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Live Reporting

Edited by Rob Corp

All times stated are UK

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  1. That's it from us - goodbye for now

    We’re pausing our live coverage for the time being - thanks for joining us.

    If you missed them, here are some of the day’s main developments:

    • The number of coronavirus infections worldwide surpassed 13.3 million, while deaths approached the 600,000 mark, data from Johns Hopkins University showed
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN warned of a drop in the number of children receiving life-saving vaccinations during the pandemic
    • US pharmaceutical company Moderna said it was entering final testing phase for its coronavirus vaccine
    • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed to "an independent inquiry into what happened" during the coronavirus pandemic sometime "in the future"
    • Starbucks and Walmart announced new mask requirements in all US stores amid Covid-19 surges across the country
    • Magaluf, a popular resort town on the Spanish island of Majorca, has closed its party strip after images of tourists flouting social distancing angered locals
    • Hong Kong brought in strict new measures to counteract a virus surge, including closing all bars

    We’ll be back on Thursday to bring you the latest updates from the UK and around the world.

    Today's live page writers were Yvette Tan, Krutika Pathi, Marie Jackson, Georgina Rannard, Mary O'Connor, Victoria Lindrea, Vanessa Buschschluter, Ritu Prasad and Josh Nevett. The editors were Anna Jones, Flora Drury and Rob Corp.

  2. US Olympic athletes get mental health support

    A woman wearing a face mask walks in front of a countdown clock of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics games in Tokyo, 12 June 2020
    Image caption: The Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan had to be postponed because of Covid-19

    American athletes due to compete in the Tokyo Olympics will be provided with additional mental health support after the games were postponed until next year, officials say.

    United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) officials said Wednesday that three independent mental health officers would give support to athletes ahead of the competition scheduled for Japan 2021.

    "As our world continues to evolve during the challenges of a global pandemic and Games postponement, we want to ensure our athletes have the resources they need to focus on their mental health," said Bahati VanPelt, the USOPC chief of athlete services.

    The International Olympic Committee earlier said it was "fully committed" to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and had "multiple scenarios" for them to take place safely.

  3. Probe into coronavirus-hit farm expanded across England and Scotland

    AS Green & Co in Mathon

    An investigation into a coronavirus-hit farm in Herefordshire has now been widened to include others in England and Scotland.

    The total number of positive coronavirus cases linked to the outbreak at AS Green & Co in Mathon now stands at 93, Public Health England (PHE) said.

    In an update on Wednesday evening, PHE said 76 workers who travelled on to other farms in England came to the UK on the same flight as the Herefordshire farm workers.

    It added that these 76 people have already been offered testing and no further cases have been identified to date.

    A further 63 workers who travelled on to Scottish farms were on the same flight.

    PHE said it has notified public health authorities in Scotland so this group can be "followed-up appropriately".

    A group of workers who travelled to the UK by private coach, including some of those who went on to work at AS Green and Co, are also being followed up, it added.

    Another worker fled the farm, despite being told not to.

    PHE said the agency that employed the worker (who tested negative for the virus) is in contact with them and has been advised they are self-isolating. Three other workers who fled the farm earlier have been traced.

    Karen Wright, director of Public Health for Herefordshire, said as testing of workers at the farm continues, officials expect to see the number of cases rise over the coming days "before social distancing and infection prevention measures start to take effect".

    She added that workers have been asked to remain on site and self-isolate to "reduce risk of spread within the workforce and into the wider community", and food and essential supplies were being delivered to the farm during this time.

    She said she knows local residents are concerned, but added the risk to the general public "remains low"

  4. Stuck band makes the most of lockdown in remote Turkish village

    A picture of the Tango Maluco band
    Image caption: The group said the Turkish villagers seemed seemed happy to host them

    Travel plans have been disrupted, borders have been closed and venues of all kinds have been shut during the pandemic.

    This posed a perfect storm of problems for a group of young musicians, whose road trip across Asia was brought to a standstill earlier this year.

    The band, called Tango Maluco, found themselves hunkering down in the most unlikely place - Erenler, a remote village in Turkey's Black Sea region.

    One member of the four-piece group, Mirjam Ellenbrok, told the BBC they got stuck in the village after the borders suddenly closed along their route.

    The group has made the most of their time, however, learning from the locals how to cook village specialities and prepare yogurt from cow's milk, while gardening in the lush surroundings.

    Read the full story to see how the group whiled away the time in the mountain village.

  5. Covid-19 found on Ecuadorian shrimp packaging in China

    Kerry Allen

    BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst

    Official Chinese media say that an undisclosed number of customers and delivery personnel have been told to self-isolate in southeastern China after Covid-19 was detected on shrimp containers imported from Ecuador.

    According to the official CGTN broadcaster, Covid-19 was detected on imported samples in the city of Pingxiang in Jiangxi province. The local government says that “no abnormal situation has been found in the city so far” to suggest a potential localised outbreak.

    This is the second time this week that samples of seafood products have tested positive from the South American country. On Monday, the official China Daily said that seafood from three Ecuadorian companies were being pulled from shelves after six samples from inside shipping containers and the outer packaging of shrimp tested positive at customs.

    Many local governments and online retailers quickly issued suspension orders on these products and said that they were carrying out tests.

    In recent weeks, Chinese consumers have been nervous about eating seafood, after chopping boards used for imported salmon tested positive at a wholesale market in Beijing. It is believed this led to 335 people being infected across the capital city, and led to Beijing implementing a strict lockdown and aggressive testing procedures.

  6. UK bingo chain to close 26 halls and cut hundreds of jobs

    Bingo player

    A UK bingo chain has announced the permanent closure of 26 of its halls, putting 573 jobs at risk.

    Buzz Bingo, which is based in Nottingham, said it had taken the decision due to an "unsustainable operating environment for the foreseeable future".

    Its remaining 91 halls will continue to trade when they reopen from 6 August.

    Chief executive Chris Matthews said a restructure would ensure those clubs were able to adapt to new coronavirus safety measures and lower customer numbers.

    Buzz Bingo had to close its sites on 21 March due to the UK government lockdown and furloughed the majority of its staff.

    The company, which employs about 3,400 people, said it would "take time" for footfall at sites to reach pre-virus levels due to social distancing measures and weaker customer confidence.

    You can read more here.

  7. Sweden says it is falling short of herd immunity

    Karin Hildebrand, a doctor in an intensive care unit (ICU) in Stockholm's Sodersjukhuset hospital, is pictured with a protective face mask
    Image caption: Sweden's coronavirus containment strategy has been widely criticised

    Large parts of Sweden’s population are still susceptible to the coronavirus, the country’s health authorities have said, casting further doubt on the so-called herd immunity strategy.

    Herd immunity happens when a large proportion of a population develops immunity to a contagious disease, be it through community transmission or vaccination.

    Sweden has seen far more coronavirus cases than any of its Nordic neighbours, recording 76,492 infections and 5,572 deaths to date, a Johns Hopkins University tally says.

    Sweden did not pursue a full lockdown, instead relying on voluntary social distancing and limited restrictions, such as the banning of large gatherings.

    The country’s top epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, has previously expressed hope that herd immunity may be a useful by-product of the strategy, though not its aim.

    But on Tuesday a senior Swedish health official, Karin Tegmark Wisell, said large parts of Sweden’s population “haven’t been infected” by the coronavirus, meaning they are still susceptible.

    Earlier this month, a study from Spain raised questions about the feasibility of herd immunity as a way of tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

  8. Lib Dem leader pushes for UK pandemic inquiry 'with teeth'

    Sir Ed Davey
    Image caption: Sir Ed Davey is one of two contenders for the leadership of the Liberal Democrat party

    Acting Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has said an independent inquiry into the handling of coronavirus in the UK “can’t come soon enough for bereaved families.”

    Sir Ed said he had called for the inquiry at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday “because there’s been tens of thousands of deaths” and the bereaved families “need to have some answers”.

    Earlier today Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed to "an independent inquiry into what happened" during the UK coronavirus pandemic sometime "in the future".

    Mr Davey said he had since written to the prime minister asking him to “confirm that it should be an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005,” which the acting leader claims would give it “real teeth… to get to the bottom of the issue".

    “We’ve got to get on with it," he told the BBC.

  9. UK coronavirus death toll tops 45,000

    There have been more than 290,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 45,000 people have died, government figures show.

    Both case numbers and the death toll has been falling steadily, but concern remains over possible localised spikes in infection.

    Take a look at the latest data on confirmed cases in your area.

    Coronavirus in the UK
    Trend in daily deaths slows
    Coronavirus cases fall steadily
    Three ways to measure UK deaths
  10. Polls show Americans oppose reopening schools

    School sign reading "no school"

    As coronavirus cases continue to climb, particularly in southern US states like Texas and Florida, many school districts are considering a combination of online and in-person learning - though the White House has continued to push for complete reopenings.

    A new Politico/Morning Consult poll has found that a majority of voters do not think schools and daycare should fully open, in-person, this autumn.

    The poll also found that 65% of voters disagree with President Trump's threat to cut funding for schools that refuse to reopen.

    Another poll from Navigator Research on Wednesday said the number of parents who oppose reopening schools has jumped from 31% at the start of June to 51% as of 15 July.

    On Tuesday, an Axios/Ipsos poll also reported most parents, including a slim majority of Republicans, say it is risky to reopen schools.

  11. KFC, Nandos and Pret lower prices after VAT cut

    Waiting staff

    Now, a post to make you hungry if you've skipped lunch and are still a while away from dinner.

    Nando's, Pret A Manger and McDonald's are among the UK food chains to promise reductions in their prices after the chancellor ordered a temporary VAT cut from 20% to 5%.

    As a reminder, VAT is the tax you pay on everyday goods and services and is usually included in the price most consumers see.

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the £4bn cut in VAT - which will stay in place until 12 January 2021- to help firms recover in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and get consumers spending.

    The Treasury estimates households could save £160 a year on average, but not all companies will pass on the benefit.

    Many firms are expected to use the windfall to shore up finances hit by the lockdown rather than cut prices for customers.

    You can read more here.

  12. Oklahoma's Stitt 'first US governor to test positive for Covid-19'

    Kevin Stitt
    Image caption: Governor Kevin Stitt

    Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has announced he has tested positive for Covid-19. He is the first governor to publicly announce a virus diagnosis so far, US media report.

    "I feel fine, I felt a little bit achy yesterday," the Republican governor told reporters. He said is isolating from his family - who have tested negative - and working from home.

    Stitt attended President Trump's controversial rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on 20 June, which local health officials have said was likely to have contributed to the city's recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

    The governor also told reporters he does not plan to make masks mandatory across the state.

    "I'm so proud of how we've handled it this far," he said of the state's response to the pandemic.

    Shortly after the announcement, the Oklahoma Department of Health reported 1,075 additional cases - a new single-day record for the state, according to KOCO News.

  13. Herefordshire farm workers traced after fleeing amid outbreak

    A S Green and Co

    Three people who left a coronavirus-hit farm in England's West Midlands have now been traced, a council has said.

    Vegetable producers A S Green and Co in Mathon, Herefordshire, went into lockdown after tests showed 74 people had tested positive for Covid-19.

    Of the three workers who left against advice, one had tested positive. They are all now self-isolating.

    A joint statement released on Wednesday from Herefordshire Council and Public Health Midlands said: "Three workers (one of whom tested positive) left the farm despite being asked to remain on site and isolate.

    "All three of these individuals have been reached through the agency that secured their employment, and all have confirmed they are self-isolating."

    About 200 workers are said to be in quarantine at the site's live-in accommodation. The farm employs a mix of seasonal workers from the UK and abroad.

  14. Starbucks and Walmart announce US mask requirements

    Starbucks in New York

    Starbucks and Walmart on Wednesday announced new mask requirements in all US stores amid Covid-19 surges in a number of regions across the country.

    Starbucks says facial coverings will be required for patrons and staff in all its cafes as of 15 July. The coffee retailer says it will also limit the number of customers allowed inside to maintain social distancing.

    Retail giant Walmart will enact a similar policy in its more than 5,000 stores by 20 July, and noted many stores were in regions already under government mandates regarding facial coverings. The company also said employees would receive special training to assist customers.

    "We know it may not be possible for everyone to wear a face covering," company officials said. "Our associates will be trained on those exceptions to help reduce friction for the shopper and make the process as easy as possible for everyone."

  15. UK chancellor defends furlough bonus scheme

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak

    UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has defended his job retention bonus scheme after MPs questioned its value for money.

    The policy - which was announced last week - will see the government pay employers £1,000 for every furloughed worker they retain past January.

    MPs on the Commons Treasury Committee described the scheme as "badly-timed and poorly-targeted".

    But Sunak said he believed it would "serve as a significant incentive" to preserve jobs amid the pandemic.

    Labour's Angela Eagle cautioned that scheme risked spending taxpayers' money for no benefit.

    "Surely you could have had less deadweight if you'd have focused support on different sectors, why didn't you do that?" she asked.

    But Sunak insisted the scheme "will and can make a difference".

  16. Lockdown survival tips from Beijing and elsewhere

    Beijing resident Kai Wei
    Image caption: Kai Wei says people in Beijing have adopted a "keep calm and carry on" attitude

    As countries far and wide cautiously emerge from lockdowns, some places are regrettably heading back into them.

    From Europe to Australia, Asia to the US, restrictions are being reimposed in areas where coronavirus infections are on the rise again.

    The Chinese capital, Beijing, was among those places. We spoke to Kai Wei, a 29-year-old resident of the city, who gave us her guide to surviving a second lockdown.

    Kai's advice was to keep a happiness balance sheet, trying every means to stay entertained and sane.

    "Live as normally as possible. And always wear a mask when you can go out!"

    Read our piece to see what other people living under second lockdowns have advised.

  17. What are the UK's travel rules and where can you visit?

    Holidaymakers

    From today, holidaymakers can take direct flights to Greece from the UK.

    So which other countries can you now visit and what do you need to do when you return?

    Passengers entering the UK from dozens of countries no longer have to quarantine for two weeks thanks to a relaxation of the government's travel quarantine rules on Friday.

    More than 50 countries - including many popular holiday spots - now pose ''a reduced risk'' from coronavirus, the government says.

    Wales and Northern Ireland have introduced quarantine exemptions for the same countries as England.

    Scotland is also allowing exemptions, although unlike the other nations does not exempt travellers from Spain, because of concerns about their rate of coronavirus.

    You can read more here.

  18. Another 85 people die with Covid-19 in the UK

    Another 85 people have died in UK hospitals, care homes and the community after testing positive for coronavirus, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) says.

    It brings UK deaths to 45,053 under that measure, but the figures do not include all deaths involving Covid-19 across the UK, which are thought to have passed 55,500.

    The DHSC also said that in the 24-hours up to 09:00 BST on Wednesday, there had been a further 538 lab-confirmed UK cases.

    Overall, a total of 291,911 cases have been confirmed.

  19. Iran loses 140 doctors to Covid-19

    Iranian women wearing protective gear amid the Covid-19 pandemic, shop at the Tajrish Bazaar market in the capital Tehran
    Image caption: Iran has recorded more than 260,000 coronavirus infections

    Iran has said 140 of its health workers have died with Covid-19 since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

    "We all owe them our lives and to honour them, we must observe health protocols,” said Sima Sadat Lari, an Iranian health ministry official.

    The country has seen a rapid surge in the number of coronavirus cases recently, after relaxing its lockdown restrictions in mid-April.

    So far, Iran has recorded 264,561 infections and 13,410 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

    Health officials have suggested the renewed surge in new infections could be attributed to more testing, and they have said people were ignoring social-distancing rules.

    On Wednesday Iranian President Hassan Rohani urged people to respect health regulations, in particular social distancing.

    "We ask the people to avoid all gatherings and to adapt the way of life to the current situation,” President Hassan Rohani said at a cabinet meeting.

    Read BBC Reality Check’s latest analysis on the Covid-19 situation in Iran.

  20. WHO inquiry will be completely whitewashed, Pompeo says

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
    Image caption: Mike Pompeo has taken a hardline against China during the pandemic

    The World Health Organization’s (WHO) inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic will be a “completely white-washed investigation”, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said, as he lashed out at China.

    Mr Pompeo accused China of failing to disclose information about the coronavirus when the first cases were detected in the city of Wuhan last year.

    That failure, Mr Pompeo said, had “killed over 100,000 Americans and “cost the global economy trillions and trillions of dollars”.

    “And now it is allowing the World Health Organization to go in to conduct what I am confident will be a completely, a completely white-washed investigation,” Mr Pompeo said at a news conference on Wednesday.

    Mr Pompeo appears to be referring to an independent inquiry into the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, launched by the WHO earlier this month.

    Chaired by two former world leaders, the panel will be tasked with analysing responses to the pandemic by member states and the WHO itself.

    The panel will not, however, look into the origin of the coronavirus, as Mr Pompeo and other world leaders had demanded.

    Throughout the pandemic, the Trump administration has implicated the WHO in an alleged cover-up by the Chinese in the early stages of the pandemic.

    You can read our timeline about what China did early on in its outbreak.