Coronavirus latest news: Gyms and beauty salons to reopen in new lockdown changes as UK deaths hit 44,602

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THE reopening date for gyms and nail bars has finally been revealed by Oliver Dowden.

Mr Dowden announced on Thursday that gyms, beauty salons and swimming pools can resume operation in the coming weeks – with new social-distancing measures.

Meanwhile, people in ‘high risk’ occupations will be tested for coronavirus even if they showing no symptoms with jobs including taxi drivers, cleaners and shop workers – the Department of Health has announced.

And Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a host of new measures to get Britain’s economy moving again in a mini-Budget such as a six-month stamp duty holiday for homes up to £500,000.

He also announced there will be an Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme throughout August – meaning restaurant and pub bills will be slashed in half.

It comes as the coronavirus death toll in the UK rose to 44,602 after 85 more deaths in were recorded on July 9, 2020.

Follow the latest news and updates surrounding coronavirus below…

SCHOOLS CLOSED IN HONG KONG AFTER SPIKE

Hong Kong is set to announce schools are to close temporarily after a spike in locally transmitted coronavirus cases.

The South China Morning Post reports a medical source as saying that at least 30 more people had tested positive for the virus.

The Asian financial hub reported 42 new cases on Thursday, of which 34 were locally transmitted, marking the second consecutive day of rising local infections.

The total number of cases in the city since late January now stands at 1,366. Seven people have died.

OVER 1,000 US TRAVEL SECURITY OFFICERS TEST POSITIVE FOR VIRUS

More than 1,000 of the United States’ Transit Security Administration agents have tested positive for COVID-19, the agency announced Thursday.

Hydrick Thomas, the president of the union representing the officers, said the the numbers represent a struggle to protect workers as people travel through airports, The Washington Post reported.

“Right now they’re bringing people back to work and the social distance is not in total effect,” Thomas said.

“Employees are still complaining there’s too many of them in one area.”

In total, 1018 officers have tested positive for the virus, and six have died, the TSA said.

COVID-19 PANDEMIC ‘ACCELERATING’ AND ‘GETTING WORSE’ – WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION

The World Health Organisation has warned the coronavirus pandemic has still not reached its peak – as lockdown measures are relaxed to make international travel easier.

The director general of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the virus is not under control “in most of the world” and is in fact “getting worse”.

His stark message comes as quarantine rules for people returning to or visiting the UK from certain countries are relaxed from Friday.

The UK Government has published a list of 76 countries and territories from which people arriving into England will no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days.

Dr Ghebreyesus said the total number of cases of coronavirus worldwide has doubled in the last six weeks.

Speaking at the member state briefing on the Covid-19 pandemic evaluation, he said: “The virus has upended health systems in some of the world’s wealthiest nations, while some countries that have mounted a successful response have been of modest means.

MPS AND PEERS BID TO SAVE POLITICS LIVE FROM BBC CUTTING FLOOR AFTER AXE REPORTS

More than 100 MPs and peers have united to demand the BBC protect its Politics Live programme from the axe as it looks to make savings following the Covid-19 shutdown.

The cross-party band of 106 politicians have written to the publicly-owned broadcaster warning that dropping the topical issues show would “seriously harm the ability of the BBC to scrutinise and explain the consequences of policy announcements”.

Among those to sign the letter calling for a “firm commitment be made to the future of Politics Live” is former Labour culture secretary Ben Bradshaw, Tory ex-Cabinet minister Theresa Villiers and acting Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey.

Others giving it their backing include Green MP Caroline Lucas, Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts and former Conservative Party vice-chairman Ben Bradley MP.

LABOUR URGES SUNAK TO END £1.3BN ‘BUNG’ TO SECOND HOME OWNERS

Labour has accused Chancellor Rishi Sunak of delivering a £1.3 billion “bung” to second homeowners and landlords in his coronavirus recovery package.

The opposition urged Mr Sunak to reverse what it said was an “unnecessary subsidy” after it emerged a stamp duty holiday would be extended to the purchasers of holiday homes and buy-to-let properties.

The Conservatives hit back, accusing Labour of “political point scoring”, saying the move – intended to boost the housing market – would benefit thousands of families across the country.

The row comes after Mr Sunak’s much-heralded £30 billion jobs package failed to prevent another slew of redundancies – with John Lewis, Boots, Burger King and Rolls Royce announcing thousands of jobs were at risk.

The Chancellor also received a warning from the head of HM Customs and Revenue that key elements of the plan may not represent good value for money, while economists said repairing the damage to the public finances could take decades, with tax rises inevitable.

QUARANTINE RULES FOR PEOPLE ENTERING UK TO BE RELAXED

Quarantine rules for people returning to or visiting the UK from certain countries will be relaxed from Friday.

But while Labour welcomed the relaxation of the quarantine, it criticised the Government for failing to set up so-called air bridges to other countries.

Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said that workers and holidaymakers were paying the price of the Government’s failure to act.

He added: “The fact they have been unable to negotiate air bridges is an indictment of their failure to tackle the crisis at home.

“They were too slow to take lockdown, too slow to order PPE (personal protective equipment) and too slow to protect our country.

“Labour has consistently called for a sectoral deal that supports the whole aviation industry including the supply chain based on our six conditions.

“Tory ministers have failed to act and workers are paying the price and trips are being cancelled.”

His comments come as a survey suggested people in four European countries are more likely to oppose inbound UK tourists this summer than they are visitors from the rest of the continent.

UK SHOPPERS MAKE TENTATIVE RETURN TO HIGH STREET IN JUNE, RETAILERS SAY

British shoppers returned to the high street in June as the coronavirus lockdown eased, but overall numbers were much lower than normal for the time of year, an industry survey showed on Friday.

The monthly report from the British Retail Consortium trade body and market research firm ShopperTrak showed footfall was down 63% in annual terms in June, although this was 19 percentage points above May’s reading.

Non-essential stores were allowed to reopen on June 15 in England, but shopper numbers were still 53% lower than normal in the second half the month, compared with a 77% shortfall in the first two weeks when only essential stores were open.

“(The) UK recovery has been sluggish, especially compared with European standards, but retailers with stores remain hopeful that the reopening of hospitality will provide a welcome boost,” said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.

Pubs and restaurants reopened last weekend, and on Wednesday finance minister Rishi Sunak said the government would fund discounts on eating out on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August

CHINA TAKES INFLUENCE CAMPAIGN ONLINE TO WIN TAIWAN HEARTS DURING PANDEMIC

As the coronavirus pandemic all but halts travel across the Taiwan Strait, China is taking its campaign pushing for “reunification” with Taiwan to the virtual world of live broadcasts, online conferences and video-making competitions.

The intensifying efforts to win hearts and minds in democratic Taiwan come amid widespread support on the island for anti-government protests in Hong Kong and opposition to a new Chinese-imposed security law for the city.

Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue, with Beijing claiming the self-ruled island as its own, to be brought under its control by force if needed.

While many Taiwanese trace their ancestry to mainland China and share cultural similarities with Chinese, most don’t want to be ruled by autocratic China.

A video-making contest to “break down barriers created by the virus” is now being advertised to Taiwan high school students.

“The epidemic has cut off the mountains from the seas, but cannot cut off the longing for home,” an online poster on the competition wrote, which was co-hosted by a Chinese Communist Party youth group based in Fujian province, on the other side of the strait from Taiwan.

SOURCE: Reuters

ALGERIA TIGHTENING TRAVEL RESRICTIONS TO LIMIT CORONAVIRUS INFECTIONS

Algeria will reimpose travel restrictions on Friday and increase testing in a bid to stop a rise in novel coronavirus infections, the government said on Thursday.

Under the measure, citizens will be barred from traveling to and from 29 provinces including the capital, Algiers, for a week starting on Friday, the government said in a statement after a meeting chaired by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to discuss the health situation.

The authorities last month eased restrictions, shortening a curfew to 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. in those provinces and ending it in the remaining 19.

The government will also allow all state and private laboratories to conduct COVID-19 tests to help cope with a growing number of patients, the statement said.

The North African country has reported 17,708 confirmed infections and 988 deaths.

BOLIVIA’S INTERIM PRESIDENT TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

Interim Bolivian President Jeanine Áñez says she has tested positive for the new coronavirus but feels strong and will continue working from isolation.

Her infection comes amid a spike in cases in the Andean nation, which has banned mass gatherings to try to limit the spread of the virus.

Áñez wrote on her Twitter account Thursday: I feel good, I feel strong, I will continue to work virtually from my isolation.”

UK TURNS DOWN EU CORONAVIRUS VACCINE SCHEME DUE TO CONCERNS ABOUT DELAYS

The British government has decided not to join a European Union coronavirus vaccine scheme because of concerns there could be costly delays in securing the vaccines, The Telegraph reported.

The European Commission is expected to be notified on Friday, the report said.

UK business minister Alok Sharma is believed to have withdrawn from the plan after failing to get “sufficient assurance” that the UK would receive the number of vaccines it needs on time, the report added.

The officials believed that signing up to the scheme could delay the rollout of a successful vaccine in the UK by up to six months as talks on distribution took place, the report said, citing government sources.

The decision comes a week after officials in London and Brussels said Britain was in discussions with the EU about whether it would join a plan by the bloc to secure supplies of potential vaccines against COVID-19.

SEVEN-YEAR-OLD CYCLING 999 MILES IN VIRTUAL UK TOUR FOR NHS

A seven-year-old has raised more than £1,000 for the NHS through a virtual cycling tour to visit friends and family across the UK.

The schoolgirl will be finishing her challenge in two weeks, which will have seen her cycle 999 miles in total, virtually meeting people at several stops along the way.

“At the start of lockdown, Anya decided that she would turn our daily exercise opportunity into a way of virtually visiting her friends and family by bicycle,” Julie Rodgers, Anya’s mother, told the PA news agency.

“Each day, we would note how far she had cycled and plot our journey virtually around the country.”

Anya has been completing the challenge with her family in Burbage, Wiltshire, with her three-year-old sister riding on the back of her mother’s bike.

BIDEN PLEDGES NEW DEAL-LIKE ECONOMIC AGENDA TO COUNTER TRUMP

Democrat Joe Biden turned his campaign against President Donald Trump toward the economy Thursday, introducing a New Deal-like economic agenda while drawing a sharp contrast with a billionaire incumbent he said has abandoned working-class Americans amid cascading crises.

The former vice president presented details of a comprehensive agenda that he touted as the most aggressive government investment in the U.S. economy since World War II.

He also accused Trump of ignoring the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis while encouraging division amid a national reckoning with systemic racism.

CLOSED DOORS

Nightclubs and casinos are among the businesses not allowed to reopen yet.

It’s bad news for Brits who are desperate for a night out after almost four months in lockdown.

Other businesses that have been told they can’t welcome back customers just yet include children’s soft play areas and exhibition and conference centres.

These venues will remain closed despite the government lifting lockdown measures for places like gyms, nail salons and swimming pools.

More on the story here.

NIGHT FEVER

Music venues will be allowed to reopen in England from July 11 as long as performances take place outside.

Oliver Dowden announced the easing of the lockdown measures on July 9.

From July 4, hotels, pubs, libraries, hairdressers, and caravan sites were allowed to open.

But now, music venues can open up their doors again from July 11.

Mr Dowden said on July 9: “This is an important milestone for our performing artists who’ve been waiting patiently in the wings since march.

More on the story here.

NAILED IT

Since we went into lockdown in March, us beauty fans have had to make do with doing our own nails for a change. And to be honest, they’ve never looked worse.

However, nail and beauty have been given the green light to reopen from July 25.

On July 9, Oliver Dowden announced that a number of sectors, including beauty salons, will reopen from July 25.

However, there will be noticeable changes at these facilities to minimise the spread of coronavirus, while adhering to new government guidelines.

More on the story here.

ISLAND LIFE?

Barbados is offering people the chance to relocate to the Caribbean so they can work from a new sunny home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley has laid out plans to introduce the “Barbados Welcome Stamp” that would allow international arrivals to stay on island for a whole year.

More on the story here.

INK-CREDIBLE

Tattoo studios are to reopen next week as the government confirmed the next stage of lockdown restrictions easing.

Studios will be able to reopen from Monday July 13, along with beauty and tanning salons

From this weekend outdoor swimming pool can welcome customers, while gigs outside are also allowed.

Strict rules will be in place when business do reopen to make sure they keep the risk of spreading coronavirus as low as possible.

More on the story here.

ALL THE NEW RULES YOU’LL HAVE TO FOLLOW WHEN NAIL BARS, TATTOOISTS & TANNING SALONS REOPEN ON MONDAY

Book that massage, manicure or tan you’ve been dreaming of getting for three long months in lockdown

Tonight the Culture Secretary announced that nail salons, tattoo parlours, massage parlours and tanning venues will be able to reopen their doors once again from Monday.

More on the rules here.

COVID CLAMPDOWN

Brits planning holidays to the Costa del Sol will be ordered to wear masks under new plans to stop the transmission of the virus at the holiday hotspot.

Catalonia has already tightened rule on the use of face coverings – and the Balearic Islands will follow suit from Monday.

The changes in rules will make masks obligatory in top destinations whenever holidaymakers leave their hotel rooms – although it’s understood Majorca and Ibiza have been exempted.

This afternoon the president of the Andalucian regional government which covers the Costa del Sol area said the same rules may have to be applied in southern Spain.

More on the story here.

LICENCE TO CHILL

The release of the latest James Bond film No Time To Die is set to be pushed back yet again due to Covid-19 concerns.

One problem is cases of the virus climbing in the US, as many fans of Bond, played by Daniel Craig, are over 40 and so more vulnerable.

An LA source said: “There are very secret discussions moving forward about what to do.

“Bond films are massive money spinners; people forget Daniel’s work on Skyfall and Spectre staved off potential bankruptcy for the MGM company with its profits.

“This is business. And business decisions have to be made.

“Simply put having No Time To Die earning less than half a billion at the box office would be deemed a disaster – no matter the circumstances.”

More on the story here.

RIO BEACHES WILL OPEN ONCE THERE IS A VACCINE

The famous beaches in Brazil’s tourist hot spot of Rio de Janeiro will only reopen officially for sun bathers and swimmers once there is a vaccine for COVID-19, Mayor Marcelo Crivella said on Thursday.

Currently, the city of Rio’s beaches are open for exercise and water sports, although casual beachgoers regularly break those rules to pack the sand on recent weekends, with many not using masks or following social distancing guidelines.

“Where you can’t use masks, the inclination is to only return when there is a vaccine, which is being tested, or when contamination is close to zero,” Crivella told reporters.

“On the beach, you don’t use a mask and the level of infection goes up.”

MORE MIGRANTS CAUGHT CROSSING U.S-MEXICO BORDER DESPITE PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS

U.S. Border Patrol detained roughly 30,000 migrants attempting to cross the southwest border with Mexico in June, a 41% increase from the previous month, even as sweeping coronavirus-related border restrictions instituted by President Donald Trump remain in place.

Roughly nine in 10 of those caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in June were single adults, according to statistics released on Thursday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The number of single adults from Mexico detained at the border is on pace to rise this year, a shift away from arrests of mostly Central American families and unaccompanied children in 2019.

UK MAY FACE DECADES OF TAX RISES AFTER CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – IFS

Britain could face decades of tax rises to repair its battered public finances in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, economists have warned.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said managing the elevated debt from the pandemic would be a task “for not just the current Chancellor, but also many of his successors”.

And the think tank questioned the impact of two of Rishi Sunak’s most eye-catching announcements – the “eat out to help out” meal discount scheme and the VAT cut.

At a presentation of its findings on the Chancellor’s statement, IFS director Paul Johnson said that a “reckoning, in the form of higher taxes” would have to come eventually.

MAINLAND EUROPEAN COUNTRIES WANT UK TOURISTS TO STAY AWAY

People in four European countries are more likely to oppose inbound UK tourists this summer than they are visitors from the rest of the continent, a new survey suggests.

While between 40% and 54% of Spaniards would disprove of tourists from a group of European nations, the figure rises to 61% for those from the UK, a YouGov poll indicated.

The opposition of UK holidaymakers is 58% in Germany, 55% in France and 44% in Italy.

Each country would be more welcoming to other European nations, according to the research.

Quarantine rules for people returning to or visiting the UK from certain countries will be relaxed from Friday.

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