Test and trace staff admit to sitting idle for weeks
It sounds like nice work if you can get it. New analysis reveals that test and trace staff are successfully reaching just one contact each a month. A report by the Independent Sage group of scientists has criticised the new centralised system for its "fundamentally wrong design", which it says sees thousands of operatives "doing almost nothing for weeks on end". The group said the army of up to 25,000 staff each reached an average of two successful contacts of people who tested positive for coronavirus between the end of May and the end of July. One staff member, a trained clinician, said the job was akin to being "paid to watch Netflix". Health Correspondent Henry Bodkin reports how others were members of a WhatsApp group called the Mouse Movers Club - to remind each other to move their computer mouse every 15 minutes to avoid being locked out of the system. The national scheme is now being scaled back, with some call centre workers replaced with council staff knocking on doors.
Meanwhile, Number 10 has asked the Chief Medical Officer to publish a review of the evidence on transmission of Covid-19 in schools in an effort to show they are safe to reopen. Prof Chris Whitty is being asked to carry out a rapid evaluation of the research before the new term starts. Boris Johnson has very little room for manoeuvre over the return to classrooms. Camilla Tominey writes in this analysis that the battle to get children back to school will be the Prime Minister's "Thatcher moment".
McDonald's sues former boss over relationships
When Steve Easterbrook - the British corporate star who turned around McDonald's - was fired last year, the US food giant said it was because he displayed "poor judgment" having had a consensual relationship with a junior employee. Now McDonald's has gone public with accusations that its former chief executive had three additional sexual relationships in the space of a year and accused him of lying to company investigators and deleting evidence so he could leave with £35million in severance pay. The company is now suing its former boss and is demanding the money back. Nick Allen reports from Washington on how Mr Easterbrook is accused of violating the company's "wholesome" image.
Her Majesty's favourite film 'is a sci-fi adventure'
It is a rather incongruous image: the 94-year-old Queen sitting down to watch her favourite Eighties sci-fi adventure about a battle on planet Mongo. But Brian Blessed claims that Flash Gordon is the Queen's favourite film - and she watches it every Christmas with her grandchildren. The actor, who stars in the cult film as Prince Vultan, made the revelation in an interview about the film's 40th anniversary.
At a glance: More coronavirus headlines
Unemployment | 730,000 jobs lost in first four months of crisis
Also in the news: Today's other headlines
White House shooting | Donald Trump was scrambled from the White House briefing room just minutes into an opening statement last night after the secret service shot someone nearby. The US president was talking about the likelihood of a stock market surge when suddenly a suited man with an earpiece asked him to leave the room. Watch Mr Trump later returning to explain to the press what had happened.
Waving and smiling | Bumper number of migrants brave the waves
Round the bend | 'Dutch-style' roundabout closes after just days
Last night's TV | Our reviewers on Unsaid Stories - and more
Around the world: Seeing red in Brazil
Balloons have been released on Rio's Copacabana beach in memory of those who have lost their lives in Brazil to Covid-19. President Jair Bolsonaro has faced criticism for his handling of the pandemic, with his country having the second-highest number of cases and deaths in the world. View more striking pictures of the day in our global gallery.
Comment and analysis
William Hague | The United Kingdom is nearing breaking point
Matthew Lynn | Britain needs the swiftest economic recovery
Garry White | Robinhood traders are going to get fingers burnt
Celia Walden | Union demands read like a child's ransom note
Reader letters | Only way to stop the dangerous Channel crossings
Editor's choice: Features and arts
Confessions of a blonde Brexiteer | 'All I want is a man who shares my beliefs on the EU'
It is make or break | Why this summer holiday will definitely change your life
Business and money briefing
Exit tax | Unilever could be forced to scrap plans to shift its HQ to Britain in the face of an £9.7bn "departure tax" raid by Netherlands MPs. The Marmite maker warned the move to abandon its Anglo-Dutch structure is under threat from a law proposed by the opposition Green-Left party.
Economic analysis | Why it is time to end the furlough farrago
Investment tip | Industry leader that marches to its own tune
Alex cartoon | See our cartoonist's latest work on world of finance
Closed stadiums | Exeter Chiefs chairman Tony Rowe fears Premiership clubs may go out of business by Christmas if crowds remain locked out of stadiums. Rowe revealed that Exeter, the only club to consistently turn a profit, are losing £1m a month as a result of the pandemic.
Man Utd 1 Copenhagen 0 | Extra-time penalty seals victory
Kent duo smash record | Pair both score double hundreds
Spanish Grand Prix | Mercedes race to solve tyre issues
And finally... for this morning's downtime
Wogan for the rave generation | Thirty years ago, Channel 4 unleashed a late-night show specifically designed to enrage the chattering classes. It worked a little too well, writes Michael Hogan. Read how The Word pushed TV to the edge of acceptability.