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Coronavirus - 18th June


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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 18 2020, 11:16

Summary for Thursday, 18th June

  •    There are more than 240,000 virus cases in Peru, which puts the total over hard-hit Italy
  •    The Americas have become the new focus of the global coronavirus outbreak
  •    A BBC investigation finds at least 130,000 more people than expected died during the pandemic
  •    In the UK, there is some uncertainty about when a contact tracing app might launch
  •    Thousands of people in Germany have been told to go into quarantine after an outbreak at an abattoir
  •    Globally there are 8.3m recorded cases with more than 448,000 deaths

Welcome back to our live coverage of the global coronavirus crisis. With our teams based around the world, we are keeping you informed of all the latest developments.
Here’s what you need to know:

  • Peru has overtaken Italy with more than 240,000 confirmed cases. Italy was initially the hardest-hit country in Europe
  • The rising toll in Peru confirms that Latin America has now become the epicenter of the pandemic and that while some countries are easing restrictions, the global pandemic is far from over
  • There are nearly four million infections in the region and more than 200,000 deaths that have been linked to Covid-19
  • New cases are also rising in several US states including in Oklahoma where US President Donald Trump is about to launch his re-election campaign with a rally in Tulsa on Saturday
  • A BBC investigation has found that at least 130,000 more people than reported have died during the pandemic
  • Thousands of people have been told to quarantine in Germany after a new outbreak in an abattoir

Most Qantas flights cancelled until October

Qantas has cancelled all international flights until late October except for those to New Zealand.
The news comes as the Australian government said its border would remain closed into next year to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The airline and subsidiary Jetstar are now boosting domestic flights as travel restrictions within Australia ease.
Qantas has seen domestic passenger numbers double to 64,000 this week, compared to last week's 32,000.
Read our full story here

Peru has more confirmed cases now than hard-hit Italy

Peru's number of confirmed infections now stands at 240,908, higher than in Italy - which for a long time was Europe's worst-affected country.
Peru now has the second-highest number of cases after Brazil's total of almost a million. Peru's death toll stands at 7,257, still far behind Brazil's more than 45,000.
Latin America is the current epicentre of the pandemic, with more than four million confirmed infections - the worst-hit countries are Brazil, Peru and Chile. Health experts believe the actual numbers in all those countries to be much higher.
Peru has just extended a lockdown until 30 June and numbers of daily infections seem to be on a downward trend. The latest daily figure of around 3,700 cases is only half of what it was in late May at the peak of the crisis.

Amazon indigenous chief dies of coronavirus

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Paiakan was a chief of the Kayapo people

Paulinho Paiakan, one of the best known indigenous defenders of the Amazon rainforest, has died of coronavirus.
Paiakan, who was around 65, was a chief of the Kayapo people.
He came to international attention in the 1980s in the fight against Brazil's Belo Monte hydroelectric project - the world's third largest dam.
In 1998, Paiakan was convicted of the rape of an 18-year-old. His wife was found guilty of assisting him in the attack.
His allies argue that the case was fabricated to tarnish his reputation and silence him.
Read our full story here

I want to meet five friends. How can I stay safe?

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After two months at home - two months of virtual happy hours, socially distanced hangouts, and learning when to unmute yourself on Zoom - all 50 US states and the District of Columbia have begun the process of reopening.
But even as lockdowns are lifted, without a vaccine - which is likely still a year away - the risk remains.
"I would tell most people: just because places are opening, does not mean the virus is under control," Dr Abraar Karan, physician and public health researcher at Harvard Medical School tells the BBC.
"The virus is still out there," he says. And every social interaction is an opportunity for the virus to catch and spread.

India sees highest one-day case surge

Much of the global focus is on Latin America, but India is also seeing huge numbers and a healthcare system struggling to cope.
With 12,881 new cases reported on Wednesday, India has seen a new record for daily infections, according to the health ministry
Here are the other updates from the hard-hit country:

  • In the national capital of Delhi, health minister Satyendar Jain has tested positive for Covid-19 after he complained of breathlessness and a high fever earlier this week
  • And the financial capital Mumbai accounts for more than half of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra state, the worst-hit in the country with over 100,000 infections so far
  • India eased out of one of the harshest lockdowns last week despite cases spiking - with more than 350,000 cases, the country currently has the fourth-highest number of infections in the world

Thousands quarantined after Germany abattoir outbreak

Thousands of people in Germany have been told to go into quarantine after a coronavirus outbreak at an abattoir.
More than 650 people have tested positive for the virus at the meat processing plant in Gütersloh, in the north-west of the country.
Operations at the site have been suspended since Wednesday afternoon.
Over 1,000 workers have been tested so far, with thousands of others still awaiting testing.
Read our full story here

Local transmissions rise in Australian state

We know Australia has been highly successful in suppressing the virus, having essentially eliminated it in many areas.
But community transmission is still present in Victoria, the second-most populous state - the numbers have grown in recent days but remain "tiny", health officials stress.
Officials recorded 12 such cases today, and six yesterday. This has raised some concern, given in neighbouring New South Wales, no community transmissions have been found for weeks.
"I know it can seem like large numbers compared to what we've had... but we’ve been tracking quite well in Victoria in recent weeks," said state Health Minister Jenny Mikakos. "We look for the trends rather just the numbers on a particular day."
Australia’s daily infection rate has stayed below 0.5% since April. It has only about 500 active cases - mostly quarantined people who have returned from overseas.

Scotland lockdown decision due - and other UK developments

If you're just tuning into our live coverage now, here's a quick rundown of the latest headlines in the UK.

  • Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce a further easing of the lockdown today. The decision is likely to include a date for when shops selling non-essential goods can reopen and people are set to be allowed to meet in larger groups than the current limit of eight. People could also be allowed to meet another household indoors for the first time since the lockdown was imposed across the UK on 23 Marc
  • HM Revenue and Customs has told the BBC that it has received more than 3,000 reports of furlough fraud since April, with some workers complaining that they have been made to work while furloughed. Under the scheme, the government pays 80% of a worker's salary up to £2,500 a month, and they cannot do any work that would help their employer make money
  • Leaders of social services in England have warned that increased spending due to coronavirus - on items such as personal protective equipment (PPE) - could see some care providers go out of business and local councils run out of cash. A report by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) warns there will be "catastrophic consequences" without immediate investment in the sector
  • Thousands of homeless people put up in places like hotels and B&Bs due to coronavirus are still in emergency accommodation - as charities warn there are just weeks to stop them returning to the streets as premises prepare to reopen. BBC research found three quarters of homeless people in 17 areas are still in temporary accommodation with some already sleeping rough again
  • Unregulated social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube may present a health risk to the UK because they are spreading conspiracy theories about coronavirus, according to a new study by researchers at Kings College London. They suggest social media news sites may need to do more to regulate misleading content

Beijing records another 21 local cases

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China has reported 28 new virus cases for the past day with 21 of them again in the capital. Beijing has seen a sudden spike over the past days.
The new cluster in the capital has lead to new restrictions being put in place and whole neighbourhoods getting sealed up again. The new outbreak is thought to have started in a large food market.
Before the new spike, Beijing had gone 57 days without a local case.

WHO halts hydroxychloroquine study

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has stopped its research looking at the potential of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus.
The UN health agency said that recent findings "showed that hydroxychloroquine does not result in the reduction of mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients".
There's been widespread interest in hydroxychloroquine as both a preventative measure and for treating patients with coronavirus. It has long been used to treat malaria, lupus and arthritis, but there is no evidence of its efficacy against Covid-19.
Trials around the world were temporarily derailed when a study published in medical journal The Lancet claimed the drug increased fatalities and heart problems in some patients.
The results prompted the WHO and others to halt trials over safety concerns. However, The Lancet subsequently retracted the study when it was found to have serious shortcomings and the WHO resumed its research - until this week.
Here's what we know about the drug

Social media 'may present health risk to UK'

Mark Easton - Home editor
Social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube may present a health risk to the UK because they are spreading conspiracy theories about coronavirus, according to a new study by researchers from Kings College London.
The paper, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, found people who get their news from social media sources are more likely to break lockdown rules.
"One wonders how long this state of affairs can be allowed to persist while social media platforms continue to provide a worldwide distribution mechanism for medical misinformation," the report says.
The study analysed surveys conducted across Britain in April and May this year.
People were asked if they believed Covid-19-related conspiracy theories, such as the virus being made in a laboratory or that symptoms were linked to 5G radiation.
None of these theories has any basis in verifiable fact but those who believed such conspiracies were significantly more likely to get their news from unregulated social media.

China, Russia and Iran exploiting pandemic - UK government

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has accused Russia, China and Iran of attempting to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to further their global interests.
Speaking to Sky News, he said the virus had "created an opportunity or a perceived opportunity for various different state and non-state actors through cyber, through other means.
"I think we've seen it in relation to Hong Kong, I think some people are arguing... the national security legislation that is being put forward , is being done at a time when the world's attention has been on coronavirus."
Raab also accused Russia of engaging "systematically in misinformation and propaganda, through cyber and other ways".
But he said what foreign actors were doing had not had a significant impact in the UK, adding: "I don't think they've made a material difference to our response in health terms."

UK will discuss France travel corridor on Macron visit

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UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the government will discuss the idea of travel corridors with France to enable the easing of the 14-day coronavirus quarantine measures currently in place for all arrivals to the UK.
Discussing French president Emmanuel Macron's visit to London today, Raab told the BBC: "We'll look at conversations with the French and others about the so-called travel corridors and the exemptions to quarantine that can allow that to be done."
He said the UK wanted to open up internationally, but it had to be done "safely" and "responsibly" with public health "front and centre" of decision making.
He also warned there was a risk of legal challenges if the UK tries to form travel bridges with particular countries to the exclusion of others.
He told the BBC: "If you open up the airports and don't open up the Eurotunnel or if you open up to one country but not in relation to others there is always a risk of legal challenge."

Kazakh leader, 79, tests positive for virus

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Nazarbayev still holds significant power as Yelbasy, or national leader

Kazakhstan's influential former president Nursultan Nazarbayev has begun self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus.
His spokesman Aidos Ukibay, who made the announcement on Twitter, said there was "no reason for concern" about the news.
Nazarbayev, 79, resigned from the presidency last year after three decades in power. But he still holds sweeping powers as Yelbasy, or national leader, and as chair of Kazakhstan's security council.
He is one of several government figures to self-isolate in Kazakhstan, where an outbreak is worsening. The government ended a nationwide lockdown last month, but restrictions are being reintroduced due to a sharp rise in infections.
Nearly 16,000 cases have now been reported - the figure has more than tripled since the lockdown was eased last month

What are the UK's travel quarantine rules?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to discuss the UK's coronavirus quarantine measures with French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to London today.
There are hopes that travel corridors or "air bridges" can be set up with countries with low infection rates, including France, so some travellers can avoid having to quarantine.
But what are the current rules?
Passengers arriving in the UK from abroad by plane, ferry or train are asked to provide an address where they will self-isolate for 14 days. They can be fined £100 for failing to fill in a form with these details.
Anyone arriving from the Common Travel Area (CTA) - the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man - is exempt from quarantine (provided they have been in the CTA for the last 14 days), as are certain workers.
The rules are controversial. The government has come under fierce criticism from the travel industry and other businesses for only now imposing a quarantine on arrivals at a time when other parts of Europe are opening up to international travel.

Pakistan imposes 'smart lockdown' on Lahore

Tarhub Asghar - BBC Urdu, Lahore
A "smart lockdown" was imposed on Wednesday in several cities of Pakistan's Punjab province, an area home to more than 100 million people. The city of Lahore is among those under fresh restrictions.
The decision follows a spike of new infections. So far Punjab has recorded almost 60,000 cases.
Pakistan is now focusing on a strategy of local "smart" lockdowns in hundreds of places around the country in a bid to control the virus while minimising the economic impact.
Officials said lockdowns lasting at least two weeks would come into force wherever at least 300 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed.
Police are guarding the entry and exit points of locked-down areas. In an emergency, only one person in a household will be allowed to leave.
Markets, shopping malls and restaurants, including government and private offices, will remain closed in the sealed areas but grocery shops and pharmacies are allowed to open. Public and private transport is banned.

EU facing biggest challenge in its history - Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged the European Union to quickly agree a multi-year budget and get a recovery fund for weaker EU economies under way.
In a speech to Germany's parliament, Merkel said it was crucial that EU states act in solidarity to survive the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
"The pandemic has revealed how fragile the European project still is," said the chancellor. "Cohesion and solidarity have never been as important as they are today."
She continued: "To make it very clear: the pandemic, and the economic downturn it brings, are the biggest challenges in Europe’s history."
Germany begins a six-month stint as EU president on 1 July.

Cases and deaths: The picture in the UK

There have been nearly 300,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 42,000 people have died, government figures show.
However, these numbers only include people who have been tested, and the total number of deaths relating to coronavirus is likely to be significantly higher.
Latest figures from the Office For National Statistics (ONS) show that the weekly number of recorded deaths has returned to close to normal levels for the time of year.
The number of newly confirmed cases each day has been falling since a peak in April but the seven-day rolling average has begun to level off.
You can see more charts and graphs here , and find the figures for your local area.

French scrap social distancing in pre-schools

Social distancing rules are to be relaxed in French pre-schools and nurseries to allow all children to return from 22 June, education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said on Wednesday.
"We know that it's not easy to enforce this physical distance and the scientific advice says that at this age we can [lift restrictions] according to the data that we have," Blanquer told a French TV programme.
Though some pre-schools and primary schools have been open since 11 May, strict controls have been imposed on class sizes and parents had the choice to keep children at home.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Sunday that a return to school would now become compulsory for all pupils.
Primary schools in the country will retain a 1m social distancing rule but Blanquer said that certain classes "will have to have a little less than 1m"

Passenger removed from US flight for not wearing mask

A passenger has been removed from an American Airlines flight after refusing to wear a mask, in what's believed to be a US first.
Brandon Straka was asked to disembark before the plane began its journey from New York to Dallas.
The conservative activist - who has a large following on Twitter - detailed his experience in a video , calling the incident "insane."
In response, Astead Herndon - a New York Times reporter who was on the same flight - challenged what Straka was tweeting about the incident and shared a video where audio of the exchange can be heard. There is currently no US law requiring travellers to wear face masks on planes, but airlines are allowed to enforce their own policies. Earlier this week American Airlines and five other carriers announced that they would bar anyone from travelling on their flights without a mask.
There are certain exemptions, however, including for those who should not wear a mask due to a medical condition.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 18 2020, 13:42

Arizona governor backtracks on mask rules

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Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has announced that local governments in the US state will now have the ability to order people to wear masks. He had previously resisted loud calls from city mayors asking for such powers.
Ducey has come under mounting pressure to enact tougher restrictions in Arizona, following a rapid rise in cases.
But the move, which comes a week before President Donald Trump is due to hold a campaign rally in the state, still falls short of a statewide mandate by the Republican governor, which medical experts had called for.
Nearly 2,400 new virus cases were announced in Arizona on Tuesday and another 1,800 on Wednesday, bringing the state's tally to nearly 41,000. Intensive care units in hospitals across Arizona are also at 85% capacity.
Here's our guide on how to make your own face mask

Nearly 500 Russian medics dead from virus

Some 489 medics have died in Russia after contracting coronavirus, the country's health watchdog, Roszdravnadzor, has said.
The latest toll is a sharp rise from the 101 reported last month.
Roszdravnadzor chief Alla Samoilova said problems in supplying protective equipment had been a contributing factor.
"If I'm being honest, there were issues at the start, there were some shortcomings," she said.
With more than 561,000 cases - including 7,790 during the last 24 hours - Russia has the third-highest number of cases globally. Its official death toll stands at 7,760.

England: One in four infected by virus cannot be reached

More than one in four people who test positive for the coronavirus cannot be reached by the test and trace system in England, data shows.
In the first two weeks of operation to 10 June, the service was given the details of 14,000 people to follow up.
But fewer than 10,200 of them could be reached. In some cases the contact details were not correct, while others did not return calls.
Of those who were reached, the service asked more than 87,000 of their close contacts to self-isolate.
If you're confused by the test and trace system, here's how it works .

What is quantitative easing?

Quantitative easing (QE) is designed to lower the cost of borrowing for businesses, individuals and the government, thereby stimulating economic growth.
The Bank of England - which can create new money electronically - buys up large amounts of government bonds. These are promises to pay back a certain sum of money in the future, and pay interest in the meantime.
By driving up demand, the prices of those bonds rise on the open market, while the interest rates on them fall.
Many interest rates offered by banks to businesses and individuals are influenced by the price of government bonds.
QE also makes it cheaper for the UK government to borrow large sums of money, which is key to funding its coronavirus response.

Bank of England announces £100bn of new stimulus for UK

The Bank of England, the UK’s central bank, has announced £100bn in fresh stimulus to support the UK economy.
It also kept the benchmark interest rate on hold at 0.1% - a historic low.
The new stimulus will take the form of quantitative easing, with the Bank buying up billions of pounds of government bonds to artificially keep interest rates low across the economy.
It follows a £200bn boost to its bond buying programme back in March.

Why coronavirus sparked a salmon panic in China

Beijing has in the past week seen a spike of Covid-19 cases - almost all of which have been linked to a huge wholesale food market.
State media said the virus was discovered on chopping boards used for imported salmon at the Xinfadi market - sparking fears across the country.
Supermarkets and restaurants across Beijing hurried to pull salmon from their shelves, and imports from Europe were halted.
On Wednesday it was announced that a 22-year-old man - known to have occasionally cleaned frozen seafood - had tested positive for the virus in Tianjin, near Beijing.
But China's Centre for Disease Control said that it was unlikely that any salmon had carried the virus. So how and why did the panic emerge?
Find out here

Spain to spend billions to save tourism

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has unveiled a €4.25bn ($4.8bn; £3.8bn) plan to bolster the country's virus-battered tourism industry.
"Spain is reopening itself to tourism," Sanchez said. "We are a world leader and each step we take will be safe."
Details of the plan have yet to be revealed, but the Spanish PM said the cash would be put towards several measures, including marketing and promotion, discounted taxes for airlines, and the creation of a "tourism intelligence observatory".
Tourism is a vital industry for the Spanish economy, accounting for over 12% of its economy. To boost visitor numbers, from 1 July the government will allow foreign visitors to enter the country without having to undergo a two-week quarantine.

Scotland moves into stage two of easing lockdown

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has just announced that Scotland can now move into the next phase of its lockdown easing - stage two of the four phases.
But she says: "The virus has not gone away and we all must remember that."
There is a very real risk that transmission could rise again, she adds, and "we must progress forwards very carefully".
It comes as two further people died with coronavirus in the past 24 hours in Scotland, taking the total there to 2,464.

Sorry ravers, Ibiza clubs won't open this year

Lockdowns are lifting, travel restrictions are easing, and summer's just around the corner for millions of eager Europeans.
But there's bad news for hopeful holiday planners. The government of Spain's Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean will not allow nightclubs to reopen this year - or possibly even until there's a vaccine available.
Local media say the ban could stay in place even through 2021. Clubs and venues like Hi Ibiza and Ushuaia are posting notices on social media about the closures.
"For the first time since I was 16, I don't actually know what I'm doing," DJ and producer Skream told Radio 1 Newsbeat.
"It's bleak. Nobody knows what's happening. I worry about the clubs I work for, the staff at those clubs, everyone in the nightlife industry."

People in Scotland can meet with two other households outside

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been setting out what people in Scotland are now allowed to do as the country enters the next stage of easing lockdown.
From today, people who are shielding are allowed to go outside for outdoors exercise - unless they live in a nursing or residential home.
And from tomorrow, they can also take part in non-contact outdoor activities such as golf. They can also meet outdoors in groups of up to eight - but they can't go indoors and they should stick to social distancing rules.
For the rest of the general population, Ms Sturgeon says from tomorrow, people can meet outdoors with up to two other households at a time. People are allowed to go indoors to use a toilet but should clean surfaces afterwards.
She reminds people that they should not travel more than five miles from their home - but that distance limit does not apply to meeting family and friends.
And anyone who lives on their own or with children under 18, can form an "extended household group" with one other household from Friday, where they can stay overnight and hug each other. This is similar to the social bubble rule in England.
Each of the four nations in the UK are in charge of their own lockdown restrictions, and have eased them at different paces.

Shops in Scotland to reopen from 29 June

Scotland's leader Nicola Sturgeon has also announced:

  • From next Monday, all shops except those in indoor shopping centres will be allowed to reopen - read more detail on this here
  • Also from Monday, face coverings will be mandatory on public transport
  • On the same date, dentists will be able to reopen for urgent care, contact sports are allowed to restart but behind closed doors, places of worship can open for individual prayer, and the construction sector can continue to restart

However, Ms Sturgeon said she could not give a date for when the hospitality industry can start up again. She said she was expecting further scientific evidence in the next few weeks.

Russia dismisses 'absurd' Raab accusation

Earlier we reported UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accusing Russia of trying to "exploit" the coronavirus pandemic.
Raab said coronavirus had created a "perceived opportunity" for state actors like Russia to use cyber and other means to exploit the challenges of Covid-19, although it had not made a "material difference" to the UK's health response.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "Certainly we disagree entirely with such statements. Regarding disinformation, we consider such accusations absurd." He said that Russia was promoting international co-operation on the virus.

Analysis: Economy not quite as awful as feared

Faisal Islam - BBC Economics Editor
The Bank of England has increased its support for the UK economy, despite it assessing that the outlook is not quite as awful as its scenario last month.
The economy is on course for a hit in the second quarter of around 20% compared with the final three months of 2019. That’s still historic, and off the scale, but not quite as extreme as the 27% it predicted in May.
The extra £100bn of purchases of government bonds also has the air of an insurance policy.
Still, there are concerns the recovery will not be quick due to the “prevalence of the virus” in the UK. And the bank remains wary of there being a second wave in future.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 18 2020, 17:05

Czech Republic to lift mask rules from 1 July

Rob Cameron - BBC Prague Correspondent
The Czech Republic's health minister, Adam Vojtech, has said face masks will no longer be obligatory even in enclosed spaces including public transport from 1 July.
They will only be required in areas of the country with local outbreaks, which at present would be Karvina in north-east Moravia and Prague. However the situation is fluid and will be reassessed over the coming weeks, he said.
Vojtech said the change was part of a move towards localised regulations and a system built on individual responsibility. He stressed the virus was still present and had not disappeared.
The central European country has reported 10,176 cases of the virus, along with 333 deaths.

UK tracing app switches to Google-Apple model in U-turn

Leo Kelion - Technology desk editor
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In a major U-turn, the UK is abandoning the underpinnings of its existing NHS coronavirus tracing app and switching to a model based on technology provided by Apple and Google.
The announcement comes the day after the BBC revealed that a former Apple executive, Simon Thompson, was taking charge of the late-running project.
The Apple-Google design has been promoted as being more privacy-centric. However, it means epidemiologists will have access to less data.
And questions remain about whether any smartphone-based system reliant on Bluetooth signals will be accurate enough to be useful.
The UK follows Germany, Austria and Uruguay among others in switching from a so-called "centralised" approach to a "decentralised" one.
The government is expected to confirm the news soon.
Despite the change, the interface presented to users will remain the same.
Read more here

The woman who watched six family funerals online

A woman who lost six family members to Covid-19 has spoken of her pain at only being able to watch their funerals online.
In the space of nine weeks, Denise Richards, from Derby, has watched 14 funerals for victims, including six family members - two uncles, an aunt and cousins - via a live stream.
Lockdown restrictions on funeral attendance meant Ms Richards was unable to be there in person.
Ms Richards, an equality campaigner, said: "Racism and inequality is rife in so many aspects of our lives and Covid-19 has shown us how serious that is."
Research indicates people from BAME backgrounds are 1.9 times as likely to die from coronavirus as white people.
You can read more of her story here

India's new stats still don't tell the tale

Yogita Limaye - BBC India correspondent
This week the cities of Mumbai and Delhi have both updated the number of deaths from Covid-19. Hundreds of previously unreported deaths - 862 in Mumbai and 437 in Delhi - have been added.
Authorities in Mumbai say the new figures there are the result of a "reconciliation exercise" to accurately tally data being sent from hospitals, morgues and laboratories.
However, the BBC has found that even now many of the dead being brought to hospitals who had Covid-like symptoms are not being tested. The international guidelines for classification of Covid-19 as a cause of death state that even probable cases should be counted.
It is quite clear that, even with the extra figures added this week, the total number of official deaths is lower than the actual fatalities caused by the virus in India.

UK government defends test and trace figures

As we reported earlier, figures for the UK test and trace system show that one in four of those who test positive for the virus cannot be reached by the authorities.
Some people failed to provide the right contact details, while others did not return calls. One expert in controlling infectious diseases said the results were worrying.
"This is a public health crisis - the public are key to helping stop it," said Prof Keith Neal from the University of Nottingham.
The government has defended the scheme, saying it was a "new and large-scale service designed to help us contain the virus and save lives".
The prime minister's official spokesman said it meant that "tens of thousands of people who might have unwittingly spread the virus are now staying safely at home".
"Everyone must play their part and we urge those with symptoms to book a test immediately, and those contacted by the service to follow the advice they receive," he said.

What are the latest developments?

Hello and thank you for following our rolling coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. If you're just joining us, here are some of the biggest developments from today:

South Africa eases lockdown despite surge

In the face of a deteriorating economic situation, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa has opted to ease lockdown restrictions further, although coronavirus cases are rising rapidly.
In the past week alone, the number has increased by 37%, and the president has warned that the epidemic will remain for "many more months, possibly years".
But in a frank address, Ramaphosa highlighted the need to preserve livelihoods.
Sit-down restaurants, casinos, hotels and hair-dressers, among other businesses, will now be able to reopen. It could see half a million people going back to work.
Since its outbreak began, South Africa has reported more than 80,000 cases of coronavirus and there have been 1,674 deaths.
Read more here

Newborn baby among latest Covid deaths in UK

A 13-day-old baby is among the latest to have died after testing positive for coronavirus.
The four nations of the UK have published their latest death figures.
The NHS in England said a further 62 deaths had been reported, including the baby.
In Wales, a further five people died, while there have been two more deaths in Scotland. Northern Ireland reported no new deaths.
While this adds up to a total number of new coronavirus deaths of 69 across the UK, the UK government has not yet published its official figures today. Its total often varies because of differences in the time frame for recording deaths.

Beijing desperate to avoid Wuhan-style lockdown

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
Papers in Beijing are warning people that the number of cases of Covid-19 is “likely to increase” over the next few days and are encouraging people not to leave the city.
But authorities are desperate to avoid a lockdown similar to the one the original Chinese epicentre Wuhan experienced in January. Police spokesman Pan Xuhong told media the city had “taken decisive measures to strictly manage Beijing’s outbreak”, by locking down medium and high-risk communities - but “that does not mean the city is closed”.
People who have the virus, are close contacts with people who do, or those who are feverish, have been told they must not leave the city. The same applies to those who have visited the Xinfadi wholesale market since 30 May – the site where the latest outbreak is believed to have originated.
However, most people have already been given strict instructions not to even leave their homes since the city announced its return to "war-time status" on Tuesday.
Since 11 June, 158 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Beijing - 21 of them in the past 24 hours.
Wuhan’s strict 76-day lockdown had a devastating impact on the local economy.

Peru's virus crisis in pictures

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Peru is now the second-worst hit country in Latin America with the number of new infections continuing to rise.
In the Cathedral of Lima, photographs of the victims are lining the walls to commemorate them.
The virus has brought tourism to a standstill. Here, officials are contemplating the new health protocols for Machu Picchu which is set to reopen on 1 July.
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N Wales chicken plant shuts amid outbreak

A chicken processing plant in North Wales has suspended production and closed for a fortnight after a coronavirus outbreak .
Public Health Wales said there were 51 confirmed Covid-19 cases at 2 Sisters in Llangefni on Anglesey, with 110 people said to be self-isolating - about a quarter of the 500-strong workforce.
The company produces from a number of sites about a third of all the poultry products eaten each day in the UK. It said it was temporarily shutting down the Llangefni unit to "demonstrate how seriously we take this issue".
2 Sisters Food Group is one of the largest food producers in the UK, with brands including Fox's Biscuits and Holland's Pies.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the outbreak was a "concern".

'We need a designated shielding hour'

Around 2.5 million people in the UK were contacted in March telling them not to leave their homes - or 'shield' - because they were medically most at risk from Covid-19.
Now, hundreds of people have backed Natasha Howard's campaign to introduce a "shielding hour" - when people who aren't shielding stay indoors so those who are can leave their homes without the risk of coming close to someone with the virus.
The current advice on shielding is due to expire in England and Northern Ireland on 30 June; in Scotland on 31 July and in Wales on 16 August.
The Department for Health and Social Care says it is "looking to make life easier" for those who are shielding.

Tough negotiations expected over EU rescue plan

Laurence Peter - BBC News, Europe desk
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to rally the rest of the EU to back a huge recovery fund, faced with the severe economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.
EU leaders are to begin tough negotiations on Friday in a video summit, but already there are concerns about countries getting even deeper into debt.
The EU Commission is proposing a €750bn (£676bn; $843bn) fund, made up of €500bn in grants and €250bn in loans. But it requires unanimous EU approval.
Most of the aid would go to countries hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis, notably Italy and Spain. It would be added to the planned €1.1 trillion seven-year EU budget, not yet agreed.
Merkel and France’s President Emmanuel Macron strongly back the controversial plan for €500bn in grants. But grants, unlike loans, would mean taking on shared debt – something Germany previously opposed doing.
The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Austria, nicknamed the “frugals”, want a smaller aid total, and only in the form of loans. Others, especially Italy, argue that solidarity is needed now, to keep the single market working and stop the EU fragmenting.

Americans 'skip payment on more than 100 million loans'

Since March, Americans have deferred payment or sought relief on more than 100 million student loans, auto loans and other forms of debt, credit-reporting firm TransUnion tells the Wall Street Journal.
As of May, 106 million accounts were "enrolled in deferment, forbearance or some other type of relief," the Journal reports.
Student loans make up the majority of the total, with 79 million accounts seeking relief.
Car and personal loan payment deferrals also doubled in a one-month period.

UK coronavirus deaths up by 135

In the UK, a further 135 people have died with coronavirus, according to figures released by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), bringing the total number of virus deaths to 42,288.
In the 24-hour period up to 09:00 on Thursday, 136,516 tests were carried out or dispatched, with 1,218 positive results.
Overall, a total of 7,259,555 tests have been carried out and 300,469 cases have been confirmed positive.

Residents 'disappointed' at Beijing outbreak

In China's capital, millions of people are living under renewed restrictions after an increase of coronavirus cases, thought to have originated in a large food market.
Two residents of Beijing have been giving their reactions
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Fan Yingxiong lives in Haidian in central Beijing.
"We knew the virus would return in some way, shape or form," he says. "But we had so much excitement going back to normal life so it's a disappointment."
He's concerned about how other countries will deal with renewed outbreaks.
"Many places are still trying to just deal with their first waves. So a lot of the world has no second or third wave plans."
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Richard Parsley also lives in central Beijing.
"We knew [a second wave] was going to happen one day but it came sooner than we expected. I was planning to take a trip later this week and it's been cancelled, so it's disappointing," says Richard.
"I was shocked seeing restaurants and roads all empty. And this is not what the government dictated. People are taking precautions on their own."

Alcohol vanishes from airlines to stop virus spread

Many major airlines have begun to cancel or cut back on the service of alcohol and other drinks during flights in an effort to keep the coronavirus from spreading.
One way the virus spreads is through points of contact with contaminated surfaces, meaning it could be transmitted through straws, cups and liquid containers.
In the US, Delta is only serving bottled water. American Airlines is only offering alcohol on international flights.
Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia are currently not offering alcohol, nor are KLM, British Airways or Easyjet.

How do Russian medic deaths compare globally?

On Thursday, Russia's health watchdog said there had been a huge rise in the number of medics who had died. The statement appeared to be based on a list of deaths compiled by an independent website, which put the death toll at 489, up from the official figure of 101 on 26 May.
But comparing this figure to other hard-hit countries is tricky as the most recent statistics are not always available. Official numbers also differ to tallies kept by media outlets or medical associations.
In the UK, at least 300 health workers are believed to have died by early June, according to the Doctors' Association UK. In April we reported the stories of 100 NHS staff who lost their lives.
In Italy, 168 doctors have died , according to a list published by the National Federation of Surgeons in June. A medical journal estimated that 40 nurses there had also died by the end of April.
And official statistics in Spain say 53 health workers have died, while a medical association says the toll at the beginning of May was 76.
Overall the total number of deaths in Russia's two largest cities, Moscow and St Petersburg, was 30% higher than average in April and May, with about 9,100 more people dying than usual.
See how this compares to excess mortality in other countries in our report

N Ireland schools reduce distance between children to 1m

Earlier Scotland announced a further easing of its lockdown and now some changes are also being made to the lockdown in Northern Ireland.
From 6 July, hairdressers and barbers in NI will be allowed to reopen.
And the social distancing required between children and young people will be reduced to 1m within the education sector.
This is the first significant change on social distancing within the UK.
However, the current guidelines of 2m (6ft) distancing will remain in place for adults.
Read the latest from NI here

Manchester United boss praises Rashford on school meals

Star footballer Marcus Rashford's efforts to ensure children don't go hungry during the coronavirus pandemic are "more important than any game of football he could play", Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said .
A highly personal campaign by the England and United player - including an open letter to MPs about his own experience of relying on free school meals - prompted the government to extend its food voucher scheme in England over the summer, to the benefit of about 1.3 million children.
"He has changed the lives of so many kids this summer," said Solskjaer.
He called the 22-year-old a "top human being" who had used his position as a "role model" at the club to help people.
"We're really proud of him and his family must be so proud of what he has achieved.
"He is a future leader, a future captain, maybe, of England, Manchester United, who knows?"

What's going on with the UK's tracing app?

Today's press briefing is due to start in roughly 15 minutes - its start is being slightly delayed to avoid a clash with a commemorative Red Arrows fly past.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock and test and trace lead Dido Harding are likely to face some tough questions about a further delay to a proposed phone app.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson first promised the "world beating" app would be rolled out on 1 June, but it's still being tested in just one area of the UK - the Isle of Wight.
And today came news of a major U-turn - the UK is ditching the way its current app works and shifting to a model based on technology provided by Apple and Google.
This means epidemiologists will have access to less data. And the app won't be ready until the autumn - when it may only be able to "track" but not "trace" new cases.
Read more on the change here

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 18 2020, 20:43

Action! The movies starting to film again

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Coronavirus has badly damaged the entertainment industry - with bosses of major new films pausing production or delaying their release.
The release of films such as Mulan, Fast & Furious 9, A Quiet Place 2 and the latest James Bond instalment No Time To Die were delayed - while filming on the latest Mission: Impossible movie in Italy was paused in February.
But now, some of the big-hitters are resuming production in a variety of socially-distanced ways.
Read on to find out the four films to keep a look out for when cinemas reopen in the future.

What did we learn from today's UK briefing?

The daily press conference was held by Matt Hancock, the health secretary, and Dido Harding, chair of the UK's test and trace systems.
Here's what they told us:

  • Last week, for the first week since mid-March, the number of people who died was no higher than is normal at this time of year
  • AstraZeneca has agreed to produce a vaccine being developed by Oxford University, so stocks will be ready as soon as the vaccine is approved
  • People should ensure they get their children vaccinated for other diseases
  • Mr Hancock acknowledged the government has had challenges developing its contract tracing app, including an issue with using the app on Apple systems
  • The government is now pooling resources with the Apple-Google model, but he declined to put a date on when the app could be ready
  • Everyone who is shielding will receive a personal letter from the NHS outlining next steps before the scheme finishes at the end of the month

Who will get the vaccine first?

Philippa Roxby - Health reporter, BBC News
It could still be some time before there is a vaccine against coronavirus but the UK's health secretary is already thinking about which groups of people might get the jab first.
Targeting older people and those with particular underlying health conditions makes sense – they are most at risk of becoming ill with Covid-19.
Should people from black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds also be in line to be vaccinated first? That’s something the government is clearly considering.
(Read more: Why are more people from BAME backgrounds dying from coronavirus?)
Meanwhile, a vaccine developed by Oxford researchers is already being tested in humans and many more are in the pipeline around the world.
What’s certain is that more than one will be needed to try to protect everyone from this new virus.

How many people have been contacted by NHS tracers?

Reality Check
The NHS test-and-trace system was officially launched on 28 May.
In the first two weeks, 14,045 people who tested positive for coronavirus were referred to the contact-tracing system, according to official government figures.
Tracers only managed to make contact with less than three quarters - or 10,192 - of the people referred to the service in the two weeks to 10 June.
People with a confirmed case are contacted via text, email or phone call, and are then asked to share the details of their close contacts.
A close contact is someone who has been within 2m of an infected individual for more than 15 minutes.
Of the 96,746 people identified as having had close contact with those testing positive, 90% - or 87,639 - were reached and asked to self-isolate.
And 86% of the recent contacts advised to self-isolate by the NHS service were reached within the first 24 hours.
The test-and-trace service does not handle contact tracing for all confirmed cases. Where a significant outbreak has occurred, it is followed up by local public health teams instead.
Read more: How contact tracing works

New York City to push ahead with reopening

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New Yorkers will be able to eat at restaurants with outdoor seating beginning on Monday

New York City is ready to begin the second phase of its reopening plan, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday, allowing hair salons, retail shops and restaurants with outdoor dining areas to reopen.
"We've seen consistent progress and it is time to say to everyone get ready for phase two," de Blasio said.
New York Governor Cuomo also celebrated the state's progress.
"Everyone's feeling good," he said, adding that New York had the "lowest percent positive" coronavirus tests since the outbreak began.
The governor said he was considering a possible quarantine on people entering his state from Florida, which is now struggling with a spike in cases.
Florida reported 3,207 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the largest single-day count in the state since the pandemic began.

US sheriff who refused to enforce lockdown tests positive

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Sheriff Mark Lamb said he had a virus test ahead of an event with President Trump

An Arizona sheriff who vowed not to criminally enforce a stay-home order imposed by the state's governor has now tested positive for Covid-19.
Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb told the Arizona Republic in early May that the number of infections didn't justify the actions of Governor Doug Ducey, who had extended the stay-home order until mid-May.
On Wednesday, Lamb said he had tested positive for Covid-19 as part of a screening ahead of a White House event with President Donald Trump.
The sheriff said he believed he was infected over the weekend, as he did not have the "luxury of staying at home" as a law enforcement agent. He said he would self-quarantine for two weeks.
Arizona is one of 10 US states currently seeing record-high averages of new infections.

Russia's rising 'memorial list' of medic deaths

Sarah Rainsford - BBC Moscow Correspondent
On the face of it this was a stark announcement by the head of Russia’s healthcare watchdog. Alla Samoylova told an online seminar that 489 medical workers had died as a result of coronavirus, which would represent more than 6% of all Covid-19 deaths here.
Roszdravdadzor later clarified that the figure referred to an unofficial but widely followed tally kept by medical professionals themselves, not official statistics. But we now know that the watchdog keeps a close eye on those numbers, and gives them credence.
In fact, the "memorial list", as it’s called, currently records 505 deaths, including healthcare workers from Ukraine and Belarus.
The last official count from the health ministry came three weeks ago and reported that 101 people had died.
What looks like an abnormally high percentage of medics’ deaths probably partly reflects issues with overall fatality figures. Excess mortality statistics for Moscow in May show three times more deaths than the number so far officially attributed to coronavirus.
There has long been concern about the provision of protective gear (PPE) for hospital and ambulance staff. Doctors and nurses have described to us having to work with infected patients in regular, gauze masks, and hospital "red zones" that were not fully isolated. Most said the situation had later improved.

A voluntary tracing app is coming to Canada

A mobile app to alert Canadians who may have been exposed to Covid-19 is now ready for testing in the province of Ontario, with plans for a national roll-out by July.
The app will work by having people who test positive upload their results anonymously under the guidance of a public health official, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday. The app will not store any personal information and is "completely voluntary".
"It will be up to individual Canadians to decide whether to download the app or not, but the app will be most effective when as many people as possible have it," Trudeau said.
There are currently 101,629 confirmed cases in Canada, with 8,323 deaths. The country's hotspots - Ontario and Quebec - have seen progress in recent days, with declining case numbers.

National tutoring scheme planned for England's pupils

Some pupils in the UK haven't been at school for nearly two months because of the coronavirus lockdown.
But as part of the government's catch-up plans, it's likely that pupils in England who have fallen behind will be offered tutoring.
Schools will receive funding to use a national tutoring programme to run for up to three years, it is planned.
The scheme will use volunteer and paid tutors from tutoring organisations and charities.
Primary pupils will probably get help in maths and English, while secondary pupils will get support in specific subjects.
You can read more about the plans here

Shops in Wales set to open from Monday

Non-essential shops in Wales are expected to be told tomorrow that they can reopen from Monday.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford will set out the latest on the easing of lockdown restrictions.
In England, shops reopened on Monday, while in Scotland retailers can reopen from 29 June. Shops in Northern Ireland reopened their doors last Friday.
The Welsh Government is expected to keep its cautious approach, and says its priority continues to be "keep Wales safe" - but allow shops to open with social distancing measures in place.
Read more from Wales here

Airline passenger removed for refusing to wear mask

American Airlines removed a passenger from a US flight yesterday when he refused to wear a face covering, now required by everyone on board.
"I was just removed from my flight for not wearing a mask," Brandon Straka, a conservative activist, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday from New York's La Guardia Airport. "Not a federal law."
While there is no federal law mandating masks on US flights, all major US airlines have been enforcing face covering rules for passengers and crew since mid-May. American Airlines bolstered its rules this week.
Straka said he donned a mask to take a later flight, but took it off on board.

Virus-denying priest storms convent by force

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Father Sergei Romanov has encouraged people to disobey public health orders

A Russian priest barred from preaching after denying coronavirus existed has seized a women's monastery with the help of armed supporters.
Ultraconservative Father Sergei Romanov entered the Sredneuralsk convent outside the city of Yekaterinburg on Tuesday. He says church authorities "will have to storm the monastery" if they want him to leave.
The mother superior and several nuns have now left and armed guards are patrolling the site.
Father Romanov was barred from preaching in April and then stripped of the right to wear a cross in May after he encouraged believers to disobey public health orders.

Why are so many meat-processing plants hit?

David Shukman - Science editor, BBC News
Anywhere cold, damp and indoors is an ideal environment for the coronavirus to thrive.
It survives best on cool surfaces especially if there’s no dry breeze to get rid of the moisture or any ultraviolet light from the sun to kill it off.
Add to that the challenges of social distancing on a busy production line, together with loud machinery forcing staff to raise their voices.
Researchers know that situations where people sing - or have to shout - increase the chances of them projecting the virus to others nearby.
According to Prof Calum Semple, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Liverpool and an adviser to the government, meat processing plants can be “a perfect environment for the virus to persist on surfaces and in the air”.
Read more:

UN refugee resettlement programme to resume

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Sudanese people in Indonesia have protested against the delay of their resettlement to Australia during the pandemic

Refugees with permission to resettle in another country will now be able to travel, the UN agencies for refugees and for migration have announced. [/color]Some 10,000 people were unable to depart for their new homes when the UN resettlement programme was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The programme works with governments and organisations to identify and resettle refugees.
People in migrant and refugee camps including in France, Syria and Bangladesh remain worried that the virus could spread rapidly in the cramped and/or unsanitary conditions.

Sesame Street takes on coronavirus

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Elmo, Grover and Muppets from around the world will be teaming up for a special episode of Sesame Street focused on the coronavirus outbreak, teaching children how to play while safe at home and addressing "big feelings" like frustration and sadness.
The 25-minute Elmo's World News - broadcast from Elmo's bedroom - will air over the next few weeks in more than a dozen languages in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.
Favourite characters like the Cookie Monster will be featured as socially distanced correspondents.
"Children are at home spending a lot more time indoors than before, and families are really struggling with how to help them keep learning, keep engaged, how to play in new ways," executive producer Scott Cameron told Reuters.
Now in its 51st year, the beloved PBS children's show reaches millions of children in more than 150 countries.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 18 2020, 22:06

App another example of 'over-promising and under-developing'

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Chris Hopson, who represents NHS foundation trusts, has criticised the government after it announced it would be switching the model of its much-delayed contact-tracing app.
Hopson, who is the head of NHS Providers, said: "Of course developing this app is a huge technological challenge, and it makes sense to change course when the evidence shows that is the best approach.
"But this is a setback in delivering a world-beating test-and-trace system, in which an effective app would play a valuable role.
"This episode presents yet another example of the dangers of over-promising and under-delivering."
And on the figures released by the government - which show that more than 87,000 individuals were asked to self-isolate after being traced - Hopson said it reflected "steady progress".
But he added: "While this is encouraging to see, it would be helpful to know how many of these contacts are being traced through the national programme rather than through local initiatives."

Your round-up of global stories

Thanks for joining us today for our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. The true death toll resulting from the global outbreak has been a top story on Thursday, after a BBC investigation into excess mortality . It found that 130,000 more people than expected had died globally - that's on top of the 440,000 officially recorded deaths. The other top stories:

  • In Russia, the death toll among medics is reported to be much higher than thought - an unofficial but widely followed tally now puts it at 489, up from 101
  • The pandemic continues to worsen in Latin America. There are now more than 240,000 cases in Peru, which puts its total past hard-hit Italy. And an iconic indigenous defender of the Amazon has died from the virus
  • India saw a new record for daily infections, with 12,881 new cases reported on Wednesday
  • Beijing is still hoping to avoid a major lockdown after a spike in cases in the Chinese capital
  • Due to deteriorating economic conditions, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa is further easing lockdown despite rapid increases in infections
  • French President Emmanuel Macron paid a socially-distanced visit to the UK to commemorate the 80th anniversary of wartime leader Charles de Gaulle's BBC broadcast to occupied France after the 1940 Nazi invasion
  • And in one late story... California on Thursday ordered residents to wear masks in "most settings outside the home" as too many people were not covering their faces

Your round-up of global stories

Thanks for joining us today for our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. The true death toll resulting from the global outbreak has been a top story on Thursday, after a BBC investigation into excess mortality . It found that 130,000 more people than expected had died globally - that's on top of the 440,000 officially recorded deaths. The other top stories:

  • In Russia, the death toll among medics is reported to be much higher than thought - an unofficial but widely followed tally now puts it at 489, up from 101
  • The pandemic continues to worsen in Latin America. There are now more than 240,000 cases in Peru, which puts its total past hard-hit Italy. And an iconic indigenous defender of the Amazon has died from the virus
  • India saw a new record for daily infections, with 12,881 new cases reported on Wednesday
  • Beijing is still hoping to avoid a major lockdown after a spike in cases in the Chinese capital
  • Due to deteriorating economic conditions, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa is further easing lockdown despite rapid increases in infections
  • French President Emmanuel Macron paid a socially-distanced visit to the UK to commemorate the 80th anniversary of wartime leader Charles de Gaulle's BBC broadcast to occupied France after the 1940 Nazi invasion
  • And in one late story... California on Thursday ordered residents to wear masks in "most settings outside the home" as too many people were not covering their faces

What happened in the UK today?

Before we leave for the day, here's a chance to catch up on Thursday's events in the UK:

  • The biggest story was on the NHS contact tracing app, which the government had initially hoped would be rolled out nationwide by mid-May. It kept getting delayed because more trials were needed. But in a major U-turn, the government said it was ditching the way the current app works and moving to a model designed by Apple and Google. The app is now hoped to be launched in the autumn. Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended the move, saying it will "bring the best bits of both systems together"
  • In terms of England's test and trace system as a whole, data today showed more than one in four people who test positive cannot be reached by contact tracers. Some members of the public failed to provide contact details, while others did not return calls
  • More nations in the UK have set out how they will lift the lockdown. In Scotland, which has been more cautious than England, most shops will reopen from 29 June. The changes - which will unfold gradually - will also allow people to meet outdoors with two other households, while face coverings will also be compulsory on public transport. Read what's changing and when
  • Meanwhile, Northern Ireland becomes the first nation to ease the 2m social distancing rule, if only slightly. As part of its easing of lockdown, schoolchildren can keep a distance of 1m from each other. Separately, hairdressers and barbers can open from 6 July
  • Wales will give more details of its lockdown lifting on Friday, but one thing is expected: shops are likely to be allowed to reopen on Monday
  • And the Bank of England has announced how it will help the struggling UK economy - by pumping in an extra £100bn. In some good news, Bank policymakers said there was growing evidence that the hit to the economy would be "less severe" than initially feared
  • The number of people dying with coronavirus each day continues to fall, although there were a further 135 deaths on Thursday. There was also very sad news in England, as the NHS announced that a 13-day-old baby with no known underlying health conditions was among those who died

And with those round-ups, it’s goodbye from us.

Today’s live page has been the work of:
Holly Honderich, Gary Kitchener, Georgina Rannard, Paulin Kola, Kevin Ponniah, Joshua Cheetham, Marie Jackson, Emma Owen, Mary O’Connor, Francesca Gillett, Lucy Webster, Kate Whannel and Paul Seddon.

We’ll be back with more on Friday – and we hope you can join us.

    Current date/time is Sat Nov 28 2020, 08:04