The number of deaths globally linked to the coronavirus outbreak has now passed 900,000, as the pandemic continues its grip on the UK and the rest of the world.
In the UK, the number of daily infections have increased steadily since late August. As of Wednesday, 2,659 more people tested positive for Covid-19, prompting the government to impose a ban on gatherings of more than six people indoors and outdoors, effective from 14 September.
Here is your daily briefing of coronavirus news you may have missed overnight.
Covid-19 is posing a threat to Christmas celebrations this year as the public has been warned a new crackdown on socialising is likely to last until Christmas and beyond.
The chief medical officer Chris Whitty predicted the “period between now and spring is going to be difficult” and warned people not to view the restrictions as “a very short term thing”.
It comes as the government banned all gatherings of more than six people in England amid a rising number of infections.
Ministers are hoping to deliver daily tests for millions in an ambitious programme codenamed Operation Moon Shot, but chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has poured cold water on the plans.
Boris Johnson said on Wednesday, in his first Downing Street press conference since July, that the £100bn Moon Shot project could produce a test to tell people within 15 minutes whether they are infected.
But Mr Vallance cautioned just moments later: “There are, as always with technologies, unknowns and we would be completely wrong to assume this is a slam dunk that can definitely happen.”
A new study has found that coronavirus patients are at increased risk of a collapsed lung.
About one in 100 of those admitted to hospital with the virus suffered from the lung complication, known as pneumothorax, sometimes called a punctured lung. The condition occurs when pockets of air get into the space between the lungs and the inside of the ribcage, which puts pressure on the lungs and can prevent them from fully expanding.
Scientists in Cambridge urged medics treating Covid-19 patients to be alert to the possibility of a punctured lung “even in people who would not be thought to be typical at-risk patients”.
The US president has made a remarkable admission that he publicly downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic in an attempt “to reduce panic”.
Asked about comments he made to journalist Bob Woodward for an upcoming book, the president said: “If you said in order to reduce panic, maybe that’s so. It’s just another political hit job.”
He said being honest in public would mean “you’re going to have bigger problems”.
“I don’t want people to be frightened,” he added. “We want to show confidence, we want to show strength.”
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