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Live Reporting

Edited by Chris Clayton

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodbye for now

    We're going to pause our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak now, but we'll be back with the latest updates on Friday.

    Today's live page writers were Owen Amos, Krutika Pathi, Frances Mao, Josh Cheetham, Henri Astier, Rebecca Seales, Josh Nevett, Ritu Prasad, Joseph Lee, Katie Wright and Rob Corp. The editors were Kevin Ponniah and Chris Clayton.

  2. WHO warns of virus comeback, and other global developments

    Tourists wearing protective facemasks are seen on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower after its partial reopening
    Image caption: The Eiffel Tower was partially reopened on Thursday in Paris

    As lockdown measures are relaxed across Europe, coronavirus cases are on the rise again in some areas. The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern and some countries have already reimposed restrictions.

    In case you missed them, here are some of the latest developments:

    • The head of the WHO has said coronavirus infections are expected to pass 10 million this week. He said there's no guarantee a vaccine against the virus will be developed - and if it is, it may not be available until next year
    • In Europe, there has been a "very significant resurgence" of Covid-19 for the first time in months, the WHO’s director for the region said
    • Europe’s healthcare regulator has endorsed the anti-viral drug Remdesivir as a treatment for Covid-19, putting it on track to be used in EU countries
    • The Eiffel Tower in Paris has partially reopened to sightseers more than three months after France went into lockdown
    • The Portuguese government has extended lockdown measures until mid-July in parts of Greater Lisbon
    • Texas Governor Greg Abbott has paused the state's reopening amid a serious spike in Covid-19 cases. Texas is among several southern and western US states seeing a resurgence of cases
    • India has said it plans to carry out a coronavirus survey of every household in the capital Delhi, a city of 29 million people
  3. What happened in the UK today?

    We will shortly be pausing our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. But before we leave for the day, here's a chance to catch up on Thursday's events in the UK:

    • Social distancing in Northern Ireland is to be reduced from 2m (6ft) to 1m with restrictions from Monday. The move was announced by First Minister Arlene Foster, along with a series of other indicative dates for easing the lockdown further
    • New temporary laws will allow pubs and restaurants in England and Wales to more easily be able to get "pavement licences". The proposals designed to boost the hospitality industry mean businesses could turn pavements, terraces and even car parks into outdoor areas
    • Driving lessons are to resume in England from 4 July. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency will write to driving instructors setting out plans to restart driving tests and resume lessons safely
    • And the UK government is finalising details of "travel corridors" so some people arriving in the country will not need to quarantine. Participating countries could include France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Belgium, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Turkey and Finland - but not Portugal
  4. Mexico's finance minister tests positive

    Arturo Herrera, Mexico's finance minister, speaks during an interview at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico
    Image caption: Arturo Herrera said he was experiencing "mile symptoms"

    Mexico’s Finance Minister Arturo Herrera has announced he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

    In a tweet, Herrera said he had “very minor symptoms”, but gave no further details.

    “From this moment I will be in quarantine, and I will continue to work from home,” he wrote.

    Herrera has reportedly attended events alongside Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in recent days.

    Mexico started removing some restrictions imposed to stem the spread of Covid-19 last week, despite the continued rise of cases and deaths in one of Latin America's worst-hit countries.

    Mexico has recorded more than 196,000 infections and 24,000 deaths to date, among the highest in the world on both counts.

  5. Rising Covid-19 cases prompt fears for US economy

    Samira Hussain

    New York business correspondent

    Nearly 1.5 million more Americans applied for unemployment benefits this past week - just slightly lower than a week earlier. The historic job losses come as the US recorded the highest one-day total of new Covid-19 cases.

    As some businesses in America continue reopening, the job losses carry on. For the fourteenth straight week, weekly job losses have topped one million.

    Until the coronavirus crisis, the most new claims in a single week had been 695,000, back in 1982.

    On Wednesday, US financial markets plunged more than 700 points as the country sees a surge in new coronavirus cases.

    The increased number of people being infected has some economists worried about the strength and pace of the economic recovery.

    The American economy fell into a recession in February of this year.

    graph showing US jobless claims since January
  6. More than 20 million could be infected in US - CDC

    Teenagers in New York City

    The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now estimates the number of infected Americans could be over 20 million, based on antibody tests.

    The agency's director Dr Robert Redfield told reporters on Thursday: "Our best estimate right now is that for every case that's reported, there actually are 10 other infections."

    The CDC also says that the pandemic is affecting younger groups across most of the country.

    The shift could mean fewer instances of serious illness and death, officials said.

    "It is obvious that we are seeing right now infections that are targeting younger individuals," Dr Redfield said.

    This may partly be because young people are not taking the pandemic as seriously as older Americans, even though they are still at some risk of severe illness, according to CDC infectious disease expert Dr Jay Butler.

    "We may need to get out the message that young people are not somehow naturally immune to this virus, although they may be at lower risk of severe infection," Dr Butler said.

    He said the agency is looking into using the social media platform TikTok to reach young people and educate them about social distancing, covering their faces, and staying away from large gatherings.

  7. How can you tell if you have coronavirus?

    Video content

    Video caption: How do I know if I have coronavirus?

    The BBC’s Laura Foster explains how you can recognise the symptoms of coronavirus, which include a dry cough and fever.

  8. Danish PM postpones wedding for EU virus summit

    The Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, has delayed her wedding to attend a summit about the EU’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Frederiksen said the wedding clashed with an in-person meeting of EU leaders on 17-18 July, the first since the start of the crisis.

    "I am really looking forward to marrying this fantastic man," she wrote on Instagram, sharing a photo of herself and her fiancé Bo.

    "But obviously it can't be that easy, and now there is a council meeting in Brussels called, exactly on that Saturday in July when we had planned to marry.”

    View more on instagram

    At the meeting, EU leaders are expected to discuss proposals for a Covid-19 recovery fund and a new budget.

    Denmark is part of a group of nations that oppose offering grants to other EU member states badly affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

    Frederiksen said she had to do her “job and protect Denmark’s interests”, adding that thankfully for her, her partner was “very patient”.

  9. How to avoid a new pandemic, according to wildlife experts

    Naomi Grimley

    BBC News

    A farmer tends to chickens

    Most scientific evidence so far suggests that Covid-19 started in bats but jumped to humans via an intermediate host.

    In response, a group of 25 veterinary and wildlife experts - led by Cambridge University's Zoology Department - have devised a list of 161 actions to change how humans interact with animals. It's hoped these will help to prevent a similar outbreak in future.

    Their recommendations include:

    • Encouraging smallholder farmers to keep chickens or ducks away from people
    • Better veterinary and hygiene standards for farmed animals
    • More consumption of plant-based foods
  10. Brazil's ex-health minister: Why I quit after less than a month

    Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has been widely criticised for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. More than 53,000 people have died and there are over 1.1 million confirmed Covid-19 cases in Brazil.

    Two health ministers have left over his strategy - the first was fired after publicly disagreeing with Bolsonaro’s attitude. The second, Nelson Teich, quit after less than a month. He told the BBC why:

    Video content

    Video caption: Brazil's former health minister Nelson Teich speaks out
  11. UK government 'has powers to close beaches'

    Crowded beach in Bournemouth
    Image caption: Sun-seekers have flocked to UK beaches during the heatwave

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the UK government has powers to close public areas like beaches if social distancing rules are not being observed.

    Earlier today, a major incident was declared in Bournemouth after thousands of people flocked to the Dorset coast.

    Mr Hancock told TalkRadio he was "reluctant" to close public areas "because people have had a pretty tough lockdown", but he added: "We do have those powers - and if we see a spike in the number of cases, then we will take action."

    He said: "Everybody should be able to enjoy the sunshine. The key is to do it with respect. Stay with your households. Stay a good distance from other households."

  12. Analysis: Crucial juncture as restrictions eased

    Nick Triggle

    Health Correspondent

    England's chief medical officer has tweeted to remind people to follow the rules on social distancing, hours after a major incident was declared in Bournemouth when thousands of people flocked to the Dorset coast.

    Prof Chris Witty’s warning comes at an important point in our fight against the virus. The UK has been seeing infections fall despite the easing of restrictions.

    Six weeks ago, when the prime minister announced the first steps out of lockdown, the number of newly diagnosed infections was about 4,000 a day.

    Those numbers have fallen four-fold since with under 1,000 being recorded on average over the past week .

    But a combination of warm weather and the prospect of further easing of restrictions in early July means we are at a crucial juncture.

    Much is being left to the good judgement, common-sense and personal responsibility of people.

    Government experts believe with the testing and tracing system in place the virus can continue to be suppressed – but only if the public plays its part.

  13. Starmer fears up to three million unemployed

    Video content

    Video caption: Starmer on coronavirus, jobs, unemployment and PMQs

    The UK Labour Party leader has warned that up to three million people could lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus and is calling on the government to tackle unemployment "on a scale we haven't seen for a generation".

    Sir Keir Starmer told the BBC the government should extend the furlough scheme for workers in the hospitality and travel sectors into next year.

    Sir Keir also wants the government to hold a Budget next month so that it can bring forward infrastructure projects to boost the economy.

    Sir Keir also told BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg that he was looking forward to a pint and a haircut when lockdown restrictions are further eased in England on 4 July.

  14. Virginia votes to create work safety rules

    Northern Virginia further reopens under Phase II guidelines.
    Image caption: Virginia has begun a phased reopening

    Elsewhere in the US, Virginia has become the first state in the country to start creating new Covid-19 safety rules for the workplace.

    Employers may soon be required to bar any employees with virus symptoms from coming to work, notify staff of potentially infected co-workers within 24 hours, and practice social distancing.

    Some companies have already opposed the new rules, saying they will add to the burdens on a struggling business community.

    A 14-member health and safety board voted 9-3 to move forward with finalising the rules on Wednesday, the Washington Post reported.

  15. Trump to visit New Jersey but won't quarantine

    Trump in Arizona on 23 June
    Image caption: Trump visited Arizona on 23 June

    US President Donald Trump is to visit his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, this weekend, but the White House says he won't be following a regional travel advisory requiring visitors from hotspots to self-quarantine for 14 days.

    On Tuesday Trump visited Arizona - a state experiencing a rise in Covid-19 cases that's on New Jersey's quarantine-needed list.

    The quarantine requirement was announced by the governors of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut on Wednesday.

    "The President of the United States is not a civilian," spokesman Judd Deere said, adding that anyone who is in close proximity to the president gets tested.

    Deere said the White House had ensured Trump did not come into contact with symptomatic or untested individuals during his Arizona trip.

    "Anyone travelling in support of the president this weekend will be closely monitored for symptoms and tested for Covid and therefore pose little to no risk to the local populations," he said.

  16. New York City on track to reopen bars and salons

    Restaurant in New York City
    Image caption: Restaurants in New York City have begun to reopen

    New York City is on track to enter its third phase of reopening by 6 July, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced.

    The city only entered phase two this week, but a number of regions elsewhere in the state are moving into the final phase of reopening on Friday.

    “The data is telling us ‘yes’ right now, so we want to start getting people ready for it,” de Blasio told reporters.

    When the city enters phase three, outdoor athletic facilities like basketball and tennis courts will reopen. Restaurants will be allowed to have indoor dining at 50% capacity, and bars will also be allowed to operate as long as social distancing can be followed. Personal care businesses like nail salons will also be allowed to open.

    The city saw thousands of deaths due to the virus, but now has one of the lowest transmission rates in the country.

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday that the state had fewer than 1,000 people sent to hospital over the virus for the first time since mid-March.

    On Wednesday Cuomo, along with the governors of neighbouring New Jersey and Connecticut, enacted a mandatory 14-day quarantine order for anyone visiting the region from hotspot states, like Florida, North Carolina and Texas.

  17. Whitty: Enjoy the sun but do it in a safe way

    Chris Whitty

    After thousands of people made their way to Bournemouth beach on the hottest day of the year, England's chief medical officer has tweeted about the need to follow the rules on social distancing.

    The current guidance in England remains that people should keep 2m distance between themselves and others who are not members of the same household. This will reduce to 1m on 4 July.

    In his tweet, Prof Chris Whitty warns that people will want to enjoy the sun, but will need to do so in a way that is safe for all:

    View more on twitter
  18. Antibodies found in over 40% of Austrian ski resort's residents

    A police car parked on a road near the Austrian village of Ischgl
    Image caption: Ischgl was the source of Austria's biggest coronavirus cluster

    More than 40% of residents in Ischgl, an Austrian ski resort village that was once at the heart of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak, have developed antibodies against Covid-19, a study has found.

    Thousands of people, many of them European tourists, were infected there in early March.

    Researchers from the Medical University of Innsbruck conducted antibody tests on 1,473 people, about 79% of Ischgl's population.

    The study found that 42.4% of those tested had antibodies for Covid-19.

    Antibodies are tiny proteins that our immune systems produce in response to bacteria and viruses.

    The director of the university's Institute of Virology, Dorothee von Laer, said Ischgl had the highest prevalence of antibodies “ever proven in a study”.

    “Even though at that rate herd immunity cannot be assumed, Ischgl's population should be protected [from the virus] to a large extent," she said.

    Austria has recorded more than 17,000 infections and almost 700 deaths to date, both relatively low numbers compared to its European neighbours.

    Read more: Ischgl resort at heart of Europe’s outbreak reopens

  19. Can't say for sure we'll get a vaccine - WHO chief

    Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus
    Image caption: Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said a vaccine may never be developed

    There is no guarantee that scientists will be able to develop an effective vaccine against Covid-19, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

    Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus told the EU Parliament's health committee on Thursday that even if a vaccine was developed, it would probably not be available for at least a year.

    "It would be very difficult to say for sure that we will have a vaccine," Dr Tedros told EU lawmakers via video link.

    "We never had a vaccine for a coronavirus. So this will be, when discovered, hoping that it will be discovered, it will be the first one."

    Vaccines help the body's immune system to recognise and fight pathogens like viruses. They are considered one of the most effective ways to prevent diseases such as Covid-19 from spreading, as they help communities build up immunity.

    More than 100 trials of possible vaccines are under way across the world, including a human study led by Imperial College London in the UK.

    Read more: How close to developing a vaccine are we?

  20. An MP's answer to social distancing in pubs? Very long glasses

    Man drinking a yard of ale
    Image caption: A yard of ale could be used to keep fellow drinkers at bay, suggests Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg

    With pubs in England due to reopen on 4 July, there have been plenty of concerns about how drinkers will maintain social distancing.

    But Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has an idea. He suggested pub-goers should "go back to drinking a yard of ale" – a traditional tall glass containing 2.5 pints (1.4 litres) and nowadays most associated with student drinking games.

    Asked what could be done to support the reopening of pubs, the Leader of the House of Commons said: "If they drink a yard of ale they will maintain social distancing while enjoying an extra large drink to celebrate the fact that they are back in the pub.”

    Social distancing rules are being reduced on the same date pubs reopen - to one metre, or just over a yard.

    Read the full story