GYMS look set to reopen over the next week in boost for Brits missing their regular fitness regime during lockdown.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce today that they will return in the latest relaxing of restrictions.
These could also include swimming pools, beauty salons, nail bars, bowling alleys and casinos.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a host of new measures to get Britain's economy moving again, with measures announced in yesterday's mini-Budget including a six-month stamp duty holiday for homes up to £500,000.
In a move that will boost the tourism industry, the Chancellor announced there will be an Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme throughout August - meaning restaurant and pub bills will be slashed in half.
Mr Sunak announced a £2billion Kickstart Scheme, which will help find work for 350,000 jobless young people, while the"Green Homes Grant Scheme" will launch in September making homeowners eligible for a £5,000 energy voucher.
Follow the latest news and updates surrounding coronavirus below...
‘EVERY PERSON WHO LOSES THEIR JOB IS A TRAGEDY’
Chancellor Rishi Sunak told BBC Breakfast he could not place a figure on an “acceptable” number of job losses.
He said: “Very clearly, every person who loses their job is a tragedy. That's why I acted yesterday with a comprehensive plan to protect and support as many jobs as possible.
“If you're asking me 'can I protect every single job' of course the answer is no. 'Is unemployment going to rise, are people going to lose their jobs?' Yes, and the scale of this is significant.
“We are entering one of the most severe recessions this country has ever seen. That is of course going to have a significant impact on unemployment and on job losses.
“I am acting to try and mitigate as much of that as possible and provide as many opportunities as possible but it would be absolutely foolhardy for me to sit here and give you precise numbers, forecasts, or what is or isn't a measure of acceptability when we are living at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty.”
He added: “What I do know is we are throwing everything we can at trying to minimise the job losses and provide people with new opportunities and hope.”
FREE PARKING FOR NHS STAFF THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC
The Chancellor has confirmed NHS staff will continue to park at work for free.
According to Sky News: “Rishi Sunak says the Government's position on free car parking for NHS staff ‘has not changed’ and they will continue to allow frontline staff to park for free during the pandemic.
CHANCELLOR PLEDGES £50BN IN VIRUS FIGHT
Rishi Sunak has pledged nearly £50 billion in the fight against Covid – more than the UK’s annual defence budget.
The Chancellor set aside £10 billion to support the NHS Test and Trace programme, which aims to unlock the economy.
Treasury figures also reveal £15 billion has been allocated to purchase personal protective kit to keep frontline workers safe from the virus.
In total, Mr Sunak has promised £48.5 billion of additional spending to tackle the pandemic.
TOURISTS NOW HAVE TO WEAR FACE MASKS IN IBIZA AND MAJORCA
Holidaymakers travelling to Ibiza and Majorca now have to wear face masks.
The masks must be worn whenever they leave their hotel rooms, it emerged today.
The Balearic islands announced they were tightening the rules on the use of masks just hours after Catalonia revealed it was making them obligatory at virtually all times in public.
HOLIDAY ISLAND PARTIALLY REOPENS
The resort island of Bali has partially reopened after a three-month virus lockdown.
Local people and stranded foreign tourists to can now resume public activities before overseas arrivals resume in September.
Normally bustling beaches and streets on the idyllic Indonesian island emptied in early April except for special patrols to ensure health protocols were observed.
The authorities restricted public activities, closed the airport and shuttered all shops, bars, sit-down restaurants, public swimming pools and many other places on the island that's home to more than 4 million people.
The local government began lifting the limits Thursday, but tourists will face stringent rules in hotels, restaurants and on beaches, Bali Governor Wayan Koster said.
Koster told a news conference that the island will gradually reopen shuttered places to locals and stranded foreigners.
Bali will open to Indonesians from other parts of the country on July 31 and new foreign arrivals on September 11.
US SETS DAILY RECORD FOR NEW VIRUS CASES
The United States has hit a record high for the number of COVID-19 cases confirmed in a single day, at more than 60,000.
Data from Johns Hopkins University showed the record high of new diagnoses in just a 24-hour period on Wednesday.
The previous record was seen in the beginning of the month, when more than 54,500 cases were confirmed on July 2.
As of Wednesday night, America had surpassed 3.05million cases of coronavirus, with more than 132,000 deaths.
The US has nearly double the amount of cases as Brazil, which is the second country for most COVID-19 diagnoses worldwide.
Although the country's previous epicenter of New York managed to suppress the curve of increasing virus cases, many states have seen a surge in recent weeks.
US – TSA MAKES CHANGES AFTER WHISTLEBLOWER'S COMPLAINT SAYS LAWYER
The Transportation Security Administration has improved coronavirus protection for airport screeners after a TSA official accused the agency of endangering travellers, the whistleblower's lawyer said Wednesday.
The changes include requiring screeners to change or sanitise gloves after every time they pat down a passenger, and to wear face shields around travellers if there aren't plastic barriers between them and the public.
Jay Brainard, the top TSA official in Kansas, complained last month to a federal whistleblower-protection office that TSA didn't train staff for the virus pandemic and barred supervisors from giving screeners stockpiled N95 respirators in March when facial coverings such as surgical masks were hard to buy.
Brainard said the TSA eventually made changes in response to COVID-19, including requiring screeners to wear masks, but the measures did not go far enough.
A TSA spokesman confirmed that Brainard met last week with TSA Administrator John Pekoske, but he did not directly address whether the agency changed procedures as a result.
RECORD DAILY CASES IN ARGENTINA
Argentina posted a daily record of 3,604 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as the South American country grapples with rising infections that are threatening its early success in stalling the spread of the virus.
The sharp rise, the first time daily cases topped 3,000, took the total number to 87,030, fivefold the number at the start of June, though still well below case loads in hard-hit neighbours Brazil, Chile and Peru.
Argentina's centre-left government imposed a strict lockdown in mid-March, which has been loosened in most of the country but was extended and reinforced late last month in and around Buenos Aires, the capital, due to a spike in cases.
Argentina's death toll from the pandemic stands at 1,694.
The impact of the virus has hammered the South American country's economy, already in recession for two years and grappling to solve a painful debt crisis.
Economists forecast a 12% economic contraction for 2020.
MORE LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS SET TO BE EASED TO BOOST UK ECONOMY
More parts of the UK's economy could be given the green light to reopen, a day after the chancellor announced an emergency support package to protect against the coronavirus recession.
People in Scotland are awaiting news on Thursday about whether the country can move into the next phase of its lockdown easing, allowing drinkers to enjoy a pint inside pubs, diners to go to restaurants and customers to return to hairdressers.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to give a statement to the Scottish Parliament outlining when and how measures will be lifted, although she has suggested that not all restrictions will be eased at the same time.
It comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a sweeping package of measures on Wednesday including giving firms which have furloughed staff a £1,000 bonus to keep workers in jobs.
US – FAUCI CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC ON COVID VACCINE
The leading U.S. infectious disease expert says he is cautiously optimistic that a coronavirus vaccine with some degree of effectiveness will be successfully developed by the end of the year or the beginning of 2021.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told a U.N. event Wednesday that Modernas vaccine will go into Phase 3 trials sometime at the end of July and then others will follow in August, September and October.
He says Modernas vaccine has shown very promising results, which makes me cautiously optimistic, although you could never, ever predict with any certainty whether a vaccine is going to be safe and effective.
Fauci heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
He says a strategic approach has been adopted to test multiple vaccine candidates using the same standards and measurements.
IN THE KNOW: NEW SAFETY RULES FOR DISNEY WORLD GUESTS
Disney has revealed the new rules being enforced at the parks ahead of their reopening this weekend – and kids over the age of two will have to wear face masks.
The chief medical officer for Disney Parks has shared more information about the company’s enhanced health and safety measures after a four-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Pamela Hymel stressed that the safety and well-being of visitors and employees is paramount as the theme parks proceed with phased reopening plans.
More on the rules here.
GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS CASES RISE TO MORE THAN 12 MILLION
Global coronavirus cases exceeded 12 million on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, as evidence mounts of the airborne spread of the disease that has killed more than half a million people in seven months.
The number of cases is triple that of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organization.
Many hard-hit countries are easing lockdowns put in place to slow the spread of the novel virus, while others, such as China and Australia, implement another round of shutdowns in response to a resurgence in infections.
Experts say alterations to work and social life could last until a vaccine is available.
The first case was reported in China in early January and it took 149 days to hit 6 million cases.
It has taken less than a third of that time just 39 days to double to 12 million cases, the tally shows.
SOME CEOS DECLINE WHITE HOUSE DINNER FOR MEXICAN PRESIDENT AMID VIRUS SURGE
The White House CEO dinner on Wednesday evening with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will have some notable absences among corporate invitees – one because of a positive coronavirus test.
American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday morning, after he experienced a fever and a cough, and will not attend the dinner, a spokeswoman for the trade group said.
The dinner, in the White House's East Room, is the most prominent state-level social event hosted by the Trump administration since coronavirus lockdowns began in March.
IN THE KNOW: WHAT DID RISHI SUNAK SAY IN HIS SPEECH TODAY ABOUT STAMP DUTY?
Rishi Sunak has today announced a holiday on stamp duty on the first £500,000 of all property sales in England and Northern Ireland.
Mr Sunak unveiled the plan as part of his economic update in the House of Commons as the Chancellor vowed to help the country get back on its feet after the three-month shut down.
More on the story here.
Ireland's Covid-19 tracker phone app has been downloaded by a million people, the Department of Health said.
It is designed to enhance existing contact-tracing measures and help manage the spread of the virus.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said the development came at an important time as people begin to move about more.
He added: “I would encourage those who have not yet downloaded the app to do so, and for the one million people who have already downloaded the app, I would ask them to share it with their friends and families.
“The more people who download the app the greater its impact will be.”
JORDAN SAYS IT TAPPED BOND MARKET TO SPEED RECOVERY FROM PANDEMIC HIT
Jordan's finance minister said on Wednesday the kingdom's success in tapping $1.75 billion from the international debt market last week has eased pressure on the economy and paves the way for a quicker recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The kingdom raised the funds from a double tranche Eurobond issue of $500 million at 4.95% over a five-year maturity and $1.25 billion at 5.85% over a 10-year maturity that was oversubscribed by more than 6.25 times after attracting bids worth over $6.25 billion.
Mohammad Al Ississ said the strong investor appetite from over 200 top tier institutional and corporate investors – 35% from the U.S. market, 25% from the UK and the rest from other regional and Asian investors – reflected confidence in the Jordanian “economy's ability to recover.”
BOLSONARO BETS 'MIRACULOUS CURE' FOR COVID-19 CAN SAVE BRAZIL AND HIS LIFE
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has gone all in on hydroxychloroquine to help his coronavirus-ravaged country beat COVID-19.
He has pushed his government to make the malaria drug widely available and encouraged Brazilians to take it, both to prevent the disease and to treat it.
Now the far-right populist is putting his convictions to the ultimate test: Bolsonaro on Tuesday announced that he had tested positive for the disease and was taking hydroxychloroquine.
Bolsonaro said in a televised interview that he had taken an initial two doses, in conjunction with the antibiotic azithromycin, and felt better almost immediately.
His only regret, he said, was not using it sooner.
“If I had taken hydroxychloroquine preventively, I would still be working” instead of heading into quarantine, Bolsonaro said.
IN THE KNOW: Will I GET A VAT DISCOUNT OR REFUND ON MYPRE-BOOKED HOLIDAY?
Brits could save hundreds of pounds on staycations thanks to an announcement in today's mini-Budget.
The Chancellor announced a reduction in VAT to 5 per cent for the hospitality industry, meaning cheaper hotel and restaurant bills.
But will you get a VAT discount or refund if you've pre-booked a holiday? We explain what you need to know.
More on the story here.
17-YEAR-OLD DIES AFTER MUM BRINGS HER TO 'CATCH COVID' PARTY
A 17-year-old girl died of coronavirus after her mom took her to a church “catch Covid” party where none of the 100 guests work masks.
Carsyn Davis was admitted to Golisano Children’s hospital in Fort Myers last month before her health quickly deteriorated.
Two days later, on her birthday, she was admitted to the intensive care unit with Covid-19 and was placed on a ventilator.
She was then airlifted to a hospital across the state for respiratory care, a GoFundMe page said.
But later, she lost her battle against the virus.
Medical notes, obtained by Newsweek, have since revealed that Davis was taken to a church party before her death.
'BOUNCE BACK BRITAIN'? START WITH CHEAPER TAKEAWAYS
Takeaway fans could notch up big savings if restaurants pass on cuts to VAT announced today.
If you order a £15 takeaway every week, which two thirds of UK adults do according to accountancy firm KPMG, it could result in a saving of just under £50 over the six months VAT is temporarily reduced.
It comes after chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his mini-Budget today that VAT will drop from 20 per cent to 15 per cent from next Wednesday (July 10) until January 12, 2021 for businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors.
Booze is excluded from the measure, but it will apply to food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and other similar premises across the UK.
More on the story here.
10 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
Americans have met an average of 10 new people online during their time in self-isolation, according to new research.
The survey asked 2,000 Americans about their digital communication habits while they’ve been sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Results found three in 10 respondents are video calling friends and family, while 36% are texting and 34% are picking up the phone to call.
But of all modes of digital communication, 61% of respondents also shared that they prefer video calls because they’re more intimate.
More on the story here.
SOCIAL ISOLATION MAY INCREASE SUSCEPTIBILITY TO COVID-19, SCIENTIST CLAIMS
The psychological stress of social isolation may make people more susceptible to severe Covid-19 infection, a US scientist has claimed.
Dr Sheldon Cohen, who is a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, said evidence from his previous research suggests social stressors are linked to an increased vulnerability to upper respiratory viruses, such as those which cause common cold.
He believes there is a possibility that the psychological effect of stay-at-home measures, adopted by countries around the world to slow down the spread of the virus by minimising contact between people, might play a similar role by increasing a person's susceptibility to Covid-19 illness.
He said stay-at-home measures can increase interpersonal stressors, such as loneliness, loss of employment and familial conflict, which may be “powerful predictors of how a person will respond if exposed to coronavirus”.
LACK OF JOINED-UP SERVICES LED TO MORE DEATHS DURING PANDEMIC – CHARITY LEADER
A lack of joined-up health and social care services led to an increased number of older people dying during the coronavirus pandemic, a charity leader has said.
Untrained care staff were “left pretty much on their own” when clinical and community services withdrew from some residential care homes during the outbreak, said Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK.
Care home residents, as well as those receiving domiciliary care, often have multiple medical issues which require clinical treatment, on top of needing help with daily activities such as washing and dressing.
'LOOK PAST DODGY A-LEVEL GRADES' SAYS EX HARROW HEAD
Universities need to look beyond “dodgy” A-level grades when they decide which students to admit next month, an independent schools chief has said.
Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), has warned institutions against simply accepting a student with “good” grades on paper after exams were cancelled this summer.
Speaking to the Festival of Higher Education, Mr Lenon – a former headmaster of Harrow School – said universities may be “quick to reject” a student with low grades.
And he argued that universities, schools, pupils and parents should remember that the assigned grades given out this summer are “not real”.
“Look, if you can, behind these dodgy grades,” he said.