Doctors plead with holidaymakers to heed social distancing after public packed beaches

Laveta Brigham

Crowds gathered on the beach in Bournemouth on Thursday, as temperatures soared. – PA Coronavirus Article Bar with counter .. Doctors have pleaded with holidaymakers to practise social distancing ahead of the tourism industry reopening next weekend. The British Medical Association (BMA) has set out guidelines for people in England, […]

Crowds gathered on the beach in Bournemouth on Thursday, as temperatures soared. - PA
Crowds gathered on the beach in Bournemouth on Thursday, as temperatures soared. – PA
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

Doctors have pleaded with holidaymakers to practise social distancing ahead of the tourism industry reopening next weekend.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has set out guidelines for people in England, who will be allowed to visit hotels, bed and breakfast facilities and campsites from July 4.

It comes as thousands have flocked to beaches and beauty spots on Thursday – the hottest day of the year so far – prompting a major incident to be declared in Bournemouth.

The BMA has advised people not to travel if they are ill or have any Covid-19 symptoms, including a cough, temperature or loss of smell or taste.

The doctors’ union has also said holidaymakers should be prepared to self-isolate for 14 days if anyone in their “bubble” develops symptoms or is told to do so by the NHS Test and Trace service.

The BMA has also encouraged people to wear a face covering when mixing with people from outside their “bubble” indoors.

Chair of the BMA public health medicine committee Dr Peter English called on tourism providers and local authorities to consider how they can help mitigate the risk of the virus spreading and urged holidaymakers to act with “extreme caution”.

He said: “Lockdown is being eased and many aspects of life are returning to some form of normality, however, it is vitally important to recognise that this deadly virus has not gone away.”

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Coronavirus podcast newest episode

Follow the latest updates below.

Table of Contents

09:51 AM

Shapps: Bus and train services to be boosted in early July

To coincide with the easing of lockdown restrictions, public transport services in England will be ramped up in early July, the Department for Transport has announced.

Bus and train timetables will be at about 85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels from July 4 and July 6 respectively. But people will still to be urged to avoid public transport where possible.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“As more businesses across the country prepare to reopen, we are increasing rail and bus services to boost capacity and meet additional demand for travel, helping people to travel safely.

“Our guidance remains that people should avoid public transport if possible and to walk or cycle instead.”

Large parts of England’s hospitality industry will reopen on July 4, including pubs, restaurants, hotels and visitor attractions. Indoor gatherings involving two separate households will be permitted from the same date.

09:45 AM

Mexican President rebuked for comments on women staying home

Mexico’s President has provoked considerable controversy after suggesting the tradition of women staying at home to take care of older family members was key to battling the coronavirus pandemic. 

“People want to change women’s role and that is one of the just causes of feminism, but the tradition in Mexico is that daughters are the ones who care the most for parents. We men are more detached,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said late yesterday. 

Whereas seniors in nursing homes in Europe had suffered with the pandemic, Mexico’s elders were helped by the custom of being cared for at home, he said, adding that the “Mexican family is the most important social security institution” in the country.

The comments have provoked widespread anger, with the hashtag AmloMachista, or sexist AMLO in reference to the president’s initials, trending on Twitter. 

Martha Tagle, a lawmaker with the Citizen’s Movement party, wrote:

“Translating the president’s nineteenth century thinking when he says: men are more detached, he means irresponsible; daughters take care of their parents, he’s referring to unpaid work; tradition refers to machismo; feminism wants to change roles, true transformation,”

It is not the first time the 66 year old has been accused of tone-deaf, sexist comments - MEXICO'S PRESIDENCY/REUTERS
It is not the first time the 66 year old has been accused of tone-deaf, sexist comments – MEXICO’S PRESIDENCY/REUTERS

09:30 AM

More than 500 prisoners currently infected with Covid-19

The weekly figures on coronavirus infections in English and Welsh prisons are out. They reveal that, as of June 19, there were 510 people with Covid-19 symptoms who had tested positive for the virus. 

Of those, 500 were in adult prisons and 10 in youth jails.

The latest available data, published in a weekly report for the first time, also showed 23 prisoners and 21 offenders being supervised by probation had died during the pandemic with Covid-19 being the suspected cause.

So far, 175 inmates have been freed early as part of efforts to protect those most vulnerable to catching the virus.

09:21 AM

EU emergency stimulus a ‘massive priority’ for Germany

In financial news: Finalising the European Union’s package of measures to help the economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic is a “massive priority” for Germany’s presidency of the EU, German Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Kukies said today.

EU leaders agreed in April to build a trillion-euro emergency fund to help the 27-nation bloc rebound from the pandemic, but the final details have yet to be agreed.

“We really need to act quickly now if we want the funds to be available on January 1, 2021,” Mr Kukies told an online event. He said that it is not possible to “sugar-coat” the severity of the economic crisis being faced by Europe, and things could get worse before they get better. 

But there are signs that the crisis is “bottoming out” with strong credit expansion in Germany, the EU’s largest economy, during the height of the crisis, Mr Kukies added.

Germany will drive the bloc’s agenda over the next six months and Mr Kukies said that in financial services there was a need for a harmonised approach to anti-money laundering moves.

09:10 AM

Australia: Return of the loo roll rush?

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic anxiety lead thousands of people across the globe to stockpile. One of the most popular items? Loo roll.

Since then matters have calmed down considerably – but now Australia is witnessing a re-run and supermarkets have today reimposed purchase limits on toilet paper.

It follows panic buying by people rattled over a surge in coronavirus cases in the country’s second-biggest city, Melbourne, where officials reported 30 new coronavirus infections overnight.

It’s the 10th straight day of double-digit rises in new cases in the city and surrounding Victoria state, while most other Australian regions have seen no or low single-digit new infections for weeks.

The number of new cases is relatively low compared to soaring tallies elsewhere in the world, but the Melbourne outbreak has sparked fears of a resurgence of the epidemic as most parts of the country push ahead with relaxing restrictions.

Woolworths and Coles, Australia’s two biggest supermarket chains, both said today that they were reimposing nationwide quotas on purchases of toilet paper and paper towels to counter a surge in panic buying.

“Stop it, it’s ridiculous,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after the rush on stores, insisting the Covid-19 outbreak in Melbourne did not threaten the country’s so far successful containment of the epidemic.

Here’s a look at the trajectory of Australia’s outbreak to date:

Coronavirus Australia Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Australia Spotlight Chart – Cases default

09:01 AM

Less than half of travel firms will allow self-isolating holidaymakers to rebook

Hoping for a summer getaway? Make sure you’ve checked the smallprint first – as Marianna Hunt explains here:

Holidaymakers unable to travel because they have been told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service may find themselves out of pocket, as less than half of firms would provide a refund in this case. 

Coby Benson of Bott and Co, a law firm, said: “Passengers are at risk of losing their money, since there is no law which requires the airline to provide a refund if the flight goes ahead but the passenger was unable to travel.”

Only a handful of travel firms have made special arrangements for this scenario. Out of 23 major travel operators and airlines, just 10 said they would allow customers who were told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace to rebook free of charge, research by consumer website Which? found. 

These included package holiday firm Tui and airlines British Airways, Emirates and Ryanair. Explore, an adventure travel provider, said it would offer at least a partial refund depending on circumstances. 

Read the full story here. 

08:52 AM

The view from Italy: Authorities monitor new clusters of cases

Italy has returned to near normality, with hospitalisations and deaths continuing to drop – just 34 fatalities have been reported in the last 24 hours. 

But Italian health officials have warned that the virus is still circulating and say they are closely monitoring a number of new cluster outbreaks from north to south. 

Andrea Vogt has these updates:

  • The governor of Campania sent in army units to help enforce a quarantine of several tower blocks in the town of Mondragone, south of Naples, after 49 migrant workers tested positive for the virus.

  • A new red zone has also been declared in three quarters of the city of Palmi, in Reggio Calabria.

  • Officials are watching a cluster outbreak that infected 123 in the Instituto San Raffaele Pisana rehab medical center in Rome, as well as 17 others in an illegally occupied building in the Garbatella quarter.

  • In Sicily, 28 recently rescued migrants tested positive for the virus and are being kept in quarantine in sealed off areas of a ferry anchored off shore, where recently rescued migrants are being held for testing and health checks.

  • In Bologna several hundred people are sheltering at home after 47 workers in a logistics warehouse for the Bartolini courier tested positive, along with another 17 family and friends with whom they were in contact.    

A residential complex where 49 people tested positive for Covid-19 is cordoned off after it was placed under quarantine in the village of Mondragone, on Friday - REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
A residential complex where 49 people tested positive for Covid-19 is cordoned off after it was placed under quarantine in the village of Mondragone, on Friday – REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

08:43 AM

Vaccine news: Daiichi Sankyo in talks with AstraZeneca to supply Japan

The vaccine candidate under development by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is gaining global recognition, with trials set to begin in Brazil and South Africa and countries including the US (and of course the UK) agreeing deals to secure supplies. 

Now that reach looks likely to spread to Japan. The company Daiichi Sankyo is in discussions to secure supplies of the experimental vaccine, known as AZD1222.

Daiichi Sankyo said in a statement on Friday that one of its subsidiaries would receive undiluted solution of the vaccine and then carry out formulation procedures, packaging, and storage in Japan. AstraZeneca said separately that it is in talks with the Japanese government on supplies of the potential vaccine.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said earlier on Friday that the government is supporting domestic vaccine development but is also in negotiations with other parties.

“In any event, the government will work hard to ensure that Japan has the vaccines it needs,” Suga said.

08:35 AM

Vietnam: PM warns of economic calamity due to coronavirus

Vietnam has been widely praised for it’s swift and effective response to Covid-19. But the Prime Minister has warned that the country has not escaped unscathed – the pandemic has swept away years of economic gains in his nation and across Southeast Asia. 

Today leaders from the region met for an online summit, where the crippling cost of the coronavirus on the tourism and export-reliant countries in the region was discussed. 

“It has swept away the successes of recent years… threatening the lives of millions of people,” Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in a sobering opening address.

He emphasised the “serious consequences” of the pandemic for economic development among the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members.

Thailand is bracing for particularly rough news – its central bank now forecasts its economy to shrink by an unprecedented 8.1 percent. Vietnam is set to see at least two percent chipped off its GDP in 2020.

Discussions were also dominated by increasing angst that the fallout from the virus has provided cover for new Chinese plays in the South China Sea, the resource-rich waterway Beijing claims most of but is also contested by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan.

08:25 AM

People earning over £30k were more likely to enjoy lockdown 

At the start of the pandemic, the virus was widely described as the “great leveler”. More and more evidence has emerged demonstrating this is not the case – Jessica Carpani reports on the latest:

People earning over £30k were more likely to enjoy lockdown, a University College London study has found. 

A third of people in the UK have enjoyed their time spent under the coronavirus lockdown, new research suggests. 

Adults aged 30-59, those with higher incomes and those living with others have enjoyed the period the most, according to the University College London (UCL) Covid-19 social study.

The study showed that 15 per cent of those who earn over £30k have not enjoyed lockdown at all but that this increased to 20 per cent for those earning less than £30k.  

You can read more on this story here. 

08:17 AM

Trump administration asks Supreme Court to axe Obamacare

Coronavirus infections are rising in the US (as Nick Allen ​explains here), but a new battle has erupted over access to healthcare. 

Late last night President Donald Trump’s administration has asked the US Supreme Court to invalidate the Obamacare law. Introduced by his predecessor, the legislation added millions to the healthcare safety net and prohibited health insurers from denying coverage those with pre-existing health conditions.

Government advocate Noel Francisco argued in a filing late on Thursday that the Affordable Care Act (ACA)  became invalid after the previous, Republican-led Congress axed parts of it.

The legal push is sure to be an important political battleground in November’s presidential election and the Democrats have already reacted with outrage. 

Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: 

“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty.

“If President Trump gets his way, 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose the ACA’s lifesaving protections and 23 million Americans will lose their health coverage entirely. There is no legal justification and no moral excuse for the Trump Administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care.”

“It’s cruel, it’s heartless, it’s callous,” Joe Biden added in a campaign speech on Thursday. 

08:06 AM

Russia: Lowest daily rise in cases since late April

Russia on Friday reported 6,800 new coronavirus cases, the first daily rise below 7,000 since late April, taking its nationwide tally to 620,794.

The country’s coronavirus response centre said 176 people had died of the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 8,781.

Here’s a quick look at the trajectory of the country’s outbreak:

Coronavirus Russia Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Russia Spotlight Chart – Cases default

07:58 AM

Government recruits 2,500 volunteers to test antibody kits

We’ve heard a lot about the necessity of antibody tests in order to understand how many people have been infected with Covid-19.

But to date, there have been widespread concerns that these tests – which are meant shine a light on whether you’ve had an infection previously, not currently – are not reliable.

In an attempt answer the accuracy question, the Government has said it will recruit at least 2,500 volunteers to test the reliability of Covid-19 home-based antibody testing kits.

The Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England (PHE) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are recruiting people from the NHS and other key workers to test a finger-prick blood test.

Volunteers will be recruited who have tested positive for the virus previously, alongside those who have tested negative.

The Government said it was “essential that we understand exactly how effective these home kits are when used by the public, and how easy they are to use”.

07:47 AM

Data: The Covid-19 pandemic is worse now than ever before

The situation may well be slowly improving at home and even across most of Europe, although there are signs of resurgence in some European countries which have lifted restrictions (see here).

But far from retreating, the coronavirus outbreak is actually gathering pace across the globe – on Wednesday, 33 countries reported their highest numbers of new daily cases so far, including the United States and Brazil, which had the highest numbers of new cases globally. 

These three charts demonstrate why it is naive to consider the outbreak as over. 

There are now more than 100 times as many cases as there were at the end of February:

Global Health - Covid Pandemic Explosion
Global Health – Covid Pandemic Explosion

Numbers are rising exponentially across the globe: 

Global Health - Pandemic numbers rising
Global Health – Pandemic numbers rising

Rather than abating, the virus has moved into new territories:

Global Health - Pandemic movement
Global Health – Pandemic movement

07:40 AM

Children only experience mild form of virus, European study finds

One of the major unknowns about the coronavirus to date has been its impact on children and their role in transmission. 

But according to the first Europe-wide study of children and adolescents with Covid-19, children generally experience only a mild disease and deaths are very rare.

The study in the Lancet Child and Adolescent Child Health, which included 582 children aged between three days and 18 years old, found that although the majority were admitted to hospital (62 per cent), fewer than one in 10 patients required treatment in intensive care (eight per cent).

Fatalities were also extremely rare, with just four deaths out of the 582 patients – less than one per cent. Two of these patients had pre-existing medical conditions.

The study adds to the growing body of evidence that coronavirus in children is mild and will add to calls for children to get back to school.  

Georgina Hayes has more details on this story here.

07:32 AM

Eustice: Lockdown is not lifting too fast

George Eustice, the UK’s Environment Secretary,  has been doing the morning rounds of broadcast and radio interviews this morning. 

Mr Eustice has insisted that he did not think lockdown was being lifted too quickly, despite scenes of packed beaches yesterday. He also reiterated that local lockdowns could be put in place if infections rise in an area.

He told BBC Breakfast: “I think we always did this in phases, it was always a case of that third phase coming up next week starting on July 4 with the restaurants and pubs that was always going to be the most difficult to achieve because these are by their nature quite social venues.

“We will watch that and monitor the situation very carefully, and where necessary we will localise lockdowns delivered through the Test and Trace system.”

Mr Eustice added that he went to Bournemouth beach a few weeks ago and saw people following social distancing rules. Here’s a photo of the packed beachfront yesterday:

Visitors crowd together as they enjoy the hot weather on the beach on June 25 - Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images
Visitors crowd together as they enjoy the hot weather on the beach on June 25 – Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

07:08 AM

‘Don’t just think of yourself’ says WHO expert following packed out beaches

Dr David Nabarro said he was not “really concerned” by images of crowds on beaches, but feared what was going on “out of sight”.

He told the Today programme: “I don’t personally get really concerned when I see people outside in the open, because as you have just said, transmission is less likely to occur there.

“But it’s what happens out of sight that I’m more worried about. People going to the toilet and being in a queue and perhaps there being transmission there.

“Or particularly the person who is cleaning the toilet being exposed to lots of folk with disease, people getting on the public transport and exposing bus drivers and the like.

“That’s where I get nervous because I actually feel this vast amount of movement that’s going on – that is absolutely essential for people to come out and enjoy themselves again – does come at a risk.

“And I just ask everybody, don’t just think of yourself. Think of the other person who you might be exposing to the virus because sometimes they don’t have a choice.”

07:04 AM

WHO expert says there is a ‘real reluctance’ among Britons towards contact tracing

Dr David Nabarro, World Health Organization (WHO) special envoy on the coronavirus, said contact tracing is “absolutely vital” for life to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, but there is a “real reluctance” among British people to cooperate with the system.

Dr Nabarro said Britain, along with other countries, is trying it’s best to get the “best possible system” going, but questioned why the number of people reached by NHS Test and Trace has stayed “static” for around three weeks.

Speaking on the BBC’s Radio Four Today programme, he said: “If I was in charge of a contact tracing system. I’d be really asking myself why is it proving so hard to find all those who’ve got the disease, and to get to their contacts and it does appear that there’s still a real reluctance among some British people to be open about their contacts and perhaps they feel it’s an intrusion into their privacy.”

He added that when trying to eradicate a virus “contact tracing is absolutely critical”. 

“So if you’re in any doubt, please do cooperate on this contact tracing issue, because it’s key to getting down to the low levels that we need for life to recover and people to go about their lives.”

06:45 AM

Croatian tennis pro says he is ‘feeling well’ after testing positive for Covid-19

Croatia’s Borna Coric has told fans he is feeling well and experiencing no symptoms after contracting the novel coronavirus at Novak Djokovic’s controversial Adria Tour tournament.

Djokovic, Coric, Grigor Dimitrov and Viktor Troicki all tested positive for Covid-19 after playing in the event in Serbia and Croatia, which drew big crowds and saw the players pose for pictures together.

World No. 1 Djokovic, who organised the charity event, has come in for heavy criticism after the players were pictured hugging at the net, playing basketball and partying together.

“A few days have passed since I tested positive for Covid-19,” world number 33 Coric said on Twitter, with a picture of him standing on a treadmill.

06:19 AM

10 times more Americans may be infected  

Government experts believe more than 20 million Americans could have contracted the coronavirus, 10 times more than official counts, indicating many people without symptoms have or have had the disease, senior officials said.

The estimate, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is based on serology testing used to determine the presence of antibodies that show whether an individual has had the disease, the officials said.

The estimate comes as government officials note that many new cases are showing up in young people who do not exhibit symptoms and may not know they have it.

06:01 AM

Australia continues to lift restrictions despite new outbreak

Australia will continue easing social distancing restrictions despite an outbreak of coronavirus in one state, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today.

The country’s second-most-populated state, Victoria, has seen 10 straight days of double digit new cases. It has about 200 of the country’s total of 270 active cases.

Although authorities are scrambling to contain the virus, including embarking on a massive testing regime and calling in military support, Mr Morrison said states and territories on Friday had agreed to remove more social distancing curbs.

“All states are committed to continue on with the various plans that they have and they’re making,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

05:39 AM

BMA pleads with holidaymakers following scenes of packed beaches 

Doctors have pleaded with holidaymakers to practise social distancing ahead of the tourism industry reopening next weekend.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has set out guidelines for people in England, who will be allowed to visit hotels, bed and breakfast facilities and campsites from July 4.

It comes as thousands have flocked to beaches and beauty spots on Thursday – the hottest day of the year so far – prompting a major incident to be declared in Bournemouth.

The BMA has advised people not to travel if they are ill or have any Covid-19 symptoms, including a cough, temperature or loss of smell or taste.

Holidaymakers should be prepared to self-isolate for 14 days if anyone in their “bubble” develops symptoms or is told to do so by the NHS Test and Trace service. Those who take prescribed medicines should make sure they have enough to last their trip and everyone should practise social distancing and hand washing on holiday.

The BMA has also encouraged people to wear a face covering when mixing with people from outside their “bubble” indoors.

05:08 AM

US watchdog finds flaws in government pandemic response

A US government watchdog gave a blunt review of the shortcomings in the government’s response to the pandemic yesterday that included the sending of nearly $1.4 billion (£1.1 billion)  to deceased Americans, and the collection of incomplete and inconsistent virus-testing data.

The report issued by the Government Accountability Office marked the first review of the government’s response to the  pandemic, and made recommendations to lawmakers how to improve the fight to come out of the crisis.

Some of its harshest criticism was reserved for the Small Business Administration (SBA), which oversees a $670 billion (£539 million) emergency loan program to help companies survive the pandemic, and the lack of a plan from the Department of Transportation to improve the aviation sector’s response to outbreaks.

Detailing its findings on the coronavirus testing data, the GAO said the data that was collected at times included antibody tests that detect prior infections, and sometimes included counts on the number of samples tested, which could include multiple tests for one person.

“The absence of complete and consistent Covid-19 testing data reported through May 31, 2020, has made it more difficult to track and know the infection rate, mitigate the effect of infections, and inform decisions on reopening communities,” the watchdog said.

04:25 AM

Cases rise in South Korea as social distancing is relaxed

South Korea reported 39 new cases, mostly from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area where officials have been struggling to stem transmissions amid increased public activity and eased attitudes on social distancing.

South Korea was considered an anti-virus success story after containing an outbreak during February and March surrounding the southeastern city of Daegu. However, the country has been seeing an uptick in new infections since authorities moved to ease social distancing guidelines and reopen schools starting in May.

The update from the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention today  brought national totals to 12,602 cases, including 282 deaths. Twelve of the new cases were linked to international arrivals.

04:22 AM

Australia starts virus testing blitz to stop second wave in Melbourne

Roadside testing following an infection spike in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - Daniel Pockett/EPA-EFE
Roadside testing following an infection spike in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia – Daniel Pockett/EPA-EFE

Health workers fanned out across suburbs of Melbourne today in a testing blitz aimed at choking off a surge in coronavirus cases in Australia’s second-biggest city.

Officials reported another 30 new  infections in the city overnight in a continuing outbreak that has raised fears of a second wave in Australia, which looked like it had successfully contained the disease.

It was the 10th straight day of double-digit rises in new cases in Melbourne and surrounding Victoria state, while most other Australian regions have seen no or low single-digit new infections for weeks.

Some 200 soldiers were due to deploy to Melbourne over the weekend to help with the testing offensive in 10 suburb “hot spots”, where officials are going door-to-door to track the virus.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has set a goal of testing 100,000 people in 10 days in the targeted suburbs.

Australia has recorded roughly 7,500 cases and 104 deaths in a population of 25 million, with several regions believed to be effectively virus-free.

04:06 AM

Police warn Liverpool fans ‘its not the time to gather together’

Liverpool fans gather to celebrate winning the Premier League, Liverpool, Britain - Phil Nobel/Reuters
Liverpool fans gather to celebrate winning the Premier League, Liverpool, Britain – Phil Nobel/Reuters

Police have condemned the thousands of Liverpool fans who filled the streets outside Anfield after the club won the Premier League.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Carden said Merseyside had been “disproportionately affected” by the coronavirus pandemic and its residents had a responsibility to prevent further cases.

He said: “The overwhelming majority of fans have recognised the fact that now is not the time to gather together to celebrate, and chose to mark the event safely. They are a credit to this city.

“Unfortunately, as we have seen throughout the lockdown period, not everyone adhered to the regulations in place. Although the vast majority of celebrations were good natured, a large number of people chose to gather outside the stadium.”

Earlier, about 100 fans gathered outside the Main Stand at Anfield for when the final whistle blew on Thursday’s Chelsea v Manchester City match, securing Liverpool the title with seven games to spare.

Fireworks went off and fans waved flags and sang: “We’ve gone and won the league.”

Within an hour of the result, thousands of fans had gathered outside the stadium, lighting red flares and singing football songs.

03:46 AM

Indonesians seek humour in safety

A vendor sits near a face design masks display at a traditional market in Jakarta, Indonesia - Reuters
A vendor sits near a face design masks display at a traditional market in Jakarta, Indonesia – Reuters

Protective face masks are fast becoming fashion accessories for Indonesians keen to add some style and humour to their healthwear essentials.

Bespoke masks are catching on in Indonesia, with customers ordering designs with their own faces printed on reusable neoprene material, some with smiling faces, or big red lips.

A Jakarta print shop added masks to its services after its sales slumped due to the virus, which has infected more than 50,000 Indonesians and killed 2,620.

Customers place orders online and upload their pictures. Masks take 30 minutes to produce and each cost 50,000 rupiah (£2.80), income that has kept some businesses afloat.

03:36 AM

China reports a further decline in new virus cases

Coronavirus China Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus China Spotlight Chart – Cases default

China reported a further decline in newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus today, with just 13 cases.

Eleven were in Beijing, where mass testing has been carried out following an outbreak that appears to have been largely brought under control. The other two cases were brought by Chinese travellers from overseas, according to the National Health Council.

No new deaths were reported and 389 people remained in treatment, with another 107 in isolation. Case numbers both nationally and in Beijing were down from Thursday. China has reported 4,634 Covid-19 deaths from 83,462 total cases.

03:17 AM

US sets one-day record for cases, Texas pauses reopening

The governor of Texas has temporarily halted the state’s reopening as Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations surged and the country set a new record for a one-day increase in cases.

The state has been at the forefront of efforts to reopen devastated economies shut down in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, has seen one of the biggest jumps in new cases, reporting more than 6,000 in a single day on Monday.

Texas has also set record hospitalisations for 13 days in a row. 

Texas’ rising numbers are part of a nationwide resurgence in states that were spared the brunt of the initial outbreak or moved early to lift restrictions on residents and businesses.

Cases rose across the United States by at least 39,818 on Thursday, the largest one-day increase of the pandemic.

01:27 AM

Appointments now available at six new ‘walk through’ testing sites 

The number of mobile testing units will double to 236 by the end of July - Reuters
The number of mobile testing units will double to 236 by the end of July – Reuters

Coronavirus testing has been made even easier and more accessible, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced today.

Six new ‘walk through’ local testing sites are now offering appointments to people in England, with the capacity to test hundreds of people each day and are all easily accessible by foot or on a bike.

Three months since the first regional drive through test site was set up in Nottingham, there are now 68 such sites across the country, alongside 6 new walk-through sites in England, new mobile testing units, and special home test postboxes for safe and easy returns.

Free and accessible testing is a cornerstone of the new NHS Test and Trace service. The service has identified 113,925 people as recent close contacts since the service began on 28 May 2020.

12:36 AM

US airline bosses to discuss EU travel restrictions

Major US airline CEOs to hold White House meeting - AP
Major US airline CEOs to hold White House meeting – AP

The chief executives of major US airlines are set to hold a meeting today to discuss a range of coronavirus-travel issues.

The meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and other senior US officials is expected to include the CEOs of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines , United Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp , the sources said.

The discussions will revolve around potential extended European Union travel restrictions on US travellers, possible temperature checks at US airports, contract tracing of airline passengers and the impact of Covid-19 on travel demand, among other issues, the sources said.

12:29 AM

Mexico’s coronavirus deaths pass 25,000

Mexico’s healthy ministry reported 6,104 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday and 736 deaths, bringing the nation’s total known infections to 202,951 and 25,060 deaths.

The government has said the real number of infections is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

11:18 PM

Coronavirus: the final twist in Liverpool’s Premier League title tale

Liverpool FC celebrate outside Anfield stadium in Liverpool, after been crowned champions of the Premier League for the first time in three decade - EPA-EFE
Liverpool FC celebrate outside Anfield stadium in Liverpool, after been crowned champions of the Premier League for the first time in three decade – EPA-EFE

The delay to Liverpool’s title celebrations caused by the coronavirus was just the latest twist in the tale of the Reds’ 30-year wait to be crowned champions of England.

A stunning run of 26 wins and one draw from their opening 27 games of the Premier League season ensured Jurgen Klopp’s men were champions-elect long before football was shut down in March.

The return of the Premier League even allowed them to seal it themselves rather than by votes via video conference. Liverpool were crowned champions yesterday after Manchester City fell 2-1 at Chelsea.

It is not the way fans would have chosen to seal the deal and there will be no celebrations to match those following Liverpool’s sixth European Cup win last year. Klopp has promised a parade when it is safe to hold one.

For more on Liverpool’s triumph, click here.

11:06 PM

US officials add pregnant women to virus risk group

America's top public health agency add pregnant women to risk group - Cultura RF
America’s top public health agency add pregnant women to risk group – Cultura RF

The top public health agency in the US revamped its list of which Americans are at higher risk for severe Covid-19 illness, adding pregnant women and removing age alone as a factor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also changed the list of underlying conditions that make someone more susceptible to suffering and death.

Sickle cell disease joined the list, for example. And the threshold for risky levels of obesity was lowered. The changes didn’t include adding race as a risk factor for serious illness, despite accumulating evidence that Black people, Hispanics and Native Americans have higher rates of infection, hospitalisation and death.

Previously, the CDC said those at high risk of serious illness included people aged 65 years and older; those who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility; and people with serious heart conditions, obesity, diabetes, liver disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, and conditions that leave them with weakened immune systems.

11:02 PM

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