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Coronavirus - 15th June


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Post by Kitkat Mon Jun 15 2020, 10:10

Summary for Monday, 15th June

  • Shops in England selling non-essential items open for first time in almost three months
  • From Monday, anyone on public transport in England must wear a mask
  • In France, travel to other EU countries is allowed, and cafes and restaurants can open
  • Other European countries are also easing border restrictions
  • In Beijing, a spike in cases continues, with 36 more cases recorded
  • Globally, there have been 7.9m confirmed cases since the outbreak began and 433,000 deaths

Welcome back to our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. As Europe continues to ease restrictions while Asian countries fear a second wave, we will keep you updated on all developments from around the globe.
Here's what you need to know:

  • In England, shops selling non-essential goods are allowed to open for the first time in almost three months
  • But people taking public transport must wear face masks from now on
  • France also continues to ease lockdown measures: travel to other EU countries is now permitted while cafes and restaurants can open
  • Spain will bring the reopening of its borders forward by 10 days, allowing most Europeans to travel in from 21 June
  • China has seen a new spike, with 36 more cases recorded in Beijing
  • Iran is also seeing a new rise, with the number of daily deaths topping 100 for the first time in two months

Cases continue to rise in Beijing

For a while it seemed like life was slowly but surely going back to normal in China.
But its capital Beijing has been hit by a series of new cases - after almost two months without a local case.
Beijing recorded 36 new locally transmitted cases on Sunday - on Saturday it also reported 36 cases - all of which have been linked to the city's largest wholesale market.
More than 20 neighbourhoods now have restrictions on visitors. Three other provinces across China have also reported confirmed or suspected cases connected to Beijing.
Local media reports say this virus was discovered on chopping boards used for imported salmon at the market.
China's chief epidemiologist of its Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has now said this particular strain did not resemble the type circulating across the rest of the country - suggesting it came from elsewhere.
For now, however, there's no clear indication of where the strain might have come from.

Ghana makes wearing face masks compulsory

Thomas Naadi - BBC News, Accra
President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced that the wearing of face masks is now compulsory in Ghana.
The country’s coronavirus case count has risen to nearly 12,000, with 54 deaths and about 4,000 recoveries.
Restrictions on religious gatherings have been eased and schools will reopen for final year students on Monday. Border crossings still remain closed.
The country has so far conducted about 250,000 tests in its population of 30 million.

England shops open, Wales and Scotland remain shut

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It's time to flip over that sign

Non-essential shops in England are set to open this Monday, after nearly three months of lockdown.
Outdoor attractions like zoos will also be allowed to open, as will places of worship - albeit only for individual prayer.
All sites have to stick to social distancing rules though, which means people have to remain at least 2m (6ft) apart and will be asked to wear face masks when indoors. The same goes for public transport.
Shops in Northern Ireland opened on Friday while Scotland and Wales have not yet decided when to allow their businesses to follow suit.

Masks become compulsory on English public transport

Anyone travelling on public transport in England must wear a face covering from Monday.
More than 3,000 extra staff including police officers are being deployed at stations to make sure people comply.
Passengers without a covering will be asked to wear one. If they refuse, they may not be allowed on board or they could be fined £100.
People with certain health conditions, disabled people and children under the age of 11 will be exempt from the rule.
In the coming days, hundreds of thousands of free coverings will be handed out at railway stations. The government says masks can be homemade, such as a scarf or bandana.
As well as on transport, all hospital visitors and outpatients also have to wear masks.

Nigerian doctors to go on strike

Chris Ewokor - BBC News, Abuja
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The doctors are demanding adequate protective gear

One of the main doctors' unions in Nigeria says its members will go ahead with a strike on Monday over poor pay and a lack of personal protective equipment for health workers.
The Association of Resident Doctors says they will stop providing all services including emergency care and coronavirus treatment.
The union's president, Aliyu Sokomba, said the government had failed to respond to the doctors' demands, including a call for extra payment to reflect the increased risk they faced during the pandemic.
Nigeria has recorded more than 15,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 400 deaths.
The association represents around a third of Nigeria's doctors.

'Two years' for Australia economy to recover

The Australian government today outlined a series of building and infrastructure projects to get the economy going again.
Australia's economy is forecast to recover quicker than those of many other nations due to its successful suppression of the virus.
The OECD has forecast it will have one of the smallest falls in GDP among developed economies for the rest of 2020, and official unemployment forecasts have been revised down to 8% from 10%.
However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it would still take two years for the economy to return to where it was pre-pandemic. “There is a mountain yet to climb,” he said.
The government aims to cut off some of its A$260bn (£140bn; $180bn) welfare supports next month – and says it will be “extremely cautious” about future spending.
Australia is still recording a handful of new cases each day, but will have almost all of its restrictions - excepting border closures - lifted come July.
It has eliminated the virus in many parts of the country, authorities said last week.

France reopens borders and cafes

French President Emmanuel Macron has said the country has "won its first victory" over the virus, and a number of restrictions will now be lifted.
In a televised speech to the nation, he said France would reopen its borders to travellers from the European Union from Monday.
Restaurants and cafes will also be able to reopen fully, not only outdoors. Schools, except for high schools, will open from 22 June. Macron warned the virus could still return, however.
He also said the disease had exposed France’s "shortcomings" - and that the country had been overly dependent on global supply chains.

Hong Kong Disneyland to reopen

The Disneyland theme park in Hong Kong is set to reopen this Thursday - but with a reduced number of visitors.
The park, which closed in January due to the outbreak, will introduce social distancing measures and suspend all activities that require close interaction with others.
Visitors will also be required to wear face masks.
It is the second Disney park to reopen in China, after the Shanghai Disneyland welcomed visitors last month.
You can read more about the challenges of reopening that park here

EasyJet flights to resume

EasyJet planes will be taking to the skies again after weeks of being grounded, as the British carrier resumes a small number of mostly domestic flights on Monday.
The resumption comes after weeks of lockdown, though the airline will only be starting with minimal service.
It will be flying mostly routes within Britain to cities like Edinburgh and Belfast, and to a handful of European cities in France, Switzerland, Italy and Portugal, according to a Reuters report.
EasyJet and two other airlines are taking legal action against the British government in a bid to overturn a 14-day quarantine policy.
Under current rules, all arrivals into the UK have to go into quarantine for two weeks - but airlines say this will have a "devastating" effect on tourism.

Nearly 1 in 3 test positive in Delhi as cases surge

Almost one in three people tested for Covid-19 in the Indian capital, Delhi, this week were found to be positive, reported the Hindustan Times newspaper . It's analysis was based on government data.
The newspaper added that the average positivity rate - the percentage of people who test positive - was 30.5%. In comparison, this rate for all of India is about 7%, according to the country's top medical body.
Cases have been galloping in Delhi in recent weeks, which currently has more than 40,000 infections.
“This just means that currently the numbers are on a rising trend and there is transmission happening in the community," Dr Shobha Broor told the newspaper. She added that the high positivity rate could also be explained by labs potentially only testing those with symptoms. "If you only test the people who are likely to have the infection, the positivity rate will be high."
The capital city has been struggling to accommodate an increasing caseload as numerous reports of patients being turned away at hospitals emerge. With more than 300,000 infections, India now has the fourth-highest number of cases in the world.

France to reopen its EU borders

As we reported earlier, France is set to reopen its borders to some travellers as it begins to relax its lockdown measures.
Let's take a deeper look at what this will mean.
In an address to the nation, President Emmanuel Macron said France would allow travellers from almost all European Union countries to enter from Monday.
Visitors from other continents would be allowed to enter from 1 July, he said.
But travellers from Spain, along with those from the UK, will have to quarantine because of their own restrictions on French arrivals.
UK visitors will have to self-isolate for 14 days, the government says.
You can read more about France easing its lockdown measures here

How Vietnam became a virus success story

Anna Jones - BBC News
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Despite a long border with China and a population of 97 million people, Vietnam has recorded just over 330 cases of Covid-19 on its soil and not a single death.
So how has it managed to keep the numbers so low?
Experts say that Vietnam saw a small window to act early on, and used it fully.
It enacted measures other countries would take months to introduce, bringing in travel restrictions, closely monitoring and eventually closing the border with China and increasing health checks at borders and other vulnerable places.
By mid-March, Vietnam was sending everyone who entered the country - and anyone who'd had contact with a confirmed case - to quarantine centres for 14 days.
But though cost-effective, its intrusive and labour-intensive approach has its drawbacks, and experts say it may be too late for most other countries to learn from its success.
You can read more here

Could social distancing of less than two metres work?

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has commissioned a review of the 2m (6ft) social distancing rule, but could a reduced distance work to stem the spread of coronavirus, asks BBC Science editor David Shukman.
Put simply, the nearer you are to someone who is infected, the greater the risk of catching the virus.
The government's scientific advisers say that being 1m apart carries up to 10 times the risk of a 2m separation.
Meanwhile the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends keeping a distance of at least 1m .
It's not all about distances, however. The amount of time spent in proximity to an infected person, the quality of ventilation, and safety precautions such as face coverings can all have an impact on the chances of infection.
You can read more here

India to use 500 train carriages as wards in Delhi

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Train carriages at New Delhi station

India is to convert another 500 railway carriages to create 8,000 more beds for coronavirus patients in Delhi, amid a surge in infections.
Home Minister Amit Shah announced a package of new emergency measures for the capital on Sunday, including a rapid increase in testing for Covid-19. Nursing homes will also be requisitioned.
The total number of 320,922 officially confirmed cases puts India fourth in the world - after the US, Brazil and Russia - in the pandemic.
The death toll in India stands at 9,195, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University from official sources.
India began converting railway carriages into quarantine or isolation wards in April, when large parts of the railway network were suspended owing to the pandemic.

Five questions about India's rising infections

Weeks after India eased what was arguably the world's harshest lockdown, and four months after its first recorded Covid-19 infection, its case number is skyrocketing.
Should the spike in cases worry India? Is India's low death rate misleading? And what lies ahead?
The BBC's Soutik Biswas took a look at these questions.

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India has one of the lowest testing rates in the world

Covid blood clots targeted in treatment trial

Rachel Schraer - BBC Health Reporter
Scientists are to test whether an experimental drug can prevent potentially deadly blood clots associated with Covid-19.
The trial, funded by the British Heart Foundation, will test the theory the clots are caused by a hormone imbalance triggered by coronavirus infection.
It will become one of several drugs currently being trialled to prevent the disease's worst effects.
A third of hospitalised coronavirus patients develop dangerous blood clots .
The drug, TRV027, works to rebalance hormones involved in blood pressure, water and salt.

China to launch new airline despite travel downturn

China's second-biggest airline is to launch a new carrier despite a severe global downturn in passengers caused by the pandemic.
China Eastern has joined forces with a range of partners including China's biggest online travel agency,
The new airline will be focused on the island destination of Hainan, a free-trade hub that is home to eight million people.
Some have questioned the timing of the launch, which comes as the airline industry struggles to survive.
You can read more about the move here

Commuters in England wear face coverings as new rules kick in

It's still early here in the UK, but people have already been seen following new rules that require face coverings to be worn on public transport from today .
Most people in England - except those with disabilities, children under 11 and those with certain health conditions - will need to wear a face covering while travelling on a bus, coach, train, tram, Tube, ferry or plane.
Passengers without a covering will be asked to wear one, or will face being refused travel or fined £100.
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A passenger wearing a face mask on a bus in Newcastle

At Gatwick airport, a passenger called James told BBC Breakfast that wearing a face covering on his way to Nice, where he works, was "very strange" but if everyone wears one then it shouldn't be a problem.
Meanwhile on London's Tube network, volunteers handed out face masks to commuters as they entered Vauxhall underground station - where two security guards were stationed to stop people taking more masks than necessary.
A Transport for London (TfL) staff member monitoring the distribution of masks said most people were already wearing face coverings before they entered the station.

Thousands of portraits of Covid victims fill Peru cathedral

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Many of the victims did not have access to adequate medical care

An archbishop in Peru has filled his cathedral in the capital, Lima, with more than 5,000 photographs of Covid-19 victims, and warned more people face death by starvation as a result of the economic crisis brought by the pandemic.
When the 84 pews were filled with the images, church workers covered the bases of the building's columns. The victims included police officers, firemen and street-sweepers, and many died without receiving appropriate medical care, according to local media.
In a message broadcast during Sunday's Mass, Archbishop Carlos Castillo sharply criticised the country's health system, saying it was based "on egotism and on business and not on mercy and solidarity with the people," AP news agency reports. "An even harder moment is coming," he was quoted as saying. "It would be terrible if in the times to come we have thousands of these photos - but dead of hunger."
Peru has confirmed 6,688 Covid-related deaths and 229,736 cases. It has the second-highest numbers of deaths and infections in South America, after Brazil.
Read more about how Covid-19 is affecting the region
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Archbishop Carlos Castillo blessed the photographs on Sunday

'Lockdown has been boring - I want to treat myself'

Stewart Whittingham - Reporter, BBC News Online
As non-essential shops re-opened in England today, people queued for more than 40 minutes to get into stores in Manchester City centre.
Big queues formed outside Primark, TK Maxx and Foot Locker on Market Street.
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Mother-of-one Ines Sima, 23, joined the line outside TK Maxx.
She said: "I think I'll be waiting for half an hour, maybe more.
"But I've really missed shopping, that's why I'm here.
"I want to get some nice dresses.
"Lockdown has been hard and boring so I want to treat myself."
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Retired library worker Clare Barcoe, 66, joined the queue outside Primark.
She said: "I've come to return some jeans for my son.
"They don't fit him and this is the first time I've been able to come and he's at work.
"But I'll get some things like t-shirts while I'm here."

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Post by Kitkat Mon Jun 15 2020, 12:25

Shoppers out early as non-essential stores reopen

Tom Pugh - BBC South East Digital Reporter
This was the scene as shoppers headed out early to get into Sports Direct in Worthing, West Sussex, this morning.
A lengthy, socially-distanced queue formed outside the store in the seaside resort amid strict safety measures in high streets across the country.
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In Canterbury it was a similar picture, with large queues forming. Banners welcoming people back to the high street in the Kent cathedral city have been displayed.
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HMV owner: 'It's going to be a tough year'

BBC Radio 4
HMV owner Doug Putman told the BBC's Today programme that he expected a rush in the first week of trading after his shops open their doors.
But he said retailers could be faced with a problem if shoppers don't return in the same numbers as before the lockdown.
"If you've got the same cost structure to run the business but sales are down even 20% it makes a lot of companies unviable."
"We're being very hesitant, we believe that it is going to be a tough year."

Primark customers queue around the block in Liverpool

People are queuing around two corners in Liverpool to get into the city's Primark store this morning as rules for shops are relaxed in England after the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
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The clothing chain has been closed since 23 March and does not offer online shopping.
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The queue snaked around two corners of the shop building on Church Street and into School Lane with managers reminding people to maintain two metres social distancing.

Why shoppers might be grumpy

Conventional wisdom suggests everyone will be delighted to get out of the house and treat themselves to a day's shopping from today.
Not quite, says consumer psychologist Kate Nightingale.
Restrictions in shops, such as not touching items or being told which direction to walk in are likely to frustrate people already experiencing anxiety since lockdown was enforced on 23 March.
"We are basically living in a constant state of fear and anxiety - don't leave the house, don't touch anyone, don't do exactly what you were doing before - this is not a normal way of human behaviour," says Ms Nightingale.
That means people will be going back to shops after more than three months "with a pre-existing huge ball of negativity in our head, whether we want it or not".
Read more here

Images show crowds as Oxford Street Nike Town reopens

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Larger queues are beginning to form outside some stores in the West End as they reopen.
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Photos show large crowds of people trying to get into Nike Town as trading began.
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Customers allowed to try on products in Selfridges

Barry Caffrey - BBC Radio London
I went on a tour of Selfridges on London's Oxford Street earlier before it reopened to customers.
I spoke to Meave Wall, the department store's director, who told me they had been spent the last three months planning how to create "an experience which is safe and secure for our customers and team members while trying to provide and experience that is fun and unique for our customers as well".
She said the store had been closely following the government guidelines so there are lots of measures such as signs and hand sanitisers in place, as well as door staff and a team of hosts at the front doors.
Asked whether customers were able to pick up and try on clothing, Ms Wall said shoppers "can touch products although we would ideally expect customers to not touch things too frequently".
"Any items that are tried on are quarantined for 72 hours to ensure they are safe to go back on the floor."

Pyjamas on shopping list

Stewart Whittingham - Reporter, BBC News Online
Talika Pemberton went shopping with her mother to buy pyjamas and a few other clothes in Primark in Manchester.
The retail worker, 21, said: "When we walked in there was automatic hand sanitizer so you didn't have to touch it.
"It was to get back to doing a few normal things.
"I've missed shopping and it was nice to get a new pyjamas.
"I'm off to Foot Locker to get some new shoes but my friend is there and people have been queuing for more than an hour."
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Hairdresser Alex Jones, 30, was one of the first in the queue at Primark in Manchester.
Wearing a black face mask, she said: "There was hand sanitiser but we couldn't try any clothes on.
"I was in there about an hour to buy work clothes.
"If I'm honest I think it's a bit early for everything to be open."
Chris Tomlinson, 32, who works in a bookmakers, said: "I've bought a few essentials like underwear and t-shirts."
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'It's not going to be normal'

Record store manager Will Hunter, who runs Vinyl Hunter in Bury St Edmunds, is holding off reopening until the first week of July.
"Buying records is literally one of the most tactile things," he said. "Our customers love the whole experience of coming in and learning. Online is never quite like that - I don't even like buying records online.
"I never wanted to run an online shop but it's paid the bills for now."
He said customers will be given gloves to use while browsing and a screen will be in place at the till. He is concerned things could change again.
"I want to see what happens when everyone else opens. For us, it's pretty straight forward - we can operate a one in, one out policy.
"None of this is ideal, it's not going to be normal, we're a community space and we can't be that now."

Not everyone's out shopping

Jay Vydelingum - BBC News
Although pictures around the country show crowds of people queuing to get into shops. Many have tweeted 5 Live's Emma Barnett to explain why they're keeping away.
  :tweet:  Emma Barnett:
:Left Quotes: Face masks on public transport and in hospitals, shopping alone, not touching goods - today in England - things are changing. What will you be doing differently to make yourself feel safe as we unlock? @bbc5live 10am....

jus beatson:
:Left Quotes: Im going nowhere , still shielding , I don’t think it’s safe ..... but I wish those going back to work today all the best.
ann freeman:
:Left Quotes: Nothing having seen the pictures of people outside primark not wearing masks, not keeping 2 meters apart. Shopping in groups. People aren’t listening to the “advice”
Chris Youens:
:Left Quotes: Staying at home. There were over 1200 new cases yesterday, it’s ridiculously irresponsible to act as if we’re in the clear.

Primark shopper wears full PPE

A shopper dressed in full PPE to go shopping at Primark.
The customer was spotted in a full plastic suit, hat, face mask and gloves before entering the Birmingham store.
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Shoppers asked to 'keep left' and 'take your time'

After almost three months of lockdown, non-essential shops in Liverpool One shopping centre have reopened.
Fifty stores are trading again from today and social distancing measures are in place.
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Visitors are asked to keep the left of walkways and "take your time" to "avoid bumping into anyone".
Escalators, hand rails and toilets will be "sanitised" every hour, Liverpool One said on its website.
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There is still no date for when restaurants can fully trade again.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Jun 15 2020, 16:34

Edinburgh airport is 'sad and spooky'

One of the small team in charge of Edinburgh Airport's runway has told how the normally busy and buzzing hub has become an empty and lonely place during the lockdown.
Dan Maltby said the airfield had become a sad and spooky place and it was rare for him to bump into anyone now during his 12-hour shifts.
The airport's footfall has dropped from 50,000 passengers a day in a normal summer, to just 300.
And its hundreds of ground staff, pilots and cabin crew are furloughed.
Read more here

How Europe is easing travel restrictions

Much of Europe is emerging from sweeping travel restrictions today.
The European Union is encouraging member states to get people moving across borders, and police who've been enforcing border closures have been withdrawn.
Germany lifted a worldwide travel warning on Monday. It said checks at its nine land borders, with countries such as Austria and Denmark, were no longer necessary.
France, too, said it would allow travellers from almost all European Union countries to enter without quarantine.
Elsewhere in Europe, countries such as Belgium, Portugal, Greece and Switzerland have all relaxed their travel restrictions as cases of Covid-19 decrease.
But some measures remain in place. Sweden, for example, has complained that Swedes face major hurdles getting into neighbouring countries.
And Spain said it would not allow foreign tourists to enter until 21 June.
You can read more about how Europe is emerging from lockdown in our useful round-up piece here

Beijing enacts 'war-time' restrictions amid new outbreak

We reported earlier that Beijing has recorded dozens of new locally-transmitted coronavirus cases in recent days, prompting fears of a second wave.
A number of districts in the Chinese capital have now closed schools, introduced security checkpoints, and ordered people to be tested for the virus as the city attempts to curb its spread.
Sports and entertainment venues have been closed and temperature checks have been re-introduced in supermarkets and offices.
"The containment efforts have rapidly entered into a war-time mode," a senior local government official told a press conference earlier today.
The outbreak has been linked to the city's largest wholesale market, and the general manager of the market has been dismissed along with other local officials.
Read more here

Berlin apartment block quarantined

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Authorities are using mobile testing vans like this to check for infections

German tabloid BZ reports that an entire apartment block has been quarantined in the capital Berlin after an outbreak of coronavirus.
Residents of the block on Harzer Strasse in the Neukölln district are not allowed to leave their homes or have visitors for the next 14 days. So far authorities have confirmed 52 cases there since testing began on Saturday.
Other blocks in the districts of Neukölln, Spandau and Wedding are also being tested for the virus.
Germany has been widely praised for its response to the pandemic, and has eased its lockdown restrictions in recent weeks – with some states lifting measures faster than others .
Latest figures from Germany's public Robert Koch Institute show that on Sunday the country reported 247 new infections and six new deaths.

Cash handouts for Danes to boost economy

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Long queues grew at the German crossing into Denmark after Copenhagen relaxed some border restrictions on Monday

Denmark was one of the earliest European countries to impose a lockdown, and was also one of the first to lift it, with some restrictions eased as early as mid-April.
Now politicians have announced a swathe of economic stimulus measures, including cash handouts and support for companies, as the economy faces its worst contraction since World War Two.
About 60bn kroner (£7.2bn; $9.1bn) will be paid out from a frozen holiday allowance fund. Citizens on public health benefits will separately get a 1,000 kroner stipend, and 10bn kroner have been set aside for struggling companies.
Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen said the cash might not be released for several months, but encouraged people to spend now.
"If you want to use the money for ice cream, clothes or things for your home, you can do this safe in the knowledge that the money is coming by October," he was reported as saying.

Police call for protest ban during crisis

Rank-and-file police officers are calling for the home secretary to ban all protests in England and Wales while coronavirus remains a threat.
Police Federation chairman John Apter says the right to protest is important but "we are not in normal times", adding that officers and the public are facing an "avoidable risk".
It comes after more than 100 people were arrested in a second weekend of demonstrations - including the anti-racism rallies sparked by the death of George Floyd in the US and counter-protests involving far-right activists.
The government has been warning protesters that ignoring the guidance could lead to a fresh spike in cases of Covid-19 and Home Secretary Priti Patel is due to give a statement in the House of Commons later.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Jun 15 2020, 16:48

Wales considering reopening non-essential shops

Reopening non-essential shops and further relaxing restrictions on outdoor activity are being considered by the Welsh Government.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said the retail sector in Wales would be "well prepared" if the next review of lockdown measures, due on Friday, gave the go-ahead.
However, he warned that a "stop-start approach, where we do too much too soon" would be worse for the economy.
You can find out more here .

Indian city of Chennai to reimpose lockdown

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Chennai has sprayed its streets with disinfectant to try to curb the spread of the virus

Authorities in the southern Indian city of Chennai are to reimpose a lockdown on Friday after a surge in new coronavirus cases.
The Tamil Nadu state government said the lockdown would also apply to several neighbouring districts and would last until the end of June.
"Full lockdown from 19th for Chennai, Thiruvallur, Chengalpet and Kanchipuram districts," the government tweeted on Monday.
Indian broadcaster NDTV said coronavirus infections had been raging in Chennai's urban slums. On Sunday the city recorded 1,415 new cases, bringing the total to 31,896.
Chennai, formerly Madras, has a population of about 15 million.
India has been easing lockdown restrictions in recent weeks despite an increasing number of infections. It currently has more than 332,000 confirmed cases - the fourth highest number in the world - and just under 10,000 deaths.

Millions felt 'high anxiety' early in lockdown - ONS

Michelle Roberts - Health editor, BBC News online
The equivalent of 19 million adults in Great Britain say they had high levels of anxiety in the first weeks of lockdown, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest.
The data covering the period 3 April to 10 May showed:

  • The number of people reporting high levels of anxiety more than doubled compared to pre-lockdown levels
  • Older people were more anxious than younger people, with those aged 75 and older twice as likely at those aged 16-24 to report high anxiety during lockdown
  • Feeling lonely was the factor most strongly linked with high anxiety. Juggling work and homeschooling commitments was a source of stress for parents

Today's key developments in the UK

If you're just tuning in to our live coverage, here's a quick roundup of what's been happening:

China’s media strike downbeat note on new surge

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
Chinese state media have often emphasised the importance of spreading zhengnengliang or “positive energy” online.
And in the face of a crisis, they often also stress the good work being done by the authorities, medical specialists and people in the wider community.
This is what makes its downbeat tone regarding a surge of Covid-19 cases in Beijing so striking.
With 39 locally transmitted cases confirmed today, the newspapers are hinting that the prospect of a second wave hitting is very real.
Vice Premier Sun Chunlan has warned that “the risk of the Beijing epidemic spreading is very high”, while the newspaper of the ruling Communist Party urged people to wear masks because "some people have not been vigilant”.
China responded to earlier concerns about cases in other provinces by quickly mass testing communities, which has so far proven successful. It is hoping the same approach will work in Beijing.

Scotland's FM wants normal classrooms 'ASAP'

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Scottish pupils should get back to "normal" schooling "as quickly as possible", First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Scotland's schools are due to reopen from 11 August, but will initially have a "blended" approach involving face-to-face teaching and at-home learning.
There has been speculation exams in 2021 could be delayed and that blended learning could last for a year.
But Ms Sturgeon said pupils must be back in the classroom full-time "as quickly as is safe and feasible".
She said it was her government's "firm intention" that next year's exams would go ahead - and that there were no plans for blended learning to last a year.
Read more here

Places of worship reopen for private prayer

While many have focused on the reopening of non-essential shops in England, today also sees the reopening of places of worship for private prayer in the country.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby marked the moment by joining Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols to pray.

  :tweet: Archbishop of Canterbury:
:Left Quotes: Always a joy to see @CardinalNichols but today we needed to keep distant as we visited @westminstercath and @wabbey to mark the reopening of church buildings for individual prayer. We continue to give thanks for all battling the pandemic and pray for a renewal of our common life.
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Northern Ireland has already allowed private worship but Scotland and Wales have not yet done so.

Latest death updates in Wales, NI and Scotland

In Northern Ireland, the Department of Health has recorded no new deaths linked to Covid-19 since yesterday.
In its daily update, it said the total number of coronavirus deaths there remains at 541. This mainly comprises deaths in hospital and includes some, but not all, deaths in other settings.
In Wales, four more people with coronavirus are reported to have died in Wales, taking deaths there to 1,448.
In Scotland, no deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19 have been registered in the past 24 hours, the third time the figure has remained the same since lockdown began, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced. A total of 2,448 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for the virus.
The Department of Health and Social Care has yet to release the latest UK wide figures.

'This is a wonderful freedom,' says returning shopper

Bottled water is being offered to those queuing for Selfridges on Oxford Street in central London while a singer has been entertaining customers at the store's entrance on Duke Street.
Hannah Mann, from north London, who bought mascara and sun cream from the department store, says it is a "wonderful freedom" to go shopping again.
"I love shopping, so I just thought 'well, I'll come out to get a few things that I wanted'," she told the PA news agency.
"I thought all the shops were going to be open today, so I was a bit disappointed when I got here, but this is a wonderful freedom because we are so limited to the places we can go."
Asked if she had any concerns about the virus, she said: "Not at all. Keep your distance, do the best you can and keep washing your hands. I'm not frightened of this - I was brought up with what will be will be."
For those wondering about venturing out, we have looked at how else shopping might change in England. Find out more here

Latest developments in the Middle East

  • Iran has reported more than 100 new deaths from Covid-19 for a second day in a row. Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said 113 patients died on Sunday, bringing the toll to 8,950. Another 2,449 people tested positive. Government spokesman Ali Rabiei played down fears of a second wave , saying “the gradient of the death toll is not sharp”. But he warned: "If we find that the spread of the virus is out of control... then we will definitely apply strict decisions again."
  • Qatar has begun the first phase of its plan to lift restrictions. About 500 mosques can reopen for prayer except on Fridays, when many Muslims attend communal services. Shops in malls with at least 300 sq m (3,230 sq ft) of floor space are allowed to open on weekdays, but not weekends.
  • Egypt will reopen all its airports for international flights on 1 July. Civil Aviation Minister Mohammed Manar said steps would be taken to ensure the health and safety of passengers, including requiring those coming from countries with high rates of Covid-19 infections to be tested before flying.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Jun 15 2020, 17:07

Ikea to repay furlough salaries to governments

Ikea has said it is planning to repay salaries paid by governments around the world under furlough schemes.
It is set to repay nine governments, including the US and Ireland.
But it will not include the UK because, although the furniture chain furloughed 10,000 workers there, it said it did not claim any money from the government's job retention scheme.
Governments across the globe have set up schemes to pay workers who could not do their jobs because of the lockdowns. In the UK, furloughed workers are being paid 80% of their pay under the scheme.
You can read more here

England hospital virus deaths rise by 28

In England, a further 28 people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died. It brings the total number of confirmed deaths in English hospitals to 27,982, NHS England said.
The patients were aged between 59 and 100 and all had underlying health conditions.

Singapore announces major lockdown easing

Singapore will allow small gatherings of up to five people from Friday, and shops and restaurants will also be allowed to reopen, its health ministry has announced.
The local social distancing requirements which keep people 1m (3ft) apart will remain in place.
Singapore won praise for its effective response early in the pandemic, but later suffered mass outbreaks in cramped dormitories used by its migrant worker population - laying bare the city state's inequalities.
Having been under its version of lockdown, called the circuit breaker, since 7 April, Singapore has seen its economy suffer.

Austria relaxes face mask rules - with a warning

Bethany Bell - BBC News, Vienna
Austria is easing its rules on face masks today.
People will no longer be required to wear masks in shops, for the first time since they were made mandatory in early April.
They are still required on public transport and in taxis. They're also needed during visits to pharmacies as well as clinics and hospitals.
But Health Minister Rudolf Anschober urged people to carry masks with them and use them if they found themselves in crowded situations.
He also warned that masks could be reintroduced if the infection rate rose.
There are currently around 373 active cases of coronavirus in Austria.

Parliament debates 2m social distancing rule

UK minister of state for health, Edward Argar, has told the Commons that it would be "premature" to speculate on the conclusion of a review into the 2m social distancing rule.
He said the review was being led by scientific evidence and would consider the effect on businesses, particularly the hospitality sector.
Backbench Conservative MP Greg Clark, who secured this parliamentary urgent question, asked why the UK had chosen a larger distance than many other countries, while other countries have mandated face coverings.
Argar said the scientific evidence suggested an increased risk of transmission of the virus at shorter distances, and pointed out that other countries, including Spain, also have a 2m rule.
Argar said the review would issue a report in the coming weeks, but declined to set a date. Many MPs asked for a decision to be made in time for the planned reopening of the hospitality industry on 4 July

Transport for London says more than 80% of travellers have masks

Theo Leggett - BBC International Business Correspondent

Coronavirus - 15th June E817b610

New rules that came into force this morning oblige nearly everyone travelling on public transport in England to wear a face covering, such as a mask, scarf or bandana.
The measures have been introduced to help prevent transmission of Covid-19, as businesses and shops reopen after the lockdown, and transport networks become busier.
Those with certain health conditions, people with disabilities, and children under the age of 11 are exempt.
Transport companies say that so far, the change has gone smoothly, and the vast majority of passengers are wearing face coverings. Although those failing to do so can be fined £100, enforcement to begin with is expected to be very light-touch.
The emphasis at the moment is on making sure that people know what the rules are, and encouraging them to comply. In the capital, where Transport for London said more than 80% of passengers were abiding by the rules, teams of TFL staff and British transport police were seen offering quiet advice to people without face coverings.
Passengers in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are not obliged to cover their faces on public transport - although they are advised to do so

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Post by Kitkat Mon Jun 15 2020, 20:34

What did we learn from today's UK briefing?

The UK daily press conference was led by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. He appeared without any of the government's scientific advisers.
Here's what he told us:

  • The government has provided extra money to schools to widen summer programmes for the children of key workers, who won't be able to access their usual childcare, such as grandparents and summer schemes
  • He rejected the claim that information on the effects of coronavirus on people from ethnic minority backgrounds is being withheld. He said the government wanted to provide concrete advice
  • Mr Raab said medics and scientists will continue to attend the press briefings but did not say why none were in attendance today

US FDA revokes emergency use of hydroxychloroquine

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has withdrawn the emergency use authorisation for hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19. The drug has been championed by US President Donald Trump.
The FDA said that, based on the latest evidence, it was no longer reasonable to believe that taking hydroxychloroquine and the related drug chloroquine could be an effective treatment for Covid-19 - the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have long been used to treat malaria as well as other conditions such as lupus and arthritis. President Trump has promoted hydroxychloroquine and even took it himself for a while.
Although several studies had suggested the drugs were not effective and doctors warned that they could cause heart problems, the FDA had allowed their use during clinical trials and in hospitals.
One of the world's largest trials, run by the University of Oxford, recently concluded that "there is no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalised with Covid-19".

The first place in the British Isles to live without lockdown

The Isle of Man has become the first place within the British Isles to end lockdown entirely.
The self-governing British Crown dependency has seen no new cases of coronavirus since 20 May, leading the government to dispense with most of its lockdown restrictions.
As such, Monday has seen people enjoying pubs, restaurants, shops and gyms for the first time since March.
Read more here

Sweden cut out as Denmark reopens borders

Adrienne Murray - Copenhagen
Visitors from Norway, Iceland and Germany are now allowed into Denmark. Police reported traffic queues several kilometres long, as German holidaymakers crossed the southern border.
However, Denmark and others among the usually close Nordic countries have excluded Swedes, blaming the country’s higher level of coronavirus.
“It’s terrible for us. We want to be able to travel,” one local in the Swedish city of Malmo told the BBC. “A lot of people work there, they have families there.”
“Historically the Nordic countries have been so close to each other," says one woman. "Closing their borders, I don’t think it’s logical."
But while most Swedes are locked out of Denmark, Danish residents can cross into Sweden.
On the train back from Malmo to Copenhagen across the Oresund Bridge, one Danish traveller said he wasn’t worried about the virus.
“I went to a party, a small party and I’m going home again,” he said. “If you go to north Sweden there are many sick people. But not in south Sweden.”

Ready for Royal Ascot - but without the Queen

Frank Keogh - BBC Sport
Royal Ascot starts on Tuesday - but the famous British horse racing meeting will have a very different feel this year.
The action will take place behind closed doors amid strict safety protocols because of the coronavirus pandemic - jockeys must undergo temperature checks and wear face masks.
And while the fixture retains its regal title and branding, the Queen will not be in attendance for the first time in her 68-year reign. She is expected to watch television coverage from Windsor Castle.
Racehorse owners are not allowed at the Berkshire track but will have access to a 360-degree live camera feed of runners in the parade ring, while people are being encouraged to wear a hat and dress up at home.
An expanded programme sees six additional races for a total of 36 contests over five days.
Read more on the 2020 Royal Ascot meeting here

Firms announce 3,500 job losses

The latest UK unemployment figures are due to be published by the Office for National Statistics tomorrow but several companies have announced plans to cut jobs today.
Wickes owner Travis Perkins, the UK's biggest builders' merchant, plans to cut about 2,500 jobs, or 9% of its workforce . The group says it expects a UK recession to hit demand for building materials this year and in 2021.
Jaguar Land Rover is set to cut up to 1,100 temporary jobs from its factory floors after it reported a £501m loss in the final quarter of its financial year.
And 75 jobs are under threat at the Titanic Belfast visitor centre , the BBC understands. The company has started a consultation over the potential redundancies.

New York reaches new Covid-19 lows

New York's death toll and total number of people sent to hospital due to Covid-19 have both fallen to the lowest points since the crisis began.
On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said this weekend had the fewest deaths on a three-day average since March. The number of positive tests has also continued to decline.
Twenty-five people died of the virus on Sunday and there were just over 1,600 residents requiring hospital treatment for Covid-19 over the weekend.
"The facts are that new York is on the right track," he said, though noted it was unlikely the numbers would hit zero. "It's coming down to what the doctor certifies as the cause of death, many people who pass away because of Covid have other underlying conditions."
The report comes as parts of the state enter the third phase of reopening; gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed, up from 10, and many businesses are back open.
But the governor also called out businesses and residents ignoring social distancing measures, saying the state had received 25,000 complaints of violations.

Iran warns it may return to strict measures

Iran has warned it may have to reimpose strict measures against the coronavirus, as it reported more than 100 deaths for a second day running.
Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said there had been 113 new fatalities, taking the official death toll to 8,950 since Iran's outbreak began in February.
She said a further 2,449 people had tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours.
Iran started to relax its lockdown in mid-April after infections declined but has since seen a surge. There have also been concerns the official figures do not reflect the full extent of deaths and infections.
On Monday, government spokesman Ali Rabiei criticised the lack of social distancing by people at holy sites and on public transport.
"In the [Tehran] subway, although 90% of passengers use masks, social distancing is not being observed," he said. "If we find that the spread of the virus is out of control... then we will definitely apply strict decisions again."

WHO 'expects China to share' genetic code of new outbreak

The World Health Organization says it expects China to share the full genetic sequence from the new coronavirus outbreak in Beijing with the rest of the world.
Speaking in Geneva, head of health emergencies Dr Mike Ryan said it was expected as "they have done in the past".
Beijing has seen a cluster of about 100 new cases of the virus , and is investigating the origins. Experts said the strain did not resemble the type found elsewhere in the country and genetic traces have suggested it could have originated in Europe.
"The finding that this may represent a strain more common in transmission in Europe is important and it may reflect human-to-human transmission more than any other hypotheses," Dr Ryan said.
Local media said the virus was discovered on chopping boards used for imported salmon at a market, leading to speculation that it was brought in on the fish or its packaging. Dr Ryan said the safety of food and its packaging should be looked at but added that he was "reticent" to say all food packaging needed testing.

Norway halts track-and-trace app amid privacy fears

Norway's health authorities have halted the roll-out of a coronavirus mobile phone app after it was criticised by the data protection authority.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) said it would delete all information collected so far, but warned that the move would weaken the fight against coronavirus.
Norway's data protection authority (DPA) said on Friday that the potentially intrusive nature of the app Smittestopp (Infection stop) was not warranted, given the low rate of infection.
About 1.5 million people downloaded it in the first week of its launch in April - more than a quarter of the population.
The app is designed to show researchers where people are moving and to alert those who have been in contact with a Covid-19 carrier.
"We don't agree with the DPA's evaluation but feel it is necessary to delete all data and put work on hold as a result of this," NIPH said in a statement.
Read more: Contact-tracing apps face further hitches

Syrians go hungry 'en masse' as economy suffers

Jeremy Bowen - BBC Middle East editor
No-one knows exactly how much damage Syria’s civil war has done to the economy. One estimate is something like half a trillion pounds ($630bn) worth of destruction.
The pieces that remain are being battered by a new and severe crisis.
The result, says UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock, is that "Syrians are hungry now en masse in a way which wasn't true one or two years ago".
It is happening, he adds, as the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic start kicking in, not just in Syria but across the world.
"What we're projecting globally is a doubling of the people all across the planet who will be at starvation levels of hunger."
Read more: Assad under pressure as economic crisis batters Syria

Trump campaign says 'over 1m' rally ticket requests

Over one million people have requested tickets for US President Donald Trump's Saturday campaign rally - his first since the pandemic began and the most of any of Trump's events - his campaign said on Monday.
Manager Brad Parscale said the "Make America Great Again" rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, would be taking precautions for Covid-19 and the summer heat, including handing out masks and bottled water.
And, as we reported earlier , those purchasing tickets for Trump's rally will have to sign a waiver confirming they "voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19" and will not hold the president's campaign responsible for "any illness or injury".
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters the campaign was making "good" decisions and that there was a "recognition that there are guidelines in place that should be followed".
Health officials in the state have expressed concerns over the event, with Tulsa's health department chief saying he wished the rally would be postponed .
Oklahoma has one of the country's lowest infection rates, and businesses are reopening, but the governor has urged residents to continue social distancing and minimise time in crowds.

'Don't celebrate football's return by inviting your mates'

Government scientific and medical advisers were absent from the UK briefing today, but one, England's deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam has been speaking to football legend Ian Wright about the return of Premier League games this week.
Prof Van-Tam says he is "desperate to get back to the stadium" of his beloved Boston United in Lincolnshire.
But he cautions that it has to be done in a way that prevents transmission of the virus starting again - and that's why football's restart is limited to behind closed doors.
"Stay at home, watch the games at home, follow the rules," he says.

Spain says British travellers 'welcome'

There is some hopeful news for those in the UK who feel the need to head south for warmer weather.
A spokesperson for the Spanish government has told the BBC that British travellers are “welcome to travel to Spain” from Sunday without facing quarantine measures or restrictions on arrival.
It confirms a tweet posted earlier by the British embassy in Madrid, which said the UK had been included on the list of countries that will not face restrictions when Spain's borders reopen.
Travellers returning to the UK will still have to self isolate for two weeks afterwards, however, and the UK government's official advice is still against any non-essential international travel.

Star Ezekiel Elliot among NFL positive tests

Several NFL players for the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans have tested positive for Covid-19, NFL Network reports.
Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliot is among the players with the virus, but is doing well, according to his agent.
He recently made headlines, along with a number of other top football players, for a video criticising the league over its response to black rights issues that was released the day of African American George Floyd's funeral.
Texans players were also given time off if they wished to attend the funeral service.
None of the players were in team facilities, according to NFL Network, and the Cowboys and Texans have been following health protocols.
The teams have not offered further details.
NFL coaches and staff have started returning to facilities, but no players have yet done so. The league is still aiming to start its 2020 season in September, and is hopeful that training camps will happen before then.
This month, Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, sent teams guidelines on reopening, with rules addressing distancing, equipment cleaning, food service, and personal protective equipment requirements.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Jun 15 2020, 20:55

What's the latest from Canada?

With the end of the economic impact of coronavirus nowhere near in sight, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making plans to extend economic aid.

  • The Canada emergency response benefit was only supposed to last 16 weeks, through early July. But the prime minister says he wants to keep helping people who are out of work because of the economic slowdown. The extension was pushed for by the New Democratic Party, whose support Mr Trudeau's Liberal Party needs if wants to get a fiscal bill through parliament
  • More regions of Ontario are moving into phase two of reopening, including some within the Greater Toronto Area, although the city proper is not included. That means shopping malls, restaurant patios and barber shops could reopen. More than 40% of Canada's population lives in Ontario, with about 10% in the city of Toronto alone
  • Coronavirus is beginning to level off in much of Canada. Ontario has the most new cases - 197 on 15 June, up from 181 the day before. It is the second day in a row the number of new cases has been below 200

Your round-up of the global news

Ahead of our pause in live coverage about the coronavirus pandemic, here's an update of developments from around the world:

  • A spike in new coronavirus cases in Beijing has seen about 100 new infections. Genetic material suggests the strain of virus could have come from Europe
  • The US Food and Drug Administration has withdrawn the emergency authorisation given to hydroxychloroquine - the anti-malaria drug touted by President Trump as a likely coronavirus treatment
  • Chile's president has renewed a state of emergency for another 90 days as the country struggles to contain its coronavirus outbreak
  • Norway's health authorities have halted the roll-out of a coronavirus mobile phone app after it was criticised by the data protection authority
  • The Oscars ceremony for next year has been put back two months amid a long delay in filming
  • Europe continues its reopening, with France allowing restaurants to use inside tables and Denmark opening up to visitors from some countries

Your catch-up on today's UK events

As our live page draws to a close, this is a chance to catch up with the coronavirus news from the UK today. Here are the highlights from our evening update :

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Post by Kitkat Mon Jun 15 2020, 21:05

We're pausing our coverage now

That's it for our live coverage for today. Join us again tomorrow for more of the latest news on coronavirus as it happens.

Contributors were: Krutika Pathi, Owen Amos, Yvette Tan, Gareth Evans, Mary O'Connor, Rebecca Seales, Gary Kitchener, Claire Heald, Chris Clayton, George Bowden, David Walker, Toby Luckhurst, Lucy Webster, Gavin Sharp, Ritu Prasad, Robin Levinson King and Joseph Lee.

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 14:40