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Coronavirus - 4th July


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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 04 2020, 09:31

Summary for Saturday, 4th July

  • England reopens pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas after a major relaxation of lockdown curbs
  • Two households of any size will be able to meet indoors or outside, including overnight stays
  • Places of worship can open for prayers and services, including weddings with up to 30 guests - subject to social distancing
  • Latest daily figures show a further 137 people died with coronavirus in the UK, bringing the total to 44,131
  • The US recorded its largest single-day rise in infections on Friday, with more than 57,000 recorded
  • America's 4 July Independence Day celebrations are muted this year with cities cancelling parades
  • Worldwide, more than 11 million people have now been infected and more than 525,000 have died

Hello and welcome back to our rolling coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It’s a big day in England, where pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas can reopen for the first time since the UK went into lockdown three months ago.
Restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas were allowed to reopen just after midnight, but pubs had to wait until 06:00 BST after the government expressed concerns of early morning partying.
As they reopen, businesses must observe strict social distancing rules, and people have been urged to act responsibly.
Read more here

Hairdressers reopen: ‘Such a relief’

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Unruly locks, discoloured roots and split ends are some of the side effects of spending three months in lockdown.
But now hairdressers can finally reopen again in England, and Sandra Jacobs was one of the first people through the door at her local hairdressers in Camden, north London, on Friday night.
She described it as "such a relief" to be back in the salon chair and said the haircut made her feel "normal again".
Hairdresser Carole Rickaby, wearing an apron and a facemask, said it was great to pick up the scissors again.

Donald Trump lashes out at 'cancel culture'

US President Donald Trump has used a used a speech celebrating Independence Day to rail against the "cancel culture" and activists who toppled monuments during recent anti-racism protests.
He was speaking on Friday under the giant sculptures of former presidents at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.
Mr Trump - who has been heavily criticised for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic - made little reference to the disease that has now claimed almost 130,000 American lives.
The US recorded 57,000 infections on Friday - the largest single-day rise so far. That brought the overall number to 2.5 million - the most of any country.
Read our full story here

'We cannot in good conscience open the pub'

England's pubs can now fully reopen to customers - but not every publican is keen to do so.
The Tollington pub in north London tweeted to say it hopes to welcome customers in the near future - but only "when it is safe to do so".  The pub is right next to the Emirates stadium, Arsenal's home ground, and is a popular sports pub.
But although the Gunners are on the pitch this Saturday, the doors will remain firmly shut.
"We care too much about our staff and our customers to risk rushing back, thus contributing to a second wave of this pandemic," the pub said.
Read more here

'People have to be tremendously cautious'

Epidemiologist Professor Robert West, from University College London, has told the BBC that the coronavirus "is with us" and infection rates are still not coming down very fast - even as pubs are able to fully reopen in England.
"We are looking at around 20,000 new infections a week and around 1,000 deaths a week and the rates aren’t coming down very fast so people have to be tremendously cautious here," he said in an interview with BBC Breakfast.
Despite the hospitality sector doing "everything" it can to reopen safely, he added, "as we open up these businesses you will get more contact… and that means you will get more infections and unfortunately it means you will get more deaths."
"The key here is do everything you possibly can to minimise the risk," he urged.

French former PM faces Covid-19 inquiry

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Agnès Buzyn (L), Edouard Philippe (C) and Olivier Véran are the subject of the inquiry

A court has launched an inquiry into the French government's handling of the coronavirus response.
The Law Court of the Republic - which deals with claims of ministerial misconduct - is focusing on three senior figures, including former PM Édouard Philippe, following complaints from unions and doctors.
The government has faced criticism over shortages of medical equipment during the pandemic.
France has reported 202,673 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 29,875 deaths.
Read our full story

Analysis: England's stride back to normality

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
“Super Saturday” feels like a moment, a stride back to normality.
Of course, whether you’re after a pint, a movie or a haircut everything will be different.
Coronavirus may be at low levels, but it has not gone away and measures - from booking your slot in the pub to socially distant dining - will be needed.
The virus thrives on close contact and opening up society makes it easier for it to spread. The government’s scientific advisers say outbreaks - such as those already seen in Leicester, Weston-super-Mare and Kirklees - are to be expected.
Whether we diligently follow the guidance or, to borrow a phrase, “tear the pants out of it” , will dictate how common they become.
The hope is that lockdown-for-all can be replaced with targeted, regional lockdowns when these outbreaks appear.
The pressure will be on health officials to rapidly spot and contain outbreaks before they become a national problem.

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 04 2020, 11:53

England eases lockdown, but what about the rest of the UK?

Although you can get a pint in a pub in England from today, each UK nation’s lockdown differs.
In Northern Ireland, pubs and restaurants reopened on Friday.
In Scotland, beer gardens and outdoor restaurants will be allowed to reopen from 6 July, and indoor areas can be used from 15 July.
The Welsh government has promised talks with the hospitality sector about a "potential phased" reopening, but no dates have yet been given.

Covid-19 cases rise in Melbourne

Australia's Victoria state reported 108 new infections in the past 24 hours.
This is the second-highest daily total recorded in the state since the outbreak began.
Although the country has largely managed to contain the virus - with only about 8,200 cases and 104 deaths across Australia so far - Melbourne has seen a spike in recent weeks.
In addition to 36 suburbs of the city already in lockdown, a further nine tower blocks of public housing are also being quarantined.

All you need to know England's latest reopening

Pubs, restaurants, and hairdressers have reopened as England takes another step out of its lockdown.
There are also changes to rules in Scotland and Wales - while Northern Ireland saw pubs and restaurants open on Friday
Read more about the changes where you are here .

The puzzle of Japan's low Covid death rate

Japan, despite an elderly population, has had no lockdown. So why haven't more people died from Covid-19 there, asks the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes?
Some experts believe the Asian nation has "historical immunity", while others credit the public general compliance with the government's coronavirus instructions.
Read our full story

First look at how English pubs will help track customers

As pubs in England reopen we're starting to see how some chains are collecting contact information from customers to use in the event of a coronavirus outbreak.
JD Wetherspoon - which has over 900 sites - is handing out slips of paper for punters to fill in and place in a box.
As Guardian journalist Rob Davies hints, it's perhaps not quite what Britons are used to.

  tweet Rob Davies:
:Left Quotes: I have entered a pub, like a King processing to court. A pint and a fry-up are imminent.
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  tweet Rob Davies:
:Left Quotes: Ah, the classic English pub experience.
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Not everywhere in England will see pubs and hair salons reopen

As the rest of England reopens, Leicester remains in lockdown after a surge in coronavirus infections was detected in the city.
New regulations for the "local lockdown" came into force at midnight - and now mean people or businesses that repeatedly flout the new law could receive fines of up to £3,200.
A ban on social gatherings, overnight stays, and the reopening of hotels, pubs and restaurants are all included in the new legislation.
Read more here

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 04 2020, 12:26

Brazil's Bolsonaro waters down face-mask law

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has sanctioned a law making the use of masks in public obligatory during the coronavirus crisis.However, he vetoed their use in shops, churches and schools.
In a social media broadcast, Mr Bolsonaro said people could have been fined for not wearing a mask at home.
The far-right leader has played down Brazil's Covid-19 outbreak. The number of coronavirus-related death is fast approaching 62,000 in the country - the world's second-highest tally behind only the US.
Read our full story

England quarantine-free list 'absurd' - Portugal

Portugal's foreign affairs minister has said his country's exclusion from a list of countries for which quarantine will not apply for people returning to England is "absurd".
Augusto Santos Silva told the BBC not including Portugal was "senseless and unfair".
The list of countries exempt from quarantine was published on Friday .
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said 14-day quarantines would remain for countries where the virus was not under control.
Other countries excluded from the list, which comes into effect on 10 July, include the US, China, the Maldives and Sweden.
Read our full story

Analysis: A moment when health and economic concerns collide

Simon Jack - BBC Business Editor
This is a big moment. Hospitality chiefs have described the reopening of pubs and restaurants in England as important for the national psyche.
But it's also a moment when health and economic concerns collide.
Trade body Hospitality UK estimates that 53% of pubs and bars and 47% of restaurants will reopen this weekend generating a total - they hope - of nine million visits.
But while a sector that employs three million people is keen to reopen, many are anxious. Will too many customers return to manage venues safely or too few to make it economically worthwhile?
Social distancing measures will both reduce capacity and increase costs.
Three-quarters of businesses expect to run their businesses at a loss this year and the industry estimates that even if this weekend goes well, the sector could lose 320,000 jobs.
It is a high-stakes gamble and the government will be watching nervously to see how the public responds and behaves.
That will ultimately determine whether we are getting a sufficient economic bang for the health risk buck that medical experts say we are inevitably spending this weekend.

Catalonia puts 200,000 back in lockdown

The regional authorities in Catalonia, north-eastern Spain, have placed about 200,000 people back into lockdown because of a local rise in infections.
People will not be able to enter or leave Segrià - a county to the west of Barcelona - without permission. The area includes the city of Lleida.
The measure will be enforced using police checkpoints. People will only be able to meet in groups of up to 10 people, both indoors and out.
Catalonia has been one of the worst-hit regions of Spain.

Excitement as theme park reopens: 'It's like Christmas'

Katie Prescott, Business correspondent
“It feels a bit like Christmas Eve,” one staff member at Chessington World of Adventures said this morning.
“There’s a real sense of anticipation about how it’s all going to go.”
The Greater London theme park is expecting to run at about a quarter of its capacity as its doors open for the first time in more than 100 days today.
But the coronavirus drive-through testing centre in the car park is a reminder - if one was needed - that this is not a total return to normality.
One of the main things they’ll be monitoring is how customers behave and follow the new restrictions.
“We can put as many paw prints on the floor as we like - but we can’t force people," the staff member says.
Some 70% of Chessington staff were furloughed at the start of lockdown, but with a zoo to run, there was still work to be done.
Now many of those staff have been brought back and retrained in the last week, ready to welcome people hoping to let their hair down and enjoy the ride.

Waiting for tourists on Spain's Costa del Sol

For many the question this summer is whether they will make it to the beach, and - as resorts along the Spanish coast slowly come back to life - the hope is for tourists to return.
Flights are resuming to destinations along Spain's sun-drenched Costa del Sol. After months with no business, hotels, restaurants and bars are reopening and Covid-19 safety measures are being put in place.
These are some of the voices gathered by the BBC's Damian Grammaticas on the southern coast .

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 04 2020, 14:52

'It's sad they have left out Leicester'

Jennifer Harby - BBC News
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Leicester resident Dhansukh Rana was abe to buy fruit and vegetables at the outdoor market

We reported earlier how Leicester is not seeing its pubs, restaurants or hair salons reopen today.
The city is subject to a local lockdown after a surge in coronavirus infections.
Although non-essential establishments remain closed in its deserted city centre, Leicester's market remains open.
Dhansukh Rana, 79, was shopping for some fruit and vegetables at a stall with his wife.
“It’s really sad this is happening to Leicester,” he said. “A lot of people are suffering.
“We have to get out for our walk and exercise because, at my age, I have to keep moving. But it is sad they have left out Leicester when the rest of the UK is moving on.”

Can I hug my grandchildren?

Two households can now meet, indoors or inside, across England.
But - unless a household is within your support bubble - you must still practice social distancing, meaning hugs remain off limits.
Read more here .
In Scotland, grandparents were able to hug grandchildren 11-years-old and under for the first time on Friday .

Museum appeals for hair clippings

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As haircuts take place across England for - in many cases - the first time in months, a museum in the north-east England is urging people not to let their hair clippings just get swept away.
"We wanted to do something a little bit different," said Adam Bell of South Shields Museum.
Donations of hair will form part of the museum's pandemic collection and be used in future displays documenting life amid the outbreak.
The museum already has a collection of hair cuttings, including plaits, that once belonged to author Catherine Cookson.
Read the full story here.

Here's the latest from the UK

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It's been a busy news day this morning, with pubs, hairdressers and other businesses reopening in England in the biggest easing of the lockdown yet in the country.
Here's what has been happening:

  • Hairdressers, pubs, restaurants and cinemas are among the businesses able to open with social distancing measures in England today. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to act "responsibly". Some salons opened for haircuts at midnight, while this morning there have been queues outside barbers
  • Weddings are also allowed again, with strict rules including a maximum of 30 people present. One of the first couples to marry after lockdown is believed to be this couple in Cheshire, who were wed at 00:01
  • But Leicester has been left out of the changes. The city is still in lockdown because of a spike in virus cases. Police say they are preparing for a busy weekend, with more officers on duty than on New Year's Eve
  • The rest of the UK nations are easing lockdown at different rates. In Northern Ireland, pubs and restaurants could reopen on Friday . In Scotland, beer gardens and outdoor restaurants will be allowed to reopen from 6 July, and indoor areas can be used from 15 July. The Welsh government has promised talks with the hospitality sector about a "potential phased" reopening, but no dates have yet been given. Police in Wales have warned people not to cross the border for a beer
  • There are calls for an inquiry into the inequalities disabled people face, after new figures suggest almost two-thirds of Covid-19 deaths in the UK have been disabled people
  • And later tonight, dozens of landmarks across the country will be lit up in blue to mark the 72nd anniversary of the foundation of the NHS. People will be asked to put a light in their window to remember those who have died in the coronavirus pandemic and on Sunday evening, households across the UK will take to their doorsteps for a nationwide clap for NHS workers. Read more here.

Perspex shields and hand sanitiser: A new reality for pub-goers

Ben Tavener - BBC World Service
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The Moon Under Water pub on London’s Leicester Square on Saturday morning

The Moon Under Water pub on London’s Leicester Square - named after George Orwell’s 1946 essay on the perfect pub - opened at 08:00 for breakfast and was already abuzz with drinkers two hours later.
The Wetherspoons staff are happy the punters are back, although there’s an undeniable - and understandable - air of caution here.
Perspex dividers shield clients both from each other from staff taking orders in person, rather than those taken by app.
You’re met with hand sanitiser at the door but no one asked me to leave my contact details.

India reports highest daily number of infections

India has recorded more than 22,000 new infections - its highest daily number since the outbreak began.
There are concerns that monsoon rains in parts of the country could hamper efforts to contain the pandemic.
With nearly 650,000 infections, India has the fourth-highest number of confirmed cases in the world and is likely to surpass Russia's tally in the coming days.
India has so far had more than 18,600 coronavirus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The best way to social distance and have a pint?

Mariam Issimdar - BBC News
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Moored up on his river cruiser boat at the Five Miles From Anywhere pub in Cambridgeshire is Tom Jones, 38, who is enjoying his first pint at the pub since before lockdown.
It’s the first time boat owners have been allowed to stay overnight on their boats, because they are classed as second homes.
Relaxing at the pub in Upware, Mr Jones said: “It’s great to be able to support this fantastic local business, and the beer is definitely a bonus.
"We are taking things slowly and trying to stay outside as much as possible.”
Mr Jones is enjoying the river with his partner, two children and their dog.

Sri Lanka deploys police to enforce face mask rule

Police in Sri Lanka say they have deployed more than 2,000 officers in the Western Province, which includes the capital Colombo, to enforce the wearing of face masks in public places.
Some of the officers will be in plain clothes. Those disobeying guidelines can be asked to undergo a mandatory self-quarantine for two weeks.
Sri Lanka has managed to control the spread of the virus though a strict lockdown. It has recorded more than 2,000 confirmed cases, with 11 deaths.

Barrels remain sealed over the Welsh border

Tomos Morgan - BBC News
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John Turner, landlord of the Dolphin pub in Llanymynech which can't open yet

As the beer taps flow in England, today the barrels remain sealed in Wales…which if you live along Offa’s Dyke on the border may be quite confusing.
Take the village of Llanymynech for example, the border runs directly through the high street – on one side the Bradford Arms can open today (it’s in England), but on the other, less than 400m away, the Dolphin Inn is not opening (as it’s in Wales) and won’t be until at least 13 July.
By then the hospitality industry will partially reopen, but only for outdoor use – a decision that was met with a fair amount of criticism from the industry here with the majority saying that due to a combination of weather and lack of space they won’t be reopening until they can let the public indoors.
Two meters is still the social distancing norm here in Wales – which is another factor that the industry say will affect the sectors prospects of making money.
Until Monday the Welsh Government's five mile rule, meaning people can only travel within five miles of their home and avoid unnecessary journeys, remains in place, but if you live within that distance to the border, say in Chepstow, technically you can cross and then you’d be following UK government rules and could go for a pint.

Pub reopens despite car crashing into building

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A pub has managed to open despite a car crashing into its front in the early hours, its landlord said.
The Swan Inn at Little Chart, near Ashford in Kent, will still be able to serve pints to customers outside.
Landlord Ray Perkins said the crash was "absolutely devastating" but hard work from his staff made opening for outdoor service possible.
"We've had everybody rally round and clear up the bar, every single glass has had to be washed again," he said.
Kent Police said three 17-year-old boys inside the car were taken to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries.
One of them has been arrested on suspicion of taking a vehicle without consent and drink driving. He remains in custody.

Further 39 virus deaths among patients in England

A further 39 people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died in hospitals across England, NHS England has said.
Patients were aged between 45 and 99 years old. All patients had known underlying health conditions.
It brings the total number of deaths in hospitals in England to 28,871.
Figures for the whole of the UK will be released later.

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 04 2020, 15:41

How to keep your guests safe from the virus

New lockdown rules from 4 July mean changes for people living in England.

Now one household can spend time with another one indoors so long as they follow social distancing guidelines.

This is on top of the rules about meeting outside - where you can still meet in groups of up to six from different households - again keeping your distance.

In Northern Ireland, you can meet up to 30 people outdoors, or up to six people indoors - while maintaining social distancing.

In Wales, you can only meet up outdoors and with one other household at a time.

While in Scotland, one household can see no more than two others, outdoors, in a single day.

But what is the best way to ensure you do everything you can to keep people safe?

BBC health correspondent, Laura Foster, explains.

Video by Laura Foster, Ameer Ahmed and Terry Saunders

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 04 2020, 15:48

Shops in Mexico City close again as cases surge

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People in Mexico City were keen to hit the shops but some didn't abide by the rules

Shops in the historic centre of Mexico City have been ordered to close for the weekend, only three days after they reopened as part of an easing of lockdown measures.
The move comes after Mexico recorded its second-highest number of new infections nationwide on Friday, just one below the record of 6,741.
Shops in the centre of the capital were too overcrowded to be safe, local authorities said.
City officials have warned shopkeepers that if they don't impose social distancing measures, their shops could be closed down for two weeks. They also threatened to close down entire shopping streets if more than 30% of businesses don't enforce the rules.

Clockwise walking on York's historic city walls

Grace Parnell - BBC News, Yorkshire
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York's Roman city walls are reopening with a clockwise one-way system to help social distancing.
A York City Council spokesperson said there would be signs at all entry and exit points along the two-mile-long walls, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
The council said it meant residents and visitors could enjoy the beauty of the walls once again safely.
The city's original walls were built by Romans in 71 AD.
Council leader Keith Aspden said: "York's city walls are the most complete and finest in England, making them one of our most treasured historical assets.
"We're delighted to be able to reopen them again to residents and visitors."
York Minster will also introduce distancing measures, including a register of worshippers for contact tracing.

What changes will await you in the pub?

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The Goldengrove in Stratford, east London, has put up signs about the guidelines

Many pubs in England have already welcomed their first customers from this morning - and business is expected to pick up later for their first Saturday night post-lockdown. In Northern Ireland, pubs have been open since Friday.
There are various measures in place to improve safety, including:

  • Music will be kept at a low volume so people don't shout
  • Bottles of ketchup and mayonnaise will be replaced by individual sachets
  • Contact details - a name and phone number - will be taken from one person per group and the times they arrived and left should be noted down
  • Access to toilets will be controlled

Read more about the rules to keep pubs safe here.

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 04 2020, 18:27

What are UK travel rules and which countries can you visit?

Passengers entering England from dozens of countries will no longer have to quarantine from 10 July.
The government has issued a list of 59 countries and territories - including many popular holiday spots - which now pose ''a reduced risk'' from coronavirus.
However, not all of them have ended restrictions for UK tourists when they arrive there.
So, read our full story about where UK nationals can go without quarantining when they get back?

Nigel Farage, a pub and quarantine

Chris Mason - Political Correspondent
  tweet Nigel Farage:
:Left Quotes:  12 o’clock, first customer in. Love it.
Coronavirus - 4th July EcFBEEPXYAARSkJ?format=jpg&name=small

The acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey, has written to Kent Police asking them to investigate whether the Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has broken quarantine rules.
Mr Farage tweeted a picture of himself at lunchtime today having a pint in a pub.
Exactly a fortnight ago, Mr Farage from a trip to America, where he was a guest at a rally for President Donald Trump.
So how has he managed to quarantine back in the UK for 14 days, if he was in the States two weeks ago?
Mr Farage insists he has "been back from the USA for two weeks".
His spokesman told me he flew straight back to Britain on the same day and claimed a negative coronavirus test after he got back had allowed him to head back out and about again.
But the Department of Health has told me getting a test does not get you out of quarantining - self isolating at home - because a test could amount to a false negative; you could be harbouring the virus but not yet be symptomatic.

Peru cuts number of bank holidays to boost economy

Peruvians will this year only be given one day off work on 28 July to celebrate Peru's independence from Spain, rather than the traditional three days.
President Martín Vizcarra said the measure would deliver a boost to the economy, which has been badly battered by the pandemic.
Peru was one of the first countries in Latin America to go into lockdown in mid-March and most shops only started reopening on 1 July.
Despite its early lockdown and strict measures, Peru is the country with the second-highest number of cases in Latin America.
Read more about why .

How widespread is coronavirus now in Scotland?

On Saturday, Scotland once again recorded no Covid-related deaths.
A total of 2,488 patients in Scotland have died after testing positive - although the actual number of fatalities is believed to be far higher.
The first coronavirus case in Scotland was detected on 1 March and there are now 18,287 confirmed cases.
However, the prevalence of the virus in the community is decreasing.
At its peak, there were 430 new cases confirmed on 31 March; on Saturday, there were just 11 new cases.
Similarly, the number of patients in intensive care appears to have peaked on 12 April and has been mainly declining since then.
Read on for all the key figures and trends relating to coronavirus in Scotland.

Roads 'very, very busy' as people head to south-west England

Roads in south-west England were "very, very busy" on Saturday, as lockdown restrictions were lifted, allowing holiday accommodation to reopen.
Traffic cameras and pictures on social media showed busy motorways and service station car parks.
Andrew Green, from Cornwall, recorded footage of cars queuing on the A303 near Stonehenge on their way to the South West, at 07:45 BST on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police's roads policing teams tweeted: "The roads are wet and very, very busy heading in to Devon and Cornwall.
"We're out in force trying to keep things moving but please keep a safe distance, use your headlights and ensure you check your caravan before your journey as many have been laid up for a long time."
Read the full story here.

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 04 2020, 18:40

PM's father defends trip to Greece despite ban on non-essential travel

Coronavirus - 4th July 645a7510

Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's father was criticised for travelling to Greece during the coronavirus lockdown.
Stanley Johnson shared a number of pictures on his Instagram account on Wednesday, showing him arriving in Athens and at an airport in a mask. You can read our story here.
The guidance on air travel from the UK Foreign Office advises against "all but essential international travel" because of the virus.
Speaking to reporters today, Mr Johnson defended his decision to travel there and then post about it on social media.
Referring to his time in Greece, Mr Johnson said: "I came here to have a quiet time, to organise the house.
"I think I'm going to go back on July 10. So, I have just got one week to get everything organised. Got a whole lot of instructions about how to make the place Covid-proof."
Asked if he had put his son, the PM, in a difficult position by travelling to Greece, Mr Johnson added: "I have read his answers and he is absolutely right to say... that, you know what... and I think... I am not going to talk about private conversations between family members... and, I am absolutely not going to talk about that."

Americans urged to keep Independence Day low key

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Americans have been urged to tone down their 4th of July celebrations, amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
Beaches have been closed, parades cancelled and fireworks display have been put on hold amid fears that large-scale gatherings could further fuel the spread of the virus.
On Friday the country registered a record 57,562 new cases, according to Covid Tracking Project data.
Florida, one of the most popular destinations for getaways, recorded a new single-day high on Saturday with 11,458 new infections. Miami Beach has imposed a weekend curfew and made it mandatory to wear a mask in public.
Despite safety concerns expressed by Washington's mayor, President Trump is planning to host a large party at the White House. Hundreds of doctors and nurses who have been treating Covid-19 patients are due to attend.

Northern Ireland: What has changed and what hasn't?

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Golf was one of the first sports allowed to resume in Northern Ireland as lockdown measures were relaxed

You can go to the pub, you can play a round of golf and you can tie the knot (in a low-key sort of way) - but you still can't get your hair cut.
So what can and can't you do under the the current set of lockdown guidelines in Northern Ireland?
For residents and visitors, all your questions are answered here .

Further 67 coronavirus deaths recorded in UK

A further 67 people have died in the UK after testing positive for the virus, the Department of Health and Social Care has said.
It takes the total number of people who have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community to 44,198.
The DoH added that from today it will no longer be tweeting out a table showing the figures, but will instead direct people to its website .

Government sending out 'mixed signals', Starmer says

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Sir Keir said the lockdown easing was "a big test" for the government

The leader of the opposition has attacked the UK government for having its messaging "all over the place" as the coronavirus lockdown measures in England are relaxed.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused Boris Johnson's government of sending out conflicting signals, as many hospitality venues, as well as hairdressers, theme parks and cinemas, work to reopen safely.
"You have had some government messaging saying go out and have a drink - other messaging saying be responsible, be cautious," Sir Keir told TimesRadio.
"The messaging, I think, has been very poor over the last few weeks."
Sir Keir added: "Today is a massive day, and it is a real test.
"My message, really, to the government is, this is a big test for you. "We are supporting you in easing restrictions, but you absolutely have to be on top of the risks.
"And that means that things like test, track and trace really have to work. And there has to be a much better way of dealing with local outbreaks."

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 04 2020, 20:10

'Everyone's just happy to be getting out of the house'

At a pub in Newcastle, punters were enjoying their first "proper pint" in more than three months.
"The atmosphere is a bit different... that was expected. But everyone's having a good time," one customer told the BBC's Fiona Trott.
"The regulations are good and everyone is sticking with them, by the looks of things," said his companion.
"I think everyone's just happy to be socialising again and getting out of the house."
It's a very different sort of Saturday evening from pre-lockdown expectations. Customers are expected to book a table in advance, to register their details on arrival and to stay no more than three hours.
And with only a third of the city's licensed premises currently open, many are fully booked and turning customers away.

Face mask exemption cards and other falsehoods

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The BBC's Reality Check team has examined dodgy information circulating on social media. Here are just two of the claims it found to be fake or misleading:

  • Cards for sale in the US purporting to give the carrier an exemption from wearing a face mask in public are fraudulent. "These cards do not carry the force of law," a statement from the US government warns.

  • A graphic shared on social media which claims that face masks could suppress the body's immune system is not based on evidence. The World Health Organization is clear in its advice that wearing face masks properly worn is safe.

Read more about the claims making the rounds on social media here

Scots told to 'think carefully' over English pub trips

People living in Scotland - where pubs are staying closed - have been warned to "think carefully" before crossing the border to visit newly-reopened pubs in England.
Scotland's national clinical director, Prof Jason Leitch, said there was no law against it, but "that seems to me like maybe not the right thing to do".
He urged Scots to wait until beer gardens opened in Scotland on Monday.
One pub across the border in England, in Berwick-upon-Tweed, claimed 70% of its bookings were from Scotland.
Publican Marc McDonald told BBC Scotland people had travelled from as far afield as Glasgow and Edinburgh to drink at The Meadow House.
Read the full story here.

In pictures: People gather as pubs reopen in central London

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Roads in Soho were closed to traffic so people could stand outside

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A police officer stands at an elevated position to watch over the crowds

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Across the river at Borough Market, by London Bridge, the street was also busy

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Visitors drink at The Terrace beer garden at Alexandra Palace in north London

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And at Camden Town Brewery's pop-up beer garden, also in north London, a group waves a flag to get the bartender's attention

Here's your evening round-up

With their newly-shorn locks and a pint at their elbow, many have been celebrating the easing of lockdown measures across England on Saturday.
Here's what you may have missed if you're only joining us now.

  • While many have welcomed the reopening of the hospitality industry today, as many as 50% of pubs have stayed shut because "they don't know if they're going to get their customers back"
  • Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has attacked the UK government for sending out mixed signals, encouraging punters into the pub while simultaneously urging caution
  • Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has been accused of violating the compulsory 14-day quarantine after returning from the US.
  • With holiday accommodation reopening and overnight stays now allowed, roads in south-west England were "very, very busy" from early on Saturday morning with up to 80,000 visitors expected to descend on Cornwall
  • A further 67 people have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus, taking the total death toll, across all settings, to 44,198

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 04 2020, 20:39

WHO suspends trials of hydroxychloroquine

The World Health Organization (WHO) is suspending its trials of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine.
Some early studies suggested that the drug might be able to shorten the duration of symptoms experienced by coronavirus patients and it was praised by US President Donald Trump and Brazil's leader, Jair Bolsonaro, who both said they took it as a preventative measure.
However, the WHO said in a statement released on Saturday that its trials showed that hydroxychloroquine "produced little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized Covid-19 patients" .
The WHO said its decision would not affect trials of the drug on patients who are not in hospital, but that investigators would stop those on hospitalised patients "with immediate effect".
Read more about coronavirus and hydroxychloroquine here.

PM's father defends lockdown trip to Greece

Chris Mason - Political correspondent
The other day, the prime minister's dad, Stanley Johnson, was criticised for going to Greece , despite his son's government advising against all but essential foreign travel.
Mr Johnson Snr defended his trip on the grounds he was "on essential business" to ensure a property he rents out was "Covid-proof" before holidays restart.
When asked about his dad's behaviour yesterday, the prime minister said: "I think you really ought to raise that with him."
Well, set reporters a challenge and we'll often do our best to rise to it.
And Stanley Johnson has been tracked down in Greece.
He said "let's open up this air bridge as quick as we can", adding: "People are longing to get here. This is a country that's got everything. I'm not going to say whether my actions were correct or not".
Mr Johnson said he planned to return to the UK on 10 July, the day from which it will no longer be necessary for those returning from Greece to quarantine for a fortnight on arrival back in the UK.

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 04 2020, 21:50

WHO: Record 24-hour increase in cases worldwide

There has been a record daily increase in new coronavirus cases across the globe, according to figures compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO said on Saturday that the number of cases recorded within the previous 24 hours was 212,326 - considerably higher than the previous daily record of 189,077 recorded on 28 June.
The US, Brazil and India accounted for most of the new cases.
Deaths remained steady at about 5,000 a day, according to the WHO tally.

Trump: 'We're on the way to a tremendous victory'

President Trump has said that the US is on its way to a "tremendous victory" over Covid-19.
The US has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases anywhere in the world, as well as the highest death toll worldwide with close to 130,000 fatalities.
In his message to Americans on US Independence Day, he again blamed China for the virus and said that the US was coming back.
"Our country will be greater than ever before," he said a day after the US registered a record 57,562 new cases, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.
Celebrations for this year's Independence Day were subdued with many events cancelled to prevent a further spread of the virus.

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 04 2020, 22:24

Bolivia's mining minster tests positive Covid

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Health workers in Bolivia have been carrying out door-to-door checks to curb the spread of the virus

Bolivia's mining minster, Jorge Fernando Oropeza, has tested positive for coronavirus - becoming the second member of the cabinet to become infected.
On Thursday, cabinet chief Yerko Núñez announced he was isolating at home after a positive test.
Bolivia has just under 37,000 cases of coronavirus, a figure which is much lower than those of its neighbours, Brazil and Peru, which are the worst-affected in Latin America with more than 1.5 million cases and almost 300,000 cases respectively.
And while lockdown measures seem to have had some success in keeping cases down, on Saturday hundreds of people protested against the measures in the central city of Cochabamba.
Local media report that four officers have been injured and 15 vehicles destroyed in clashes between the protesters and police.

Texas records new daily high of cases

Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Texas rose by 8,258 on Saturday - the highest 24-hour increase since the start of the pandemic, the Texas health department said.
The number of people being treated for Covid-19 in hospitals also reached a record high on Saturday in the Lone Star State with 238 more people now in hospital, bringing the total to 7,890.
For months, Texas had had a relatively low number of cases.

Watch this video to find out more about why cases surged.


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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 04 2020, 23:01

Light tribute to Britons lost to coronavirus

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Buildings across the UK have been lit up with blue lights in honour of those who have died during the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
A candle was lit outside 10 Downing Street, while the Archbishop of Canterbury also lit a candle of remembrance at Canterbury Cathedral ahead of the NHS's 72nd anniversary on Sunday.
Britons have also been encouraged to put a light in their windows, while a round of applause in recognition of health workers will be held on Sunday.
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That's it from us for now

We're pausing our live page coverage for today. We'll be back tomorrow. Thanks for joining us.

Here are some of the people who contributed to today's rolling coverage: George Bowden, Francesca Gillett, Victoria Lindrea, Yaroslav Lukov, Vanessa Buschschluter, Sarah Collerton, Doug Faulkner, Henri Astier and Alex Therrien.

    Current date/time is Wed Jan 20 2021, 03:32