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Live Reporting

Edited by Vanessa Barford

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodbye for now

    That's all from today's live page team. It was written by Hazel Shearing, Alex Kleiderman, George Wright, Mary O'Connor and Kelly Leigh-Cooper and edited by Vanessa Barford, Holly Wallis and Jenny Matthews.

    Have a good evening and we will be back with more updates soon.

  2. What has happened in the UK today?

    Shop worker

    And here's a round-up of the key headlines in the UK today:

  3. A global round-up

    Olympic opening ceremony

    We're wrapping up our Covid live page coverage for the day soon, thanks for joining us. Here is a round-up of the latest developments from around the world:

  4. PHE warns of higher risk of Delta variant reinfection

    As coronavirus cases continue to rise across the UK, Public Health England is warning that there is an increased risk of becoming reinfected with the Delta variant first identified in India if you have had Covid before.

    It says 897 cases out of 68,688 Delta infections recorded in an 11-week period from April to June were possible reinfections.

    PHE said that further work is now being undertaken to examine the risk of reinfection.

    Meanwhile, swab tests conducted for the Office for National Statistics' infection survey suggests 1.3% of the population - or one in 80 people - has the virus, up from one in 100 the week before - with the Delta strain accounting for almost every case.

    The Delta variant (B.1.617.2) currently accounts for 99% of new Covid cases in the UK, but UK officials say there is no evidence to indicate it causes more severe disease or might make current vaccines less effective.

  5. Analysis: Have we passed the peak?

    James Gallagher

    Health and science correspondent, BBC News

    Everyone wants to have passed the peak of the third wave and be confident we’re on the home straight to normality.

    The data on daily cases looks positive. It was only a week ago the UK shot above 50,000 cases for the first time since January.

    Now it’s closer to 36,000 after four consecutive days of falling cases. Yet, it is still too soon to say we’ve passed the peak.

    The impact of relaxing restrictions on 19 July has not yet been seen in the data.

    It is also unclear how much England’s run to the final of the Euros – cheered on in packed pubs – distorted trends by leading to a surge in cases that has since calmed down.

    Health sources say there is still huge uncertainty about the weeks to come, but it is possible we may not reach the 100,000 daily cases that had been predicted.

    As always, closely monitoring the data in the weeks to come will be crucial.

  6. New Covid testing plan for key staff will not work - industry body


    We've been hearing a lot today about the government's plan to allow critical sectors in England to apply for named workers to be exempt from self-isolation and instead doing daily Covid testing.

    But the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said the proposed scheme is "undeliverable," saying the list of 16 sectors earmarked for it would soon be "significantly challenged".

    John Foster, CBI director of policy said: "If we want the economy to stay open, we need a confident but balanced plan."

    He urged the government to bring forward the 16 August date from when fully-vaccinated people pinged by the NHS Covid app as close contacts do not have to self-isolate.

    Mr Foster also called for a test-and-release programme for people who are not double-vaccinated.

    The government's plans allow 16 key sectors in England to deploy daily Covid testing instead of self-isolation for a limited number of essential workers who are fully vaccinated.

    It covers sectors including transport, emergency services, border control, energy, digital infrastructure, waste, the water industry, essential defence outputs and local government.

    The policy applies only to workers named on a list kept updated by officials - it is not a blanket exemption for all employees in a sector.

  7. Philippines orders children back indoors

    A public transportation worker is inoculated with Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination for public transportation workers on July 20, 2021 in Manila, Philippines

    The Philippines has sent millions of children back into lockdown as fears rise over a Delta variant surge.

    Almost 50% of the 47 cases of the more virulent Delta strain detected so far were locally acquired, the health department said.

    There are now stricter limits on indoor dining, beauty salons and religious gatherings, while children aged five to 17 have been told to stay home.

    It comes just two weeks after a ban was lifted on minors going outside that had been in place since March 2020, but was often ignored.

    The rule had been justified on the grounds that young people were at risk of passing the virus on to older members of the family.

    The Philippines is struggling to vaccinate its population of 110 million due to short global supplies and logistical problems.

    More than 5 million people are fully vaccinated while 10.5 million have received their first jab.

  8. Czech Republic announces changes to travel restrictions

    Rob Cameron

    BBC Prague Correspondent

    Prague shop

    Taking a moment to see what is going on elsewhere in the world - the Czech Republic has announced changes to restrictions on incoming travel from several European countries.

    The changes will come into effect on Monday.

    The Netherlands, Spain and the Balearic Islands will be moved into the dark red (very high risk) category.

    Greece and Monaco will be deemed as red (high risk), while Estonia will become orange (medium risk).

    The colour coding affects which tests visitors and returnees need to carry out and when.

    However, fully vaccinated citizens and residents of the Czech Republic will continue to be able to visit and return from them without having to do anything but fill in a passenger locator form.

    Meanwhile, Czechs will no longer be able to present a sworn statement saying they have tested negative using a self-testing kit or having been tested at work in order to enter restaurants, sports facilities etc.

    From now on it has to be proof of full vaccination, negative test in a certified lab or confirmation of previous infection to use such facilities.

  9. The latest UK vaccination figures

    Meanwhile, another 43,000 people have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK, while 174,742 have had a second dose, according to the government's dashboard.

    Due to a technical issue, today's vaccination figures do not include data from Wales.

    So far, a total of 83,239,491 vaccinations have been given in the UK - with 46,476,845 first doses.

    Meanwhile, 36,762,646 people are now fully vaccinated - equal to 69.5% of the adult population.

  10. UK records 36,389 Covid cases and 64 deaths

    The UK has recorded 36,389 new coronavirus infections and a further 64 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to the government's coronavirus dashboard.

    The latest update brings the cumulative total of positive cases to 5,637,975 and and the total number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test to 129,044.

  11. Daily testing can be as effective as quarantine, says professor

    Prof John Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), but speaking in a personal capacity, has said asking people who are contact traced to take tests every day, for about five to seven days, can be as effective as asking them to quarantine for 10 days.

    He told BBC Radio 4's World at One that was the result of modelling, which had been backed up by hard evidence from a randomised control trial done in children.

    "The level of infection in schools where the students were asked to self-isolate was exactly the same as the level of infection in schools where they had the daily testing for contacts," he said.

    He added that the results of a another trial, a randomised control trial in the community, should give results "in the coming weeks".

    He said isolating cases, quarantining contacts or - "if it's feasible" - daily testing are "really important measures" to stop the epidemic getting worse.

  12. How are vaccination programmes progressing around the world?

    Health worker gives a vaccination

    More than 3.6 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been given in more than 190 countries worldwide.

    However, there are vast differences in the pace of progress across the globe.

    While some nations have secured and administered jabs to a large proportion of their population, others are some way behind.

    China and India have given the largest total number of doses, with about 1.5 billion (104.5 doses per 100 people) and 417 million (30.3 doses per 100 people) respectively.

    In the UK, more than 46 million people have had at least one dose of a vaccine. The UK roll-out is calculated at 124.3 doses per 100 people.

    While countries in Europe and the Americas are getting on well with their vaccination campaigns, many states in Africa are experiencing supply issues.

    Many poorer countries are relying on deliveries from Covax, a scheme which is trying to ensure everyone in the world has access to a vaccine.

    Chart on coronavirus vaccines

    The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is now the most widely used around the globe. It can be kept in a normal fridge, which makes it easy to distribute and store.

    Meanwhile, more than 200 possible jabs continue to undergo trials around the world to test their efficacy and safety.

  13. Double-jabbed students denied quarantine exemption

    Giulia Benedetta Calabrese
    Image caption: Giulia Benedetta Calabrese, right, and her two St Andrews University friends received their first dose in England and their second in Scotland

    Three students have been refused exemption from travel quarantine rules because their vaccination certificates do not show they have had two jabs.

    The St Andrews University friends all received their first dose in England and their second in Scotland.

    But only the second jab shows up on their NHS Scotland paperwork - meaning they would have to isolate if they travel abroad.

    The Scottish government has said it is working to resolve the issue.

    From 19 July, adults in Scotland who were fully vaccinated in the UK no longer have to quarantine for 10 days on return from amber-list countries, with the exception of France.

    PhD student Giulia Benedetta Calabrese, 28, fears the confusion between may force her to miss her brother's wedding at home in Italy.

    "I have been very careful to ensure I got both vaccines and had all the paperwork ready to travel," she says.

    She said she couldn't understand why the vaccination programmes in England and Scotland are "struggling to match up people who have moved across the border".

    "I know there are many more people that have had similar experiences to me, and I don't think it's fair that we have to go through all of that."

  14. UK Covid infections continue to rise

    We told you earlier coronavirus infections have continued to rise around much of the UK, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

    Swab tests in the community suggests 1.3% of the population - or one in 80 people - has the virus in the week to 17 July, up from one in 100 the week before.

    You can see how cases are rising in the chart below.

    Chart showing the estimated number of people testing positive for coronavirus in the UK
  15. Bring in test-to-release now - MP

    Covid test

    The chair of the parliamentary science and technology committee has said that a test-to-release system should start immediately.

    The government says close contacts who are double-jabbed will not have to isolate after 16 August in England. If someone tests positive for the virus they will still be legally required to self-isolate.

    Conservative MP Greg Clark told Radio 4’s World at One programme that “many people think that 10 days' isolation is pretty onerous and some of them will not comply with it".

    Referring to the change of rules from 16 August, he said: "I don't see why we can't begin that now."

    Mr Clark cited experts who suggest this would be a sensible course of action, adding: "Of course people testing positive for Covid need to isolate, but contacts should be able to take a test, and isolate if positive but go about their business if negative."

    He said that would increase compliance levels as "at the moment you have hundreds of thousands - and possibly millions of people eventually - who are told to isolate but are not convinced of the case for it".

  16. Firm fined £2.6m for claiming clothes prevent Covid

    Lorna Jane model

    An Australian activewear firm has been fined £2.6m (5m Australian dollars) for claiming its clothing "eliminated" and stopped the spread of Covid.

    Lorna Jane had advertised that its clothing used "a groundbreaking technology" called LJ Shield to prevent the "transferal of all pathogens".

    In a ruling, a judge said the company's claim was "exploitative, predatory and potentially dangerous".

    Lorna Jane said it accepted the court's ruling.

    Lorna Jane clothing claim

    The company maintained that it had been misled by its own supplier. "A trusted supplier sold us a product that did not perform as promised," its chief executive said.

    Read the full story here.

  17. Russia admits delay in vaccine supplies to Argentina

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    A medical specialist holds a vial of Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus in a department store in Moscow, Russia

    Russia has revealed it has been struggling to deliver agreed amounts of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to Argentina.

    "There has been a delay," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a daily press briefing today after Argentina threatened to cancel the contract.

    He added that Russia's sovereign wealth fund, RDIF, which funded Sputnik V's development, was "in touch with its partners to settle the problems that have been arising".

    Mr Peskov implied that the delay in supplies to Argentina may have been caused by the government's focus on demand at home.

    "We've always said that the main priority is satisfying Russians' demand for vaccination. You will know that the campaign of total vaccination has been significantly stepped up, and citizens' conscientiousness is constantly growing, vaccination is proceeding at an ever faster pace. That's why this is a definite priority," he said.

    But he also gave assurances that "commitments to foreign markets including Argentina will definitely be met".

    His comments come after Argentine newspaper La Nacion published an email sent by key presidential adviser Cecilia Nicolini to RDIF, in which she complained of a "very critical situation" caused by the delay in supplies of Sputnik V.

    "The entire contract is at risk of being publicly cancelled" as Argentina is still waiting to receive more than 18 million doses from Russia, she said.

    Argentina is one of the first countries to widely use Sputnik V, and it has been used by the Russian government as a showcase for its best-known vaccine.

    However, problems fulfilling the contract may turn into a major obstacle to Moscow’s efforts to market the jab abroad.

  18. R number unchanged in England

    Covid testing centre

    The latest estimate of the reproduction (R) number in England - which measures how quickly the Covid virus is spreading - is unchanged from the previous week at 1.2 to 1.4, officials figures show.

    It means that on average, every 10 people infected with coronavirus goes on to infect between 12 and 14 others.

    However, the estimated daily growth rate shows signs of a possible slowdown.

    This week's estimate is that infections are growing at between 4% and 6% a day, down from between 4% and 7% last week.

    These estimates represent transmission which happened two to three weeks ago, due to a delay between people being infected, developing symptoms and needing healthcare.

  19. What's it like to be back at Latitude Festival?

    As we reported earlier, thousands of people have been heading to Suffolk for the Latitude Festival, which was cancelled last year because of the pandemic.

    The four-day music and arts festival - which began yesterday - is expected to attract about 40,000 people per day and is operating under a government event safety trial.

    Libby Butler

    Triathlete Libby Butler was determined to attend the festival and continue with her training. She's camping there all week and says she's been swimming in the lake on-site.

    "I feel really safe," she says. "Everyone is very much aware that Covid is still around and everybody is being really respectful.

    "It is very odd. I live on my own in a little village in the Cotswolds so there are not many people about. So I found it very strange in the arena last night being around all of these people.

    "I'm sure that will ease off as the weekend goes on and I'll be a bit more relaxed."

    Friends Josh Gosling and Gus Pater

    Josh Gosling, 18, who is enjoying his fourth Latitude Festival, says it's really nice to be back.

    "It is the first big event we've had since lockdown so it was a bit weird really with having all the crowds and mingling with people."

    Any concerns soon faded however he said he even enjoyed a spell of crowd surfing on Thursday night.

    "Quite a lot of us have already had Covid in the past couple of months," says friend Gus Pater. "So we all feel pretty confident about it and quite safe.

    "I was fine with it [Covid], though I still can't smell anything. It kind of reassures me that I will be all right."

    You can read more here.

  20. Train services reduced as staff self-isolate

    London Northwestern trains service

    Train companies have said they may have to reduce timetables to cope with shortages of staff forced to isolate by the NHS Covid app.

    The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said that as Covid cases were increasing, more staff were being "pinged" by the app.

    Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Thameslink and Southern trains, has already announced it will introduce a reduced timetable from Monday 26 July.

    Meanwhile, West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway have revealed it cancelled 600 trains last week as the number of staff self-isolating surged. The number of drivers self-isolating was 32 on 21 June and 131 a month later.

    London Northwestern services will change from Saturday with buses replacing trains on some services and four services between Northampton and Euston being removed on weekdays

    GWR, Avanti, Thameslink and Southern will reduce services from Monday.

    Read more.