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Coronavirus news – live: WHO says everyone must wear face masks in public as Matt Hancock urges people not to attend George Floyd protests

Follow the latest developments in worldwide pandemic

Matt Hancock urges people not to attend George Floyd protests this weekend 'for safety of your loved ones'

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


The World Health Organisation has updated its coronavirus guidance in response to recent research to say everyone should wear face coverings in public where there is a risk of virus transmission.

The change came as Matt Hancock, the health secretary, announced all hospital visitors would have to wear face coverings from 15 June and urged the public to not attend upcoming George Floyd protests due to concerns about the potential for large gatherings to spread Covid-19.

Meanwhile, as the official UK death toll passed 40,000, scientists halted a trial of the anti-malaria drug touted by Donald Trump after researchers at the University of Oxford found hydroxychloroquine was ineffective as a treatment for coronavirus.

Follow the latest developments in the liveblog below:


Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK and worldwide.

Peter Stubley5 June 2020 08:12

Face coverings to be mandatory on public transport from 15 June

One of the key developments yesterday in the UK was the decision to make masks mandatory on public transport after 15 June.

Many have questioned why it has taken so long for the measure to be introduced, while the British Medical Association has called for the measure to be extended to other areas where social distancing is difficult.

Peter Stubley5 June 2020 08:18

London mayor confident passengers will follow new mask rule

People will face fines if they refuse to cover their face on public transport, said transport minister Grant Shapps.

He compared the new rule to the alcohol ban introduced on Transport for London a decade ago.

"You won't be able to use public transport unless you are wearing it, so you could be asked to leave and ultimately you could be fined but I don't think that will be necessary in the vast majority of cases," he told BBC Breakfast.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the policy would rely a lot on "positive peer pressure" and indicated there would be an "element of discretion and good faith" when it comes to enforcing the wearing of face coverings on public transport.

"The idea is that enough of us wearing these will stop the virus spreading faster," he said.

Mr Khan urged commuters not "take the law into your own hands" if they saw people without face coverings and speak to a member of staff instead.

"I am confident, by and large, that most people will follow the rules voluntarily," he said.

Peter Stubley5 June 2020 08:21
Peter Stubley5 June 2020 08:23

Test and Trace 'will not be world-class until September'

A senior official at the government's "world-beating" Test and Trace scheme has admitted it will not be fully operational until September or October.

Ministers have also admitted that the NHS app might not be ready until the end of June.

Peter Stubley5 June 2020 08:26

Police warn George Floyd protests are 'unlawful' under Covid-19 rules

Laurence Taylor, deputy assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, warned that future mass gatherings to protest against the death of George Floyd would be "unlawful" due to the current coronavirus restrictions in place.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The health protection regulations are really clear that it is unlawful.

"The Government said that for health reasons people should not be meeting in groups of six, so we would strongly encourage people not to come out and gather in these large numbers because they are putting themselves and others at risk.

"And if they do come out, then we would ask them to observe that social distancing, think about those around them.

"But of course, by coming and gathering in these large groups they are potentially risking their health and also risking taking the virus back to their families."

Peter Stubley5 June 2020 08:31

UK facing backlash from EU over quarantine plan

The UK government is facing mounting pressure over its quarantine plans both at home and abroad - with the travel industry leading the protest.

Now several European countries are threatening retaliation towards British visitors unless the 14-day self-isolation scheme is scrapped.

The European Commission is calling on EU member states to lift all border checks within the bloc by the end of June.

However France, Germany, Greece and Spain have all said they will place restrictions on British visitors, partly due to the UK's relatively high infection rate.

French tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said his country would impose a 14-day quarantine on UK visitors if Britain proceeds with its quarantine plan on Monday.

Germany's foreign minister Heiko Maas said he would be "strongly advising" against travel to Britain due to its quarantine. Both countries are set to lift travel restrictions on 15 June.

Peter Stubley5 June 2020 08:36

Infections surge in India, Mexico and South Africa

While the UK and EU continue to see falling numbers of cases and deaths, the outbreak appears to be picking up speed in South America, India and parts of Africa.

India's Health Ministry has reported another record spike in new coronavirus cases — more than 9,800 in the past 24 hours - and a further 273 deaths.

Its number of confirmed cases now stands at 226,770, with 6,348 deaths. The surge in infections is being blamed on the movement of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from cities and towns to rural areas.

Mexico reported a record daily increase in cases and a further 816 deaths, bringing its totals to 12,545 deaths and 105,680 cases.

South Africa has also seen its largest daily jump in new coronavirus cases, with 3,267, bringing the country's total to 40,792, the highest in Africa.

The total number for the whole continent is now above 163,000.

Peter Stubley5 June 2020 08:44

Brazil death toll passes Italy

Brazil now has the third highest death toll in the world after reporting a record 1,437 fatalities on Thursday.

Total deaths in South America's largest nation now stand at 34,021, above Italy and below the United States and the UK.

A further 30,925 cases were also confirmed, according to the health ministry.

Last week the World Health Organisation warned that the region was the new epicentre for the virus.

Peter Stubley5 June 2020 08:52

Singapore plans wearable contact tracing devices

Singapore, which was praised for its early response to the outbreak, now plans to give all of its 5.7 million residents a wearable device that will identify contacts with people infected with coronavirus.

The small device, which can be worn on the end of a lanyard or carried in a handbag, follows glitches with an earlier smartphone-based bluetooth system which limited take up of the technology.

It is hoped the technology will allow the city-state to exit lockdown and restart its economy.

"We are developing and will soon roll out a portable wearable device that will ... not depend on possession of a smartphone," said Vivian Balakrishnan, the minister in charge of the city-state's smart nation initiative said on Friday.

"If this portable device works, we may then distribute it to everyone in Singapore."

The government did not specify whether carrying the device would be mandatory.

Singapore confirmed another 261 coronavirus cases today, bringing its total to 37,183.

Peter Stubley5 June 2020 09:00

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