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The latest figures from the Department of Health show the highest level of of new cases since June 14 today, fuelling fears of a second wave of the virus.

The coronavirus death toll has climbed by 11 while the number of new Covid-19 cases was reported to be 1,441 today – a huge increase from 1,009 cases reported on Wednesday.

In hospital settings, deaths rose by nine with Scotland and Wales recording no new deaths, while England saw eight and Northern Ireland one.

In other big news today, a coronavirus vaccine could be ready by Christmas, the head of the UK Vaccine Taskforce says.

It comes as Britain signed a deal for 90 million doses of potential vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and Novavax.

Meanwhile, the UK is set to reopen casinos, bowling alleys, theatres and stadiums as it eases its lockdown on Saturday.

For more of the latest updates throughout today, follow our LIVE blog, below.

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Asda issues new face mask rules in statement after complaints from shoppers

Asda has clarified its rules on wearing face masks in stores after a shopper complained.

Shopper Eve Whitty was left “fuming” with Asda’s response to her complaints regarding face masks in her local store.

She said she “couldn’t believe how many people weren’t wearing masks” at the supermarket and went to raise her concerns with a member of staff.

Eve also approached a group of men who she described as being in their twenties to ask why they were not wearing face masks and the following day she emailed a complaint to Asda.

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Furious Brits race home from France as ‘they won’t get a penny’ for missed work

Brits racing home from France tonight branded the quarantine order ‘a fiasco’.

Ports and stations descended into chaos as tourists flocked to beat tomorrow’s 4am deadline to avoid self-isolation for two weeks.

There was also fury after travel prices soared and the Tories refused payouts for those missing work in quarantine.

Lewis Kitson, who was desperately trying to get a ferry from Calais, said: “This is a complete shambles. It’s chaos.”

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Mushroom plant hit by outbreak

A mushroom plant in Golden, Co Tipperary, has suspended operations after a number of workers tested positive for Covid-19.

In a statement, Walsh’s Mushrooms said: “Operations are being suspended after a member of staff was diagnosed with Covid-19 while in self-isolation. Subsequent testing of close contacts has resulted in further positive cases.

“As a business we have stringent measures in place to control Covid-19 since March and we have had no incidence of Covid-19 up to this point.

“We are working with the HSE and all relevant authorities assisting in contact tracing and testing of all staff. We will use the opportunity to deep clean the plant during the temporary closure. Essential maintenance will continue at the facility.

“The safety, well-being and protection of our employees, their families and the local community is our number one priority.”

France new Covid-19 cases above 2,500 for third day in a row

France declared its capital Paris and the port city of Marseille high-risk zones for coronavirus on Friday as the government reported more than 2,500 new infections for the third day in a row.

The seven-day moving average of new infections, which smoothes out reporting irregularities, increased to 2,041, doubling over the last two weeks.

This went beyond the 2,000 threshold for the first time since April 20, when France was in the middle of one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns.

Despite the rise in cases, which prompted Britain to remove France from its list of safe travel destinations, the number of people hospitalised due to the disease continued to fall, having dipped below 5,000 for the first time since mid-March on Wednesday.

The total official tally of cases now stands at 212,211.

Health ministry epidemiologist Daniel Levy-Bruhl described the situation as “worrying”, stressing the number of new cases was up sharply in all age groups but especially 25 to 35-year olds.

Because that age group is less likely to need hospital care – around the world the coronavirus has overwhelmingly killed elderly people – France’s hospital system is holding up.

The number of people in ICUs for the disease has fallen to 367, a new low since mid-March and a level almost 20 times lower than a 7,148 peak reached on April 8.

Speaking on BFM TV, Levy-Bruhl said authorities are not “presently worried by the hospital situation but we are worried of how this situation could evolve if measures are not taken to stop the increase of cases we’re witnessing”.

The daily death toll increased by 18 to 30,406 on Friday versus +17 over the last two days.

New town added to coronavirus watchlist as report shows England’s 20 worst-hit areas

A new area has been added to England’s coronavirus watchlist following a worrying rise in infections.

Newark and Sherwood in Nottinghamshire has been deemed an ‘area of concern’ in a new report released by Public Health England.

The area recorded 26.3 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people in the last seven days.

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Argentina sticks with coronavirus lockdown focused in and around Buenos Aires

Argentina extended until August 30 restrictions taken against the coronavirus, President Alberto Fernandez said today, affirming that the country’s lockdown would continue in its current form in an around capital city Buenos Aires.

The measures, which are more relaxed in less densely populated areas, had been scheduled to expire on Sunday.

“The only medicine we have found so far is to limit the movement of people and the face-to-face meeting of people as much as possible,” Fernandez said.

“The plan worked and it is working, but the risk always exists.”

Argentina has had 276,072 confirmed cases of Covid-19, 5,428 of which have been fatal. The country’s lockdown began on March 20.

Argentina and Mexico will produce the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for most of Latin America.

Its rollout is expected in the first quarter, Fernandez said.

Germany declares most of Spain a virus risk region

Germany declared nearly all of Spain, including the tourist island of Mallorca, a coronavirus risk region following a spike in cases there.

The move deals a blow to hopes for a swift revival of mass tourism after months of lockdown all but wiped out this year’s high season in Europe.

The Bild daily had reported earlier that Mallorca had been added to the list of high-risk regions published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s public health agency.

The latest version of the RKI’s list on its website said the whole of mainland Spain and the Balearic islands were risk regions. Designations as risk regions are typically followed by the German Foreign Ministry warning against tourist travel to those areas and mean people returning from there face a coronavirus test or two weeks’ compulsory quarantine.

The German government considers regions within the European Union high-risk once the number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 50 cases per 100,000 people over the course of seven days.

Infections in Spain have spiked in recent days after it ended a tough lockdown seven weeks ago. Friday’s almost 3,000 new cases, little changed from Thursday but about double the average of the first 12 days of August, brought the cumulative total to 342,813 – the highest in Western Europe.

But the Balearics have some of the lowest daily infections in Spain. After peaking at around 80 cases in July, they have come down to 9 as reported by the health ministry on Friday.

Spanish authorities earlier on Friday ordered the closure of nightclubs, banned drinking in outdoor public areas and all but outlawed smoking to try to stem the virus resurgence.

Coronavirus rule changes: What you can and can’t do from tomorrow as salons fully reopen

Indoor theatre, music and comedy performances can restart tomorrow, along with a host of beauty treatments after fresh coronavirus lockdown curbs were lifted.

Facial threading and waxings resume in England almost five months after they were banned in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Snooker fans return to the World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield, to watch the final.

The moves were announced alongside plans to relax rules on businesses including bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos.

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Life in UK won’t be back to normal until Easter 2021, warns Jonathan Van Tam

Live in the UK may not return to normal until Easter 2021, Government scientist Jonathan Van Tam has warned.

It came as new daily infections from coronavirus crept up again.

The Office for National Statistics estimated there were 3,800 new infections a day in the week ending August 9.

This is up from 3,700 a day the previous week and was published as Government scientists announced the R reproductive number “may be increasing”.

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Parents urged to check children’s vaccinations are up to date

Parents are being urged to check that their children’s vaccinations are up to date to not only protect them from preventable diseases but also avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the NHS in years to come.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said a “national effort” to vaccinate children and young people will help to relieve long-term pressures on the health service, while NHS England’s national director of primary care described it as “crucial that your children get their jabs as normal” where possible.

The results of a poll published at the end of June showed just 27% of parents of young children said they would feel comfortable taking their child to a medical centre such as a GP surgery for vaccinations – down from 91% pre-pandemic.

The LGA said many children and young people will have missed out on routine vaccinations due to the lockdown and that failing to ensure youngsters are vaccinated now could lead to avoidable consequences in the long term.

The organisation, which represents councils in England and Wales, said it is calling on the Government to set out its plan to ensure children get the necessary vaccinations without overwhelming settings such as GP surgeries, clinics and schools.

John Lewis confirms eight stores that will permanently close – full list

John Lewis has confirmed plans to axe eight stores, including its flagship Birmingham and Watford branches, after announcing they were at risk last month.

The retailer said the affected stores were “already financially challenged prior to the pandemic”, as it warned they “would not be commercially viable in the future”.

The business said it would work with staff to find new roles where possible.

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Your work rights if returning from holiday in France – quarantine and sick pay explained

People who headed to France and the Netherlands when they were on the Government’s ‘safe’ list have to be home by 4am Saturday or spend 14 days in quarantine.

And they’re not alone, with Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba all removed from list of travel corridors for England following data showing a significant increase in Covid-19 risk.

The change in the rules – as a result of an increase in coronavirus cases in the countries – means people returning from their holidays will have to take two more weeks off work unless they can do their jobs remotely.

Worse, they have no automatic rights to be paid for this time, and could even be laid off.

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UK coronavirus death toll rises by 11 but cases surge by 1,441

The UK’s coronavirus death toll has climbed by 11 bringing the number of fatalities in all settings to 41,358.

The number of new Covid-19 cases was reported to be 1,441 on Friday – a huge increase from 1,009 cases reported on Wednesday.

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Coronavirus lockdown rules in Leicester and north to remain until at least next week

Coronavirus lockdown rules in Leciester and large parts of northern England will remain in place until at least next week, the government has announced.

Leicester was due to have its restrictions – which include a ban on two households meeting indoors – reviewed by today after a local outbreak began to die down.

But today the government announced the local measures will not end until next week at the earliest.

The easing of lockdown in the rest of England tomorrow – which includes restarting brow treatments and small wedding receptions – won’t happen in Leicester either.

Nor will casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas be able to reopen in the city.

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Person aged under 40 dies with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland

A person aged under 40 has died with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health said.

It brings the toll to 558.

An additional 74 people tested positive, mostly in health care.

The total number of confirmed cases is 6,299.

UK coronavirus R rate stays the same – but could still be as high as 1

The UK’s coronavirus R estimate could still be as high as 1, amid continuing fears of a second wave of the killer virus.

The R rate has stayed the same as last week, between 0.8-1.0.

The latest growth rate for the whole of the UK is between -1% to -4%.

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Lockdown restrictions to remain in place in north-west England

Lockdown restrictions will remain in place in north-west England.

Restrictions on household gatherings in parts of the North West, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester will continue, the Department of Health said.

The latest data does not show a decrease in the number of cases per 100,000 people in the area and shows a continued rise in cases in Oldham and Pendle while numbers remain high in Blackburn with Darwen, the department said.

The measures will be reviewed again next week.

Coronavirus hope as cases in England remain steady for second week in a row

Official figures have given fresh hope coronavirus is not running out of control in England.

There was alarm last month when the Office for National Statistics recorded the first rise in new cases each day since the devastating peak in April.

That potentially meant the virus was spreading exponentially, with each sufferer infecting more than one other person with the disease.

After a string of new restrictions, including a ban on indoor meetings in Greater Manchester, delayed reopenings and travel quarantine from Spain, that rise appears to have been arrested, for now.

For the second week in a row, the ONS now says the rise in new cases each day appears to have “levelled off”.

Click here to read the full story.

‘Very long queues’ at Calais Eurotunnel as France added to UK’s quarantine list

Our chief reporter Andy Lines is in Calais at the Eurotunnel. He reports very long queues have built up but are moving “very smoothly”. All Eurotunnel crossings are now fully booked today.

Coronavirus hope as cases in England remain steady for second week in a row

Official figures have given fresh hope coronavirus is not running out of control in England.

There was alarm last month when the Office for National Statistics recorded the first rise in new cases each day since the devastating peak in April.

That potentially meant the virus was spreading exponentially, with each sufferer infecting more than one other person with the disease.

After a string of new restrictions, including a ban on indoor meetings in Greater Manchester, delayed reopenings and travel quarantine from Spain, that rise appears to have been arrested, for now.

For the second week in a row, the ONS now says the rise in new cases each day appears to have “levelled off”.

But the number of new cases hasn’t gone back down again either. It’s still higher than at a low point around the end of June, before pubs reopened.

Click here to read the full story.

Only 7.7% of residents in early outbreak town had coronavirus, study finds

Results of a study in a town that had one of Germany’s earliest coronavirus outbreaks found just 7.7% of residents have likely been infected with COVID-19, suggesting the prevalence of the flu-like disease remains low.

Researchers took throat swabs and blood samples from 2,203 people from May 20 to June 9 in the town of Kupferzell in southern Germany, where a church concert was followed by a cluster of coronavirus infections in early March.

They found 7.7% of residents had antibodies to the coronavirus. This was almost four times as many infections as previously known, said Claudia Santos-Hoevener from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) of infectious diseases.

Hairdressers and barbers ordered to wear surgical masks from today in huge U-turn

Hairdressers and barbers in England have been ordered to wear full surgical masks to prevent coronavirus in a massive government U-turn.

In a major change, anyone working in “close contact services” – which also includes nail and beauty salons – must wear a disposable ‘Type 2’ mask as well as a face visor from today.

It comes as beauty salons are finally given the green light to resume “high-risk” services like eyebrows and facials from tomorrow.

Boris Johnson finally introduced the rule more than three weeks after his experts said wearing a clear plastic “visor” wasn’t enough to stop Covid-19.

The only compulsory thing hairdressers have had to wear since they reopened on July 4 has been a face visor.

Click here to read the full story.

Government refuses to give sick pay to 160,000 Brits stuck in France quarantine

British holidaymakers forced to quarantine after returning from France will not receive Government help because they travelled “with their eyes open”, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said today.

The Cabinet Minister warned tens of thousands of tourists there would be no extra support if they miss work through a fortnight of forced self-isolation.

Rejecting the idea travellers should receive compensation, he said: “People this year will have gone away knowing that there was a significant risk so because of that people will have gone with their eyes open.”

It comes despite weeks of pleas for those thrown into quarantine without warning to be given Statutory Sick Pay.

Workers who self-isolate due to coronavirus symptoms can claim the £95.85-a-week rate – but those who quarantine after being abroad cannot.

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Tory-linked firm behind ‘contaminated’ Covid-19 tests keeps government contract

A Tory-linked firm behind a coronavirus test recalled over “contaminated” swabs will keep its Government testing contract, the Mirror has learned.

Ministers are under pressure to explain why Randox Laboratories is being “rewarded for failure” after care homes and members of the public were told to “quarantine and return” as many as 741,000 test kits.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) this week announced the recall of tests supplied by Randox, which had been sent to care homes and for at-home testing, over concerns swabs included in the kits may not be sterile.

They said the recall is a precautionary measure, the risk to safety is low, and test results from the kits are not affected.

The firm, which has Tory MP and former minister Owen Paterson on the payroll as an advisor, was handed a £133m contract to supply tests to the UK’s test and trace programme in May, without any other firm being given the chance to bid for the contract.

Click here to read the full story.

Coronavirus vaccine ‘could be ready by Christmas’ as UK signs 90million dose deal

A coronavirus vaccine could be ready within months, the expert leading Britain’s hunt for a jab declared today.

Kate Bingham, chairwoman of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, said the “first possible time” an inoculation could be developed to offer immunity was “towards the tail end of the year, if everything works”.

But, speaking to the BBC, she also admitted it was “more likely, I think, it will be next year”.

It comes as Britain announced it will buy 90million doses of potential Covid-19 vaccines from US firms Johnson & Johnson and Novavax Inc.

The decision brings the total number of deals by the UK government to six as the race for shots heats up.

Click here to read the full story.

Notting Hill Carnival acts to be broadcast online after street parade axed

This year’s Notting Hill Carnival will swap the streets of West London for computer screens around the world, as the event turns online-only due to the coronavirus pandemic, streaming hours of music and performance.

Held at the end of August each year, the carnival attracts more than a million visitors and is seen a symbol of interracial tolerance which dates back to the 1960s and celebrates the Afro-Caribbean community.

However this year there will be no booming sound systems crawling through crowded streets, bedecked with outrageously-costumed dancers.

The physical parade was cancelled earlier this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Instead, organisers have spent a month filming acts to be broadcast over the internet between August 29 and 31, hoping to keep the spirit of the carnival alive and bring it to a wider audience.

Woman ‘stole more than £100,000’ from coronavirus business loans

A woman has been arrested over the theft of more than £100,000 defrauded from the government’s coronavirus business loans scheme then transferred into Bitcoin.

The 35-year-old was found to have £115,000 in a cryptocurrency account that had been transferred from a series of “mule” bank accounts, police said. These mule accounts received the proceeds of fraudulent applications for ‘Bounce Back Loans’- a scheme launched by the government to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Met Police said.

After being transferred from the government, the cash was then moved from the mule accounts to the Bitcoin wallet of the suspect, Scotland Yard said.

When police raided her home in Ipswich, Suffolk, several children were found on their own.

The suspect was then found near the address and later arrested on suspicion of fraud, money laundering and child neglect.

Criminals use other people’s bank accounts, sometimes without their knowledge or by paying them to do so, as “mule” accounts in order to hide fraudulent transactions and for money laundering.

After the search warrant was carried out on Wednesday (Aug 12) the woman was taken to a police station and then released under investigation after being interviewed.

The next day the Met’s Proactive Money Laundering Team seized £115,000 of cryptocurrency held in the suspect’s Bitcoin account after applying to a magistrate’s court.

Care home residents seek pen pals as they self-isolate in pandemic

Elderly residents at a care home are seeking pen pals from all over the world who share their favourite hobbies as they self-isolate alone during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hillside Medical Lodge in Gatesville, Texas is hosting a pen pal programme for their 52 elderly residents as part of their “Wellness Around the World” campaign.

The campaign teaches residents about a new country each week and then ends the event by corresponding with a pen pal somewhere in the world.

Hillside Medical Lodge shared a Facebook post with each resident holding a whiteboard of their name and the type of pen pal they are seeking based on their hobbies.

The post reads: “Last week we ended our Wellness Around the World campaign for the month of July! Here are 52 of our residents that wanted to participate in the Pen Pal around the world! They are excited to see how many pen pals they will receive! We will be updating to let everyone know how it’s going! Please send your letters to: Hillside Medical Lodge, C/O “name”, 300 S. Hwy 36 Bypass, Gatesville, Tx. 76528. Thank you all for the love and support and please SHARE this post! #inthistogether”

The Facebook post has since gone viral, gaining over 12K shares and 2K likes with hundreds of comments from users eager to become their pen pal.

How to get a refund if you’ve booked a holiday in France now it’s on the quarantine list

Millions of people’s holiday plans have been thrown into disarray by the announcement that people returning from France will have to go into quarantine.

Because of increasing infection rates, the Department of Transport decided that all people returning from France will need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

Foreign Office travel advice will also change when quarantine measures come in – advising against all “non- essential” travel.

The FCO advice is important because it means that if you choose to travel, your insurance will effectively be invalidated, and you do so at your own risk.

At the time of writing, a number of other countries with significant tourism industries are seeing rises in Covid-19 cases, so it’s likely that other countries will join Spain, Belgium and France on the list soon.

Click here to read the full story.

UK warns 160,000 holidaymakers in France not to dash home to avoid quarantine

The UK has warned 160,000 holidaymakers not to stampede to the French border to avoid having to go into quarantine.

Thousands of Brits will need to isolate for 14 days when they return home – or face a £1,000 fine – after the government added France to the list of countries with a coronavirus spike.

However, the quarantine order on France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba only comes into force at 4am tomorrow.

That means anyone who returns before then will not need to quarantine by law.

The government today refused to give holidaymakers any support if they can’t work due to quarantine – meaning many will be contemplating a rush to the border.

But Eurotunnel boss John Keefe last night warned “we’re already pretty much fully booked”.

Click here to read the full story.