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Live Reporting

Edited by Rob Corp

All times stated are UK

  1. You have been reading...

    Thanks for checking out today's live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK and around the world. Your writers - in order of appearance - were Jen Meierhans, Alexandra Fouché, Paul Seddon, Marie Jackson and Alex Therrien. The editors were Holly Wallis and Rob Corp.

    Don't forget, we've got a ton of explainers, Q&As, videos and practical information on our coronavirus page.

  2. What happened today?


    As we near the end of today's live coverage, here's a quick round-up of what's been happening today:

    • The government has unveiled its strategy for tackling the coronavirus during autumn and winter in England. At today's Covid briefing, Boris Johnson outlined a "Plan A" - which will consist of promoting vaccines and continuing testing and isolation rules. "Plan B" would reintroduce compulsory face coverings, and working from home, if the NHS comes under pressure
    • Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser, also urged the five million adults who hadn't been jabbed to take up the offer
    • The prime minister said the vaccine programme was "powering ahead" with booster jabs for all over-50s and the most vulnerable; and single doses being offered to 12 to 15-year-olds in schools
    • That age group, from across the UK, will be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid jab, the government says. Invitations for the vaccine will begin next week and parental consent will be sought for the programme, which is based in schools
    • Hints have been dropped suggesting the government may be planning changes to its requirements for PCR tests for travel
    • The UK reports another 26,628 cases on Tuesday and 185 deaths within 28 days of a positive test
    • Meanwhile, China has seen a new surge in coronavirus cases, linked to a primary school in Fujian province
    • The Russian government says President Vladimir Putin will go into self-isolation because a case of coronavirus was detected in his entourage
  3. Dutch to dance again as nightclubs allowed to reopen

    Anna Holligan

    BBC News Hague correspondent


    Nightclubs in the Netherlands will be allowed to reopen, authorities have said in an update on Covid restrictions.

    Clubs must adhere to the same rules as bars and cafes, and close their doors by midnight. Events can go ahead at a maximum capacity of 75%.

    The CoronaPass, a QR code or an official paper containing proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or recovery, will be required for catering and entertainment venues. It has still to be confirmed when this will come into force.

    Face coverings will remain mandatory on public transport, while social distancing rules will be abolished.

    If a pupil tests positive, only close friends rather than the whole class will be quarantined.

  4. How is the guidance on masks changing?

    A man wearing a face mask on the Tube

    As part of the government's plan for tackling Covid-19 in England during the autumn and winter, new advice has been set out on face masks.

    Health Secretary Sajid Javid says face coverings could again become a legal requirement in certain settings if the NHS comes under "unsustainable pressure" this winter.

    For now, face coverings are continuing to be recommended in crowded and enclosed spaces.

    Other measures that could be required under the government's "Plan B" for tackling the virus include asking people to work at home again for a time and the possibility of bringing in so-called Covid passports.

    Read more.

  5. Watch again: PM on trigger for Plan B

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid: Boris Johnson on Covid plans and restrictions

    Protecting the NHS from being overwhelmed "has to remain the objective" and there are "all sorts of data" being looked at, the PM said earlier at the Downing Street press conference.

    Boris Johnson said he was “confident we can proceed with 'Plan A' and any changes could be done in a “gradual way”.

    The BBC's Vicki Young had asked what would have to happen for the UK government to move to its 'Plan B' over the winter.

    'Plan A' promotes vaccines with continuing testing and isolation rules, while 'Plan B' would see tighter rules over face masks and larger gatherings.

  6. Van-Tam adds tent analogy to extensive range of Covid metaphors

    A tent

    Viewers of the government's Covid press conferences will have become familiar with the many turns of phrase employed by England's deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam.

    The medic has become famous for his use of metaphors - which he has said can help "bring complex stories to life".

    At this morning's briefing to announce booster jabs for the over-50s, he added a new analogy to his extensive repertoire - by comparing the "precautionary" approach of recommending additional jabs before the winter to putting up a tent.

    “If you know there’s a storm coming… it’s better to put some extra guy ropes on there and then, than it is to wait until it’s the middle of the night, it’s howling with wind and rain, and you’ve then got to get out your tent and make your tent secure," he told reporters.

    Jonathan Van-Tam
  7. Who will need a booster jab?

    A man being vaccinated

    As we've been reporting, this morning Health Secretary Sajid Javid set out more detail about the government's booster vaccination programme in England.

    All people over 50 in the UK will be offered a single-dose booster jab, but what does the plan involve?

    About 30 million people will receive a single booster jab. They are:

    • Adults over the age of 50
    • Frontline health and social care workers
    • Older adults in residential care homes
    • People aged 16-49 years old with underlying health conditions which put them at greater risk of severe Covid
    • Adults who share a household with vulnerable people

    The jab will be offered at least six months after a second vaccination, and is likely to be either Pfizer or Moderna.

    Mr Javid said that the roll-out of boosters would start in the next week.

    Read more.

  8. Boeing says air travel to recover by 2024

    Boeing 737 MAX 10

    The plane maker Boeing says it expects that it will take another two and a half years for global aviation to return to pre-pandemic levels.

    Its vice-president of commercial marketing, Darren Hulst, said: "The industry recovers to 2019 levels of traffic by the end of 2023, early 2024", adding domestic flying would be at the forefront of any recovery.

    Long-haul international routes would take the longest to recover, according to Boeing's forecast, partly because of government restrictions.

    Boeing says these will need to be eased to enable "the recovery of the pent-up demand that exists already in the marketplace".

    Last year, passenger numbers fell 60% to 1.8 billion and the industry lost $126bn (£91bn), according to the airline body IATA, which said it was the worst year on record.

    Read more here.

  9. Reality Check

    Post update

    By Robert Cuffe, head of statistics

    Winter graphic

    The winter plan is being published amid warnings of the difficulties we might face in the months to come.

    Last winter was very difficult, but how does it compare with, say, a tough flu season?

    The most recent bad flu year was the winter of 2017-18.

    England and Wales saw nearly 25,000 more deaths that winter compared with the average of the five winters before then.

    Flu deaths were estimated to peak at between 300 and 400 a day.

    And the NHS was under pressure, with 92% of critical care beds occupied at the worst point of the winter.

    But that’s nothing like last year, when we saw nearly 45,000 more deaths than previous winters would predict, Covid deaths peaked at more than a thousand a day, and hospitals had to add more and more critical care beds in order to stay ahead of demand.

    The hope is that our success with vaccines will keep us far from those terrible statistics.

  10. What are the government's Plan A and Plan B for Covid?

    People walking down the street

    We've been hearing a lot today about the government's "Plan A" for coping with Covid in England over the coming months.

    This includes offering a third jab to certain groups who are more vulnerable to the virus, a first jab to 12-15 year-olds, as well as continuing testing and isolation rules.

    But what if that's not enough? In that case, the government says it has a "Plan B" - including making face masks compulsory again in some places, vaccine passports and asking people to work from home.

    Boris Johnson said this would be activated if the pressure on the NHS becomes "unsustainable" - but ministers have not specified how this would be measured.

    Read more.

  11. Valneva vaccine would not have got UK approval - Javid

    Vials of vaccine against the coronavirus

    A Covid-19 vaccine which was due to be made in Scotland by French firm Valneva would not have gained UK regulatory approval, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said.

    Mr Javid was speaking in Parliament the day after the UK government scrapped a deal for Valneva's Covid-19 vaccine.

    The UK had about 100 million doses on order before dropping the deal.

    Mr Javid said the Westminster and Scottish governments would work together to "see what more we could do" for the factory in Livingston, West Lothian.

    He said there were commercial reasons explaining why the contract had been cancelled, but added that "it was also clear to us that the vaccine in question that the company was developing would not get approval by the MHRA [The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency ] here in the UK".

    Read more here.

  12. Californians to vote on governor's fate over pandemic record

    President Joe Biden campaigned with California Governor Gavin Newsom (L) near Los Angeles
    Image caption: President Joe Biden campaigned with California Governor Gavin Newsom (L) near Los Angeles

    The people of the US state of California are voting on whether their Democrat Governor, Gavin Newsom, should be removed from office and replaced.

    The vote is a result of frustration over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which fuelled a Republican-led effort to supplant him before his term ends.

    Defeat would be a huge setback for the Democratic Party - California is the most populous state in the US and the world's fifth largest economy.

    Since taking office in 2019, Mr Newsom has cemented California's progressive reputation, increasing spending on health and education, stopping executions and banning fracking.

    Read more here.

  13. PM hints at change to PCR tests for travel

    Woman in mask on beach

    We've been hearing a few hints during the day which seem to suggest that PCR tests for travel might be about to be changed.

    Another one came in the Downing Street briefing when Boris Johnson said the government would "be saying a lot more shortly about the traffic light system, about simplifying it and about what we can do to make the burden of testing less onerous for those coming back into the country, that’ll be coming shortly".

    The PM was asked a question by a member of the public about the complex nature of travel rules, testing and the traffic light system.

    The rules had been vital to stop variants of the virus being imported, Boris Johnson said, adding that was why we have "the rules and the red lists".

    Earlier today, Abta, the travel association, said changes to PCR testing for travellers were crucial if the travel industry was to recover.

    You can read more here.

  14. Jeff Bridges says cancer shrunk but Covid 'kicked my ass'

    US actor Jeff Bridges

    US actor Jeff Bridges has said his cancer is now in remission, but that Covid "kicked my ass pretty good".

    The 71-year-old Big Lebowski star told fans he spent five weeks in hospital with coronavirus earlier this year.

    Posting on his website on Monday, he said he had since been able to walk his daughter Hayley down the aisle and dance with her at her wedding.

    Last year, the Oscar-winner revealed he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, but said his prognosis was "good".

    "My cancer is in remission," he wrote this week. "The 9" x 12" (22.5cm x 30cm) mass has shrunk down to the size of a marble. My Covid is in the rear-view mirror.

    "Covid kicked my ass pretty good, but I'm double vaccinated and feeling much better now."

    Read more here.

  15. UK figures in graphs: Cases fall

    During the coronavirus briefing, the government's daily coronavirus figures for the UK were released.

    A further 26,628 cases were recorded, while there were 185 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

    The seven-day average for cases is down by 14.3% compared with the week before. Deaths were almost unchanged, up by 1.6%, while the number of patients in hospital was up by 5%.

    Here we look in a little more detail at the trends behind the UK's coronavirus data.

    Daily coronavirus numbers
    Coronavirus cases graphic
    Deaths graphic
    Hospital numbers graphic
  16. What we learned from today's coronavirus briefing

    Boris Johnson at coronavirus briefing

    The coronavirus briefing, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has just ended.

    Here are some of the key points covered:

    • The UK is “incomparably better placed” to fight coronavirus now than it was last September, despite cases being higher, because of the high level of vaccinations and antibodies in the population, Johnson said
    • Plan A, he said, is to continue to boost vaccination numbers, ask people to think about using face coverings, wash hands and get a test. Johnson said there are five million more people who should be getting the vaccine.
    • The PM said the government was keeping in "reserve" extra measures to tackle coronavirus in the autumn and winter - a Plan B - including Covid passports, mandatory face masks and asking people to work from home.
    • On the possibility of Covid passports, which have been criticised by some MPs and businesses, the PM said it was “just not sensible” to “rule out completely” the option. He said it “might still make the difference” between keeping businesses open at full capacity or not. But he added that not introducing them at the moment was the "right balance" based on the current data.
    • The PM said given the high level of vaccinations and antibodies in the population, smaller changes can now make a bigger difference and “give us the confidence that we don’t need to go back to the lockdowns of the past”.
    • Any extra Covid measures might not be implemented all at once, the PM said, but instead introduced in a “graduated” way.
    • Asked what would trigger Plan B, England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, pointed to three things - the rate of people going into hospital, the rate of change of these hospitalisations, and the overall state of the NHS.
    • It is possible that the combination of the winter and the Delta variant may result in Plan B needing to be implemented, Prof Whitty added.
  17. Johnson: I don't want to close night sector again

    PoliticsHome now asks about making vaccine passports mandatory.

    You'll recall that over the weekend the government ruled out their original idea of introducing them in England at the end of September.

    But the government has since been clear that it will leave this option on the table, under Plan B.

    Boris Johnson says he wants to keep the night economy open.

    Thanks to the vaccination programme, we are able to keep it open, he says, and, we just have to be sensible and look at the risks we face.

    Some sort of Covid certification, that plenty of venues are using already, might be sensible, he says, adding that the government was working with the sector and he understood their frustrations.

    The reason for wanting to have this option to use certification was so they could avoid closing down places again. "I certainly don't want to do that," he says.

  18. I've never favoured vaccine passports in pubs, says PM

    A journalist from the Daily Mirror asks the prime minister whether he would like to rule out mandating vaccine passports in pubs under the government's winter Plan B for England.

    Boris Johnson says he has "never been in favour" of their use in pubs - but they "might be appropriate" at events with "closely packed crowds".

    Back in March, he said asking for vaccine status "may be up to individual publicans" to decide on.

    Prof Chris Whitty says scientifically, people are safer attending events where everyone is jabbed - but vaccine passports are a "societal issue" for ministers to decide on.

  19. Whitty: Nicki Minaj tweet linking vaccine and impotence untrue

    The next question comes from the Times, and is about the US rapper Nicki Minaj and a tweet she posted linking the Covid vaccine to impotence.

    Prof Whitty says there are a number of myths around, usually designed "just to scare".

    Her tweet is untrue, he says, and warned members of the media from repeating such myths as it can give them credence.

    Prof Whitty says the great majority of people are ignoring these myths.

    There's another question about working from home.

    Boris Johnson says it's a good thing for people to be getting back into the workplace, especially the young.

    If we have to change the guidance on that, we will, but that's Plan B, he adds.

  20. Reality Check

    Have vaccines saved 112,000 lives?

    By Robert Cuffe, head of statistics

    During a press conference earlier today, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, England's deputy chief medical officer, claimed that vaccines have “averted around 112,000 deaths” in England.

    And the same figure was repeated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at this afternoon's Covid briefing.

    But this figure takes as its starting point a comparison with a situation without vaccines but also without any new lockdowns.

    If we’d seen anything close to that many deaths, we almost certainly would have changed our behaviours and the government would have put us back into lockdown. That in turn would have reduced deaths significantly.

    So it is arguably fairer to say that vaccines have saved us a choice between endless lockdowns and terrible numbers of deaths.

    But it shouldn’t be surprising that a comparison against a world without more lockdowns gives this figure for England alone.

    If the cases we’ve seen this year were still killing people at the rate they did in 2020, we would have seen many thousands of deaths.

    And vaccines also slow the spread of the virus, preventing even more.