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  1. That's it for now

    We're pausing our coverage for today, but our teams in the UK and abroad will be back with more coronavirus news early on Saturday. Here's a reminder of Friday's biggest international stories:

    • Cases have increased across the US, as the country prepares to celebrate Independence Day on Saturday. The US recorded its highest number of infections on a single day on Thursday, with states including Florida and North Carolina also reporting record case numbers
    • The US surgeon general has urged people to wear face masks during the holiday, but President Donald Trump is due to attend a celebration at Mount Rushmore National Memorial with up to 7,500 people on Friday where social distancing won't be enforced and face coverings are optional
    • India has reported more than 20,000 new cases in a single day for the first time since the outbreak began and could overtake Russia in the coming days to become the third-most affected country
    • Palestinian authorities have reimposed a full lockdown in the West Bank after a rise in cases, while cases in Israel have reached their highest peak since April
    • Restrictions have also been reintroduced in the Serbian capital Belgrade after infections rose
    • The EU has approved the use of the anti-viral drug remdesivir. Earlier this week, the US announced it had secured the vast majority of the drug's supply for the next three months

    Today's coverage was brought to you by: Saira Asher, Andreas Illmer, Krutika Pathi, Yvette Tan, Jasmine Taylor-Coleman, Ashitha Nagesh, Victoria Bisset, Joseph Lee, Robin Levinson King, Lauren Turner, Verity Wilde and Jennifer Scott.

  2. What's happened today in the UK

    People on a beach on holiday

    Thanks for joining us today as we've brought you the latest news on coronavirus.

    Here's the main news from the UK today:

    • The easing of lockdown restrictions in England on Saturday is the "biggest step yet on the road to recovery", Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a Downing Street press conference
    • It comes as pubs in England prepare to open their doors for the first time since March - they're allowed to do so from 06:00 BST
    • England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty said while it was not a risk-free step, "there is no perfect, exact way of doing it"
    • Also today, the full list of countries for which quarantine will not apply to people arriving back in England has been published. It includes Greece, Spain, France and Belgium
    • Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the UK government's decision-making on air bridges had been "shambolic" - language echoed by Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford
    • Almost 30,000 more care home residents in England and Wales died during the coronavirus outbreak than during the same period in 2019, new ONS figures show. But only two-thirds were directly attributable to Covid-19
  3. Nervous times for scientists as lockdown eases

    David Shukman

    Science editor, BBC News

    People across the UK have been far more supportive of the lockdown than many scientific experts had expected.

    But coming out hibernation, as the prime minister puts it, brings a new set of risks, especially where alcohol is involved, so these are nervous times.

    One worry is that in this new phase of the crisis, the messaging about what to do has become more complicated and people might be more confused.

    Add to that a sudden rush to catch holiday flights and it’s likely that the virus will have more opportunities to spread.

    One big concern among scientists is that local outbreaks, which we’re certain to see more of, could escalate to a national scale.

    Another is that they still don’t know how many people catch the virus but never develop symptoms and may be infecting others without realising.

  4. Travel industry reacts to UK quarantine plan

    We've been hearing about the government's plans to drop quarantine requirements for travellers who come back to the UK from a list of 59 countries and territories.

    Now we've had reaction from across the travel sector.

    Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK - which represents UK-registered carriers - said it was a "welcome announcement".

    He added: "This gives a clear path to opening further predominantly long-haul destinations in the weeks ahead, and we look forward to working with ministers on measures to mitigate the risk from red countries [where the Covid risk is currently highest] such as via voluntary testing."

    A spokeswoman for Abta, which represents UK travel companies, said: "There is likely to be strong demand for holidays after months of lockdown and it is important that people consider how the lifting of these restrictions may affect their plans."

    She urged people to check Foreign Office travel advice before booking and speak to their travel provider.

    Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK & Ireland, said the company was pleased "summer holidays are saved" and "really excited to take our customers on holiday". "It's a significant and positive step forward for the travel industry, which had been in hibernation since March."

    Patricia Yates, director of VisitBritain, said the announcement was a "timely boost for the tourism industry as we head into the peak summer season" and a "step on tourism's road to rebuilding".

    And Glenn Fogel, boss of Booking Holdings - whose brands include and - told BBC World News he wanted governments to "co-ordinate their effort" and come together to draw up travel guidance. That would include what you can and can't do on a plane, and how far apart people should be - as this varies by country.

    The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) says the announcement is a good first step.

    Its general secretary Brian Strutton said: "Pilots want to ensure that passengers can safely and quickly get flying again, to help people reunite with family and friends, to carry out essential business and for much-needed holidays. So this announcement is a good step forward after the setbacks caused by the government quarantine announcement in the first place."

  5. Pakistani foreign minister tests positive

    Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says he has tested positive for coronavirus.

    "This afternoon I felt a slight fever and immediately quarantined myself at home," he said in a message posted on Twitter on Friday.

    According to Reuters news agency, Qureshi has been in contact with Prime Minister Imran Khan in parliament and at a cabinet meeting in recent days - although photos from these meetings show the minister and others wearing face masks.

    Qureshi is not the first politician in Pakistan to contract the virus, with the railway minister and the Speaker of the lower house of parliament previously testing positive.

    The country has recorded more than 220,000 cases and 4,551 deaths so far.

    View more on twitter
  6. Municipal councillor offers to resign after Zoom shower

    While many of us have been using Zoom for months, the pitfalls of the new technology are still catching some people out.

    In Torrelavega in northern Spain, a municipal councillor has offered to step down after a particularly embarrassing Zoom call.

    Apparently unaware his video was still visible, Bernardo Bustillo took a shower during a meeting to save time before taking his daughter out.

    Footage of the incident, which at one point showed him walking out of the shower naked, later went viral on social media.

    In a letter sent to the media, he said he regretted if anyone was "bothered" by the incident but added that he did not feel he had to apologise, according to El Mundo newspaper.

    "I do not believe it was a criminal, ethical or dishonourable act, but rather an error of believing the camera was disconnected."

  7. US surgeon general urges mask wearing for 4 July

    View more on twitter

    The fourth of July - or Independence Day - is one of the biggest holidays in the US, but this year it coincides with an increase in coronavirus infections across the country.

    The US surgeon general has therefore called on Americans to wear masks during their celebrations.

    "An important reminder this #July4th holiday weekend: I wear my mask to protect you. Your wear your mask to protect me," he said on Twitter.

    But not everyone will be following the advice.

    President Donald Trump is due to head to Mount Rushmore National Memorial on Friday for a fireworks display, with about 7,500 reportedly expected to attend. The governor of South Dakota has said social distancing won't be enforced at the event, and masks will be optional.

    Read about how this year's Independence Day will be different here.

  8. In graphics: Coronavirus in the UK today

    Here are the latest graphs showing the overall picture of coronavirus cases and deaths in the UK.

    The number of deaths and cases of coronavirus
    The number of tests in the UK
    R number estimates
    The three ways to measure UK deaths
    Daily number of confirmed cases
    Downward trend in daily deaths
  9. Recreational cricket allowed to return on 11 July

    Video content

    Video caption: Cricket reopening: Chris Whitty outlines new normal for the game

    Recreational cricket is set to resume from 11 July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.

    He had earlier told LBC Radio that it was not yet safe to play the game at grassroots level because of issues with "teas and dressing rooms".

    However, in a later briefing, he said the government would publish guidelines to help clubs and players prepare for the sport's return. Read our full story here.

    England's men are due to play West Indies in a three-Test series in a bio-secure environment from 8 July.

  10. British Columbia concerned over loopholes with US border

    Map of British Columbia showing borders with US states of Alaska and Washington

    An obscure 19th Century treaty has created a loophole at the British Columbia-Washington state border. The Treaty of Ghent, signed in 1814, says neither the US nor Canada can erect a barrier within 10 feet of the border.

    Peace Arch Park was built on the site and is a popular spot for Canadians and Americans to gather without having to go through border security.

    The border has been closed to all non-essential travel since March. Canada closed its side of the park to prevent the spread of coronavirus – but the American side remains open, allowing Canadians to travel to the US.

    If Canada were to erect a border crossing at the park, the treaty says that the US has rights to claim back parts of southern Ontario and Quebec that it lost during the War of 1812.

    In the north-western corner of the province, US citizens are allowed to travel through Canada to get to Alaska.

    The loophole is necessary to allow Alaskan residents working in other states to return home.

    But Premier John Horgan says he’s worried people are taking advantage of the relaxed rules to visit some of the province’s most scenic spots, like Vancouver Island.

  11. Top tips for fact-checking Covid-19 misinformation

    Shayan Sardarizadeh

    Disinformation specialist

    False medical advice, conspiracy theories, and misleading footage have been seen by millions throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

    Just this week, rumours spread about local lockdowns and the causes of Leicester’s spike in cases. So can you know that a picture or post is a fake?

    Members of the BBC's anti-disinformation team offer tips on how to verify photos and videos here. It might sound complicated – but some techniques can be used by just about anyone.

    If you see misleading content that you think we should investigate please get in touch:

    Video content

    Video caption: Top tips for making sure what you're seeing online is legitimate
  12. Watch: PM on pubs reopening

    Video content

    Video caption: Pubs reopening: 'We're not out of the woods yet'
  13. Analysis: Outbreaks of coronavirus are inevitable

    James Gallagher

    Health and science correspondent, BBC News

    The virus is now at much lower levels, but it has not gone away and may never go away.

    Until we have a vaccine it will always pose a threat.

    We have already seen outbreaks in Leicester, Weston-super-Mare and Kirklees. Relaxing lockdown will make them more common.

    Remember this is a virus that thrives on close contact – the more people we come into contact with, the more coronavirus will spread.

    It was true in March, when lockdown came in, and it is true now.

    However, outbreaks are not a massive problem as long as they can be contained. If they can be spotted and rapidly stopped then an outbreak may cause local disruption, but not “National Lockdown Two”.

    This will be the challenge for NHS Test and Trace.

    But some scientists are concerned lockdown is being lifted too quickly and that we are not yet able to stay on top of the virus. The danger is failing to stop an outbreak could lead to coronavirus spreading widely and cases surging.

  14. How will local lockdowns work?

    Reality Check

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said, if necessary, “we will introduce local lockdowns extending across whole communities”.

    This week, the first local lockdown was announced in Leicester after a surge in coronavirus cases.

    But how will local lockdowns work?

    The prime minister has said they will only happen as a last resort, but could result in the implementation of full lockdown rules, such as the closure of schools, bars and restaurants.

    Before that, the government will attempt to target its approach, such as shutting down a particular factory where a number of employees have fallen ill (there have been outbreaks in meat and food processing plants).

    Find out more about local lockdowns here.

  15. A round-up of the PM's press conference

    We've just heard from Prime Minister Boris Johnson as England prepares to ease some lockdown measures tomorrow. But what did we learn? Here's a round-up.

    • Coronavirus is still very much with us as we move to the next set of changes, said the PM, who stressed: "We're not out of the woods yet"
    • He said tomorrow marks the biggest step on the road to recovery and urged people not to let down the "businesses and workers who have done so much to prepare us for this new normal"
    • As lockdown eases in England tomorrow, people should expect "targeted" local lockdowns to be reimposed - like the one currently in place in Leicester - where there are spikes in the number of cases of the virus
    • A timetable will be set out next week for the reopening of other businesses, - including the arts and events industry, indoor gyms and nails bars - said Mr Johnson
    • He said governments in Scotland and Wales are going in the "same direction" as England but perhaps at "slightly different speeds"
    • Prof Chris Whitty, the chief medical adviser, warns that a second wave is a possibility and the risk will "exist with us for a very long time", as he urges people to stick to the rules. There is no "risk-free next step" he adds
    • Mr Johnson says people should feel safe to enjoy themselves this summer - but must do so "in a responsible way"
  16. 'Step into the unknown'

    Jonathan Blake

    BBC political correspondent

    With a promise to buy a pint, the prime minster ended the Downing Street briefing and repeated his message to “enjoy summer safely”.

    Although things will still be far from normal, the changes coming in England from tomorrow are a significant step back towards life before coronavirus.

    But it is also a step into the unknown and it comes with a warning that the restrictions we’ve become used to could return very quickly.

  17. Johnson: I will buy a pint this weekend

    The next question is on face coverings and making them mandatory in shops, as they have in Scotland.

    Johnson says the government is "sticking to what we are saying - when you are in a crowded space with people you don't normally come into contact with... you should wear a face covering".

    Asked if there had been any spikes in the virus after protests, raves and crowded beaches across the UK, Sir Patrick Vallance says: "We haven't seen anything from those sort of events yet, but that doesn't mean we won't."

    And in the final question of the press conference, the panel are asked whether they will be following in the footsteps of Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, and drinking a yard of ale this weekend.

    Johnson says: "I will certainly buy and drink a pint, not a yard.

    "But let's work together and enjoy summer safely."

  18. Analysis: Quarantine quibble

    Jonathan Blake

    BBC political correspondent

    Video content

    Video caption: Boris Johnson: UK on same path 'at slightly different speeds'

    Showing a mastery of understatement, the prime minister said that the Scottish and Welsh governments had “a slightly different take” on relaxing quarantine rules for people arriving from abroad.

    After the first ministers in Cardiff and Edinburgh described his government’s handling of the policy as a “shambles” the prime minister did nothing to escalate the row.

    But he likened the four nations of the UK to a “convoy” which was going in the same direction “at slightly different speeds”.

    To continue that metaphor, like many long car journeys this one won’t end without a row or two about the best route to follow.

  19. PM: I don't want to shut pubs again

    Asked about his father's recent visit to Greece and his chief adviser Dominic Cummings's drive to County Durham earlier during the lockdown, the PM doesn't comment but praises the public's observance of rules.

    On pubs, Boris Johnson says he doesn't want them to close again if infection rates increase. He adds that he would prefer to target local outbreaks, as opposed to bringing in fresh blanket measures.

  20. Whitty: Going to pubs is 'high-risk activity'

    Asked about his earlier comments on cricket, Johnson says he was "stumped on the radio this morning" and has since sought scientific advice, adding "the third umpire has been invoked".

    "I want to work as fast as possible to get cricket back and we will be publishing guidelines in next few days so cricket can resume in time for next weekend," he adds.

    On reports that pubs and bars could lead to "super-spreading" of the virus, Chris Whitty says: "Lots of people from different households gathering indoors is a high-risk activity."

    He says it is the reason such strict rules have been put on pubs reopening and people must follow them.

    "There is no doubt these environments' principle job it is to bring people together... but that is great from virus's point of view."

    And on comments it could be "touch and go" getting schools back in September, the PM says he is "absolutely determined and resolved" to do it.