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Live Reporting

Edited by Alex Therrien

All times stated are UK

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  1. That's it from us for today

    We are now closing our live page for today - thanks for joining us. We'll be back tomorrow.

    The live page writers today were:

    Alice Cuddy, Alexandra Fouché, Vanessa Buschschluter, Jo Couzens and Ashitha Nagesh.

    The page was edited by Deirdre Finnerty and Alex Therrien.

  2. Today’s main coronavirus devopments


    Soon we'll be pausing our live coverage for today. But before we do, here's a reminder of today’s main headlines from the UK and around the world:

  3. Four men arrested in Vietnam over PPE scam

    Vietnamese police have arrested four men, aged between 22 and 36, accused of defrauding Americans who had tried to buy Covid-19 protective equipment online.

    According to the Ministry of Public Security, more than 5,000 Americans were defrauded of almost $1m (£760,000). A statement said the men set up 110 websites in March and offered PPE, including hand sanitisers, masks and disinfectant wipes.

    The suspects never had the items they were offering, the ministry said, and the Americans - who had paid via PayPal - never received their items.

    The men have been charged with "appropriation of property using a computer network, telecommunications network or electronic device", a crime that carries a prison term of up to 20 years.

    The arrests were the result of a joint investigation by the ministry and the US Department of Homeland Security.

  4. Religious schools 'can't be forced to close' in Kentucky

    Kentucky's attorney general has ruled that the state can't force religious schools to close if they're following health recommendations.

    The school year in the US begins in August. The state's Governor, Andy Beshear, previously recommended that schools in Kentucky start the year with online tuition, until 28 September.

    But Attorney General Daniel Cameron has ruled that forcing religious schools to close would violate the US constitution and state law, Associated Press reports.

    Local paper the Courier-Journal quoted Beshear as saying that "nobody is trying to close" schools that comply with coronavirus measures.

  5. What are the UK's travel rules now?

    Portugal has been removed from the UK's quarantine list

    Earlier, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that travellers coming to the UK from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago will now have to self-isolate upon arrival for 14 days.

    It comes after a similar decision in recent weeks affecting people coming from Spain, France and Malta.

    So what are the UK's travel rules now and which countries can you visit?

    Read more here

  6. Number of new Covid-19 cases in US falls

    Testing centre in Washington DC

    New cases of coronavirus in the US are falling - although the reason for this is disputed.

    According to Johns Hopkins University data, cases over the past week averaged about 47,300 - down from a peak average of 67,317 on 22 July. The US hit a record number of new daily cases on 17 July, with more than 75,000 infections reported.

    The trajectory of the virus is now "going in the right direction", Brett Giroir, the White House physician overseeing US coronavirus testing, said on Wednesday during a briefing.

    He said the decline was partly due to measures such as face coverings and social distancing being put in place.

    But some analysts, including those at the Atlantic's Covid Tracking Project, point to a fall in testing.

    The Project says that the rate of testing is falling "nearly as much as cases are" - and that in the South, where cases surged in June and July, testing has "precipitously declined".

  7. 'Quarantining is more than the cost of my holiday'

    Zagreb, Croatia

    Holidaymakers have begun reacting to the news that people travelling to the UK from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago will now have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

    Steve Davies, a 50-year-old from Yeovil in Somerset, is currently in Drasnice in Croatia.

    He told the Press Association that self-isolating when he gets back will cost him up to £1,200 in unpaid wages at his job as a production supervisor for a helicopter company, "which is more than the cost of the holiday".

    And amid rumours Greece would be added to the quarantine list too, Jess from Milton Keynes said she paid an extra £1,000 to reschedule a £6,500 family holiday for her and her husband's 40th birthdays. The holiday had already been rescheduled once, from the beginning of the summer to now.

  8. UK death toll increases by six

    A further six people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, as of 17:00 BST on Wednesday, according to the latest government figures. It takes the UK's overall toll for such deaths to 41,403.

    Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have now been 57,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

    As of 09:00 on Thursday, there had been a further 1,182 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus.

    Overall, 322,280 cases have been confirmed.

  9. Defeat for Brazil's Bolsonaro as mask veto overturned

    razil's President Jair Bolsonaro adjusts his mask as he leaves Alvorada Palace, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brasilia, Brazil May 13, 2020.

    Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro, suffered a defeat in Congress on Wednesday when lawmakers overturned his veto on the wearing of masks in schools, places of worship and businesses.

    Congress had passed a bill at the beginning of July which made the wearing of face coverings in enclosed spaces mandatory.

    But Bolsonaro vetoed the article in question, arguing it could lead to people being forced to wear masks in their own homes.

    Even though the World Health Organization says that "masks should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress transmission and save lives", Bolsonaro has been openly critical of their use and on Wednesday claimed that "their effectiveness is almost zero".

    He also removed his mask when speaking to journalists after he had tested positive for coronavirus back in July.

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: Brazil's President Bolsonaro on his positive test result
  10. Only travel abroad if you are prepared to quarantine, Shapps warns

    Croatia tourists

    Grant Shapps' announcement that travellers coming to the UK from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago will now have to self-isolate upon arrival for 14 days follows a similar move in recent weeks for people coming from Spain, France and Malta.

    When those restrictions were announced, it led to a rush of tourists trying to return home before the measures came into force.

    On Portugal being removed from the quarantine list, Shapps said: “As with all air bridge countries, please be aware that things can change quickly.

    "Only travel if you are content to unexpectedly 14-day quarantine if required (I speak from experience!)."

    Shapps flew out to Spain for a family holiday, but quickly headed back home when the 14-day quarantine rule was imposed on those returning from the country.

    View more on twitter

    The Scottish government also issued a statement saying it had issued quarantine restrictions on travellers coming back from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago – and that they have also added Switzerland. People coming back to Scotland from Portugal are now also exempt from quarantine.

    Croatia in particular had a record number of new cases on Wednesday, with 219 people testing positive. The 14-day cumulative number of cases there is 37.7 per 100,000, compared to 21 in the UK.

    Croatia is a popular holiday destination for people in the UK. Approximately 875,000 British nationals visited Croatia in 2019.

    Read more about the changes here

  11. BreakingUK adds three more countries to quarantine list

    Travellers coming to the UK from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago will now need to quarantine for 14 days, the transport secretary has said.

    Grant Shapps tweeted that the measure will come into force at 04:00 on Saturday.

    However, people coming to the UK from Portugal, which was on the quarantine list, will no longer have to self-isolate after a fall in cases in the country, he said.

    View more on twitter
  12. In pictures: Zagreb's binmen bicycle race

    It wasn't clear if what is possibly the most bizarre race of the year was going to take place at all, in view of the coronavirus pandemic. But in the end, the Croatian authorities gave the go-ahead to the country's biggest street festival in Zagreb, which features the unusual binmen bicycle race.

    This is despite Croatia seeing a significant rise in cases over the last few days, as we reported earlier.

    Garbage men bicycle race at Ban Jelacic square in Zagreb, Croatia, on 19 August 2020

    The event was held in Ban Jelacic Square in the Croatian capital as part of the street art festival called Cest is d'Best.

    Garbage men bicycle race at Ban Jelacic square in Zagreb, Croatia, on 19 August 2020

    The festival started in 1997, but there had been concerns that this year's edition might be cancelled because of the pandemic.

    Garbage men bicycle race at Ban Jelacic square in Zagreb, Croatia, on 19 August 2020

    The festival itself runs until Sunday.

  13. Analysis: UK's increase in testing comes at a price

    Nick Triggle

    Health Correspondent

    Test and Trace

    The increase in tests carried out in the UK seems to have come at a price.

    The proportion of tests in England taking longer than 24 hours to turn around is increasing.

    At the end of June, around 90% of tests carried out at mobile testing units and testing centres were processed and results given within a day.

    But by mid-August that had dropped to 65% and 58%, respectively. Falls have also been seen in the number of tests posted out that are turn around in 24 hours.

    NHS Test and Trace said an IT failure at one of its mega labs, which processes the tests, had caused problems and there was also a growing backlog because of the rising number of tests being carried out.

    An average of 170,000 tests a day were being carried out in mid-August in the UK – a rise of more than a quarter since the end of June.

    The UK is now carrying out twice the number of tests per head of population than countries such as Germany, Spain and France.

  14. More restrictions on the cards over Scotland cluster

    2 Sisters site in Coupar Angus
    Image caption: The poultry factory has been closed for two weeks

    Further restrictions over a coronavirus cluster linked to a food processing plant in Coupar Angus, Scotland, are being "carefully and urgently" considered, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

    The number of cases linked to the 2 Sisters poultry factory has risen to 43, an increase of 14 since Wednesday.

    Scotland's first minister said 37 of the cases in the "significant" cluster were employees and the six others were their contacts.

    The plant has been closed for two weeks while staff at the site are tested.

    All of the plant's approximately 900 employees have been advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

    Meanwhile, Cranswick meat processing plant in Cullyback, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is to close on Saturday following the discovery of a cluster of cases among workers.

    A company spokesman has declined to confirm how many people are involved in the current outbreak but said staff welfare was the primary concern. A cluster is defined as two or more cases.

  15. NI health minister set to recommend new Covid-19 measures

    Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann
    Image caption: Mr Swann is expected to recommend changes to NI restrictions

    Northern Ireland's health minister is expected to recommend a tightening of Covid-19 restrictions at a meeting of the NI Executive, currently under way.

    It is thought Robin Swann will recommend lowering the number of people allowed to meet indoors from 10 to six.

    It comes after a marked increase in the number of coronavirus cases in recent weeks.

    The Department of Health has confirmed 51 new positive cases of the virus in Northern Ireland, bringing the total to 6,556.

    No further deaths have been recorded by the department, meaning the death toll remains at 559.

    On Thursday, the head of the Public Health Agency said localised lockdowns were "practically inevitable".

  16. Weekly test and trace numbers in England drop again

    Test and Trace app

    The number of people being reached through England's test and trace programme has dropped again this week to 71% - down from 74% last week, and down on the 91% in its first week (week ending 3 June), according to the latest figures.

    In the 11 weeks since it launched, 227,577 close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 have been reached through the tracing system and asked to self-isolate.

    This is 81% out of a total of 281,118 people identified as close contacts. The remaining 53,541 people (19%) identified as close contacts were not reached.

    The figures also show that, for cases handled by local health protection teams, 98% of close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 have been reached and asked to self-isolate.

    For those cases handled either online or by call centres, 57% of close contacts have been reached.

  17. This isn't a 'second wave' - we're still in the first

    Nick Triggle

    Health Correspondent

    Tourists take photos in face coverings in St Tropez, France

    Whenever there is a jump in cases, it does not take long for someone to start talking about a second wave.

    But the truth is we are still in the first wave in Europe. The wave is being suppressed, but it is still there.

    Where we see cases rising, it is more a case that the defences are being breached.

    What gets less attention is the fact that it is falling in some places too – Sweden and Portugal are both examples of this over the past month or so.

    It is also important to consider the context of the rise. Has it risen to a high level or just a higher level from a low base?

    And to what extent are the rises being caused by more testing? The more you look, the more you find.

    Certainly the numbers being tested is rising in many countries and that is certainly a factor.

    It means the rises seen in Germany, Italy and the UK for example are less concerning than those seen in Spain, France and Croatia.

    It is a very mixed picture across Europe, reflecting the fact countries are just at different points of the first wave or having varying degrees of success in keeping it at bay.

  18. If you're just joining us...

    Child in Rodenbach, Germany wearing face mask

    Good morning to our readers in the Americas, good afternoon to readers in Europe and Africa, and good evening to those of you in Asia.

    To help you catch up with what's happened today, here's the latest from around the world.

    • Cases are rising in Europe. Germany has reported its highest daily infection rate since April, while Spain and Italy logged their highest daily figures in months. Cases are also steadily rising in France
    • It looks like the UK will impose quarantine measures on people arriving from Croatia, the BBC has learned
    • In the US, more than 1.1 million people filed new claims for unemployment benefits. The US still has the highest death toll and total number of infections in the world
    • Australian airline Quantas has reported an annual loss of almost A$2 billion (£1 billion; $1.4 billion) as it struggles with the fallout of global lockdown measures and travel restrictions
    • In India, 69,652 new cases of the virus were reported on Thursday, taking the total number of cases up to 2.84 million
    • South Korea has tightened restrictions after a spike in new cases, most of which have been linked to a church
    • More than 788,000 people have died globally, and more than 22.4 million people have tested positive for the virus
  19. Gyms and pools to reopen in Scotland at end of August

    Swimming pool
    Image caption: Swimming pools in Scotland are set to reopen on 31 August

    Gyms, swimming pools and indoor sports courts in Scotland will be able to reopen from 31 August, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

    The first minister said she was bringing forward the reopening of the facilities, which had previously been expected to open in mid-September.

    She said it meant people aged 12 and over could take part in non-contact activity in places such as dance and gymnastics studios.

    More restrictions could be lifted on 14 September, she added, with sports stadiums, theatres and live music venues reopening with social distancing, limits on capacity and enhanced hygiene.

    But she added that given the volatility in transmission of the virus, "there is a very real possibility that these plans will change".

  20. More than 1.1 million new unemployment claims in US

    Now hiring sign in US

    The number of people in the US claiming unemployment has exceeded one million again, according to the latest figures from the US Labor Department.

    Just over 1.1 million people filed new claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending 15 August.

    Although experts had expected a moderate rise, this was an increase of 135,000 from the previous week.This is only the third time new applications for jobless benefits have increased since the start of April.

    First-time claims peaked at 6.97 million in March.

    Read more about the US unemployment figures here