- Australia says it has secured access to a promising coronavirus vaccine and will offer free doses
- The country's PM Scott Morrison backtracks after saying the vaccine should be "as mandatory as you can possibly make it"
- The vaccine, being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, is in advanced clinical trials
- South Korea's capital Seoul closes museums, nightclubs and karaoke bars after cases spike
- US stocks hit a new high after the coronavirus crash despite continuing worries about the economic impact
- Ministers in England are under pressure to lift limits on the numbers studying medicine at university after the school exam grading system was changed
Welcome and thanks for joining us…We’re starting our coronavirus coverage for the day. Here is a round-up of the world’s biggest new developments:
- Australia says it has secured access to a promising coronavirus vaccine and will be able to offer free doses to its entire population of 25 million people
- The vaccine is being developed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it should be mandatory to have it
- Museums, nightclubs and karaoke bars have closed in and around South Korea's capital as a cluster of cases has raised alarm of a new crisis
- Ministers are coming under pressure to lift the limit on the number of places to study medicine in England, after this week's coronavirus-related disruption
- India has recorded more than 64,000 new cases in the last 24 hours, according to health ministry data, with total cases now nearing 2.8 million
- A key US stock index has hit a new high despite ongoing worries about the sharp economic impact of the pandemic. The S&P 500 inched about three points above its 19 February record on Tuesday
- A court in New Zealand has found that the government overstepped its powers in implementing a lockdown earlier this year, but conceded it was justified
Australia secures access to Oxford-AstraZeneca trialAustralia says it has secured access to a promising coronavirus vaccine and will be able to offer free doses to its entire population of 25 million people.
The vaccine is being developed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
If clinical trials are successful, the deal with AstraZeneca would secure "early access for every Australian", Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Mr Morrison said it was likely that vaccinations would be mandatory.
Australia has recorded 450 coronavirus deaths, most from an outbreak in the state of Victoria.
Read more here
UK headlinesIf you’re just joining us from the UK, here’s the latest stories you need to know about this morning:
- Ministers are coming under pressure to lift the limit on the number of places to study medicine in England, after changes to how A-levels are awarded meant more students met their offer than previously thought
- Pizza Express is to close 73 of its UK restaurants with the potential loss of 1,100 jobs. The chain had already been struggling but said the impact of the pandemic meant it had to make some “incredibly tough decisions” to safeguard the business in the long term
- The loss of smell that can accompany coronavirus is unique and different from that experienced by someone with a bad cold or flu,according to European researchers
- The ban on evictions in England, which was introduced to help renters hit financially by the lockdown, should be extended in order to prevent a “homelessness crisis”, Labour has said
- Free coronavirus tests will be offered to more UK households to get a better idea of how many people in the general population are infected
Full Oldham lockdown could be 'counter-productive’Oldham in the north-west of England has been warned it could be on the verge of a full local lockdown, with coronavirus cases remaining high.
The town is already subject to restrictions applied across Greater Manchester, with people living there currently not allowed to visit other households or mix in indoor venues.
However Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding said the latest data showed cases had fallen to 83 per 100,000 people and warned a full local lockdown, with the closure of businesses, could be “counter-productive and premature”.
He told BBC Breakfast, Oldham residents could simply travel to another part of Greater Manchester to visit pubs and restaurants if they closed, which could risk spreading the virus further.
He said currently most cases were amongst the working age population and the council had a “robust plan” in place including increasing testing and getting the message out about the importance of self-isolation.
There had also been no significant increase in hospitalisations or deaths, he told the BBC's Today programme.
Highest number of cases in South Korea since MarchSouth Korea has reported another 297 new cases - the highest daily figure since March.
Museums, nightclubs and karaoke bars have closed in and around South Korea's capital, Seoul.
South Korea is viewed as one of the world's coronavirus success stories for its management of the disease.
But a spike in new cases linked mostly to a church has sparked concerns of a wider outbreak.
Wednesday saw a three-digit increase in cases for a sixth day after weeks with numbers generally around the 40s. Of the 297 infections reported, 252 were in the greater Seoul area.
Many of the new cases have been linked to the Sarang Jeil Church, whose pastor has been a vocal critic of President Moon Jae-in.
In total 623 members of Sarang Jeil Church have been infected so far, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
Ten of these were people confirmed to have attended anti-government demonstrations on the past two weekends in Seoul, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
Read more here.
South Korea church members reluctant to complyLaura Bicker - BBC News, Seoul correspondent
South Korea has two main concerns. First that the outbreak is in the highly populated greater Seoul area, and secondly that the cluster involves yet another highly secretive church and hundreds of members have provided false contact details at gatherings.
Let's not forget, South Korea has been in this position before and prevailed. Its highly efficient track-and-trace system, paired with multiple testing facilities, has brought cluster outbreaks under control.
But Sarang Jeil church members rallied in the centre of Seoul at the weekend, ignoring warnings from health officials that they risked spreading the virus.
Domestic media has also shown footage of church members shouting and swearing at virus contact tracers. It seems some of them believe that this is part of a conspiracy to close the right-wing church, which is highly critical of President Moon's administration. They are also reluctant to comply with quarantine orders or get a test.
Authorities have the power to introduce stricter social distancing guidelines and they have shut down facilities such as karaoke rooms and nightclubs. Most companies based in Seoul have also told their employees to work from home.
But tracking down reluctant church members who are most at risk of catching and spreading the virus may prove more difficult.
UK 'not considering' mandatory face coverings in workplacesThe UK government is not considering making face coverings mandatory in workplaces, after France took the step on Tuesday , the health secretary has said.
Matt Hancock said the current evidence from NHS Test and Trace was that people were largely catching the virus when meeting another household, usually in one of their homes.
He told BBC Breakfast that while the government was "constantly looking at the scientific evidence", the amount of people catching Covid-19 in workplaces was "relatively low".
Jubilant PSG fans ignore mask rules - Europe headlines
If you're just joining our live coverage of the pandemic, welcome. Here are the latest headlines from around Europe:
- Supporters of Paris St-Germain took to the streets to celebrate their side's victory in the semi-final of the Champions League. Hundreds of fans thronged the Champs-Élysées, but many ignored requirements to wear face masks. France has seen a sharp rise in cases since July and masks are already widely used
- Finland announced it was re-introducing travel restrictions for a number of countries including its Nordic neighbours. These include Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Greece, Malta, and Germany. Iceland, meanwhile, announced new travel restrictions of its own
- Elsewhere, cases are continuing to spike around Europe. Germany recorded 1,510 cases in 24 hours – its highest daily figure since May. Greece also reported its own record daily figure of 269 cases on Tuesday
- And Spain is believed to have had the highest rate of infection in Europe over the past 14 days. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, there were 132.2 cases per 100,000 people during that period
Local lockdowns work, says HancockHealth Secretary Matt Hancock has insisted the approach of local lockdowns works, despite cases remaining high in Leicester.
The city in the East Midlands of England became the first area in the UK to be subject to a local lockdown on 29 June, but restrictions have been gradually lifted, with salons and nail bars the latest businesses able to reopen today .
Hancock told BBC Breakfast the infection rate in Leicester had decreased to around 35 per 100,000, although he acknowledged it was "still too high" and there was more work to do.
He added that some restrictions still remained, for example on gatherings in private homes and gardens.
Earlier Oldham's council leader urged the government not to put the town - where cases remain high - into lockdown.
Early lockdown justified but unlawful, NZ court rulesA court in New Zealand says the government overstepped its powers in implementing a lockdown earlier this year, but conceded it was justified.
The High Court issued its findings over restrictions imposed between 26 March and 3 April, the early stages of a five-week lockdown. Wellington lawyer Andrew Borrowdale had challenged the legality of the steps.
An order imposing stay-at-home restrictions was not passed until 3 April, meaning rights and freedoms were unlawfully limited until then, the court said.
"While there is no question that the requirement was a necessary, reasonable and proportionate response to the Covid-19 crisis at that time, the requirement was not prescribed by law," the court said.
PM Jacinda Ardern has been praiseed for her swift action in locking down the country and avoiding an outbreak on the scale seen in many countries.
But restrictions were imposed on Auckland last week after a number of new infections were identified in the city.
The country's general election - due to take place in September - has been postponed by a month due to the outbreak.
64,000 new cases in India, total nears 2.8 millionThe number of coronavirus cases has spiked again in India, with the country recording more than 64,000 new cases in the last 24 hours.
Total cases in the country are now nearing 2.8 million.
The Indian government is focusing on ramping up testing capacity.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, more than 31 million tests had been conduced by Tuesday and more than 800,000 were tested on Tuesday alone.
India has the world's fourth highest death toll at more than 52,000. But the number of deaths per million people stands at 34 - far lower than what has been reported in Europe or North America.
Read more: How many Covid-19 deaths is India missing?