Minister criticised over Rashford commentA British minister has become embroiled in a row
with Marcus Rashford over his campaign to get the government to keep providing free meals for vulnerable children over the school summer holidays.
On Monday, the Manchester United and England striker wrote an emotional open letter to MPs drawing on his own experience of relying on free school meals and food banks growing up.
His call prompted people across England to lobby their MPs, who will debate the subject in Parliament later.
In a tweet, Rashford asked others to think about those who have had their "water turned off during lockdown" and children who woke up to empty shelves.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey replied that "water cannot be disconnected" - a comment that was widely criticised, with Labour calling it "snarky".
She later tweeted a more emollient response, saying she shared a passion with Rashford "to support children and the most vulnerable in society".
Rashford said that he was "concerned" she had only acknowledged his tweet about water being turned off and urged her to help "make a difference".
Provision for free meals for schoolchildren will stop at the end of the summer term in England and Northern Ireland, but will continue through summer in Scotland and Wales.
How to keep safe while shopping in England
Non-essential shops reopened in England on Monday as lockdown restrictions continued to ease.
Shop owners have been told to make changes to ensure people can continue to shop safely.
These include showing customers they are aware of safety measures, putting protective coverings on large items like beds or sofas and frequent cleaning of regularly touched surfaces.
Perspex screens at the tills and floor markings to keep shoppers 2m (6ft) apart are likely to be a regular fixture.Read more: What shops are open?
No overtaking! Guidance published for safe swimming
With no overtaking, no butterfly stroke and no post-swim shower, swimming is set to look pretty different as England's lockdown eases further.
Pools, like gyms, are not expected to open before 4 July.
In preparation for the government giving the green light for pools to reopen, Swim England has drawn up guidance for those keen to get back into the water.
As well as maintaining social distancing and not going swimming if you have Covid-19 symptoms, it recommends:
- Arrive at the pool ready to swim. That could mean turning up with your costume beneath your clothes
- Shower at home pre- and post-swimming
- Avoid butterfly stroke or other wide strokes when lanes become busy
- Don't overtake other swimmers
It also says to check with your local pool for specific guidance before you swim. Read the guidance in full here
Dutch testing shows 1.7% positiveAnna Holligan - BBC News Hague correspondent
Since 1 June, everyone in the Netherlands with suspected Covid-19 symptoms has had the right to get tested.
Between 1 and 15 June, more than 113,800 tests were conducted at the GGD (local health authority) sites and 1.7% showed up positive.
Government U-turn on summer free school meals in England
The government has U-turned on a decision not to carry on the free school meal programme for poorer children into the summer.
The scheme had been extended over the Easter break in response to the coronavirus crisis, but was to be paused over the six weeks summer holiday.
Now, after a highly successful campaign from the England footballer Marcus Rashford
, the government is setting up what it’s calling a “Covid summer school fund” to ensure all those in England eligible for free school meals will be get a six-week voucher to help them be fed over the summer.
Downing St said the prime minister "welcomed Marcus Rashford’s contribution to the debate around poverty".
Boris Johnson's spokesman said the voucher represented “a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the pandemic”.
The support amounts to around £15 a week per child.
Around 1.3m children in England claimed free school meals in 2019, meaning a similar number could be eligible for this summer support.
Dexamethasone first life-saving coronavirus drug
A cheap and widely available drug called dexamethasone can help save the lives of patients who are seriously ill with coronavirus, UK experts have said.
The low-dose steroid treatment is considered a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus.
It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators and, for those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth.
The drug is part of the world's biggest trial testing existing treatments
to see if they also work for coronavirus.
Researchers estimate that if the drug had been available in the UK from the start of the coronavirus pandemic up to 5,000 lives could have been saved.
Because it is cheap, it could also be of huge benefit in poor countries struggling with high numbers of Covid-19 patients.
Can your water be cut off?Reality Check
The footballer Marcus Rashford, who’s been - successfully - campaigning for the government to extend free school meal vouchers over the summer in England, tweeted this morning asking people to “take a second to think about parents who have had their water turned off during lockdown”.
As we've reported, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey replied: “Water cannot be disconnected though.”
So, what does the law say?
Since 1999, it has been illegal for domestic customers to have their water supplies cut off.
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) says in 2019 it helped 42,000 people in England who had trouble paying their water bills. It has estimated that, during lockdown, almost 7m people are expected to fall behind on water payments. It encourages people to work with water companies and apply for welfare schemes.
What about access to hot water if people are struggling to top up gas or electric prepayment meters?
Energy companies can disconnect supplies for debt reasons, but Ofgem, the energy regulator, says that this only happened six times in 2018.
However, half a million customers entered debt repayment schemes in the same period.
'This is England' - Rashford responds over free meal U-turn
Marcus Rashford has responded to the UK government's plans to extend a free meal scheme for families in England, following his campaign.
In a tweet, the Manchester United and England forward, 22, wrote: "Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020."
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has welcomed Mr Rashford's "contribution to the debate around poverty" after the U-turn was announced.
Analysis: World can benefit now from cheap steroidFergus Walsh - Medical correspondent
The first drug proven to cut deaths from Covid-19 is not some new, expensive medicine but an old, cheap-as-chips steroid.
That is something to celebrate because it means patients across the world could benefit immediately. That's why the topline results of this trial have been rushed out because the implications are so huge globally.
Dexamethasone has been used since the early 1960s to treat a wide range of conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Half of all Covid patients who require a ventilator do not survive, so cutting that risk by a third would have a huge impact.
The drug is given intravenously in intensive care, and in tablet form for less seriously ill patients. The only other drug proven to benefit Covid patients is remdesivir, an antiviral treatment that has been used for Ebola.
That has been shown to reduce the duration of coronavirus symptoms from 15 days to 11, but the evidence was not strong enough to show whether it reduced mortality. Unlike dexamethasone, remdesivir is a new drug with limited supplies and a price has yet to be announced.
Can community response prevent second Beijing wave?Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
Now for more on the outbreak in Beijing, which on Tuesday confirmed an extra 27 people had tested positive for Covid-19, taking the number of confirmed cases in the past five days to 106.
Many people in urban China live in what are known as xiaoqu
, which are micro-districts with a guarded entrance gate.
Representatives operate as a sort of neighbourhood watch: they act partly as security, but also ensure the safety and hygiene of residents by posting public notices and ensuring a degree of general upkeep, ie by monitoring when apartment lifts are cleaned.
This means that many will have help at hand as the city announces its return to “war-time status” amid the fresh outbreak.
More than 100,000 community workers and volunteers are being mobilised to ensure people in 29 locked-down communities and other vulnerable people can get food and other basic supplies, the Xinhua news agency says.
Designated drivers are also being arranged to take people to a specific hospital where all Covid-19 patients can be treated.
China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says that “the next three days will be critical and decisive".
Welcome if you are just joining us...People queue outside a bank to collect government aid bonuses in the Peruvian city of Iquitos
Follow our live updates on the Covid-19 pandemic - on the day UK researchers announced a breakthrough treatment: a low-dose steroid called dexamethasone that can cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators
More than 437,000 people have died worldwide and more than 8m infections have been registered.
While economies in Western nations have been reopening after months of lockdown, there is concern about the rate of the spread in Latin America, with Peru reporting nearly 233,000 cases and more than 6,500 deaths
, the second-highest numbers on the continent after Brazil.
But no country can lower its guard: New Zealand reported two imported cases
, ending a 24-day run of no new infections, and the Chinese capital Beijing is trying to contain a new outbreak
Coronavirus cited as Dfid and Foreign Office merge
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been giving a Commons statement on "global Britain" and the lessons of the pandemic.
He says one of the key lessons is that aid and foreign policy are "one and the same", as saving lives abroad will save lives in the UK.
He says that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will merge with the Department for International Development (Dfid) to create a new department, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
He says the foreign secretary and ambassadors to individual countries will be able to lead policy.
The pandemic is the right time for this decision, he says, because government is already working differently and because the taxpayer needs value for money.
Responding, leader of the Labour party Keir Starmer says this statement is intended as "a distraction" from the problems in the government's response to coronavirus, and says "it will not work".
He says Dfid is "one of the best performing government departments" and asks for its budget to be "ring-fenced".
Life-saving drug a 'huge breakthrough'
In the past hour we brought you news from the UK about dexamethasone - a life-saving drug in the treatment of coronavirus.
It's a cheap steroid that has been around since the 1960s, which means it could be used around the world, including in poorer countries where health systems face difficulties in managing outbreaks.
“This is a huge breakthrough in our search for new ways to successfully treat patients with Covid, both in the UK and across the world," the medical director of Britain's National Health Service Prof Stephen Powis says.
"From now, we are able to use this drug to dramatically improve Covid-19 survival for people in hospital who require oxygen or ventilation,” he adds.Read more details about dexamethasone here.
Rise in children going to school in England but still less than one in 10Daniel Wainwright - BBC England Data Unit
About 868,000 children in England went to school last Thursday, according to the latest data published this afternoon by the Department for Education.
Although this was up by a third on the previous Thursday, it still means only 9% of children in the country were in school.
When lockdown was imposed only vulnerable pupils and the children of keyworkers were allowed to go in.
Schools started to re-open to children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 on 8 June.
Figures for this week, as some Year 10 and Year 12 pupils started to go back, should be shown in next week's data release.
'Quarantine-breaking' travellers agree to leave HawaiiPeople who visit the Aloha State must remain in quarantine for 14 days
To travel in Austria, bring a suitcase and common sense
Austria has reopened its border with Italy after weeks of closure following the coronavirus pandemic but a travel warning will be issued for the region of Lombardy, Italy's worst-affected region.
There will be no restrictions for most European Union countries. The country has already reopened its land borders with Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic in a bid to revive the tourism industry.
Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg urged travellers to behave responsibly.
"If you're packing your suitcase, please don't forget to take your common sense too," he told a press conference.
Backlog of surgeries 'could take months, if not years'
It is "completely unrealistic" to catch up on the backlog of surgeries within weeks, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England has warned.
Prof Derek Alderson told the Commons health and social care committee that the public's confidence had to be restored in having safe operations "with excellent results, as they enjoyed before the Covid crisis" - and this would mean putting in place extra precautions.
"I think that dealing with the backlog is not something that's achievable simply in weeks," he said.
"This is certainly many months; it may take us a few years to catch up."
Previously, Prof Alderson had said the backlog in surgical work would be "gigantic", with more than 700,000 routine treatments a month affected.
Trump campaign 'open' to moving rally outside
US Vice-President Mike Pence has said the Trump campaign is open to moving its campaign rally to an outdoor location, amid criticism that the large event, scheduled for Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, would put people at risk of coronavirus.
The move would mark a second change for the event - Trump's first rally since the coronavirus crisis triggered lockdowns in March - after it was moved back a day to avoid clashing with the Juneteenth holiday marking the end of slavery.
The governor of Oklahoma said on Monday that he was trying to get the event moved from the 19,000 seat BOK Center in central Tulsa to a larger outdoor venue to allow for more social distancing. At least 20 Trump supporters have already started lining up outside the BOK Center.
The public health director for Tulsa has repeatedly stressed the danger of attending, as coronavirus cases in the region continue to climb daily.
“Regardless who is hosting this rally, we would recommend you not attend large events,” Dr Bruce Dart told the Daily Beast. “If you want to stay safe, don’t go.
Campaign rallies are considered vital for Trump to energise his voters for the November presidential election. The campaign says it will provide temperature checks and face masks to attendees, who also must sign liability forms saying they will not sue the Trump campaign if they fall ill.
Hungary repeals special powers but PM still dominantViktor Orban has increasingly concentrated power in his hands
In March, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban was given sweeping new powers to fight the coronavirus outbreak - measures to rule by decree, without a time limit. Opposition figures and international leaders condemned the move as a threat to democracy.
On Tuesday, the National Assembly in Budapest voted unanimously to revoke the special powers. The government has said it will end the state of emergency this week.
But, as BBC Budapest correspondent Nick Thorpe explains, it has left Mr Orban and his Fidesz party even more powerful than before the crisis.
A second bill passed on Tuesday allows the government to declare a "state of health emergency" in the future and rule by decree for as long as it likes. You can read more here
Doctors call for action after BAME report
Recommendations of a report into the impact of Covid-19 on ethnic minority groups in the UK should be implemented straight away, doctors have said.
The newly published report said racism could contribute to increased risks
for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people and suggested actions to save lives in the coronavirus pandemic and any future health crises.
The British Medical Association said it was "critical" to carry out risk assessments of vulnerable groups and protect them at work.
Its chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, told the BBC: "It's important we now move forward and deliver those changes because it's the fair and right thing to do for our population."Read more on this story
Americans with pre-existing conditions 12 times more likely to die
Americans with underlying health conditions are six times more likely to require hospital treatment and 12 times more likely to die after contracting Covid-19, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The most common health conditions that cause complications in treating the virus are cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease, the report found
after analysing 1.3 million Covid-19 cases.
The report also found that 15% of US patients with Covid-19 required hospital treatment and 5% died.
The overall fatality rate is expected to be significantly lower, since many Americans with moderate or no symptoms are not being tested.
West Virginia outbreaks linked to churches
There have been outbreaks of Covid-19 linked to five churches across the state of West Virginia, according to Governor Jim Justice, who directed the state's National Guard to help decontaminate one church where 28 people caught the virus.
“With this Covid-19 stuff, it absolutely is a mega-killer and mega-dangerous. What we have got to do, is we have got to continue to go to a knife-fight with a bazooka,” said Justice.
He urged church-goers to space out in every other pew and wear masks, and for clergy and singers to wear plastic shields over their faces during events.
Airline sorry for flying musician to concert
An airline in Nigeria has apologised to the aviation minister for flying musician Naira Marley on Saturday from the commercial hub, Lagos, to the capital, Abuja, to perform in a concert.
The Executive Jet Company was suspended by the minister for facilitating what was classed as non-essential travel and was against recommendations to fight the spread of coronavirus.
In its apology letter, the airline's CEO, Sam Iwuajoku, said he had approved the flight on Saturday after reviewing the passenger manifest and thought one was a government minister.
Nigerian artist Azzez Fashola, also known as Naira Marley, was among those who travelled. He has a huge fan base among young people in Nigeria.
The company's apology letter was shared by local media: Pulse Nigeria:
Executive Jets Services Ltd says it airlifted rapper Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, from Lagos to Abuja for a concert, in error via an official letter to the Minister of Aviation