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Live Reporting

Edited by Marie Jackson

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye - and thanks for joining us

    And with those round-ups, it’s goodbye from us.

    Today’s live page has been the work of:

    Holly Honderich, Gary Kitchener, Georgina Rannard, Paulin Kola, Kevin Ponniah, Joshua Cheetham, Marie Jackson, Emma Owen, Mary O’Connor, Francesca Gillett, Lucy Webster, Kate Whannel and Paul Seddon.

    We’ll be back with more on Friday – and we hope you can join us.

  2. What happened in the UK today?

    An employee wearing PPE including a mask and visor serves at the counter of a Greggs bakery in London on June 18, 2020 after the chain reopened hundreds of stores around the UK following their coronavirus shutdown.
    Image caption: Greggs joined the many businesses restarting this week and opened on Thursday

    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:

    • The biggest story was on the NHS contact tracing app, which the government had initially hoped would be rolled out nationwide by mid-May. It kept getting delayed because more trials were needed. But in a major U-turn, the government said it was ditching the way the current app works and moving to a model designed by Apple and Google. The app is now hoped to be launched in the autumn. Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended the move, saying it will "bring the best bits of both systems together"
    • In terms of England's test and trace system as a whole, data today showed more than one in four people who test positive cannot be reached by contact tracers. Some members of the public failed to provide contact details, while others did not return calls
    • More nations in the UK have set out how they will lift the lockdown. In Scotland, which has been more cautious than England, most shops will reopen from 29 June. The changes - which will unfold gradually - will also allow people to meet outdoors with two other households, while face coverings will also be compulsory on public transport. Read what's changing and when
    • Meanwhile, Northern Ireland becomes the first nation to ease the 2m social distancing rule, if only slightly. As part of its easing of lockdown, schoolchildren can keep a distance of 1m from each other. Separately, hairdressers and barbers can open from 6 July
    • Wales will give more details of its lockdown lifting on Friday, but one thing is expected: shops are likely to be allowed to reopen on Monday
    • And the Bank of England has announced how it will help the struggling UK economy - by pumping in an extra £100bn. In some good news, Bank policymakers said there was growing evidence that the hit to the economy would be "less severe" than initially feared
    • The number of people dying with coronavirus each day continues to fall, although there were a further 135 deaths on Thursday. There was also very sad news in England, as the NHS announced that a 13-day-old baby with no known underlying health conditions was among those who died
  3. Your round-up of global stories

    Thanks for joining us today for our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. The true death toll resulting from the global outbreak has been a top story on Thursday, after a BBC investigation into excess mortality. It found that 130,000 more people than expected had died globally - that's on top of the 440,000 officially recorded deaths. The other top stories:

    • In Russia, the death toll among medics is reported to be much higher than thought - an unofficial but widely followed tally now puts it at 489, up from 101
    • The pandemic continues to worsen in Latin America. There are now more than 240,000 cases in Peru, which puts its total past hard-hit Italy. And an iconic indigenous defender of the Amazon has died from the virus
    • India saw a new record for daily infections, with 12,881 new cases reported on Wednesday
    • Beijing is still hoping to avoid a major lockdown after a spike in cases in the Chinese capital
    • Due to deteriorating economic conditions, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa is further easing lockdown despite rapid increases in infections
    • French President Emmanuel Macron paid a socially-distanced visit to the UK to commemorate the 80th anniversary of wartime leader Charles de Gaulle's BBC broadcast to occupied France after the 1940 Nazi invasion
    • And in one late story... California on Thursday ordered residents to wear masks in "most settings outside the home" as too many people were not covering their faces
  4. App another example of 'over-promising and under-developing'

    A cartoon showing the NHS logo and a hand holding a coronavirus-related app

    Chris Hopson, who represents NHS foundation trusts, has criticised the government after it announced it would be switching the model of its much-delayed contact-tracing app.

    Hopson, who is the head of NHS Providers, said: "Of course developing this app is a huge technological challenge, and it makes sense to change course when the evidence shows that is the best approach.

    "But this is a setback in delivering a world-beating test-and-trace system, in which an effective app would play a valuable role.

    "This episode presents yet another example of the dangers of over-promising and under-delivering."

    And on the figures released by the government - which show that more than 87,000 individuals were asked to self-isolate after being traced - Hopson said it reflected "steady progress".

    But he added: "While this is encouraging to see, it would be helpful to know how many of these contacts are being traced through the national programme rather than through local initiatives."

  5. Fans dress up at home for Ascot Ladies' Day

    It was a Ladies' Day like no other at Royal Ascot today. With no spectators allowed into the prestige horse racing event, viewers instead watched it - and dressed the part for it - at home.

    We've put together a gallery of people making the best of the situation here.

    Staff at Coworth Homes in Devon took time out to enjoy the racing in style
    Image caption: Staff at Coworth Homes in Devon took time out to enjoy the racing in style
    The rain in Birmingham didn't dampen Sally Harper's spirits as she enjoyed the racing
    Image caption: Meanwhile the rain in Birmingham didn't dampen Sally Harper's spirits
  6. Sesame Street takes on coronavirus

    Sesame St

    Elmo, Grover and Muppets from around the world will be teaming up for a special episode of Sesame Street focused on the coronavirus outbreak, teaching children how to play while safe at home and addressing "big feelings" like frustration and sadness.

    The 25-minute Elmo's World News - broadcast from Elmo's bedroom - will air over the next few weeks in more than a dozen languages in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

    Favourite characters like the Cookie Monster will be featured as socially distanced correspondents.

    "Children are at home spending a lot more time indoors than before, and families are really struggling with how to help them keep learning, keep engaged, how to play in new ways," executive producer Scott Cameron told Reuters.

    Now in its 51st year, the beloved PBS children's show reaches millions of children in more than 150 countries.

  7. The wedding capital where no-one can get married

    A bride and groom kissing at Gretna Green

    It's Scotland's wedding capital, playing host to more than 3,000 ceremonies every year, but Gretna Green has been like a "ghost town" during lockdown.

    The area owes its popularity to its location just north of the border with England.

    After marriages were outlawed in England in 1754 to anyone aged below 21, young couples fled across to Scotland where laws were more lenient.

    Of course, it's just a tradition now but businesses have been telling the BBC's Giancarlo Rinaldi what it's like there.

    "It feels like the heart of the village has been squeezed and temporarily stopped beating," says one.

    Read the full piece here.

  8. Official global toll 'may be tip of the iceberg' of real losses

    David Shukman

    Science editor, BBC News

    World map superimposed with charts

    The official figures for people dying from Covid-19 could be the “tip of the iceberg” of the real toll, a senior global health official has warned.

    Dr Marcos Espinal, head of communicable diseases at the Pan American Health Organisation, told BBC News that “mortality is definitely higher than what is reported”.

    He was speaking as part of a BBC investigation into what are called “excess deaths” – deaths above those normally recorded over a given period.

    While the latest official coronavirus toll is around 440,000 worldwide, BBC research in 27 countries found at least another 130,000 deaths above the expected losses for the past few months.

    Dr Espinal highlights a lack of testing, cases among indigenous people in remote areas, mass graves being dug in Ecuador and Brazil, and healthcare facilities overwhelmed in the poorest areas.

    He says with a lack of running water for families sharing single rooms in mega-cities with polluted air, mortality has to be greater than official numbers suggest.

  9. UN refugee resettlement programme to resume

    Sudanese people in Indonesia have protested the delay of their resettlement to Australia during the pandemic
    Image caption: Sudanese people in Indonesia have protested against the delay of their resettlement to Australia during the pandemic

    Refugees with permission to resettle in another country will now be able to travel, the UN agencies for refugees and for migration have announced.

    Some 10,000 people were unable to depart for their new homes when the UN resettlement programme was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The programme works with governments and organisations to identify and resettle refugees.

    People in migrant and refugee camps including in France, Syria and Bangladesh remain worried that the virus could spread rapidly in the cramped and/or unsanitary conditions.

  10. Why are so many meat-processing plants hit?

    David Shukman

    Science editor, BBC News

    A meat processing factory where hundreds of people have tested positive
    Image caption: Meat processing plants - including one in Germany - have seen outbreaks

    Anywhere cold, damp and indoors is an ideal environment for the coronavirus to thrive.

    It survives best on cool surfaces especially if there’s no dry breeze to get rid of the moisture or any ultraviolet light from the sun to kill it off.

    Add to that the challenges of social distancing on a busy production line, together with loud machinery forcing staff to raise their voices.

    Researchers know that situations where people sing - or have to shout - increase the chances of them projecting the virus to others nearby.

    According to Prof Calum Semple, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Liverpool and an adviser to the government, meat processing plants can be “a perfect environment for the virus to persist on surfaces and in the air”.

    Read more:

  11. Virus-denying priest storms convent by force

    Father Sergei Romanov has encouraged people to disobey public health orders
    Image caption: Father Sergei Romanov has encouraged people to disobey public health orders

    A Russian priest barred from preaching after denying coronavirus existed has seized a women's monastery with the help of armed supporters.

    Ultraconservative Father Sergei Romanov entered the Sredneuralsk convent outside the city of Yekaterinburg on Tuesday. He says church authorities "will have to storm the monastery" if they want him to leave.

    The mother superior and several nuns have now left and armed guards are patrolling the site.

    Father Romanov was barred from preaching in April and then stripped of the right to wear a cross in May after he encouraged believers to disobey public health orders.

  12. Baby aged just 13 days is youngest to die in UK with Covid-19

    Sheffield children's hospital

    Earlier, we reported that a 13-day-old baby was among the latest to have died in the UK. We now have a few more details.

    The baby had no known underlying health conditions and is thought to be the youngest person to die in the UK after testing positive for the disease.

    In a statement, Sheffield Children's Hospital said: "Sadly on Monday June 15, a child passed away... having been brought in to the hospital in a critical condition. Attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful.

    "The cause of death is not yet known. Tests have confirmed that the child had Covid-19, but it isn't yet clear if it was a contributing factor."

  13. Airline passenger removed for refusing to wear mask

    An American Airlines Airbus A319-112 landing at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

    American Airlines removed a passenger from a US flight yesterday when he refused to wear a face covering, now required by everyone on board.

    "I was just removed from my flight for not wearing a mask," Brandon Straka, a conservative activist, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday from New York's La Guardia Airport. "Not a federal law."

    While there is no federal law mandating masks on US flights, all major US airlines have been enforcing face covering rules for passengers and crew since mid-May. American Airlines bolstered its rules this week.

    Straka said he donned a mask to take a later flight, but took it off on board.

  14. Shops in Wales set to open from Monday

    A man in a mask walking past a branch of Primark

    Non-essential shops in Wales are expected to be told tomorrow that they can reopen from Monday.

    Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford will set out the latest on the easing of lockdown restrictions.

    In England, shops reopened on Monday, while in Scotland retailers can reopen from 29 June. Shops in Northern Ireland reopened their doors last Friday.

    The Welsh Government is expected to keep its cautious approach, and says its priority continues to be "keep Wales safe" - but allow shops to open with social distancing measures in place.

    Read more from Wales here.

  15. National tutoring scheme planned for England's pupils

    Children at a school in Norfolk

    Some pupils in the UK haven't been at school for nearly two months because of the coronavirus lockdown.

    But as part of the government's catch-up plans, it's likely that pupils in England who have fallen behind will be offered tutoring.

    Schools will receive funding to use a national tutoring programme to run for up to three years, it is planned.

    The scheme will use volunteer and paid tutors from tutoring organisations and charities.

    Primary pupils will probably get help in maths and English, while secondary pupils will get support in specific subjects.

    You can read more about the plans here.

  16. A voluntary tracing app is coming to Canada

    A woman is seen wearing a mask in the subway during morning commuting hours as Toronto copes with a shutdown due to the Coronavirus, on April 1, 2020 in Toronto, Canada
    Image caption: A woman checks her phone in the Toronto subway amid the coronavirus outbreak

    A mobile app to alert Canadians who may have been exposed to Covid-19 is now ready for testing in the province of Ontario, with plans for a national roll-out by July.

    The app will work by having people who test positive upload their results anonymously under the guidance of a public health official, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday. The app will not store any personal information and is "completely voluntary".

    "It will be up to individual Canadians to decide whether to download the app or not, but the app will be most effective when as many people as possible have it," Trudeau said.

    There are currently 101,629 confirmed cases in Canada, with 8,323 deaths. The country's hotspots - Ontario and Quebec - have seen progress in recent days, with declining case numbers.

  17. The app is a blow, but there's good news on infections

    Nick Triggle

    Health correspondent

    An advert in the street for the NHS' test and trace system

    Lots of talk about testing and tracing during the daily briefing.

    The decision to postpone rollout of the app is a blow but there is a lot of good news in what has been announced.

    The number of infections has not started to rise, more than a month after lockdown restrictions began to ease. The number of daily confirmed positive cases is hovering just above 1,000 a day - and appears to have levelled out.

    The challenge for the test-and-trace system now is making sure people who have symptoms come forward for testing and then engage with the contact tracers.

    Surveillance by the Office for National Statistics suggests the true number of infections may be higher than the confirmed cases suggest.

    And figures released by the test-and-trace service in England show more than a quarter of people who test positive do not engage with the service.

    The government certainly needs to do more - but so does the public.

  18. Russia's rising 'memorial list' of medic deaths

    Sarah Rainsford

    BBC Moscow Correspondent

    Doctors and nurses in Russia have told the BBC about working with limited protective equipment
    Image caption: Doctors and nurses in Russia have told the BBC about working with limited protective equipment

    On the face of it this was a stark announcement by the head of Russia’s healthcare watchdog. Alla Samoylova told an online seminar that 489 medical workers had died as a result of coronavirus, which would represent more than 6% of all Covid-19 deaths here.

    Roszdravdadzor later clarified that the figure referred to an unofficial but widely followed tally kept by medical professionals themselves, not official statistics. But we now know that the watchdog keeps a close eye on those numbers, and gives them credence.

    In fact, the "memorial list", as it’s called, currently records 505 deaths, including healthcare workers from Ukraine and Belarus.

    The last official count from the health ministry came three weeks ago and reported that 101 people had died.

    What looks like an abnormally high percentage of medics’ deaths probably partly reflects issues with overall fatality figures. Excess mortality statistics for Moscow in May show three times more deaths than the number so far officially attributed to coronavirus.

    There has long been concern about the provision of protective gear (PPE) for hospital and ambulance staff. Doctors and nurses have described to us having to work with infected patients in regular, gauze masks, and hospital "red zones" that were not fully isolated. Most said the situation had later improved.

  19. US sheriff who refused to enforce lockdown tests positive

    Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb
    Image caption: Sheriff Mark Lamb said he had a virus test ahead of an event with President Trump

    An Arizona sheriff who vowed not to criminally enforce a stay-home order imposed by the state's governor has now tested positive for Covid-19.

    Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb told the Arizona Republic in early May that the number of infections didn't justify the actions of Governor Doug Ducey, who had extended the stay-home order until mid-May.

    On Wednesday, Lamb said he had tested positive for Covid-19 as part of a screening ahead of a White House event with President Donald Trump.

    The sheriff said he believed he was infected over the weekend, as he did not have the "luxury of staying at home" as a law enforcement agent. He said he would self-quarantine for two weeks.

    Arizona is one of 10 US states currently seeing record-high averages of new infections.

  20. New York City to push ahead with reopening

    People drink outdoors at bars and restaurants in the Hells Kitchen
    Image caption: New Yorkers will be able to eat at restaurants with outdoor seating beginning on Monday

    New York City is ready to begin the second phase of its reopening plan, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday, allowing hair salons, retail shops and restaurants with outdoor dining areas to reopen.

    "We've seen consistent progress and it is time to say to everyone get ready for phase two," de Blasio said.

    New York Governor Cuomo also celebrated the state's progress.

    "Everyone's feeling good," he said, adding that New York had the "lowest percent positive" coronavirus tests since the outbreak began.

    The governor said he was considering a possible quarantine on people entering his state from Florida, which is now struggling with a spike in cases.

    Florida reported 3,207 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the largest single-day count in the state since the pandemic began.