Here’s what you need to know on 9 July. This article was updated at 5pm.
Deaths: The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said 44,602 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Wednesday – up by 85 from 44,517 the previous day.
Policy: Two of the measures introduced by Rishi Sunak in his mini budget on Wednesday were not signed off as being value for money by HMRC, it’s emerged. The chancellor's pledges to subsidise meals out and pay firms for each employee retained into the new year came without the approval of the permanent secretary at HMRC, Jim Harra. Read more here.
Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed another easing of restrictions in Scotland, with the two-metre rule being relaxed in some places, like retail and on public transport. From Friday, up to 15 people from five different households can meet outside. Read more here.
Wales: Schools in Wales will reopen for every child from September, the country’s education minister has confirmed. Kirsty Williams said schools would be able to operate at full capacity at the start of the next academic year.
England: The number of people in England thought to have been infected coronavirus on any given day nearly halved ahead of pubs and hairdressers reopening, new data shows. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) now estimates an average of 14,000 people not in care homes or hospitals had COVID-19 at any given point between 22 June and 4 July. Read more here.
Outdoor swimming pools in England are to begin reopening from Saturday, with indoor pools, gyms and other sports facilities to follow on July 25, the Government has announced. Outdoor arts performances – including theatres, opera, dance and music – will also be able to resume from the weekend, though there will be restrictions on ticketing and social distancing rules will have to be followed. Read more here.
Science: The UK faces a second wave of coronavirus in as little as a few weeks, according to a professor of global public health. Devi Sridhar, who acts as the public health adviser for Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, warned of “constant outbreaks” as lockdown restrictions ease across the country. Read more here.
Testing: Tens of thousands of workers in higher-risk occupations who do not have COVID-19 symptoms will be routinely tested for the virus as part of a new pilot, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced. Occupations covered by the study, which starts immediately, include shop workers, taxi drivers and cleaners. Read more here.
Test and trace: Just 70% of the close contacts of people with coronavirus have been reached and asked to self-isolate according to new NHS test and trace figures. It’s the lowest figure since the scheme began. Read more here.
Finance: The pharmacy giant Boots has announced plans to cut 4,000 jobs in the UK, after it saw sales tumble during the pandemic. John Lewis and Burger King also announced they could make sweeping job cuts, and Rolls-Royce confirmed 3,000 staff had applied after it sought voluntary redundancies. Read more here.
NHS: Cancer referrals were down by nearly 50% as people stayed away from hospitals during the pandemic, figures show. In England, a total of 106,535 people with suspected cancer symptoms were referred by their GP for diagnostic checks in May – just over half the 200,599 referred a year earlier. Read more here.
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Rest of the world
Another 1.3 million people have filed for unemployment in the US, as new cases of COVID-19 continue to surge across the country. Different states are reopening at different speeds but new unemployment filings stay at about one million a week. Read more here.
Police officers will patrol quarantine hotels in New Zealand after people who were self-isolating escaped. They included one person who had tested positive. Read more here.
Tokyo has reported 224 cases of coronavirus, its highest daily number in Japan’s capital. The country’s top government spokesperson said there was no need for a lockdown. Read more here.
The names of tens of thousands of NHS workers are to be written on a Spitfire emblazoned with the words ‘Thank U NHS’ which will fly over hospitals to pay tribute to their work. Members of the public can now nominate the names of people who offered essential support during the pandemic. Read more here.
Need a change of work from home scenery? Barbados is offering a 12-month visa for remote workers to allow them to work from the island for up to a year. Read more here.