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Live Reporting

Edited by Sarah Collerton

All times stated are UK

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  1. We're pausing our coverage now

    That's all for our live coverage today. Join us again tomorrow for more of the latest news on coronavirus as it happens.

    Contributors were: Sarah Collerton, Kevin Ponniah, Joseph Lee, Georgina Rannard, Dulcie Lee, and Joshua Nevett.

  2. Your UK news headlines

    A classroom in Watlington Primary School

    And here's a recap of the main UK stories related to the pandemic:

  3. Your world news headlines

    We'll soon be pausing our live coverage following a day when Europe upped its efforts to control new outbreaks of coronavirus and Russia hit back against scepticism about its vaccine.

    Here are the main world stories on Wednesday:

    • Russia says international concerns about the safety of a vaccine it has developed are "groundless" and that it plans to produce five million doses monthly by 2021
    • Germany recorded its highest daily rate of infections in three months, and France had 2,524 new cases in 24 hours, the highest daily rise since its lockdown was lifted in May
    • Half of hospitals in Beirut, Lebanon, are described as "non-functional" by the World Health Organization, days after an explosion significantly damaged the city and infections rates rise
    • The US state of Texas passed the 500,000 cases mark as it remains at the epicentre of the country's outbreak. Critics say officials allowed the state to reopen too soon
    • China has reported success in controlling an outbreak in the north-west region of Xinjiang, recording only nine new cases of Covid-19
    • Mexican-American singer and Dirty Dozen actor Trini Lopez has died aged 83 after falling ill with Covid-19
  4. US college football season sees major changes

    Big Ten includes teams like Rutgers Scarlet Knights (pictured in white and red) and Penn State Nittany Lions
    Image caption: The Big Ten includes teams like Rutgers Scarlet Knights (pictured in white and red) and Penn State Nittany Lions

    The Big Ten and Pac-12 sports conferences - two of the biggest in the world of American college football - have voted to postpone their autumn season over Covid-19.

    Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said there was "too much uncertainty" over the risks to allow the student athletes to compete.

    The move has sparked disappointment across the country, as well as concerns over how college towns and local economies that rely on the sports season for revenue will cope.

    But other major conferences - including the Big 12 and the ACC - are reportedly considering moving forward with games.

    USA Today sports columnist Dan Wolken wrote in an opinion piece: "It is incredibly absurd, and yet perfectly appropriate for the way the Covid-19 pandemic has played out in America, that the fate of the entire college football season could really come down to believing one set of medical experts over another. "

  5. Why has the UK death toll changed?

    Northwick Park Hospital
    Image caption: Public Health England said its approach was intended to ensure deaths were not underestimated early in the pandemic

    As we reported earlier, the UK coronavirus death toll has been reduced by more than 5,000.

    This has happened because a review was ordered after it emerged England may have been including deaths which occurred months after a positive test for coronavirus, whereas the other UK nations had a 28-day cut-off.

    By using the same methodology in all four nations, the overall death toll has now been reduced by 12% - from 46,706 to 41,239.

    In the most recent week of data analysed, 18 to 24 July, deaths dropped by 75%, from 442 to 111.

    Prof John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England, said the original method of counting was chosen "to avoid underestimating deaths caused by the virus in the early stages of the pandemic".

    "Our analysis of the long-term impact of the infection now allows us to move to new methods, which will give us crucial information about both recent trends and overall mortality burden due to Covid-19," he said.

    The Department for Health and Social Care said the UK's chief medical officers had recommended the "single consistent" measure across all four nations.

    It said that the review, carried out by Public Health England, had considered epidemiological data on how likely it was that Covid-19 had contributed to someone's death at different points of time after a positive test.

  6. Top Kenyan health official dies

    In July Doreen Lugaliki, 39, was reportedly the first Kenyan doctor to die from coronavirus
    Image caption: In July Doreen Lugaliki, 39, was reportedly the first Kenyan doctor to die from coronavirus

    A top health official in Kenya has died from coronavirus as the country deals with rising infections.

    Kamau Mugenda was second in charge at the Kenya Medical Research Institute which oversees Covid-19 testing and vaccine trials programme.

    More than 450 workers in the health ministry have been infected, and at least three frontline health workers have died, the BBC's Emmanuel Igunza reports from Nairobi.

    Despite imposing strict measures to deal with the virus, cases have more than doubled over the past days.

    Meanwhile, authorities in Kenya are investigating the disappearance of equipment and monies donated to help stop the spread of Covid-19, our correspondent adds.

  7. England's new contact tracing app to begin trials

    Leo Kelion

    Technology desk editor

    Stop Covid NI app
    Image caption: A similar app has already launched in Northern Ireland, but it is not yet clear how well it is working

    England's revamped coronavirus contact-tracing app is set to begin public trials tomorrow.

    The software will be based on Apple and Google's privacy-centric method of one smartphone detecting another - which matches contacts on the phones themselves rather than sending potentially sensitive information to a centralised computer.

    Engineers are still trying to reduce how often the Bluetooth-based tech wrongly flags people as being within 2m (6.6ft) of each other.

    Officials are concerned about people going into quarantine as a consequence.

    The Isle of Wight will be involved again, along with one other area and a volunteer group. The government intends to launch the experiment without much fanfare, because it is still not clear when a formal national rollout will occur.

    The idea behind the app is to use people's phones to log when they have been close to another person for so long that there is a high risk of contagion.

    If one user is later diagnosed with the disease, the other person can be alerted to the fact before they begin exhibiting symptoms.

    In addition, users will also be asked to scan a QR barcode when they enter a property, to provide a means to later alert them to the fact that they visited a location linked to multiple infections.

  8. Dementia deaths 'staggering', say families

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: Dementia patients' deaths prompt call for answers

    Coronavirus has had a devastating effect on dementia patients throughout the UK, with half of all people who died in care homes with the virus having the condition.

    In Wales, where a fifth of all Covid-19 deaths were of people with dementia, families said the impact was "staggering" and called for a task force to be established in case of a second wave.

    Ceri Higgins, whose 82-year-old father David Williams died in April, said she felt "our lives were out of control" because they could not have any contact with him in his last days.

    She said she has grown increasingly concerned that not enough has been done to investigate why dementia patients were so badly affected.

    The Welsh government said it was prioritising the implementation of its dementia action plan in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    But her concerns are echoed elsewhere in the UK: in Liverpool, Anne Byrne said her 90-year-old mother, Annie Cartwright, has suffered a "shocking decline" as a result of restrictions on visits.

    "People living in the home don't understand the pandemic - they think their families have abandoned them," she said.

    Charles Musselwhite, associate professor in gerontology at Swansea University, said dementia patients had been forgotten in the pandemic. "This is one group that we knew were vulnerable and they haven't been protected in any serious sense."

    The Department for Health and Social Care said its priority was to protect residents and staff from the virus.

  9. Apology to 'every single child' over virus disruption

    Video content

    Video caption: Exam results: 'Routes for young people to address concerns'

    Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has apologised to "every single child" for the disruption they have faced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    In an interview with the BBC, he said the "best thing" was for every child in England to be back in school in September.

    A-levels results will be revealed on Thursday morning, with results based on estimates after exams were cancelled.

    On Tuesday, the Department for Education announced a last-minute "triple lock" - which could raise replacement grades for exams cancelled in the pandemic. It means pupils could have whichever result is highest from estimated grades, mocks or exams in the autumn.

    "It's a robust system, it's a fair system, it's making sure that young people get the grades that they've worked so hard towards," Williamson said.

    Williamson defended the last-minute change ahead of Thursday's results, saying: "I'm not going to hesitate in terms of actually making changes if I can get the system as fair as possible for every single child."

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer earlier accused the government of causing "widespread chaos" following the 11th-hour changes, adding the situation was "shambolic".

    Read more here

  10. BreakingReview of UK death figures cuts toll by 5,000

    A review of how UK deaths from coronavirus are counted has cut the death toll by more than 5,000 to 41,329, the government has announced.

    Previously, people in England who died at any point following a positive test - regardless of cause of death - were counted in the daily published statistics.

    But there will now be a cut-off of 28 days, providing what the government believes is a more accurate picture of the epidemic.

    This brings England's data in line with the other UK nations.

  11. France's champagne industry loses its fizz

    Hugh Schofield

    BBC News, Paris

    A champagne producer pours grapes at a vineyard in France
    Image caption: Growers and producers are at loggerheads over how to respond to the pandemic

    It's been an exceptional year in Champagne.

    The weather has been near perfect, with plenty of sunshine and rain falling at just the right time to give the vines their necessary oomph. The grapes in this famed French region are bursting with expectation for an early harvest.

    But never in living memory have market conditions been so poor.

    "Covid has left everything reeling," said Bernard Beaulieu, a champagne producer. "The fall in sales is staring us in the face. It's hastened a crisis that, if you ask me, has been a long time coming."

    Read the full story from Hugh.

  12. No partying after results, police warn students

    Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey
    Image caption: "We do not want to spoil what should be a joyous occasion," said Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey

    Greater Manchester Police has warned students getting their A-level results tomorrow not to hold any parties, saying fines could be issued for breaching coronavirus restrictions.

    "We do not want to spoil what should be a joyous occasion by issuing fixed penalty notices at any house parties or illegal gatherings," said Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey.

    Manchester is part of a swathe of northern England that was placed under enhanced coronavirus restrictions on 31 July after a spike in cases.

    Police said that house parties, some of which involved 17- and 18-year-olds, had played a part in the rise. And last weekend, there were 1,106 reports of lockdown breaches, 540 of which were house parties, they said.

  13. Recession 'terrible news' for mental health

    A man and woman wearing masks sit at a table

    The UK falling into recession is "terrible news" for the many people's mental health, the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Adrian James, has said.

    It comes as doctors are seeing a rise in people reporting severe mental health difficulties, according to a group of NHS leaders.

    James said the "looming economic crisis will widen existing health and social inequalities and worsen the mental health problems they bring".

    "Those already unemployed, those living in poverty, young people, single-parent families and people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are likely to be hit the hardest."

    The government should invest further in mental health and social welfare services, James said, if it is to avoid the most "devastating" consequences of the economic crisis.

  14. Texas cases top half a million

    Testing site in Dallas

    The US state of Texas reported over 8,900 new virus cases on Tuesday, pushing the state's total over 500,000 since the start of the pandemic.

    The state's average number of new daily cases is now higher than it was last week, which saw about 6,900 new cases each day.

    The positive case rate - the proportion of those tested for coronavirus that are actually positive - is another indicator of the spread. It is currently at 24% in Texas. For context, the World Health Organization advised governments to avoid reopening societies until positivity rates were at 5% or lower for at least 14 days.

    Critics said Texan leaders allowed the state to reopen too soon, which led to the spike earlier this summer. Officials say the numbers are now better than what they were but they are urging residents to practise social distancing and mask-wearing.

    Many of the US's county-level hotspots remain in hard-hit Texas and Florida, though Florida is overall seeing a decline in its new cases. California, the most populous state, continues to grapple with rising Covid-19 cases - with 12,500 reported on Tuesday.

  15. Russia calls vaccine concerns 'groundless'

    As you've probably heard, Russia has approved a coronavirus vaccine which its leader, Vladimir Putin, says is safe for use.

    But internationally, experts have expressed scepticism. The World Health Organization said it had not seen enough information and was in talks with Russia about assessing it.

    The US's top virus expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, meanwhile told National Geographic: "I hope that the Russians have actually definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective. I seriously doubt that they've done that."

    Now Russia has dismissed these concerns as "absolutely groundless". It plans to produce five million doses a month by 2021, according to the Russian news agency Tass.

    "It seems our foreign colleagues are sensing the specific competitive advantages of the Russian drug and are trying to express opinions that... are absolutely groundless," Russia's Health Minister Mikhail Murashko told the Interfax news agency on Wednesday.

    Meanwhile in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte offered himself as a human test subject for the Russian vaccine.

    Read more about the international reaction to the drug.

  16. Switzerland virus situation 'fragile'

    Imogen Foulkes

    BBC News, Geneva

    The Montreaux Jazz Festival, cancelled this year, normally attracts 200,000 people
    Image caption: The Montreaux Jazz Festival, cancelled this year, normally attracts 200,000 people

    Switzerland has delayed its planned resumption of big sporting and entertainment events of 1,000 or more people. Instead of being allowed to go ahead on 1st September, the date has been delayed by one month. Large events were first banned at the end of February.

    On Wednesday health minister Alain Berset described the situation in Switzerland as "fragile", amid rising cases (274 in the latest 24-hour period). He said that a further month to monitor the situation would be helpful.

    The Swiss approach to the virus is clearly control rather than eradicate. Berset said people would have to "learn to live with it", adding that for now the situation, despite rising case numbers, was under control.

    When big events are permitted again, organisers will have to apply for special permission from authorities, and submit a health and safety plan. Cantons (districts of the country) must also guarantee their test, trace and isolate systems have the capacity to deal with possible outbreaks around big events.

  17. UK reports another 77 deaths

    Another 77 people have died in the UK following a positive coronavirus test, bringing the total confirmed Covid-19 deaths in UK hospitals, care homes and in the community to 46,706.

    There were also another 1,009 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the third time in a week that cases in the UK have risen by the more than 1,000.

    UK-wide death figures may not match the totals for the four nations, as they cover a different time scale and cover deaths in all settings.

    The statistics are also under review after Health Secretary Matt Hancock raised concerns that the figures for England may include people who died months after testing positive for the virus.

  18. NatWest announces 550 job losses

    A man outside a NatWest branch in Manchester
    Image caption: The bank said the pandemic has accelerated the trend towards online banking

    On the day that the UK officially slumped into recession due to the pandemic, NatWest has become the latest company to announce job losses.

    The bank says the 550 job cuts, to be made through voluntary redundancies, are part of a cost-cutting drive as more people bank online.

    It says the trend has been accelerated by the lockdown although the cuts had been planned before the pandemic. No branches are closing as a result of the changes, however.

    "We have to respond to changing customer behaviour and the rising customer demand for digital banking services," a spokesperson said.

  19. How can I find a new job?

    Eleanor Lawrie

    BBC News

    A woman browsing on her laptop

    It's a tough time in the jobs market. Firms are shedding staff or freezing recruitment to cut costs as the UK experiences a sharp recession.

    But don't worry, we've got your back. Here are some tips on successful job applications:

    • List past achievements clearly; for example, that you finished a recent project on time and within budget
    • Ask someone else to read your application before sending it helps spot any typos that could mean your CV goes straight in the bin
    • Tailor your CV and cover letter for each application, which is time-consuming but could be more likely to result in a job.

    Read more about where to look and which sectors are hiring.

  20. Germany battles rise in infections, and other headlines

    A sign reminding students, parents and visitors that wearing a mask is mandatory in Berlin, Germany
    Image caption: Coronavirus cases are on the rise again in Germany

    If you’re just tuning in, here’s a quick recap of some of the main developments from around the world on Wednesday: