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Preston warns young people not to 'kill granny' as data shows almost half of new cases are in under 30s

Sarah Newey
The Local Government Association says there is evidence of pubs and clubs cramming in drinkers - GETTY IMAGES
The Local Government Association says there is evidence of pubs and clubs cramming in drinkers - GETTY IMAGES
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

01:10 AM

Today's top stories

​Follow the latest coronavirus updates in Sunday's live blog.

01:08 AM

Data shows almost half of new cases are in under 30s

Authorities in Preston have urged people not to "kill granny" amid reports that almost half of new cases in the city were among those aged 30 and younger. 

Speaking on BBC Radio Four this morning Adrian Phillips, chief executive of Preston City Council, said "our director of public health has said 'don't kill granny' to young people to try and focus the message".

He added: "Young people are inevitably among the brave and the bold, they want to be adventurous and out and about but we know that they have the virus, are more likely to at the moment, they often have less symptoms but they do take it back to their household."

It comes after the Government reimposed some restrictions on Preston, with a ban on different households meeting indoors and in gardens coming into effect at midnight last night. 

Matt Hancock said that the measures - which the city in line with restrictions in east Lancashire, Greater Manchester and parts of west Yorkshire - were introduced "at the request of the local area".

According to data from Public Health England, the rate of new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population in Preston has jumped from 21.7 in the seven days to July 28 to 42.6 in the week up to August 4. 

Households mixing in pubs and homes has been blamed for a rise in cases in the city, but locals suggest the restrictions will not be taken seriously and pubs were said to be busy on Friday night despite the Government's intervention just hours earlier.

Lancashire's director of public health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, has also warned that almost half of the cases reported in Preston were among people aged 30 and younger.

04:28 PM

'Long Covid' could cast a long shadow over thousands of lives

'Long Covid' could cast a long shadow over thousands of lives A slow burn of the coronavirus through our population leaves more than a mortality count in its wake, writes Dr Mike Galsworthy in the Telegraph today.

His organisation, March for Change, is part of the secretariat in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus - a group of MPs conducting an inquiry into the handling of the pandemic in the UK. This week's proceedings (see here) focused on the impact of those with 'long covid', who are left with long-lasting symptoms after an infection. 

Read Dr Galsworthy's full analysis of the session here - below is an extract:

The witnesses on Wednesday were eloquent representatives of their growing community. One is an intensive care doctor, another works in global health. They had contracted coronavirus between March and May, had expected to recover after two weeks, but found themselves still fatigued and encumbered  months later. What was disturbing about the evidence given was threefold.

Firstly, these were all working-age people otherwise in good health; one of them now uses a wheelchair. Secondly, the variety of symptoms reported was alarming. Thirdly, many in the growing long-Covid community never even went into hospital. As pointed out by the witness Dr Jake Suett, it is this non-hospitalised cohort that has been overlooked to date.

04:22 PM

Analysis: Pubs carry more risk than planes for Covid-19

Pubs create the "perfect storm" for spreading coronavirus and carry more risk than planes, the Press Association reports. 

Punters drinking together in an indoor pub are potentially subjecting themselves to a build-up of infected droplets caused by poor ventilation and people having continuous conversations, often speaking more loudly to be heard over the din of a noisy bar, academics warn.

The comments come after households mixing in pubs and homes was blamed for a rise in Covid-19 cases in Preston, resulting in it being the latest area to have lockdown restrictions reimposed.

Aberdeen was also placed in a fresh lockdown after an outbreak of cases linked to a number of bars emerged.

Dr Julian W Tang, honorary associate professor of respiratory sciences at the University of Leicester, said if you can smell garlic on someone's breath it means you are close enough to be inhaling their air. 

"If the air space is poorly ventilated, that air that's full of virus is not going to go anywhere. It's going to linger there until the virus dries up and dies over time," he said, adding that the most common method of transmission in the UK is probably "conversational exposure".

Asked if being in a busy pub is quite similar to being on a plane in terms of risk, Dr Tang said: "It's even worse because the aeroplane has very good ventilation. The pubs don't have very good ventilation."

Related: Here’s why protests, crowded beaches and eased lockdown have not caused a second wave

04:12 PM

Australia: Cases 'relatively flat' in Victoria

Meanwhile down under, the Australian state of Victoria has recorded 466 new cases of Covid-19 and 12 deaths, including another man in his 30s. The figures were released as the city of Melbourne remained in lockdown and under an overnight curfew.

Victoria's Premier, Daniel Andrews, said that six of the deaths were connected to outbreaks at aged care facilities.

On Friday, when the state reported 450 new cases and 11 deaths, the chief health officer said the coronavirus infection rate in the hard-hit state had been "relatively flat" in the past week. That was down from a record 725 infections reported a week earlier

The deaths announced today took the state's toll to 193 and the figure for Covid-19 deaths in Australia to 278.

Meanwhile, Queensland state's border with New South Wales has officially closed with road access blocked to everyone except essential workers and locals living along the interstate boundary. Police reported that nearly 150 people had been turned away in the early hours of the shutdown.

04:01 PM

Paris orders mandatory face masks in outside areas

Wearing a mask will be compulsory in parts of Paris and its wider region from Monday to combat a rise in coronavirus infections in and around the French capital, the police said this afternoon. 

The mask will be obligatory for all those aged 11 and over from 8:00am Monday "in certain very crowded zones", the police announced in a statement today, without yet detailing which areas were affected.

"All the indicators show that since mid-July the virus is again circulating more actively in the region," the police said, adding that some 400 people were testing positive for Covid-19 in the region every day, with the 20-30 age group particularly affected.

People wearing protective face masks walk at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris - REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
People wearing protective face masks walk at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris - REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

03:48 PM

UK reports 55 new fatalities

The Government has announced that a total of 46,566 people have now died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Friday, up by 55 from the day before.

Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have now been 56,600 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

Here's a look at the trajectory of the UK's outbreak:

Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart - DEATHS default
Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart - DEATHS default

03:40 PM

Gaza children return to school despite virus fears 

Hundreds of thousands of children returned to school in Gaza today after a five-month suspension aimed at reining in the spread of the coronavirus in the crowded Palestinian territory.

Ziyad Thabit, undersecretary of the education ministry in the Islamist Hamas-ruled enclave, said pupils would follow a remedial curriculum throughout August and classes would be limited to four a day.

"The ministry has prepared a plan based on various scenarios for dealing with the school year," he said.

The United Nations agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, which provides education to hundreds of thousands of children in Gaza, said over 285,000 pupils had returned to its 277 schools.

In a statement, it said it has "put in place preventative measures such as providing all the necessary materials to sanitise schools" and training staff on how to use sanitation materials effectively.

It said it would cancel morning assemblies and keep children in classrooms during breaks to avoid too many pupils gathering in one place at a time and measures will be reviewed once a week.

Palestinian students attend a class at school today - AHMUD HAMS/AFP
Palestinian students attend a class at school today - AHMUD HAMS/AFP

03:19 PM

Germany includes parts of Romania and Bulgaria Covid risk areas  

In Germany the government has declared certain regions in Romania and Bulgaria as risk areas after an increase in Covid-19 infections there, amid concerns about an uptick in cases across Europe. 

Germany's foreign ministry late last night issued a warning against travelling to the Romanian regions of Arges, Bihor, Buzau, Neamt, Ialomita, Mehedinti and Timis as well as to Bulgaria's Blagoevgrad, Dobritsch and Varna regions.

Travellers entering Germany from those areas of Romania and Bulgaria, which are both members of the European Union, will face mandatory coronavirus tests. If they test positive, they will then face a two-week quarantine.

Romania, Bulgaria and most other countries in southeast Europe including Greece have so far reported relatively low numbers of Covid-19 infections compared to western Europe, while Germany has fared better than other large European countries.

As of August 8, Romania had reported 60,623 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in total during the pandemic, with 2,659 deaths, and Bulgaria 13,209 cases and 442 deaths. Germany had reported 215,097 cases and 9,167 deaths.

Germany has designated about 130 countries as high-risk, including Turkey, Egypt and the United States

03:08 PM

Afternoon update

Here's a quick summary of today's coronavirus developments since our last update at 12:05pm:

  • Randox Laboratories has been instructed by the UK medicines regulator to recall up to 741,000 coronavirus test kits from the national test and trace programme as a "precautionary measure" amid safety concerns (see 2:17pm). 

  • Young people in Preston are being targeted with a "don't kill Granny" message to slow the spread of coronavirus after the area had lockdown restrictions imposed. But residents of the city have said they think it is unlikely that everyone will heed the new measures and pubs were still packed last night.

  • Thousands of NHS workers have taken to the streets across the UK to demand better wages for staff left "on their knees" by the coronavirus pandemic (see 2:29pm).

  • Elsewhere in the world, the Covid-19 death toll is set to hit 100,000 in Brazil today, but most Brazilian cities are reopening shops and dining even though the pandemic is yet to peak. In Sao Paulo residents have taken to the streets to protest against the President and pay tribute to the victims of the virus. 

  • Ukraine's government has said it has temporarily closed its border with Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, to prevent further spread of coronavirus.

  • Turkmenistan - which is 'coronavirus free', according to the government - has agreed to let the World Health Organization carry out independent sampling of virus tests after the agency expressed "serious concern" over rising pneumonia cases there.

02:52 PM

24 million children will never return to school post-Covid, UN warns

A stark warning here - the pandemic has unleashed a “generational catastrophe”, with more than one billion children in some 160 countries missing school this year, according to the United Nations. 

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, has warned that school closures as a result of Covid-19 “could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities."

He added that even before the pandemic hit, the world faced a “learning crisis” with well over 250 million children out of school and just a quarter of pupils in developing countries leaving secondary school with “basic skills”. 

But the current crisis has triggered the most severe disruption to the world’s education system in history, Mr Guterres said.

Close to 24 million children in 180 countries are at risk of dropping out of education altogether according to the UN - from pre-primary to university level - next year due to the economic repercussions of the pandemic. 

Read the full story here

High school students attend class at a school in Yangon, Myanmar - LYNN BO BO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
High school students attend class at a school in Yangon, Myanmar - LYNN BO BO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

02:39 PM

Today's coronavirus numbers - 758 new infections 

According to Public Health England, there have been another 758 infections reported in the UK in the 24 hours leading up to 9am this morning (data here). 

It brings total infections since the pandemic began in the country to 309,763, and compares to 771 new infections last Saturday. 

The data published also reveals that 181,864 tests were processed in the last 24 hours - though the number of people tested is not shared.

02:34 PM

Sorry Boris, lifting weights won’t get us out and about

The Prime Minister seems baffled that we’ve all grown used to staying indoors, writes Charlotte Lytton:

Have the confidence to go back to work! Power up the economy! Wave some dumbbells around your local gym while wearing a suit! All messages relayed in recent days by the Prime Minister, who appears confused by the fact that, after months of government-decreed inertia, people aren’t rushing to get on board with his hasty about-turn.

Like much of their response to this pandemic, this sudden acknowledgement that we need to once again engage with life beyond our front doors is too little, too late. For after months of being told that the outside world is a war zone, that all but essential trips are tantamount to a death sentence for the vulnerable, that those who really care must stay in, mask up and shut up, is it any wonder the messaging has stuck?

Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak et al might think a few cheesy photo opportunities can unpick the agoraphobia rendering parts of England a ghost island, but they would do far better to accept this current crisis of confidence is one of their own creation.

Read the full article here

02:24 PM

Malta urges the UK to 'analyse the figures intelligently' amid Covid-19 spike

Malta has made a plea to the UK not remove it from the 'green list' of quarantine-exempt countries, despite a rise in the number of Covid-19 infections. Its 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 residents currently stands at 33 (it is 14.3 for the UK). 

In a statement, the Malta Tourism Association (MTA) said:

"Tourism is important for us, but the safety of our people and the people who visit us is more important and we would never put people in jeopardy.

The small number of cases in Malta vis-a-vis the size of the population can easily give a skewed impression of the actual situation, more so if the numbers are seen out of context.

We trust that all governments will analyse the figures intelligently and we are open to all discussions to ensure that we can mitigate any concern. Malta in fact has one of the highest, if not the highest testing rates in Europe."

Follow all the latest travel news over on our travel liveblog

02:12 PM

Coronavirus in pictures

Here's a look at the pandemic across the globe today:

Changi airport, Singapore

A Vietnamese woman carries a stuffed animal while boarding a repatriation flight from Singapore to Vietnam amid spread of the coronavirus outbreak - REUTERS/Mai Nguyen
A Vietnamese woman carries a stuffed animal while boarding a repatriation flight from Singapore to Vietnam amid spread of the coronavirus outbreak - REUTERS/Mai Nguyen

 Sao Paulo, Brazil:

Ballet Paraisopolis dancers return to class under precautionary measures after the Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown in Sao Paulo - Fernando Bizerra/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Ballet Paraisopolis dancers return to class under precautionary measures after the Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown in Sao Paulo - Fernando Bizerra/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

New York, US:

U.S. Military Academy (USMA) cadets wear protective face masks as they gather their gear after training - REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. Military Academy (USMA) cadets wear protective face masks as they gather their gear after training - REUTERS/Mike Segar

 Manila, Philippines:

 Filipinos hoping to go back home to their provinces but were left stranded after the government reimposed a coronavirus lockdown queue for free meals from volunteers as they wait outside the closed ticketing office of a ferry company - Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
Filipinos hoping to go back home to their provinces but were left stranded after the government reimposed a coronavirus lockdown queue for free meals from volunteers as they wait outside the closed ticketing office of a ferry company - Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

02:02 PM

Human traffickers exploit the pandemic to separate children from their families

According to government data obtained by the Telegraph, the number of children trafficked from Jharkhand state in India increased by over 600 per cent in April and May, during the Covid-19 lockdown, when compared to the same two months in 2019.

Joe Wallen has spoken to the victims in this dispatch - here's an extract:

The remote district of East Singhbhum in India’s northern Jharkhand state was one of the nation’s poorest even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

Families living in thatched-roof homes – unique to the forested region – struggled to feed their children, earning only ₹4,000 (£41) a month as agricultural labourers. 

These impoverished villages had long been a target for human traffickers, promising lucrative jobs in India’s megacities for children – who would then disappear without a trace.

On March 27, Anjali Munda*, 15, and her parents were approached by a seemingly trusted neighbour who offered Anjali a job in a recruitment agency in New Delhi, India’s sprawling capital.

The neighbour said Anjali would send home ₹7,000 (£73) a month and the opportunity would transform the desperate family’s fortunes.

Her excited parents naively agreed and waved Anjali off on a goods truck but instead of being taken to New Delhi, she was trafficked to the town of Saraikela, some 100 kilometres from her village.

01:50 PM

England: 15 additional fatalities

A further 15 people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,401, according to NHS England figures. 

The patients were aged between 67 and 100 years old and all had known underlying health conditions apart from one 91-year-old.

Twelve deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

The region with the highest number of deaths was the North East & Yorkshire with eight.

There were no deaths reported in the North West, where local lockdown measures in place in Greater Manchester and parts of east Lancashire were extended on Friday to include Preston.

01:41 PM

Parents rush to enrol children in private schools in US

Private schools across the US have reported a dramatic increase in applications from parents concerned their children will miss out next term as public schools remain closed over coronavirus concerns.

Public school districts in California, Virginia, Washington DC and other parts of the country, have announced they will not be offering in-person learning when school starts later this month.

Independent schools, however, have largely been able to adjust to social distancing requirements with larger campuses and smaller class sizes.

The National Association of Independent Schools says enrolment is usually completed by summer, but many private schools have made exceptions to allow in more students due to the high demand. 

Some have even increased financial aid to help those unable to afford the fees, which can range from $20,000 (£15,000) anywhere up to $50,000 a year.

Josie Ensor has more on this story here.

01:29 PM

In pictures: NHS staff protest in Glasgow

Hundreds of NHS Scotland staff fell silent to remember colleagues lost during the coronavirus pandemic at a protest over pay in Glasgow city centre this morning. 

The demonstration was just one of dozens planned across the country (see 12:27pm for the London protest) in response to a UK Government pay rise announcement which campaigners say excludes "a massive number of healthcare workers".

Many of those at the demonstration in Glasgow Green held banners and signs along with two-metre lengths of blue ribbon to emphasise social distancing, with action also taking place in Edinburgh on this morning.

NHS workers Glasgoe - Jane Barlow/PA
NHS workers Glasgoe - Jane Barlow/PA
Nurses and other frontline NHS workers stage a protest Glasgow Green - Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Nurses and other frontline NHS workers stage a protest Glasgow Green - Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

01:17 PM

UK orders recall of 741,000 coronavirus testing kits over safety concerns 

Some more details here on a story we posted about at 11:16am. Randox Laboratories, a Northern Ireland-based medical technology company, has been instructed by the UK's medicines regulator to recall up to 741,000 coronavirus test kits from the national test and trace programme as a precautionary measure.

The government had on July 15 instructed the programme, run by the NHS, to stop using the kits, citing concerns that they may not meet required safety standards.

"The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has instructed Randox to recall all Randox test kits from NHS Test and Trace testing settings," the ministry of health said in a statement on Friday.

The ministry said the decision had been taken as a "precautionary'' measure. The risk to safety was low and test results from Randox kits were not affected, it said.

Up to 741,000 unused Randox kits are estimated to be in the system, either at warehouses, at care homes or at private homes. The ministry gave instructions on how to return them.

Randox said the recall was a "regulatory measure" that applied only to sample collection kits within the NHS programme. Private customers or kits were not affected, it said.

01:06 PM

London: Temporary mortuary to be transformed into wildflower meadow

A temporary mortuary will be turned into a wildflower meadow as a tribute to those who have died in the pandemic.

The site at Wanstead Flats in east London, one of six emergency mortuaries to be erected at the peak of the health crisis, was opened in April to help store bodies of Covid-19 victims.

However, as the death rate has fallen, the decision has been taken to dismantle the building so the four-acre spot near Epping Forest can be "reseeded with native species".

Wild flowers including sheep's sorrel, ox-eye daisy, common knapweed and heather will be planted, as well as grasses including fescues, bents and rare heath grass and mat-grass.

The City of London Corporation, which owns the land, said it expects to open the meadow to the public next summer.

Phoebe Southworth has all the details on this story here

12:57 PM

US warns Americans to 'exercise increased caution' in New Zealand

All things considered, a slightly strange story here via my Giovanni Torre: The US government has issued a warning to its citizens to “exercise increased caution in New Zealand due to Covid-19”, despite the fact New Zealand has been lauded globally for its response to the pandemic.

The US has recorded almost five million coronavirus cases and more than 160,000 deaths from Covid-19.

By contrast, New Zealand currently has only 23 cases, all of which are in managed isolation. On June 8, Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, declared the pandemic over as community transmission has been eliminated.

The warning on the US government travel advice website does not mention this fact or that each active case involves a returned traveller who went directly into quarantine on arrival. Until Thursday, the warning also did not mention that anyone who is not a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand cannot enter the country.

12:49 PM

Algeria set to lift travel restrictions and shorten curfew

In Algeria the government will further ease its coronavirus lockdown tomorrow, shortening an overnight curfew and lifting some travel curbs. 

The North African country has recorded 34,155 coronavirus infections and 1,282 deaths since the pandemic hit its shores. 

In June, Algeria resumed some economic activity, mainly in the construction and public works sectors, and allowed the reopening of some businesses.

The new measures include lifting a travel ban between 29 provinces until the end of the month. A curfew for those provinces will be shortened to 11pm to 6am from 8pm to 5am during the same period, the government said.

The authorities in July ended curfew and travel restrictions for the remaining 19 provinces. 

12:38 PM

Watch: How women have led the way in the pandemic

12:26 PM

Brazil expected to hit 100,000 fatalities today as pandemic surges

The picture is far from rosy in Brazil, where the death toll from Covid-19 is set to hit 100,000 today. It's expected to climb ever higher, however, as most Brazilian cities are reopening shops and dining even though the pandemic is yet to peak.

Confronting its most lethal outbreak since the Spanish flu a century ago, Brazil reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus at the end of February. The virus took three months to kill 50,000 people, and just 50 days to kill the next 50,000.

Led by President Jair Bolsonaro, who has played down the gravity of the epidemic and fought lockdowns by local officials, Brazilians who protested nightly from their windows in the first months of the outbreak have met the grim milestone with a shrug.

"We should be living in despair, because this is a tragedy like a world war. But Brazil is under collective anesthesia," Dr. José Davi Urbaez, a senior member of the Infectious Diseases Society, told Reuters. 

He and other pubic health experts have raised the alarm that Brazil still has no coordinated plan to fight the pandemic, as many officials focus on "reopening," which is likely to boost circulation and worsen the outbreak.

Two health ministers, both trained doctors, have resigned over differences with Bolsonaro. The acting minister is an army general who has abandoned the call for social distancing, which experts says is essential but the president opposes.

Bolsonaro, who has called Covid-19 a "little flu," says he recovered from his own infection thanks to hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that has been proven not to work to treat Covid-19 patients - and could even make cases worse. 

"The government's message today is: 'Catch your coronavirus and if it's serious, there is intensive care.' That sums up our policy today," Dr Urbaez said. 

People attend a tribute to the 100,000 mortal victims of the coronavirus and against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, in Sao Paulo, Brazil - REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli
People attend a tribute to the 100,000 mortal victims of the coronavirus and against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, in Sao Paulo, Brazil - REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

12:13 PM

Now read this 

Looking for some meaty analysis to chew on this lunchtime? We've got you covered:

  • Mike Galsworthy: 'Long Covid' could cast a long shadow over thousands of lives

  • Bryony GordonAlcoholism is the silent pandemic that will kill more people than coronavirus

  • Charles Moore: The Germans don’t worship their health service – that’s why it’s better than ours

  • Sarah KnaptonConfusing and contradictory data is triggering pointless local lockdowns 

  • Daniel SandersonHow Nicola Sturgeon has secretly massaged Scotland’s coronavirus record

  • Jennifer Rigby: Masks, no assembly and no choir - the science behind reopening schools safely

12:05 PM

At least 17 participants of Afghan grand assembly positive for Covid-19

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, at least 17 participants of a major grand assembly have tested positive for Covid-19, officials announced today.

The high-profile gathering began in Kabul yesterday to deliberate over the fate of Taliban prisoners and the beginning of the peace process in the war-torn country. Over 3,600 people attended the gathering, known as the Loya Jirga and called by the Afghan government.

All participants were tested and 17 came back positive, said Saeed Jami, a spokesman for Afghanistan's ministry of public health. The infected individuals have been sent to the hospital quarantine and treatment, he added.

The Loya Jirga, ending on tomorrow, is to give non-binding advice to the government.

It was not immediately clear if the testing was done before or after the assembly began, but there is a fear that the infection could have spread given the size of the gathering, which took place under a tent.

Afghanistan has officially recorded 37,015 cases of the virus and 1,307 Covid-19 deaths, but officials said this week that at least 10 million people may have been infected.

11:51 AM

Johnson pledges to help Lebanon amid economic collapse, Covid-19 and the blast

Following the devastating blast in Beirut earlier this week, Boris Johnson has told Lebanon's president Michel Aoun the UK will "stand by the country in its hour of need", according to Downing Street. 

A Number 10 spokesman said the pair "discussed the urgent humanitarian, medical and reconstruction needs" of Beirut and that President Aoun "thanked the UK for the support provided to date, including the release of £5 million in emergency funding and deployment of HMS Enterprise".

"With Lebanon facing threats from a financial crisis, coronavirus and the effects of this tragic blast, they agreed to work with international partners to ensure the country's long-term recovery and rehabilitation."

The explosion at the port in Beirut, which has killed at least 135 people, is the latest crisis to hit the city - following a wave of Syrian refugees, protests against government corruption, economic collapse and also the Covid-19 pandemic, which is threatening to overwhelm the health system. 

Read more in these pieces:

11:38 AM

Death toll in Indian plane crash hits 18

The death toll from an Indian passenger aircraft accident has risen to 18, while 16 people have been seriously injured, a senior government official has said today. 

The Air India Express plane, which was repatriating Indians stranded in Dubai due to the coronavirus pandemic, overshot the runway of the Calicut International Airport in heavy rain near the southern city of Kozhikode yesterday. It was India's worst passenger aircraft accident since 2010.

The flight was carrying 190 passengers and crew and the plane's pilot and the co-pilot were killed in the accident, K Gopalakrishnan, chief of the Malappuram district in the southern state of Kerala, told Reuters.

All survivors were admitted to various hospitals and were also tested for Covid-19, Gopalakrishnan said, adding that autopsies of the dead would also be carried out according to the Covid-19 protocol.

Officials inspect the wreckage of an Air India Express jet at Calicut International Airport in Karipur, Kerala - RUNCHANDRA BOSE/AFP via Getty Images
Officials inspect the wreckage of an Air India Express jet at Calicut International Airport in Karipur, Kerala - RUNCHANDRA BOSE/AFP via Getty Images

11:27 AM

In pictures: Protesters call for better pay in the NHS

Hundreds of people have converged on central London to march for fair pay for NHS staff and recognition of their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Crowds gathered on Horse Guards Parade ahead of the protest as a samba band led people in chants of "one two three four five, keep our NHS alive":

NHS national pay protest - Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
NHS national pay protest - Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
NHS staff protest - EUTERS/Simon Dawson
NHS staff protest - EUTERS/Simon Dawson
NHS staff strike - ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images
NHS staff strike - ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images

11:15 AM

The latest from Preston: 

Preston residents are continuing to react to thew news that tougher restrictions have been imposed in the city - with some suggesting they're unsure people will pay any attention as the Preston's pubs still appeared to be full hours after the announcement.

The new restrictions came into force at midnight on Friday and mean residents cannot have other people in their homes and gardens, cannot visit others' homes or gardens, even if they are in an unaffected area, and are not permitted to mix with other households in indoor venues.

Social bubbles are exempt from the restrictions, and residents can meet in groups of up to six - or more than six if exclusively from two households - in outdoor areas such as parks and beer gardens.

Households can also visit indoor hospitality venues, as long as they do not mix with others.

Hannah Heaton, 28, said she thought the new restrictions were confusing and contradictory, adding:

"It doesn't make sense that you can't go to houses but you can meet people outside or go to pubs. My grandparents rely on me to help them and now going to see them has been taken away from me.

"There's nothing I can do about it. I think certain people haven't been taking it seriously because they don't think it will affect them."

Venkata Reddy Nallamilli, 59, and wife Padma, 48, said they did not think people had been following social distancing advice since lockdown restrictions had been eased. Mr Nallamilli said:

"After lockdown people have not been maintaining social distancing or wearing masks.

"When I go to Sainsbury's I see people not wearing masks and the staff aren't enforcing it. Some people are not taking it seriously."

11:05 AM

Morning recap

Just joining us? Here's a quick look at the key stories to be aware of this morning since our last summary at 8:39am. 

  • Young people in Preston are being targeted with a "don't kill Granny" message to slow the spread of coronavirus after the area had lockdown restrictions imposed. Data suggests almost half of new infections in the city are in people younger than 30. 

  • From today, face masks are compulsory in most indoor settings in Britain - including cinemas, galleries and places of worship (see 10:10am).

  • Senior Tory MPs have condemned the Government for their "unfair" lack of clarity over the possible implementation of further quarantine restrictions (see here).

  • A flight carrying Indians stranded abroad by coronavirus skidded off a runway and split in half, killing at least 18 people. It comes after India hit another grim milestone yesterday when authorities reported more than two million cases.

  • France and Germany have quit talks on reforming the World Health Organization in frustration at attempts by the United States to lead the negotiations.

  • Australia's Queensland state has closed road access from neighboring New South Wales because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Scroll down for all the latest developments.

10:54 AM

Watch: Schools minister on safety in classrooms and post-holiday quarantines

10:43 AM

Gatwick puts terminal on ice as axe falls on thousands of British Airways staff

In the latest travel news - Gatwick Airport's South Terminal could remain shut until next summer, bosses warned, as British Airways launched a wave of job cuts.

The country's second-largest airport this week told staff that one of its two terminals may not reopen for a year and redundancies are likely after hopes of a recovery were crushed by new travel restrictions.

In a live-streamed "town hall" meeting with staff on Monday, chief executive Stewart Wingate said the South Terminal cannot return to full operations until carriers' schedules are restored, employees said.

It came as BA began telling thousands of its workers whether they will lose their jobs in a wave of brutal cutbacks.

Our travel liveblog has more updates. 

10:30 AM

Germany and France quit WHO reform talks

France and Germany have quit talks on reforming the World Health Organization in frustration at attempts by the United States to lead the negotiations, despite its decision to leave the WHO, three officials have told Reuters.

Here's an extract of their report:

The move is a setback for President Donald Trump as Washington, which holds the rotating chair of the G7, had hoped to issue a common roadmap for a sweeping overhaul of the WHO in September, two months before the U.S. presidential election.

The United States gave the WHO a year’s notice in July that it is leaving the UN agency - which was created to improve health globally - after Trump accused it of being too close to China and having mishandled the coronavirus pandemic.

The WHO has dismissed his accusations. European governments have also criticised the WHO but do not go as far as the United States in their criticism, and the decision by Paris and Berlin to leave the talks follows tensions over what they say are Washington’s attempts to dominate the negotiations.

“Nobody wants to be dragged into a reform process and getting an outline for it from a country which itself just left the WHO,” a senior European official involved in the talks said.

10:16 AM

750,000 unused Randox Covid testing kits recalled

The BBC's Hugh Pym has reported that hundreds of thousands of coronavirus testing kits produced by Randox have been recalled by the UK medicines regulator due to safety concerns.

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency issued the recall notice last night, telling individuals and organisations to “discontinue use of and quarantine any stock of the Randox Covid-19 home testing kit immediately.”

“The risk to safety is low and test results from Randox kits are not affected,” the MHRA added in a statement. The kits will be returned to the manufacturer.

10:08 AM

Councils demand new powers to curb virus

Councils have demanded new powers to close down pubs and clubs that are fueling the spread of Covid-19 by breaching social distancing rules.  

The Local Government Association (LGA) says there is evidence of pubs and clubs flouting the rules by cramming in drinkers and failing to record details of their customers. 

It follows an outbreak in Staffordshire when a pub failed to take customers' names - meaning they cannot be traced - after hundreds were crammed in and ten people caught the virus.  

The LGA has urged the Government to rewrite the Licensing Act so that pubs or clubs could be closed down if they were judged to pose a risk to public health because of their lax approach to social distancing.  

09:53 AM

Today in pictures

Here's a glimpse of life across the globe amid the pandemic.

Bangkok, Thailand:

Students eat their lunch, separated from each other by plastic sheets in Bangkok - DIEGO AZUBEL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Students eat their lunch, separated from each other by plastic sheets in Bangkok - DIEGO AZUBEL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

 Sao Paulo, Brazil:

People attend a tribute to the 100 thousand mortal victims of Covid-19 and against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro - REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli
People attend a tribute to the 100 thousand mortal victims of Covid-19 and against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro - REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

Gauhati, India:

An Indian health worker helps another wear protective gear before proceeding to take nasal swab samples to test for COVID-19 - AP Photo/Anupam Nath
An Indian health worker helps another wear protective gear before proceeding to take nasal swab samples to test for COVID-19 - AP Photo/Anupam Nath

09:46 AM

Turkmenistan to let WHO conduct independent coronavirus sampling 

The World Health Organization has secured permission to conduct independent sampling in Turkmenistan, which has insisted that it is "coronavirus-free". 

It comes as the organisation expressed "serious concern" over rising pneumonia cases in the secretive gas-rich country. Health is an important feature of state propaganda in ex-Soviet Turkmenistan, which has also claimed in the past to have zero cases of HIV/Aids.

Hans Kluge, the WHO's Europe director, tweeted yesteday that the United Nations health body had "expressed serious concern about (a rise) in Covid-19 negative pneumonia" in Turkmenistan during a Friday call with Turkmenistan's leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov .

He added that the WHO urged a team to sample independently coronavirus tests in-country and take them to WHO reference labs - which the president agreed to.

Last month a WHO mission visited the Central Asian state and advised the country to adopt measures including contact tracing "as if Covid-19 were already circulating" but stopped short of saying that it thought the government was covering up coronavirus cases (we have details of the trip here).

Turkmenistan has since implemented a nationwide lockdown and warned citizens to wear masks, citing "dust" and "pathogens" carried by wind, rather than the virus.

09:34 AM

Preston reacts to coronavirus restrictions

The Press Association news agency has been in Preston this morning, after new restrictions came into affect in the city at midnight last night (see 8:50am). 

One man selling face masks on the shopping street Fishergate said he suspected that many people in the area were not taking restrictions seriously. 

"You see the older people wearing masks but the younger ones don't," he said. "The problem is in the pubs and they don't wear masks there."

Another resident, Charlene Gardner, 38, added that she was pleased with the Government's response:

"I was happy the restrictions were brought in because I think we do need the police to get involved. The pubs around us were still 30 or 40 deep outside last night.

"It won't mean any changes for us because we haven't been seeing family anyway but I saw some reaction online last night and I think a lot of people aren't going to listen to it."

09:21 AM

Record increase in infections in the Czech Republic

Some worrying news from the Czech Republic, which has recorded its biggest daily rise in new coronavirus cases since April 3, the health ministry reported today.

The central European country of 10.7 million recorded 323 new cases yesterday, bringing the total number of cases detected to 18,060. Of those, 12,749 have 'recovered' and 389 have died of Covid-19.

Health officials have said the recent uptick in cases is due to local clusters and they say hospitalisations, at 116, are well below peaks of over 400 as the government seek to avoid a national lockdown again.

However, officials have cautioned that some measures taken to curb the illness are likely to return after the summer holidays when cities become more crowded again and the flu season arrives.

The rising number of cases in the Czech Republic prompted Norway this week to re-impose a 10-day quarantine for travellers from the country.

09:10 AM

Mask rules for museums, cinemas and places of worship come into effect

As of today the face mask rule has been extended in England - meaning coverings are now mandatory in indoor places of worship; museums and galleries; public areas in hotels and hostels; bingo halls; libraries; cinemas; concert halls; crematoria, aquariums and indoor zoos.

It comes as figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that face masks are the new normal in Britain - with 96 per cent of people wearing one to leave the house.

The survey, which takes in the period from July 29 to August 2, found that 96 per cent of adults who had left their homes said they had worn a face covering to slow the spread of coronavirus – up from 84 per cent last week and 71 per cent the week before that.

Gabriella Swirling reports on the ONS figures here

A woman wearing a face mask sits on a bench the National Gallery in London - VICKIE FLORES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
A woman wearing a face mask sits on a bench the National Gallery in London - VICKIE FLORES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

08:58 AM

South Africa: Fury as corruption scandals undermine coronavirus fight

As coronavirus cases gallop through South Africa, the country’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) has been hit with a string of corruption allegations. 

When the pandemic began to spread through the country, the government put in place emergency procurement measures to ensure that the health service had a steady supply of protective clothing and gear.

But now the government’s procurement scheme has been hit by several major allegations of fraud, corruption and nepotism. 

Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko took a “leave of absence” from the government, pending investigations into allegations involving a £5million Covid-19 procurement project and her husband Thandisizwe Diko’s company, Bhaca Projects. 

Two senior ANC members connected to the City of Johannesburg were also asked to step aside while the matter is under investigation.

Another scandal is swirling around the ANC’s secretary-general and former premier of the Free State province, Ace Magashule. 

Peta Thoryncroft has the full details here

08:37 AM

Schools prepare for legal challenges to impending A level results

There has been a flurry of reports in the Saturday newspapers suggesting that concerns about exam results are escalating ahead of A level results day:

  • According to my colleagues at The Telegraph, English exam boards are coming under pressure to follow their Scottish counterparts and waive appeal fees this year to ensure fairness across socio-economic backgrounds.  Schools usually have to pay between £8 and £70 per query for GCSE and A-level re-markings.

  • The Times has reported that education lawyers are working with schools which could be hit with group appeals over results that have not been decided in the classroom this year due to Covid-19. 

  • While appeals were allowed only on technical grounds in the past, exams regulator Ofqual on Friday told The Times it would provide greater scope this year. Neil Roskilly, chief executive of the Independent Schools Association, said he is expecting a "flood of appeals" from schools - though he said individual families will still have virtually no grounds for appeal.

  • Meanwhile The Guardian front page reports that nearly 40 per cent of A-level grades submitted by teachers are to be downgraded when exam results in England are published next week, as criticism intensifies over this year's makeshift results.

08:25 AM

Africa faces a 'triple whammy of threats'

This week Africa surpassed the grim milestone of one million coronavirus infections - although, as Will Brown reports here, this is likely to be a significant underestimate. 

Initially countries across the diverse continent were largely sparred from rapidly increasing outbreaks, but now cases are growing exponentially. According to Edwin Ikhuoria, Africa Executive Director of the ONE Campaign, the country is facing a '"triple whammy of threats":

“Although Africa has been spared of the high numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases, compared to other continents, the one million mark sounds an alarming bell for the continent. To put things in perspective, that’s one in every 1,000 African citizens being confirmed to be infected by the virus.  

“While the expected total collapse of the fragile health system has not happened as predicted, Africa is still faced with a triple whammy of threats – a weakening of the already fragile health system; deepening financial pressures and liquidity crises; and food security threats. 

“The remedy to combat Covid-19 for Africa and the world still lies in the ability of global leaders to come together and implement a coordinated response.”

Family members during the funeral of an unnamed Covid-19 Coronavirus victim at a graveyard near Katlehong township in Johannesburg, South Africa - KIM LUDBROOK/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Family members during the funeral of an unnamed Covid-19 Coronavirus victim at a graveyard near Katlehong township in Johannesburg, South Africa - KIM LUDBROOK/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

08:14 AM

Britain's biggest businesses will work from home until 2021

Boris Johnson has repeatedly urged workers to return to the office, warning that "if we don't, I'm afraid we will see further job losses."

But according to a Telegraph investigation, Britain’s biggest businesses are not expecting their staff to return to the office before next year.

More than 20 of the largest companies in the country have said that the majority of their employees will continue to work from home and will do so for the “foreseeable” future.

Whilst the majority have told staff that they can come in if they wish, some are actively discouraging employees from attending the office.

Hayley Dixon and Dominic Penna have the full story here

08:01 AM

Down under: Australia shuts some interstate road links 

In Australia, Queensland state has closed road access from neighboring New South Wales for the second time during the coronavirus outbreak amid concerns of a rising number of infections. 

Only essential workers and locals living along the boundary will be allowed to enter Queensland going forward - police say nearly 150 people had been turned away in the early hours of the shutdown.

Queensland's chief health officer has declared New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, which contains the national capital of Canberra, to be coronavirus hot spots. 

The Queensland government said it will review the border closure at the end of August. The state has had few new Covid-19 cases in the past month.

Here's a look at the trajectory of Australia's epidemic - cases have been on the rise after a surge in infections in Victoria state, which authorities are struggling to stem:

Coronavirus Australia Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Australia Spotlight Chart - Cases default

07:50 AM

What's happening in Preston?

Yesterday Matt Hancock revealed that restrictions in east Lancashire, Greater Manchester and parts of west Yorkshire would stay in place for at least another week, "as the data does not yet show a decrease in the transmission of this terrible virus".

But he also announced that residents in Preston will also see restrictions reintroduced, including a bank on different households meeting indoors and in gardens, as of last night at midnight. 

The council had already asked residents to follow extra precautions in a bid to halt the spread of the virus - and this morning the chief executive of Preston City Council said his message to young people was "don't kill granny". 

The rate of new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population in Preston has jumped from 21.7 in the seven days to July 28 to 42.6 in the week up to August 4, according to new Public Health England data. The city reported 61 new case in the seven days to August 4.

07:39 AM

Today's top stories

The Telegraph's front page splash today focuses on the uncertainty around international travel.

MPs have warned that holidaymakers are being “left in the dark” by a “grossly unfair” lack of transparency on quarantine restrictions, amid fears France will be placed on the Government's red list led some to cancel their trips (full story here):

 Other key stories to be aware of this morning:

06:45 AM

Preston youth told 'don't kill granny'

The chief executive of Preston City Council has deployed a "don't kill granny" message to young people to slow the spread of coronavirus after the area had lockdown restrictions reimposed.

Adrian Phillips told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I know our director of public health has said 'don't kill granny' to young people to try and focus the message.

"Young people are inevitably among the brave and the bold, they want to be adventurous and out and about but we know that they have the virus, are more likely to at the moment, they often have less symptoms but they do take it back to their household and the community spread we are seeing we believe in many cases are young people taking it home and catching the virus."

Read more: What are the local lockdown rules in Manchester, Preston, Aberdeen, Kirklees and Bradford?

04:54 AM

Infections continue to surge in India

India has recorded 933 fatalities in the past 24 hours as fresh infections surged by another 61,537 cases to reach nearly 2.1 million.

The Health Ministry says the total deaths touched 42,518, including more than 20,000 in the past 30 days. An average of around 50,000 new cases are reported each day since mid-June.

The ministry asked state authorities to test grocery shop workers and street vendors, saying that if undetected they can potentially spread infection to a large number of people.

India has the third-highest caseload in the world after the United States and Brazil. It has the fifth-most deaths but its fatality rate of about 2 per cent is far lower than the top two hardest-hit countries.

Even as India has maintained comparatively low mortality rates, the disease has spread widely across the country.

A vendor waits for customers inside a crowded fish market, after authorities eased lockdown restrictions - Reuters
A vendor waits for customers inside a crowded fish market, after authorities eased lockdown restrictions - Reuters

03:18 AM

New Zealand PM launches 'Covid election campaign'

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Saturday launched her re-election campaign promising a "laser-like" focus on boosting jobs and economic growth hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The charismatic 40-year-old leader is on track for a comfortable victory in the Sept. 19 election, according to opinion polls, having won global praise for her leadership during the  pandemic.

It has been 99 days since New Zealand had any domestic transmission, a rare achievement as the pandemic rages globally, and it has re-opened the economy after undergoing a complete shutdown to eradicate the coronavirus.

"When people ask, is this a Covid election, my answer is yes, it is," Ms Ardern told her supporters gathered in Auckland for the launch of her Labour Party's re-election campaign.

In her first campaign speech, Ms Ardern pledged a NZ$311 million (£157.5 million) scheme aimed at getting 40,000 Kiwis back in work, if her party wins the polls.

Read more: US warns Americans to 'exercise increased caution' in New Zealand due to Covid-19

Coronavirus Live Tracker promo embed
Coronavirus Live Tracker promo embed

02:25 AM

In pictures: Children in the time of Covid

Children queue for free coronavirus disease swab testing at a gymnasium in Navotas City, Metro Manila, Philippines - Reuters
Children queue for free coronavirus disease swab testing at a gymnasium in Navotas City, Metro Manila, Philippines - Reuters
Children talk while wearing masks to protect themselves in Havana, Cuba - Yander Zamora/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Children talk while wearing masks to protect themselves in Havana, Cuba - Yander Zamora/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Children, who had not been wearing protective facemasks, wear masks just provided to them by the White House - Reuters
Children, who had not been wearing protective facemasks, wear masks just provided to them by the White House - Reuters
A teacher wearing a biosecurity suit gives a class to a girl at home in Cali, Colombia - AFP
A teacher wearing a biosecurity suit gives a class to a girl at home in Cali, Colombia - AFP

02:15 AM

Deaths in Australian state include another man in his 30s

The Australian state of Victoria recorded 466 new cases and 12 deaths, including another man in his 30s.

The figures were released as the city of Melbourne remained in lockdown and under an overnight curfew.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said that six of the deaths were connected to outbreaks at aged care facilities.

On Friday, when the state reported 450 new cases and 11 deaths, the chief health officer said the infection rate in the hard-hit state had been "relatively flat" in the past week. That was down from a record 725 infections reported a week earlier

The deaths announced Saturday took the state's toll to 193 and the figure for deaths in Australia to 278.

Victorian Police officers and ADF personnel are seen along Bourke street in Melbourne - JAMES ROSS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Victorian Police officers and ADF personnel are seen along Bourke street in Melbourne - JAMES ROSS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

01:53 AM

Trump says he will extend unemployment benefits

President Donald Trump said he will use an executive order to extend unemployment benefits until the end of the year.

The president said he would also consider continuing other coronavirus aid if no deal can be reached with Democrats on a new spending bill.

Congress is locked in a bipartisan row over another stimulus bill and a package of measures to help the American economy which has been ransacked by the Covid-19 outbreak. A last-ditch effort by Democrats to revive talks collapsed on Friday, making it increasingly likely that Washington gridlock will mean more hardship for millions of people who are losing enhanced jobless benefits.

Read more: Trump wants to extend coronavirus aid package

12:20 AM

'67,000 lives could be saved if everyone in US wore a mask'

Around 67,000 lives in America could be saved by December if mask wearing became universal, according to projections from an influential coronavirus model.

The estimate came from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation IHME, a model which at times has been cited by the White House.

IHME now projects that by December 1, on the current trajectory, around 295,000 people will have died from Covid-19 in America. That is based on the assumption that around 50 per cent of people wear masks when they go outside. If that became 95 per cent, the estimate changes. Under that scenario of universal mask wearing the model projects that around 228,000 Americans will have died by December 1 - some 67,000 fewer deaths.

Read more: 'Thousands of lives could be saved if more Americans wore masks'

Donald Trump has begun wearing a face mask in public in recent weeks - REUTERS
Donald Trump has begun wearing a face mask in public in recent weeks - REUTERS

11:05 PM

Anger over 'red-listing' of countries grows

Holidaymakers are being “left in the dark” by a “grossly unfair” lack of transparency on quarantine restrictions, MPs have warned as fears France will be placed on the Government's red list led some to cancel their trips.

In the latest blow to summer breaks, rising cases in the country have sparked concerns it will be added to the list of destinations requiring holidaymakers to quarantine for 14 days on their return to Britain, following the addition of Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas from Saturday and Spain at the end of last month.  

If such restrictions were brought in, an estimated million British travellers could be affected, with around half a million believed to already be in the country and a similar number set to head to France before the end of the month.

Read more: Holidaymakers 'left in the dark'

Rising cases in France have sparked concerns that it will be added to the quarantine list - EPA
Rising cases in France have sparked concerns that it will be added to the quarantine list - EPA

11:00 PM

Today's top stories