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Coronavirus - 11th July


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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 11 2020, 11:32

Summary for Saturday, 11th July

  • The US recorded 63,643 new cases on Friday and experts fear there will soon be a spike in deaths.
  • Belgium has made the wearing of masks compulsory in shops, cinemas and other indoor settings
  • It is understood the UK government is looking at whether to make face coverings compulsory in shops in England
  • France has officially come out of its state of 'health emergency'
  • India has seen another big spike in infections, rising to over 820,000
  • Globally the number of cases has passed 12.5 million with more than 560,000 deaths
  • The head of the World Health Organization has called for an aggressive approach to fight the virus

Welcome to our coverage

We'll be bringing you updates from around the world on the latest developments as the Covid-19 virus continues to spread.

  • In the US, nine states have reached records for single-day infections
  • World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called on countries to adopt an aggressive approach to fighting the virus
  • But cases continue to climb in India, which has seen a spike of 27,114 cases in 24 hours, taking the national number to 820,916
  • Belgium has made the wearing of masks compulsory in cinemas, shops and a number of other indoor settings
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said "we need to be stricter" in England in insisting people wear face coverings.

US records highest daily infections

The US has recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus cases, with more than 63,643 infections confirmed on Friday.
Friday also saw 774 covid deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
More than three million people have tested positive for the virus in the US since the pandemic began.
Twenty-nine states have seen an increase in new cases compared to last week, according to CNN . Nine have had record single-day infections: Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin, Reuters reports.
Texas and Florida are among the worst hit states in the country.
Florida recorded 11,433 new cases on Friday. In Miami-Dade county, 28% of people who took tests were confirmed to have the virus.
Last week, leading US health official Dr Anthony Fauci warned that daily confirmed cases could reach 100,000.

We need clarity over face coverings in England - Labour

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Boris Johnson visited businesses in his constituency on Friday

The UK government should be clearer about its stance on face coverings, the opposition Labour Party has said.
Face coverings are currently compulsory on public transport in England, but not in shops. They’re advised to be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible.
In Scotland - where the Scottish government is in charge of the face mask rules - coverings are required in shops and on transport.
On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was pictured wearing a face covering for the first time and said “we need to be stricter” in insisting people wear them in confined spaces.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said "strong and clear guidance" was needed. His colleague, Labour shadow minister Wes Streeting, added that "at the moment people are hearing different messages from different quarters".
Other politicians have resisted making masks mandatory. Tory MP and former cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom said she didn't want masks to be mandatory but "people should be considerate of others" and start to think about carrying one wherever they go.

Wearing masks now compulsory in Belgian shops

Belgium has made the wearing of masks in public places such as shops and cinemas compulsory and those who flout the rule face a €250 (£223, $282) fine.
The new rules have come in today and include locations such as museums, libraries, courts and casinos. Supermarkets are placing staff at entrances, reminding customers to put them on - and some of them are handing them out free of charge.
You already have to wear face coverings on public transport in Belgium or when working in a job that requires you to come into close contact with customers, such as hairdressers.
Businesses that fail to comply with the rules will face a €750 fine .
Repeat offenders can be fined up to €4,000 euros - and in some cases could be jailed for between eight days and three months.

Belgium enforces quarantine for travellers from Leicester

Gavin Lee - BBC Europe reporter
The Belgian government is enforcing a two-week mandatory quarantine period for any travellers who have recently been in Leicester. A lockdown has been imposed on the East Midlands city after a spike in infections.
The city has been added to a small list of so-called Red Zones, which include areas of Portugal and northern Spain. Parts of Greater Lisbon are under lockdown and 200,000 people in the Segrià area have also had movement restricted.
Signs are expected to be placed around Brussels airport, including at arrivals today, for travellers to indicate if they have been in Leicester before arriving in Belgium. You can find details of the red zones here

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Walt Disney World begins to reopen despite Florida spike

Walt Disney World in Florida is set to open to members of the public today for the first time in months, despite a surge of cases in the Sunshine State.
There will be a phased re-opening of the theme parks in Orlando with a smaller visitor capacity than usual.
Florida recorded 11,400 coronavirus cases on Friday, and cities and counties have been reinstating restrictions that had been lifted two months ago. Ninety-three days were recorded yesterday, far higher than the initial peak of the pandemic in May.
From Saturday, you will need to book in advance but you can visit Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom. Epcot and Hollywood Studios will open on 15 July.
Visitors and employees will have to wear masks and undergo temperature checks before entering the parks.
Parades and fireworks are cancelled over fears that crowds could gather.
Other theme parks such as Universal Studios and SeaWorld opened in June.

'Cricketers excited to wear their whites again today'

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Groundstaff prepare the pitch at Uplyme and Lyme Regis Cricket Club

It's a big day for recreational cricket today, as it's allowed to resume in England for the first time since lockdown.
Former England captain Charlotte Edwards said it was "so important" that it was returning.
"Club cricket’s the heartbeat of cricket in this country," she told the Today programme.
"You know, there will so many excited cricketers out there this morning, I’m sure, waiting to get on their whites again.
"I’m just thankful it’s back, I think everyone’s really missed it. It plays such an important part of cricket in this country."
She hopes that getting it back up and running will build "on the momentum of last year's World Cup win and getting young children into the sport".

Why aren't more UK politicians wearing face masks?

UK politicians are rarely spotted wearing face masks. Earlier this week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak went without one. On Friday Boris Johnson was photographed wearing one for the first time. Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been seeing wearing a tartan face-covering - it's now mandatory in shops in Scotland.
But leaders around the world - from Angela Merkel in Germany, to Shinzo Abe in Japan - have all been pictured donning facial coverings in public.
So why aren't more of the UK's politicians wearing face coverings?
Dr Claudia Pagliari, a psychologist at the University of Edinburgh, suggests it may have been a deliberate move to avoid masks.
Some politicians may want to give the impression coronavirus "doesn't pose much of a threat". Or in the case of Mr Sunak's restaurant cameo, she says they could be trying to hammer home the message that the country is "open for business".
Read the full piece here.

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 11 2020, 11:43

Smaller ceremony at Srebrenica due to Bosnia outbreak

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A ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, in which more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered, will be a much smaller affair due to the virus.
The number of people attending the ceremony in Srebrenica is usually in the tens of thousands, but this year's event will be smaller because of the country's lockdown measures. There will be a funeral service for seven victims of the massacre who were recently identified.
Bosnian Serb forces carried out the killings after overrunning an area that had been declared a safe haven during the Balkan war. Dutch UN peacekeepers stood by as the victims were separated from women and girls, never to be seen again.
Bosnia has just announced a record rise in coronavirus cases. The Balkan state announced 18 deaths and 386 new cases on Friday.
Find out more about the 1995 Srebrenica massacre here.

Exam results predicted by teachers 'could be affected by bias'

MPs in the UK have raised concerns about the plan to calculate students' GCSE and A-level grades in England.
This year, instead of sitting the exams, teachers will predict pupils' grades and then exam boards will moderate them and issue the final results.
But the House of Commons Education Committee has warned that disadvantaged and ethnic minority pupils face particular risks from the possibility of unconscious bias.
It said some pupils' achievement levels could be underestimated and evidence shows bias when predicting grades of people from black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups, or poor backgrounds.
Read the full story here.

Bill Gates says access to vaccine must be based on need

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has called for a future coronavirus vaccine to be made available to countries and people that need them most and not "to the highest bidder".
Addressing a virtual Covid-19 conference on Saturday, he said: "If we just let drugs and vaccines go to the highest bidder, instead of to the people and the places where they are needed, we'll have a longer. much more unjust, deadlier, pandemic."
The search for a vaccine is currently underway with countries around the world conducting trials.
The US has invested billions of dollars in the search for a vaccine with some officials in Washington indicating that they would seek to prioritise US residents, Reuters news agency reports. On Friday, the UK government turned down the offer of joining an EU-wide scheme designed to secure supplies of potential coronavirus vaccines. Find more details on that story here .

What can reopen in England today?

There's another batch of businesses allowed to reopen from today in England, as the lockdown is eased further.
Outdoor pools, outdoor theatres and recreational cricket can all start from today.
Then on Monday, beauticians, nail bars, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close-contact services can reopen "subject to some restrictions on particularly high-risk services".
After that, on 25 July, indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities.
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France comes out of 'health emergency'

Hugh Schofield - BBC News, Paris
France came out of its state of “health emergency” at midnight last night, when a law originally passed in March then extended in May expired.
The public will notice little practical change. The real significance is that from Saturday the government will be unable to re-order a nationwide lockdown, without first creating a new state of emergency.
Letting the emergency lapse is a sign that the government feels cautiously optimistic about the level of Covid infection in France.
However, in recent days scientists have begun warning of a resurgence. In the Mayenne department of western France six clusters have been identified, and a mass testing of some 300,000 people is supposed to start there next week.
The government’s chief adviser on Covid, Jean-François Delfraissy, said young people in particular “have almost completely lost their social distancing habits”.
But even if there is a second wave, it is unlikely that France will want to decree a new nationwide lockdown. There is unanimity among the scientific community that the social and economic costs would be too high.
Instead, a law approved last week gives the government the authority to impose localised lockdowns for areas hit again by the virus.

Ex-health secretary urges simplicity on face coverings in England

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Currently, people in England are advised to wear coverings in enclosed spaces

Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary in England, says he supports telling the public they should wear face coverings in shops.
Currently in England, face coverings are only compulsory on public transport, as is the case in Northern Ireland. In Scotland, they're mandatory in shops as well as transport. while Wales has no requirement to wear face coverings.
Speaking about the advice in England, Hunt said: "I understand the public health advice which is if there’s a risk of being less than 2m close to someone then you should wear it, but if not you don’t have to.
"But It doesn’t answer the basic question which is if I’m going shopping should I wear a face mask or not.
"With public health advice in the pandemic you just need simplicity so I would favour saying we should wear face masks in shops."

Indian infection rise prompts partial lockdowns

Coronavirus cases in India have reached 820,916 with the country reporting its biggest spike over the past 24 hours. More than 27,114 cases were reported on Friday.
In all 22,123 people have died in the country since the outbreak began, officials say.
However India's Ministry of Health says the recovery rate is improving and currently stands at 62%.
Nearly a dozen states have imposed a partial lockdown in the hope of curbing the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, in Delhi, all university exams have been cancelled and students will be evaluated on earlier assessments.
If you have a moment, do read Soutik Biswas's story on one hospital's battle to secure vital oxygen supplies.

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 11 2020, 11:57

Balance shifting on face coverings, says Wales leader

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Unlike the rest of the UK, in Wales face masks are not mandatory on public transport

Holiday homes in Wales are allowed to open today for the first time since March - as long as they have their own bathrooms.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, interviewed by the BBC from a sunny Llantwit Major, said: "It’s the most beautiful day, you couldn’t imagine a more perfect day to be reopening."
He was also asked about his government's advice on face coverings. In Wales, they are not compulsory but advised in certain places, like on public transport.
"As this debate unfolds and as the science alters then we review it all the time," he said.
Asked whether the balance of scientific evidence was moving towards supporting the use of face coverings, Drakeford said: "I think the balance is shifting rather than you could say decisively it has shifted.
"This is an area where very eminent scientists have very different points of view. It’s not an area where there is just one decisive way of doing things.
"I agree that as time goes on there is more emerging on the side of supporting face coverings in public but I don't think it is decisive yet so we follow the debate."

Execution halted in US due to Covid-19

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A court in the US state of Indiana has halted the execution of a convicted killer as the victim’s relatives said they were worried about travelling during the pandemic to watch him die.
Daniel Lee was set to be executed on Monday in what would have been the first federal execution in 17 years.
He was convicted of killing a gun dealer, the man's wife and her eight-year-old daughter in Arkansas.
Earlene Peterson, the child’s grandmother, said she did not want to put herself at risk by travelling to the execution.
The 81-year-old has always opposed the death penalty and has asked President Donald Trump to grant Lee clemency.
The US justice department has appealed against the judge's ruling, arguing that executions involve considerable planning and the movement of dozens of staff.

Rouhani says Iran cannot afford to close down economy

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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has warned that the country cannot afford to shut down its economy amid rising coronavirus cases.
Deaths from the virus hit 221 on Thursday, a single-day record for the country. More than 12,400 people have died since the pandemic began.
During a televised meeting on Saturday, Mr Rouhani said the country must continue “economic, social and cultural activities while observing health protocols”.
Lockdown restrictions were lifted from April. Health Minister Said Namaki said the reopening of the economy was "due to us being on our knees against an economy that could take no more".
Iran has been hit hard by sanctions imposed by US President Donald Trump.

Outdoor pools can reopen in England - but new rules apply

Outdoor swimming pools in England can open today, for the first time since lockdown began. In a fortnight from now, pools will be able to open indoors too.
In Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, swimming pools are not allowed to open anywhere at the moment.
But even in England, it will be a different experience for swimmers. Guidance laid out by the government and Swim England includes:

  • Swimmers coming to the pool in their costumes
  • Booking of time slots to prevent overcrowding
  • No overtaking

What about the infection risk?
Chlorine can kill the virus. It's used as a disinfectant in pools and can easily disable viruses, including coronavirus.
There are two infection risks in the pool - other swimmers themselves and water they may have contaminated.
Sage, the government's science advisers, say the risk of catching the virus through water is "negligible". But being within 2m of other swimmers - perhaps when catching your breath in the shallow end - is a bigger risk.
And remember the risks are about more than just the pool. Coronavirus is spread through close contact, so beware in a cramped changing room.
And it can linger on surfaces such as lockers, benches, shower buttons and taps.
Read more here.

Iran sees surge in cases after decline

More on those remarks by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani that the country cannot afford another Covid shutdown.
He said Iran had to comply with health protocols but would carry out necessary economic and cultural activities to keep the economy going.
"No government is able to shut down its country's economic activities in the long-run," he told a meeting of Iran's Covid-19 headquarters.
He warned Iranians that gatherings such as weddings, mourning ceremonies, parties and festivities were “unacceptable in the current situation” and called for them to be limited.
Anyone who tested positive for the virus should not keep it a secret, he said.
Iran's government has told people to wear face masks in public areas as it continues to tackle the spread of the virus.
In March, Iran was considered one of the hardest hit countries aside from China. However, after a decline in cases, the government started to relax restrictions in April. But it has recently seen another surge in cases.
Officials have suggested the renewed spike could be down to more testing, and Rouhani has said that means you will find more cases.
You can read more about Iran’s surge of cases here.
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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 11 2020, 14:35

Brazil virus death toll hits 70,000

Brazil's coronavirus death toll has now surpassed 70,000, according to official figures.
Over the past 24 hours, 1,200 people have died.
Brazil has the second highest number of reported deaths and infections in the world and experts say there is no indication that the spread of the virus is slowing down.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the peak is not expected in Brazil until next month.
However, a number of places including São Paulo and Rio have started reopening shops and businesses.
Earlier this week Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced he had tested positive for the virus but said on Friday he was feeling "fine".

Holidays will be 90% normal says travel boss

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Beaches around Europe are preparing for an influx of holidaymakers

As of yesterday, travellers arriving in the UK from dozens of countries no longer have to self-isolate for two weeks. It means the prospect of holidays abroad moved a big step forward.
The list of countries exempt from the quarantine rule differs in Scotland, where Spain is not included.
As a result of Spain not being exempt in Scotland, airline Jet2 suspended all its flights to Spain from Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Meanwhile, the head of TUI travel company seems optimistic about holidays. He reckons that British tourists can expect their holidays to be 85% to 90% normal.
Andrew Flintham said travellers will have to follow local coronavirus rules - but said they "be able to enjoy the major amenities and the things that you really, really want".
The company is running a limited number of flights to Ibiza, Lanzarote, Palma and Tenerife from this weekend. But rules in the Balearic Islands, for example, mean people need to wear face coverings at all times except when on the beach, in pools or doing sport.

Who do face coverings protect?

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The use of masks across the world has soared since the coronavirus pandemic.
Professor Trisha Greenhalgh from Oxford University, who argued for widespread use of face coverings in April, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the vast majority of scientists "are now persuaded by the evidence" that wearing masks in crowded places can reduce transmission.
Asked about the suggestion that face masks benefit others more than the wearer, she added: "Wearing face coverings does provide the wearer a little bit, but it doesn't protect you very much.
"Broadly speaking, if I'm wearing a face covering It might protect you 80% and it might protect me 20% or 30%.
"There is a little bit of protection for the person wearing the face coverings but it's not nearly as much as it protects other people from the droplets coming out of the person's mouth."
She added that she “certainly” wears face coverings in shops, since they are “more dangerous in terms of what we call airborne transmission”

Latest developments from around the world

The main story of the day comes from Iran, where President Hassan Rouhani has said the country's economy can't afford another shutdown.
More than 12,400 people have died in Iran since the pandemic began. Iran was initially one of the hardest hit countries and a lockdown had been in place - but started being lifted in April. Now, there's a second surge and the number of daily deaths rose to a record 221 on Thursday. Rouhani says Iranians must continue with economic and social activities but follow health protocols.

  • Belgium has put Leicester on its list of "red zone" European cities, meaning anyone travelling there from the city must quarantine for two weeks. Belgium has also made the wearing of masks in public places such as shops and cinemas compulsory. Anyone breaching the rule faces a €250 fine
  • India has seen its biggest spike in cases over the past 24 hours, with more than 27,000 reported on Friday. But India's ministry of health says the recovery rate is improving and currently stands at 62%
  • In the US, the number of daily coronavirus cases reached a new high, with more than 63,000 infections confirmed on Friday. A further 774 people have died. There are 29 states that have seen an increase in cases week-on-week
  • Brazil's coronavirus death toll has now surpassed 70,000 with 1,200 further deaths in the past 24 hours. After the US, it has the second highest number of deaths and infections in the world
  • Some good news from France, which has officially come out of its state of "health emergency" - although the public won't see any actual change. And in recent days, scientists have begun warning of a resurgence with six clusters identified in western France
  • And in the UK, from today in England outdoor swimming is allowed as well as cricket and outdoor theatre.
  • In Wales, holiday homes can welcome holidaymakers, as long as they have non-shared facilities
  • In England, there have been calls from the opposition Labour party for the government to be clearer on advice for face coverings. PM Boris Johnson called for a "stricter" approach - but they're so far only compulsory on public transport

Holiday homes in 2020: Boiled linen and no woolly blankets

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Deep cleaning, risk assessments, no woollen blankets and boiled bedding.
This is the reality facing holiday homeowners as guests are due to arrive at cottages, caravans and yurts in Wales for the first time since March.
Earlier we told you that Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford described today as a "perfect day to be reopening" as he was being interviewed from a sunny Llantwit Major.
And while business owners are glad to be welcoming guests once again, holiday homes will look a bit different compared with what you were used to pre-pandemic.
Paula Louise Warren, owner of Hide Wales' cabins, shepherd's hut and lodge in St Donats, Vale of Glamorgan, says the past three months have been "bonkers".
"You have to arrange so many things, all our bedding, all our beautiful woollen blankets have all been put in storage and instead we're using cotton as everything needs to be boiled."
Read more.

'Virus will be around for months' warns Victoria premier

The premier of the Australian state of Victoria has warned that the virus is going to be around “for months and months”.
Daniel Andrews made the warning as Victoria recorded one of its highest daily increases in coronavirus infections with 216 new cases and one death.
Five million people in Melbourne and some of the surrounding suburbs are marking their first weekend back in lockdown.
In a televised address, he said: "Nobody is enjoying being locked at home. It is frustrating, it is challenging, but the strategy will be successful if we all play our part."
Meanwhile, the neighbouring state of New South Wales has recorded seven new cases, including a man who visited a pub in Sydney. The pub has been linked to two other infections.
Last week, New South Wales closed its border with Victoria for the first time in 100 years.

'Make virus drugs available to all,' says Bill Gates

US billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has warned the pandemic will be prolonged if drugs used to treat the disease and an eventual vaccine go to the highest bidder.
Mr Gates stressed that any such medicines should be made available to countries who need them most.
He said if drugs and vaccines go to the highest bidder, there will be a "longer, more unjust, deadlier pandemic".
With numerous vaccine projects under way and governments in Europe and the US investing billions of dollars in them, there is concern that richer nations could scoop up any promising medicines.
The European Commission and the World Health Organization have warned against unhealthy competition, while some US officials have indicated they will seek to prioritise American residents.

Outdoor pools can reopen - but will they?

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The Jubilee Pool in Penzance is hoping to reopen at the end of July

Earlier we told you that outdoor swimming pools in England can reopen from today, but don't reach for your swimming costumes and goggles just yet.
Operators of outdoor swimming pools have criticised the timing of the government announcement.
Some have claimed that a lack of preparation has made a shorter summer season "unviable" and have decided not to reopen.
There are more than 100 outdoor public swimming baths around the country.
Many are run by community groups or charities and have launched fundraising efforts in order to survive.
Read more.

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 11 2020, 14:44

Families pay respects to Srebrenica victims amid pandemic

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Today marks the 25th anniversary of the massacre

As we mentioned earlier, commemorations have taken place to mark the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.
More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered.
In normal times, thousands - or even tens of thousands - of people would come to Potocari cemetery, a memorial complex for the victims, to pay their respects. However the coronavirus pandemic has restricted attendance to a fraction of those numbers.
Seven victims, who have recently been identified, were buried at the cemetery.
Images from Potocari show people paying their respects while wearing masks.
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Seven people, who were recently identified, were buried at the cemetery today
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Many attendees were pictured wearing face coverings

What are the rules for meeting up with people?

It's the weekend of course, and you might be planning to spend some of it with friends and family from other households. But while some lockdown measures have been eased in the UK, there are some restrictions on how many people you can see, and where.

Read more in our explainer here.
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Show may go on as open air plays to resume

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The Roman Theatre at St Albans was built in about AD140

One of the changes announced this week for the easing of lockdown in England was allowing the reopening of open air theatres from today.
The arts have been heavily hit by the pandemic. Live performances at indoor theatres are still not permitted.
One open air theatre due to resume productions is the Roman Theatre of Verulamium in St Albans, Herts.
William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry V will be staged at the theatre next month.
Built in about AD140, is the only example of its kind , a roman theatre with a stage, in the UK.
When shows resume, it will seat 220 people, instead of the usual 275.
Read more here

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 11 2020, 14:50

US marines in Japan test positive for virus

A number of US marines based in Okinawa, Japan have tested positive for coronavirus.
"Several" personnel had caught the virus and had been moved into isolation, Marine Corps Installations Pacific announced in a post on Facebook. The number infected is unclear and Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki has spoken of a few dozen cases.
Contact tracing and cleaning teams have visited Camp Hansen, the US marines post said.
The Marine Forces have introduced new limits on off-base activities, it said in a statement to ABC News .
Service personnel on the base are not allowed to dine inside off-base restaurants, visit non-essential services or use public transport.
Japan has seen a surge of Covid-19 cases. Infections in Tokyo hve reached a record daily high of 243.
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Infections have risen considerably since the lifting of the state of emergency last month.
Hiroshi Nishiura, a professor at Hokkaido University and a member of the government's coronavirus response team, said Japan was at a turning point and it would be too late if no measures were taken appropriately.

'Kickstart' jobs scheme: Back to the future?

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As part of an emergency package to prevent mass unemployment, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £2bn "kickstart " scheme, aimed at creating more jobs for young people.
The fund will subsidise six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24, who are at risk of long-term unemployment.
The announcement sounded strangely familiar to those remembering the "Future Jobs Fund" announced in 2009 by the then-Labour Prime Minster Gordon Brown.
Like the current Conservative chancellor's programme, it also provided big incentives to employers to take on young people
So how successful was the 2009 scheme?
Lisa Connell is a student nurse in Uxbridge. She was on the Future Jobs Fund scheme in 2010. She was finishing college in 2009 and it took her some time to get on the scheme.
She says it is important for those who embark on the new scheme to be aware that it won't necessarily mean a full-time job at the end of it. After her work placement ended, she didn't have a permanent job for four years, but she believes the Future Jobs Fund was an important addition to her CV.
Read more here

Dubai announces third economic relief package

Dubai has announced a new economic relief package worth 1.5bn dirhams ($408m; £320m).
The funding was revealed in a tweet by the crown prince of the emirate, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum.
It is the third package announced by Dubai, the wealthiest member of the United Arab Emirates. Sheikh Hamdan said that, combined, they were worth the equivalent of $1.7bn.

Further 39 people with coronavirus die in England and Wales

A further 38 people have died in hospital in England after testing positive for coronavirus, NHS England said.
The patients were aged between 40 and 98 and three patients, aged 65 to 86 years, had no known underlying health conditions.
Wales has recorded one new death. In Scotland, no new coronavirus deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours.
The total number of daily deaths according to the UK government has not been released yet. That figure often differs from the individual nations' daily totals, because of differences in the timeframe used and it also includes deaths in the community.

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 11 2020, 16:56

How do the UK's rules on face masks compare?

Face coverings are making headlines in the UK after senior sources said the government is considering making them compulsory in shops in England. Currently, they're mandatory on public transport in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and advised in Wales - but in Scotland they're compulsory in shops as well.
So how do the UK's rules compare to elsewhere?

  • Spain: Face masks are compulsory in public for anyone aged six and over, both inside and outside, if it's not possible to stay 1.5m apart
  • France: Masks are recommended in certain situations and mandatory in others. They're compulsory on public transport, in some shops, taxis, cafes and bars, casinos and schools (although measures can be changed at a local level)
  • Germany: Since late April, all states have required everyone to cover their nose and mouth when using public transport and in shops.
  • Italy: Mandatory to wear masks in closed spaces, including transport, and in any situation where it's not possible to social distance.
  • Belgium: Compulsory on public transport and, from today, also in shops, cinemas and other indoor settings
  • Portugal: The use of face masks is mandatory in public transport and services, shops and supermarkets, in enclosed spaces or outdoor gatherings
  • Poland: Face coverings compulsory where it is impossible to keep 2m distance
  • USA: About 20 states have mandated mask wearing in public spaces.

More than a thousand cases a day in Panama

Panama recorded more than 1,000 cases on Friday and the head of an intensive care unit in the capital has warned that hospitals are on the brink of collapse.
Since the end of May, daily infections have climbed from around 300 a day in the Central American state to 1,041 on 10 July, with 24 further fatalities recorded.
"Our daily number of infected patients has been increasing in a sustained way to the point of passing 1,000 cases," David Villalobos, head of the intensive care unit at the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital in Panama City told AFP.
"There are no hospitals that could sustain such a number," he said.

Leicester added to Belgium's list of 'red zones'

Earlier we told you how Belgium had put Leicester on its list of "red zone" European cities, meaning anyone travelling there from the city has to go into quarantine for 10 days and take a Covid-19 test.
The city became England's first local lockdown on 29 June , following a spike in coronavirus cases.
The mayor of Leicester has told the BBC there is "no clear understanding of what will constitute the threshold that needs to be achieved before we can be released from [the lockdown]".
Sir Peter Soulsby complained that the government should have shared its data sooner with Leicester City Council about where the cases were, to enable the local authority to target affected areas and communities.
Leicester is the only UK city to be included in Belgium's red zone list . Other areas include parts of Greater Lisbon in Portugal and some parts of northern Spain.
Signs were due to be erected around Brussels Airport on Saturday telling passengers to inform authorities if they have been to Leicester recently.
Read more here

Footballers test positive at Red Star Belgrade

Six members of the Red Star Belgrade football team in Serbia have tested positive for coronavirus.
The six players will spend the next two weeks in quarantine and will not take part in the first part of Red Star's pre-season training, the team said in a statement .
"Red Star wants to wish our players a quick and successful recovery," it said.
The new cases are in addition to five players who tested positive on 22 June, days after players celebrated their title win in front of an 18,000 crowd.
Serbia began lifting its lockdown in May and opponents of the government say the decision was made far too early, ahead of June elections.
Friday saw Serbia's deadliest day since the start of the pandemic with 18 fatalities. Another 12 deaths have been reported today, bringing the total to 382. There have been another 345 infections in the past 24 hours.

61 cases among US marines in Japan

Earlier, we mentioned an outbreak among US Marines in Okinawa, Japan.
The prefectural government says 61 cases have been confirmed and two US marine bases have been put on lockdown, Kyodo news reports . An earlier statement from the Marine Corps referred to "several" cases.
In a news conference, Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki said: “We now have strong doubts that the US military has taken adequate disease prevention measures.”
He said that some people had held parties for 4 July in downtown areas and on beaches.
The Marine Corps said all of those who tested positive for the virus were in isolation, adding that the cases were in "two localised clusters".
Okinawa is home to about half of the 50,0000 US troops based in Japan.

Belgians don masks under new government rules

Gavin Lee - BBC Europe reporter
Belgium has taken a notable and noticeable step in its Covid-19 public health campaign, by making the wearing of face masks mandatory in public places. It applies to shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, museums, theatres, libraries and places of worship.
Before now, it was advisory, but not mandatory, except for hospitals and clinics, hairdressers and public transport.

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 11 2020, 17:03

US cases continue to rise

As mentioned this morning, cases in the US are continuing to rise.
There have now been more than three million cases and more than 130,000 deaths, making the US, the worst hit nation in the world.
Today, Florida confirmed 10,360 new cases, bringing the state's total number of infections to 254,511.
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Disney World returns as Florida cases surge

We've just reported another 10,360 infections in Florida, bringing the total number of cases in the state to over a quarter of a million. It's one of several US states, along with California, Texas, Arizona, Illinois and others to see increasing fatalities too.
Amid all this, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom have opened again with rules aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.
The two Orlando sites require social distancing and wearing a mask, and everyone will have a temperature check on entry. Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios will reopen in four days' time.

PM 'right' to be reviewing face coverings

There's been a cautious welcome by scientists to the suggestion that the UK government is considering making face coverings mandatory in shops in England.
It comes as the World Health Organization acknowledged earlier this week that there is "emerging evidence" that Covid-19 could be spread through particles in the air.
Face coverings are currently compulsory on public transport and in hospitals in England, but are now mandatory in shops in Scotland.
Professor David Heymann, an epidemiologist from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said masks should be worn by "all people in a situation where no one can physically distance to prevent infection of others".
He added that "face masks do not substitute for physical distancing if physical distancing is possible, and they do not protect the wearer from infection unless they are worn as part of personal protective equipment that also protects the eyes, a potential site of infection."
Dr Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia echoed this.
He added that the "most important thing is that anyone wearing a mask must not assume that they are automatically protected. People should still practice distancing and continue to wash their hands."

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 11 2020, 18:05

'Patient 91' finally heads home to Scotland

A 42-year-old pilot is heading back to North Lanarkshire, after contracting Covid-19 in Vietnam and spending more than two months on life support in hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.
Doctors gave Stephen Cameron a 10% chance of survival, in a country that has recorded no official coronavirus deaths. This is a picture of the Vietnam Airlines pilot being whisked away from Cho Ray hospital today.
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As he left. he said he was overwhelmed by the generosity of the Vietnamese people and the dedication of the medical staff.
A couple of weeks ago, we reported on the man they called Patient 91, who spent 68 days on a ventilator.
He told the BBC: "I'm very humbled by how I've been taken into the hearts of the Vietnamese people. If I'd been almost anywhere else on the planet, I'd be dead."
It's a very powerful story and you can read it here .

How to make your own face covering

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There's been a lot of talk about face coverings today. Although many businesses - and fashion designers - have spotted a business opportunity and face coverings become more widely on sale, the UK government says you can make your own.
Whether you're handy with a sewing machine or just want a quick fix, the principles are the same: the more layers of material the better, and the mask needs to fit snugly around the face, and you should be able to breathe comfortably.
We've put together a guide on how to make one.
There's a few options - you can make a mask out of a square of fabric and some elastic bands, an old T-shirt, or we've got instructions if you want to sew one.

As France heads on holiday, some flights overseas are banned

A ban has been imposed on people flying to or from some French overseas territories, including Mayotte and French Guiana, because of the spread of Covid-19.
Travel is only allowed for "compelling personal or family, health or professional reasons".
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There's bad news for people trying to fly from French Guiana to Paris

The story in mainland France is rather different, with reports of 955km (600 miles) of traffic jams across the country. "The situation is exceptional - the level of jams is substantially higher than it was [a year ago]," said traffic monitoring group Bison Futé.
Many in France are taking advantage of the pending Bastille Day holiday on Tuesday to enjoy a long weekend. However, quite a few of them will have spent much of Saturday in the car.

Quick recap if you're heading to the pub

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It's a week since England's "Super Saturday", when pubs and restaurants were allowed to reopen if they followed safety guidelines.
Hotels, pubs and restaurants in England and Northern Ireland that serve food at tables can now reopen indoors.
Beer gardens and outdoor restaurants are open in Scotland . In Wales , pubs and restaurants can reopen outdoors from 13 July and indoors from 3 August.
Guidance has been issued on measures that pubs and restaurants must take to keep customers and staff safe.
It includes:
• The option of ordering food on apps
• Staff encouraged to wash their hands before handling plates and cutlery
• Music should be kept at a low volume to avoid people needing to shout, which increases the risk of transmission
• Pub-goers will be encouraged to book tables in advance
• Live gigs and standing at the bar will not be allowed
• Controlled access to toilets
There's lots more to know, so read more here .

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 11 2020, 19:03

Outcry as German tourists 'party like there's no pandemic'

Hundreds of German tourists drank, danced and partied in Majorca on Friday night, without a thought of social distancing or a face covering, reports say.
According to Mallorca Zeitung, bar owners along the so-called Bierstrasse had set up their tables to encourage social distancing but few holidaymakers observed it, The story is making headlines in Germany.
The website says the scenes are a reminder of the risk of what a second wave of Covid-19 infections could look like. And, actually, Majorca is one of the islands trying to shake off its party image, as you can read here . Regional authorities decided only yesterday to threaten enormous fines of up to €600,000 (about £537,000) for illegal parties that breach local rules.

Further 148 coronavirus deaths recorded across UK

The government's latest figures are in and show sadly a further 148 deaths linked to coronavirus have been recorded across all settings in the UK.
As of 18:20 BST on Saturday 11 July, 820 people have tested positive for coronavirus.
This means a total of 288,953 have tested positive, and 44,798 deaths linked to the virus have been recorded so far.

Latest UK coronavirus stats in graphs

The government has released its latest figures and data on how the virus is affecting the UK.
Here are graphs showing how the numbers are changing.
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Latest figures from the Department of Health

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Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 11 2020, 19:38

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has Covid-19

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Amitabh Bachchan, pictured in this October 2019 photograph, has appeared in more than 200 films over a career spanning decades

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan says he has tested positive for coronavirus.
Writing on Twitter, the 77-year-old veteran actor, who has appeared in more than 200 films, confirmed his diagnosis and encouraged anyone who had been in contact with him in the past 10 days to get tested.
He was transferred to Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai, according to local media.
A hospital official told The Indian Express newspaper that he was in a stable condition.

  tweet  Amitabh Bachchan:
:Left Quotes:  T 3590 -I have tested CoviD positive .. shifted to Hospital .. hospital informing authorities .. family and staff undergone tests , results awaited .. All that have been in close proximity to me in the last 10 days are requested to please get themselves tested !

Round-up of developments around the world

As we near the end of our live coverage today, let's recap the main events.
Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, said the country cannot afford to shut down its economy again in the face of rising infections. Officials say 188 people have died in the past 24 hours and another 2,397 have been recorded. Iran's economy has been hit by sanctions and an initial lockdown was lifted in April. In other developments:

  • The US has seen another 66,600 infections in 24 hours and a total of almost 135,000 deaths since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University data
  • Among the states seeing a rise in cases are Florida, Illiinois and South Carolina, where Governor Henry McMaster has issued an order banning sales of alcohol after 23:00 in bars and restaurants to try to stop the spread
  • As the UK government hints that face-coverings could be made compulsory in shops in England, opposition MPs urged ministers to provide "strong and clear guidance"
  • They are mandatory in Scotland but Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford says he does not think the evidence is "decisive" yet
  • Belgium has made wearing masks compulsory in shops, cinemas and other indoor public spaces
  • There have been outbreaks on two US marine bases in Okinawa in Japan and the local government says there have been 61 cases
  • India has seen another surge in infections, rising to over 820,000.

That's all from us for now

We're going to pause our live coverage here for the day.

Today's live page was written and edited by Suzanne Leigh, Paul Kirby, Sophie Williams, Francesca Gillett, Shamaan Freeman-Powell, Joshua Cheetham and Kathryn Snowdon.
Thanks for joining us.

    Current date/time is Sat Nov 28 2020, 08:27