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Live Reporting

Edited by James Clarke

All times stated are UK

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  1. Thank you and goodbye

    Thank you for joining us for another busy day of coronavirus news.

    That's all from Doug Faulkner, Hazel Shearing, Jennifer Meierhans, Alexandra Fouche, John Hand and James Clarke.

    Have a good evening and we will be back with more updates tomorrow.

  2. Airlines criticise traffic light system

    Virgin Atlantic planes at Heathrow

    Before we go, here is some final reaction to the government's travel update from the UK's airlines.

    British Airways says it is "incredibly disappointing and confusing news", suggesting that with high levels of vaccinations both in the UK and overseas the government should be "adding destinations to 'green' as soon as possible".

    Virgin Atlantic boss Shai Weiss says the government's traffic light system will not provide clarity for consumers and businesses if it does not follow the data, adding the methodology "shouldn't be a state secret".

    "Its own evidence shows the US and Caribbean are low risk and should be added to the green list now," he adds, saying the "overly cautious approach is failing to reap dividends for the UK's successful vaccination programme".

    EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren says: "This shock decision to add Portugal to the amber list is a huge blow to those who are currently in Portugal and those who have booked to be reunited with loved ones, or take a well-deserved break this summer.

    "With Portuguese rates similar to those in the UK it simply isn't justified by the science."

  3. What's been happening?

    People swim at the beach in Cascais, Portugal
    Image caption: A scene from Cascais in Portugal last month when UK tourists could start to visit without quarantining on return

    We are going to be bringing our coronavirus updates to a close soon so here's a recap on the day's news:

    • Portugal will move from the UK foreign travel green list on to the amber list on Tuesday
    • Any UK holidaymakers returning from Portugal after that must self-isolate for 10 days
    • It comes after the discovery of a mutation of the so-called Indian variant, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says
    • Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds says: "Moving Portugal on to the amber list is not the answer. The amber list itself should be scrapped"
    • Shapps also confirmed there will be no additions to the green list
    • But added to the red list are - Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago and Sri Lanka
    • Meanwhile the UK hit the milestone of 50% of adults fully vaccinated a day after it reached 75% of adults receiving their first dose
    • The prime minister welcomed the "amazing achievement", tweeting: "Now let's finish the job. When it's your turn, get the jab"
    • The coronavirus variant first identified in India is now the dominant strain in the UK, Public Health England (PHE) has said
    • Scientists believe the variant, now known as Delta, has overtaken the Kent, or Alpha, variant after lab confirmed cases rose by 79% over the last week to 12,431
    • The Home Office's decision to house cross-channel migrants in a "squalid" barracks in Folkestone where 200 people caught coronavirus was unlawful, the High Court has ruled.
  4. First Sputnik V batch shipped to Syria

    Vitaliy Shevchenko

    BBC Monitoring

    The first batch of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine has arrived in Syria, the country's ambassador to Moscow, Riyad Haddad, has announced.

    "Sputnik V is already in Syria. The first batch of Sputnik has been used to vaccinate doctors and high-ranking officials. This has been done already, now the population is being inoculated," he says.

    He does not specify how many Sputnik V doses have been delivered to Syria.

    Moscow-backed President Bashar Al-Assad, however, will not be vaccinated with the Russian vaccine, the Syrian ambassador says.

    "President Assad has had coronavirus, he has a high antibody count. Because of this, there is no need for him to get vaccinated," Haddad says.

    Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov says more Sputnik V deliveries will be on the way to Syria. "There will be shipments," he says. "We help all our friends."

    Russia has thousands of troops in Syria, who have played a key role in helping President Assad maintain a grip on power after the start of an uprising against him 10 years ago.

  5. Government 'almost guaranteeing another lost summer'

    An empty Heathrow with signs up about social distancing

    As you might expect there are some strong responses coming out of the travel industry to the latest government guidelines on travel.

    Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye says: "Ministers spent last month hailing the restart of international travel, only to close it down three weeks later, all but guaranteeing another lost summer for the travel sector.

    "Everyone wants to protect public health, but the entire point of the Global Travel Taskforce was to establish a system to unlock low-risk travel safely."

    He adds that with the prime minister hosting the G7 leaders this week to "launch his government's vision of Global Britain", Boris Johnson is sending the message that "the UK will remain isolated from the rest of the world".

    "If the government is serious about protecting UK jobs and supporting businesses across the country, rapid action is needed to reopen flights to key trading partners, remove testing for vaccinated passengers from 'green' countries, and slash the cost and complexity of testing, as other G7 countries are doing," he says.

  6. Moving travel goalposts 'simply not fair'

    Rachel Richmond

    Rachel Richmond, from Edinburgh, says the government keeps shifting the goalposts on travel and it is "simply not fair on people".

    She had been hoping to go to Portugal for two weeks in July, having booked last week.

    "If a foreign country is willing to allow British people in (with precautions such as Covid tests before and after and quarantining at home on return) then we should be allowed to go, especially if we are vaccinated or partially vaccinated. Otherwise, what is the point of the vaccine and Covid testing?" she says.

    "As well as the continuing damage to the travel industry, you cannot raise the hopes of people who have stuck by the rules for so long just to dash them a week or two later."

    She questions if it would be safer to allow families who have taken Covid tests before departure to visit countries in "contained" holidays in resorts rather than thousands of football supporters - as happened last week in Porto for the Champions League final.

    "Responsible, law abiding people like myself who have followed the rules religiously for 15 months and are vaccinated are not allowed to travel," she says, adding that "peoples' mental health is suffering".

  7. 'Long Covid means I constantly smell rotten meat'

    Sally McCreith

    A woman who suffers from long Covid says it feels like she is washing with rotten meat when she is in the shower and toothpaste tastes like ash.

    Sally McCreith, 31, from Liverpool, has a distorted sense of taste and smell since she contracted coronavirus eight months ago.

    She has also been left with brain fog and breathlessness.

    "I never thought this could happen to me but my whole life has been turned upside down," she says.

    Sally had no underlying health conditions prior to contracting the virus.

    "I can constantly smell a combination of rotten meat with an underlying chemical smell to it," she says.

    "As a result my taste is affected. I used to be a real foodie, but now eating is so difficult, as everything has this vile smell to it."

    Read more of Sally's story here.

  8. Reality Check

    What has changed in Portugal?

    A graph of Portugal's Covid cases

    The UK government announced that Portugal would be on the travel green list on 7 May.

    Its low-point for new cases (on a seven-day average) was 10 May and the number has been rising gradually since then.

    On 2 June, there were 5.4 new cases per 100,000 people per day, which was only a touch higher than the UK at 5.1, although differences in the amount of testing being done make that comparison difficult. It is considerably higher than Israel for example, which is still on the green list and had 0.2 new cases per 100,000 that day.

    The decision about which countries go on the green list is not just about the number of new cases but a number of other criteria such as the amount of testing capacity. That has not changed dramatically in the past month.

    Presence of variants of concern (VOCs) is also important. The latest report from the World Health Organization says all four VOCs have now been found in Portugal.

    A month ago the variant first identified in India was not yet a VOC. The transport secretary says a new mutation of that variant has now been found in Portugal.

  9. Moving Portugal on to amber list is not the answer - Labour

    Nick Thomas-Symonds

    Labour says moving Portugal from green to amber on the UK's foreign travel system is "not the answer" and has called for the amber list to be scrapped altogether.

    Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds accuses the government of causing "chaos with the mishandling of travel restrictions at the border".

    He says: “The confusion over the amber list has led to reports of over 50,000 people travelling to the UK daily, with only a tiny percentage going into hotel quarantine and a stream of flights entering the UK from amber list countries.

    "Labour has warned time and time again that this is leaving the door wide open to new strains of the virus.

    "Moving Portugal on to the amber list is not the answer. The amber list itself should be scrapped.

    "Ministers also now need a clear plan to manage the confusion that will result (from) Portugal being removed from the green list so quickly and must publish all of the data behind this decision.”

  10. China vaccinates in hope to reopen in 2022 - but some need incentives

    Kerry Allen

    BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst

    People queue to receive the Covid-19 vaccine outside a vaccination site in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, on 29 May 2021
    Image caption: People queue to be vaccinated outside a centre in Guangzhou, southern China

    Today, China is celebrating that 700 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country. That is more than any other country in the world, and represents twice the population of the US.

    The country has aims of vaccinating 40% of its 1.4bn population by the end of June and hopes to vaccinate 70-80% of the population by early 2022.

    The national Global Times newspaper says 80% vaccination would equate to herd immunity, and with the speed at which vaccination is being rolled out, China will then “likely reopen to the world in the first half of 2022”.

    China currently has one isolated outbreak - in the south of the country. More than 100 people are currently being treated for Covid-19 in southern Guangdong province.

    However, huge uptake of the vaccine means that patients have largely exhibited little or no symptoms, the Global Times newspaper reports.

    Nevertheless, some people still need a bit of encouragement to get their jab. State media have recently been rolling out music videos, with lyrics calling on people to get vaccinated.

    And over in Hong Kong, where vaccination has been “sluggish”, residents have been told that they can enter various lucky draws if they sign up to receive two doses.

    According to the local South China Morning Post, people in the city can win free drinks, shopping vouchers, and even a HK$10m (£980,000) apartment.

  11. Foreign travel this summer 'for the bold and the desperate'

    Queues at at Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport

    Today's holiday announcements mean travel companies have "written off" this summer and will spell widespread job losses, the Independent's travel expert says.

    Simon Calder says it was "absolutely inevitable" shares in airlines dropped when Portugal looked set to be moved to the amber list. This was "partly because Portugal was effectively the only game in town", he says.

    "The very fact that Portugal could be moved straight to the amber list means that travel companies presumably will cancel all their departures and airlines will have to ground a lot of flights.

    "It will devastate the travel industry and of course it will also upset a great number of people who were hoping for a holiday," he says.

    Calder says he is surprised the so-called "green watch list" that was supposed to have given us a week or two warning doesn't seems to have been used in this case.

    "But the markets are now effectively concluding that summer is written off and with that will be tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of jobs in travel. Everybody from duty free shops in airports to reps of holiday companies abroad. If you haven't got a travel industry you haven't got a job."

    Speaking from green list Gibraltar, he says he found booking PCR tests and filling in a passenger locator form a "slow and expensive process" and getting through extra airport checks "a huge palaver".

    He says: "Travel this summer looks to be increasingly for the bold and the desperate."

  12. 'Big relief' to return before Portugal change

    Rebecca Morgan

    Rebecca Morgan, who is on holiday in Faro, Portugal, says she has been holding off booking her lateral flow test - required before returning to the UK - in case things changed.

    She says it is "a big relief" that her planned return on Sunday will come before the rule change, with Portugal's move to the amber list not coming into force until Tuesday.

    She says she was worried about the "uncertainty" over travel but has been philosophical and accepts "it is just one of those things and I am lucky to be here".

    "The last 24 hours kind of knowing that Portugal's status is going to change has been a bit of a stresser," she says.

    "I have been keeping an eye on the news, keeping an eye on flight prices - which do seem to have suddenly gone up over the last few hours - just in case I did need to move quickly."

  13. Will more countries be added to the green list in three weeks?

    The transport secretary says he does not yet know what the summer holds in terms of foreign travel.

    Grant Shapps says: "We have done wonders with our vaccination programme and the rest of the world will catch up - Europe is probably 10 weeks behind but they will catch up.

    "I don't know exactly what that will mean in terms of the summer but the decisive action today is designed to protect the future to make sure we can do a domestic unlock."

    He says we need to check that UK vaccines work against all kinds of mutations.

    When asked if more countries will be added to the green list when it is reviewed again in three weeks time he says: "We will always act the moment we have information which is relevant."

    But he says the news of a mutation of the so-called Indian variant in Portugal came as part of the regular three-week review process.

    He says: "We would expect in the ordinary course of events for there to be now a three-week period. Obviously... if something dramatic comes up, we would of course need to make changes elsewhere. And we have to reserve the right to do that to protect the population at home."

  14. Confidence in traffic light scheme in tatters, say pilots

    A plane takes off at sunset

    The British Airline Pilots Association is voicing its "utter dismay" at reports no further countries are being added to the UK's green lists for travel.

    Excessive caution could be the final nail in the coffin for the travel industry, which has borne the economic brunt of the Covid-19 crisis with no help from the government, it says.

    The group also says official criteria for inclusion in the green list appears to have been ignored.

    Balpa acting general secretary Brian Strutton says: "This decision is a total disaster for the already fragile travel industry and is likely to lead to further airline failures and many more job losses.

    "We understand that safety comes first, but with vaccination programmes going well in many countries, it seems the government is ignoring the evidence and is allowing safe countries to languish in the amber and red categories for no valid reason.

    "Any shred of public confidence is in tatters and the traffic light system seems stuck on red.

    "Our airlines need this summer season if they are to survive."

  15. Portugal change means 'cancelled meetings and working from home'

    Michael from Derry

    With the announcement that Portugal will be moved to the amber list it means UK tourists arriving in the country are now having to make new plans for their return.

    Among them is Michael, from Derry, who says he and his wife have just arrived in Portimão from Belfast and are now reading the news.

    He says they are "so disappointed" considering they had cancelled a planned holiday to Marbella in Spain, to stay within the government guidelines by visiting a green listed country.

    The couple are due to fly back next Thursday - which means they will be required to quarantine for 10 days on their return.

    Michael, who did not want to share his surname, says it will mean "cancelled meetings and working from home essentially".

  16. BreakingPortugal off the green list over mutation of Delta variant - Shapps

    Grant Shapps

    Moving Portugal from the green to the amber list is a "safety first approach" to "give us the best chance of unlocking domestically", Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says.

    He says Portugal has seen a doubling of infection rates since the previous travel review.

    There is also "a sort of Nepal mutation of the so-called Indian variant which has been detected, and we just don't know the potential for that to be a vaccine defeating mutation," Shapps says.

    He says we "simply don't want to take the risk as we come up to 21 June and the review of the fourth stage of the unlock".

    He says "a bit of patience is needed here" and "we don't want to risk the 21 June reopening."

    He says "goodness knows the travel industry has suffered" and support is ongoing.

  17. BreakingPortugal off green list

    Portugal will be taken off the UK foreign travel green list from Tuesday, the transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed.

  18. Do we need an amber list?

    Simon Calder

    We've been speaking to the Independent's travel writer Simon Calder who is in Gibraltar, which is currently on the green list. We asked him if it would be clearer if the amber list did not exist, since the government advises against all but essential travel. Would it be better to have just green and red lists?

    Calder says: "It's perfectly reasonable to have as many grades as you want and certainly makes some sense to say these are the 43 high risk countries that you have, like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, South Africa, the UAE, Brazil and the rest of South America.

    "It's perfectly reasonable to say 'You really don't want to go there, when you do and you come back here you're going to have to spend close to £2,000 to self-isolate in a hotel'.

    "It's perfectly reasonable to have an amber list saying 'well we really don't like the idea but if you're going to we think self-isolation is enough' and a green list... that is low risk.

    "There's nothing wrong with the system but clearly there's a great deal of concern about the way it is communicated and... this afternoon the way that the colours are allocated."

  19. Social mixing at highest level for months

    Smitha Mundasad

    News reporter

    Six woman eat together in a pub in London
    Image caption: Groups of up to six can mix indoors in bars and restaurants in England now

    A large UK survey suggests social mixing is at its highest level since the beginning of the first lockdown.

    The Co-Mix survey shows, for adults, mixing is at similar levels to those observed last August – the highest levels reached so far.

    While some of this increase has been driven by the easing of restrictions on 17 May, for working-age adults there has also been a significant uptick in social contact at work.

    Meanwhile children have also increased their social interactions – with the highest levels observed over the whole pandemic,

    Researchers say this is partly down to opportunities for mixing at schools and an increase in leisure and social occasions.

    Though researchers fully expected an increase in social interactions as restrictions eased, they say the reported levels of very close contact remains low compared with before the pandemic.

    Data suggests skin-to-skin has not changed much over the duration of the pandemic – which scientists suggest mean a level of caution remains.

    And while mixing is at its highest levels yet, researchers say the situation is different to the one the country faced in August – with more people vaccinated, particularly younger people who would be most likely to pass on the virus.

  20. Portugal move 'terrible decision'

    A person leaves Dona Ana beach in Lagos, Portugal, on 3 June 2021

    Travel industry insiders have been giving their reaction to the announcement that Portugal is expected to move from the green to the amber list.

    Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, says it is a "terrible decision".

    "They are basically putting at risk tens of thousands of jobs across aviation and the travel sector, and not showing any signs of helping the sector to recover," he says.

    "They seem to want to continue to create an atmosphere of fear among travellers, which is totally at odds with other countries.

    "There are several countries which meet the criteria to be on the green list, so this is clearly a politically charged decision rather than one based on data."

    Robert Boyle, former director of strategy at British Airways' parent company IAG, says: "In theory, we know what is being measured and the data sources being used, as the government has published that.

    "What we don't know is what the thresholds are and how they get from the data to the decisions.

    "I think the truth is they follow the opinion polls."

    The government bases its decisions over which list each country is placed on on advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre.

    And Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier told the BBC: "We've got to protect the progress that we've made here at home whilst of course allowing for travel when it's safe to do so. We've got to follow the data."