Cleaners wearing masks walk along Elizabeth Street in Melbourne, Australia, 03 Septemberr 2020.


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Live Reporting

Edited by Helier Cheung and Rob Corp

All times stated are UK

  1. Crisis ‘within touching distance’ in Israel’s hospitals

    Tom Bateman

    BBC Middle East correspondent

    A woman undergoes a coronavirus test at the Magen David Adom position in Jerusalem, 06 September 2020.

    Copyright: EPA

    Israel has recorded another record high in daily coronavirus infections – with 3,904 new cases on Wednesday.

    The coronavirus ‘czar’ Prof Ronni Gamzu – himself in quarantine after a colleague tested positive – will make new recommendations at a cabinet meeting with a national lockdown said to be back on the table.

    Israel was lauded in the Spring for tackling the epidemic with early action that contained the spread of infection and saw a very low death rate compared to other countries.

    Now the government is coming in for widespread criticism for losing control. A top scientist warned on Thursday that a crisis is “within touching distance” at some hospitals.

    Four hundred and seventy four patients are seriously ill while more than 1,000 people have died with the virus since the outbreak started.

    The cabinet recently imposed school closures and new nighttime restrictions in the worst affected towns. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his government is doing “everything to maintain the economy and safeguard health and lives”.

  2. Analysis: Lockdown bought time, but now for a balancing act

    Nick Triggle

    Health Correspondent

    A drive-in testing centre

    Copyright: Reuters

    Many experts believe plans to roll out mass rapid testing this winter is unrealistic. Piloting is still taking place to see if the
    technologies work – millions of tests would then need to be manufactured and

    The focus on this “moonshot” plan is perhaps a distraction
    from the difficult decisions the country faces.

    The level of infection is still low – despite the recent

    But do not expect them to stay this way.

    Respiratory viruses tend to do better in the autumn and
    winter because of the colder weather and fact people are indoors more.

    Ministers will then face the choice of more restrictions to
    try to curb the virus in the knowledge these will damage people’s health in
    other ways as well as harming education and the economy.

    Or let the virus spread, while focusing efforts on
    protecting the vulnerable – that means protecting care homes and perhaps
    reintroducing shielding.

    Lockdown bought us time, but simply deferred the problem.

    Progress has been made in the past six months – there are better
    treatments, more testing and a network of contact tracers – but perhaps not as
    much as hoped.

    The UK – like all nations – faces a tricky act of balancing

  3. London insurance market predicts £5bn Covid payout

    Lloyds of London's main hall

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Insurance market Lloyd’s of London has said it expects to pay out up to £5bn ($6.5bn) for coronavirus-related claims.

    Its chief executive John Neal said the first half of the year had been “exceptionally challenging”.

    Insurers around the world have paid out on event cancellation, travel, trade credit and business interruption policies due to the virus.

    Read more from our Business team here.

  4. Singapore to roll out contact-tracing tokens

    The TraceTogether app (bottom) on a mobile phone in Singapore. File photo

    Copyright: EPA

    Image caption: The TraceTogether app has been downloaded 2.4 million times in Singapore

    Singapore will start handing out TraceTogether contact-tracing devices nationwide next week.

    The Bluetooth-enabled tokens are aimed at people who do not own or prefer not to use a mobile phone.

    The free devices have unique QR codes and a battery life of up to nine months.

    This comes as Singapore strengthens its contact-tracing network to prepare for larger gatherings to take place as restrictions are slowly eased.

    A pilot scheme to use either the free tokens or the mobile app to check in at certain venues will also start next month. The app has been downloaded 2.4 million times.

  5. Indonesia’s capital ‘running out of isolation beds’

    Resty Woro Yuniar

    BBC News, Jakarta

    People wearing protective face masks are seen at the park amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Jakarta, Indonesia, August 22, 2020

    Copyright: Reuters

    Indonesia’s capital Jakarta will re-implement stricter social restrictions, starting on Monday, as the number of Covid-19 cases have soared in the past month.

    Governor Anies Baswedan said on Wednesday night that 77% of isolation beds in the capital are currently occupied and the city will run out of beds by 17 September. He also said that Covid-19 intensive care units in the capital would be fully occupied by 15 September if cases continue to increase.

    Stricter social restrictions will see office workers working from home; shopping centres and places of worship closed, and bigger scrutiny of traffic around the capital’s borders.

    This will also mean that non-essential industries will be shut down again, dealing another blow to an already-reeling economy that saw its biggest GDP contraction in more than two decades in the second quarter this year.

    These new measures will produced mixed feelings among Jakartans. Some agree with the strict social restrictions, but others, particularly those whose daily incomes have been affected, disagree. A large number of people are still not observing social distancing or mask wearing.

    As of Thursday, Jakarta has recorded over 50,000 Covid-19 cases, the highest number in Indonesia, and over 1,300 virus-linked deaths. Overall, Indonesia has recorded more than 207,000 Covid-19 cases and more than 8,400 virus-linked deaths, the highest coronavirus mortality rate in Southeast Asia.

  6. Harries: Mass testing will need to solve false positive problem

    Dr Jenny Harries

    Copyright: BBC

    Here’s more analysis on “Operation Moonshot” – the UK government’s plan to see millions of coronavirus tests carried out daily.

    England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries says there will be technical solutions to allow for mass testing, but it is for politicians to weigh up the costs of any new programme.

    Dr Harries said that the relevant technology would become available in the coming months, but problems such as false positives would need to be solved before any new test is rolled out.

    She said “whole mass population testing” is quite different from the testing regime available to those with symptoms in the UK at the moment.

    “The tricky thing with this is not so much the technology… the issue actually is how it gets used in practice.”

    “Although testing is really important… the issue is that if people have symptoms they need to come out of society in order to prevent disease transmission.”

  7. Risk of dying from coronavirus ‘doubles every six years’

    Nurses care for a patient in an Intensive Care ward treating victims of the coronavirus disease in Surrey

    Copyright: BBC

    The risk of dying from coronavirus “doubles every six years”, Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge, has said.

    “A 20-year-old has double the risk of a 14-year-old,” he told the BBC, adding: “It’s like a horrible form of compound interest.”

    “The real danger points, in a sense, are intergenerational meetings. At the moment, the people who are getting the virus are the 20-29s – if 5,000 get it, there may be one death if you’re unlucky, there will be other sort of long-term conditions as well.

    “But if 5,000 people my age – 67 – get it, there would be about 75 deaths, and for people older, in their 80s, it would be 10 times that many.

    “So it shows the crucial care is where the generations meet, and I think what this shows is that, for the young, anyone over 55 should be treated with caution, respect, in terms of masks and the distance and so on.”

    ‘Huge danger’

    Spiegelhalter also said Boris Johnson’s “Operation Moonshot” project – which would see millions of UK-wide tests carried out daily – could lead to hundreds of thousands of people being unnecessarily labelled as having coronavirus.

    “Statisticians are just sort of banging their heads on the wall at this, because mass screening always seems like a good idea in any disease – ‘Oh yes, let’s test everybody’. But the huge danger is false positives – no tests are perfect, it is not a simple yes/no thing.”

  8. Trump ‘deliberately played down virus to avoid panic’

    US President Donald Trump at a White House briefing in Washington. Photo: 9 September 2020

    Copyright: Reuters

    More now on a story that’s dominating news outlets in the US.

    President Donald Trump knew Covid-19 was deadlier than the flu before it hit the country, but decided to “play it down” in his public comments because he didn’t want to “create a panic”, according to a new book and taped conversations with Bob Woodward.

    Woodward, who broke the Watergate scandal and is one of the nation’s most respected journalists, interviewed Trump 18 times from December to July.

    Trump is quoted Woodward’s book Rage as telling him the virus was “deadly stuff”, in early February, before the first US death was confirmed.

    However, in the weeks that followed, Trump publicly implied the flu was more dangerous than Covid-19, and said: “Just stay calm. It will go away.”

    After details of the book emerged, Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden, described Trump’s approach as a “dereliction of duty” and “a life-and-death betrayal of the American people”.

    However, Trump has defended his position, saying on Wednesday: “I don’t want people to be frightened, I don’t want to create panic… certainly I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy.”

    Read our full story here.

  9. India sets yet another daily infections record

    Krutika Pathi

    BBC News, Delhi

    India has confirmed another record number of daily infections as it recorded 95,735 new cases in the last 24 hours.

    But the latest spike comes amid a week which has been dotted with daily infections over 90,000, representative of just how large the caseload is becoming in India.

    The rising numbers are partly explained by states across the country actively ramping up their testing – more than one million tests are being carried out every day, according to the health ministry.

    But with the country continuing to open up, it’s not surprising that cases are mounting. The capital, Delhi, just allowed bars and pubs to re-open this week and schools across India are preparing to open their doors later this month.

    With 4.4 million cases, India has the second-highest caseload after the US. But the government and some experts point to the country’s high recovery rate as a source of good news. For every 100 confirmed with the virus, nearly 78 have recovered. Consequently, active cases in the country remain low, taking up about 20.6% of total cases.

    A woman getting tested by health workers in India

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Image caption: States have ramped up testing
  10. Shapps: This is not going back into a full lockdown

    UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says that he believes the majority of people will abide by the new “rule of six” in England, the restricts gatherings to no more than six people from Monday.

    “People actually generally want to do the right thing, nobody wants to spread this around,” he told the BBC.

    The creation of coronavirus “marshals” will remind people to wear face coverings and maintain distancing with the police able to enforce the “rule of six” if needed, he said, adding: “This is not going back into a full lockdown.”

    Lisa Nandy

    Copyright: BBC

    Image caption: Lisa Nandy

    Lisa Nandy, shadow foreign secretary for the opposition Labour party, told BBC Breakfast she believed the government was right to introduce tighter coronavirus restrictions in England.

    However, she added that the timing could confuse people – with restrictions brought in with another weekend to go before they begin.

    “Most people want to do the right thing but they also need to understand what that is,” she said.

    “I think most of the public do understand that as difficult as this is we do have to make sure as we go into winter, and as the NHS is preparing for winter flu and other outbreaks, that we’ve got to make sure the NHS is protected.”

  11. UK expert suggests pausing the rush to get workers back to offices

    People wear face coverings in Blackburn

    Copyright: Reuters

    Professor Neil Ferguson, a leading epidemiologist whose modelling work was used by the UK government before the lockdown in March, has told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that coronavirus infections will rise among all age groups – not just the young.

    Prof Ferguson says contact rates have increased across all age groups in the past three weeks. “So we would expect… that infection will start propagating across all age groups,” he said.

    He pointed toward the US, where places like Florida and California saw an increase in cases among younger people followed by an uptick in deaths.

    Prof Ferguson says new measures announced in England “will take some weeks to have an effect” – he put the timescale around two to three weeks for case numbers to be impacted by the new rules on social gatherings.

    The increase in case numbers seen this week does not account for the reopening of schools, he added.

    Chart showing UK cases

    Copyright: BBC

    In recent weeks, the government had tried to encourage workers to go back to the office – but Prof Ferguson said this was a tricky balance.

    “I’m still working from home, many people I know are still working from home, and certainly I think we should hesitate and maybe pause the headlong rush to get everybody back into offices.

    “But some people have to work [away from home] and I completely understand the concerns in many quarters that everyone working at home has an economic impact, especially on city centres.”

  12. France fears local lockdowns: Latest around Europe

    A health worker, wearing a protective suit and a face mask, prepares to administer a nasal swab to a patient at a testing site for the coronavirus disease

    Copyright: Reuters

    Image caption: Several areas of France are facing a rise in cases

    French authorities are watching infection rates in about 20 cities, according to the head of France’s scientific council, Jean-François Delfraissy. In the past 24 hours 8,577 new infections have been announced and the head of the Bordeaux area in the south-west, Alain Anziani, says there’s a “strong risk” of a local lockdown. But Mr Delfraissy says everything must be done to avoid more lockdowns: “The stakes are as much about society as health.” Elsewhere in Europe:

    • Wearing masks in the Czech Republic is compulsory in enclosed spaces again from today – more than 1,000 coronavirus cases have been declared for a second day in a row
    • Spain has reported another 4,410 infections as schools restart today in several areas. Masks are obligatory for anyone aged six and over
    • Portugal has registered 646 new infections – its highest since 20 April – and ministers will decide today on new rules for a key moment next week, when children return to class.
  13. Which countries have been hit with the most deaths?

    A woman wears a face covering in Bangalore, India. File photo

    Copyright: EPA

    As we mentioned earlier, the global death toll from the coronavirus has passed 900,000, while the number of confirmed infections is nearing 28 million, based on a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

    The US is still by far the worst hit country, with more than 6.3m cases, and 190,000 deaths – more than a fifth of the total.

    Brazil is in second place with more than 128,000 deaths, followed by India with over 75,000 dead.

    Mexico and the UK have the fourth and fifth most deaths – 69,000 and 41,000 respectively.

    India in particular has been recorded more cases, and deaths, than other countries in recent days – even as some social distancing measures are being lifted.

    Chart showing cases in the US, Brazil and India

    Copyright: BBC

  14. Shapps: R number is certainly above 1 in England

    Grant Shapps

    Copyright: BBC

    More now on the new social distancing rules in England, announced yesterday, that will restrict gatherings to six people from Monday.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tells BBC Breakfast the new rule came about after extensive discussions with medical and scientific advisers.

    He concedes the advice is much simpler than previous guidance, adding “you need to set some rules and you need to stick by them”.

    It also means that he won’t be able to invite both his parents to his home from Monday, because there are five people in his household.

    Asked about gatherings such as art classes or fitness classes, Shapps says that businesses will have put in measures to ensure they are Covid-secure.

    “A professionally organised thing would be suitable but we do ask people to be very sensible and very smart about not gathering in groups more than six where it is not in a formal Covid-secure environment, like a business.”

    Shapps adds that if the public follows the new advice, the R number – the rate at which an infected person passes the virus to someone else – will come down below 1.

    “We know for certain it is somewhere above 1 because it is growing,” he says.

  15. Latest from the UK

    Meanwhile, here is a quick catch-up on coronavirus news in the UK today:

    • A leaked Whitehall document puts the cost of the plan at £100 billion – almost the cost of the entire NHS England budget, according to the BBC’s Health Editor Hugh Pym
    • Businesses and other public settings where people meet socially in England will have to record contact details of anyone on their premises from 18 September to tackle the spread of coronavirus
    • Indoor venues in Scotland, including concert halls and theatres, will learn later if they can reopen from Monday – Nicola Sturgeon is due to announce any further changes to lockdown restrictions at her coronavirus briefing

    We’re also expecting to hear from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who is facing media questions this morning, as well as Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England.

    Members of the socially distant santa school travel to Southwark Cathedral, London

    Copyright: PA Media

    Image caption: There are concerns coronavirus restrictions could dent Christmas celebrations
  16. Hello and welcome back to our live coverage

    Thanks for joining our rolling coverage of the global
    coronavirus pandemic – it’s Helier Cheung, George Bowden and Yaroslav Lukov
    with you today in London.

    Our team and BBC reporters around the globe will be bringing you
    all the latest developments – so stay with us for regular updates.

    To help you catch up,
    here are some of the main headlines from across the world:

    • Global deaths linked to Covid-19 have now passed 900,000, according to Johns Hopkins University – with the US making up more than a fifth of deaths
    • Indonesia’s capital Jakarta will bring back social distancing measures, with the governor warning of an “emergency” situation as hospitals fill up
    • The Japan Sumo Association says 18 wrestlers
      from one stable tested positive, meaning that the entire squad will miss the
      Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament starting this weekend