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Live Reporting

Edited by Paul Gribben

All times stated are UK

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  1. A look back at Friday’s main developments

    A queue at a testing site in England

    We're pausing the coronavirus live page for now but will be back on Saturday morning.

    We leave you with a round-up of Friday's biggest developments from around the globe.

  2. Friday's live page was brought to you by...

    We will be wrapping up our live page shortly. The coverage has been brought to you by: Kevin Ponniah, Paul Gribben, Victoria Bisset, Lauren Turner, Emma Harrison and David Walker.

  3. Guatemalan president tests positive for Covid-19

    Alejandro Giammattei

    Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei says he has tested positive for coronavirus.

    Speaking to a local radio station on Friday, Mr Giammattei, 64, said he had taken a test - his sixth - and the results had come back positive, the Republica newspaper reported.

    Mr Giammattei did not say if he was suffering any symptoms.

    It was later announced that the entire cabinet would be tested and would work from home.

    Guatemala has recorded more than 83,600 infections and just over 3,000 coronavirus-related deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

  4. Prague Zoo shuts exhibit to protect primates

    Rob Cameron

    BBC Prague Correspondent

    Orangutans at the zoo in Prague in 2013

    Prague Zoo has announced it is closing its popular "Indonesian Jungle" exhibit from Saturday as there is a risk of the orangutan and the macaque monkeys catching Covid-19 from visitors.

    In the exhibit, which this correspondent knows well, visitors first walk through a mock cave where bats fly overhead, before emerging into an Indonesian rainforest with various animals including an orangutan and several macaques.

    The exhibit housing the lemurs will also be closed.

    Zoo director Miroslav Bobek said that as primates, the animals were at risk of contracting Covid-19 from visitors, who are not separated from the animals by glass.

    The Czech Republic has so far recorded 45,228 coronavirus infections and 494 related deaths.

  5. Fact-checking Trump's claims about 'blue state' deaths

    Christopher Giles

    BBC Reality Check

    US President Donald Trump has said that Democratic-run states - known as blue states - are to blame for America's high coronavirus death toll.

    “If you take the blue states out,” Mr Trump said at a White House briefing earlier this week, “we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at. We’re really at a very low level.”

    He repeated a similar claim at a rally in Wisconsin on Thursday.

    “Take New York and some of these other Democrat-run states out of it, you’ll see numbers that are unbelievable.”

    The Democratic National Committee tweeted in response: “Covid isn't a red state or blue state issue.”

    Out of the five states that have the largest numbers of coronavirus deaths two are Republican-run "red states" - Texas and Florida.

    It's true that in the early stage of the outbreak states run by the Democrats like New York and New Jersey were the worst hit.

    But as the pandemic has progressed, Republican-led states have contributed a greater proportion of fatalities.

    The Washington Post has calculated that so far, 53% of deaths have occurred in blue states and 47% in red ones.

    It’s also difficult to compare states, because they've taken different approaches to locking down, and they have different demographic breakdowns, including on age, race and social class.

    Chart shows US states with most Covid deaths
  6. Watch: 'We are now seeing a second wave in the UK' - PM

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid-19: Prime minister says UK 'seeing a second wave'

    UK prime minister Boris Johnson says he does not want further lockdown measures, but "when you look at what is happening you've got to wonder whether we need to go further than the rule of six that we brought in".

    On Friday, the UK recorded a further 4,322 confirmed cases of coronavirus and the government's scientific advisers say there is widespread growth of the epidemic across the country.

    The PM spoke to reporters at the Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre construction site in Harwell, Oxfordshire

  7. Quebec police to patrol bars as Canada cases surge

    The Quebec government will now have police patrol bars and restaurants to ensure coronavirus regulations are being followed.

    Police will be sent to 1,000 establishments across the province, concentrating on hotspots like the city of Montreal.

    Bars and restaurants reopened for indoor dining in the city of Montreal in late June, when cases were declining.

    But cases have been surging in Quebec and across the country this week.

    Quebec had 297 new cases on Friday, up from 251 Thursday, making the weekly average 312. On Friday, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet, who heads up Quebec's nationalist federal party, tested positive for Covid-19.

    In Ontario, the most populous province, there were 401 new cases on Friday, up from 293 the day before, its single biggest day-of spike since June.

  8. UK's shielding policy 'being actively reviewed'

    Woman shielding in Scotland

    Here's some more detail of what is understood to have been discussed in the meeting chaired by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and attended by health officials.

    The account of the meeting shared with the BBC says the government’s shielding policy is "being actively reviewed", and a decision could come soon on further measures to protect the vulnerable.

    Any further shielding decisions are expected to take a much more tailored approach than before.

    With the virus expected to be more severe over the winter, officials are looking at bringing in measures that could last until the spring.

    Government sources confirmed discussions have been had, but nothing has yet been signed off or agreed.

  9. UK officials consider 'three tier' approach to virus restrictions

    Covid-19 testing centre

    A new “three tier” approach to coronavirus restrictions has been discussed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and government officials, the BBC understands.

    The system would involve three tiers - the first of which is the level of measures in most places across England now, with social distancing the primary key aspect.

    The second tier would involve what is currently imposed in the North East of England - curfews on hospitality venues and a ban on meeting with other households.

    The final third tier would involve stricter lockdown measures.

    It’s thought it is likely “tier two” may be put in place across the UK - albeit framed in a region-by-region basis rather than as a “national curfew".

    The system was discussed at a meeting chaired by the health secretary, and attended by England’s Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty, his two deputy chief medical officers, the head of the Test and Trace programme, Dido Harding, and local public health officials.

  10. Dublin faces tighter restrictions

    Chris Page

    BBC News Ireland correspondent

    Dublin bar

    The Irish Cabinet has agreed to tighten restrictions in Dublin because of rising levels of Covid-19.

    From midnight tonight for the next three weeks, people are discouraged from leaving the city unless for essential reasons.

    They are again being asked to work from home where possible and only to make essential journeys on public transport. Restaurants and pubs that serve food will for the next three weeks only be allowed to have guests outdoors or provide a take-away service.

    You can read more about the Dublin restrictions here.

  11. UK PM suggests discipline on distancing has slipped

    Boris Johnson visiting vaccine centre near Oxford, Sept 18

    Boris Johnson, asked if the government had eased lockdown too quickly, suggested discipline in adhering to social distancing restrictions had slipped.

    "If you look at what's happened over the last few months, I think the British people have done a amazing job," he said.

    "They got that peak under control, they brought it right down, they brought the number of infections right down by discipline and everybody adjusting our behaviours and the way we go about our lives - hands, face, space.

    "And I think probably, truth to tell, what's happened here and what alas has happened in so many other countries is that people find it difficult to keep this up."

    He said it was "very difficult to maintain that kind of discipline for a long time".

    And if the "rule of six" in England or the tighter restrictions in parts of the UK do not work in curbing the spread of the virus, "then of course we are going to have to take further measures", the prime minister said.

    "But be in no doubt that we will want to be explaining what we are doing, taking people with us as we go and what I don't want to do is go into a second national lockdown of the kind we had in March, April - I don't want to do that again."

  12. Johnson: I don't want bigger lockdown measures

    Boris Johnson at the Jenner Institute
    Image caption: Boris Johnson was speaking at the Jenner Institute in Oxford

    The UK prime minister continued: "I don't want to go into bigger lockdown measures at all, we want to keep schools open and it is fantastic the schools have gone back in the way they have.

    "What I can certainly say about parents and schools is we want to keep the schools open, that is going to happen

    "We want to try and keep all parts of the economy open as far as we possibly can."

    He said his government was "looking at what we can do to intensify things that help bring the rate of infection down".

    "What I will say is, as we go forward, we will be explaining in great detail to people what the scientific background is, what the epidemiology is saying and really how we propose to do it," he added.

  13. BreakingBoris Johnson: UK 'seeing start of second wave'

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK is "seeing the start of a second wave coming in" of Covid-19 infections.

    Speaking in Oxfordshire, Mr Johnson said it had been "inevitable" the UK would see a rise in cases.

    "I don't want to go into bigger lockdown measures at all," he said, but added: "Clearly when you look at what is happening you've got to wonder whether we need to go further than the rule of six that we brought in."

    The UK PM said a second lockdown is the "last thing anybody wants" but said the current measures would need to be kept "under review".

    His comments come after the government's scientific advisers said there is now widespread growth of the virus across the UK.

  14. Madrid orders partial lockdown as cases soar

    Healthcare workers protesting outside the Hospital Clinico San Carlos, Madrid
    Image caption: Madrid's healthcare system has been under growing pressure

    The Spanish capital, Madrid, has announced a partial lockdown affecting hundreds of thousands of citizens as authorities try to bring a surge of coronavirus cases under control.

    From Monday, more than 855,000 people living in 26 areas of the city will only be allowed in or out of their zones for essential reasons such as work, school, or to care for dependants, city chief Isabel Diaz Ayuso told reporters. Eleven other municipalities in the Madrid region are also affected.

    Social gatherings will be limited to six people, down from 10, and public parks will remain closed.

    "Reports indicate that most contagions are occurring in private settings, in personal relationships between families and friends," Ms Diaz Ayuso said.

    "We are obliged to take these measures in these specific areas. If we did not do so, we run the risk of it being spread to the whole of Madrid. We have time to avoid it."

    Madrid is the epicentre of the latest outbreak affecting Spain. Latest figures show 659 cases per 100,000 people in the Madrid region - more than double the national average of 260 infections.

  15. Worried about new measures? Beware misinformation!

    Marianna Spring

    Specialist disinformation and social media reporter

    Conspiracy theory

    With the introduction of new local restrictions and reports that the government is considering tighter rules in England, rumours are understandably spreading online.

    Many of us are worried, frustrated and confused - about the changes and about the future.

    That means it’s a fertile time for misinformation. Here are some ways you can stop bad information going viral:

    1) Interrogate the source - and pause before you share. Where has the information come from? Is it really from a reliable source – or a copied and pasted message from a “friend of a friend”?

    2) Ask yourself how a post makes you feel. Misleading information and conspiracy theories often play on worry, frustration and anger.

    3) Think about bias. Many people share false claims because they confirm their existing political opinions.

    Criticism of the government’s handling of the pandemic, general confusion about what’s next and opposition to restrictions are all legitimate, debatable viewpoints.

    But false claims that the virus is a “hoax” or overheated panicky posts are much less useful.

  16. Portugal heading towards 1,000 daily cases - PM

    Alison Roberts

    Portugal Correspondent, Lisbon

    Tourists in masks walk near the tourist area of Belem, Lisbon, 9 September 2020.
    Image caption: Portugal has experienced a steady rise in new coronavirus cases

    Portugal is on course to reach 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day by next week if current trends continue, its prime minister warned on Friday after the first meeting of the government's Covid-19 crisis group in almost three months.

    The national health authority, the DGS, reported 780 new cases, up from 770 on Thursday and the highest daily figure since the 10 April peak of 1,516.

    "In line with the general trend in Europe we are seeing strong growth in new cases daily," Prime Minister António Costa told journalists in Lisbon. "If this trend is maintained, next week we shall reach 1,000 new cases per day."

    Mr Costa declined to answer journalists' questions about what was discussed by the ministers and secretaries of state who attended the crisis group's meeting.

    António Costa chairs Covid-19 meeting. 18 Sept 2020
    Image caption: PM António Costa (centre) chaired the crisis meeting on Friday

    No fresh measures were announced but the prime minister confirmed that next week the DGS is to unveil a plan for the autumn and winter that is expected to contain specific proposals, while calling on the public to act responsibly to help keep the virus in check.

    "If we all observe the basic rules, we can control the pandemic," he said. He reiterated that Portugal cannot afford a second lockdown, adding: "It would be unthinkable to have a Christmas as we had Easter."

    Portugal has so far had 67,176 confirmed cases and 1,894 deaths associated with Covid-19, six of them reported on Friday.

  17. 'What might a UK 'circuit break' look like?

    People in a restaurant and on the street

    At least 13.5 million people are now facing or living under local coronavirus restrictions in the UK.

    It follows Friday’s announcement that parts of north-west England, the Midlands and West Yorkshire will have new measures from Tuesday.

    Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock says "a national lockdown is the last line of defence".

    Instead, the government is considering England-wide restrictions to slow a surge in coronavirus cases.

    A short period of tighter restrictions - lasting a few weeks - could be announced in the next week, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says.

    The possible measures being discussed - described by the government as a "circuit-break" – include:

    • Asking some hospitality businesses to close
    • Limiting the opening hours of some pubs and restaurants nationwide
    • But schools and most workplaces would be kept open during those weeks

    Read more here

  18. Iran on red alert amid fears of 'third wave'

    A woman wearing a mask walks past packs of protective face masks that are displayed on a street-side by a vendor in northern Tehran
    Image caption: Tehran is seeing the fastest rise in new infections

    Iran appeared to be heading towards a "third wave" of coronavirus infections on Friday, as a senior health official declared a red alert across the whole country.

    The health ministry said that new daily cases had risen by 3,049 to 416,198 and the death toll was up by 144 to 23,952.

    Deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi said on TV that the system of dividing regions into white, orange/yellow and red categories based on the number of cases and deaths "doesn't make sense any more", adding: "We no longer have orange and yellow. The entire country is red."

    "If the current course continues the death toll will reach 45,000," he warned, without saying when that might happen.

    Earlier this week, Alireza Zali, who heads the national headquarters for coronavirus control, warned that the country was heading towards a "third wave" of the outbreak, and that the capital Tehran would be hit first.

    Iran saw one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the early stages of the pandemic and suffered a second peak at the start of June.

  19. Hasidic Jews appear to end Ukraine pilgrimage attempt

    A Hasidic boy stands in front of Ukranian border guards

    Hundreds of Hasidic Jews who were stopped at the Belarusian border and prevented from entering Ukraine due to coronavirus measures have begun to leave the area.

    The group - which includes many Israelis, as well as a number of French and US citizens - were hoping to travel to the central Ukrainian town of Uman as part of an annual pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Nahman, the founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement.

    Every year thousands make the journey to mark the Jewish new year, or Rosh Hashanah.

    But the group was left stranded for days after they were stopped by Ukranian border guards, who refused to allow them to enter because of the pandemic. Both the Ukrainian and Israeli governments had appealed to the pilgrims to avoid the journey.

    Ukraine has restricted entry to foreigners from 28 August to 28 September to curb the spread of coronavirus, while Israel has introduced a three-week national lockdown beginning today.

    An elderly man at the Ukranian border
  20. Analysis: Coronavirus is no longer a local problem in the UK

    James Gallagher

    Health and science correspondent, BBC News

    The government's scientific advisers are clear coronavirus is no longer a local problem contained to hotspots.

    Instead the rise in cases is now "widespread" across the UK.

    Cases may be doubling every week, but they were quadrupling every week before lockdown and cases are currently at much lower levels than at the peak.

    But the concern is where we are heading - it's a question of trajectory.

    If cases continue to double every week then the situation can rapidly get out of hand, that is why the government is contemplating a "circuit break" to control the spread.

    But this is not just a question of government action, there is a responsibility on all of us.

    Sage documents also say only one in five people are fully self-isolating at home when they get symptoms.