlough scheme

You can read more about the latest news in our evening updat

Flights between Beijing and Wuhan resume

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
Flights between the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the city where the Covid-19 pandemic began, and the capital city Beijing resumed on Tuesday after Beijing lowered its health emergency status from medium to low risk.
According to the official China Daily, a single round-trip flight operated by China Southern Airlines is now running between the two cities, and travellers are no longer required to go into quarantine for 14 days.
Before the pandemic, Wuhan International Airport was a major transit hub connecting Chinese flights from the far east and west.
But during the pandemic, Wuhan experienced 76 days of strict lockdown. Transport in and out of the city was limited to emergency aid.

Exam student: We felt doomed in lockdown

BBC Radio 5 Live
The focus today in England has been on primary schools, and the roll back from allowing all pupils to return before the summer holidays.
But the government has also confirmed that secondary schools in the country will not be opening until September at the earliest.
So just how have pupils been coping during lockdown?
One 16-year-old A-level student from Hackney, east London, has been telling BBC Radio 5 Live that she has found it hard to stay motivated.
“A lot of my friends descended into this kind of panic," she told presenter Emma Barnett. "Feeling we were doomed - and that was reflected in a lack of online engagement and education.”
But says she is now "feeling a little bit more hopeful” and the lockdown has given her “time to think about discipline and how I learn, and educate myself".
Miriam Jordan Keane from the National Citizen Service said her organisation has set up an online hub for pupils, instead of running its regular schemes this summer.
"We had no idea of what the summer of 'no you can't' was going to feel like for young people - no you can't go to school, no you can't do your exams, no you can't celebrate the summer of a lifetime,” she said.

Will the UK's 2m rule be relaxed?

Reality Check
Earlier, UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma was asked about the 2m (6ft) social distancing rule, during the government's Downing Street briefing.
"When safe to do so we'll see if we can move to a shorter distance," he said.
For now, the rule remains.
Keeping people from different households at least 2m apart helps prevent the spread of coronavirus. But is also makes it much harder to open places such as cafes and restaurants – leading to calls for a review.
The World Health Organization says a distance of 1m is safe, and that rule is also in place in China, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, Lithuania and Singapore.
The rule is 1.5m in Australia, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal.
Apart from the UK, the 2m rule is in place in Canada and Spain.
You can read more about the evidence behind the 2m rule here.

New York food banks see steep rise in need

Since the start of the US outbreak, Food Bank for New York City has distributed 21m meals, marking a 20% increase from the same period last year, the charity say.
Almost 80% of food pantries and soup kitchens reported an increase in families with children visiting.
According to the report, the crushing demand for food assistance caused more than half of the food banks to run out of supplies in April.
Food Bank for New York City CEO Leslie Gordon said the rise in demand represents "the new normal".
At the peak of the outbreak 40% of the city's food banks were closed, largely because they are run by seniors who are particularly at risk of infection.

France and Hong Kong bail out aviation, as UK frustration mounts

Theo Leggett - BBC International Business Correspondent
The aviation industry is in a deep crisis, and governments around the world have responded. Today alone, we have seen the announcement of a major support package for aerospace in France, while Cathay Pacific received a £4bn bail-out from the Hong Kong government.
Lockdowns have forced airlines to ground aircraft, depriving them of much of their income. That in turn means they will struggle to afford new planes, so manufacturers have had to slash production - forcing their suppliers to cut back as well.
In France, some 300,000 jobs rely on the aerospace industry. That's why the government in Paris thinks it is worth providing some £12bn in grants, loans and guarantees (£5.5bn for Air France alone) to prop it up.
In the UK, by contrast, there has been little government largesse. Easyjet and British Airways have borrowed under Covid-19 loan schemes, and many companies have been able to furlough employees. But there has been nothing on the scale of the rescues seen elsewhere. And job cuts are mounting.
People within the industry say there is deep frustration that the UK government has been willing to introduce a stringent quarantine regime that threatens to do more damage, but hasn’t done a great deal to help them.
Time, they say, is running out.

Canada to reunite families separated by US border

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there will be a “limited exemption” for immediate family members of Canadian citizens to cross into Canada from the US.
The border has been closed to non-essential travel since 21 March and the earliest it would reopen would be 21 June.
Many non-Canadian citizens have been denied entry, despite being married to Canadians. Those affected include expectant parents Ashley and Tim Cook . Ashley Cook is a Canadian living in Windsor, Ontario and her husband and the father of her child lives just over the border in Michigan.
The new announcement reiterated that anyone coming from the US, which has been hit hard by the virus, would have to quarantine for 14 days.
"If you don't follow these rules, you could face serious penalties," Trudeau said.

Will UK universities open in September?

Students in the UK must decide by the middle of next week whether or not to accept university offers for the new academic year.
It's a big decision - even more so this year as many lectures are due to take place online and socialising could be very difficult when term begins.
So, will universities open in September? Many have already decided to alter their normal schedule.
Cambridge will hold lectures online for the entire year, while Manchester will have online lectures for the first autumn term.
The deadline for prospective students to decide on whether to accept offers has been pushed back to 18 June.
See here for a breakdown of what you need to be thinking about if deciding whether you're going to start your studies in September.

Study links blood group to Covid-19 risk

Helen Briggs - BBC science and health journalist
A new study has linked blood group to susceptibility to coronavirus.
The data, regarded as preliminary, suggests that individuals with blood type O, the most common in the UK, are less likely to test positive for Covid-19.
The research, carried out by genetic-testing company 23andMe , echoes other studies on the blood groups of coronavirus patients.
Many teams have been investigating how genetic factors could explain why some people who contract the virus have relatively few symptoms, while others become severely ill.
Last week, a study from Italy and Spain found patients with type A blood were more likely to need oxygen or go on a ventilator. An earlier Chinese study produced similar results.
But scientists say it’s not clear whether it is blood group that influences risk, or some other genetic factor.
There are four main blood groups – A, B, AB and O – and they're determined by the genes inherited from your parents.

Mosque doves starve to death amid Afghan lockdown

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The doves are a popular attraction at the mosque

More than 1,000 doves kept at a famous mosque in Afghanistan have died of starvation after the building was closed due to the coronavirus.
Caretakers at the 12th-Century, blue-tiled mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif told AFP news agency that the doves were dying because there were no visitors to feed them.
"Every day about 30 doves die. We bury them outside the shrine," said mosque official Qayum Ansari, adding that more than 1,000 had already died.
The birds are a popular attraction and many visitors consider them sacred.
The mosque is one of many buildings closed in a nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus. The country has registered more than 21,000 confirmed cases but the real number is thought to be much higher.
Government officials in Balkh province have now promised to supply bird food for the doves, if mosque managers will allow it.
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The ancient mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif is famous for its blue tiles

Could social distancing of less than two metres work?

The UK government is coming under increasing pressure from MPs and businesses to relax the 2m (6ft) rule for social distancing.
Trade body UK Hospitality insists the current separation rules would be impossible for bars and restaurants to follow , and the Financial Times is reporting that the "majority of the cabinet" supports a reduction .
The 2m distance is also one of the challenges schools face in reopening: head teachers and governors have said they lack the space to bring all pupils back.
But scientists continue to question whether a reduction would be safe , given how little is known about how far coronavirus can spread.
Read more from our science editor David Shukman .

Brazil restores coronavirus data after court ruling

Brazil has restored its website with detailed coronavirus data , following a ruling earlier on Tuesday by the Supreme Court.
The health ministry caused outrage when it removed pages of detailed Covid-19 data over the weekend and said it would no longer publish cumulative totals.
But on Tuesday the country's highest court ordered the ministry to resume the publication of figures for deaths and infections. Judge Alexandre de Moraes said the government's actions "made it impossible" to monitor the spread of the virus and implement adequate controls.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 09 2020, 22:30

Canada migrant farmers 'at risk from coronavirus'

Working conditions for migrant workers in Canada are placing them at risk from coronavirus, an advocacy group warns.
"While millionaire corporations are being bailed out, migrant worker — the ones that actually grow food— are in crisis,” the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change says.
The report said that in Ontario province alone, at least two migrant workers had died with the virus and there were 280 cases. It also said workers were told to work in groups while waiting for test results, and that they were being housed in cramped quarters.
Many migrants had the start of their work season delayed because of coronavirus restrictions. Once they did arrive, the new rules forced them to quarantine.
During their quarantine, the report found they were underpaid, underfed and not given good health information. The report was based on calls with 180 workers who were speaking on behalf of 1,162 workers, mostly from the Caribbean.

What would you do if 2020 restarted?

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
The pandemic has had many of us wishing we could turn back the clock and start the year all over again. And that’s what more than a million social media users in China were discussing on Tuesday: what they would do differently, if that was an option?
A whopping 1.8 million users of the popular Sina Weibo platform have used the hashtag #WhatWouldYouDoIf2020Restarted .
Many have said the pandemic has made them realise things they had taken for granted. One netizen said they would “have a picture taken with my whole family, because this epidemic has made me understand that my family’s health is the most important thing”.
Some say they would be "more humble", and regret leaving jobs just before Chinese New Year – a common trend around this period. Others are simply reflecting on how they wish they’d “appreciated others” better. “I wish I’d been a better person,” says one.

Cases in Peru top 200,000

Peru's Health Ministry has released its latest figures, showing confirmed cases of coronavirus have risen to 203,736.
The country has also registered 5,738 deaths, since its first case on 6 March.
It has the second highest number of cases in Latin America, after Brazil.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 09 2020, 22:50

Zoos in England to reopen from 15 June

Zoos, safari parks and drive-in cinemas will be able to reopen in England from 15 June, the prime minister is due to announce.
Boris Johnson is expected to outline the latest step in the easing of the coronavirus lockdown at Wednesday's daily briefing.
He will say the outdoor attractions can reopen as long as they follow social distancing rules.
Some zoos, including Chester Zoo and London Zoo, have reported financial struggles during the pandemic.
The move will pave the way for the sites to reopen on the same day as non-essential shops

Round-up of today's main news

As we approach the end of today's live coverage, here is a round-up of developments.

  • Non-essential shops can re-open in England from Monday, providing they respect coronavirus rules such as social distancing
  • The UK government does not have plans to reduce the 2m social distancing rule as some businesses have asked, but it is committed to keep it under review
  • Plans for all England's primary children to return for a month before the summer break have been dropped
  • The World Health Organization has rowed back on comments that asymptomatic transmission of the virus was "very rare". Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said just how much transmission comes from people with no symptoms was still a "big unknown"
  • Brazil has restored its website of coronavirus data, following an order by the Supreme Court. The government controversially removed pages of detailed virus data over the weekend
  • Research carried out by Harvard Medical School using satellite imagery shows an apparent surge in traffic outside Wuhan hospitals from August 2019, suggesting the coronavirus hit China earlier than reported. China dismissed the report as "ridiculous"
  • The Eiffel Tower in Paris will reopen on 25 June after being forced to shut for more than three months because of the pandemic
  • There have been more than 7 million infections globally, with more than 400,000 deaths


We're pausing our live coverage

That's it from us for today, thank you very much for joining.
Today's updates were brought to you by our team of reporters in the UK, Singapore, Australia, India and the US: Owen Amos, Anna Jones, Yvette Tan, Saira Asher, Jay Savage, Andreas Illmer, Krutika Pathi, Rebecca Seales, Paulin Kola, Michael Emons, Joseph Lee, Victoria Lindrea, Lauren Turner, Vicky Baker, George Wright, Henri Astier, Claire Heald, Rob Corp, Gary Rose, Alex Kleiderman, Alex Therrien, David Walker, Kevin Ponniah, Francis Keogh, Robin Levinson King and Holly Honderich.
Our colleagues in Singapore will be resuming live coverage soon

    Current date/time is Sat Nov 28 2020, 08:47