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Live Reporting

Edited by Marie Jackson

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodbye - and thanks for joining us

    And so our rolling coverage ends there.

    Today's live page has been the work of Mal Siret, Ashitha Nagesh, Penny Spiller, Tori Lindrea, Hazel Shearing and Marie Jackson.

    We'll be back with more on Thursday. Until then, stay well and thanks for joining us.

  2. Headlines from around the world

    Now to the latest key global developments:

    • Spain is planning to train some 2,000 soldiers as trackers to identify people who’ve been exposed to the coronavirus.
    • France makes it mandatory to wear masks indoors, while Germany implements extra hygiene measures, and Italy insists on social distancing and staggered starts at school.
    • In the US, case numbers are continuing to fall. Experts say it’s partly down to more people wearing masks, but also point to a fall in the number of tests being carried out. The US public health body, the CDC, has quietly tweaked its testing guidance to say that people who’ve been in close contact with someone known to have Covid-19 now “do not necessarily” need to get tested.
    • Ukraine is closing its borders for a month in a bid to try to contain the virus. Most foreigners will be barred from entering apart from a few exceptions, including those working for international humanitarian missions.
    • Pope Francis is to resume limited public audiences early next month but only 500 seats will be allocated in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace.
    • Good news for culture lovers in New York as museums begin to open with Moma preparing to open its doors on Thursday. But tango lovers in Argentina will only be able to catch the annual Tango World Championships virtually as cases of Covid-19 continue to surge. Samba schools in Brazil are also silent, raising fears that the country’s flamboyant carnivals will not go ahead as usual next February.
  3. What happened in the UK today?

    As we near the end of today's coverage, here are the main headlines from around the UK:

  4. Some restaurants to extend Eat Out scheme with own cash

    Image caption: Spending for the second week of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme rose 9%

    Some UK restaurants say they will continue the government-funded Eat Out to Help Out scheme into September with their own cash because it has been so successful.

    Latest HM Treasury data shows diners used the government scheme more than 64 million times in its first three weeks.

    The scheme, which is now in its final week, offers customers in restaurants, pubs and cafes 50% off their meal, up to a maximum of £10 per head.

    It has been running every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August to encourage support for the hospitality sector.

    Commercial landlord Grosvenor has said it will subsidise discounted meals for its restaurant tenants in Belgravia and Mayfair, while elsewhere restaurants are individually deciding to extend the offer.

    "The scheme has not just benefited businesses commercially, it appears to have really boosted consumer confidence as well, which is just as important," said Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality.

    Want to find out which restaurants are extending the offer? Read on.

  5. UK teenagers test positive after holiday in Greece

    Health officials are saying that up to 30 young people in Plymouth, on the south coast of England, could be infected with coronavirus having returned from holiday in Greece.

    Plymouth's public health team said the group of 18 and 19-year-olds returned from the island of Zante last week and so far 11 have tested positive. Many had minor symptoms or none at all, they added.

    Greece is not currently on the list of countries with quarantine restrictions for UK travellers.

    The city's director for public health Ruth Harrell said her team were working alongside national systems to contact and trace those thought to have been affected.

    Read more here.

  6. UK 'could lose £60m a day' as tourism slumps

    People on Marazion Beach with Saint Michael's Mount in the distancee
    Image caption: Cornwall is one of the UK's most popular tourist destinations

    The UK is set to lose up to £22bn in tourism revenues this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, an industry body has predicted.

    Spending by visitors from overseas could fall by as much as 78% - equivalent to £60m a day, said the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

    The WTTC said tourists were "staying away from the UK in droves" because of uncertainty over travel restrictions and because it has the highest coronavirus death toll of any European country.

    This summer's "staycation" boom has seen UK residents flocking to book holidays at home, but the WTTC thinks the lack of foreign visitors will still inflict significant economic damage - with London hit hardest by the collapse in visitor numbers.

    WTTC President Gloria Guevara said domestic spending was "highly unlikely to offset the collapse of international travel".

    "We urgently need to replace stop-start quarantine measures with rapid, comprehensive and cost-effective test and trace programmes at departure points across the country," she added.

  7. Inspectors in UK care homes 'need to be tested'

    Staff at a care home in Warrington
    Image caption: Staff in care homes are regularly tested for Covid-19

    The National Care Forum (NCF) has written an open letter to England's Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling for a reversal of the decision to allow inspectors into care homes without weekly testing.

    The NCF, which represents 120 social care charities in the UK, called the decision to allow Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors to conduct on-site inspections of care homes without regular testing for Covid-19 "extraordinary".

    “For months central government and the regulator have been requiring care homes to essentially eradicate the movement of staff and the flow of people, including close family relatives, into homes.

    "Having done this, care homes are now being asked to let inspectors into homes without knowing whether or not they are Covid-positive. Understandably they are both shocked and hugely concerned," said Vic Rayner, executive director at the NCF.

    "If inspectors are coming in, they need to be tested – there should be no further debate about this."

  8. New York museums and galleries begin to reopen

    Workers install a new sign, I love NY, in the entrance of Moma on 20 August 2020
    Image caption: Visitors to Moma will be met by this newly-installed sign

    Some normality is returning to New York with the imminent reopening of many of its most famous museums and art galleries.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Moma, opens its doors on Thursday with free timed tickets for those visiting over the next month. Director Glenn Lowry told ABC News that the museum was facing significant financial losses because of the coronavirus but deciding not to charge visitors for the first month "felt like the right gesture".

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art is set to reopen on Saturday, and the American Museum of Natural History and 9/11 Memorial Museum will start welcoming back visitors in September.

  9. UK cases rise by more than 1,000 in 24 hours

    There have been a further 1,048 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours.

    Sixteen people have died, bringing the total death toll of those who died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 to 41,465, according to figures released by Public Health England.

    Overall, 328,846 cases have been confirmed in the UK.

    Coronavirus in the UK
    Confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK
    UK daily reported deaths with coronavirus
  10. NHS Scotland to get 12-minute Covid test kit

    Test kit
    Image caption: The test has already been given approval in the US

    The health service in Scotland has signed a deal for equipment which allows Covid-19 tests to be carried out in just 12 minutes.

    NHS Scotland is to spend £6.76m on 300 rapid testing machines and at least 500,000 tests.

    The deal with life sciences company LumiraDx will see the test strips made at its Stirling base.

    The testing machines are said to be highly portable and can be used in local clinics or mobile units.

    The test, which is going through the final stages of validation for use in Scotland and the rest of Europe, detects the Covid-19 antigen protein from a nasal swab in 12 minutes - considerably faster than the 90 minutes typically needed by other rapid tests which are currently being trialled.

    Read more here.

  11. Gaza's health workers struggle to contain outbreak

    Security personnel wearing protective equipment sit outside a hospital in Gaza where a Palestinian man with Covid-19 died (26 August 2020)
    Image caption: Security forces were deployed outside the hospital where the Palestinian man with Covid-19 died

    There is growing concern about the spread of Covid-19 in the Gaza Strip after a 61-year-old man became the second person with the disease to die in the Palestinian territory, and several new cases were discovered outside its quarantine centres.

    Early on Wednesday, the Hamas-run health ministry announced that two people had tested positive at the territory’s largest hospital - forcing it to close and causing locals to panic.

    Police were posted at the gates of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, and all its doctors and nurses were tested.

    The BBC’s Yolande Knell in Jerusalem says the outbreak has caused alarm because of Gaza's weak healthcare system.

    After five cases were confirmed in one family living in a refugee camp on Monday, a curfew was imposed across Gaza.

    Previously, our correspondent adds, the relative isolation of the territory - kept under blockade by Israel and Egypt - and strict quarantine controls meant that Covid-19 had not spread among the general population.

    The new infections were reported as an envoy from Qatar, which has been sending aid money to Gaza, arrived for meetings to try to ease rising tensions with Israel.

    In recent nights, Israeli warplanes or tanks have struck what they say are militant targets in Gaza in retaliation for the launch of rockets and balloons with incendiary devices attached.

  12. PM: 'Of course I will meet the bereaved'

    Boris Johnson

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to meet with families who have lost loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group said it was the fifth time members had asked to meet the PM, but Mr Johnson said he was "not aware" of the group's previous letters.

    "Of course I will meet the bereaved," the prime minister told Sky News on Wednesday. However, No 10 are yet to confirm that a meeting will take place.

    The group of 1,600 families are calling for a statutory public inquiry into the government's handling of the pandemic.

    Co-founder Jo Goodman, who lost her father to the virus, said: "We welcome Boris Johnson finally agreeing to meet with us.

    "It shouldn't have taken him months to agree to it, and it should only be a matter of days before it happens.

    "If the prime minister had replied to our first letter back in June, a rapid review could be reporting right now, giving crucial lessons on how to save lives as the virus spikes again, as we're seeing in locations across the country."

  13. Top civil servant at UK education department steps down

    Jonathan Slater gives evidence to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee in March 2020
    Image caption: Jonathan Slater was permanent secretary at the Department for Education

    Another head has rolled over the UK's exam results fiasco. The Department for Education announced its most senior civil servant, Jonathan Slater, would step down on 1 September, adding "the prime minister has concluded that there is a need for fresh official leadership".

    Boris Johnson earlier blamed a "mutant algorithm" for creating a situation in which many students' A-level results were unfairly downgraded and they lost out on university and college places.

    The National Education Union accused Mr Johnson of trying to "idly shrug away a disaster that his own government created".

    Mr Slater's departure comes a day after the resignation of Sally Collier, head of the exams regulating body, Ofqual. Meanwhile Gavin Williamson, education secretary, stays in his job.

  14. Crime in England and Wales 'down during lockdown'

    Mounted police
    Image caption: Police patrolled public spaces to ensure lockdown rules were being followed at the height of the pandemic

    Crime in England and Wales fell by almost a third in the first two full months of lockdown, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    This was driven by falls in reported thefts and burglary, the ONS said.

    But the ONS said drug crime rose by up to 44% compared with the same period last year, due to targeted policing.

    A survey also suggests the vast majority of adults (91%) are satisfied with the way police have dealt with the coronavirus restrictions.

    The figures, which are based on telephone research, support earlier data from police forces of a significant decline in offending during April and May.

    Read the full story here.

  15. Wearing of face masks up to Welsh schools to decide

    School girl using hand sanitiser

    It will be up to schools and councils in Wales to decide if face coverings need to be worn by pupils in communal areas and on school transport, the Welsh government has said.

    A government statement says the use of masks is recommended indoors for older pupils, where social distancing cannot be maintained.

    But ministers are not mandating their use in schools, suggesting head teachers must take a decision based on "risk assessments" of school buildings.

    Teaching union NAHT Cymru deemed the policy "unacceptable", saying "head teachers are not medical experts and the Welsh government should not put them in this position."

    In England, the government has said secondary pupils will have to wear face coverings in school corridors where a local lockdown is in place, but elsewhere head teachers would have "flexibility" on the issue.

    Pupils in secondary schools in both Scotland and Northern Ireland are recommending the use of face coverings in corridors and communal areas from next week.

  16. Head teachers need more virus data - Labour

    Kate Green

    Labour's shadow education secretary Kate Green says the government has not been clear in its guidance for schools and "constant chopping and changing and passing the buck" has not left parents or staff feeling very reassured.

    She says it was right for the government to act on changed scientific and medical advice, but it needs to be clear, with discussions and guidance for those impacted.

    Head teachers needed data like local infection rates and what sort of action they should take if a child was unwell at school or there was a local outbreak, she says - and heads have been pressing government for access to that data.

    She said the stop-starting and confusion was "really damaging for students, for the confidence of their parents and their teachers".

    "I am concerned that we shouldn't have to face the fact that these young people become a Covid generation whose long-term prospects are blighted by the effect of the lockdown and the education they've missed."

  17. Gatwick airport 'to cut 600 jobs'

    Passengers arriving at Gatwick airport

    Gatwick - the UK’s second largest airport - has announced plans to cut around 600 jobs, as it significantly restructures its business in the wake of the pandemic.

    The airport is proposing to cut some 24% of the current staff following a dramatic slump in passenger numbers and air traffic since March.

    In August, usually one of the airport's busiest months, passenger numbers are more than 80% lower than the same month last year, with only the North Terminal operating.

    The chief executive of Gatwick Airport, Stewart Wingate, said it was a "stark reminder" of "the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on the aviation and travel industry".

    "We will continue to do all we can to preserve as many jobs as possible," he added.

  18. Will children wear masks properly?

    Katharine Birbalsingh, head teacher of Michaela Community School in London, said there was a "need to take into account children's behaviour when considering whether or not masks make them safer".

    "What about the children who turn up to school with uniforms that aren't washed? They don't necessarily wash themselves, they come to school hungry, they will be wearing reused dirty masks," she told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme.

    "They'll swap them... they'll wear them incorrectly, they'll lose them. When half of your children show up to school and aren't wearing masks, what to do you, do you exclude them?"

    But Liam Powell, head teacher at Manor High in Leicestershire - which was affected by the recent local lockdown - told the programme: "I think we have to have high expectations of our children and we have to modify the way they behave."

    His school has made the use of face coverings optional.

    "A lot of our parents are in the medical profession and they know a lot about viruses, and a lot of them are quite anxious," he said.

    "What we've said to parents is it's sensible to carry a mask anyway because you may be travelling on public transport, the school bus or going into a shop on your way to school or on the way home."

  19. Kenya may reopen schools later this year

    A community worker wearing protective gear walks along a street after his disinfection work amidst the coronavirus pandemic in Nairobi, Kenya

    Kenya's education minister has hinted at reopening schools earlier than his initial proposal of January 2021 - if coronavirus cases continue to fall.

    George Magoha has said tertiary institutions may also reopen earlier than was planned. Kenya scrapped the entire 2020 academic year in March because of the pandemic.

    The minister said it would be in the interest of learners to reopen schools early if the infection rate maintains its recent downward trend.

    The ministry of health has been reporting lower numbers in its daily updates, with the director general saying the rate needs to be below 5% for a period of two weeks for the curve to be said to be flattening.

    The World Health Organization and Unicef last week urged African countries to consider reopening schools but with strict guidelines. The agencies said children were being exposed to violence, teenage pregnancies and poor nutrition while at home during the pandemic.

  20. Mexico school classes resume - on TV

    Karina Fuentes helps her seven-year-old daughter Julieta during a televised class
    Image caption: Karina Fuentes helps her seven-year-old daughter Julieta during a televised class

    School lessons have resumed in Mexico but with the number of coronavirus infections still high, children will not yet return to classrooms.

    Schools were among the first institutions to close as the virus began to spread through the country in March.

    As many Mexican families do not have access to the internet, classes will be broadcast on TV. Official figures suggest 93% of homes have access to TV.

    Mexico has one of the highest coronavirus death tolls in the world. Since the pandemic started, 61,450 people have died with Covid. Only the United States and Brazil have had higher death tolls.

    Facundo Martinez switches the television on for a class for his children
    Image caption: Facundo Martinez switches the television on for a class for his children