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  1. We’re pausing our live coverage

    That's all from us for today. Thanks for joining our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

    We'll be back tomorrow with more updates from the UK and around the world.

    Before we go, here's a summary of today’s top stories:

    • And globally more than 776,000 people have died with coronavirus and 21.7m cases have been reported, according to Johns Hopkins University

    Our reporting today has been brought to you by Jasmine Taylor-Coleman, Emma Harrison, Georgina Rannard, Alex Kleiderman, Ella Wills and David Walker.

    Department for Education
  2. Most Victoria infections linked to quarantine hotels - inquiry

    People enjoy their one hour of exercise allowed under stage 4 restrictions at Albert Park on August 16, 2020 in Melbourne
    Image caption: People in Melbourne, Victoria, are allowed one hour of exercise under current restrictions

    Nearly all current cases of coronavirus in the Australian state of Victoria can be linked to returned travellers who have been quarantined in hotels, an inquiry has heard.

    The inquiry into Victoria's hotel quarantine system was told that data suggested at least 99% of cases at the end of July could be traced to people who had returned after travelling abroad.

    The quarantine programme "fell short of its goal" of preventing the spread of Covid-19, Barrister Tony Neal QC said. For some people in quarantine it was "not clear who was in overall command of the operation", he added.

    Victoria is currently in lockdown because of a second wave of infections.

    Read more on this story here.

  3. Czechs to see mandatory face masks reinstated

    Couple by the river in Praque
    Image caption: The Czech Republic has gradually relaxed the wearing of masks

    The Czech Republic will reinstate the mandatory wearing of face masks on public transport and in shops from 1 September following a resurgence of cases.

    Authorities say the measure is preventative to coincide with the start of the school year. Masks will also be mandatory in schools but not in classrooms themselves.

    The country was one of the first in Europe to make the wearing of masks mandatory in most public places in March but gradually lifted the requirement as infections fell.

    "We consider this to be a preventative measure given that we are probably facing a complicated autumn, especially after September 1 when there will be high social interaction," said Health Minister Adam Vojtech.

    The Czech Republic has reported around 20,000 Covid-19 cases but only 399 deaths. It is currently dealing with 5,816 active cases, the highest number so far.

  4. Stressful week ends with university place

    We earlier told you about Zainab Ali, 18, from London, who had lost her place to study psychology at Queen Mary University of London after her A-level results were downgraded.

    Even though today's U-turn by the exam regulator meant she had achieved the required results after all, she had been told the course had filled up.

    After speaking to the BBC, Zainab says Queen Mary decided to offer her a place after all. The university said on Monday evening that it was "deeply sympathetic" to all students affected by the U-turn, and that applicants with revised grades will be guaranteed a place if they meet the terms of their original offer.

    Although she is now likely to get her first choice of university after all, Zainab says the past week has been an "awful" and "confusing" experience.

    "I felt like I've been really let down. Now [after the U-turn] it's a bit different, but I still feel a bit let down after all of that. It was really, really stressful."

    Zainab Ali
  5. Charts track rise of infections in India

    The number of people in India who have died after testing positive for Covid-19 has now passed 50,000. The world's second most populous country has recorded more than 2.5 million cases so far and has been averaging around 60,000 new infections every day.


    Meanwhile, Latin America remains the epicentre of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization.

    Brazil has the second highest number of cases, after the US, and has recorded nearly 108,000 deaths. Mexico has the second-highest death toll in the region with more than 56,000 deaths.

    Outside Latin America, cases in Iran are on the rise again, The official death toll there is nearly at 20,000 but documents leaked to the BBC Persian service suggest the real number is more than double that.

    Indonesia reported 1,821 new infections on Monday, bringing its total to 141,370.

    View more charts tracking the global pandemic in the latest guide from the BBC News Visual and Data Journalism Team.

  6. Sharon Stone: 'One of you non-mask wearers did this'

    US actor Sharon Stone has blasted "non-mask wearers" in a post on Instagram revealing that her sister is in hospital "fighting for her life" with Covid-19.

    She says her sister was already vulnerable with lupus. "The only place she went was the pharmacy," Stone wrote. Her brother-in-law is also in hospital, she explained in a video that criticised the lack of testing in Montana state where they live.

    “My grandmother died of Covid and my godmother died of Covid,” said Stone.

    Mask-wearing varies across the US, but in many places it is not mandatory and has become a divisive issue.

    "Wear a mask! For yourself and others. Please," Stone said.

    View more on instagram
  7. House party links to two Covid clusters in Scotland

    Bannerhman HIgh School
    Image caption: Some of the eight positive cases are pupils at Bannerman High School

    Dozens of students are self-isolating as Covid-19 clusters in Glasgow and Lanarkshire have been linked to house parties.

    A joint statement from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lanarkshire said the two boards were working together on the outbreak.

    A total of 14 linked Covid cases have been identified in north-east Glasgow in addition to eight North Lanarkshire cases.

    The health boards confirmed on Monday that the cases were linked.

    They also said that evidence of social gatherings with no social distancing was a factor in their investigation.

    The number of new confirmed cases in Scotland has slowed drastically over the last few weeks, but localised outbreaks are still occurring.

    Over the past 14 days there have been 641 cases detected following a test, with 26 confirmed on Monday.

    Read more here.

  8. Poor pupils in England face 'two-year catch up after lockdown'

    Video content

    Video caption: Parents and children from a school in St Helens told the BBC about their educational struggles during lockdown

    Lockdown widened learning gaps between richer and poorer primary school children, an analysis of thousands of families in England suggests.

    Children from poorer families did at least one hour less learning a day compared with those in richer families, the Institute of Fiscal Studies found.

    One head teacher says it could take up to two years to bring some children back to their correct attainment level.

    The government said a £350m tutoring scheme would help disadvantaged pupils.

    The IFS surveyed the parents of 5,500 school-aged children in England during lockdown. It compared the richest 20% of pupils with the poorest 20%.

    Read more here.

  9. French theme park show with 9,000 guests criticised

    The historical themed park in Vendee, western France was allowed to re-open in June
    Image caption: The historical themed park in Vendee, western France was allowed to re-open in June

    The French government has defended the decision to allow a gathering of 9,000 people to go ahead at a medieval-themed park in western France.

    The current limit on gatherings is 5,000. But the Puy du Fou park in Vendée was given permission by local authorities to stage its Cinéscénie show at the weekend, despite concerns about a rise of infections in the country.

    The history-themed performance involves fireworks and hundreds of actors and horses.

    Critics pointed out that other summer festivals had been prevented from going ahead and suggested it was irresponsible. But local officials said the open-air event was permitted with mask-wearing and strict social distancing.

  10. What's been happening in the US?

    A sign advertises the Democratic National Convention (DNC), which will be a largely virtual event due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., August 16, 2020

    The US Democratic convention kicks off later, but will largely be held online because of the coronavirus.

    Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his choice for Vice-President Kamala Harris will address party supporters by video conference.

    The Democratic Party's social media channels will stream the sessions and they will be broadcast on most US news channels each evening until Thursday.

    In other US news:

    • An entire sorority house at Oklahoma State University has been placed under quarantine after 23 members tested positive for Covid-19. University spokeswoman Monica Roberts said there were "protocols in place to manage the situation", The Oklahoman newspaper reported
    • The mayor of Tuscaloosa in Alabama has appealed to university students returning for a new term to wear masks and adhere to social distancing. Walt Maddox spoke out after pictures on social media showed crowds of young people violating Covid-19 restrictions. Police said they issued 12 citations and made four arrests
    • The number of new cases in Florida has fallen to its lowest since June, the Miami Herald reported. There were 3,779 new cases reported on Sunday, 900 of which came from the worst-hit county, Miami-Dade. The daily positive test rate for the past seven days was 9.1, down from 9.7 from the previous week, the newspaper added
  11. The latest developments

    The U-turns on exam grades in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, of course, comes after A-level and GCSE tests were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Other Covid-related news today from the UK included an announcement that more than 100,000 people have signed up to take part in future NHS trials of a vaccine.

    And the government also said that as of 09:00 BST on Monday, there had been another 713 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus. Overall, a total of 319,197 cases have been confirmed in the UK, and there have been 41,369.deaths

    We're going to bring you a few more updates from around the world now.

  12. Queen Mary and Glasgow universities to honour places

    There has already been some response by UK universities, following this afternoon's U-turn on A-level results and the removal of caps on university places across England.

    Queen Mary University of London said in a tweet it was "deeply sympathetic" to affected students, and that it would guarantee a place to any students who had originally missed but now met the terms of their offer.

    And the University of Glasgow said it will "honour" places for those students who have firm acceptances and were successful in meeting its entry requirements.

    Meanwhile, Cambridge University has responded by saying it will be in touch with all students who held an offer at the university "to offer further advice".

  13. Liberal Democrat MP: education secretary 'must go'

    England's education secretary Gavin Williamson "must go", the Liberal Democrats' education spokesperson has said, after the UK government changed its stance on the process for awarding A-level and GCSE grades in England.

    Speaking to the BBC, Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, said the government had been "dragged, kicking and screaming to this position".

    Ms Moran, who is running to be leader of her party, added: "I don't understand why Boris Johnson has not offered a personal, heartfelt apology...for the mess this government has created."

    She stressed that this was "always the right thing to do", but said now "universities are scrambling" to accommodate the changes.

    Ms Moran has called for the government to support universities and "foot the bill for any of the financial costs that universities are going to bear because of the botched job".

  14. Analysis: The next phase of the jigsaw

    Sean Coughlan

    BBC News, education correspondent

    University lecture

    The next part of the A-level U-turn jigsaw is that the government is allowing universities in England to add more places - to meet the extra demand from young people who have had their results upgraded.

    These were already set to be the highest ever A-level results in almost 70 years, but the latest upgrades will mean that about 38% of entries will be A*s or As - an unprecedented number and likely to mean more young people looking for university places.

    Students who thought they had missed out on university places will now have the grades they need and will be asking for a second chance.

    To increase capacity, the government in England will lift the “student number controls” which would have capped places.

    It means universities can recruit more students to relieve the pressure.

    But that still depends on it being possible - they will still need to have enough spare space, teaching staff and accommodation, along with the pressures of Covid-19 social distancing measures.

    Universities might say they are already full up and any extra students will have to be deferred until next year. And there might be some more questions about whether students who have accepted their second choice might now be able to revert to their top pick.

    There will be some irony that this surge in student numbers follows the government attacking the idea that 50% of young people should go to university.

    The fall-out from the A-level u-turn will almost certainly see more than that number in university this year.

  15. Williamson: Problems only became clear at weekend

    Let's return to the education secretary's defence of the government’s handling of A-level results in England.

    Gavin Williamson told reporters the extent of issues only became clear at the weekend.

    Evidence from external experts and regulator Ofqual showed “there were real concerns about what a large number of students were getting and whether that was a proper and fair reflection”, he added,

    “It became apparent to me over the weekend that we needed to do more and I made the recommendation that we needed to move to teacher grades."

    Mr Williamson insisted he had challenged Ofqual “at every stage” and “had consistent reassurances” the system was fair.

    He said he had been assured there were “sufficient differences” with the Scottish system – which was abandoned last week.

    He added: “As someone who went to a comp, went to a college, I know how important is it to eradicate injustices”.

  16. Williamson 'hopes' BTecs will be teacher assessed too

    Gavin Williamson

    Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said he hopes BTecs in England will be subject to teacher assessments in the same way as A-levels and GCSEs.

    It comes after some Tory MPs raised concerns they would not be included in the system announced this afternoon.

    “We're very much hoping that this will be encompassing BTecs - we're just working with the awarding authorities to make sure that that's the case," Mr Williamson said.

    He added: “There's got to be absolute parity in fairness right across the spectrum”.

    BTecs are taken at many schools and further education colleges as an alternative to A-levels.

  17. Relief after Wales U-turn

    Students in Wales have been reacting to the Welsh Government announcement that A-level and GCSE students there will also be awarded the grades estimated for them by their teachers.

    Last week's A-level results were criticised after 42% of grades were lower than teacher assessments.

    Emily Mundy, 18, from Anglesey, had faced losing her medical school place at either Manchester or Birmingham, after her chemistry exam was downgraded from A to B.

    She said she felt "overwhelmed and excited" following the Welsh Government's U-turn.

    "I got excited and I quickly rang Manchester University. They said I need to send the [teacher- assessed] grades to UCAS and I should be accepted," she said.

    Emily Mundy
    Image caption: Emily Mundy had been rejected to study medicine after her grades were downgraded

    David Mazoya, a 16-year-old GCSE student at Newport's Llanwern High School, was relieved: "It felt at first like we would be assessed on how other people had done in the past and our school average.

    "It wasn't really our work, it wasn't really my grade either."

    But Scott Gilmour, an A-level student at Llanfair Caereinion school in Welshpool, said he feels "nobody has a result that means anything".

    He received two A*s and two As through the original algorithm method, and is going to Durham to study law.

    "This U-turn by the government strips the results we've had of any value and credibility. It now means the national average for A-level results this year will be way above previous years," he said.

    Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford told the BBC he was “sorry for those young people who’ve had to live through such an uncertain period”.

    He insisted that the Welsh system for standardising grades was “fairer” than that used in other parts of the UK but said the decision was taken because “we heard early in the day that things were moving elsewhere” and ministers wanted to ensure "our young people were not disadvantaged compared to others".

    Read more here.

  18. U-turn is 'too late' for some students

    Alice Evans

    BBC News

    Zainab Ali

    "I'm relieved but quite frustrated at the same time. It's too late," says Zainab Ali, 18, from London.

    Zainab's predicted grades were an A* in history, an A in psychology, and a C in chemistry. But after she was given an A, B and a D on results day last week, she lost her place to study psychology at Queen Mary University, and the course is now full.

    "I'm facing the consequences for the indecisiveness of people who are in charge," Zainab says.

    She's come to terms with the fact that she's going to her second choice, the University of Westminster, instead - but still feels frustrated because she had "always wanted" to go to Queen Mary's since being a child.

    Read more students' stories here.

  19. Caps removed on university places - Williamson

    Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed that he will remove caps on university places across England, so that universities could “flex and expand” the number of students able to attend and would not be fined for breaching the original cap.

    He said that students who would now see their grades go up, would be able to ask their first-choice university if their place could be reinstated. But he said “it is ultimately the universities that control their own admissions policies.”

    Mr Williamson also declined to award himself a grade for his management of the process. “I always say, best not to grade yourself, it’s for other people to mark your homework.”

    Earlier, Mr Williamson said he was 'incredibly sorry" for the "unfairness" on students.

    Video content

    Video caption: GCSE and A-level exams: Williamson 'incredibly sorry' for exams model
  20. Analysis: Universities face tough job to accommodate students

    Hannah Richardson

    BBC News education and social affairs reporter

    Students celebrate
    Image caption: Students outside the Department for Education in London celebrated after the U-turn was announced

    For the past decade, Ofqual has held the line against exam grade inflation like a knight of the realm - often using some quite controversial statistical techniques.

    But in the case of the class of Covid, it could be said the government's desire to maintain standards came at too high a price.

    In commissioning the exams regulator to take out an insurance policy in the form of its ill-fated algorithm, that policy arguably went too far, despite ministers' best intentions.

    When First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reinstated estimated grades for students in Scotland, it was only a matter of time before the other nations followed suit. Cue Northern Ireland, then Wales and finally England.

    These students are all competing for the same university places, and in the same jobs market after all.

    It was only when Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and his deputy Nick Gibb saw how inconsistent the results were that they were forced to relent.

    However, the crisis is far from resolved, with tens of thousands of students who thought they had lost their university places likely to get the grades they need after all.

    Universities say they will do their best to accommodate them, but it is going to be a tough ask.