Vaccine should be ready by 'early months of next year', Matt Hancock reveals

Production has begun on 30 million doses of the Oxford vaccine for the UK
Production has begun on 30 million doses of the Oxford vaccine for the UK Credit: PA

Today's top stories so far

Good evening. Here are some of the day's top stories so far:

  • Seven Greek islands are to have quarantine reimposed as the UK Government announced a new regional "travel corridor" strategy.
  • The seven-day rate of new cases of Covid-19 in the UK has risen above 20 cases per 100,000 people - the level at which, if in another country, the Government considers imposing quarantine conditions on people travelling to the UK, as the UK records 2,948 new cases today.
  • Lockdown restrictions have been reimposed in Caerphilly, Wales, following a spike in Covid-19 cases. 
  • Coronavirus restrictions on home visits in the West of Scotland have been expanded to Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire after a rise in cases, one week after measures were re-imposed in Glasgow City, West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire.
  • Twenty-four-hour “Covid passes”, which would allow people back to theatres and sporting events, have been suggested by the Health Secretary.
  • The food industry has been asked to cut overall calorie content for most food categories by a fifth, by bringing down the size of foods sold, or their formulation, to remove fat and sugar. 
  • Lungs can repair themselves in just three months after a serious bout of coronavirus, a new study has revealed, raising hope that patients will not be living with debilitating symptoms for years on end.
  • Indonesian children are being forced to climb trees and hunker down on roadsides to access the internet as schools remain shuttered due to spiking coronavirus numbers. 
  • India has overtaken Brazil to record the second-largest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases globally, as its outbreak continues to accelerate. 

Follow all the latest news in Tuesday's live blog

Spanish remote workers’ charter to make companies respect hours and pay for staff computers

Spain is rushing through a law to protect the rights of staff who work from home, reports James Badcock in Madrid.  

Remote workers would have the right to a set working day and equal career development opportunities, under draft legislation proposed by Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz of Podemos, the Left-wing partner in Spain's ruling coalition. 

The law, which also compels companies to pay for home-working equipment such as computers, comes as the coronavirus pandemic has seen almost one third of the Spanish workforce shun the office. 

According to the latest draft, employees must work from home more than one day per week to qualify as remote-workers - a condition imposed by employers' groups who feared that otherwise staff would simply extend their weekends. 

Read more here. 

Cases in France up by 4,203

The number of new Covid-19 cases in France has risen by 4,203 compared with the previous day to stand at a total of 328,980, the French health ministry said today.

The number of deaths also rose by 25 over the last 24 hours to stand at 30,726.

Comment: It's time to face facts – the office is dead

The point isn’t that home working is preferable, it’s that it’s inevitable, writes Rosa Prince.

Coronavirus has proved a sudden and drastic change of circumstances for millions. Many will be wary of packing into trains and crowded offices for health reasons, not only Covid but the realisation the pandemic has brought of how pervasive are germs and droplets and the people who spread them. Others who wilted in cramped flats during lockdown have sought an airier life in the countryside, out of reach of a daily commute. More are simply relishing the extra time with their families.

And you don’t have to have kids to appreciate the hour or so gifted by not getting on a train every day. For businesses too, the genie is out of the bottle. Why spend millions on office space if your workers are happy to absorb the cost by doing their job just as efficiently from their dining room table? Sure, they miss the interaction and collaboration with colleagues, but increasingly employers are realising this can be maintained by having staff come in only a couple of days a week – or even a month – with all the savings in terms of physical infrastructure.

Read the full piece here

BREAKING: Local lockdown imposed in Caerphilly following spike in cases

Restrictions have been reimposed in Caerphilly, Wales, following a spike in Covid-19 cases. It is Wales' first local lockdown.

People will not be allowed to leave or enter the county area without a "reasonable excuse", people over 11 must wear face coverings in shops and people will only be allowed to meet outdoors.

Extended households will also be temporarily suspended.

The restrictions will be enforced from 6pm on Tuesday.

There have been 133 new cases confirmed in the Caerphilly area over the past seven days, equivalent to a rate of 55.4 cases per 100,000 population - the highest rate in Wales and one of the highest in the UK.

Health minister Vaughan Gething said there had been a "significant rise" in cases over a short space of time, linked to holiday travel abroad, as well as people socialising indoors and not social distancing.

"A lot of these cases are in younger people and thankfully, at the moment, most of these are mild," Mr Gething said.

Train passenger numbers remain low as back to work drive falters

Train companies have reported only a "slight increase" in passenger numbers as the push for people to return to work fell flat.

Operators said initial numbers for today suggested there had not been a surge in the number of commuters even as train services returned to more than 90 per cent of their normal capacity.

The underwhelming numbers came as children returned to school, with transport bosses having hoped that parents freed from childcare commitments would begin returning to their workplaces.

However, the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies, said early evidence suggested there had been only a slight increase in passengers on Monday, with no trains reported as being close to their reduced capacity.

Mike Wright has more here. 

FBI warns researchers at University of Washington to be on alert for suspicious packages 

The FBI has warned coronavirus researchers at the University of Washington to be on alert for suspicious packages after several were received by scientists elsewhere, reports Nick Allen from Washington.

An email was sent to 500 of its researchers by the university, which is based on the West Coast in Seattle and deeply involved in studying the virus.

The email said: “We have received unfortunate reports from our contacts at the FBI that threatening mail has been sent to COVID-19 researchers on the East Coast of the United States." It said the suspicious packages had been reported by "a few university researchers”.

According to the email, first reported by Buzzfeed News, the packages recovered so far had not proved to contain any dangerous substances.

"Preliminary testing has indicated there is no threat to public safety in connection with this mailing," it said.

Researchers at the University of Washington were urged to look out for packages with oily stains or a strange smell.

The university has been conducting more than a dozen clinical studies connected to the virus. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), at the University of Washington, produces a key forecasting model used by the White House.

Last week, the model revised its projection, suggesting the US death toll would double by the end of the year. It estimated 410,451 US deaths by Jan 1uary.  Some White House experts dismissed the new projection. 

Aircraft carrier postpones sailing after crew members test positive for virus

Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has postponed its sailing from Portsmouth Naval Base after a number of crew tested positive for Covid-19.

The £3 billion warship was set to leave Portsmouth Historic Dockyard this afternoon for training exercises but the departure was put on hold at the last moment.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman confirmed that "fewer than 10" members of the 1,000-strong crew had tested positive for the coronavirus and had been taken ashore to be put into isolation in barracks.

Other sailors who had contact with their infected crew-mates will isolate on board the 65,000 tonne ship which is expected to leave Portsmouth as soon as Tuesday.

It is the second time the carrier has had to postpone its sailing after two crew members tested positive for Covid-19 in April.

New restrictions 'regrettable but necessary', says Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has described new lockdown restrictions imposed on areas in the West of Scotland as "regrettable but necessary" following an increase in Covid-19 cases in Scotland.

Coronavirus restrictions on home visits in the West of Scotland have this evening been expanded to Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire. 

The move comes the week after measures were re-imposed in Glasgow City, West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire.

Coronavirus around the world, in pictures

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has a socially distanced meeting with labour leaders in Lancaster, Pennsylvania Credit: AFP
A Palestinian man sells face masks in the West Bank city of Nablus Credit: AFP
Year three pupils, with their own individual stationery and books in plastic folders, work at their desks at Willowpark Primary Academy in Oldham Credit: AFP
A healthcare worker looks on inside a chapel dedicated to Saint Roch, patron saint of the sick, that has been transformed into a coronavirus testing centre in Antwerp, Belgium Credit: Reuters

Spain reports 2,440 new coronavirus cases

Spain has reported 2,440 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, Reuters reports. The latest figures brings the country’s total cases to 525,549.

BREAKING: Lockdown restrictions extended in West of Scotland

Coronavirus restrictions on home visits in the West of Scotland have been expanded to Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire after a rise in cases, the BBC reports.

The move comes the week after measures were re-imposed in Glasgow City, West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said acting quickly now could "stem the tide of transmission" in the area.

But she has warned that there is a "definite trend" of rising case numbers across Scotland.

China's Sinovac coronavirus vaccine candidate appears safe, slightly weaker in elderly

Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech Ltd have said its coronavirus vaccine candidate appeared to be safe for older people, according to preliminary results from an early to mid-stage trial, while the immune responses triggered by the vaccine were slightly weaker than younger adults.

Health officials have been concerned about whether experimental vaccines could safely protect the elderly, whose immune systems usually react less robustly to vaccines, against the virus that has led to nearly 890,000 deaths worldwide.

Sinovac's candidate CoronaVac did not cause severe side effects in a combined Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials launched in May involving 421 participants aged at least 60, Liu Peicheng, Sinovac's media representative, told Reuters. The complete results have not been published and were not made available to Reuters.

Four of the world's eight vaccines that are in the third phase of trials are from China.

For three groups of participants who respectively took two shots of low, medium and high-dose CoronaVac, over 90 per cent of them experienced significant increase in antibody levels, while the levels were slightly lower than those seen in younger subjects but in line with expectation, Liu said in a statement.

CoronaVac, being tested in Brazil and Indonesia in the final-stage human trials to evaluate whether it is effective and safe enough to obtain regulatory approvals for mass use, has already been given to tens of thousands of people, including about 90 per cent of Sinovac employees and their families, as part of China's emergency inoculation scheme to protect people facing high infection risk.

We must not stigmatise children that test positive for Covid, says WHO

Children and their families should not be stigmatised if they test positive for the coronavirus, a senior director at the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned as pupils return to school around the UK.

Parents, who may be worried about being "pariahs in the neighbourhood" if their child is sick and a whole class is sent home, need to understand what system is in place, according to Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme.

He said it is "extremely important" that there is no stigma around a child testing positive for Covid-19, pointing out that "anybody can get this disease".

His comments come as one secondary school in Suffolk closed its doors just days after reopening, while whole classes at two schools in Wales have been told to self-isolate for two weeks following confirmed cases.

Speaking at a WHO briefing, Dr Ryan said: "I think for a lot of parents, it really comes down to understanding from the school authorities and from the health authorities, what's going to happen if my kid gets sick?

"What's going to happen if there's a suspected case in the school, which is very different to a confirmed case, and it's really important that authorities communicate that clearly and that it's clearly laid out to parents."

Airline industry welcomes regional quarantine but urges testing 

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, which represents UK carriers, said: "This is a step in the right direction which in time could help open up more markets for international travel and further choice and clarity for passengers.

"That said, a comprehensive testing regime is urgently required to enable connectivity to and from countries like the US, one of our most vital trading and strategic partners.

"The Transport Secretary has intimated that good progress is being made but it's critical this is signed off by Government and implemented by the end of this month, and as carriers we will work with him on delivering the right solutions."

Airport Operators Association (AOA) chief executive Karen Dee said: "Treating islands separately to a mainland, for the purposes of quarantine, is a welcome step in the right direction for Government policy.

"But the quarantine requirement is devastating the UK aviation industry and this change is unlikely to improve consumer confidence significantly. It is essential that we find a safe alternative.

"Industry has been calling for Government action on a testing regime for the aviation system for months while the sector has suffered through its worst summer in a generation.

"While there are certainly some issues with testing immediately on arrival - as the Transport Secretary outlined - there are other options available, such as testing on day five or day eight after arrival, which could improve the situation."

Two men charged after Midlothian house party

Two men have been charged after a house party with more than 300 people in Midlothian.

Officers were called to the property in Gorebridge at 12.20am on Sunday August 30 and discovered the mass gathering.

The group was dispersed and a 29-year-old man was issued with a fixed penalty notice.

Two men, aged 20 and 29, have since been arrested and charged in connection with the incident.

Antibody study for 10,000 Scottish NHS workers

Thousands of NHS workers in Scotland will join a study to establish whether Covid-19 antibodies reduce the risk of reinfection, the BBC reports.

Chief Medical Officer Gregor Smith said that 10,000 healthcare workers would be recruited for the research.

The Siren study will test people every two weeks for a year to track the effects of antibodies.

Dr Smith said it was an "important and exciting opportunity" to study the long-term impact of Covid-19.

Speaking at the Scottish Government's coronavirus briefing, he said he was aware of reports of people potentially catching Covid-19 more than once.

He added: "The disease is so new that we are still learning about our immune response to it. And we don't yet know whether it's possible to be re-infected commonly or whether having antibodies will provide enough protection to stop people getting coronavirus more than once.

"That's one of the things that we hope to learn by taking part in the study."

Keeping testing capacity for schools and universities should be priority over holidaymakers 

Keeping testing capacity available for schools and universities should be prioritised over introducing blanket testing for returning holidaymakers, the Transport Secretary has said.

Labour MP Matt Western (Warwick and Leamington) suggested all returning travellers should be tested seven days after they return from overseas.

Responding in the Commons, Grant Shapps said: "Schools have gone back, universities have gone back, pressure on testing is very real at this particular moment in time.

"I am not sure that we should be prioritising holidaymakers returning in the testing system over, for example, children going back to school."

Government will be 'stepping up' enforcement of quarantine rules

Grant Shapps said the Government will be "stepping up" enforcement for those who disobey quarantine rules.

In response to Labour's Alex Norris (Nottingham North), Mr Shapps said: "Where people don't quarantine, I just want to make this very clear for the benefit for everybody in the House, that is a criminal offence.

"If you don't quarantine for 14 days and you take this virus and you spread it around, you are endangering the people that you love and others that you've never even met - and you can get a criminal record for it.

"And to answer his question directly, we will be stepping up enforcement on it, in particular I know that phone calls are made to one in five people, my wife actually, separately, got a phone call, text messages will be being sent and people should be aware that enforcement will increasingly stepped up."

In a later response to Labour MP Tracy Brabin (Batley and Spen), Mr Shapps added: "I agree with (Ms Brabin), it is not only wrong and frustrating, it is also illegal for people to do that - come back and break quarantine.

"So, we absolutely will be stepping up measures and I'm working with the Home Secretary and others to secure that, and I again will say more about it very soon."

How many cases are in your area?

Rate of new cases in UK now above 20 per 100,000 people

The seven-day rate of new cases of Covid-19 in the UK has risen above 20 cases per 100,000 people.

In the seven days to September 7 the rate stood at 21.3 cases per 100,000, up from 13.9 in the previous week (the seven days to August 31).

A rate of 20 cases per 100,000 or above, if reported in other countries, is the level at which the Government considers imposing quarantine conditions on people travelling to the UK.

Nearly 6,000 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the UK in the 48 hours to 9am today according to the latest figures from the Department of Health and Social Care.

Some 2,988 cases were reported in the 24 hours to 9am Sunday while a further 2,948 were reported in the 24 hours to 9am this morning.

UK records 2,948 new cases

The United Kingdom has recorded 2,948 new cases of Covid-19, according to Government data published on today, down slightly from 2,988 a day earlier.

It comes after yesterday's surge in cases caused considerable alarm, with the Health Secretary Matt Hancock urging young people not to "infect their grandparents".

Don't travel if you can't quarantine, advises Shapps

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said if you are unable to quarantine for 14 days after returning to the UK "it might be best not to travel".

In response to SNP MP Stuart McDonald, Mr Shapps told the Commons: "Travel is something which we all must do with a degree of eyes open and accepting the risk at this time.

"As I mention again from this despatch box, people will need to think carefully when they travel as to whether if a country does suddenly end up in quarantine, and I explained with some the of examples like Jamaica it can happen very quickly, that they are able to quarantine afterwards.

"Otherwise it might be best not to travel and that's a judgment that everybody will make."

MPs warn of mass redundancies in arts and leisure sector when furlough ends

The arts and leisure sector faces mass redundancies and the closure of many cultural organisations if the furlough scheme is not extended beyond October, MPs have warned.

In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, an influential Commons committee said 51 per cent of workers in the sectors are dependent on furlough, compared to 13 per cent across all industries.

Julian Knight, the chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said ending the scheme for all sectors "does not reflect the unique situation faced by the arts and leisure sector".

He said: "We're making it absolutely clear to Government that if furlough is cut off in October, not only will mass redundancies follow but we can expect many cultural organisations to go out of business, never to return.

"We know that more workers in these industries depend on the scheme to pay their wages than in any other.

"Ministers should recognise their duty to provide ongoing support for people hard hit by this crisis and extend the help on offer to organisations facing restrictions on how they operate.

"We should not allow the arts and leisure sectors that contribute amazing value to our economy to become 'hostages to fortune' as a result of failure to act now before it's too late."

Government working on airport testing to reduce quarantine, says Shapps

The Transport Secretary said that travelling during coronavirus "is not without risk" and warned holidaymakers to travel with their "eyes open".

The Transport Secretary added that "quarantine combined with testing is more promising".

He told MPs: "We are working actively on the practicalities of using testing to release people from quarantine earlier than 14 days.

"For the reasons described, this could not be a pure test-on-arrival option, it would not work, but my officials are working with health experts with the aim of cutting the quarantine period without adding to infection risk or infringing our overall NHS test capacity - which also now needs to cater to schools going back and universities returning.

"The islands policy itself becomes actively immediately and I will, of course, update the House on quarantine testing in the coming weeks."

Travel industry welcomes change in quarantine policy

Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: "It's to be warmly welcomed that the Government is amending its quarantine policy - opening up some islands to British tourists again without them having to quarantine.

"Regional corridors are vital to keep travel and tourism alive and well, and I hope it removes the confusion of different UK governments pursuing different approaches to individual countries.

"It's sad news for the Greek islands who can't yet open up but I hope this policy provides impetus for them to get their cases under control."

Shapps gives backing to regional travel corridors

England is to start applying a regional approach to its quarantine policy for international arrivals, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

From 4am on Wednesday arrivals from seven Greek islands will need to self-isolate for 14 days, but mainland Greece will maintain its coronavirus quarantine-exemption.

The decision brings England into line with Wales, which recently removed seven Greek islands from its quarantine-free list.

Mr Shapps said: "Our top priority has always been to keep domestic infection rates down, and today we're taking the next step in our approach.

"Through the use of enhanced data we will now be able to pinpoint risk in some of the most popular islands, providing increased flexibility to add or remove them - distinct from the mainland - as infection rates change.

"This development will help boost the UK's travel industry while continuing to maintain maximum protection to public health, keeping the travelling public safe."

Follow all the latest on our travel live blog here

BREAKING: Travellers arriving in England from seven Greek islands will need to isolate from Wednesday

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that seven Greek islands will be removed from the UK's travel corridor list at 4am on Wednesday.

He told MPs: "However, it is worth noting that the policy will not necessarily open up additional islands immediately.

"For example, when we removed Spain from the travel corridor list there were 24 cases per 100,000. Today there are 127 cases and it remains too high in the Balearic and Canary Islands as well.

"On the other hand, Greece remains within our travel corridor programme, but our new analysis shows that some of the islands are well outside of the parameters."

Mr Shapps added: "However, using our newly-acquired JBC data we are now in a position to remove Greek islands where holidaymakers are at risk of spreading the new infection back home, and seven Greek islands will therefore be removed from the travel list at 4am on Wednesday 9 September, whilst maintaining mainland Greece."

South Korea develops test that can tell the difference between coronavirus and seasonal flu

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has announced it is developing a test kit that will be able to detect both seasonal flu and Covid-19.

Both diseases display similar symptoms, making it difficult for medical professionals to administer the right type of test from the beginning. 

"As Covid-19 and influenza share symptoms, it is very important to discern them from each other in the country's fight against the new coronavirus," KCDC Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said in a briefing.

The KCDC says that several institutions have applied to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for kits and that the approval process is already under way. 

Marcus Parekh has more here

Watch: Rail commuters fear increase in passenger numbers as more people return to the workplace

Entire year group asked to self-isolate after positive test

All 160 year nine pupils at St Augustine's Catholic College in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, are being asked to self-isolate after a student in that year group tested positive for Covid-19.

Wiltshire Council said all "precautionary and proper bubble measures" were followed but the school had agreed to take the additional step of asking all year nine pupils to self-isolate for 14 days.

The pupil is one of five positive cases associated with the school, with the other four a mixture of non-teaching and teaching staff who had limited contact with students and teachers and are self-isolating.

Headteacher David Forster said the school, which had been working closely with Public Health England and Wiltshire Council, was preparing to reopen on Tuesday.

German Finance Minister eyes more debt to support recovery

The German economy is recovering from the coronavirus shock and will reach its pre-crisis size at the beginning of 2022 at the latest, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told Reuters today.

"We see that the economic recovery is making headway. That's a good sign," Scholz said in an interview, adding that the economy could also be back to pre-crisis level before 2022 if the recovery was supported in the right way.

Scholz said he was therefore planning to take on substantial new debt also next year to sustain the economic recovery, which the Government says it has already helped bring about with its rescue and stimulus measures. 

Staff member at school visited by PM tests positive for virus

A staff member at a school visited by the Prime Minister less than two weeks ago has tested positive for Covid-19, it has emerged.

Boris Johnson carried out an engagement at the Castle Rock school in Coalville, Leicestershire, on August 26 as pupils returned for the first time since the national coronavirus lockdown was implemented.

In a letter written by the head of the school, Michael Gamble, he told parents the school had "sought immediate advice" from Public Health England and was "continuing to closely follow... government guidance".

In his letter to parents, Mr Gamble said: "We apologise for the lateness of this letter, however this evening we have been informed that one member of our staff at The Castle Rock School has been tested positive for Covid-19.

"The health, safety and well-being of our students is paramount.

"Please be assured that we have sought immediate advice from Public Health England this evening, and we are continuing to closely follow the published government guidance.

"Staff who may have been in 'contact' with the staff member have already been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace process."

Food industry asked to cut calories from pizza, ready meals and chips

The food industry is being urged by the Government to "voluntarily" cut calories from some of the nation's favourite foods in order to curb the obesity crisis.

The calories in some foods should be reduced by as much as 20 per cent over the next four years, officials said.

Instead of setting out a single reduction strategy across the sector, officials set out different goals for different food products.

Takeaways, restaurants or "on the go" food are now a regular part of people's diets, but these meals and snacks can contain significantly more calories when compared with supermarket alternatives, officials said.

Experts singled out takeaway pizzas as a major source of calories - one pizza can include more than a person's entire daily recommended calorie limit.

People could also be encouraged to switch to low-calorie alternatives or reduce portion sizes, according to a Public Health England (PHE) report.

But the authors stressed that portion sizes should not be reduced to a "tipping point", whereby people may purchase two products instead of one.

Exclusive: Police to look into Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood's breach of England’s coronavirus guidelines

Police will “look into” Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood’s breach of England’s coronavirus guidelines after they were sent home from international duty.

Reykjavík Metropolitan Police confirmed it would examine allegations the pair were visited by two local women during the Three Lions’ trip to Iceland for their opening Nations League match.

Police press officer Gunnar Sveinbjornsson told Telegraph Sport: “It has been brought to our attention and, obviously now, we will look into it but it’s too early, obviously, to say what the outcome will be.”

Sveinbjornsson said breaches of the country’s coronavirus rules, which include ones related to social distancing, were usually punishable by “a fine of some sort”.

Foden and Greenwood were sent home after breaching the team's coronavirus guidelines.

Read more here

Hope for travellers as testing could be used to reduce self isolation period

A Downing Street spokesperson has today announced that airport testing could spell the end of lengthy self-isolation restrictions – sparking speculation that the Government is considering giving Covid-19 testing a green light. 

Speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister this afternoon, the source said: “Testing could be used to reduce the self isolation period”, but stressed that any new regime would need to be “robust enough to minimise the chance that positive cases are missed”.

The statement comes just days after Telegraph Travel launched its Test4Travel campaign, calling on the UK Government to implement a robust testing strategy at UK ports and airports. 

This morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told LBC that ministers are "working to try to find a way to allow for the quarantine to be reduced".

He said that this will be "done in a way that also keeps people safe" as soon as it is "practical" to do so, and added that he is "working with Grant Shapps and the travel industry" to introduce tests for people eight days after arriving in the UK.

Follow all the latest on our travel live blog here

Gradual return of commuters to London public transport

Commuters are slowly returning to using public transport, according to figures from Transport for London (TfL).

The BBC reports that this morning before 10am there were 700,000 passengers, an increase of 15 per cent on last week but still 32 per cent of pre-lockdown numbers.

Some 910,000 people used the buses, a 39 per cent increase on last week but only 54 per cent of pre-lockdown levels.

TfL said there had been a big increase in school pupils travelling while many commuters had re-timed their journeys meaning the rush hour peak has been flattened.

Pakistan to begin reopening educational institutions next week

Schools in Pakistan will begin reopening in phases from next week following a fall in new coronavirus case numbers, officials said, ending a long closure that led to exam cancellations and threw students' grades into chaos.

Higher education institutions and senior school classes will reopen on September 15, class six till eight will open again on September 23, and on September 30 primary classes will reopen, Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister for Education, told a news conference.

"It is a difficult decision, as it involves the future of children, it was not an easy decision to make," Mahmood said, adding that success will only be achieved when parents and teachers play their role.

The country has recorded 298,903 cases of Covid-19 and nearly 6,345 deaths but has seen a slowing of numbers since June, when it recorded nearly 7,000 infections and 118 deaths in a single day.

On Sunday, 394 people tested positive for the virus and three deaths were reported.

Explaining there is a need to lessen the density of students in classes, Faisal Sultan, the Prime Minister’s health adviser, said that if there are 40 students in a class, it should be divided in equal batches attending school on alternate days.

Speaking to reporters, Sultan requested all parents to ensure face masks for children. 

Concern over rise in cases in Caerphilly, Wales

Dr Giri Shankar, of Public Health Wales, said: "We are concerned about the significant rise in positive coronavirus cases in the Caerphilly area in recent days.

"It is absolutely vital that everyone in the community abides by social distancing measures - that is, by self-isolating when asked to do so, keeping 2m away from others outside your household, and washing hands regularly."

Dr Shankar appealed to everyone in the Caerphilly area to use the local testing unit at the leisure centre in the town if they had "even the mildest" of Covid-19 symptoms or were feeling unwell "with no explanation".

He urged parents not to withdraw children from schools unless asked to do so by the school or local authority.

"We are now seeing a steady increase in cases in a number of communities across Wales and our investigations show that many of these have been transmitted due to a lack of social distancing," Dr Shankar added.

PHE director urges young people to follow social distancing rules

Public Health England Medical Director, Yvonne Doyle, has echoed the warnings issued to young people over the rise in coronavirus cases by saying: “We can see that the vast majority of new cases are in young people in their late teens and early 20s.

“What we don’t want to see is a continuing increase of cases in this age group because it could lead to them infecting their parents and grandparents who are much more at risk of poor outcomes from the virus.

“It is vital that they follow social distancing rules, wash their hands regularly and wear a face covering in enclosed spaces.”

Hospital deaths in England up by four

A further four people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,611, NHS England said today.

The patients were aged between 76 and 95 and all had known underlying health conditions.

The dates of the deaths were all on September 5.

No deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

133 further cases and no new deaths in Wales

There have been a further 133 cases of Covid-19 in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 18,514.

Public Health Wales said no further deaths had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic remaining at 1,597.

Five stories to read this afternoon

Good afternoon. Here are five coronavirus-related stories to keep you informed this Monday afternoon:

'Don't kill your gran', says Hancock

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told people "don't kill your gran" as he called for rules aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus to be observed.

He told BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat: "The message to everybody of any age, the risk of spreading it to others - and, especially others who are older, and therefore highly vulnerable to the disease - that risk is real.

"Sticking to the social distancing rules is incredibly important.

"The question is, how much are you willing to risk the lives of yourself and others by breaking the social distancing rules?

"Don't kill your gran by catching coronavirus and then passing it on.

"And you can pass it on before you have had any symptoms at all."

At least six English NHS trusts could be overwhelmed this winter

More than 100 NHS trusts in England could be at or above full capacity this winter if they faced a second wave of coronavirus admissions on top of the usual seasonal workload, the Guardian reports, with figures suggesting that dozens would have 10 per cent fewer beds than needed.

The Guardian compared each trust’s 2019/20 winter capacity against the number of beds they needed for Covid-19 patients in April, when an average of 16,000 beds were required for coronavirus patients per day, and May, by which time lockdown and physical distancing had reduced the number requiring hospitalisation.

The analysis carried out in collaboration with Edge Health suggested that if NHS England experienced April levels of Covid-19 pressure on top of normal winter pressures, 107 of 132 trusts (81 per cent) would have fewer beds than were available to them last winter, with 46 trusts exceeding capacity by 110 per cent or more.

But even if Covid pressures are closer to May’s lower levels, 79 of 132 trusts (60 per cent) could reach capacity with seven trusts oversubscribed by at least 10 per cent compared with last year.

The paper found that six trusts could be overwhelmed in either scenario, meaning that some NHS hospitals would struggle to accommodate all seriously ill patients needing admission.

Quiz: Do you understand the Government's rules around meeting others?

More than half of Britons believe Government guidelines around meeting others are unclear, while two thirds think others are not following these rules “at all well”, according to a new survey.

The current guidance states only two households are permitted to meet indoors (including in restaurants, pubs and cafes) while up to six individuals from different households are allowed to socialise outdoors.

Any gatherings larger than six can only take place if everyone is “exclusively from two households or support bubbles,” the guidance says.

However, according to polling data, gathered by The Health Foundation and Ipsos MORI, 54 per cent of people think the rules around meeting others are confusing.

Do you understand the rules? Take the quiz here to find out. 

Comment: The Government is finally waking up – London will feel like a morgue until theatres reopen

It's taken months for Whitehall to recognise that theatres are no minor sideshow – reopening them is crucial for the UK's rehabilitation, writes Dominic Cavendish. 

It strikes me that the desolate scene in the heart of capital – which still seems like a shadow of its former self – has more eloquently made the case for theatres’ reopening to be prioritised than a hundred speeches by grandees. To walk down Shaftesbury Avenue and one closed playhouse after another is to imbibe the reiterated message that London really isn’t open for business.

The knock-on financial benefit of theatreland being alive and kicking for the wider West End is plain. But even more than that, our historic playhouses – and other landmark venues like the National – are catalysts for the broader return of confidence. How can you encourage commuters to get back on trains, offices to reopen, tourists to return, if this world city still feels like a morgue?

No one should understate the challenges of moving from ‘phase four’ – socially distanced reopening – to ‘phase five’ (full reopening) of the DCMS’s roadmap. A lot of the protocols for making venues as Covid-safe as possible have been drawn up, and implemented in venues like the Bridge, the Troubadour and the Donmar, quick off the block with reduced capacity offerings.

Read the full piece here

Schools across UK hit with Covid cases as schools return

A number of schools across the UK have been hit with coronavirus cases since pupils returned to class.

One secondary school in Suffolk closed its doors just days after reopening, while whole classes at two schools in Wales have been told to self-isolate for two weeks following confirmed cases of Covid-19.

It comes as the National Education Union (NEU) is calling for a "more robust and accessible" test and trace system after it said it had heard reports of teachers being told to travel hundreds of miles for a test.

Five members of teaching staff at Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill, Suffolk, have tested positive for Covid-19, with the academy closed today on the advice of Public Health England. Two other members of staff are waiting to hear their coronavirus test results.

The school said the closure was a "precautionary measure" and it hoped to reopen tomorrow

At least eight schools in Wales are also believed to have been affected by coronavirus since reopening.

St Benedict's RC Primary School in Redcar, St Aidan's CE Primary School in Hartlepool, and Outwood Academy Ormesby in Middlesbrough have all seen positive cases as well - but they will remain open.

The JCB Academy in Rocester, Staffordshire, closed on Friday after a pupil tested positive for coronavirus - and around 100 students were told to self-isolate.

Russian teachers petition against vaccine

In Russia more than 1,450 people have signed an online petition set up by the Uchitel teachers' union against any compulsory vaccination of teachers, the BBC reports.

The Government said it wanted teachers and health workers to get the new Russian coronavirus vaccine first. It insisted that vaccination will be voluntary, in line with Russian law.

Uchitel's petition to the Government, on the Change.org campaign website, warns that teachers may be pressurised into having the vaccine - either threatened with dismissal or a pay cut. 

The union says Russia's Sputnik V vaccine has not yet had an essential Phase Three clinical trial, involving thousands of volunteers. As such mass vaccination is still too risky, it is argued.

Results published on Friday from two small clinical trials pointed to the vaccine triggering antibodies safely. Russia plans to launch Phase Three trials this week.

BioNTech, Pfizer begin German part of Covid-19 vaccine study

Biotech firm BioNTech said today it has widened an ongoing pivotal global study of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate to include testing in its home country of Germany.

Germany's vaccines regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, gave the approval for the Phase 2/3 trial of the experimental vaccine known as BNT162b2, BioNTech and its partner Pfizer said in a statement.

The global trial was initiated in July, with a view to including about 120 sites globally and seeking up to 30,000 participants in total.

More than 25,000 participants have been enrolled, BioNTech said, adding it remained on track to seek approval for BNT162b2 as early as next month. 

Restrictions in Denmark reimposed as infections spike

The limit on public gatherings will be lowered to 50 people from 100 in Denmark's capital Copenhagen and in Odense, after a recent spike in number of Covid-19 infections, the country's health minister said.

The opening hours of cases and restaurants will also be limited. 

Reopening universities should still go ahead despite rise in cases, says No 10

Number 10 said the reopening of universities should still go ahead despite the rise in coronavirus cases among young people.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "What we are doing is discussing with universities how to make sure that they are as safe as possible for students and staff, and how to respond in the event of an outbreak in or near to a university."

64pc of parents would pull children out of school if cases and deaths increase

As schools reopen and cases of Covid-19 rise, 64 per cent of parents in the UK say they are likely to pull their children from school if cases and/or deaths increase.

The Teaching Abroad Direct survey also found that 74 per cent are willing to pay the £60 PCN for their child’s non-attendance if they were to pull them from school, and one in eight (13 per cent) parents are not going to allow their child to use public transport to protect them from coming into contact with the virus

Three-quarters of parents would also welcome remote learning continuing to form part of their child’s education, the survey found.

Nigerian doctors begin 'indefinite' strike over pay and facilities

Nigerian doctors in state-run hospitals began an indefinite strike today to demand a pay rise, better welfare and adequate facilities, union leaders said.

The industrial action by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which represents some 40 per cent of doctors, is the latest in a string of stoppages by medics to hit Africa's most populous nation as it struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

"We have kicked off the strike today," NARD president Aliyu Sokomba told AFP, adding that medics treating virus cases would join the action this time around. "There will be no exemptions," he said.

Sokomba said long-standing issues such as provision of life insurance, a pay rise, payment of salary arrears as well as provision of adequate facilities for doctors were the reasons for the strike.

"We have arrears of 2014, 2015, 2016, salary shortfalls that were supposed to have been paid over six years ago, still pending," he said.

"These are the issues we have and they appear not to have been addressed up till this day," he said.

"It is an indefinite strike," Sokomba said, adding that it would be called off only when the union's demands were met.

Rise in cases may 'put brakes' on Scots lockdown easing

A rise in coronavirus cases could see the Scottish Government "put the brakes" on further changes to lockdown restrictions, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

A total of 146 new cases of the virus were reported today.

Describing this as a "key moment" the First Minister said the continued rise must be taken "really seriously".

The restrictions will be reviewed on Thursday, but Ms Sturgeon said it was unlikely Scotland would move to the next phase in her Government's route map out of lockdown given the rise in cases.

She added that a "resurgence" of cases could see restrictions being reimposed.

An average of 152 positive tests have been recorded each day over the past week - compared to 14 per day six weeks ago.

However, this has not yet resulted in a spike in hospital admissions, with 256 people currently being treated for Covid-19.

Coronavirus around the world, in pictures

A health worker takes swab samples for Covid-19 in India, which has overtaken Brazil as the country in the world with the second-most cases Credit: Shutterstock
Students wear face masks and sit at a distance from each other in Valencia as schools across Spain return  Credit: AFP
Relatives mourn a man that died with Covid-19 in New Delhi, India  Credit: Reuters
Chairs installed at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square to symbolise the 1,000 coronavirus deaths in Israel Credit: AFP
Empty check-in counters are pictured at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang  Credit: AFP

Furlough’s end heralds autumn of job losses

Britain is facing a grim autumn of job cuts after fresh evidence emerged today that most mid-sized UK businesses expect to cut staff when the furlough scheme ends, while the manufacturing industry could lose skilled workers permanently as companies warn the Government risks removing a key plank of support before the economy recovers.

It raises the prospect of a full-blown unemployment crisis in the autumn, ratcheting up pressure on the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to extend the job retention scheme (JRS) which he introduced to preserve employment through the pandemic.

Six businesses in 10 do not plan to bring back all of their staff when the Treasury stops supporting the wages of those still off work, according to a survey from BDO published today.

Tim Wallace has more here

Casualty filming resumes with special coronavirus episode

Casualty has resumed filming with a special episode exploring the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the drama's medical staff.

The BBC suspended production in March, along with EastEnders and Holby City, as Covid-19 spread across the UK.

The new episode "will examine the personal cost of being national heroes at a time of crisis", according to the broadcaster.

Social distancing is being maintained on set, with cast and crew using "inventive techniques and careful planning" to maintain production standards.

The long-running programme will air at a later date with shorter, 40-minute episodes.

'Long Covid' prevalent among young people, warns Hancock

Affluent young people have helped propel the rise in coronavirus cases, the Health Secretary has suggested.

Speaking on LBC radio, Mr Hancock said younger people could still have serious illness and could pass on disease to more vulnerable people - including their grandparents.

"The rise in the number of cases we have seen over the last few days is largely among younger people - under 25s, especially between 17 and 21 - and the message to all your younger listeners is that even though you are at lower risk of dying from Covid if you're under 25, you can still have really serious symptoms and consequences.

"Long Covid - where people six months on are still ill - is prevalent among younger people.

"Also, that you can infect other people - this argument that we have seen that some people come out with saying 'you don't need to worry about a rise in cases because it is younger people and they don't die' - firstly they can get very, very ill.

"And secondly it inevitably leads to older people catching it from them - don't infect your grandparents."

Meanwhile, Mr Hancock said the rise in coronavirus cases was not restricted to poorer areas.

He added: "Over the summer we had particular problems in some of the areas that are most deprived.

"Actually, the recent increase we have seen in the last few days is more broadly spread. It's actually among more affluent younger people where we have seen the rise."

Stool tests more effective in identifying Covid in children, research shows

Stool tests may be more effective than respiratory tests in identifying Covid-19 infections in children and infants since they carry a higher viral load in their stool than adults, researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) said.

Stool samples carry the virus even after it has cleared from a patient’s respiratory tract and that could lead to better identification of asymptomatic cases, particularly in infants and others who have difficulty providing nasal or throat swabs.

Researchers from CUHK’s Faculty of Medicine carried out stool tests on more than 2,000 asymptomatic children and others who needed such tests who arrived at Hong Kong airport from March 29.

As of August 31, of samples collected, six children were confirmed with a Covid-19 infection.

Flights between London City and Belfast City resume for first time since March

Flights between London City and Belfast City airports resume on Monday for the first time since airline Flybe collapsed in March.

Five return flights per week will be operated by BA CityFlyer.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said it was "excellent news for Northern Ireland and the connectivity of the entire United Kingdom".

He went on: "It is crucial to the recovery of the economy that vital air passenger services to and from London and Belfast City Airport are maintained."

London City-Belfast City was one of a number of key regional routes suspended when Flybe went bust.

Some 211,000 passengers flew between the airports in 2019.

This was up 15 per cent on the previous year, making it the fastest growing route for London City.

Hong Kong testing regime failing as only a fraction of population sign up

Plans to test every resident of Hong Kong for Covid-19  appear to be collapsing, with just a fraction of the territory’s population signing up for the scheme.

The free voluntary tests are part of an attempt to stamp out a third wave of infections that began in late June and saw the densely populated city reimpose economically painful social distancing measures.

According to AFP, the involvement of mainland Chinese testing firms has deterred many in the city, which is politically divided towards Beijing’s newly assertive rule.

This morning Patrick Nip, Hong Kong’s civil service chief, said 1.15 million people had signed up since mass testing began last Tuesday, out of a city population of some 7.5 million.

That figure is well below the 4-5 million leading health experts said would be needed for a mass testing scheme to be effective at finding and stopping hidden transmission chains.

A group of pro-democracy politicians and lawmakers, as well as a medical union critical of Beijing, called on the public to boycott the test. Both Beijing and city leader Carrie Lam have accused those opposed to the testing as being politically motivated and “anti-China”.

Watch: India overtakes Brazil in Covid-19 cases as it becomes second worst-hit country by pandemic

Autistic people left completely stranded during pandemic

Autistic people and their families have been left "completely stranded" during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report which describes the impact as "devastating".

The National Autistic Society said the responses they received from 4,232 autistic people and their family members shows that Covid-19 and the lockdown deepened well-established existing inequalities.

Autistic people in June and July were six times more likely to have low life satisfaction and seven times more likely to be chronically lonely compared to the general public, the report said.

It found that nine out of 10 autistic people worried about their mental health during lockdown and one in five family members had to reduce work due to caring responsibilities.

The disruption, uncertainty and change of pace triggered huge levels of anxiety and for some was made worse by the withdrawal of support from social care, education and mental health services.

Read more here. 

Primark sales bounce back after lockdown

Sales at Primark bounced back in the fourth quarter and beat expectations, as shoppers flocked back to its stores post-lockdown to buy larger baskets of clothes. 

The low-cost retailer said trading has been "reassuring and encouraging" since stores reopened in June, with value and volume shares at a record high in the last four weeks.

Primark's parent firm Associated British Foods (ABF) said: "Since reopening Primark stores we have seen increasing numbers of transactions driven by footfall.

"The average basket size was initially significantly higher than last year, reflecting some pent-up demand, and while this out-performance has reduced in recent weeks it remains higher than a year ago."

Simon Foy has more here

Government announces £32m in R&D funding for futuristic healthcare projects

Robotic muscles and walk-through X-ray scanners are among new projects to receive Government investment under plans to boost healthcare research and development (R&D) spending.

A total of £32 million in investment has been pledged as part of an aim to increase overall UK R&D spending to £22 billion a year by 2024-25.

Making the announcement during a speech on R&D at London Tech Week, Science Minister Amanda Solloway said six new projects would be backed, each aimed at using technology to transform care and treatment in the NHS by 2050.

One of the projects being backed is InlightenUs, led by the University of Edinburgh, which is to receive £5.4 million to develop its medical imaging technology that uses a combination of artificial intelligence and infra-red lasers to quickly produce high-resolution, 3D medical images to help identify diseases in patients.

Also involving the Universities of Nottingham and Southampton, the project hopes to scale up the technology by 2050 to work in airport-style walk-through X-ray scanners which will be able to quickly spot any issues in patients.

University of Bristol project emPOWER is to receive £6 million of funding to develop robotic, artificial muscles designed to help restore strength in people who have lost muscle capacity.

The researchers said the aim of the technology is to overcome the limitations of current wearable assistive technology, which they argue can be too bulky and uncomfortable, and instead restore independence and quality of life while reducing costs to the NHS.

Russia reports 5,185 new cases

Russia reported 5,185 new coronavirus cases on Monday, pushing its national tally to 1,030,690, the fourth largest in the world.

Authorities confirmed 51 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 17,871.

The latest figures come as Russia’s consumer health safety watchdog announced that early-stage trials on a second Russian coronavirus vaccine will be completed by the end of the months.

Health authorities in the country approved the world’s first coronavirus vaccine last month, in a development that was greeted with scepticism in the West.

Speed of coronavirus vaccine race 'crazy' and unsafe, scientists warn

Leading scientists across the world have said rushing the development of a coronavirus vaccine to bring it to the public before the end of this year is unrealistic, unsafe, and even "crazy". 

Despite reports from across the world suggesting a vaccine could be ready in weeks - particularly from the United States, where "Operation Warp Speed" reportedly has officials on standby to distribute the vaccine by October, ahead of the presidential election -  experts are increasingly concerned that the rhetoric is in no way matched by the data. 

None of the leading vaccine candidates have yet completed clinical trials, the regulatory bodies who licence vaccines are already struggling to cope with coronavirus demands, and questions over manufacture and distribution haven't been considered, experts say. 

Professor Beate Kampmann, director of the Vaccine Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told The Telegraph: "This timeline is neither realistic, nor is it sensible to put this kind of pressure on the analysis of important trials. It is highly politicised, and I am not a fan of this approach."   

Jennifer Rigby has more here

Philippines reports lowest number of new cases in eight weeks

The Philippines’ health ministry has reported 1,383 new coronavirus infections, its lowest number of new daily cases in nearly eight weeks, according to Reuters.

The ministry said there were 15 new deaths, taking total Covid-19 fatalities to 3,890.

The Philippines has the most coronavirus infections in south-east Asia, with 238,727 confirmed cases.

Production of 30m doses of Oxford vaccine for UK already underway

AstraZeneca has already begun production of the UK Government’s initial order of 30 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, which has been developed in collaboration with researchers at Oxford University.

The vaccine has not been approved for use and is still undergoing trials in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. However, last month, Prof Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said it is “just possible” that there may be enough clinical trial data on Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine to put before the regulators this year.

The vaccine is delivered via a chimpanzee virus, called the vaccine vector, which contains the genetic code of the protein spikes found on the coronavirus. It is hoped that they will trigger a strong immune response.

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock told LBC that production of the UK’s batch of AstraZeneca vaccines had already begun – well ahead of any approval being granted. He said:

"We have got 30 million doses already contracted with AstraZeneca, in fact they are starting to manufacture those doses already, ahead of approval, so that should approval come through – and it’s still not certain but it is looking up – should that approval come through then we are ready to roll out.

"The best-case scenario is that happens this year. I think more likely is the early part of next year – in the first few months of next year is the most likely.

"But we’ve also bought vaccine ahead of it getting approved from a whole different series of international vaccines as well."

Charity football match sees up to 300 isolate in County Durham 

Up to 300 people who attended a charity football match have been asked to self-isolate for a fortnight after 28 people who attended the event tested positive for Covid-19.

The match was held at Burnside Working Men's Club, in Fencehouses, County Durham on August 30.

The location is close to the border with Wearside, so Durham County Council has been working with counterparts at Sunderland City Council, as well as Public Health England, to manage the response.

Contact tracing will be carried out for anyone deemed to have been close to someone who tested positive at the bank holiday weekend gathering, but anyone else who was at the charity game has been asked to self-isolate until midnight on September 13.

Gillian Gibson, Sunderland's director of public health, said: "It's really important that everyone acts responsibly and follows the public health guidance when outside of the home if we are to keep our community safe."

Bahrain drops quarantine requirements for airport arrivals

Bahrain has dropped quarantine requirements for airport arrivals after discovering only a small proportion of passengers developed COVID-19 during self-isolation.

Officials in the Gulf state lifted the requirements after discovering that just 0.2 per cent of cases – or 1 in every 500 passengers – became infectious during a 10-day quarantine period.

Travellers were previously required to stay home after taking an airport nasal swab, with a second test needed to exit isolation.

But following the rule change passengers only need to receive a negative result, which takes just 12 hours.

The Manama's repurposed convention centre, in which 6,000 people are participating in a large-scale trial of a Chinese-sponsored vaccine for the Covid-19 coronavirus, in the Bahraini capital Credit: MAZEN MAHDI 

Yesterday, Bahrain re-opened its borders to tourists and non-residents, including those from the UK, after the introduction of new COVID-19 testing measures.

Passengers holding electronic visas and those eligible for visas on arrival – from 114 countries and 68 countries respectively – are now able to enter the Kingdom.

Indonesian children forced to climb trees to access internet during school closures 

The Telegraph's Asia correspondent Nicola Smith reports:

Indonesian children are being forced to climb trees and hunker down on roadsides to access the internet as schools remain shuttered due to spiking coronavirus numbers. 

According to Unicef, around 1.6 billion children and young people, more than 91 per cent of students worldwide, have been impacted by school closures this year during the ongoing pandemic. But for developing countries the challenges have been even greater. 

In the mountains of Indonesia’s North Sumatra, students have been perching on branches on the tops of tall trees, hoping for a signal strong enough to complete their assignments, reported the New York Times on Monday.  

Children hold Indonesian flags as they wait during a routine immunization campaign at The Children Community Health Care center in Banda Aceh, Indonesia Credit: Shutterstock 

Classrooms in the world’s fourth most populous nation have been locked since March as the virus has swept through the archipelago, infecting close to 200,000 and claiming more than 8,000 lives, hundreds of them children. 

More than a third of Indonesian students have limited or no internet access, according to the Education Ministry, and experts fear many students will fall far behind in their studies, especially those from the most disadvantaged areas. 

Read the full story here 

Israel reaches 1,000 coronavirus deaths in total

The Daily Telegraph's James Rothwell in Jerusalem reports: 

Israel has reached the grim milestone of 1,000 coronavirus deaths in total, as the rate of infections rose by up to 3,000 per day in a population of just eight million.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has vowed to impose night time curfews in up to 40 "red" areas which have been hit particularly hard by the second wave of the virus.

Mr Netanyhu had initially planned to impose a full lockdown in those areas, but reportedly abandoned the plan after opposition from Israel's ultra-orthodox political factions.

Ultra-orthodox leaders have accused the Israeli government of using them as a scapegoat for the high number of infections, due to communal worship being an integral part of their lives.

One thousand of chairs symbolizing people died from the coronavirus are placed at the Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday Credit: Sebastian Scheiner 

Some community leaders claimed Mr Netanyhu was "turning us into disease vectors and enemies of the people" according to the Times of Israel. 

There is also renewed speculation about a full, nationwide lockdown being introduced after Israel's interior minister, Aryeh Deri, said it was the only way to slow the infection rate. 

To date, there have been 132,000 cases of coronavirus in Israel, of which 102,000 have recovered. As of Monday, 1,019 people have died of the disease. 

There has also been a surge of infections in Gaza, which is controlled by the militant group Hamas, with more than 100 cases reported in a single day last week. The total number of infections is believed to stand at around 500.

Daily rise is 'concerning' says Matt Hancock 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the daily rise in cases of coronavirus on Sunday was "concerning".

He told LBC: "The rise in the number of cases we have seen in the last few days is concerning.

"It is concerning because we have seen a rise in cases in France, in Spain, in some other countries across Europe - nobody wants to see a second wave here.

"It just reinforces the point that people must follow the social distancing rules, they are so important."

When asked if people were not following the rules he added: "We certainly see cases where they are not, and then we take action."

He said that many cases in Bolton were linked to a single pub which has been asked to close.

‘Don't be complacent' about the virus, warns George Eustice

George Eustice has warned that the UK should not be 'complacent' about the virus as we’ve seen the trend of cases rising in other countries. 

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that the latest figures were “a concern”. 

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “We have seen in a number of other countries this trend where numbers do start to tick up, particularly among younger people and then sometimes that can start to spread to the population more widely and lead to those impacts of higher mortality.  

“So this is something that I know Mark Hancock's very concerned about, and it underlines the importance of people not being complacent not thinking it's all over. 

“We are still going to be living our lives alongside this virus for some time to come.

“That's why we need people to maintain their social distancing, wear face masks, wash their hands more often, avoid social gatherings, and it's a reminder of the importance of doing that.” 

Britain's Environment Secretary George Eustice  Credit: PIPPA FOWLES/10 DOWNING ST 

Rise in cases will lead to more hospitalisations, but deaths will fall, warns public health expert 

A rise in coronavirus cases will lead to more hospitalisations but deaths will continue to fall, a public health expert has warned. 

Devi Sridhar, Chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, said that there will be more hospitalisations to come but “deaths won't be as dramatic”. 

“We have better treatments and doctors have better clinical ways of managing patients and have learned how to improve survival. 

“The good news is I think deaths will continue to fall but I think hospitalisations will continue to be challenging if these numbers continue and restrictions aren't brought in place to try to bring it under control," she told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme. 

She also said that Scotland’s “substantial increase” in positive cases was partly due to reopening the economy and travel. 

Prof Sridhar: "I think this is a mix of reopening the economy as well as having open airports, open borders, where you're seeing clusters being set off by people returning from holidays or coming back from abroad, which is what we've seen across Europe, which is the increased activity and movement over the summer has led to substantial transmission.

She added: "So I think right now, the testing and tracing system is trying to do the work but if the numbers increase dramatically it's too much for the system, the system operates when numbers are low, that's where it is optimal. 

A further 2,988 cases of coronavirus were reported by the Government in the UK in the past 24 hours - the highest number reported on a single day since 22 May and a rise of 1,175 on Saturday.

Suffolk school outbreak as five staff test positive 

Five members of teaching staff at a school in Suffolk have tested positive for Covid-19, with the academy closed on Monday on the advice of Public Health England.

Two other members of staff at the Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill are waiting to hear their coronavirus test results.

The school said in a statement that the closure was a "precautionary measure" and it hoped to reopen on Tuesday.

Headteacher Andy Hunter said: "The safety of pupils and all those who work at the school is my biggest priority.

"Obviously this is a huge disappointment after working so hard to get the school back up and running.

"I will be looking closely at the systems we put in place to try to understand how the transmission occurred and to make sure we do everything possible to limit the chances of the same thing happening again.

Stuart Keeble, director of public health at Suffolk County Council, said: "Understandably, this news may worry parents across Suffolk, but it is important to remember that the risk of children contracting Covid-19 is still very small.

"Evidence suggests that children are more likely to contract Covid-19 at home."

India passes Brazil as second worst-hit country 

India became the second worst-hit country by the pandemic on Monday as urban metro trains partially resumed service in the capital New Delhi and other states as the government pushes to sustain a weakened economy.

The 90,802 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India's total past Brazil with 4.2 million cases. India is now only behind the United States, which has more than 6 million.

India's Health Ministry on Monday also reported 1,016 deaths for a total of 71,642.

India has been recording the world's largest daily coronavirus caseload for almost a month even as the government pushes to open businesses to revive a contracting economy.

Tokyo Olympics will go ahead 'with or without Covid' 

The Tokyo Olympics are now set to open on July 23, 2021 Credit: AP

Tokyo's postponed Olympics will go ahead next year regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, IOC vice president John Coates told AFP on Monday, saying they would be the "Games that conquered Covid".

The Olympics have never been cancelled outside of the world wars and Mr Coates was adamant that the Tokyo Games will start on their revised date.

They are now set to open on July 23, 2021.

But Japan's borders are still largely closed to foreign visitors and a vaccine is months or even years away, feeding speculation about whether the Games are feasible at all.

Japanese officials have made clear they would not delay the Games a second time beyond 2021.

A recent poll found just one in four people in Japan want them to go ahead next year, with most backing either another postponement or a cancellation.

Assaults on police up 21pc over lockdown

Police forces across the UK suffered from increase in assaults over the lockdown period Credit: PA

Police forces across the UK have suffered a 21pc increase in assaults on their officers over the lockdown period.

Figures gathered by the PA news agency from 31 forces show that at least 7,863 instances of assault were recorded over the first three months of lockdown, compared with 6,505 for the same period in 2019.

This comes as a recent study involving 40,000 police officers and staff showed that 88pc of officers said they had been assaulted during their career, with 39pc having been attacked in the past year.

Leicestershire Police recorded the most substantial increase of 102pc, with 205 cases noted in the first three months of lockdown, up from 101 the previous year.

The next largest increase of 57pc was recorded by Derbyshire Constabulary, followed by South Yorkshire Police and Cleveland Police each noting a rise of 55pc.

Leicestershire Police's Chief Constable Simon Cole said a "particularly distasteful trend" of offenders spitting and coughing on officers and threatening to infect them with coronavirus has also developed countrywide.

Cases in South Korea drop for a fifth day

South Korea has added 119 more cases of the coronavirus, its lowest daily jump in more than three weeks amid a downward trend in new cases.

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday the additional figures took the country's total to 21,296 with 336 deaths.

It's the fifth straight day the country's daily jump has stayed under 200. The 119 additional cases are the lowest in kind since mid-August.

South Korea's caseload had risen since early last month, with many associated with churches, restaurants and schools and an anti-government street rally in the greater Seoul area. In late August, South Korea's daily jump once marked over 400.

Mexico reports 232 more deaths

Mexico's health ministry on Sunday reported 4,614 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 232 additional fatalities, bringing its totals to 634,023 cases and 67,558 deaths.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely to be significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

France puts more departments on Covid high alert

Lille in northern France see infections accelerate Credit: AP

French authorities have placed seven more departments covering major cities such as Lille, Strasbourg and Dijon on high alert as increases in Covid-19 infections accelerate, the government said Sunday.

Of France's 101 mainland and overseas departments, 28 are now considered "red zones" where authorities will be able to impose exceptional measures to slow the number of cases.

The move comes as France reported a record of nearly 9,000 daily cases on Friday, and a further 8,550 cases in the past 24 hours on Saturday, when the nationwide test positivity rate increased to 4.7 percent.

Paris and the Rhone department encompassing the southeastern city of Lyon were the first to be placed on high alert by the government on August 14 after infection rates began to climb.

That prompted local officials to require face masks in all public spaces to slow the virus's spread, in hope of avoiding a spike in cases that could again overwhelm hospitals as autumn approaches.

The Sante Publique France health agency, which has warned of "exponential" caseload increases, said Saturday that 53 new clusters had been discovered in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number under investigation to 484.

Australia secures access to AstraZeneca vaccine within months

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets with a specialist at the Microbiology Laboratory at AstraZeneca  Credit: Getty Images AsiaPac

Pharmaceutical company CSL Ltd has agreed to manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University if trials prove successful, with doses for Australia expected by early 2021.

The company also said it had agreed with the Australian government to manufacture an alternative potential vaccine it is developing with the University of Queensland (UQ), with first doses of that vaccine expected by mid-2021.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to announce the government's agreements for the supply of both vaccine candidates with the respective companies.

The supply deals come as Australia grapples with a second wave of infections in Victoria state. Australia has recorded more than 26,000 infections and 753 deaths.

China reports 12 new cases versus 10 a day earlier

Mainland China reported 12 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, up from 10 a day earlier, the country's national health authority report said.

The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas, marking the 22nd consecutive day of no local infections.

The commission also reported 17 new aymptomatic infections, unchanged from a day earlier. China does not count symptomless patients as confirmed cases.

The total of confirmed Covid-19 cases for mainland China now stands at 85,134. The death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

Three schools in the north-east confirm new cases

Coronavirus cases have been confirmed at three schools in the area around Middlesbrough.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council said on Sunday that a positive case had been recorded at St Benedict's RC Primary School in Redcar.

However, the local authority said the school will remain open. 

St Aidan's CE Primary School, in Hartlepool, said in a Facebook post to parents that it also had a confirmed Covid-19 case.

And Outwood Academy Ormesby, Middlesbrough, said in a short statement that a confirmed case had been found "within the school community".

It comes as pupils began returning to schools in England last week for the first time since lockdown in March.

In Redcar and Cleveland, 38 new cases were recorded in the seven days to September 1 - the equivalent of 27.7 per 100,000 people, up from 10.2 in the seven days to August 25.

The rate in Hartlepool also experienced a jump, from 7.5 to 22.4, with 21 new cases, while Middlesbrough's rate has risen from 28.4 to 31.2, with 44 new cases.

Middlesbrough was added to the Government's Covid-19 watchlist as an "area of concern" on Friday.

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