Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak today. We’ll have another update for you on Monday.
1. Boris Johnson ‘does not want second national lockdown’
Boris Johnson has said he does not want to impose a second national lockdown in the event of another coronavirus outbreak, comparing the option of a nationwide shutdown to a “nuclear deterrent”. His comments come as councils in England were given a raft of “lightning” lockdown powers. Meanwhile, Scotland has seen the biggest daily rise in new confirmed cases since 21 June.
2. Russian ambassador rejects coronavirus vaccine hacking claims
Russia’s ambassador to the UK has rejected allegations that his country’s intelligence services tried to steal coronavirus vaccine research, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show there was “no sense” in the story. It comes after UK security services said that hackers targeting vaccine developers “almost certainly” operated as “part of Russian intelligence services”.
3. Are mutations making coronavirus more infectious?
Sars-Cov-2, the official name of the virus that causes the disease Covid-19, may have first emerged in China, but the coronavirus that is spreading around the world is not the same as that which originated in Wuhan. It is mutating. But the key questions about this mutation are: does this make the virus more infectious – or lethal – in humans? And could it pose a threat to the success of a future vaccine?
4. Record single-day global increase in cases
The number of new coronavirus cases rose by nearly 260,000 in 24 hours – the largest single-day increase since the pandemic began, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. This is the first time the number of new daily infections has surpassed a quarter of a million, with the biggest increases in the US, Brazil, India and South Africa. There are now more than 14 million confirmed cases, according to the tally kept by US-based Johns Hopkins University.
5. Live gigs are back – but social distancing poses problems
Music lovers have gone four months without being able to attend live concerts, but as restrictions ease, can fans attend gigs safely? At a pub beer garden on the outskirts of Manchester, the Ultimate Elton (AKA Paul Bacon) performed to nearly 200 people. Although most people kept their distance, as the night went on and excitement rose, social distancing boundaries became blurred.
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