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Coronavirus - 19th June

Kitkat
Kitkat
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Coronavirus - 19th June Empty Coronavirus - 19th June

Post by Kitkat on Fri Jun 19 2020, 12:04

Summary for Friday, 19th June



  • The UK lowers its coronavirus alert level from four to three
  • The new level means the epidemic is in "general circulation" and allows social distancing to be relaxed
  • South Asian people are most likely to die from coronavirus in hospital in Great Britain, a major analysis shows
  • Leading US government expert Dr Anthony Fauci tells AFP news agency he doesn't see the country returning to lockdowns
  • Chinese officials say a coronavirus strain in an outbreak in Beijing may have come from Europe
  • The World Health Organization hopes millions of vaccines can be produced this year and 2bn by the end of 2021
  • Japan allows more businesses back to work and Singapore also lifts some restrictions
  • Globally, there are almost 8.5m cases and more than 453,000 deaths with the coronavirus


Hello, and welcome back to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. As ever, we'll be bringing you the latest developments across the world throughout the day, with analysis from our correspondents and other experts, links to our stories about the coronavirus and information about how you can protect yourself and each other.
The main developments today:

  • The top US health expert Dr Anthony Fauci has said the US does not need to enforce more lockdowns to contain the virus
  • Singapore moves into "phase 2" of its partial lockdown on Friday, with shops opening and gatherings of up to five people allowed
  • Widespread testing has found no further cases in New Zealand after two people tested positive this week
  • A study in Great Britain finds that among people admitted to hospital with Covid-19, South Asian people are most likely to die
  • Johns Hopkins University's latest count says there have been almost 8.5m cases worldwide and more than 453,000 people with coronavirus have died.


UK Covid-19 alert levels drops from four to three

The UK Covid-19 Alert level has moved down from four to three, BBC home affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford reports.
Level four represents a high or rising level of transmission, while level three means the virus is in general circulation.

Coronavirus - 19th June 4f2de510

Steady decrease in cases across UK - medical officers

More now on the news that the UK Covid-19 alert level has moved down from four to three.
In a statement, the chief medical officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland say they have reviewed the evidence and agree with the recommendation to lower the alert level.
"There has been a steady decrease in cases we have seen in all four nations, and this continues," the statement says.
"It does not mean that the pandemic is over. The virus is still in general circulation, and localised outbreaks are likely to occur.
"We have made progress against the virus thanks to the efforts of the public and we need the public to continue to follow the guidelines carefully to ensure this progress continues."

How does the Covid-19 alert level system work?

The Covid-19 alert level, which has just been reduced from level four to three, is designed to help the UK government decide how tough social-distancing measures should be.

  • Level five (red) - a "material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed" - extremely strict social distancing
  • Level four - a high or rising level of transmission - enforced social distancing
  • Level three - the virus is in general circulation - social distancing relaxed
  • Level two - the number of cases and transmission are low - minimal social distancing
  • Level one (green) - Covid-19 is no longer present in the UK - no social distancing

The level is determined by the reproduction R number, a scientific measure of how fast the virus is spreading as well as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases at any one time.
All four chief medical officers of the UK nations opposed the prime minister's hopes of lowering the Covid-19 alert level last month, according to BBC economics editor Faisal Islam.
The government pressed on with the modest easing of the lockdown, even after the Boris Johnson promised that any relaxation would be conditional on a lowering of the alert level.
Read more on how the alert system works here

Fauci doesn't see the US returning to lockdowns

US top coronavirus expert Dr Anthony Fauci can't see the country returning to lockdowns despite the country's infection rate remaining high.
"I don't think we're going to be talking about going back to lockdown," he told news agency AFP. "I think we're going to be talking about trying to better control those areas of the country that seem to be having a surge of cases."
While the former US epicentre in New York appears to have controlled the outbreak, infection rates are still rising in other states.
Dr Fauci said there should be a localised approach to reopening the country, so that areas where there's no new cases could reopen schools, while other parts of the country should wait.
The White House adviser on the pandemic also said he was optimistic there would be a vaccine soon, describing early trial results as "encouraging".

WHO hopes for millions of vaccine doses soon

The World Health Organization (WHO) hopes that hundreds of millions of Covid-19 vaccine doses could be produced by the end of the year and be targeted at those most vulnerable to the virus.
There is no vaccine yet, but WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said experts worldwide were working on more than 200 possibilities. Around 10 potential vaccines are currently undergoing human trials.
"I'm hopeful, I'm optimistic," she explained.
"But vaccine development is a complex undertaking, it comes with a lot of uncertainty The good thing is, we have many vaccines and platforms so even if the first one fails, or the second ones fails, we shouldn't lose hope, we shouldn't give up."
"If we're very lucky, there will be one or two successful candidates before the end of this year," she said. The priority recipients would probably be frontline workers such as medics, those vulnerable because of age or illness and those who are in high-transmission settings like care homes or prisons.

New Zealand goes back to being virus-free

It's back to zero new virus cases for New Zealand today - days after two women who travelled from the UK were found positive, ending a previous 24-day clean streak.
Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said 6,273 tests had been carried out across the country on Thursday in response to those cases but none were positive.
However a man in his 60s who was in an isolation facility after arriving from overseas had yesterday been found positive. All arrivals in New Zealand are required to quarantine for 14 days.
The three cases are the only active virus cases in the country - and bring the total number of confirmed cases to 1,507.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had earlier this week slammed the "unacceptable failure of the system", after finding out about the country's two new cases. They had been given permission to leave quarantine early for family reasons but then travelled across the country before falling ill.
"It should not have happened and it cannot be repeated," she said

California makes face masks compulsory

If you're in California remember to put your mask on before stepping out - because they've just been made compulsory.
Under a new law passed on Thursday by Gov Gavin Newsom, residents have to mask up while in public or high-risk settings - including when shopping, on public transport or in medical care.
Children under two are exempt from the rules, as are people eating or drinking in restaurants.
"Our numbers are going up, not down. Hospitalisation numbers are starting to creep back up and I'm very concerned by what we're seeing," Newson told news outlet ABC7.
It's not clear how this will be enforced but it's likely to be met with some pushback.
Coronavirus - 19th June F94c6a10
Take note guy in white shirt - you'll now have to wear a mask in public


American Airlines removes non-masked passenger

Not everyone is embracing the idea of face masks. American Airlines removed a passenger from one of its flights after he refused to wear a mask in compliance with its Covid-19 policy.
Brandon Straka, who had been on a flight from New York to Texas, said there was no federal law that required him to wear a face covering.
He added that it was the first time something like this had happened to him.
American Airlines said it would ban him until "face coverings are no longer required for customers".
Face masks are currently not compulsory under federal law, but all major US airlines have been enforcing face covering rules for passengers and crew since mid-May.
Read more about the mask row here

Restaurants, gyms resume as Singapore reopens

Yvette Tan - BBC News, Singapore
It's the start of a brand new day in Europe but here in Singapore, people have already been rushing out as the country starts re-opening.
Under Singapore's "Phase 2" non-essential retail stores, gyms and most businesses that had been shut for more than two months are allowed to re-open. Dine-in services in restaurants and cafes will also resume.
Gatherings of more than five people however, aren't allowed, and people still have to don their masks and stick to social distancing rules.
But it's likely these measures aren't going to deter most from going out this weekend. There's a triumphant mood in the air - many seem eager to make up for two months' worth of inactivity.
I'm not sure if I'll be one of those rushing out, however - part of me genuinely wants to join a queue for bubble tea, but at the same time, I don't want to invalidate the last few months we've spent in lockdown. The number of locally transmitted cases are low, but they are still present.
That said, I am still very much tempted by my favourite restaurant that's now re-opened. I might just don my mask and take my chances - we'll see.

S Asian people most likely to die in GB hospitals

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
South Asian people are the most likely to die from coronavirus after being admitted to hospital in Great Britain, major analysis has shown.
It is the only ethnic group to have a raised risk of death in hospital and is partly due to high levels of diabetes.

The study across England, Scotland and Wales is hugely significant as it assessed data from four in 10 of all hospital patients with Covid-19.
The researchers said policies such as protecting people at work and who gets a vaccine may now need to change.
Read more here

South Korea's battle against virus continues

It once looked like the worst was over, but the virus is very much still present in South Korea.
The country recorded 49 new cases on Friday - 32 of which were local infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 12,306.
Most of the locally transmitted cases were recorded in the capital, Seoul, and its nearby metropolitan areas, where around half of the country's 50 million population lives.
And according to news site Yonhap, infections in the region are showing no clear signs of a slowdown.
South Korea's health minister has warned the country could return to tough social distancing measures if cases remain high.
South Korea had eased its strict social distancing rules in early May after cases started to fall. But a rise in infections - linked to a nightclub district and one distribution centre - meant cases quickly began stacking up again.

Latest from Europe

As the day begins in Europe, we bring you the latest of what's happening around the continent in the fight against coronavirus.

  • Leaders of EU countries are to hold a videoconference later on Friday to try to resolve divisions over a coronavirus recovery fund. Several northern European nations are opposing part of the EU Commission plan which involves offering €500bn (£450bn) in grants to countries worst affected by the pandemic
  • Hungary's PM Viktor Orban says he will not hesitate to take the necessary steps in case of a second wave of the virus, Reuters reports. Hungarian lawmakers voted in favour of repealing extraordinary powers granted to Mr Orban to fight the virus on Tuesday
  • In the UK, after people experienced shortages of toilet rolls, hand sanitiser, pasta and flour, it seems bikes are now the latest item to be in short supply .


Retail sales jump up as lockdown eases

UK retail sales volumes jumped 12% in May compared with the all-time record falls in April during lockdown, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Sales were still down by 13.1% on February, before the coronavirus lockdown began.
Non-food stores saw the biggest jump in sales - up 42% as DIY stores and gardening centres opened their doors in May.
Meanwhile, online sales rose to their highest proportion on record. They accounted for 33.4% of total spend, compared with 30.8% in April, the ONS said.

Delhi out of lockdown but fear keeps us home

Krutika Pathi - BBC News, Delhi
As I write this from my home in Delhi, I have the air conditioning and fan on at full blast. The sun is beaming harshly as temperatures have been touching 45C recently.
But this is what's expected for summers here - another sign that normality is seeping back into our lives after India eased out of its stringent lockdown earlier this month.
Things have jumped back into action - cars have started clogging the roads as more and more shops open, drawing customers in. And yet, at least in my apartment in Delhi, it feels like the lockdown is still very much in place.
The situation continues to be unrelenting in Delhi, which has nearly 50,000 cases. Technically, I can step out, hop in a taxi and go wherever I'd like to in the city - but I don't. It feels even scarier to do so now, as infections have only been climbing, raising our anxieties as they go up.
And so the days roll by as they did under lockdown - weekdays are consumed by working from home while weekends are spent staying indoors at home. The only difference is the constant thrum of the AC, which is switched on all day and night now.

Beijing cluster 'may be European strain'

Chinese officials have released genome data for the coronavirus traced to a recent cluster in Beijing, saying they noted similarities to a European strain.
China has shared the data with the World Health Organisation amid pressure to make the findings public.
This comes after Beijing reported nearly 200 fresh Covid-19 infections after months. Tens of thousands are being tested in the city, where neighbourhoods are under lockdown and schools shut. The cluster has been traced to a sprawling wholesale market in the city.
But scientists are cautious over drawing early conclusion about the link.
"It is possible that the virus now causing an outbreak in Beijing travelled from Wuhan to Europe and now back to China," Ben Cowling, a professor at the University of Hong Kong's School of Public Health, told AFP news agency.
But he added that patient zero hadn't been identified yet and that it may be too late to find out how the latest cluster started.

UK banks told to extend credit card 'holidays'

Simon Gompertz - Personal finance correspondent
Banks have been told to give even more time to millions of people struggling with credit as a result of the coronavirus.
Credit card, store card, catalogue credit and personal loan customers will be able to ask for a further three-month deferral of repayments and interest. The help was first given in April.
Although the deferrals have been called payment holidays, the money will have to be paid back after the end of the deferral period.
So the financial regulator, the FCA, says if borrowers can resume their payments they should, to avoid getting into more serious difficulty later on.
Current account users have been offered interest-free overdrafts of up to £500. These have been extended for three months as well – and applications can now be made up to 31 October.
Banks have until Monday to comment on the plans, which will be implemented soon after.

More lockdown restrictions to be lifted in Wales

Wales' First Minister, Mark Drakeford, says lockdown measures have been succeeding, meaning more restrictions can be eased over coming weeks.
From Monday, non-essential retail shops will be allowed to open, provided they can do it safely and on 29 June, schools in Wales will reopen.
From 6 July, the "stay local" guidance to only travel within a five-mile area will be lifted, provided coronavirus cases continue to reduce. In the meantime, if people have a "compassionate reason" to visit a family member who doesn't live locally they can do so, the first minister says.
From 13 July, self-contained accommodation, such as cottages and static caravans, will be able to start taking bookings.
More details will be given at Wales' daily press conference later, Drakeford tells BBC Radio Wales' Breakfast programme.

Irishwoman emerges from 79 days on life support

A woman in the Republic of Ireland has been moved out of intensive care after spending 79 days on a ventilator.
Mary Sullivan was admitted after suffering a heart attack on 11 March and tested positive for Covid-19. She then developed respiratory failure and her condition deteriorated, leading her to require life support.
Doctors at the hospital in Cork where she is being treated believe she has spent the longest time on a ventilator of any Covid-19 patient in Ireland or the UK.
Broadcaster RTE showed staff applauding her as she left the hospital's intensive care unit on Thursday.

South Asians on Covid wards 'much likelier' to have diabetes

We've been hearing this morning that people with South Asian heritage are more likely to die from coronavirus after being admitted to hospitals in Great Britain compared with other ethnic groups, according to a new study.
Dr Ewen Harrison, professor of surgery and data science at the University of Edinburgh, who led the study, says: "We have shown a clear 20% increase in the risk of death in South Asian people who are in hospital with Covid-19.
"South Asian people look very different in hospital to other groups, in particular, white people," he tells BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"They're younger - 12 years younger on average - less likely to have pre-existing conditions such as lung disease, dementia or obesity, but much more likely to have diabetes.
"In fact, 40% of the South Asians in hospital with Covid-19 have diabetes. We think this is quite a significant contributor to their increased likelihood of death."
The findings were made public online ahead of being formally published in a medical journal.


EU giant rescue plan faces heated debate

EU leaders are gathering virtually for a video summit focused on an ambitious €750bn (£676bn; $840bn) EU recovery fund to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
Several northern European nations are resisting part of the EU Commission plan because it involves collectively raising €500bn as grants for countries worst hit by the pandemic, notably Italy and Spain.
The BBC’s Gavin Lee in Brussels says this fund, called Next Generation EU, is unprecedented in scale.
Traditionally the EU helps member states through loans, which have to be paid back, though the terms can be generous.
A group known as the “frugal four” - Sweden, Denmark, Austria and the Netherlands - have made clear their continued opposition to grants. There are also divisions over the proposed €1.1 trillion EU budget.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron however firmly back the Commission’s plan.
Diplomats say there will be no real compromise until leaders are able to meet face to face, in July.

Questions over Pakistan's 'smart lockdowns'

M Ilyas Khan - BBC News, Islamabad
Countrywide "smart lockdowns" have been put in place in Pakistan to combat coronavirus spread, but the country’s medical community is questioning just how smart the lockdowns are.
Starting on Tuesday, the government has enforced the lockdowns in hundreds of places with high Covid-19 rates. Those under lockdown have been asked to stay at home, and all businesses have been ordered to be closed, except for essential services like pharmacies and food shops.
But many opposition groups and healthcare workers point out that tens of thousands of other areas remain open.
Dr Qaisar Sajjad, secretary of the Pakistan Medical Association, has called the move a “non-serious measure”.
Doctors’ associations and opposition groups are instead pushing for a countrywide lockdown. And the World Health Organization has suggested a 15-day on, 15-day off lockdown across Pakistan.
But Pakistan’s battle against the coronavirus has been mired in controversy right from the start. When the Sindh local government – which is the only provincial government run by an opposition party – went for a province-wide lockdown in March, Prime Minister Imran Khan famously warned that "if you try to save people from corona, they will die of hunger".
Khan also controversially claimed that Covid was only a form of flu, and was seen to favour the concept of herd immunity as a way to defeat the virus.
It is widely believed that when infection rates rose, it was the military that stepped in to impose lockdowns, but those lockdowns were undermined by consistent opposition from the prime minister.
Critics say his wavering attitude rendered lockdowns a controversial and non-serious measure in the eyes of the general public. And they fear, as the virus now spreads, that those in the least affected areas will not take notice until it arrives on their doorstep.

Virus 'was already in Italy in December'

Coronavirus was already present in northern Italy in December 2019, some two months before the first known case was diagnosed, according to a study by Italy's national health institute , the ISS.
Traces of the virus were detected in samples of waste water in the cities of Milan and Turin at the end of last year, and in Bologna in January, the ISS said.
The institute carried out an analysis of waste water collected from October 2019 to February 2020 before Covid-19 officially hit Italy.
Samples from October and November 2019 were negative, showing the virus had yet to arrive, ISS water quality expert Giuseppina La Rosa said.
Kitkat
Kitkat
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Posts : 8253
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 19th June Empty Re: Coronavirus - 19th June

Post by Kitkat on Fri Jun 19 2020, 12:38

Death rate twice as high for disabled people in UK

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
The death rate from coronavirus is twice as high for people with disabilities, according to analysis by the Office for National Statistics.
This group saw 200 deaths per 100,000 men and 140 deaths per 100,000 women.
Among people who were not disabled, there were 70 deaths with Covid-19 per 100,000 men and 36 deaths per 100,000 women.

The analysis is based on deaths between 2 March and 15 May for which coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate.
The 2011 census defines as disabled people who say that their daily activities are “limited a lot” by a health problem or disability.

Iran releases new virus figures

Iran has released its latest coronavirus figures, saying that in the last 24 hours 2,615 new cases of the disease were reported.
Another 120 people died, a spokesman for the country's ministry of health said.
Iran was one of the worst affected countries early on in the pandemic.

'Secrecy' claims over English meat factory outbreak

Coronavirus - 19th June 2ec76010
The Kober factory in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire has been temporarily closed

A coronavirus outbreak at a meat factory in West Yorkshire was shrouded in "secrecy", local residents say, after first hearing about it at the government's daily coronavirus briefing.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed there had been cases in Kirklees at Thursday's briefing.
Positive results were confirmed at the Kober factory, a supplier to Asda, which has temporarily closed the plant.
Resident Alan Hair said he was "angry at the level of secrecy" while MP Tracy Brabin branded the announcement as "incredibly careless".
Kirklees Council said it had not told the public "because it doesn't combat the spread of the virus, compromises patient confidentiality and it could discourage businesses and organisations from coming forward in future".
Kirklees GP Dr Jools Thomas tweeted that watching Hancock's announcement had left her "slack-jawed".
"As a GP [in] Kirklees it would be nice to be aware of this from a formal source instead of hearing it on the news."
Read more on the story here

What does the UK alert level mean?

Reality Check
The UK's coronavirus alert level has been lowered from four to three.
This means that whilst the virus is still in "general circulation" in the community, there can be a gradual relaxation of restrictions.
The alert level is primarily set by two things: the virus’s reproduction (R) rate and the number of confirmed cases at any one time.
As of 12 June, the UK’s R rate stood at 0.7-0.9; this means that the average person is infecting less than one person. However, it was estimated to be slightly higher in some parts of the country, such as the South West of England.
On cases, the Office for National Statistics' latest estimate is that 33,000 people have the virus in England. That's around one in 1,700 people and a sharp decline from the estimate of 149,000 infected people in mid-May.
You can read more about the coronavirus alert level here

Stranded sailor yet to meet his daughter

An Indian sailor, Abhiram Oak, is yet to meet his newborn baby daughter.
Coronavirus lockdown restrictions mean he is stuck on a ship, despite his contract ending in March.
He is one of thousands of Indian sailors in a similar situation. The government says it is trying to bring more of them home, but for now Abhiram, and his daughter, are forced to wait.

Round-up of UK headlines

It's been a busy morning so far in the UK - here are the key points of what's been happening:

  • In the last couple of hours, the UK's chief medical officers announced the coronavirus alert has been downgraded from level four to level three. Under level three, the virus is considered to be "in general circulation" but there can be a "gradual relaxation of restrictions". You can read about what the different levels mean here
  • The next big story of the day is about education. The PM has announced a plan to help children in England catch up on the teaching they've missed while schools have been closed. With a total of £1bn in funding, the most disadvantaged pupils will be able to get tutored, with schools receiving money to spend on one-to-one and group tuition
  • New analysis shows that South Asian people are the most likely to die from coronavirus after being admitted to hospital in Great Britain - the only ethnic group to have a raised risk of death in hospital and it is partly due to high levels of diabetes
  • The UK's debt is now larger than the size of its economy for the first time since 1963. New data shows the government borrowed a record amount in May, sending its debt surging to £1.95 trillion (that's 1,950,000,000,000, if that helps get your head around it)
  • But figures show that the UK's retail sales partly recovered in May, thanks to DIY stores and garden centres reopening amid the lockdown
  • Yesterday, Scotland and Northern Ireland both gave details of their next stages of lifting lockdown. Today, it's Wales' turn. The announcement will likely include allowing shops to open on Monday and promising to review the "stay local" travel rule
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 8253
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 19th June Empty Re: Coronavirus - 19th June

Post by Kitkat on Fri Jun 19 2020, 15:30

Six more people die in Scotland

A further six people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in Scotland, taking the total number of deaths to 2,470, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says.

Shops in Wales to reopen on Monday

Each of the different nations in the UK are in charge of their own coronavirus lockdown restrictions, and this week has seen the lockdown eased slightly in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Today, First Minister Mark Drakeford is setting out the changes in Wales. He says the R rate in Wales continues to be below one and the number of deaths reported every day is at the lowest point since lockdown began.
Mr Drakeford says restrictions will be eased gradually over the next three weeks, with new changes coming in on every Monday:

  • From Monday 22 June, all non-essential shops can reopen, providing they follow social distancing rules. The housing market will begin to reopen - with viewings able to take place. Outdoor markets can also reopen, along with outdoor sports courts for non-contact sports, as well as places of worship for private prayer. Childcare facilities will begin to reopen on a phased basis
  • From Monday 29 June, pupils will be able to return to school
  • And from Monday 6 July, Mr Drakeford says "we will lift the requirement to stay local". Currently people in Wales are only allowed to travel locally - with five miles given as a guide.

Mr Drakeford adds a warning: "Coronavirus is not over. Everyday people are being infected."

Mother who made viral lockdown plea gives birth

In some heartwarming news, a British woman whose hospital bed appeal for others to obey lockdown rules went viral has given birth.
Karen Mannering, from Herne Bay, Kent, was six months pregnant when she contracted coronavirus in March. She ended up being treated in hospital with pneumonia in both lungs.
She said she made the video from her hospital bed because she wanted everyone to take the virus seriously. Now recovered, she reflects on the experience with her new baby, Tyson.


Unicef delivers 10,000 test kits to Yemen

Malcolm Senior - BBC Foreign News
A batch of 10,000 coronavirus testing kits has arrived in Sana'a, in Yemen, on a plane chartered by Unicef, the United Nations children's agency.
An additional shipment of 8,000 tests is expected to arrive in the Yemeni city of Aden in the coming days.
"These test kits will allow wider testing for Covid-19 across the country and the timely management of confirmed cases to save lives," said Sara Beysolow Nyanti, Unicef's representative in Yemen.
Last month the United Nations warned that the health system had effectively collapsed in Yemen, which officially confirmed its first Covid-19 case on 10 April.

Next phase may be even harder - Sturgeon

Speaking at Scotland's daily coronavirus briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recaps some of the changes to lockdown as the country enters the second phase of restrictions.
From today, people who live alone or live alone with children are able to form an extended household group with other people, in a similar way to "support bubbles" in England and Northern Ireland. Find the details of how it works here .

“In some ways this next phase might be even harder,” she says.
“Because we see the virus receding so I think all of us have a very obvious and human and understandable frustration about still having to live under some restrictions.
“We can’t afford at this stage to be complacent, because the virus is still out there, it hasn’t gone away.”
Moving from a "stay at home" to "stay safe" message, Sturgeon launches a new public awareness campaign to help the public remember how to stay safe.
She explains the mnemonic, FACTS, is:

  • Face covering in enclosed spaces
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Clean your hands and surfaces regularly
  • Two-metre distancing
  • Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptom

“Remember these facts, and that will help all of us stay safe,” she says.

More on the lockdown changes in Wales

Currently people in Wales are only allowed to travel locally - with five miles given as a guide.
In his lockdown update just now, First Minister Mark Drakeford said the "stay local" rule - which has been controversial - will last until 6 July. From then, he hopes it can be lifted provided the number of virus cases continues to fall.
But there is a slight easing of the rule in the meantime. Mr Drakeford said if anyone needs to make a visit "for compassionate reasons" beyond the five miles, that is now allowed.
Meanwhile, the FM also said hairdressers and self-catering holiday accommodation should begin to prepare to reopen on 9 July, subject to the next review.
Discussions with pubs, restaurants and cafes were ongoing, he added.
But he warned the public to remember the pandemic has not come to an end. "We have succeeded in bringing the fire of coronavirus under control but that fire is not yet out," he said.

Poland allows football fans back into stadiums

Adam Easton - Warsaw Correspondent
Poland is one of the first countries in Europe to let football supporters back in stadiums from today to watch matches.
The stadia can be 25% full, and the rules state that every fourth seat can be occupied by a fan, with exceptions for people who live in the same household.
Supporters must wear face coverings whilst walking to and from their seats, and disinfectant will be available for their hands.
Only home supporters are allowed in the grounds for the matches and tickets must be purchased online.
Poland has recorded far fewer coronavirus cases and deaths than many western European countries, but some epidemiologists have criticised the government’s decision to allow fans back into grounds as an unnecessary risk.

Catching up on court cases 'could continue into next year'

There's a backlog of court cases due to the coronavirus pandemic in England and Wales, and the UK justice secretary has now warned that work to catch up could last into next year.
Some jury trials in England and Wales resumed in May, after almost two months on hold.
Robert Buckland said he's going to "use every tool in the book" to help speed up the clearing of the backlog.
He suggested juries with fewer members - like what happened in the Second World War - and using public buildings as courtrooms could reduce the caseload.
He also said there was "clear merit" for a proposal for judge-only trials in less serious crown court cases.
You can read more on what Mr Buckland said here

Scotland's tracing strategy 'vindicated' - Sturgeon

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the Scottish government's decision to avoid relying on a contact tracing app has been "vindicated", as the UK government's app still hasn't materialised .
She tells the daily briefing she feels "relieved" that Test and Protect was not reliant on an app, but doesn't rule out adding similar technology in the future.

The FM also says she hopes some of the £1bn funding announced by the UK government to help children catch up on their education would go to Scotland. Sturgeon says early indications suggest that will be the case, but there has been no confirmation from Westminster so far.
Scotland's economy secretary Fiona Hyslop confirms the remainder of the nation's manufacturing can restart from 29 June - if they can meet all of the safety criteria.
This is a significant boost, says Ms Hyslop, with some 180,000 people employed in manufacturing, and very few able to work from home.

UK 'planning to relax travel quarantine in July'

Tom Burridge - Transport correspondent
BBC News has been told the government is planning to relax its travel quarantine in early July for some people arriving into the UK.
Discussions are still ongoing between UK officials and officials in a number of European countries, including Portugal.
However, the UK hopes to make an announcement on 29 June that it has secured a number of "travel corridors".
The government had previously said the quarantine would be reviewed every three weeks - 29 June marks the end of the first three-week period.
A travel corridor would mean that people travelling in both directions between two countries would not have to self-isolate after they travel.
However, the broader travel quarantine is expected to remain in place.
A senior aviation source has told the BBC that the quarantine could remain in place throughout the summer for anyone arriving from countries who do not have a travel corridor with the UK.
Read more about the UK's current quarantine rules here

UK PM: 'Watch this space' over social distancing

During a visit to a school in Hertfordshire, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked about whether social distancing restrictions could be cut to help schools when pupils return fully in September.
It comes after school leaders warned that if the 2m distance rule was not reduced, schools would not have enough space for every child to return. Northern Ireland has already decided to reduce the distance to 1m in schools.
No 10 has previously said that the government is reviewing the 2m distance, after calls from pubs, restaurants and some MPs.
Speaking today, Mr Johnson: "Of course, on the social distancing measures, as I've said, 'watch this space'.
"We will be putting in further changes as the science allows. I think that's what the public also wants to see, they want to see us working with the reality."
It was "absolutely" his intention that children should return to school by the autumn on a five-day-a-week basis, he added.


Portuguese doctor's death 'highlights need for healthcare funding'

Alison Roberts - Portugal Correspondent, Lisbon
Coronavirus - 19th June 67bfe310
The doctor spent 40 days in this Lisbon hospital before he passed away

Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa says the death of a doctor believed to be the country's first to die after contracting Covid-19 highlights the need for adequate funding for healthcare.
In a note of condolence to the man's family and friends, he said his death called not only for "words and recognition" for someone who made "the supreme sacrifice", but for "adequate resources" within the health service.
The 68-year-old doctor, who reportedly caught the virus from a colleague and had no known associated risk factors, had been in a Lisbon hospital for 40 days before dying on Wednesday in its intensive care unit, the ministry of health said on Friday.
He died just hours before PM Antonio Costa hailed the announcement that the country had been chosen to host the final rounds of football's European Champions League as "a deserved prize for health professionals".
The president of the National Doctors' Federation, Noel Carrilho, said "health professionals don't want medals nor football games", but "to be recognised in the way that is normal in any profession, with better working conditions".
According to the rival Independent Union of Doctors, there arecurrently more than 600 doctors infected with the virus, considerably more than the government is reporting.
The most recent official figures, from last Friday, show 3,556 health professionals as infected, including 505 doctors.

How many people are being tested daily in the UK?

Reality Check
UK Foreign Office minister James Cleverly was on the BBC's Question Time programme last night. He said: “We now have a testing system which tests huge numbers of people on a daily basis – hundreds of thousands of people.”
But the government has not published daily figures for how many people are being tested for coronavirus in the UK for nearly a month - so we can’t check this.
The last figure published on 22 May was 80,297 people tested, which was the largest number of people the government had reported testing in a day – but still some way short of “hundreds of thousands” of people.
Remember that the number of people tested is not the same as the number of tests conducted, because some people need more than one test, and some tests, such as the ones carried out for the Office for National Statistics infection survey, do not count as people tested.
Read more on testing and the government’s targets here

Is Florida the next 'large epicentre'?

Florida recorded 3,207 coronavirus cases on Thursday - its highest daily rise, and its fourth record-setting figure in just over a week.
The US state is one of the worst affected in the country since an outbreak was first discovered in March. Nearly 86,000 infections and 3,061 deaths have been reported.
Despite its rising toll, the state's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has said there are no plans to scale back on measures to reopen in the economy.
DeSantis has credited expanded testing for the rise in cases. But a study by the University of Pennsylvania has concluded that Florida has “all the markings of the next large epicentre of coronavirus transmission.”

Number of UK daily deaths rises by 173

Official figures from the government show a daily rise of 173 deaths of people with coronavirus - that's higher than Thursday's figure which was 135. This takes the total to 42,461.
The individual nations have also been announcing their own totals. Those figures differ to the UK government's total because of variations in the time-frame used to record deaths.
In Wales a further four people have died, while Northern Ireland reported one new death.
Scotland announced its daily figures earlier, with a further six deaths.

Turkey to impose partial curfew as infections surge

Turkey is imposing a partial curfew for Saturday and the following weekend, after a surge of coronavirus infections that followed the general lifting of restrictions two weeks ago.
The government says its aim is to safeguard up to four million students taking high school and university entrance exams.
Essential shops and some businesses will remain open, but the authorities hope the measures will stop large crowds gathering on the streets. The number of exam centres has been increased, and students must wear new masks when entering.
Turkey has introduced other new restrictions over recent days. The authorities say they had been expecting the increase in the number of infections, but Turkey’s medical association says it’s alarmed by the upward trend.
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Coronavirus - 19th June Empty 'Concern' as coronavirus cases confirmed in Ireland from UK, Sweden visitors

Post by Kitkat on Fri Jun 19 2020, 15:45

'Concern' as coronavirus cases confirmed in Ireland from UK, Sweden visitors

THE NATIONAL Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has voiced it's concern as multiple newly confirmed coronavirus cases in Ireland were found in travellers from overseas.

In the past two weeks,  "fewer than 10" cases of Covid-19 have been identified in people who have travelled to Ireland from abroad, including from Sweden and the UK.

Professor Philip Nolan, chair of the NPHET's Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, told the public at a press conference yesterday evening that there is a "little bit of a concern" about the increase in travel-related cases.

"Early in the epidemic ... we’re seeing a large number of travel-related cases," he said, and "just over the last two weeks we've begun to see a small number of travel-related cases, but it is a cause for concern nonetheless".

For a number of weeks now, Ireland's daily confirmed new cases have remained under 20, regularly recording less than 10 new cases each day, and Prof Nolan has stated "it's a small number of [travel-related] cases but a remarkable proportion of the very small number of cases that we have."

When asked the origin of the travel-related cases, Prof Nolan stated that two are confirmed to have come from the UK and Sweden "and we're following up on the rest".

Travel to Ireland from abroad is discouraged except for essential reasons, and Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan reiterated the advice at yesterday's press conference, stating:
"We’re advising people who are planning on coming here for travel-related purposes that are not essential, for tourist related activities for example, that now is not the time.”
"We won’t continue to have that advice for any longer than we think is absolutely necessary," he added, acknowledging that several European countries are reopening their borders to travellers from 1 July.

Anyone travelling into Ireland from abroad is now required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form, which states that the person "may be contacted during the 14 days after you arrive in Ireland to check that you are self isolating".

At yesterday's press briefing, a further 16 new cases were confirmed and the deaths were announced of a further four people.

The Republic of Ireland has 25,355 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 1,714 people reported to have died with the virus.

Source: Irish Post - 19 June 2020
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Post by Kitkat on Fri Jun 19 2020, 18:57

Dexamethasone 'needs to be prescribed by a doctor'

A leading health official in the Americas has told the BBC that taking dexamethasone without a prescription could be dangerous.
Dexamethasone is the cheap steroid recently found to reduce the mortality rate of Covid-19 patients who are already severely ill in hospital.
Dr Jarbas Barbosa, assistant director of the Pan-American Health Organization, told BBC OS that "in certain circumstances, it can worsen the response of the body to the virus".
"If you take it at the beginning of the infection, or if you have another infection that isn't Covid-19, it can worsen the situation," he said.
"Unfortunately, in many countries in Latin America, you can buy dexamethasone and other medicine without a prescription, so it's very important for national authorities to state this very clearly."

Israel tightens lockdowns after cases rise

Yolande Knell - BBC Middle East correspondent
Israel's government is taking strict action to curb further infections after a spike in cases across the country.
More than 500 soldiers have been put into isolation. Three Bedouin neighbourhoods in southern Israel, where there is a high infection rate, have been placed under lockdown and new controls have been introduced in parts of Tel Aviv.
The occupied West Bank reported a surge in cases after easing their lockdowns in the past month. Palestinian health officials say that the past two days have seen the largest increases in cases since the pandemic began, and shops and businesses have been temporarily closed in Hebron.
With the number of infections climbing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the economy will not reopen further for now.

Experts warned coronavirus could hit nine in 10 care homes

It was thought coronavirus could infiltrate at least nine in 10 care homes in England during the pandemic, experts warned in April.
At least 90% of homes were expected to have at least one case if transmission rates stayed stable, according to a paper sent to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) which advises the government.
The authors of the paper, from the University of Manchester, found reported outbreaks of coronavirus in care homes "rose rapidly" in early to mid-March before plateauing from late March.
The paper also suggested staff working in multiple care homes could be spreading the virus between them.

What's the latest in the US?

America continues to be the epicentre of the global pandemic, with nearly 2.2m cases and 118,000 virus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Here are some of the biggest developments from across the country:

  • Several states - including Florida, Oklahoma, Arizona and South Carolina - continue to post record-breaking numbers of cases, as many local authorities push ahead with easing lockdown measures
  • Despite concerns among some local officials, President Trump is planning to hold a public rally in the Oklahoman city of Tulsa on Saturday. Organisers say attendees will be given masks but their use will not be compulsory
  • California is the latest state to make face coverings compulsory in public spaces. Former Governor and Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger has shared his support for the measure, tweeting that "anyone making it a political issue is an absolute moron" One of America's top coronavirus experts, Dr Anthony Fauci, has told AFP news agency he can't see the country returning to lockdowns despite infection rates remaining high


The UK picture

We should be hearing from the UK government in the next 30 minutes but let’s take a look at the latest from the country first:


Apple 'not told' about UK's latest app plans

Zoe Kleinman - Technology reporter, BBC News
Coronavirus - 19th June 76374410

Apple says it did not know the UK was working on a "hybrid" version of the National Health Service coronavirus contact-tracing app using tech it developed with Google.
The firm took the unusual step of saying it was also unaware of an issue regarding distance-measuring, which was flagged by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in Thursday's daily briefing.
Apple said it was "difficult to understand" the claims.
Downing Street said the government had "worked closely with Apple and Google".
In tests carried out in the UK, there were occasions when software tools developed by Apple and Google could not differentiate between a phone in a user's pocket 1m (3.3ft) away and a phone in a user's hand 3m (9.8ft) away.
During the briefing, Mr Hancock said: "Measuring distance is clearly mission critical to any contact-tracing app."
However, speaking to the Times, Apple said: "It is difficult to understand what these claims are as they haven't spoken to us."
Read more here

A round-up of lockdown easing

We should be hearing from the UK government in the next few minutes.
But that gives you time to read our in-depth look at changes to lockdown measures in all parts of the UK

Canada roundup: Border travel, civil liberties and migrant conditions


  • The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says Covid-19 has brought about the "best of times and the worst of times" in a new report. The organisation praised the move to release people from prison early, but said a rash of fines for civil infractions have hampered people's freedoms.
  • The Canada Border agency has stopped about 7,500 foreigners from entering the country for non-essential purposes. Most of them were Americans, many hoping to sight-see or go shopping. The Canada-US border has been closed since 22 March and will not reopen before 21 July.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will look into creating national standards for living conditions for migrant farm workers. Their poor living conditions were highlighted in an investigation by the Globe and Mail, which found that more than 600 labourers had been infected with coronavirus in the province of Ontario alone . Mexico's ambassador told the Globe and Mail his country had temporarily halted sending more workers as a result.


Outbreak accelerating 'in many parts of world' - WHO

Here’s a little more on the news we brought you earlier that the World Health Organization is warning that the pandemic is entering a “new and dangerous” phase.
Maria van Kerkhove, technical lead of the WHO’s Covid-19 response, told a press conference the pandemic is “accelerating in many parts of the world”.
“While we have seen countries have some success in suppressing transmission and bringing transition down to a low level, every country must remain ready,” she said.
Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO's Health Emergencies Programme, said that some countries had managed to flatten the peak of infections without bringing them down to a very low level.
"You can see a situation in some countries where they could get a second peak now, because the disease has not been brought under control," he said.
“The disease will then go away and reduce to a low level, and they could then get a second wave again in the autumn or later in the year.”
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Post by Kitkat on Fri Jun 19 2020, 20:18

Republic of Ireland accelerates lockdown easing

Chris Page - BBC News Ireland correspondent
Coronavirus - 19th June Afbe6b10
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced a significant acceleration of the Republic of Ireland’s plan to ease lockdown restrictions.
Most parts of the final phase have been moved forward from 20 July to 29 June.
From the 29th of this month, indoor gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed, along with outdoor gatherings of up to 200.
Cinemas, gyms and hairdressers can reopen and places of worship can hold services again.
On 20 July, the limit for gatherings will increase to 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors.
Mr Varadkar said people should continue to adhere to the 2m social distancing rule, to follow good hygiene practices and wear face coverings on public transport or crowded indoor spaces.
He said: “As a country we got through this without giving way to despair, by looking out for each other, and by staying hopeful. This spirit of hope proved to be contagious and it has brought us to where we are now, ahead of schedule, able to accelerate the reopening of our country and our economy.”

Portuguese health official warns against lockdown easing

Alison Roberts - Portugal Correspondent, Lisbon
Portugal's top health official has called for "calm reflection" before any decision to allow bars and nightclubs to reopen, citing as a warning an illegal party in the Algarve that has given rise to at least 90 confirmed coronavirus cases in recent days.
Speaking at Friday's epidemiological briefing, the director-general of health, Graça Freitas, stressed that the state of public calamity remains in place and that it was not yet clear when it could be lifted.
Several children are among at least 90 people who tested positive after a party on 7 June in the village of Odiáxere, near Lagos, drew more than 100 revellers.
The outbreak - in one of Portugal's popular tourist regions - came as restrictions on tourism are being lifted, with regular commercial flights having restarted on Monday.
Portugal's Prime Minister António Costa earlier dismissed concerns about the country's image abroad, after 10 European Union member states left Portugal off their lists of countries whose residents will be permitted to visit as tourists.
Portugal reported 375 new infections on Friday, bringing the national tally to 38,464. Of the new cases, more than three-quarters were in the Tagus Valley and the capital, Lisbon. Over 1,500 virus-related deaths have also been confirmed.

Facebook removes 'man-made' coronavirus ad

Olga Robinson - Disinformation specialist, BBC Monitoring
Facebook has taken down an advert claiming the new coronavirus was engineered by humans, saying it spread "misinformation about Covid-19".
The ad, bought by a minor UK political party, suggested that a study on a potential coronavirus vaccine found "unequivocal evidence" that the virus was "man-made".
But the scientific paper that the ad linked to made no such claims.
Before it was removed, the ad had received several thousand views – mostly from Facebook users reportedly in their 50s and older.
Conspiracy theories about the origins of the virus have been doing the rounds on social media since the start of the outbreak.
As we have previously reported , they have been dismissed by scientists who say genome sequencing shows that the virus came from animals and was not made by humans.

Zip wire challenge completed by 101-year-old woman

A 101-year-old woman from southern Scotland has completed a zip wire challenge to raise funds for charity.
Margaret McConchie described herself as "not particularly adventurous" but said she had got more daring as she got older.
"I had complete faith in my grandson Duncan who helped me fly down the zip wire," she said afterwards. "I enjoyed the experience thoroughly."
Her goal was to raise £1,919 - to match the year of her birth - for NHS Charities Together but she ended up raising more than £12,000.

'Very strange decision' to lower UK's alert system

Earlier, the UK's chief medical advisers downgraded the country's alert level from four to three. (You can read more on what that means here).
But Sir David King - who chairs an independent group of scientists to rival the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) - has said lowering the level was "a very strange decision to make at this point in time".
He told Channel 4 News: "The message that goes across when we reduce from four to three in this way is we seem to be winning the battle but the number of cases per day is still very high for the whole of England."
He was asked whether he thought the science was being massaged to follow the politics. Sir David replied: "I very much fear that is the case. I think that we know the scientists were resisting the change of the alert number from four to three before and the politicians were pushing very hard for that to happen.
"I'm really questioning whether we've been following the science from the very beginning."
The government has repeatedly said its response to the pandemic would be led by scientific advice and evidence.

Aer Lingus to cut up to 500 jobs

Irish airline Aer Lingus is set to cut as many as 500 jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The carrier said it had been operating at 5% of its capacity during lockdown restrictions.
It said the uncertainty caused by the 14-day quarantine period for arrivals had also contributed.
The company said the pandemic had had a "catastrophic" effect on its business, adding the Irish government could have done more to help.

Man jailed for selling items from home during self-isolation

There's been a lot reported about people being fined for breaking coronavirus restrictions, but one man in the Isle of Man, a UK crown dependency, has been jailed for failing to self-isolate.
Nigel Caldecott allowed people to visit his home to buy items advertised on social media.
The 59-year-old, of Marina Lane in Port Erin, was sentenced to six weeks in jail.
He had travelled back to the Isle of Man from the UK. Under the island's current laws, anyone who arrives on the island must self-isolate for 14 days, whether or not they are showing symptoms of Covid-19.
The court heard that although he had been practising social distancing from those visiting the property, he had "sold a number of items to a number of people" and contact tracing was now under way.
Read more on the case here
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Post by Kitkat on Fri Jun 19 2020, 21:28

What's happened in the UK today?

It's been another busy day for coronavirus developments in the UK. Here's a recap:

  • Education in England made headlines on Friday. First of all, the government pledged £1bn of funding to help pupils catch up with the work they have missed - including tutoring for disadvantaged pupils as well as funding for schools to provide extra tuition. Then, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that all pupils in England would go back to school in September. However, headteachers have said they are yet to see plans of how it will work
  • Another big story was the decision of the UK's chief medical officers to downgrade the alert level from four to three. Under level three, the virus is considered to be "in general circulation" but there can be a "gradual relaxation of restrictions"
  • It also emerged that the government was planning to relax its travel quarantine rules for some countries in early July. UK officials are talking to their counterparts in Portugal, France, Italy, Greece and Spain with an aim for an announcement on 29 June
  • Meanwhile, Wales became the latest nation in the UK to set out how it will lift lockdown restrictions over the next few weeks. From Monday, shops can open. Meanwhile, the controversial "stay local" rule, advising people not to travel more than five miles from home, will stay for another fortnight - except for visits on "compassionate" grounds
  • And Apple has spoken after Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced yesterday that the NHS contact-tracing app was going to switch to a new model, designed by Google and Apple. Mr Hancock said: "We've agreed to join forces with Google and Apple, to bring the best bits of both systems together." But Apple said "we don't know what they mean", adding: "They haven't spoken to us about it."


Today's biggest stories from around the world

Hello and thank you for following our live coverage, brought to you by our team of reporters in Asia, London and the US.
Here are some of the day's major developments:

  • More than 8.5 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide, along with 547,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the pandemic is entering a "new and dangerous" phase. It said more than 150,000 cases were reported on Thursday globally - half of them in the Americas. This is the biggest daily jump in cases since the outbreak began
  • Chinese officials have released genome data which, they say, show that a recent outbreak in Beijing was a European strain. But some scientists are cautious over drawing early conclusions about the alleged link
  • Italian scientists said that sewage water from two cities contained coronavirus traces in December, long before the country's first confirmed cases
  • EU leaders failed to agree on a €750bn (£676bn; $840bn) recovery fund for the coronavirus crisis, but Germany called the talks "constructive"
  • Several US states also reported record-breaking numbers of new infections, as many local authorities continued to move ahead with steps to reopen the economy. Scientists have warned in a study that Florida has "all the markings of the next large epicentre of coronavirus transmission"
  • Meanwhile, New Zealand returned to zero new virus cases on Thursday - days after two women who travelled from the UK were found to be positive, ending a previous 24-day clean streak.




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


Today's live page has been the work of: Krutika Pathi, Yvette Tan, Anna Jones, Matt Davis, Patrick Jackson, Alexandra Fouché, Mal Siret, Joshua Cheetham, Sarah Collerton, Katie Wright, Dulcie Lee, Francesca Gillett, Jennifer Scott and Justin Parkinson.


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

    Current date/time is Sat Nov 28 2020, 08:33