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Live Reporting

  1. Thanks for joining us

    We’re wrapping up our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic for today and will be back tomorrow.

    Here’s a look back at some of the biggest developments we’ve been bringing you from the UK and around the world:

    • The UK’s chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty told MPs the government followed advice on lockdown timing, but widespread community testing earlier on in the pandemic required “an infrastructure we did not have”
    • US officials have charged two Chinese men who allegedly spied on companies doing coronavirus research and received help from state agents, amid a US crackdown on Chinese cyber espionage
    • More than half of the 50 US states are now on a quarantine list in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
    • Fears over the coronavirus sees the Nobel prize banquet cancelled for the first time in more than 60 years
    • Iran recorded a daily death toll of 229 – its highest so far

    You can continue to follow all the latest news on the BBC News website, or for coronavirus news head here.

    Today’s live page was written and edited by Andreas Illmer, Sean Fanning, Becky Morton, Joshua Nevett, Alex Kleiderman, Joshua Cheetham, and Hazel Shearing.

  2. Airlines call for joint US-EU testing program

    Technology American Airlines planes at Ft Lauderdale Airport

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Several major US and European airlines have called on the White House and European Union to adopt a joint US-EU testing program to boost trans-Atlantic air travel.

    In a letter to American Vice President Mike Pence and Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, the heads of American Airlines, United Airlines, Lufthansa and International Airlines Group asked for “the safe and swift restoration of air travel,” according to Reuters news agency.

    Due to the pandemic, nearly all Europeans are barred from flying to America and restrictions are in place on travel from the US to the EU.

  3. Barcelona’s tourism industry grapples with renewed restrictions


    BBC OS

    Video content

    Video caption: Barcelona is facing renewed restrictions following a surge in infections

    Residents in Spain’s Catalonia region, in the north-east of the country, are facing renewed coronavirus restrictions following a spike in infections.

    In the capital, Barcelona, people have been asked to stay home for 15 days. But what does it mean for the city’s tourism industry?

    Maraya Perinat is the founder of Barcelona’s five-star Cotton House Hotel. Back in March, she decided to open her hotel to Covid-19 patients and has since opened it to visitors.

    Speaking to BBC OS on World Service Radio, she says she remains hopeful despite the new rules.

  4. Coronavirus fears for Mozambicans fleeing militant attacks


    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    Technology Mozambique map

    Copyright: BBC

    A top official in northern Mozambique has warned that the arrival of large numbers of people fleeing militant Islamist attacks has made it difficult to stop the spread of coronavirus.

    Cabo Delgado province’s Secretary of State, Armindo Ngunga, told reported that the new arrivals in Pemba were living in severely cramped conditions.

    He advised people to stay outside their houses during the day because of the overcrowding and said that the government could provide people with face masks to wear on the streets.

    The UN estimates that 250,000 people abandoned everything and sought refuge in safer areas from a conflict that has, so far, killed about 1,000 people.

    Those who have fled are badly in need of humanitarian assistance, including proper housing, food, health and clothing. The poor level of water supply to Pemba, is another challenge for combating Covid-19 – something Mr Ngunga said the government was working on.

  5. US charges Chinese nationals with vaccine hacking


    Barbara Plett Usher

    BBC News, Washington

    The US Justice Department has accused the Chinese government of sponsoring attempts to hack biotech firms around the world working on coronavirus vaccines and treatments.

    In an indictment unsealed in Washington State on Tuesday, two former engineering students were charged with hacking, both for personal profit, and for the Chinese Ministry of State Security, a civilian spy agency.

    The two men are accused of a wide-ranging conspiracy to steal trade secrets, weapons designs and other data, spanning 10 years. It says they had recently begun to probe the vulnerabilities of companies working on coronavirus vaccines and treatments.

    US officials accused Beijing of protecting these alleged cyber criminals in order to benefit from their work. The Chinese government routinely denies that it conducts or sponsors economic espionage through the hacking of foreign networks.

    American security agencies warned several months ago that hackers linked to the Chinese government were pursuing Coronavirus vaccine research. And last week the United States, Britain and Canada issued an unusual joint statement saying that Russian hackers were doing the same.

  6. Russia report ‘evidence’ of need to tackle coronavirus disinformation

    Marianna Spring

    Specialist disinformation and social media reporter

    A report into Russian activity in the UK “piles on the evidence” that government needs to tackle harmful disinformation campaigns online, according to the Digital Culture Media and Sport select committee.

    The statement comes after the group of MPs today released its own report criticising the government for its lack of action when combating coronavirus misinformation and conspiracy theories online.The chairman of the committee, Julian Knight, also called on social media sites to crack down on vaccine conspiracy theories in the coming months.Social media sites Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have all defended their attempts to fight false information on their platforms – saying they do act to remove harmful content.

    Read more here.

  7. In charts: Fall in new UK cases stalls as decline in deaths slows

    The number of new confirmed cases in the UK started to fall steadily in May and June – but the latest data suggests that downward trend is stalling. The number of daily deaths has continued to decline since a peak mid-April, though that trend, too, has slowed recently.

    Technology A chart showing the fall in coronavirus cases stalling

    Copyright: BBC

    Technology A chart showing the downward trend in daily deaths slowing

    Copyright: BBC

  8. New York adds 10 more US states to quarantine list

    Technology A visitor wearing a protective mask walks past the Statue of Liberty

    Copyright: Getty Images

    More than half of America’s 50 states are now on a quarantine list that’s been introduced in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

    Under the rules, anyone travelling from a state on the list must self-isolate for 14 days to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters that 10 new states have been added to the list, and another removed, bringing the total to 31. Newcomers include Alaska, Virginia and Washington.

    New York was once at the epicentre of America’s coronavirus outbreak, and continues to report the highest number of deaths and cases. But infection rates are rising rapidly in other states including California, Florida and Texas, and more than 3.8 million cases have been confirmed nationwide.

    Governor Cuomo told reporters that it’s inevitable that a second wave of infections will hit New York as infection rise in other states.

    “Yesterday, we had our lowest death toll since the pandemic began – and with no fatalities in New York City. While today’s numbers are encouraging, we must remain vigilant,” he added.

  9. Nepal to resume international flights

    Technology An airline staff wearing a face shield at Trivbhuvan international airport during a safety drill

    Copyright: Getty Images

    The Nepalese government says it will resume international commercial flights from 17 August as it announced an end to its coronavirus lockdown.

    All arriving and departing international passengers will need to have a certificate saying they are not infected.

    The country shut its airports in March to combat the spread of the virus, dealing a blow to the tourism industry.

    Most other lockdown restrictions will also be lifted but schools and cinemas will remain closed and large-scale gatherings continue to be banned.

  10. Lockdown Brits splurge on tea, biscuits and books

    Technology Woman dunking a biscuit in tea

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Brits working from home during lockdown have turned to the comforts of coffee, tea and biscuits, and a good book.

    We’ve splashed out an additional £24m on tea and coffee and an extra £19m on biscuits in the past three months, says market research firm Kantar.

    The company also reported that grocery sales reached a record £31.6bn in the 12 weeks to 12 July.

    We’ve also been reading much more, according to publisher Bloomsbury, which has seen book sales jump.

    Read more here.

  11. A-level and GCSE results to be higher this summer

    Sean Coughlan

    BBC News, education correspondent

    Technology School pupils with results

    Copyright: PA

    GCSE and A-level results in England will be slightly higher this summer, with examiners set to be more lenient.

    Exams were cancelled because of the pandemic – with pupils’ results to be based on predicted outcomes.

    The watchdog Ofqual says the numbers getting good grades will be 2% higher at A-level and 1% at GCSE.

    But they will be much lower than the “optimistic” predictions from teachers, which at A-level would have pushed up results 12% higher than last year.

    Read more here.

  12. Nobel Prize banquet cancelled

    Technology Japanese scientist Akira Yoshino (C, L) accepts the Nobel Prize in chemistry from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf during a ceremony at Stockholm

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Concerns over coronavirus have led to the cancellation of the Nobel Prize banquet for the first time in more than 60 years.

    The prize winners for 2020 will be announced but the event – usually held on 10 December – will not be going ahead.

    Instead, the Nobel Foundation said awards and ceremonies will be held in “new forms”.

    “This is a very special year when everyone needs to make sacrifices and adapt to completely new circumstances,” foundation director Lars Heikensten said in a statement.

    “We will in different ways highlight the laureates, their discoveries and works.”

    The event was last cancelled in 1956 in protest at the Soviet Union’s invasion of Hungary, and during both World Wars.

  13. Oman introduces new travel ban and curfew

    Technology Indian nationals have their body temperatures measured in Muscat International Airport

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Oman will undergo a “total lockdown” of all its governates from 25 July to 8 August to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the country’s health ministry confirmed.

    All travel between governates will be banned during the period, which includes the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. A daily curfew will also be place from 19:00 to 06:00 local time, according to state news agency ONA, and shops and public spaces will be closed during these hours.

    The Gulf state introduced lockdowns in March in some regions such as Muscat and Dhofar, but these have been gradually lifted since April. Air and land borders have remained closed, except for repatriation, and last week the government said it would allow citizens to fly abroad so long as they had approval.

    More than 1,400 cases of coronavirus were reported during the last 24 hours, along with 11 more deaths, bringing the national tally to 69,887 infections and 337 fatalities.

  14. A further 110 UK deaths

    The total number of Covid-19 associated deaths in the UK has reached 45,422 – a rise of 110 on Monday’s figure.

    The total number of lab-confirmed cases grew by 445 to 295,817, according to the figures published by Public Health England (PHE).

    Last week, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock asked PHE to urgently review the way daily statistics are reported, amid concerns deaths from coronavirus were being recorded even if people have died months after a positive test.

    PHE will “very, very shortly” publish a “revised methodology”, Mr Hancock told the Commons Science and Technology Committee.

    “If you have Covid in March and fully recovered, or even were asymptomatic and now die of something completely different, then the way it was being measured until last week counted that as a death with Covid, that clearly is no longer appropriate and PHE are currently reviewing that time series,” he said.

  15. LinkedIn axes 960 jobs as recruitment slumps

    Technology The LinkedIn icon

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Image caption: LinkedIn is used to connect firms with professionals, and vice versa

    Professional networking website LinkedIn has cut 960 jobs, roughly 6% of its global workforce, as demand for its recruitment products slumps during the pandemic.

    In a message to staff, CEO Ryan Roslansky said the California-based tech company was “not immune to the effects of the global pandemic”.

    The cuts will affect employees in the sales and talent acquisition departments of the company, which was acquired by Microsoft for $26.2bn (£20.6bn) in June.

    “This is painful to go through as an organisation, but a company with a vision as bold as ours will have to make difficult decisions,” Roslansky said.

    LinkedIn has offices in more than 30 cities around the world and employs 16,000 people.

    The announcement comes as a wide range of sectors, from retailing to airlines, slash jobs around the world to cut costs.

    Read more

  16. Public Health England not set up as ‘mass’ organisation – Hancock

    Technology Matt Hancock

    Copyright: PA Media

    Returning to the health secretary’s evidence to the Commons Science and Technology Committee.

    Public Health England was “designed as a scientific organisation” and “was not set up to be an organisation ready to go to mass national scale”, Matt Hancock tells MPs.

    He says the country was “like almost every other country in the world” in that it “didn’t go into this crisis with that mass of testing capability”.

    Asked whether he is engaged in reforming PHE, he says: “There will be a time for that, my priority now is on controlling the virus and preparing for winter.”

    Mr Hancock says the “rate-limiting factor” on delivery of a vaccine is its manufacture, while the distribution itself is “not simple”.

    “You need a cold chain because the vaccine needs to be kept below room temperature, and then the administration of it needs to be done by people who are qualified,” he says.

    He adds that ministers are proposing to “broaden the range of qualifications that are allowed to do the vaccination”.

  17. NSA whistleblower tests positive for coronavirus in prison

    Technology Reality Winner

    Copyright: Getty Images

    A former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who admitted passing secret information to the media has contracted coronavirus in jail.

    Reality Winner, 28, was sentenced to more than five years in prison for leaking an NSA report on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

    She and more than 500 other inmates at FMC Carswell, an all-women’s prison in Texas, have tested positive for Covid-19. Two other inmates have died after contracting the virus.

    Her sister Brittany shared the news in a tweet, and said that a guard mockingly congratulated Reality on her result.

    Winner is currently seeking compassionate release from prison, citing underlying medical conditions. Her previous appeal was rejected in April.

  18. Chancellor called testing target audacious – Hancock

    Technology Coronavirus testing in a car

    Copyright: Reuters

    Health secretary Matt Hancock tells MPs he decided to set a testing target to “galvanise the system” – and that the chancellor told him it was a “big, hairy, audacious goal”.

    Addressing the Commons Science and Technology Committee, he says the target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of April was “close to our internal goal”, adding: “I thought a round number target, a little bit lower than what was our projection, and setting it quite specifically in public, would help to galvanise the system.”

    Some told him the target was “arbitrary” at the time, he says, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak later said it was a “big, hairy, audacious goal”.

    “I’ve been accused of over-promising and sometimes delivering,” he says.

    “And the point is that when you’re handling a pandemic response and the response you need is to scale-up at a speed that is almost unprecedented within Government at a national scale, the tools that I found worked were to set demanding goals.”

    The UK government has set various targets during its efforts to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. Have they been met? Read more from the BBC’s Reality Check team here.

  19. Social distance makes the heart grow fonder

    Technology A bride watches as wedding guests arrive for a wedding across a border

    Copyright: Philip Nordas

    Image caption: The newlyweds were overwhelmed by how many guests turned up

    Separated by the pandemic, Alexander Clern, from Norway, and Camilla Oyjord, from Sweden, were determined to get married this summer.

    But after taking a more relaxed approach to lockdown, Sweden has reported a much higher number of infections than its Nordic neighbours. As a result, Norway and other countries have placed restrictions on travel to and from Sweden.

    Given these restrictions, Oyjord suggested, as a joke, that they conduct the ceremony on the border between Sweden and Norway, to comply with Covid-19 regulations.

    To her surprise, the idea was well received by their friends and family.

    So, unwilling to wait for travel restrictions to be lifted, the couple went ahead with the wedding.

    ”We wanted to become husband and wife! Love conquers all!” Oyjord told the BBC.

    Read our story to find out how the couple exchanged their vows across the border.

  20. Austria reintroduces face mask rules in supermarkets, banks

    Technology Sebastian Kurz

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has reintroduced a requirement that face masks be worn in supermarkets, banks and post offices due to an increase in cases around the country.

    “There are areas of daily life where one cannot choose whether one goes or not – the supermarket, the bank, the post office,” Mr Kurz told a news conference, explaining his decision.

    The chancellor also said controls will be increased along Austria’s borders with the Balkans because many new infections around the country can be traced back to the region. Face masks are still required on public transport, in hospitals, pharmacies and at hairdressers.

    Several clusters of new infections have also been linked to churches, and new restrictions will reduce the size of religious services and force churches to shut down should any worshippers or staff test positive.

    Austria began loosening lockdown restriction in April, but in recent weeks virus cases have risen and over 100 were reported every day this month. The national tally stands at more than 19,800 cases and 710 deaths.