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Coronavirus - 2nd July

Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 02 2020, 11:22

Summary for Thursday, 2nd July

  • In the US, 52,982 people tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday - a new one-day record
  • States are rolling back plans to open up - New York has paused plans to allow indoor dining
  • President Donald Trump changes tack and says he would wear a mask "in a tight situation"
  • In the UK, around 75 countries are expected to be exempt from travel quarantine rules
  • Plans for all students in England to return to school in September will be announced later
  • A report says there is no obvious source for a recent virus surge in the English city of Leicester
  • New Zealand's health minister resigns after a series of quarantine breaches by travellers
  • Globally there are 10.6 million coronavirus cases and more than 515,500 deaths


Hello and welcome to today’s coverage of the global pandemic. The world has reached more than 10.5 million cases of Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes the disease Covid-19. More than half a million lives have been lost and the economic impact has been unprecedented.
Many countries are still struggling to get their outbreak under control, while others have won the battle but now have to decide when they can open up their borders again to the wider world.
Throughout the day we’ll bring you all the latest news and developments, as well as analysis from our colleagues and other experts. We’ll also be looking for the positive stories of recovery, scientific breakthroughs and people helping each other out.

US cases reach new one-day high

We start today with the news that the US has reached a new record for the number of new cases in one day - 52,982. That's according to Johns Hopkins University in the US, the institution that has been widely relied on to track global virus data.
It says the total US cases now reach 2,682,270. There have been 128,028 deaths, that's more than twice the number of deaths recorded in Brazil, which comes second.
Infections are not slowing down in the US - earlier this week, the top US health official Dr Anthony Fauci warned the country could soon see 100,000 cases a day.
The continuing outbreak is causing some states to roll back their plans to reopen after lockdowns, despite the severe economic damage.

NZ health minister resigns over quarantine blunders

New Zealand aimed to "eliminate" the virus on its soil, by closing its borders early and bringing in a very stringent quarantine and lockdown. It achieved that goal in early June.
But recent weeks have seen a series of breaches of quarantine protocol which risked its virus-free status. In one case, two people were allowed to leave isolation early to visit a dying parent without being tested for the virus. They were later confirmed to have Covid-19.  
Most countries would not be alarmed by two cases but in New Zealand those two sparked a media outcry.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Thursday that she had accepted the resignation of health minister David Clark.
In a statement, he said he took "full responsibility for decisions made and taken during my time as Minister of Health".
Clark had already been demoted after breaking rules to take his family to the beach.

India added nearly 200,000 cases in 12 days

Infections are continuing to rise at an alarming rate in India. The country has confirmed 585,492 cases, including 17,400 deaths, according to the health ministry.
The situation has prompted a worried federal government to urge states to ramp up antigen testing, reported local media.
India went into lockdown in March, when cases were still in the hundreds and eased out of lockdown in early June, when infections had started to gallop. For example, last month was the worst in the outbreak so far - around 70% of infections were added in June.
Experts had earlier warned that the monsoon season - between July and September - would bring the peak, but it seems like this might already be under way. The rising numbers have prompted some states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand to go back into lockdown while a few other states like Telangana continue to mull it over.

Trump says he's 'all for masks'

The advice about face masks as a virus prevention tactic has changed through the pandemic.
Early on they were seen as not being as helpful as basic hygiene, and the concern was that they could encourage people to be complacent about things like handwashing and should be left for medical staff or the most vulnerable people. The WHO now says they are a good simple tool to stop the person wearing one from passing infection on.
But in the US there has been significant oppostion to the idea of wearing masks , with people saying doing so is a violation of their freedoms or even dangerous.
President Trump has long resisted wearing a mask, but in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday said: "I'm all for masks."
He said he would "absolutely" wear one "if I were in a tight situation with people".
It's unclear whether this will trigger a sea change among Trump supporters about the idea of wearing a mask.
Here's the BBC Reality Check team's debunking of some of the health concerns about masks.

Melbourne lockdown begins as outbreak continues

More than 300,000 Melburnians have re-entered lockdown today as infections rise in Australia's second biggest city.
The order applies to 10 postcodes which have seen the majority of the 370 active cases in the state of Victoria. Of those, 77 were confirmed today.
Police have set up roadblocks in those hotspots and warned residents of fines for disobeying the rules.
Adding to concerns, New South Wales and the Northern Territory have each reported a person testing positive after travelling there from Victoria.
Australia has had very few community transmissions outside of Victoria in the past couple of months. The country has recorded about 8,000 cases in total and 104 deaths.

'Quacks' guarding Indian villages against Covid-19

Soutik Biswas - India Correspondent
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Informal providers outnumber qualified doctors in India's villages

When a group of villagers in India's West Bengal state recently insisted that they would hold prayers in their local mosque - in violation of social distancing rules - Mohammed Nizamuddin sprung into action.
It helped that locals trusted Nizamuddin. They called their wiry 54-year-old neighbour "doctor" and visited him for treatment and medicines whenever they fell sick.
Except Nizamuddin is not a qualified doctor.
He is one of the state's estimated 100,000 informal rural health care providers who provide the first line of healthcare in tens of thousands of Indian villages.
"I explained why it was wrong for public health. They listened and finally decided to hold smaller congregations in a number of open places," he told the BBC's Soutik Biswas.



A world that changed in six months

It was just around six months ago that the world first learned about Covid-19. Few could predict then the impact it would go on to have. Here's a look back at how quickly the virus swept across the globe:
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 02 2020, 11:49

Real US death toll 'may be much higher'

A research team at Yale University has said that the US could be underestimating the true death toll from Covid-19 by as much as 28%.
The team said there had been 781,000 deaths in total in the US during March, April and May - that is 122,300 more than the average for the same period. According to the official data, there were 95,235 Covid-19 deaths in that time.
"Evaluating unexplained increases in deaths due to all causes or attributed to nonspecific outcomes, such as pneumonia and influenza, can provide a more complete picture of the burden of COVID-19," said the researchers.
They said data on deaths varied significantly between states and that some of the deaths could be attributed to "secondary effects" caused by lockdowns or people being afraid to go to hospitals.
The figures were just an estimate, they said, but concluded that "official tallies likely undercount deaths due to the virus".

A quick look at your headlines

If you're just joining us now in the UK, good morning and welcome back to our rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Here's what you need to know so far today:

  • The full-time return to school in September for all pupils in England will be based on keeping year groups apart in separate "bubbles"
  • This will be an expansion of the "protective bubble" system already used in schools - in which classes or year groups are kept apart, with separate starting, finishing, lunch and break times. Attendance will be compulsory
  • Quarantine for new arrivals in the UK has not been worth it, an ex-transport minister has said. The Home Office says it is seeing "a high level of compliance" but Tory MP Theresa Villiers said the travel industry had been "damaged" without cutting the Covid-19 risk
  • A Public Health England report has found that there is no obvious source for a recent surge in coronavirus cases in Leicester,
  • Globally there are now 10.6m coronavirus cases and more than 515,500 deaths


Middle East at critical threshold, WHO says

Countries in the Middle East have reached a "critical threshold" in their response to Covid-19 as lockdowns are lifted and airports and borders begin to reopen, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.
The director for the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean region - which extends from the Middle East and North Africa to Afghanistan and Pakistan - said the number of cases in June alone was more than had been seen in the whole of the previous four months.
Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari added that almost 87% of deaths in the region had been reported from just five countries: Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan.
Fewer coronavirus cases were being reported in crisis-hit Syria and Yemen, he said, but noted that this was likely due to the difficulties in carrying out tracking, testing and treatment of infections in these countries.
"Our health systems are overwhelmed, our health care workers are exhausted, a large number of people in our region are still vulnerable," Dr Al-Mandhari said. "There is no option to fail."

Indonesia reports record daily jump, with 1,624 new coronavirus cases

Lucy Campbell - The Guardian
Indonesia reported 1,624 coronavirus infections on Thursday in its biggest jump in new cases since the epidemic began, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.
Reuters reports the daily increase brings the total number of infections to 59,394. The country also reported 53 new deaths, taking cumulative COVID-19 fatalities to 2,987.

UK travel quarantine rules 'not worth it'

Implementing a compulsory quarantine rule for new arrivals in the UK has not been worth it, according to an ex-transport minister.
Tory MP Theresa Villiers said the travel industry had been "damaged" without cutting the Covid-19 risk.
So far, no UK police force has confirmed issuing any fines for people breaking the rules - and the UK Border Force has handed out two penalties.
But the Home Office says it is seeing "a high level of compliance".
Since 8 June, most people arriving in the UK from abroad have to had quarantine at an agreed address for 14 days. If they don't comply, then they are liable to be fined £1,000.
Read more about the enforcement action that has taken place.

Groom forced to pay fine after wedding infects 16

A wedding in India's Rajasthan state ran into some unexpected extra costs after 16 guests were infected with Covid-19, including one who died, local media report.
The groom's family have been fined around 600,000 rupees (£6,362; $7,944) for violating safety rules , which state that the maximum number of people allowed at weddings is 50. According to NDTV, this one had more than a 1,000 guests in attendance.
The family will also have to pay for treatment for the 15 who were infected and the quarantining of nearly 60 guests - this would include food and other services at an isolation ward.
Earlier this week, another wedding in Bihar state was in the news after more than 100 guests tested positive. The groom - who had symptoms - died a day after his wedding.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 02 2020, 12:02

Welsh pubs to reopen from 13 July - but only for outdoor service

Pubs, cafes and restaurants in Wales have been given the go-ahead to reopen from 13 July - but only for outdoor service.
As long as coronavirus cases continue to fall, the Welsh government has said they can serve customers in beer gardens, terraces and other outdoor spaces that they already own and have licences for.
But Wales is the only part of the UK which still has no date for when the hospitality industry will be able to welcome customers indoors.
Restaurant owners have warned thousands of jobs are at risk.

US states back off on reopening amid surge in cases

The surge in cases in some southern US states has led many other parts of the country to reconsider their plans to lift local lockdowns.
As we reported earlier, the US reached a new record of almost 50,000 new daily cases on Wednesday, with North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas all reaching new highs.
Arizona, which received praise from President Trump for its reopening just weeks ago, is now closing bars, gyms and cinemas for a month.
Bars, theatres and indoor restaurants have also been closed again across most of California, while New York has postponed its plans to allow indoor dining to resume.
Parts of southern Florida, meanwhile, are closing beaches to prevent large crowds from gathering on Independence Day on 4 July.
Find out more about what is behind the alarming new outbreaks.

Source of Leicester infection surge unknown, report says

Leicester has become the first place in the UK to be put into a local lockdown, but a report says there is no obvious source for a recent surge in cases in the city.
The Public Health England report said there were no outbreaks in care homes, hospitals or factories that could be the origin of the rise in infections.
More young and middle-aged people had tested positive than in nearby areas, with the rise in infections being "most marked" among under-19s, it found.
Last week the city had 10% of all new infections in the country, but the report said the spread of the virus was not "unconstrained".
The preliminary investigation said the increase in reported cases could partly be due to a "growth in availability of testing" in Leicester.

'Dozens of countries' to be exempt from UK quarantine

Tom Burridge - Transport correspondent
The UK is likely to publish a list of around 75 countries that will be exempt from travel quarantine rules from Monday, government sources have indicated.
Currently most people arriving in the UK from anywhere, apart from the Republic of Ireland, have to self-isolate for two weeks.
Last weekend the government said it would relax its advice on travel abroad and would rate countries as either green, amber or red, depending on the prevalence of the virus.
Previously the government had indicated it was working to establish a relatively small number of travel corridors, where people would not have to self-isolate on arrival in the UK.
The list with the countries low or very low risk is likely to be published by the end of this week, according to government sources. Some of the countries on this new list do still have restrictions on people travelling from the UK.
Other higher risk countries, like the US, will be categorised as red.
It seems that agreeing a small number of travel corridors with specific countries was fraught with risk. The Scottish government has expressed concern about plans to relax the quarantine and is still in discussion with officials and politicians in Westminster.

Israel allows temporary phone tracking

The Israeli parliament voted to allow its domestic intelligence services to access mobile phone data of those diagnosed with coronavirus for the next three weeks, as cases rise again.
Under the new law, the Shin Bet will be allowed to access the location of patients for 14 days before their diagnosis, which the government argues is necessary to identify new cases.
Similar moves in March faced opposition from activists and was blocked by the Supreme Court, which said the measures must be passed into law or dropped.
Across the world, countries have grappled with to balance privacy concerns with tracking suspected cases.
Earlier this week, Singapore began handing out Bluetooth-enabled contact tracing devices as an alternative to the government's contact tracing smartphone app.

France prepares for second wave, Serbia reimposes restrictions: Europe round-up

France is prepping for a second wave while Serbia tightens restrictions. Here’s the latest from Europe:

  • Companies will be asked to stockpile 10 weeks’ worth of masks in the event of a second wave, France’s secretary of state for economy and finance said. "We're preparing for the start of the school year and there is a risk of re-circulation of the virus," Agnès Pannier-Runacher said
  • Serbia has reimposed and tightened lockdown restrictions in certain parts of the country as infections rise once more. The country is currently on a list of EU "safe travel" nations, although Austria has issued a travel warning for the Balkan nation
  • People have been caught on camera crossing the border from Sweden into Norway, which has imposed restrictions on its Nordic neighbour. Norway’s Public Roads Administration has since deleted the images, Norwegian public broadcaster NRK reports
  • And Denmark's football cup final between Aalborg BK and Sønderjyske had to be halted after Aalborg fans refused to socially distance in the stands. Police eventually had to expel a group of supporters, and play resumed after a 15-minute delay - with Sønderjyske winning 2-0
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 02 2020, 12:12

UK 'won't hesitate' to impose more local lockdowns

Amid concerns about infection rates in parts of Yorkshire and north-west England, UK Local Government Minister Simon Clarke said "won't hesitate to act" where local lockdown restrictions are necessary.
He told BBC Breakfast that Bradford in Yorkshire was "the next one down on our list".
But he said Leicester - the first place to be put into a localised coronavirus lockdown - was an "outlier" with three times the infection rate of the second worst-affected area.
Following criticism that local governments were not able to see detailed information about infections in their neighbourhoods, Clarke said all councils would have access to postcode-level data, which had been made available on 22 June.

Generic drug firms to start production of Covid-19 drug

Coronavirus - 2nd July D355a910
Tests suggest remdesivir cuts recovery times for those infected with Covid-19

On Wednesday it emerged that &fbclid=IwAR04xu5L6bXYYbEcWCEYSFHQNhamEGEyP4RF2L0Q-LdS39yhEGG0HQSW4GU]the US was buying nearly all the next three months' projected production of Covid-19 drug remdesivir from US manufacturer Gilead.
But a handful of generic drug makers in India, Pakistan and Egypt are also licensed to make the drug.
Tests suggest remdesivir cuts recovery times, though it is not yet clear if it improves survival rates.
Hetero Labs in the Indian city of Hyderabad told BBC Telugu's Deepthi Bathini that it was already manufacturing the drug. It said it had sent around 30,000 vials of the drug to hospitals across the country and planned to scale up production to 100,000 vials in the next two weeks.
In Pakistan, health authorities are hopeful that the drug will hit the local market soon. Officials told BBC Urdu's Umer Nangiana that remdesivir produced by Ferozsons Laboratories will be available from 15 July.
Gilead has reached agreements with these generic drug firms , allowing them to produce it for 127 low-income and lower-middle income countries, according to CNN.

Dr Fauci: US risks greater outbreak if latest surge not controlled

The top US expert in infectious diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci, has expressed his concern over the rise in coronavirus cases in the country, warning of the risk of a greater outbreak if the latest surge is not controlled.
"We got hit very badly, worse than any country, with regard to the number of cases and the number of deaths. The problem we're facing now is that in an attempt to so-called reopen or open the government and get it back to some form of normality, we're seeing very disturbing spikes in different individual states in the US," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"We've got to get that under control or we risk an even greater outbreak in the United States."
Comparing the situation in the US to how some European countries controlled the spread of the virus, Dr Fauci said: "They closed down to the tune of about 97%. In the US, even in the most strict lockdown, only about 50% of the country locked down. That allowed the perpetuation of the outbreak."
"We need to engender some societal responsibility in people, particularly the younger people," he explained, noting that young people were less likely to be seriously affected by Covid-19 but could still spread the disease.

Year-group 'bubbles' to get England back to school

Sean Coughlan - BBC News, education correspondent
The full-time return to school in September for all pupils in England will be based on keeping year groups apart in separate "bubbles" .
The Department for Education is expected to confirm safety plans later based on reducing contact, rather than social distancing.
The bubble system also means that if there are infections - either in a class or a year group - that all the children in that group could have to be sent home.
Attendance will be compulsory, with the threat of penalty fines for parents.
The safety plans will be an expansion of the "protective bubble" system already used in schools - in which classes or year groups are kept apart, with separate starting, finishing, lunch and break times.

Governments being overly cautious, airline industry says

The closure of borders has been devastating for the travel industry, so airlines are very keen to get their planes moving again.
As lockdowns ease, a lot of countries are in talks about creating travel bubbles between safe areas.
Subhas Menon, director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, told the BBC's Asia Business Report that governments in the region were being overly cautious about opening up air bridges.
"They have started routes for essential travel but they're very restrictive. There is no confidence among the travelling public that they can travel conveniently and safely."
He said authorities needed to communicate better with the public about the mitigation measures in airports and on planes, and lift restrictions and quarantine requirements "so people will finally get onto aeroplanes".
It may of course be some time yet before governments feel it is safe to take those steps.

Help us, say musicians in plea to UK government

Coronavirus - 2nd July 4805eb10
Liam Gallagher, Dua Lipa and Sir Paul McCartney are among those who have signed the open letter

Liam Gallagher, Dua Lipa and Sir Paul McCartney are among 1,500 artists who have signed an open letter calling for support for the UK's live music scene.
Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones and Coldplay also signed the letter to the culture secretary warning of the impact of Covid-19 on venues and musicians.
It says the music industry faces "mass insolvencies", with gigs and festivals unlikely to return until 2021.
The organisers said there had already been "hundreds of redundancies".
Job losses have been reported across venues, agencies and promoters, they said.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 02 2020, 12:18

Where cases are still rising and other world headlines

If you are just joining us, here's a reminder of the top stories from around the world:

  • As the US announced a new record high of 52,000 daily infections, President Donald Trump appears to have reversed his stance on wearing masks . A number of states have also announced the reintroduction of lockdown measures in response to the rise in cases
  • There have been sharp rises in Latin America too. In Brazil, which is only behind the US in numbers of cases and fatalities, the death toll has now passed 60,000
  • South Africa has reported a new daily record of cases, with more than 8,100 announced on Thursday. The country has the highest number of infections on the continent
  • The UN Security Council has issued its first resolution since the pandemic began calling for a three-month ceasefire in all conflicts to help deal with the spread of coronavirus
  • The World Health Organization has warned that countries in the Middle East have reached a "critical threshold" in the fight against coronavirus, noting that conflict zones including Syria and Yemen are ill-equipped to track or contain and outbreak
  • New Zealand's health minister has stepped down. He had previously been forced to apologise after breaking lockdown measures


Missed schooling 'national disaster' for UK

As the NHS marks its 72nd anniversary on Sunday, the UK is resuming its doorstep applause for medics and other key workers - with professional sports across England joining in the tributes .
Team GB's Olympians, the Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board and Rugby Football Union are among the organisations taking part in the "Thank You Together" moment at 17:00 BST (16:00 GMT).
Premier League and English Football League matches this weekend will be preceded by a moment of applause, Wembley Stadium's screens will display a #ThankYouTogether mosaic and England's rugby team will record a personal thank you message.

Thank you NHS: Sport to pay tribute on 72nd anniversary

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Many sporting grounds have displayed messages of thanks during the coronavirus crisis

As the NHS marks its 72nd anniversary on Sunday, the UK is resuming its doorstep applause for medics and other key workers - with professional sports across England joining in the tributes .
Team GB's Olympians, the Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board and Rugby Football Union are among the organisations taking part in the "Thank You Together" moment at 17:00 BST (16:00 GMT).
Premier League and English Football League matches this weekend will be preceded by a moment of applause, Wembley Stadium's screens will display a #ThankYouTogether mosaic and England's rugby team will record a personal thank you message.

Analysis: How UK U-turned on quarantine plans

Tom Burridge - Transport correspondent
So the government is about to announce something which aviation bosses, many MPs and some scientists have advocated from the beginning: a targeted quarantine which only impacts people arriving into the UK from high-risk "red" countries.
It is the opposite of the government’s blanket-style approach which has been in place for less than four weeks. You could call it a U-turn.
For days, if not weeks, the government has indicated that it wanted a relatively small number of bilateral "travel corridors" with European nations where the virus is under control.
It appears that approach of a selected number of exemptions hit a number of hurdles. Some countries, like Greece, were not willing to reciprocate in the short-term. And there was nothing to stop people travelling into the UK from a higher risk country, via a lower risk one to avoid the quarantine.
The optics concerning Portugal are illuminating. First it seemed to be top of the list of exemptions. Then, last week, sources indicated it was off the list. The situation regarding Portugal now is unclear.
The process was further complicated by both the Welsh and Scottish governments saying they might follow a separate approach.
Travel companies will be pleased about a much longer list of exemptions but they have been pulling their hair out over the confusion, and the delay in making a final announcement, which is now expected by the end of this week.
And critics will question why the government did not go for a more nuanced approach in the first place.

Does closing bars help stop coronavirus? Science says so

Both Arizona and California have seen rising numbers of infections and they - along with other states and local authorities - have included bars among the locations they will close in a bid to deal with new outbreaks.
Now scientists have backed up the logic behind this.
"Can you do social distancing at a bar? Can you wear a mask while drinking?" Dr David Hamer of the Boston University School of Medicine told the Associated Press news agency. "Bars are the perfect place to break all those rules."
According to a study into the spread of coronavirus clusters in Japan earlier this year, "many Covid-19 clusters were associated with heavy breathing in close proximity, such as singing at karaoke parties, cheering at clubs, having conversations in bars, and exercising in gymnasiums".
The potential of bars to help the virus spread may also be explained by the fact that alcohol lowers inhibitions, according to AP.
In addition, younger people who become infected there are more likely to experience mild or no symptoms and therefore spread the virus through the community.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 02 2020, 12:24

Teachers to keep their distance in England's school opening plan

Teachers will be asked to keep their distance from each other and older students when schools in England fully return in September, government guidance published earlier says.
Since the reopening plan relies on year groups being kept apart in "bubbles" to reduce social contacts, teachers who work with multiple year groups are advised to try to maintain social distancing "as much as they can".
Schools will have testing kits to give to parents if children show symptoms.
If there are two confirmed coronavirus cases in 14 days, all the pupils in that group could have to be sent home. But closing a whole school "will not generally be necessary", the guidance says, and should only be considered on advice from health officials.
The guidance also recommends separate times for starting, finishing lunch and breaks, regular hand-washing, an end to group events like school assemblies, separate groups on school buses and discouraging the use of public transport.
You can read the guidance in full here

UK education secretary to speak on school return plan

We are expecting to hear from UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson in the House of Commons shortly, as the government outlines how it plans to get all pupils back to school safely in England in September.
Earlier, Williamson said in a statement that "we are doing everything we can to make sure schools, nurseries, colleges and other providers are as safe as possible for children and staff".
But a headteachers' union has described the logistics of the plan to keep children apart in separate year-group "bubbles" as "mind-boggling".

Tracking the pandemic

As we reported earlier, the US had a new record high of daily infections on Wednesday - more than 52,000.
A number of southern and western states are seeing a spike in cases, and some have reversed or paused reopening plans.
The US now has nearly 2.7 million confirmed Covid-19 infections and more than 128,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the pandemic.
The graphic below shows how cases are on the rise across the country. We have been tracking the pandemic here
Coronavirus - 2nd July 46681510

Northern Ireland's deputy first minister 'should step aside' during police probe

In Northern Ireland, Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill has been urged to step aside while police probe if there were social distancing breaches at a funeral on Tuesday .
Calling on Sinn Fein to respond, DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he did not want Stormont to collapse, but that O'Neill should "step aside" while police investigate.
Current coronavirus regulations in Northern Ireland state a maximum of 30 people are allowed to gather together outdoors.
There has been widespread criticism of O'Neill and her party colleagues , including leader Mary Lou McDonald and former leader Gerry Adams, who attended the funeral of Bobby Storey, who was considered the head of intelligence of the IRA for a period from the mid-1990s.
O'Neill said her actions were in line with social distancing , with a source close to her saying she "will not be standing aside temporarily, or standing down".
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 02 2020, 12:40

Summary updates from The Guardian :

(From Lucy Campbell, Aamna Mohdin, Rebecca Ratcliffe and Ben Doherty)

  • Covid-19 cases have passed 10.6 million across the globe. There are now 10,694,288 cases of coronavirus worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins university tracker , with at least 516,210 deaths.
  • Donald Trump has said he believes the coronavirus will “just disappear”, one day after the US recorded more than 44,000 new cases, a new all-time daily high.
  • India has now recorded more than 600,000 coronavirus infections, and 17,834 deaths. The country has the fourth largest outbreak in the world, and the increase in infections presents a severe challenge for its overburdened health system.
  • Tokyo confirmed more than 100 new coronavirus infection cases on Thursday. The city had initially sought to keep new daily cases below 20, following the lifting of the state of emergency on May 25, but its tally has consistently exceeded 50.
  • The World Health Organisation has warned the Middle East is at a “critical threshold” with more than a million cases recorded across 22 countries.
  • West Bank has gone into lockdown as virus numbers soar. The Palestinian Authority has announced a five-day lockdown across the West Bank after the total confirmed coronavirus infections in the territory more than doubled following the easing of previous restrictions.
  • NZ’s health minister, David Clark, has resigned, after a series of political missteps, and repeated breaches of his own government’s lockdown rules.
  • Brazil death toll has passed 60,000. On Wednesday afternoon a coalition of Brazilian news outlets announced that the country’s total death toll had risen by 538 to 60,194, meaning it had doubled in the last month.


  • UK to lift ban on non-essential travel to up to 90 countries. Overseas holidays and visits to up to 90 countries will be possible for Britons from Monday without the need to quarantine for 14 days on return.The Foreign Office is expected to lift its ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU countries, British territories such as Bermuda and Gibraltar, and Australia and New Zealand.
  • Indonesia reports record daily jump, with 1,624 new coronavirus cases. Indonesia reported 1,624 coronavirus infections on Thursday in its biggest jump in new cases since the epidemic began, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said. Reuters reports the daily increase brings the total number of infections to 59,394.
  • China’s local governments must increase testing capacity to prepare for potential outbreaks. Local institutions should ramp up and reserve coronavirus testing capacity in preparation for increased demand amid potential outbreaks, Reuters reports citing national health authorities.
  • Kazakhstan will implement a second, softer lockdown. The country will close down again for two weeks from July 5 to help combat a surge in coronavirus cases, the government said on Thursday. Reuters reports authorities will close some non-essential businesses, limit travel between provinces, cut public transit services’ hours of operation and ban public gatherings
  • Russia’s coronavirus case tally passes 660,000. Russia on Thursday reported 6,760 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its nationwide tally to 661,165, Reuters reports.The authorities said 147 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 9,683.
  • Covid-19 cases have passed 10.6 million across the globe. There are now 10,694,288 cases of coronavirus worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins university tracker , with at least 516,210 deaths.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 02 2020, 17:44

Northern Ireland's deputy first minister 'should step aside' during police probe

In Northern Ireland, Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill has been urged to step aside while police probe if there were social distancing breaches at a funeral on Tuesday .
Calling on Sinn Fein to respond, DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he did not want Stormont to collapse, but that O'Neill should "step aside" while police investigate.
Current coronavirus regulations in Northern Ireland state a maximum of 30 people a re allowed to gather together outdoors.
There has been widespread criticism of O'Neill and her party colleagues , including leader Mary Lou McDonald and former leader Gerry Adams, who attended the funeral of Bobby Storey, who was considered the head of intelligence of the IRA for a period from the mid-1990s.
O'Neill said her actions were in line with social distancing , with a source close to her saying she "will not be standing aside temporarily, or standing down".

Airbus to cut 1,730 jobs at England and Wales sites

A total of 1,730 jobs will be cut at two of aerospace giant Airbus's UK factories , the company has confirmed.
It is part of plans to axe 15,000 jobs worldwide in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Llyr Gruffydd, North Wales Member of the Senedd, said it was "gut-wrenching" that 1,435 jobs were being cut in Broughton, Flintshire. The factory makes wings for the Airbus A380 - the world's largest passenger plane.
A further 295 jobs will go at a site in Filton, Bristol, which is responsible for wing assembly and equipping the Airbus A400M, a military transport plane. Previously, the company said the jobs would go by summer 2021.
Airbus hopes the majority will come via voluntary redundancies or staff retiring early. Some 134,000 people work for Airbus worldwide, with about 10% of them in the UK.

US county resorts to subpoenas for contact tracing

Local authorities in the state of New York are turning to subpoenas - orders to hand-over evidence or testify - after a number of people who tested positive for coronavirus refused to co-operate with contact tracers.
Health officials in Rockland county are investigating a cluster of cases linked to a party held on 13 June, but say that eight people who tested positive are not speaking voluntarily with contact tracers.
Rockland's health commissioner, Patricia Rupert, says that the host of the party knew they had symptoms but decided to hold the event anyway, The Hill.
People who fail to comply with the subpoenas will be fined $2,000 (£1,600) per day, she added.
New York has been the state hardest hit by coronavirus so far, with more than 32,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University

Will Americans follow Trump's lead on masks?

Jack Goodman - BBC Reality Check
President Donald Trump has said he is "all for masks" after Republican politicians urged him to set a good example to his supporters by wearing one.
There is growing concern about those Americans who refuse to wear masks as more parts of the country introduce rules making them compulsory.
Opposition often includes claims that face masks are actually dangerous to the wearer.
We have looked into those fears, and found that correctly-worn masks made of breathable material are safe.
The World Health Organisation says: "The prolonged use of medical masks when properly worn, does not cause CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency."
Read more about the misinformation circulating on the wearing of face masks from Reality Check here.

Scotland makes face coverings mandatory in shops

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been leading the Scottish government's briefing today to update people on changes to coronavirus lockdown measures there.
The UK's nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are altering their restrictions at different rates.
Here's a quick roundup of what we learned from the First Minister's press conference:

  • Sturgeon said one person who tested positive for the virus has died, taking total deaths in Scotland to 2,487. She confirms 8,264 people have now tested positive for Covid-19, an increase of five from yesterday


  • Wearing face coverings will become mandatory in shops in Scotland from July 10
  • The two-metre social-distancing guidance will be retained in Scotland but exceptions will be allowed for some sectors, including hospitality, from the end of next week
  • Physical distancing outside is lifted for children aged 11 and under, while those aged 12-17 will need to still follow the 2m guideline but the limit on the number of times they can meet up to eight friends outside has been lifted
  • From Friday, the five-mile travel restriction for leisure will be lifted. But people in the areas Annan, Gretna, Dumfries, Lockerbie, Langholm and Canonbie are urged to abide by the five-mile restriction after a rise in cases


UK PM to hold press briefing on Friday ahead of pubs reopening

The Prime Minister will give a press conference on Friday evening ahead of an easing of England's coronavirus lockdown on Saturday, when pubs and restaurants will reopen.
Boris Johnson has previously said that he wanted people to be able to go out and enjoy themselves but that everybody needed to be careful, stay alert and to follow the guidance and to make sure that they don't "overdo it".
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 02 2020, 17:52

Mexico's death toll exceeds Spain's as virus continues to spread

Mexico's coronavirus death toll has now exceeded that of Spain - an early hot spot.
Mexican authorities announced 741 further deaths on Wednesday, pushing the national tally to 28,510, more than Spain's 28,364.
Mexico now has the sixth highest number of virus-related deaths in the world and it is soon likely to move ahead of France too, as the virus’s spread has slowed in Europe but continues to rise in Latin America.
However, Mexico is lower down the table for registered cases (10th in the world, with a total of 231,770), which is believed to reflect the fact it has conducted comparatively fewer tests than some other countries.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been criticised for being slow to impose lockdown measures and being quick to lift them. A gradual easing of restrictions began last month.
The president has insisted the economy needs protecting, particularly for the sake of the working classes.

US jobless rate now at 11%

The latest US jobs figures have just come out. The economy added 4.8m jobs in June.
The unemployment rate also dropped to 11.1% from 13.3% in May, according to the Labor Department. Americans filed 1.4m new unemployment benefits claims.
The jobless rate remains historically high, and is far above the 3.5% seen in February before the pandemic reached the US.

Botswana president goes into quarantine

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President Mokgweetsi Masisi has quarantined himself after an official tested positive

Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi has quarantined himself after an official working closely with him tested positive for Covid-19, a government statement has said. Some other people in the president's inner circle are also self-isolating, it adds.The country of 2.25 million people has so far recorded just 227 cases of the virus and one death.

UK misses target for 24-hour test turnaround

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
Many people in England are still waiting longer than 24 hours for their coronavirus test results , figures show.
Four in 10 tests done by mobile units and three in 10 carried out at regional drive-through centres were taking longer than that, data up to 24 June reveals.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he expected such tests to be processed in 24 hours by the end of June.
But the data - the first released on 24-hour turnaround times - shows significant progress has been made.
Four times as many tests are being processed within a day as were being done at the start of June when the prime minister made his pledge.

UK PM's father defends 'essential' trip to Greece

Stanley Johnson, the prime minister's father, has defended travelling to Greece despite coronavirus restrictions .
On Wednesday, Mr Johnson posted on Instagram a video of his plane arriving in Athens and a selfie wearing a mask at the airport.
He told the Daily Mail he was "on essential business" ensuring a property he rents out was "Covid-proof" before holidays resume.
The UK Foreign Office currently advises against "all but essential international travel" and Greece will not allow direct flights from the UK to land until 15 July.
Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone said the incident "stinks of one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us".

Amazon fires at 13-year high in Brazil

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Fires raged across the Amazon in 2019

In Brazil, one of the world's hardest-hit countries, activists say the coronavirus outbreak could be helping fuel deforestation in the Amazon, as authorities are stretched to monitor arson and other illegal activities that contribute to the fires.
Fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest were at a 13-year high in June, government data shows.
The country's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) recorded 2,248 fires using satellite imagery for the month, compared to 1,880 fires in June 2019.
The burning usually increases throughout July, August and September, and such an increase at the start of the dry season has led to concerns that this year's fires could surpass 2019's disastrous blazes.
Many forest fires in the country are started deliberately by illegal loggers and farmers wanting to quickly clear ground.
Brazil has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, prompting fears that the increased smoke could have a damaging effect on the breathing of infected patients.
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Misleading local lockdown claims continue on social media

Marianna Spring - Disinformation and social media reporter
Misleading claims about imminent local lockdowns are being shared in a number of local Whatsapp groups in England - as well as on other social media sites.
They have been shared in community groups for Stoke, Portsmouth, Sandwell in the West Midlands, the London Borough of Haringey and elsewhere.
Some of the messages re-share lists of local authorities in England experiencing a rise in coronavirus cases and suggest their home area will "become the next Leicester" as soon as this weekend.
The speculation comes as Leicester became the first city to be subject to a local lockdown. However, Public Health Experts have been quick to point out that the lists being shared are frequently based on weekly case increases without wider context.
A rise in cases has been recorded in some local authority areas but a Public Health England (PHE) spokesperson told the BBC: "To use this data in isolation to predict which areas will see significant increases in cases is not appropriate as it does not provide a complete picture of what is happening locally."
A number of local councils have come out on Twitter and Facebook to counter online rumours of imminent lockdowns in their areas - making it clear none have been announced.
Have you seen rumours and speculation in your local WhatsApp or Facebook group? Get in touch: marianna.spring@bbc.co.uk.

Misleading local lockdown claims continue on social media

Marianna Spring - Disinformation and social media reporter
Misleading claims about imminent local lockdowns are being shared in a number of local Whatsapp groups in England - as well as on other social media sites.
They have been shared in community groups for Stoke, Portsmouth, Sandwell in the West Midlands, the London Borough of Haringey and elsewhere.
Some of the messages re-share lists of local authorities in England experiencing a rise in coronavirus cases and suggest their home area will "become the next Leicester" as soon as this weekend.
The speculation comes as Leicester became the first city to be subject to a local lockdown. However, Public Health Experts have been quick to point out that the lists being shared are frequently based on weekly case increases without wider context.
A rise in cases has been recorded in some local authority areas but a Public Health England (PHE) spokesperson told the BBC: "To use this data in isolation to predict which areas will see significant increases in cases is not appropriate as it does not provide a complete picture of what is happening locally."
A number of local councils have come out on Twitter and Facebook to counter online rumours of imminent lockdowns in their areas - making it clear none have been announced.
Have you seen rumours and speculation in your local WhatsApp or Facebook group? Get in touch: marianna.spring@bbc.co.uk.

We do not feel safe, say staff at factory linked to cases

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The food factory has been links to 237 coronavirus cases

Workers at a food factory in Wales linked to 237 coronavirus cases have said they do not feel safe.
One Rowan Foods worker in Wrexham anonymously told 5 Live Investigations Unit it was "only a matter of time before I catch it".
He claimed some workers with symptoms were not self-isolating because they cannot afford to live off statutory sick pay. Another worker said it was "impossible to keep social distance".
Our colleagues at 5 Live said they saw evidence of personal protective equipment (PPE) not always being used and recent photos from inside the factory of people standing near each other and not wearing visors.
Rowan Foods said measures put in place in March were protecting workers, and that it is "complying with all Covid-19 guidance relating to our operations - we have been for some months now and continue to do so".

Man who broke social distancing dies one day after posting regret

A California man who contracted Covid-19 after flouting social-distancing rules has died one day after posting on Facebook that he regretted the decision.
"This is no joke," wrote Thomas Macias, 51, after learning he had caught the virus having attended a party in June about 70 miles (110km) south of Los Angeles.
"If you have to go out wear a mask and practice social distancing."
His post also apologised to his family for potentially infected them.
"Because of my stupidity I put my mom and sisters and my family's health in jeopardy," he wrote. "This has been a very painful experience."

Baby macaque killed after traffic returns to Thai park

Issariya Praithongyaem - BBC News Thai
A baby macaque was hit by a car on the first day of the reopening of the Khao Yai National park in Prachinburi, Thailand, on Wednesday.
The macaque mother rushed to rescue the baby, but it was too late. She then took the dead baby back into the forest.
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The national park had been closed to visitors from 25 March because of the coronavirus pandemic. During the three-month lockdown, the park’s wild animals - including elephants, deers and wild boars - had been able to roam freely.
After the tragedy, the park urged visitors to reduce their driving speed to 30-60km/h (19-38 miles per hour) for safety of the animals.
The management only allows 5,000 visitors every day. During peak season, 9,500 people visited each day.
In early May, Minister of National Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa floated the idea of an annual three-month closure of all national parks to allow nature to heal without the disturbance of human activities.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 02 2020, 18:11

England, Wales and Northern Ireland virus deaths

In England, a further 35 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 28,794, NHS England said.
In Wales, a further eight people have died with the virus, according to Public Health Wales. This takes the total number of deaths there to 1,524.
Northern Ireland's Department of Health said one coronavirus-related death has been reported in the last day, bringing its death toll to 552.

Concerns in China ahead of final-year high school exams

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
There are fresh concerns in China that, as a result of new, strict guidelines, many students may find themselves unable to sit their final year high school exams.
The Ministry of Education announced that students sitting the annual Gaokao - China's version of A-Levels - will be denied entry to their examination room if they have a temperature of higher than 37.3 degrees Celsius. The exams take place nationwide on 7-8 July.
At many academic institutes, special quarantine rooms will be available to isolate a maximum of four students (in different corners of the room), but in Beijing, which is still high-risk for the virus, students will not be able to sit their exams.
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A student undergoes a security check before a simulation of the annual exame

The decision by the ministry has sparked fierce debate. Many say that the temperatures should be increased, factoring in student stress, and the local climate. Many areas of China experience temperatures in the high 30s this time of year, with temperatures of around 35 are expected in Beijing – in the north of the country - alone.
More than 10 million students will sit these exams next week, and official media call it “the largest organised gathering event in China since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak”.

Africa 'loses $55bn' in tourism

Africa has lost an estimated $55bn (£43bn) in travel and tourism over the last three months due to the coronavirus pandemic, a commissioner for the African Union has said.
Amani Abou-Zeid told an online news conference that the sector was worth almost 10% of the continent's GDP and that millions of people's livelihoods depended on it.
Continued coronavirus measures mean some airlines may not survive, she added.
In March, the World Travel and Tourism Council predicted that up to 50 million jobs could be at risk globally because of the pandemic. A number of airlines across the world have since announced job cuts and even bankruptcy protection.

Trump to hold 4 July celebration at Mount Rushmore despite warnings

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Mt Rushmore in South Dakota features the faces of four American presidents

US President Donald Trump is planning to go ahead with an Independence Day celebration at Mt Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday, despite warnings from public health officials and environmental and tribal leaders.
The event will not feature social distancing, and will be open to more than 7,000 attendees, the South Dakota governor said.
National Park officials have also warned that the event's pyrotechnics display could spark a brushfire due to dry conditions.

French Open to be open for fans

Fans will be allowed to attend the French Open when it begins in September, the French Tennis Federation has said.
A statement published on the tournament's website (in French) said ticket sales would begin from 9 July. The reservations would remain flexible, with ticket seats only confirmed to buyers in mid-September.
Up to four people will be allowed to sit together, with one seat left free between each group, up to a total of 50-60% of the normal capacity. According to the AFP news agency, this represents up to 20,000 people on each day of the tournament, which runs from 27 September until 11 October.
More tickets may be released closer to the time if the public health situation permits, the tournament said, while some of the original tickets may be reimbursed if the situation deteriorates.
Almost 30,000 people have died with coronavirus in France, and there have been more than 200,000 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Sweden hits 70,000 cases

More than 70,000 people have now tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden, while the death toll stands at 5,411.
Forty-one more people died in the last 24 hours, health agency statistics show.
Sweden's response to the pandemic has been very different to other European countries. There has been no lockdown, with schools and cafes staying open, but large gatherings have been banned and most Swedes observe social distancing.
But the country has seen a far higher mortality rate than its nearest neighbours that imposed strict lockdowns. Denmark has registered 606 deaths, Finland 328 and Norway 251.
Sweden's controversial decision not to impose a strict lockdown led to too many deaths , the man behind the policy, Anders Tegnell, acknowledged last month.
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Honduran president to be discharged from hospital

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez is to be discharged from hospital after falling ill with coronavirus.
President Hernandez needed oxygen after being hospitalised with Covid-19 last month.
But now his doctors have seen enough improvement for him to return home.
"Over the last few days he has gradually presented clear improvement in his general condition, with a decrease in respiratory symptoms and a significant decrease in inflammation," said Alicia Jimenez, a doctor at the military hospital where Hernandez was being treated.

17:45

Downing Street press conference round-up

An update of the key points from the coronavirus briefing. The government says:

  • Schools will be asked to minimise contact between pupils when they all return in September
  • Parents who keep children out of education will face fines
  • Exams will take place as normal next summer
  • Out-of-school clubs will resume in September
  • 200,000 laptops have been given to disadvantaged pupils
  • Local action in case of coronavirus "flare-ups" will ensure that national shutdowns won't be needed in future
  • Children with underlying health conditions will be asked to return to school unless there are "local issues" with the virus


Florida breaks new cases record

Now the Downing Street briefing's ended, there's more worrying news from the US. Florida has broken its record for new cases, less than a week after it broke its previous record.
The Florida Department of Health reported 10,109 infections on Thursday, bringing the state's total cases to 169,106.
The previous high of 9,500 new cases was set last Saturday.

US 'on track' to make 300m vaccine doses by 2021

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) director Stephen Hahn has said he is "cautiously optimistic" that the US will have a vaccine available by the end of this year or early 2021.
"FDA has given authorisation to proceed with clinical trials for four separate vaccines and we've seen a number of vaccine developers come forward - double digit numbers - so we have a lot of different, if you will, shots on goal with respect to vaccines," he told ABC on Thursday.
At a Senate committee hearing in Washington, US National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins testified that the Trump's administration's "Operation Warp Speed" is on track to create and provide 300m doses to the American public by early 2021.

Polish PM says virus is disease 'like any other'

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said Poles should not be afraid to vote in the second round of a presidential election this month because Covid-19 has become a disease "like any other".
His nationalist ruling party's presidential candidate, Andrzej Duda, is running against centrist Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowsk.
The first round of voting took place last Sunday and the next is scheduled for 12 July.
"This is now a disease that we could say is like any other, we are only waiting for a vaccine," state news agency PAP quoted Morawiecki as saying.
"And the institutions assessing the first round (of the election) have confirmed that it was organised in a very appropriate way. Let's not be afraid of participating in the second round," he added.
Poland has not been as badly hit as some European countries, registering fewer than 1,500 deaths out of a total population of some 38 million.

Work halted at five mines in Czech Republic amid outbreak

A mining company is to halt work at its five active mines in the Czech Republic amid an outbreak of coronavirus in north-east Moravia.
The Darkov coal mine has been shut since 22 May after an outbreak. Then, testing at a second mine revealed that one in five of its more than 3,400 employees were carrying the virus.
The OKD company has now decided that all five mines will stop operating for six weeks from Friday to avoid any further outbreaks.
Most of those who tested positive had no idea they were infected, the company said.
OKD is the largest employer in the Moravian-Silesian region. The region has not been included in the widespread easing of lockdown starting 1 July due to the outbreak.
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England schools return won't be easy but is necessary

Sean Coughlan - BBC News, education correspondent
If you could fast forward to September and schools in England were not opening there would be outrage from parents.
Pubs would have opened, there might be a few holiday sun tans and whatever is left of the high street will be back in business.
So it would have been impossible not to have a plan for a return to school.
“We can’t sit back and say children won’t go back to school,” said the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.
So, in many ways, these plans represent the art of the possible, rather than the ideal.
But parents have raised doubts about the tactic of separate bubbles.
What happens if families have children in different years?
What about all the mixing up of children on public transport?
There are big academic unknowns too.
How will full versions of GCSEs and A-levels go ahead when pupils have missed months of school?
And tucked away in the details are suggestions Year 7 might have to retake chunks of Year 6 again because of all the holes in learning.
It’s not going to be easy - and there could be stop-starting from local lockdowns - but not going back at all would have been much more politically toxic.

The news from across Latin America

Coronavirus continues to increase its hold over much of Latin America. Here are some of the recent developments:

  • The pandemic has fuelled the unemployment figures across Latin American and the Caribbean, rising to an estimated total of 41 million people, according to a UN agency. Vinicius Pinheiro, regional director for International Labor Organization, said the rate of joblessness is likely to rise to as much as 13% this year, compared to 8.1% in 2019.
  • The Mayor of Medellin – Colombia’s second city – has introduced an alcohol ban over weekends to crack down on parties as coronavirus catalysts. The city has been heralded as a global example in keeping cases low but they began rising in June. Colombia’s national caseload officially topped 100,000 on Wednesday.
  • The President of Honduras has shown “marked improvement” in his recovery from Covid-19 and will soon be discharged from hospital, according to his doctor. Juan Orlando Hernández announced he and his wife had tested positive in mid-June.
  • Buenos Aires’ minister of health says he hopes to announce more freedoms for residents of the city and surrounding area from 17 July. It comes after a rollback on lockdown-easing began on Wednesday amid concerns about a rise in the occupation of intensive-care beds.


Café Rouge and Bella Italia owner falls into administration

There have been thousands of job losses announced this week as the coronavirus continues to batter the UK economy.
Now, the owner of High Street restaurant chains Café Rouge and Bella Italia has gone into administration .
Ninety one Casual Dining Group outlets will close immediately, and 1,900 of the firm's 6,000 staff will lose their jobs.
Administrators Alix Partners are seeking offers for all or parts of the remaining business.
Casual Dining Group, which also owns the Las Iguanas chain, said it hoped a new owner could save the firm.
"We are acutely aware of our duty to all employees and recognise that this is an incredibly difficult time for them," chief executive James Spragg said.
"Working alongside the administrators we will do everything we can to support them through this process with a view to preserving as much employment as we are able to."

Switzerland to enforce quarantine on arrivals from 29 countries

Travellers to Switzerland from 29 countries - including the US, Sweden and Brazil - will have to inform authorities immediately on arrival and then go into quarantine for 10 days, the government has said.
The rule will be enforced from 6 July and is part of an effort to curb further spread of the coronavirus.
The full list is: Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Chile, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Iraq, Israel, Qatar, Colombia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Moldova, North Macedonia, Oman, Panama, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Serbia, South Africa, Turks and Caicos Islands and thee United States.

Bavarian PM angers promoters with 'dance at home' comment

The Bavarian prime minister has angered promoters and DJs in Germany by saying that clubs will not open their doors for some time, but "you can always dance at home with your partner".
Markus Söder added that the mood at a rock show is very different from, for example, the State Opera, and social distancing is tougher.
Many were angered by what they perceived as a disregard for the industry.
"To signal even more anxiety and ultimately helplessness to all these people through disrespect, [Söder] is unworthy of a prime minister and it shows that you are out of place here!" wrote one festival promoter.

Former US presidential candidate Herman Cain in hospital

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Herman Cain (right) and Senator Mitt Romney at a 2011 Republican debate

Herman Cain, the Republican pizza chain CEO who ran for president in 2012, is in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this week.
A statement from Cain, who now hosts radio and TV programmes, said he was recuperating in an Atlanta-area hospital and is doing well and has not required a ventilator.
Cain was an advocate of a flat tax system and ran for office after a stint as CEO of Godfather's Pizza.
During his run, he told reporters he would not abide any "gotcha questions".
"And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, I'm going to say you know, I don't know. Do you know?"
In 2019, Trump tapped him to sit on the Federal Reserve Board, but he withdrew his nomination after several Republican senators refused to back his appointment.


'Hug curtains' set up at Belgian nursing home

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Nursing home staff set up the "hug curtains" in June

A nursing home in Belgium has set up hanging plastic sheets so its residents can safely hug visitors.
The "hug curtains" have proved a huge hit at Jardins de Picardie home near the French border. After people safely hug, nursing staff disinfect them for future use.
86-year-old resident Lili Hendrickx told Reuters news agency the curtain was "the most beautiful invention" after she was able to hug her daughter for the first time in months.
“The feeling you get when you are close to someone like that, I felt like the heat was passing through," she said.
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Residents were not allowed to see their loved ones for months
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The latest headlines in the UK

As we wind down our rolling coverage for the day, here's a round-up of the main headlines in the UK:

  • Education Secretary Gavin Williamson earlier unveiled government plans for the safe return of England's schools in September - built on the principle of keeping classes or whole year groups apart in separate "bubbles". He told a specially held Downing Street briefing that there would be a "system of control" to "minimise the risk" from Covid-19
  • Face coverings will become mandatory in shops in Scotland from 10 July
  • High Street restaurant chains Café Rouge and Bella Italia go into administration . Owners Casual Dining Group said 91 outlets will close immediately and 1,900 of the firm's 6,000 staff will lose their jobs
  • Stanley Johnson, the father of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has been criticised for travelling to Greece during the lockdown. He told the Daily Mail he was in the country "on essential business" to ensure a property he rents out was "Covid-proof" before holidays restart
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson will give a press conference on Friday evening ahead of an easing of England's lockdown on Saturday, when pubs and restaurants will reopen. He is expected to tell people not to "overdo it"


A global round-up

And here's a round-up of the day's top developments from around the globe.

  • The top US expert in infectious diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci, has expressed his concern over the rise in coronavirus cases in the country. "The problem we're facing now is that in an attempt to so-called reopen or open the government and get it back to some form of normality, we're seeing very disturbing spikes in different individual states in the US," he told the BBC
  • Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump, long opposed to wearing a face covering in public, says he is "all for masks" and predicted the virus would "disappear"
  • More than 70,000 people have now tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden, while the death toll stands at 5,411. The country has seen a far higher mortality rate than its nearest neighbours that imposed stricter lockdowns
  • Fans will be allowed to attend the French Open when it begins in September, the French Tennis Federation has said
  • New Zealand's health minister has stepped down. He had previously been forced to apologise after breaking lockdown measures


Goodbye - for now

We'll be pausing our coverage now but will be back with you for more on Friday.

Today's live page has been the work of Joseph Lee, Mary O'Connor, George Wright, Victoria Bisset, Max Matza, Justin Parkinson, Paul Seddon, Flora Drury, Hugo Bachega and Marie Jackson.


Thanks for joining us - goodbye.

    Current date/time is Sat Nov 28 2020, 08:18