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Live Reporting

Edited by Holly Wallis

All times stated are UK

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  1. Campaigners call for emergency cash for renters

    Homes to let in England

    Housing charities, landlords and letting agents are urging the UK government to provide emergency financial help to tenants in England who have fallen into arrears due to coronavirus.

    The call for loans and grants for those struggling to pay rent comes as new research on behalf of Shelter suggests 322,000 people have fallen behind since the outbreak in March.

    Six organisations - including Shelter, Crisis and Citizens Advice - have joined forces to make the call.

    The groups say £270m is needed to help tenants keep their homes and assist landlords who rely on rental income for their livelihoods.

  2. Notting Hill Carnival fans urged to stay home and watch online

    Notting Hill Carnival
    Image caption: The event normally attracts more than one million people to the streets of west London

    Notting Hill Carnival partygoers are being urged to stay off the streets this weekend as the event moves online for the first time in its 54-year history due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    A decision to cancel the west London street party was announced in May - and rather than one million people dancing around Notting Hill, Westbourne Park and Kensington, revellers will have to watch streamed performances from the comfort of their own homes.

    The carnival’s executive director, Matthew Phillip, said cancelling the carnival was not an easy decision, adding: "We did it in the interest of safety, so we would urge people to stay at home. We don't want anything to jeopardise the future of the carnival."

    Among those featuring in the digital celebrations is Mikey Dread, who for nearly 40 years has spent his August Bank Holiday on a corner of west London running one of the carnival's most famous reggae sound systems - Channel One.

    He said: "We've done a recording already. We went in there, did an hour and that was it."

  3. Virus protest to go ahead in Berlin

    Protesters march in Berlin
    Image caption: A protest against virus restrictions in Berlin attracted about 20,000 people at the start of August

    A court in Berlin has overturned a ban on a planned protest against Germany’s coronavirus restrictions.

    In a ruling on Friday, Berlin’s Administrative Court said the protest could take place in the city on Saturday under certain conditions.

    The demonstration is expected to draw thousands of people at a time when coronavirus cases are on the rise in Germany.

    Earlier this week, Berlin’s state government announced that it would prohibit the demonstration, citing virus-related concerns.

    Protest organisers accused the government of denying them freedom of assembly and expression.

    A similar protest was held in the German capital at the beginning of August. Far-right activists, Covid-19 deniers and conspiracy theorists were among the protest’s diverse attendees.

    Demonstrators held up banners with slogans including "Corona, false alarm" at the protest, which was eventually broken up by police, who accused organisers of not respecting Covid-19 regulations.

  4. Sturgeon: People should not be intimidated to return to work

    Nicola Sturgeon

    Nicola Sturgeon has said she will not "countenance" people being intimidated into going back to work in offices.

    Scotland's First Minister said reopening offices too soon would risk the virus spreading and compromise the ability to keep schools open.

    "I will not countenance in Scotland any kind of narrative around this that is seeking to almost intimidate people back to work before, as a country, we have taken a decision that that is safe," she said.

    The UK government is planning an advertising blitz to encourage people back to workplaces.

    Devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have broad powers to set their own coronavirus regulations, with some exceptions, and they have control over messaging.

  5. TikTok stars 'to be charged' over virus partying

    Bryce Hall and Blake Gray wearing masks
    Image caption: Officials have described their house as "a nightclub in the hills"

    Officials in the US city of Los Angeles are expected to announce criminal charges against two TikTok stars later on Friday over their alleged pandemic partying.

    Bryce Hall and Blake Gray, who have 13 million and six million followers respectively, have faced mounting criticism for hosting parties in spite of the pandemic and social distancing rules.

    Trailing the announcement, City Attorney Mike Feuer's office said the charges were part of a "crackdown" against the "havoc" of party houses in the area.

    Authorities cut off utility access, including water and electricity supply, to a Hollywood Hills mansion being rented by the pair and another influencer earlier this month.

    That decision came days after footage showing dozens of maskless partygoers celebrating Hall's 21st birthday at another LA mansion flooded social media.

    The influencer later admitted on YouTube that throwing the party "was not the most responsible thing to do" given "everything going on" and shared footage of himself and friends being tested for coronavirus.

    Other big online names, like YouTuber Jake Paul, have also come under fire for their partying in recent months.

  6. UK R number remains between 0.9 and 1.1

    The R number – or reproduction rate – of coronavirus in the UK remains between 0.9 and 1.1, according to the latest government figures.

    It suggests the rate of infection is broadly stable or growing slightly.

    The government said the latest growth rate for the UK was between -2% and 1%.

    This means the number of new infections is somewhere between shrinking by 2% and growing by 1% every day.

  7. Watch: Moment person with coronavirus is taken off Ryanair jet

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: Stansted passenger taken off Ryanair flight after diagnosis

    Passengers on a Ryanair flight from London Stansted to Pisa on Wednesday knew something was wrong when fire officers pulled up alongside the aircraft and put on hazardous material suits.

    Soon after, two people were removed from the flight - one had received a text message confirming they had coronavirus.

    The airline said the man and his travel companion had been on board for under 10 minutes and there was "little, if any, risk of Covid-19 transmission to other passengers or crew members, all of whom were also wearing face masks at all times".

    Overhead bins and their seats were disinfected before the flight left after an 80-minute delay.

  8. UK fitness industry 'devastated' by lockdown

    A gym worker cleans equipment
    Image caption: Strict safety and cleaning guidelines mean gyms are struggling to operate at pre-lockdown levels

    The UK fitness industry has been "devastated'" by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the trade body UKActive.

    It is calling for government support for sports and leisure facilities, similar to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme for the food sector - its suggestions include a VAT reduction, a pause on National Insurance contributions and help with backdated rent arrears.

    A study by UKActive showed there were eight million gym visits made by people in England in the first three weeks after they reopened on 25 July.

    But some gyms have said strict safety guidelines mean they are unable to operate anywhere near pre-lockdown levels, while still having to pay full overhead costs.

    UKActive's Huw Edwards said: "With government support, we can keep fitness facilities open at a time when they are needed the most."

    It comes as Boris Johnson hired his own personal trainer to lose weight, after acknowledging he was "too fat" when he caught coronavirus.

    In July, the prime minister said that while he was not normally one for "nannying or bossying", the country did need to lose weight to protect from a second spike.

  9. US buys 150 million rapid Covid-19 tests

    Tests in Miami, Florida

    The US has bought 150 million rapid coronavirus tests as part of a $750m deal with Abbott Laboratories.

    Earlier this week the country's Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval for the firm's rapid test, which the company says costs $5 (£3.80) and gives results in 15 minutes.

    White House communications director Alyssa Farah described it as a "major development".

    The deal comes as new cases continue to fall in the US - a trend that experts caution is at least partly due to a fall in the number of tests being carried out.

    This week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also came under fire for quietly changing its guidance on testing - saying that, now, people don't necessarily need to be tested even if they come into contact with someone confirmed as having the virus.

    Chart showing trends of daily cases and deaths in the US
  10. UK prepares army of health professionals to distribute jab

    Rachel Schraer

    BBC Health Reporter

    A lab technician extracts liquid

    The UK government wants to train an army of health professionals to be ready to administer the coronavirus vaccine, if and when one is found.

    This could include pharmacists, who already deliver flu vaccines, midwives, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

    The Department of Health and Social Care does not want to be left in a position where a safe and effective vaccine becomes available but can't be quickly given to enough people because of a shortage of people to administer it.

    All healthcare professionals will be subject to the appropriate training and supervision but it's not yet clear in which settings the vaccine might be delivered.

    It's not expected that there will be a vaccine before Christmas, but these preparations are being made for the small possibility that one does become available.

    There are also plans to give the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) extra powers to roll out the vaccine rapidly if one becomes available before the new year.

    The UK remains under the jurisdiction of the European Medicines Agency until the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.

    When might a vaccine be ready? Read this.

  11. UK August bank holiday - without festivals

    Glastonbury' Pyramid stage
    Image caption: Glastonbury's Pyramid stage pictured in happier times

    The August bank holiday weekend is almost upon us in the UK - but this year looks a little different with music festivals and sporting events cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Hundreds of people who usually work at events such as Glastonbury, BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend, Reading, Leeds and the Isle of Wight have been left without a job - and in some cases with no income at all.

    Mary Shelley Smith has been serving up food to bands and punters at festivals for 30 years, and says the company she works for, Eat to the Beat, has been left completely devastated.

    "We were at the sharp end of it. Events just dropped off," she said, adding: "It's quite frightening - it's knocked all of our income off."

  12. If you're just joining us...

    A fisherman in Gaza makes face masks

    Good afternoon from London, where about five of us, all working from home, are keeping you updated on the coronavirus pandemic. If you're in the Americas, good morning, and good evening to our readers in Asia.

    To help you catch up, here are the latest global headlines. (For the latest in the UK, see this post from earlier.)

    • European countries and cities are tightening their virus rules. In France, a new rule requiring everyone in Paris to wear masks in public came into force today, Germans have been told not to travel to high-risk countries or regions, and in Spain children as young as six have been asked to wear masks in schools
    • France reported 6,111 new cases of the virus on Thursday - the highest single-day increase since the peak of the outbreak in late March
    • US President Donald Trump accepted his nomination to be the Republican candidate in November's election in front of an in-person crowd of more than 1,000 people. Photos from the event show audience members close together, with few masks in sight
    • There have been 76,827 new confirmed cases of the virus in India in the last 24 hours - a record single-day increase for this month
    • The African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 20% drop in new cases on the continent in the last week - but the public health body has urged caution, saying it may be down to less widespread testing in some countries
    • New clusters of the virus have emerged in Australia, away from the country's epicentre in Melbourne. New infections have been found in Sydney, as well as in the state of Queensland
    • There have now been more than 24.4m confirmed cases of the virus and more than 832,000 deaths worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University
    Graph
  13. All Dutch mink farms to be shut by March after outbreaks

    Mink

    The Dutch government has brought forward the date by which all mink farms must be permanently closed, after coronavirus outbreaks among animals at 41 fur farms since the start of the pandemic.

    Mink are small animals, similar to ferrets, that are bred for their fur. The Netherlands exports 80m euros worth of the fur every year, mostly to China.

    The mink breeding industry in the Netherlands had originally been told to shut down by 2024 for animal rights reasons, but all farms will now have to close by next March. The government has reportedly set aside 180m euros to compensate farmers for the early closures.

    Scientists are investigating not only how the virus spread to the mink, but also whether they can pass it back to humans. Some farm workers have been found to be infected.

  14. Mask trial to end in biggest Dutch cities

    Enforcers talk with people about wearing face masks, in the centre of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 23 August 2020
    Image caption: Anyone not wearing a face covering in certain areas risks a fine of €95 (£85) - but not for much longer

    We mentioned earlier that Amsterdam and Rotterdam have been running a pilot scheme this month requiring face coverings in the busiest areas. The two biggest Dutch cities have now decided to drop the trial from Monday.

    Masks are required on public transport but they have proved broadly unpopular in the Netherlands.

    Since the mask trial began, the main shopping streets in these two cities have seen visitor numbers fall by almost a third, according to a survey.

    So the two mayors have decided that as the warm weather and high tourist season draw to a close it's probably easier to just ask people to maintain social distancing of 1.5m (5ft).

  15. In Paris, wearing masks 'is better than being locked down'

    Lucy Williamson

    BBC's Paris Correspondent

    Woman wearing mask in front of Eiffel Tower

    Meanwhile, mask-wearing has taken over the streets of Paris by stealth over the past few months, and the blanket enforcement of face-masks in and around the capital from 08:00 today triggered little real outcry.

    Except for one thing: the new rules were originally designed to apply to cyclists and runners along with pedestrians.

    By the time the regulation came into force this morning, the Paris town-hall had intervened, and won a reprieve, saying it was “dangerous” and “counterproductive” to force these two groups to wear masks, especially when the mayor has been encouraging people to cycle to work, to relieve pressure on public transport.

    Runner and cyclists aside, only a handful of people were still out without a mask in my neighbourhood this morning, and there seems to be a lot of support for the measure around the capital.

    “It’s better than being locked down,” one woman said. Another resident said the government should have brought it in earlier, so that “the situation wouldn’t have got as bad as it is now”.

    The French prime minister, Jean Castex, said yesterday that 21 areas of France were now designated as “red zones” where the virus was again actively circulating, and figures from the national health agency last night said there had been more than 6,000 new infections over the previous 24 hours – a new high since the end of lockdown here.

  16. £10,000 illegal rave fines come into force in England and Wales

    Thousands of people attended an illegal rave in Greater Manchester in June

    A bit more on the restrictions for parties as the UK gears up for the August bank holiday weekend.

    There are new fines in force of up to £10,000 for anyone organising an illegal rave or music event in England and Wales - or gatherings of more than 30 people - and you could be fined £100 for taking part.

    In London, 4,500 officers will be on duty over the bank holiday weekend as police expect a rise in the number of illegal events - but the Metropolitan Police Federation’s Ken Marsh has said the rules are hard to enforce.

    In Wales, people are also being urged not to overwhelm popular hotspots after police became aware of unlicensed music events being planned this weekend.

    And in Scotland, police have the power to break up house parties with more than 15 people from today, in a bid to reduce transmission of Covid-19. Health officials warned such gatherings could present "high-risk super-spreader environments".

    So you can you host a party? Here's a reminder of the rules as you make your own plans.

  17. Re-cap: Latest from the UK

    Let's catch up with the latest on coronavirus in the UK this lunchtime:

  18. India's case numbers climb higher and higher

    A man selling water bottles while wearing a mask in India

    India has been steadily adding to its Covid-19 caseload - it has recorded more than 60,000 new cases every day for most of August.

    In the last 24 hours, it added 76,827 new cases, a record for this month. The total tally - nearly 3.4 million cases - is the third-highest in the world.

    Experts say the huge caseload is not unexpected given India's mammoth population of 1.3 billion people and the fact that the country has mostly reopened.

    They also believe that there will be no single peak as the pandemic spreads through different states.

    The death toll from the virus remains relatively low - about 61,700 deaths have been reported so far. But the figure puts India close behind Mexico, which currently has the world's third highest number of deaths from Covid-19.

    Chart showing continuing increase in daily deaths and cases in India over many months
  19. Gatwick says air travel recovery could take half a decade

    An empty check-in area at Gatwick Airport

    London's Gatwick Airport has said demand for air travel might not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2025.

    It revealed losses of £321m in the first six months of this year due to the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

    Passenger numbers fell from 22.2 million to 7.5 million over the same period and the airport said in a statement that the recovery to pre-pandemic traffic levels "is forecast to be four to five years".

  20. Germany's Merkel: Things will get worse

    Angela Merkel

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the virus situation will become more challenging in the coming months, as winter approaches.

    "Some things are likely to be more difficult over the next few months than they are in the summer," she said at her annual summer press conference on Friday. "We have all enjoyed the freedoms and relative protection from aerosols in the summer, which is possible through life outdoors."

    She was referring to the micro-particles of the virus that are thought to spread through the air, especially in poorly-ventiliated indoor areas.

    It comes as German officials urge citizens to stop travelling to countries and regions deemed "high risk". As in many other European countries, infections have surged in Germany in recent weeks, though it is not as badly affected as Spain or France.

    A ban on major events has also been extended until the end of the year, and most states in Germany have agreed to introduce a €50 (£45) fine for people not wearing masks in places where it's mandatory.