- The UK has officially fallen into recession for the first time in 11 years due to the impact of the pandemic
- The 20.4% fall in the second quarter is the largest reported by any major economy so far
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak warns of a further wave of job losses, saying "hard times are here"
- Fast rising case numbers are worrying governments in western Europe, who are warning people to take more precautions
- France is reporting 2,000 new cases per day compared to 1,000 three weeks ago, the prime minister says
- Spain, meanwhile, is in a "critical situation", with the worst infection rate in Europe, experts say
- There are outbreaks of coronavirus, of differing sizes, in almost all parts of Germany, its health minister warns
UK plunges into recession for first time in 11 yearsWe kick off our live coverage this morning with some grim news that while long expected has finally been confirmed. The UK has crashed into recession for the first time in 11 years due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions imposed to control it.
The economy contracted by a record 20.4% between April and June, the Office for National Statistics said.
Officials said the economy bounced back in June as government restrictions on movement started to ease.
Europe fears resurgence as cases riseA rash of new coronavirus outbreaks across Europe has prompted warnings against complacency, as officials in Spain, France, Germany and other countries fear a major resurgence of infections.
European countries are scrambling to curb coronavirus outbreaks that have sprung up since lockdown restrictions that damaged their economies were lifted.
In France, Prime Minister Jean Castex warned that the country had been going "the wrong way" for two weeks. The health ministry reported 1,397 new infections of Covid-19 on Tuesday, nearly double the previous day’s rise.
Meanwhile in Germany, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 1,226 to 218,519 on Wednesday, data showed. Health Minister Jens Spahn said “we must be very alert about the rise”.
Figures released by Spain's health ministry on Tuesday showed 326,612 infections have now been confirmed, an increase of 3,632. Most of those new cases were detected in Catalonia, Madrid and Aragón, where fresh lockdowns were imposed last month.
How could a recession affect you?Ben King - Business reporter, BBC News
While economic figures may feel far removed from your day-to-day life, the announcement of the UK entering a recession has real consequences.
As we've been seeing already during the pandemic, in a recession many people can lose their jobs, or find it harder to get promotions, or a pay rise.
Graduates and school leavers could also find it harder to get a first job.
The pain of a recession is typically not felt equally across society, and inequality can increase.
For instance, many UK homeowners who kept their jobs during the last recession just over a decade ago did OK. Mortgage interest payments for many fell considerably, leaving them with more spending money.
Others, such as benefit recipients or public sector workers, were hit harder.
Read more here
Europe virus spikes, UK recession and other headlinesIf you’re just joining us, hello and welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. As usual, we’ll be bringing you the latest developments from the UK and around the world.
Here are the stories we are watching:
- The UK has plunged into recession for the first time in 11 years , after GDP plummeted by a record 20.4% during the height of lockdown
- Coronavirus infections have risen markedly in Spain, France, Germany and other European countries, sparking warnings from officials
- Australia has once again reported a new record in the number of virus-related deaths in one day. Twenty-one people died, all in the state of Victoria
- The announcement that Russia has granted regulatory approval for a vaccine against the coronavirus has been met with scepticism by experts and US health officials
- Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, has gone into lockdown after recording the country’s first locally transmitted Covid-19 cases in 102 days
- As it stands, there have been 20.2 million infections and 741,000 deaths globally, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University
Analysis: UK economic hit set to be worst in G7Faisal Islam - BBC Economics Editor
The UK economy shrank an unprecedented 20.4% in the second quarter of this year between April and June, confirming an official technical recession, as the economy shutdown during the first wave peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first official GDP numbers for this period show over a fifth of the value of the economy lost since the beginning of the year, mainly driven by the severe shutdown in April.
The six-month fall is on course to be the worst in the G7 (the group of the world's seven largest so-called advanced economies). However, within Europe, the Spanish economy has so far fallen a little more.
The sheer extent and speed of the contraction, though not surprising, reflects an economic hit that has affected every high street and town and city in the country.
The economy is now growing again, but not all the lights that were dimmed in order to protect public health in the spring, will be turned back on.
Get all the latest details in our main story
Calls for New Zealand election to be delayedThe leader of New Zealand’s parliamentary opposition has called on the prime minister to delay September’s election after new coronavirus cases saw lockdown restrictions return.
Four new infections were found in Auckland on Tuesday, ending the country’s remarkable 102-day streak without a locally transmitted case .
A three-day lockdown has swiftly been imposed in the city and the country’s Covid-19 alert level has been raised.
On Wednesday National Party leader Judith Collins said it was not possible to hold a free and fair election in the circumstances.
"It's very hard to have any democratic vote if people can't vote, that is the problem,” she said, suggesting a delay until at least November.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she needed “time to fully consider” the impact of the new outbreak before making a decision about the election.
Many more will lose jobs - UK chancellorChancellor Rishi Sunak has been commenting on this morning's figures showing the record economic slump in the UK wrought by the coronavirus and lockdown measures.
"I've said before that hard times were ahead, and today's figures confirm that hard times are here," he said.
"Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost their jobs, and sadly in the coming months many more will.
"But while there are difficult choices to be made ahead, we will get through this, and I can assure people that nobody will be left without hope or opportunity."
Giving her reaction, Labour's shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said a downturn was "inevitable after lockdown" but added: "[Boris] Johnson's jobs crisis wasn't.
"We've already got the worst excess death rate in Europe - now we're on course for the worst recession too," she said. "That's a tragedy for our country and it's happening on the PM's watch."
France's virus situation 'deteriorating'As we reported earlier, France is among the European countries reporting recent spikes in new coronavirus infections, fuelling fears of larger outbreaks.
On Tuesday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex appeared to be acutely aware of the resurgence of Covid-19 in the country.
"The epidemiological situation, which we are following very closely, is deteriorating: 2,000 new cases per day compared to 1,000 three weeks ago," Mr Castex said at a news conference in Montpellier.
On Tuesday, 1,397 new infections and 14 deaths were reported in France.
Those increases brought France’s total infections to 239,355 and deaths to 30,328, both among the highest figures in the world.
Like other countries, France is tightening hygiene regulations in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus, but officials do not want to bring back the full lockdowns that unleashed so much economic pain.
Read more: Cases surge as France goes 'wrong way'
Australia records a new deadliest dayAustralia has seen its deadliest day of the pandemic yet with 21 new deaths linked to Covid-19 reported on Wednesday. It's a sobering moment for a country once hailed as a pandemic success story.
The new deaths were all recorded in the state of Victoria, where a state of disaster was declared earlier this month after a spike in new infections.
The previous highest daily death toll was 19, recorded a day earlier. On Wednesday, a further 410 cases of coronavirus were recorded by health authorities in Victoria.
Despite Wednesday’s rise, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said there were signs that new infections were starting to level off.
"If you look at the average over the last seven days we are seeing the line come down," he said.