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Live Reporting

Edited by James Clarke

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodbye and thanks for reading

    Today's live page is coming to a close now. Thank you for joining us.

    It was brought to you by James Clarke, Hazel Shearing, Jo Couzens and Mary O’Connor.

  2. What’s been happening around the world today?

    Sri Lankan police officers examine a vehicle at a coronavirus checkpoint in Colombo
    Image caption: Sri Lankan police officers examine a vehicle at a coronavirus checkpoint in Colombo

    We’ll be ending our live coverage for today shortly but, before we go, here’s a reminder of today’s main coronavirus headlines from the UK and around the world:

  3. What's the picture in the UK?

    Here are some of the latest graphics explaining the coronavirus situation in the UK.

    Chart showing number of patients in hospital rising
    Chart showing cases rising again in UK
    Chart showing slight rise in daily deaths
    Chart showing UK vaccine rollout levels off
  4. What rules are still in place as we head towards the bank holiday?

    Man wearing a face mask walks past red phone boxes

    The August bank holiday weekend is almost here and many people across the UK will be hoping to make the most of some late summer sun.

    Self-isolation rules across all four nations in the UK have been relaxed - but what about the rest of the Covid-19 restrictions?

    Social distancing rules have ended in England, Scotland and Wales, but not completely in Northern Ireland.

    And where do you still need a mask, or an NHS Covid pass?

    Here's a look at the latest changes to the rules across the UK.

  5. Taxi driver shortage in Blackpool blamed on pandemic

    Taxis queue in Blackpool

    A Blackpool taxi firm says it has lost 200 of the 500 drivers on its books after many quit to take jobs as delivery drivers during the pandemic.

    Taxi firms in the holiday resort town are now offering bonuses to attract new night drivers.

    Some also say long queues caused by shortages have resulted in anger and abuse by late-night revellers.

    The council has employed taxi marshals to control queues and has introduced new measures to make it easier for firms to recruit new drivers.

    Read more here.

  6. High virus levels 'highly likely' in England's schools - Sage

    Children in school classroom

    Scientists advising the government say it's "highly likely" high levels of coronavirus will be seen in schools in England by the end of September.

    It would be "sensible" for the government to plan for this happening, they add in a Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) statement from 11 August.

    Cases in Scotland have reached a record high since schools reopened for autumn.

    A decision on whether a vaccine will be offered to 12-15-year-olds is expected soon.

    All 16 and 17-year-olds across the UK have now been offered a first dose of vaccine against Covid-19.

    Sage admits it is still difficult to work out whether schools are drivers of transmission, or simply reflecting the spread of the virus in the communities where they are located.

    But its scientific advisers add that if cases continue to rise, the more pupils and teachers that contract Covid-19, the more schools and education will be disrupted.

    Read more here.

  7. Covid outbreaks at two north Wales hospitals

    Ysbyty Gwynedd hospital
    Image caption: The Covid outbreak at Ysbyty Gwynedd hospital hit five wards

    Two hospitals in north Wales have been hit with outbreaks of Covid.

    Betsi Cadwaladr health board says it is managing the outbreak on two wards at Ysbyty Gwynedd and one at Ysbyty Eryri in Caernarfon, Gwynedd.

    It says it is caring for 34 patients with Covid-19 infections across both sites, 14 of which are have confirmed hospital-acquired infections.

    Affected patients are being isolated and wards are currently closed while visiting remains restricted.

    The health board's executive director of nursing and midwifery Gill Harris says cases in the community have been increasing in recent weeks leading to a rise in the number of patients needing hospital treatment for the virus.

    "This is a timely reminder that the virus has not gone away," she adds.

    Read more here.

  8. Fifteenth day in August of 100 UK deaths or more

    Today is the 15th day in August that the number of deaths recorded in the UK of someone who had tested positive for coronavirus in the previous 28 days has been 100 or more.

    That underlines a substantial rise in deaths this month after several months of lower figures. For context, there was only one day in the whole of April, May, June and July when the the number of deaths announced was in three figures - that was 27 July, when 131 deaths were reported.

    Today is the last Friday of August, and while today's figure is actually lower than last Friday's when 114 fatalities were reported, you have to go back all the way to February and the winter wave of the virus to find a higher figure for the final Friday of the month.

    Here are the numbers of deaths recorded in the UK on the last Friday of the previous months this year:

    • 30 July - 68
    • 25 June - 18
    • 28 May - 10
    • 30 April - 15
    • 26 March - 70
    • 26 February - 345
    • 29 January - 1,245
  9. How many in UK have had their vaccines now?

    The latest figures show deaths have increased by 9.9% from the previous week (14 to 20 August), with 756 recorded in the past seven days, a rise of 68.

    Cases have risen 9.1% from the previous week, with 239,237 recorded between 21 and 27 August, an increase of 19,887.

    Another 55,140 people in the UK have had a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the government figures show. In total, 88.2% of the adult population has now had at least one jab.

    And a further 144,936 have had a second vaccine dose now. As of today, 78.0% of the adult population has now had both jabs.

    Correction 17 September 2021: This post originally said deaths had increased 9.9% per 100,000 people from the previous week. It has been corrected to simply reflect that deaths had increased by 9.9% from the previous week.

  10. BreakingMore than 38,000 new Covid cases recorded in UK

    There have been a further 38,046 cases of coronavirus reported in the UK today, according to the latest government figures.

    And there have been another 100 deaths of people who had tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days.

  11. London Underground usage often hits 50% of pre-Covid levels

    London Underground

    In London, usage of the Tube network is regularly reaching at least half of pre-pandemic levels, Transport for London (TfL) says.

    On weekdays, demand is often at 50% of what it was before the pandemic, and it is reaching more than 60% at weekends.

    This is up from about 40% across the entire week in early May.

    An average of more than 1.8 million journeys are being made on the London Underground every weekday.

    Last weekend, passenger numbers were at 58% of pre-pandemic levels on Saturday and 62% on Sunday.

    Bus travel in the afternoon is also continuing to grow.

    Overall demand is reaching about two-thirds of pre-pandemic levels on weekdays and hitting up to 75% at weekends.

    About 3.5 million journeys are being made every weekday on London buses, which is likely to increase further once schools return from next week.

  12. England manager suffered abuse over vaccine drive support

    England football manager Gareth Southgate says he was targeted for abuse after supporting the UK government drive to get more young people vaccinated.

    Southgate delivered a video message backing the programme shortly after England's defeat by Italy on penalties in the final of Euro 2020 in July.

    He says: "I was asked to do a video supporting the vaccination programme, which I thought was responsible.

    "And of all the things that I've received abuse for over the summer - of which there's been several - that's probably the one I've received the most abuse over."

    Southgate says, as a result, he is going to keep out of the argument "for the time being".

    But while admitting "it's very much an individual situation", Southgate adds: "Our only way out of this pandemic across the world are the vaccinations - certainly for the vulnerable people."

    Video content

    Video caption: Gareth Southgate: 'Go and get your Covid vaccine done'
  13. Denmark to end all Covid measures by 10 September - minister

    People sit at Kaffesalonen (The Coffee Saloon) in Copenhagen as Covid restrictions eased in April

    Denmark will end all coronavirus restrictions by 10 September, according to health officials, who say the virus no longer poses a "threat to society" thanks to the fact more than 70% of the population is fully vaccinated, AFP reports.

    In a statement, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said: "The epidemic is under control, we have record vaccination levels. That is why, on 10 September, we can lift the special rules we had to introduce in the fight against Covid-19."

    However, he insists "the epidemic is not over" and says the government "will not hesitate to act quickly if the pandemic once again threatens the essential functioning of society".

    Denmark was one of the first nations to bring in a partial lockdown in March 2020, closing schools and non-essential businesses and services.

    It has relaxed and reinforced its measures throughout the pandemic, and in April became the first European nation to introduce a "corona pass" for access to places such as restaurants, cinemas, gyms and hair salons.

    The "corona pass" requirement - which has already been removed for some venues including museums - will end for more places come 1 September, but will still be needed to enter nightclubs and other large events until 10 September.

  14. Watch: 'Covid cases have roughly doubled in a week'

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid in Scotland: 'Cases have roughly doubled in a week'

    Earlier this afternoon, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said coronavirus cases are surging in Scotland as another record daily tally was recorded.

    A total of 6,835 new cases have been reported today - more than 1,800 above the previous highest figure.

  15. What Covid precautions can I take at a festival?

    Festival

    We've just explained how hundreds of people who attended a music festival in Derbyshire earlier this month went on to positive for coronavirus.

    And as 500,000 people prepare to head to big festivals this bank holiday weekend, health officials are urging fans to follow some simple steps - such as taking a free Covid lateral flow test before they go - to reduce the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19.

    Here's a quick rundown of what the experts advise:

    Dr Susan Hopkins, of Public Health England

    • Wear a face covering if travelling to the festival via public transport
    • Take a lateral flow test when you get back and then test twice a week, as you've mixed with a large group of people
    • Try to avoid seeing older or more vulnerable relatives so that you don't pass anything on

    Dr Michael Head, from the University of Southampton

    • The main trigger points at mass gatherings are indoor settings - the risk of transmitting Covid outside in a field is relatively low
    • Everyone should accept a coronavirus vaccine when invited for one

    You can read more here.

  16. Hundreds who went to Bloodstock festival test positive for Covid

    Bloodstock

    Hundreds of people who attended a heavy metal music festival in Derbyshire have tested positive for Covid-19, health officials say.

    Bloodstock took place on 11 to 15 August near the village of Walton-on-Trent, in Derbyshire.

    Local public health officials confirmed about 500 people from across the country had "attended the festival prior to testing positive".

    Iain Little, Derbyshire County Council's deputy director of public health, says there did not appear to be any rises in infections locally as most people had stayed on the festival site.

    He adds: "Our public health team was involved in planning for the event with South Derbyshire District Council, and were happy that the festival organisers were following best practice and national guidance."

    This year's festival attracted 20,000 people - its largest attendance ever - after having to move online last year because of the pandemic.

    Rachael Greenfield, Bloodstock festival director, says organisers had done "everything in their power" to lessen the risks and went "above and beyond" government Covid guidance.

    She says while there was "no guarantee" all the cases derived from the event, it was "impossible" to completely remove the risk of infection.

  17. What is the vaccine progress around the world?

    More than five billion doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in over 190 countries worldwide.

    China and India have administered the highest number of doses, with more than two billion and 600 million respectively. The US ranks third, with about 365 million.

    But there are vast differences in the pace of progress in different parts of the world, and many states in Africa have struggled to get doses.

    Find out more about vaccine progress around the world here.

    Graphic showing the global reach of different vaccines
  18. Sturgeon rules out circuit breaker but urges 'voluntary action' to stem Covid spread

    Sturgeon

    Scotland's first minister has ruled out a circuit breaker lockdown to combat surging cases, and has said she will be "watching closely" to assess whether these numbers might translate into serious illness and hospital admissions.

    Nicola Sturgeon is hopeful Scotland can get through its spike without the need for tough interventions, says David Wallace Lockhart, BBC Scotland's political reporter.

    Instead, she has appealed to the public to take voluntary action to help avoid more rules in the future: by meeting outdoors, avoiding crowds and limiting physical contact.

  19. BreakingEngland's R number 1.0 - 1.1

    The coronavirus "R number" - the average number of people an infected person will pass the disease on to - is between 1.0 and 1.1 in England, according to the latest government figures.

    Last week, it was between 0.9 and 1.2.

    If R is below one, then the number of people contracting the disease will fall; if it is above one, the number will grow.

    An R number between 1.0 and 1.1 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will go on to infect between 10 and 11 others.

  20. 'Stay outside for bank holiday in Wales' - minister

    People need to take precautions going forward amid rising Covid case rates, says Wales's health minister - including staying "outside, if possible, over this bank holiday weekend".

    Eluned Morgan says higher case rates are to be expected after restrictions were lifted.

    She tells BBC Radio Wales: "At this point, it is important we hold our nerve and that we don't see this spreading further than necessary."

    She urges young people, in particular, to take up the offer of a vaccine.

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid: Stay outside for the bank holiday, urges minister