DVSA website crashes after seven million learner drivers try to book tests

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Jordan Kelly-Linden
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 Female learner driver behind wheel of car -  Dark Horse
Female learner driver behind wheel of car - Dark Horse

11:51 PM

Today's top stories

Follow the latest updates in Sunday's live blog.

11:50 PM

DVSA website crashes

Learner drivers keen to book their driving test will now have to wait until Wednesday after the booking website crashed on Friday just hours after the system reopened for the first time since lockdown in March.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said that its driving test booking service had almost seven million visitors in 12 hours when it reopened after several months of suspension due to the coronavirus lockdown.

It said on Saturday that it had taken the service offline until 8am on Wednesday so that essential maintenance can be carried out to help it cope with the increased demand.

The DVSA driving test booking service for England and Wales reopened again at 8am on Friday after being closed from March 20 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

But the agency said that by 8pm the service had been visited almost seven million times, leaving candidates unable to complete their bookings.

04:32 PM

Today's key events

Here's what you need to know:

  • The global coronavirus death toll has reached 800,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. It represents a doubling in global deaths from the virus within 11 weeks.

  • The United Kingdom recorded 1,288 new positive cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, up from 1,033 a day earlier, government figures showed. While a further 18 have died after testing positive in the last 24 hours.

  • Of that tally Scotland has recorded 123 more cases, its biggest daily rise for more than three months. First minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed her concern but pointed out that more than half of the new cases were linked to an outbreak at a food processing plant in Tayside.

  • Coronavirus will be around “forever” and people are likely to need regular vaccinations against it, a former chief scientific adviser to the UK government has said. Prof Mark Walport, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, also warned that a second national lockdown cannot be ruled out if the local outbreaks are not brought under control swiftly.

  • Italy reported 1,071 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Saturday, exceeding 1,000 cases in a day for the first time since May when the government eased its rigid lockdown measures.

  • The number of infections in Germany surpassed 2,000 in the previous 24 hours, a high not seen since the end of April, authorities said on Saturday.

  • Meanwhile a German university launched a series of pop concerts under coronavirus conditions, hoping the mass experiment with 4,000 people can determine whether large events can safely resume.

  • Iraq has registered nearly 4,000 new cases, bringing its recorded total to over 200,000. Many fear yet another surge in cases is imminent, as Shia Muslims converge on the holy city of Karbala to commemorate the beginning of the mourning month of Muharram.

  • China has approved human testing for a potential coronavirus vaccine cultivated within insect cells, local government in the southwestern city of Chengdu said on Saturday.

  • The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States could spike to as high as 6,000 people a day by December in the worst-case scenario, according to Dr Chris Murray, the chair of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

  • Covid-19 can survive on frozen meat and fish for up to three weeks, a study has found, as scientists warn that contaminated food may cause outbreaks.

04:21 PM

Climate fund for poor nations vows to drive green Covid recovery

The Green Climate Fund has promised developing nations it will ramp up efforts to help them tackle climate challenges as they strive to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, approving $879 million in backing for 15 new projects around the world.

At a four-day virtual board meeting ending late Friday, the fund added Afghanistan and Sudan to a list of more than 100 countries receiving a total of $6.2 billion to reduce planet-heating emissions and enhance climate resilience.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was set up under U.N. climate talks in 2010 to help developing nations tackle global warming, and started allocating money in 2015.

Executive Director Yannick Glemarec said the fund had "a key role to play to maintain climate ambition in the era of Covid-19" and would aim to improve the speed and efficiency of its response to developing country needs.

Board co-chair Nauman Bashir Bhatti, from Pakistan, said climate finance would be crucial for recovery from the pandemic and the fund needed to increase support "even during these difficult times".

04:04 PM

China has been testing its experimental coronavirus vaccine on humans since July

China has been giving experimental coronavirus vaccines to groups facing high infection risks since July, a health official told state media. 

No vaccine has yet passed final, large-scale trials to prove it is safe and effective enough to protect people from contracting the virus that has led to almost 800,000 deaths worldwide. 

The aim is to boost the immunity of specific groups of people, including medical workers and those who work at food markets and in the transportation and service sectors, Zheng Zhongwei, a National Health Commission official, told state TV in an interview aired late on Saturday. 

Authorities could consider modestly expanding the emergency use programme to try to prevent possible outbreaks during the autumn and winter, added Zheng, who heads the Chinese government-led team that coordinates state resources for coronavirus vaccine development. 

03:47 PM

Italy logs highest case count since May

Italy reported 1,071 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Saturday, exceeding 1,000 cases in a day for the first time since May when the government eased its rigid lockdown measures.

Italy, one of Europe's worst-hit countries, managed to contain the outbreak after a peak in deaths and cases between March and April. However, it has seen a steady increase in infections over the last month, with experts blaming gatherings of people associated with holidays and nightlife.

Last time the country recorded a higher figure was May 12, with 1,402 cases, six days before restaurants, bars and shops were allowed to reopen after a 10-week lockdown. 

03:42 PM

Rush for GCSE home-schooling courses as parents fear another shutdown

Home-schooling GCSE courses are running out amid fears among parents that their children will miss out on a full education if schools are closed, the Telegraph can disclose.

Online colleges have reported a huge surge in interest, with one leading provider stating that demand for their courses has almost tripled for the next academic year.

It comes as Wolsey Hall Oxford - a leading home-school provider - revealed it had been forced to suspend all GCSE applications due to the 'overwhelming' demand.

Research by the Children’s Commissioner showed in 2018 that there were nearly 60,000 students being taught at home in England. However, home-schooling colleges predict that figure is set to soar.

Read more here.

School children use an ipad to do their school work - Max Mumby/Indigo
School children use an ipad to do their school work - Max Mumby/Indigo

03:27 PM

UK records 1,288 new cases as 18 more die

The United Kingdom recorded 1,288 new positive cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, up from 1,033 a day earlier, government figures showed.

Eighteen people died after testing positive for the coronavirus within 28 days, up from two a day earlier.

The new cases were recorded as the government ramps up testing so it can suppress the spread of the virus and ease restrictions that have crippled the economy.

03:23 PM

British holidaymaker 'livid' over Croatia quarantine decision

Jane Grist, from Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, told the BBC she was "livid" with the Croatia quarantine rule change because it meant her two sons would have to miss the first week of school after they return from the Croatian city of Sibenik, on August 27.

"We've been focusing on the return to school as a return to normality," she said.

"Now we've got to explain [to our youngest son] he won't be able to go back at the same time as all of his friends."

Ms Grist told the BBC the holiday was "the one thing we have been looking forward to" after she was made redundant last year - and now it has been "spoilt".

03:08 PM

School orchestras replace wind instruments with ukuleles as they adapt to post-covid rules

The harmonious interplay between the woodwind and brass sections of a school orchestra has long brought delight to the ears of proud parents listening intently from the audience.

But junior ensembles will soon strike a different note, as they adapt to new Covid-19 rules by integrating a greater variety of string instruments into musical sessions because they are deemed more hygienic.

Yohannes Lowe has more on this story here.

Ukeleles 
Ukeleles

02:52 PM

National Trust boss denies expert job cuts would 'dumb down' charity

The National Trust's director general has denied the charity will "dumb down" after a leaked document suggested many top experts could lose their jobs as a result of coronavirus.

The heritage charity is facing £200m of losses after closing its shops, cafes, houses and gardens during the pandemic.

Hilary McGrady said the charity was finding "creative ways" to save money. But she added: "We simply can't afford to keep doing everything the way we were before."

An internal briefing document, leaked by the Times newspaper, outlines plans for the charity to "dial down" its role as a major cultural institution - including holding fewer exhibitions and putting collections into storage in favour of becoming a "gateway to the outdoors".

Ms McGrady told BBC Radio 4's Today programme she could "understand why" documents had been leaked, because people were "very anxious" about their jobs.

Some 1,200 National Trust staff were told they faced redundancy - about 13 per cent of the 9,500-strong salaried workforce - last month.

Ms McGrady said on Saturday that a large number of "seasonal" hourly-paid staff would also lose work. It is not clear how many seasonal staff would be affected but a spokeswoman said the charity would reduce its budget for those workers by a third (£8.8m).

a general view of a National Trust sign -  Andrew Matthews / PA
a general view of a National Trust sign - Andrew Matthews / PA

02:31 PM

English death toll climbs by six

A further six people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,496, NHS England said on Saturday.

The patients were aged between 79 and 93, and all had known underlying health conditions.

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

02:29 PM

Covid-19 can survive on frozen meat and fish for up to three weeks, study finds

Covid-19 can survive on frozen meat and fish for up to three weeks, a study has found, as scientists warn that contaminated food may cause outbreaks.

Individual pieces of salmon, chicken and pork from supermarkets in Singapore were sliced into cubes then a sample of the virus was added to them.

The meat and fish was stored in conditions which simulate those used to transport food between countries - 4C (standard refrigeration temperature) and minus 20C (standard freezing temperature). 

Scientists found that infectious Covid-19 was still present on the samples after 21 days.

Phoebe Southworth has more on this development here.

Workers process food at a caviar plant in Japan - Akio Kon
Workers process food at a caviar plant in Japan - Akio Kon

02:12 PM

Nicola Sturgeon says rise in Scottish cases is under control

Scotland has recorded its first three figure daily rise in cases this month, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said they are within the context of known outbreaks.

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In an update the Scottish government said a further 123 people had tested positive taking Scotland total to 19,728 cases. The number of deaths of patients who tested positive remains at 2,492

02:05 PM

Greater Manchester police called to deal with a number of unauthorised gatherings

Police in Greater Manchester, UK, issued a number of dispersal orders overnight at engagement parties, children’s birthdays and in car parks as they enforced coronavirus distancing measures in the county amid confusion.

It advised people earlier today to check the government website for coronavirus regulations in the North West after the government last week said households in Greater Manchester “must not” mix with other households within their homes or gardens.

A crackdown on those seemingly flouting the measures yesterday and overnight took place throughout the county, leading the force to issue a number of tweets describing events.

“Officers are currently attending a gathering in the car park of a licensed property in Moss Side. The group, who are believed to be under the influence, are being dispersed and evidence gathered in relation to covid breaches by the premises,” one statement said.

01:42 PM

DVSA website crashes after seven million try book driving test

Learner drivers will be unable to book a driving test until Wednesday due to "urgent maintenance" on the booking website after it crashed amid "unprecedented demand".

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said that its driving test booking service had almost seven million visitors in 12 hours when it reopened after several months of suspension due to the coronavirus lockdown.

It said on Saturday that it had taken the service offline until 8am on Wednesday so that essential maintenance can be carried out to help it cope with the increased demand.

The DVSA driving test booking service for England and Wales reopened again at 8am on Friday after being closed from March 20 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

But the agency said that by 8pm the service had been visited almost seven million times, leaving candidates unable to complete their bookings.

01:36 PM

China approves human testing for coronavirus vaccine grown in insect cells

 China has approved human testing for a potential coronavirus vaccine cultivated within insect cells, local government in the southwestern city of Chengdu said on Saturday.

China is in a global race to develop cost-effective vaccines to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.

Using insect cells to grow proteins for the coronavirus vaccine - a first in China - could speed up large-scale production, the city government of Chengdu said in a notice on social media WeChat.

The vaccine, developed by West China Hospital of Sichuan University in Chengdu, has received approval from the National Medical Products Administration to enter a clinical trial, the notice said.

When tested on monkeys, the vaccine was shown to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections with no obvious side-effects, the notice added.

Chinese scientists are already leading work on at least eight other potential coronavirus vaccines that have entered different stages of clinical trials.

Foreign players, including Germany's BioNTech and Inovio Pharma in the United States, have also cooperated with local firms to test their experimental vaccines in China.

01:21 PM

Iraq logs 4,000 new cases

Iraq has registered nearly 4,000 cases of the novel coronavirus today, bringing the total number of cases recorded by the country to over 200,000.

According to the Iraqi health ministry, 201,050 Iraqis have contracted the virus, including 6,353 who have died, while 143,393 are declared to have recovered since the pandemic began.

The daily increases have hovered around 4,000 for more than a week, but authorities have declined to reimpose a strict lockdown that was lifted earlier this summer.

An overnight curfew remains in place, most restaurants are closed for dine-in customers and land crossings are officially shut. But airports, supermarkets and take-out cafes are open, with varying degrees of social distancing or mask-wearing.

Many fear yet another spike in cases is imminent, as Shiite Muslims converge on the holy city of Karbala to commemorate the beginning of the mourning month of Muharram.

Muharram, which includes the memorial of the killing of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson Hussein in 680 AD, is typically marked by mass funeral processions and self-flagellation.

It usually sees thousands of pilgrims cross the border from neighbouring Iran, which has suffered the largest mortality figure from Covid-19 infections in the Middle East, with more than 20,200 deaths officially registered.

Iraq's hospitals have already been worn down by decades of conflict and poor investment, with shortages in medicines, hospital beds and even protective equipment for doctors.

12:59 PM

Hysteria is the most dangerous coronavirus symptom

The symptoms of coronavirus should by now be well-known: a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and - in a recent official addition - problems with your sense of taste or smell.

But another symptom has reared its head - affecting those who haven’t even been infected - which may be too troubling for authorities to handle.

Some bill it as mere public anxiety, but others see the levels of fear as tantamount to full-blown hysteria.

Asa Bennett makes the case for why we should all just keep calm and use our common sense here.

Masks, lockdowns, but did we need it? -  Jacob King / PA
Masks, lockdowns, but did we need it? - Jacob King / PA

12:46 PM

Parts of London and New York have already achieved 'substantial' immunity, Harvard epidemiologists say

Parts of London and New York have already achieved “substantial” immunity, with the threshold lower than previously thought, scientists have told the Telegraph.

The results of recent antibody testing has led experts to predict that some areas might be better insulated from any second surge of the coronavirus this winter.

“It’s reasonable to think that some local areas have a substantial amount of immunity. I think there are parts of New York and London which are there,” said Professor Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “It’s really noticeable in certain pockets, but it varies city block to block and we have to be careful when interpreting what it means.”

Experts point to new modelling which has used data on the spread of Covid-19 to suggest herd immunity - previously estimated to be upwards of 70 per cent - could be as low as 50 per cent, or even 43 per cent, as one study found.

Jodie Ensor has more on this story here.

12:21 PM

Two police stations close in Northern Ireland after Covid outbreak

Two police stations have been closed after eight officers tested positive for Covid-19, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said:

"Following reports of a number of officers from Antrim Station being unwell, these officers have undergone testing for Covid-19. At this time, eight of these officers have tested positive for the virus.

"We have undertaken, and we will continue to undertake a range of appropriate measures, in line with public health advice and guidance, to address the issue. This includes the closure of both Antrim and Newtownabbey stations in order to conduct a deep clean.

"Colleagues from across the district are also self-isolating and will undergo testing for Covid-19.

"I want to reassure the public that we have plans in place to ensure continuance of service delivery to keep our people and our communities safe.

"We are also working to identify any other risks arising from this outbreak and will address those with our health care partners."

12:08 PM

Global coronavirus death toll tops 800,000

The number of Covid-19 deaths has surpassed 800,000 around the world, according to an AFP tally based on official source.

In total, 800,004 fatalities have been recorded globally, out of 23,003,079 declared infections.

Latin America and the Caribbean is the region the most affected with 254,897 deaths. More than half of global fatalities have been reported in four countries: the United States with 175,416, Brazil with 113,358, Mexico 59,610 and India 55,794.

11:51 AM

More than half of Spanish companies reopen after closing at height of pandemic

More than half the companies in Spain which closed at the height of the coronavirus pandemic have reopened, according to government data released on Saturday, suggesting the economy is recovering slowly.

The number of companies registered to pay social security by the end of July was 1,282,346, according to figures from the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, or 91,240 fewer firms than in February before the government imposed a strict lockdown to try to contain COVID-19.

However, the statistics showed that since the easing of lockdown started in May, 49,159 companies have registered with the government.

This is just over half the number which closed when the pandemic was at its height in March and April.

A worker wearing a protective face mask serves a customer inside a chip shop on the Joan Borbo promenade in Barcelona, Spain -  Angel Garcia / Bloomberg
A worker wearing a protective face mask serves a customer inside a chip shop on the Joan Borbo promenade in Barcelona, Spain - Angel Garcia / Bloomberg

11:32 AM

Indian authorities place restrictions on religious festivals

Indian authorities have imposed tough anti-coronavirus restrictions on gatherings and the size of Ganesha elephant god idols for one of the biggest religious festivals of the year that started Saturday.

The 10 days of prayers and family gatherings for Ganesh Chaturthi started under a pandemic cloud with the country closing on three million infections and 56,000 deaths.

Most major cities have ordered that effigies of the popular elephant-headed god Ganesha, which can draw thousands of Hindu devotees onto the streets, be shrunk back.

Traditionally, the idols can tower 10 metres (30 feet) high or more and need dozens of people to carry them but this year authorities said they can be no more than 1.1 metres tall in a bid to cut crowds.

In New Delhi, no Ganesha idols will be shown in public while hard-hit Mumbai has cut back access to the seafront to immerse Ganesha figures, usually the highlight of the festival.

Indian devotee carries home an idol of the elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesha on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, or Ganesha Festival, in Mumbai -  DIVYAKANT SOLANKI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Indian devotee carries home an idol of the elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesha on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, or Ganesha Festival, in Mumbai - DIVYAKANT SOLANKI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

11:16 AM

Councils sent recycling to landfill and incineration during pandemic

Hundreds of thousands of households could have been pointlessly separating recycling at the height of the pandemic after councils responsible for handling the material sent it all to landfill or burnt it, a Telegraph investigation can reveal.  

A Freedom of Information survey by this newspaper found that five local authorities - covering nearly 400,000 households - took "drastic" steps as households in lockdown cleared out their homes.

Some councils were forced to act because staff fell ill with coronavirus, while others shifted the blame onto homeowners for trying to mix other waste with their recycled plastic, paper and glass.

On Friday night campaigners urged councils to come clean in future so that consumers were not wasting their time sorting through their household rubbish.

Christopher Hope has more on this story here.

11:02 AM

France delays launch of Covid-19 economic reboot plan

The French government has said it will now unveil details of its 100 billion euro (£90.1 bn) plan to reinvigorate the economy in the first week of September, instead of next Tuesday, as it focuses on preparing the new school term.

"The recovery plan is ready, the timetable for its implementation still stands," government spokesman Gabriel Attal said in a statement.

Schools are set to reopen on September 1 and the government is working to ensure protective measures will be adequate, Attal said.

France has already outlined some of the parameters of its crisis measures, including cuts to domestic business taxes, investment in promoting jobs for the young and funding for environmental initiatives.

10:45 AM

'I would love to save everyone but we can't', culture secretary tells venues

The government's £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund will award emergency grants to 135 grassroots music venues in England. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden visited one of the recipients of the fund on Thursday.

10:29 AM

German trial concerts to probe virus infection risks

A German university launched Saturday a series of pop concerts under coronavirus conditions, hoping the mass experiment with 4,000 people can determine whether large events can safely resume.

Well-known singer Tim Bendzko agreed to give three separate performances over the course of the day in eastern city Leipzig, allowing researchers from nearby Halle University to try out different configurations for the gigs.

Only young, healthy volunteers were allowed to attend in a bid to limit infection risks.

As the audience arrives at the Leipzig Arena concert hall, they will submit to a temperature check.

All the participants will wear masks meeting the high-protection FFP2 standard, as well as an electronic device allowing tracking of their movements within the space.

Using fluorescent disinfectants, the researchers will also be able to see which surfaces concert-goers most often touch with their hands.And the scientists will even track the trajectories of tiny aerosol particles breathed out by attendees, believed by experts to play a role in infections.

The ultimate aim of the experiments is to find out whether concerts and other large events could be allowed to resume while avoiding contamination risks.

Participants register to take part in the RESTART-19 Covid transmission risk assessment study at an indoor arena - Sean Gallup / Getty
Participants register to take part in the RESTART-19 Covid transmission risk assessment study at an indoor arena - Sean Gallup / Getty

10:15 AM

Israel's coronavirus chief urges Ukraine to ban Jewish pilgrimage

The head of Israel's coronavirus task force has asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to ban an annual pilgrimage in which Hasidic Jews visit the central Ukrainian town of Uman over concerns the site may become a virus hotspot.

Tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews descend on Uman every Jewish New Year to visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who revived the Hasidic movement and died in 1810. This year, Jewish New Year celebrations run from September 18-20.

The Ukrainian and Israeli governments have already issued a joint statement pleading with pilgrims to cancel their trips, but huge crowds are still planning to fly.

On Friday Israel passed 100,000 reported coronavirus cases. It has recorded 809 Covid-19 deaths among its 9 million population.

10:00 AM

Families of coronavirus victims march on New York

09:50 AM

Thousands flee Californian wildfires amid coronavirus outbreak

Some of California's largest ever fires raged across the state Saturday, forcing tens of thousands from their homes as the governor called for international help to fight the blazes.

About 12,000 lightning strikes hit across the state in 72 hours, officials said, sparking the fires that left thick smoke blanketing large areas of central and northern California.

"We simply haven't seen anything like this in many, many years," California governor Gavin Newsom said on Friday.

The two largest blazes - dubbed the SCU Lightening Complex and the LNU Lightening Complex - had burned a total of just under 600,000 acres (240,000 hectares) and nearly 500 structures.

Wineries in the famed Napa and Sonoma regions, which are still reeling from blazes in recent years, are under threat by the SCU Complex - the 10th largest fire recorded.

Five deaths have been linked to the latest flare-ups, with four bodies recovered on Thursday, including three from a burned house in a rural area of Napa County.

About 119,000 people have been evacuated from the area, with many struggling to find shelter and hesitating to go to centers set up by authorities because of coronavirus risks.

A firefighter monitors the advance of the the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire Friday in Boulder Creek, California - Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP
A firefighter monitors the advance of the the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire Friday in Boulder Creek, California - Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

09:31 AM

Bletchley Park staff face redundancy

A third of staff at Bletchley Park, which hosts Enigma machines designed by codebreaker Alan Turing, face redundancy because of the pandemic.

The trust which runs the museum has warned that it expect to lose around £2m this year and 95% of its income from March to July.

It is proposing a restructuring that includes a possible 35 redundancies, approximately a third of the workforce, as it seeks to reduce its annual spend and the size of its team.

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09:20 AM

Coronavirus death rate continues to fall – despite more positive tests

Deaths from Covid-19 are continuing to fall and hospitals are "relatively empty", even though the number of people testing positive for coronavirus is rising, new analysis shows.

Despite growing concern that rising cases will lead to a new wave of the virus, requiring further local lockdowns, the recent increase in numbers has not translated into hospitalisations and fatalities, even when allowing for the time lag between infections and death.

Sarah Knapton explains why here.

09:11 AM

US deaths could top 6,000 a day by December, expert predicts

The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States could spike to as high as 6,000 people a day by December in the worst-case scenario, according to Dr Chris Murray, the chair of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

Currently, about 1,000 people are dying daily from the coronavirus in the US.

In a new model released Friday, researchers at IHME predicted the number of daily deaths will decrease slowly in September -- then rise to nearly 2,000 a day by the start of December.

But Murray told CNN that, “depending on what our leaders do,” things can get worse.

“We have a worse scenario in what we release and that’s many, many more deaths," he said.

"And in fact, by the time December rolls around, if we don't do anything at all, the daily death toll in the US would be much higher than the 2,000 deaths a day by December. It could be as high as 6,000 deaths a day.”

09:00 AM

South Korea announces unprecedented restrictions to curb spread of Covid-19

South Korea is banning large gatherings, shutting nightspots and churches and removing fans from professional sports in unprecedented restrictions announced on Saturday as it battles the spread of the coronavirus.

Health Minister Park Neung-hoo announced the steps shortly after the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 332 new cases in the ninth straight day of triple-digit increases. The national caseload is now at 17,002, including 309 deaths.

While most of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of the viral surge in recent weeks, infections were also reported in practically every major city and town, raising concerns that transmissions are slipping out of control.

Read more.

A disinfection worker wearing protective clothing sprays anti-septic solution in an Yoido Full Gospel Church, South Korea - Chung Sung-Jun / Getty
A disinfection worker wearing protective clothing sprays anti-septic solution in an Yoido Full Gospel Church, South Korea - Chung Sung-Jun / Getty

08:42 AM

Possibility of second lockdown cannot be ruled out, Sage expert says

The possibility of another national lockdown in the UK can’t be ruled out according to a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

Prof Sir Mark Walport, a former chief scientific adviser, said a targeted local approach to outbreak were the right tactics for now.

But asked by the Today programme whether the a second national lockdown would ever be used again, Walport said:

"Never is very strong word – the whole point is to improve the local control, increase the amount of testing, give guidance to avoid that happening, but is there a situation where it could get out of control? Well obviously that’s possible and that’s why it’s so important that we’ll work together.

"People do understand that this is a risk. If it’s allowed to get out of control, then there could be much more draconian measures."

08:23 AM

Russia's coronavirus infection tally passes 950,000

Russia reported 4,921 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, pushing its confirmed national tally up to 951,897.

Authorities said 121 people had died of Covid-19 over the last 24 hours, raising the official death toll to 16,310.

08:10 AM

Locals confused by latest restrictions on North West, council leader says

Further coronavirus restrictions in parts of the North West have been imposed without "detailed guidance" and have caused confusion, a council leader has said.

The Labour leader of Pendle Council, Mohammed Iqbal, told Today: "The Government has announced these tightening restrictions for local people in my area, yet they have not issued any detailed guidance as to how it will operate, who will police it.

"So local people are actually more confused than they were on Thursday evening."

He said the restrictions, which the council argued against, had been "imposed" to "punish people who have been testing flat out".

08:00 AM

Second national lockdown warning as R rate rises

A second national lockdown could be imposed, senior Government advisers have warned, as the upper limit of the R rate pushed over one for the first time since restrictions were lifted.

The Prime Minister effectively ruled out another nationwide shutdown, stating that the option was now akin to a “nuclear deterrent”, in an interview with The Telegraph last month.

However, on Friday the Sage advisory group said Britain’s reproduction number was now between 0.9 and 1.1, with senior sources warning “more nationwide measures” may be needed.

Sarah Knapton has the latest here.

07:51 AM

Coronavirus will be present 'forever', says Sage member

Coronavirus will be present "forever" and people are likely to need regular vaccinations against it, a member of the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has warned.

Sir Mark Walport, a former chief scientific adviser, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the pandemic would be controlled by "global vaccination" but that it is not "going to be a disease like smallpox which could be eradicated by vaccination".

"This is a virus that is going to be with us forever in some form or another and almost certainly will require repeated vaccinations.

"So a bit like flu, people will need re-vaccination at regular intervals."

07:39 AM

Nishikori's US Open hopes fade after second positive test

Kei Nishikori's hopes of playing at the US Open have faded further after the Japanese former world number four revealed he had tested positive for Covid-19 for a second time.

The 30-year-old, a finallist at Flushing Meadows in 2014, withdrew from the Western & Southern Open hardcourt warm-up after his first positive test last week.

"Just a little update, I just took another Covid test and am still positive. I have very minimal symptoms and am staying in full isolation in Florida," Nishikori posted on social media late on Friday.

"The next test will be early next week at which time we will update you with more information."

Nishikori, who has been staying at the IMG Academy in Florida, has enjoyed his greatest Grand Slam success at the US Open, reaching the semi-finals in 2016 and 2018 in addition to his loss to Marin Cilic in the 2014 title-decider.

The US Open starts on Aug. 31 but a string of top players have withdrawn over fears of contracting the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 5.6 million people and killed 175,397 in the United States. Defending champions Rafa Nadal and Bianca Andreescu as well as women's world number one Ash Barty are among those who have decided not to travel to New York.

Kei Nishikori -  Tony O'Brien / Reuters
Kei Nishikori - Tony O'Brien / Reuters

06:57 AM

Germany reports spike in cases

The number of infections in Germany surpassed 2,000 in the previous 24 hours, a high not seen since the end of April, authorities said on Saturday.

The RKI health institute said it registered 2,034 new cases and seven more deaths, taking the total fatalities to 9,267 and cases to 232,082.

06:10 AM

Ukraine registers single-day record number of infections

Ukraine registered a record 2,328 cases of the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, officials said on Saturday.

The data given by the national council of security and defence surpassed the previous single-day record of 2,134, reported on Thursday.

Total cases are at 102,971, with 2,244 deaths. Infections have risen sharply recent days. 

05:40 AM

India records biggest rise in cases for 18th consecutive day

India has recorded another 24-hour jump in infections as the disease spreads across the country's southern states after plateauing in the capital and the financial center of Mumbai.

India's Health Ministry reported 69,878 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 2,975,701. Globally India has been reporting the biggest daily rise in cases for 18 consecutive days.

Some 2.2 million people have recovered from the disease in India since the first case was diagnosed in late January.

Indian men wearing face masks stand outside a shop with mannequins wearing face masks after new stricter guidelines issued by the state government in Amritsar - RAMINDER PAL SINGH/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Indian men wearing face masks stand outside a shop with mannequins wearing face masks after new stricter guidelines issued by the state government in Amritsar - RAMINDER PAL SINGH/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

03:55 AM

Mainland China's cases drop as Hong Kong struggles

China on Saturday reported another 22 new cases brought by travellers from abroad, with no additional local infections.

The National Health Commission said 454 people remain in treatment and 3,667 are in isolation.

While local spread of the virus appears to have been contained in mainland China, the semi-autonomous southern city of Hong Kong continues to struggle with its worst outbreak since the pandemic began.

The territory's leader Carrie Lam said on Friday Hong Kong will offer free coronavirus tests to its residents over a period of two weeks starting Sept. 1., in hopes of restarting the services-dependent local economy.

The city's economy contracted 9 per cent in the second quarter of this year. A new surge in infections has more than tripled the number of cases in the city to 4,632, with 75 deaths.

A woman wears protective face mask while visiting the 'Alive Together' outdoor light immersive experience exhibition during the Beijing International Light Festival  - Getty
A woman wears protective face mask while visiting the 'Alive Together' outdoor light immersive experience exhibition during the Beijing International Light Festival - Getty

03:38 AM

South Korea introducing stricter measures

South Korea is banning large gatherings, shutting nightspots and churches and removing fans from professional sports in unprecedented restrictions announced on Saturday as it battles the spread of the coronavirus.

Health Minister Park Neung-hoo announced the steps shortly after the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 332 new cases in the ninth straight day of triple-digit increases. The national caseload is now at 17,002, including 309 deaths.

While most of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of the viral surge in recent weeks, infections were also reported in practically every major city and town, raising concerns that transmissions are slipping out of control.

Read the full story

A disinfection worker wearing protective clothing sprays anti-septic solution in an Yoido Full Gospel Church  - Getty
A disinfection worker wearing protective clothing sprays anti-septic solution in an Yoido Full Gospel Church - Getty

03:25 AM

Scotland's Highlands 'overwhelmed' by rush of staycation tourists

Remote communities in the Scottish Highlands and their public facilities have been overwhelmed by a rush of tourists thanks to "complete incompetence" by SNP ministers, it has been claimed.

As more tourists opted for staycations thanks to the risk of being forced to quarantine if they went abroad, businesses across the north of Scotland have reported an influx of visitors from other parts of the UK.

Accommodation is fully booked for weeks in parts of the region and facilities such as toilets remain closed, with trowels being left in laybys on the popular North Coast 500 route to help holidaymakers go to the toilet.

Read the full story

Camping at Glencoe in highland in summer - Getty
Camping at Glencoe in highland in summer - Getty

 Read more: Portugal braced for British invasion as holiday bookings soar

02:39 AM

Signs Australia has outbreak under control

Australia's second most populous state, Victoria, reported 13 new coronavirus deaths in the 24 hours to Saturday morning, authorities said, while new infections in the hotspot state remained below 200 for the second consecutive day.

Other than in Victoria, which accounts for over 80 per cent of the country's Covid-19 deaths due to a second wave of infections, Australia has large avoided the high casualty numbers of many nations with just under 24,500 infections and 485 deaths.

"It's great to see two days in a row under 200, certainly we are trending down," said Brett Sutton, the state's chief health officer.

Ballarat in the state of Victoria. Cases have stabilised in the area after an outbreak - GETTY IMAGES
Ballarat in the state of Victoria. Cases have stabilised in the area after an outbreak - GETTY IMAGES

02:27 AM

Students in New York 'don't have enough food'

Students at New York University claim they have been left without adequate food during a mandatory quarantine after returning to campus. 

The Manhattan based school requires anyone travelling from outside New York, New Jersey or Connecticut to self-isolate in their dorm for 14 days, with students promised that three meals a day would be provided during this time. 

But some say they have been given just one meal a day or food their diet will not allow - despite paying an average of $70,000 (£53,486) a year for tuition, room and board. 

Numerous videos posted to TikTok show the meagre provisions. One student’s food was not delivered until 6pm and consisted only of a watermelon and chicken salad, unripe orange and pot of peanut butter. Another said that he received a steak and cheese dish - despite informing the school he was vegan.

Read more: New York University students complain of meagre food provisions during mandatory quarantine

@bootysnail

They did not give me breakfast 💖 this was the first meal of the day ##NYU ##college ##quarantine ##covid ##nyc ##usa ##uni ##RockinCollege ##food ##fyp

♬ pour me up - sxmply.niya

12:55 AM

'There's a revolution brewing in Generation Covid'

The Telegraph's Harry de Quetteville writes that the impact of coronavirus and the exam results fiasco on a generation of young people could have revolutionary consequences:

"What started as a week riddled with injustice, that struck at the heart of the Conservative ambition to “level up” the country, has ended striking at the Conservative reputation for competence. And the consequences of a relationship to power poisoned so early in life could be profound. We should not expect young people to take it lying down.

This snatching away of hope is, history suggests, the most unbearable, the greatest provocation."

Read more: Why Covid Generation have more power than they know

The impact of coronavirus on exams could damage the Tories for a long time - REUTERS
The impact of coronavirus on exams could damage the Tories for a long time - REUTERS

11:58 PM

Exclusive: Councils chucked recycling in landfill during pandemic

Hundreds of thousands of households could have been pointlessly separating recycling at the height of the pandemic after councils responsible for handling the material sent it all to landfill or burnt it, a Telegraph investigation can reveal.  

A Freedom of Information survey by this newspaper found that five local authorities - covering nearly 400,000 households - took "drastic" steps as households in lockdown cleared out their homes.

Some councils were forced to act because staff fell ill with coronavirus, while others shifted the blame onto homeowners for trying to mix other waste with their recycled plastic, paper and glass.

Last night campaigners urged councils to come clean in future so that consumers were not wasting their time sorting through their household rubbish.

Read more: Councils dumped recycling during lockdown

Chesterfield Borough Council disposed of 574 tonnes of kerbside recycling as a "temporary measure"  - GETTY IMAGES
Chesterfield Borough Council disposed of 574 tonnes of kerbside recycling as a "temporary measure" - GETTY IMAGES

11:24 PM

Britons scramble to avoid quarantine restrictions

Holidaymakers are scrambling to get home to beat new quarantine measures as further restrictions are implemented in the north of England.

Tougher measures for areas of Greater Manchester and Lancashire came into force at midnight, with people now being advised not to socialise with anyone outside their household, and funerals and weddings limited to 20 people.

The Government said it was concerned that a rise in people testing positive for coronavirus in Oldham, Blackburn and Pendle was due to "social mixing" particularly among 20 to 39-year-olds.

From 4am today, travellers arriving to the UK from Croatia will have to self-isolate for 14 days after a spike in coronavirus cases led to the British government removing Croatia from its safe travel list.

Read more: What are the local lockdown rules in the UK?

Travellers at Split airport. People entering the UK from Croatia after 4am today will have to quarantine - GETTY IMAGES
Travellers at Split airport. People entering the UK from Croatia after 4am today will have to quarantine - GETTY IMAGES

11:02 PM

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