- A short period of tight restrictions across England is being considered to slow the spread of the virus
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock says UK faces "very serious situation" and does not rule out another lockdown
- Other European countries, including France and Spain, are also taking action as cases surge
- It comes as the WHO warns of "alarming rates of transmission" across Europe, with fears death rates will rise significantly
- Israel becomes the first country to start a second nationwide shutdown, with residents unable to stray far from their homes
- Australia will now let in 6,000 citizens a week - some 24,000 stranded Australians have been waiting to return home
- Confirmed cases worldwide pass 30 million, with more than 940,000 confirmed deaths of people who had Covid-19
Hello and thank you for joining us for another day of Covid-19 live coverage.
As confirmed coronavirus cases across the world pass 30 million, here are the main headlines:
- The UK government is considering new measures for the whole of England - including closing hospitality venues – as cases rapidly rise. Schools and most workplaces would be kept open under the plan, but no final decision has been made
- France and other European countries like Spain are also imposing new restrictions as the continent tries to halt a spike in infections amid fears hospitals could once again see huge numbers of seriously ill patients
- US Democratic candidate Joe Biden has described President Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic as “close to criminal”. Trump recently admitted to downplaying the scale of the coronavirus threat
- Israel’s second nationwide lockdown comes into force later today. It’s the first rich country to implement another shutdown
England-wide 'circuit break' being consideredThe UK government is considering new England-wide coronavirus measures that could see hospitality businesses being forced to close, or have their opening hours limited.
According to the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, a short period of national rules - a “circuit break” for a few weeks - could be announced soon.
During this time, schools and most workplaces would be kept open. No final decision has yet been made.
Meanwhile, new local lockdown rules are set to be brought in for Lancashire, with the exception of Blackpool, the BBC understands. And nearly two million people in north-east England are now living under tightened restrictions, which came into force today.
The government’s chief scientific adviser and medical officer warn there could be a significant number of deaths by the end of October without further interventions.
Europe tackles 'alarming' case riseMany European countries are preparing to implement new measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, as the World Health Organization warns of a “very serious situation”.
Along with the UK, the governments of France, Spain and the Netherlands are all expected to announce new restrictions.
In the Spanish capital Madrid, where many of the country’s new cases have been reported, health officials have warned that the regional healthcare system is coming under serious pressure from Covid-19 patients.
France, meanwhile, is expected to bring in new measures for major cities, including Lyon and Nice.
On Thursday, the WHO’s Europe regional director Hans Kluge said 300,000 new infections were reported across Europe last week , with the numbers exceeding those seen during the first peak in March.
"Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region," he said.
New national lockdown 'last line of defence' - HancockAnother national lockdown in England is the "last line of defence" but would happen if needed, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said, as he warned the UK was in a "very serious situation".
He told BBC Breakfast there had been an "acceleration" in cases in recent weeks and "we need to take action".
The virus is now understood to be doubling every seven to eight days, with more than 3,300 new cases in the UK reported on Thursday.
"It is absolutely critical that people follow the rules," he said, stressing the importance of the new "rule of six" in England, and the basics of wearing face coverings, washing hands and giving space to others.
If all of that is done, and if those who test positive isolate, "we can avoid having to take serious further measures", he added.
But, he stressed, national lockdowns can "keep people safe".
He said it was vitally important to have local lockdowns like the one that has come into force in the North East today - adding that he would be making an announcement about further action later. It's thought it could concern more measures for Lancashire.
Australia to let more citizens come homeFrances Mao - BBC News, Sydney
The Australian government says come mid-October it will allow 6,000 citizens a week - 2,000 more than currently allowed - to come home as Melbourne’s second wave comes under control.
PM Scott Morrison said more than 24,000 Australians stranded overseas had registered to return.
In July, the country capped the number of returnees to ease the strain on the mandatory hotel quarantine system. Mistakes in that system had led to the virus's re-emergence in June in the state of Victoria.
However, expats had complained this policy meant flights home were near impossible to secure - with the London to Sydney route for example taking only 30 passengers per flight.
“With the success we have had as a country in recent months… we can start helping Australians getting home again,” Mr Morrison said.
Singapore's 'pandemic of inequality'Yvette Tan - BBC News
Having already caught Covid-19, recovered, and gone back to work, Zakir Hossain Khokan thought his worst days were behind him.
But last month a new cluster developed at his dormitory, and like thousands of migrant workers in Singapore, he was ordered back into quarantine.
"Day and night, we are just inside one room," he says. "It's actually torturing our mind. It's like jail."
Singapore is home to more than 300,000 low-wage foreign workers from countries like India and Bangladesh, who mainly work in industries like construction and manufacturing.
Their right to live in Singapore is tied to their job and their employer must provide accommodation, at a cost.
They commute from their dorms in packed vans to building sites where they work and take breaks alongside men from other crowded dorms - perfect conditions for the virus to spread.
Read the full story here.
Czech cases in one day almost equal to whole of MarchRob Cameron - BBC Prague Correspondent
The 3,130 new infections recorded in the Czech Republic on Thursday are almost as many as for the whole month of March - and officials are warning of the risk of an exponential increase.
Face masks are mandatory in schools from today (20% of new infections are in school-aged children) and authorities warn new measures - due to be announced today - could be introduced quickly to flatten the curve.
A new version of the much-criticised contact tracing app e-Rouska is also being launched today. The original version didn't work on iPhones and drained battery life.
The government of PM Andrej Babis is facing severe criticism for watering down planned restrictions that were due to come into force on 1 September. In the end they were introduced anyway 10 days later, but critics say this was too late and these numbers are the result.
Russian opera diva Netrebko in hospital
Anna Netrebko is internationally renowned
Russian opera star Anna Netrebko says she is in hospital with coronavirus-related pneumonia, but is expected to make a full recovery.
She fell ill after performing in the Bolshoi Theatre's post-lockdown opening show, Verdi’s Don Carlos, earlier this month.
Don Carlos has now been stopped, as another singer has coronavirus too.
“I don’t regret going back to performing because I strongly believe that we need culture, now as ever,” Netrebko tweeted.
The 48-year-old soprano is singing in hospital, her manager has said.
The Bolshoi in Moscow has social distancing rules for performances, and the audience wear masks.
St Petersburg’s famous Mariinsky Theatre was also hit by a Covid-19 outbreak last month, affecting about 30 performers, mostly ballet dancers.
Russia recorded 5,905 new cases in the past 24 hours – the highest daily tally since late July - and 134 deaths.