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Live Reporting

Edited by Sean Fanning

All times stated are UK

  1. Record number of new infections in Argentina

    Demonstrators take part in a protest against the national government and the quarantine measures in the city of Buenos Aires, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Buenos Aires obelisk, Argentina August 17, 2020.

    Copyright: Reuters

    Image caption: Ten days ago, thousands of Argentines defied lockdown measures to take to the streets in ant-government protests

    Argentina has for the first time registered more than 10,000 new daily coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.

    The health authorities said on Wednesday that the number of infections registered in the past 24 hours was 10,550, up from 8,871 on Tuesday.

    It has not been a good week for Argentina, which on Monday had its highest daily death toll with 381 Covid-related fatalities.

    A strict lockdown imposed early on in the pandemic kept the number of cases relatively low in Argentina for months, especially compared with its neighbour Brazil, but its infection curve is now rising steeply.

    The government said it would announce in the next 48 hours what measures it would take to curb the recent spike.

  2. Why we still need to worry about flu this winter

    A woman sneezing

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Health officials are ramping up efforts to ensure everyone who needs a flu vaccine has one.

    The UK’s largest flu-immunisation programme so far will see 30 million people offered the vaccine.

    But new analysis by the BBC has found the take-up rate among those in vulnerable groups eligible for a free jab has declined in recent years.

    Experts are concerned a big flu season combined with coronavirus could overwhelm hospitals.

    Our health team have looked at what the UK is doing to combat this.

  3. Virus surge starts to ease in Australian epicentre

    Melbourne lockdown

    Copyright: EPA

    The number of new cases in the Australian state of Victoria is easing, with the state reporting its lowest one-day rise in new cases in almost two months.

    The state recorded 113 new cases in the past 24 hours, the lowest single-day increase since 5 July.

    Victoria, which is the epicentre of the country’s second surge of infections, is currently in lockdown, with the city of Melbourne under stricter restrictions than the rest of the state.

    Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews says they’re now planning how to ease restrictions when Melbourne’s lockdown is due to end in September.

    “Hopefully soon we’ll see those numbers in double digits and we can have… a really clear discussion about what the back end of September looks like,” Andrews told reporters.

  4. China is already vaccinating workers

    Robin Brant

    BBC News, Beijing

    Stock image of vaccine

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Earlier this month, the head of a well-known, privately-owned Chinese conglomerate told his staff that a vaccine for Covid-19 was expected to come to market by November.

    The boss, whose firm has a healthcare division, said that he saw it as a portent of economic recovery; a chance for his firms to sell more, according to a person privy to the comments.

    Within a few weeks the Chinese government was forced to go public with its apparent progress.

    The novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 originated in humans in China, before it spread ceaselessly across the world. Now China is using its global footprint in a relentless effort to win the race to develop and deploy an effective vaccine.

    Last week one of the developmental vaccines was pictured in state-run media; a small branded box was shown, held up by a smiling woman in a lab.

    Sinopharm said it hopes to have it ready to go on sale by December. It even named a price, equivalent to about $140 (£106).

    Read more about this here

  5. Gaza lockdown extended for three days

    Streets of Gaza empty during lockdown

    Copyright: EPA

    Authorities in the Gaza Strip have extended the lockdown there for another three days – meaning mosques, schools and many businesses will remain closed, and people will continue to be urged to only leave home for essential reasons.

    A 48-hour curfew was imposed earlier this week after the first Covid-19 infections were found among the general population. Since then, two patients have died and about 20 other cases have been recorded, some of them at the main hospital.

    Aid agencies say Gaza’s two million residents of the strip were already under strain, as not only is there a long-running blockade by Egypt and Israel, but electricity supplies have been slashed to just a few hours a day.

  6. Warnings of ‘ghost towns’ if UK staff do not return to the office

    City centre

    Copyright: Getty Images

    City centres could become “ghost towns” if the prime minister does not do more to encourage workers to go back to the office, the head of the CBI says.

    Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said allowing staff to work from home had helped keep firms afloat during the pandemic.

    But as offices stood empty, thousands of local businesses that relied on the passing trade were suffering, she said.

    It comes as a BBC study found 50 major UK employers had no plans to return all staff to the office full time.

    Read more.

  7. UK flu jab rates prompt complacency warning

    Flu jab

    Copyright: SERGEI BOBYLEV

    Complacency in the UK over the flu jab risks overwhelming the NHS, experts have warned, as data reveals the scale of the challenge in expanding the vaccination programme.

    Last month, the government announced plans to double the amount of people who receive the influenza jab.

    But BBC analysis has found the take-up rate among those people in vulnerable groups eligible for a free jab has declined in recent years.

    Asked about the figures on BBC Breakfast, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said England would have “the biggest flu vaccination programme ever” this autumn to avoid a flu outbreak at the same time as dealing with coronavirus.

    He said the government was “targeting efforts” at getting as many over-65s and those with underlying health conditions vaccinated as possible, and the programme would be extended to those aged 50-64 “if we have enough”.

    Read more.

  8. Spike in infections in several European countries

    Tourists are being given Covid-19 tests in Croatia, which has seen its highest infection rates so far

    Copyright: EPA

    Image caption: Tourists are being given Covid-19 tests in Croatia, which has seen its highest infection rates so far

    From France, Italy and Spain to Switzerland and Croatia, new infections are rising in what some fear is a resurgence of the pandemic as governments try to manage the return to school.

    • France has recorded 5,429 new cases in 24 hours – the highest number since the mass rollout of Covid testing. Prime Minister Jean Castex says the state has its part to play but “everyone has to feel involved in fighting the epidemic”. He’s giving an update later this morning
    • Italy has seen a surge in cases with 1,367 reported new infections on Wednesday and 13 deaths
    • Spain’s regional leaders will meet health and education officials to co-ordinate the return to school as infections continue to rise – 3,594 in 24 hours. Madrid is the worst affected region but Andalusia in the far south has recorded its highest figure of 846 cases since March
    • Summer tourism is key to Croatia’s economy but it’s also brought a steep rise in infection – a record 358 new cases in this country of 4.2 million people.
    • As Swiss infections reach their highest number since April, the city with the biggest problem is Zurich. Face-coverings in the city’s clubs are being made compulsory for parties with more than 100 people under the slogan “no mask, no party”.
  9. CDC boss defends controversial guidance change

    testing in new york

    Copyright: Getty Images

    We reported yesterday that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had quietly changed its guidance on testing, to say that people who’ve come into contact with someone confirmed to have the virus now don’t need to get tested themselves.

    Now CDC Director Dr Robert Redfield has defended that decision, telling US media that the new guidelines, which were “co-ordinated in conjunction with the White House Coronavirus Task Force”, had “received appropriate attention, consultation and input from task force experts”.

    The change has come as confirmed daily new cases of the virus fall in the US.

    However, experts say this is at least partly due to a fall in the rate of testing.

  10. India hits another record for new cases

    Krutika Pathi

    BBC News, Delhi

    Children in Jammu waiting for Covid tests

    Copyright: EPA

    India reported a new record of daily infections on Wednesday as
    more than 76,000 tested positive across the country. Simultaneously, fatalities
    also crossed 60,000 yesterday, which means the South Asian country has the
    fourth highest death toll in the world.

    India has confirmed more than
    three million cases so far, with the latest million taking just 15 days to
    reach. In comparison, the country took 21 days to confirm two million cases and
    167 days to reach the first million.

    When India first went into a strict lockdown in March,
    it was clear that the urban and metropolitan cities were at the centre of the
    outbreak.

    While that continues to be the case, experts have started to warn
    that the virus is slowly spreading into more far-flung and rural parts of the
    country. Most recently, a remote tribe in India’s
    Andamans archipelago became the latest to record its first cases of the virus.

    But India’s
    government has consistently pointed towards a high recovery rate as a sign of
    success in its battle against Covid-19. For every 100 infected, approximately
    76 have recovered, contributing to a low case fatality ratio of around 1.8%.

  11. Rolls-Royce reports record loss as travel slumps

    Plane

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Engineering giant Rolls-Royce, which makes jet engines, has reported record losses after the pandemic caused demand for air travel to slump.

    The firm reported a pre-tax loss of £5.4bn for the first half of this year.

    On Wednesday, it confirmed plans to close factories in Nottinghamshire and Lancashire, as part of plans to cut 3,000 jobs across the UK.

    The move is part of a previously announced cost-cutting exercise that will see the company slash its global workforce by a fifth, following the drastic fall in air travel because of the coronavirus outbreak.

    Read more.

  12. Health secretary defends self-isolation payment

    Matt Hancock

    Copyright: BBC

    The health secretary has defended a scheme offering workers on low incomes in parts of England where there are high rates of coronavirus up to £182 if they have to self-isolate.

    Some council leaders have said the payment is not enough of an incentive to ensure people to stay at home from work.

    But Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast the payment was in addition to other benefits people may receive and would make sure people “don’t lose out from doing the right thing”.

    He said it would initially be trialled in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham because these areas had the most “acute need” but had the potential to be rolled out further if it was successful.

  13. Latest from the UK

  14. South Korea sees highest rise in cases since 7 March

    Seoul, South Korea

    Copyright: Getty Images

    South Korea has recorded 441 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours – the highest single-day rise in new cases since 7 March.

    Of these new cases 434 were locally transmitted, and 313 were from Seoul, the health ministry says.

    More than 900 of the country’s current cases have been linked to a cluster around the Sarang-jeil church in Seoul.

    Early in the pandemic, South Korea was praised for its effective controlling of the spread of the virus, including widespread testing and thorough contact-tracing.

  15. Self-isolation payment is ‘a slap in the face’ – council leader

  16. Welcome to our live coronavirus coverage

    Testing in South Korea

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Good morning from London, where your live page team is reporting from today.

    To help you catch up, here’s a summary of the main headlines.

    • South Korea has recorded its highest single-day rise in coronavirus cases since 7 March. South Korean public health body KCDC reported 441 new cases, 434 of which were locally-transmitted
    • People on low incomes in parts of England with high rates of the virus will be paid £13 a day if they need to self-isolate, up to £182. The scheme, which will apply to people who claim Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit and can’t work from home, comes into force on Tuesday. Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham says the payment goes “nowhere near far enough”
    • US public health body the CDC has defended controversial changes to its guidelines, which now say people who come into contact with someone with the virus don’t need to get tested themselves. The CDC’s director says the changes came after “appropriate” consultation with experts
    • A remote tribe in India’s Andamans archipelago has recorded its first cases of coronavirus. Four members of the Greater Andamanese tribe have tested positive, two of whom have been admitted to hospital, a health official told the BBC
    • Flights within China are expected to fully recover by the start of September, travel data firm ForwardKeys says. This month domestic arrivals at Chinese airports reached 86% of 2019 levels
    • Victoria state in Australia, which is currently in a second lockdown, has reported 113 new cases – its lowest daily rise in nearly two months. Just a few weeks ago the state hit a one-day high of 700 new cases, but strict lockdown measures have helped ease its surge
    • There have now been more than 24.1m confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, and more than 825,000 deaths, according to the tally kept by US-based Johns Hopkins University