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Places where coronavirus cases rise again will be put under “local lockdown”, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

The cabinet member warned that flare-ups will mean hotspots will see individual areas put under tighter restrictions.

It comes as the UK’s coronavirus death toll has soared past 37,000, with 134 new fatalities, although there were none in Northern Ireland for the first time in more than two months.  

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures today put UK coronavirus deaths more than 10,000 higher than the Government’s official toll.

Meanwhile, Durham Police has started its investigation into Dominic Cummings.

A key witness has already been interviewed, and software has been used to track the movement of a vehicle used by the prime minister’s top aide, the Mirror can reveal.

Boris Johnson’s chief aide drove 260 miles to Durham to stay on his parents’ property to ensure he had access to childcare in case he and his wife were incapacitated by coronavirus, seemingly in breach of lockdown rules.

In Downing Street earlier, Health Secretary Matt Hancock jumped to the defence of the under-fire aide, saying: “What he did was within the guidelines, I can understand why reasonable people can take a different view.” 

Mr Hancock also said Britain is now replenishing stockpiles of PPE and hailed a ‘big step forward’ in the battle against coronavirus of the trials of antiviral drug remdesivir.

Follow our live blog below for the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the UK and around the world.

And sign up to get the Mirror’s daily coronavirus briefing email at – in your inbox after the press conference every evening.

Biden calls Trump ‘absolute fool’ for not wearing face mask

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has called Donald Trump an “absolute fool” for not wearing a mask at a series of recent public events, saying his lack of leadership on the issue is “costing peoples’ lives.”

The decision whether to wear a face mask in public has emerged as a national political battle, and the two presidential candidates have adopted very different approaches.

Biden’s decision to wear a mask outdoors on Memorial Day at his first public event since March caught the attention of Trump, who retweeted an image of Biden at the event accompanied by a comment: “This might help explain why Trump doesn’t like to wear a mask in public.”

The president has resisted wearing masks in front of cameras at series of public events, including on Memorial Day.

“He’s a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way. Every leading doc in the world says you should be wearing a mask in a crowd,” Biden said in a taped interview with CNN. Biden called Trump’s behaviour “macho stuff” and falsely masculine actions that were costing people’s lives. T

he president said on Tuesday he thought it was “very unusual” that Biden wore the mask on Memorial Day since he was outside in good weather. White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Trump was not shaming anyone.

Biden’s outing on Monday was his first in several weeks. The 77-year-old candidate has been staying at home because of the pandemic.

Brazil reports more than 1,000 new coronavirus deaths in huge surge

Another 1,039 people in Brazil have died from coronavirus, the health ministry has said.

That takes the total in the South American country to 24,512.

Brazil also reported another 16,324 cases of Covid-19, taking the total to 391,222, the second-highest in the world behind the US.

Reading players accept wage deferrals to help soften COVID-19 blow

Reading’s first-team players have agreed to defer a “substantial” portion of their wages for three months to help negate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Championship club have said.

Football in England has been suspended since March due to the novel coronavirus outbreak and clubs in England’s lower divisions have struggled to deal with the loss of matchday revenue and ticket income.

“I’m delighted we have come to an agreement on salary deferments,” captain Liam Moore said in a statement. “These are very testing times for our club at present, much like every other club up and down the country.

“This has taken a bit of time, but it was important we ensured it was right for every individual. It was my job as captain to make sure each player felt 100% comfortable in what they were signing up to.”

Reading manager Mark Bowen and his staff had agreed to similar deferrals a number of weeks ago, the club said.

Championship clubs returned to training in small groups this week, with hopes of completing the season behind closed doors.

Huddersfield Town owner Phil Hodgkinson said up to 60 clubs in the lower tiers of English football could go out of business if the sport fails to plan for the impact of the virus beyond the current season.

Disney World reopening plans to be presented

Walt Disney Co will present its proposal for a phased reopening of its Orlando, Florida, theme parks to a local task force on Wednesday, the company said in a statement.

Disney closed theme parks around the world starting in January to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

It began reopening the parks earlier this month by allowing a limited number of guests into Shanghai Disneyland with social distancing and other safeguards. Guests must wear masks and have their temperatures checked, among other measures.

A Disney executive will detail the company’s plans for Walt Disney World in Orlando to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force on Wednesday. The county must approve Disney’s plan before sending it to the governor’s office, which also must sign off before the parks can open their gates to the public.

Disney operates four theme parks at Walt Disney World that attracted 157.3 million visitors in 2018, according to the Themed Entertainment Association. They rank as the most-visited theme parks in the world.

Last week, shops and restaurants at the Disney Springs shopping area outside the Orlando parks reopened to visitors for the first time since March.

Sea World Entertainment Inc also will present a reopening plan to the Orange County task force on Wednesday, a statement from the county said.

New York Stock Exchange opens for first time in two months

The New York Stock Exchange opened for the first time in two months, although fewer traders were allowed on the floor and employees were told to wear masks.

Stocks rallied early in the day on optimism about the development of coronavirus vaccines and a revival of business activity, but gains were trimmed later in the day.

The New York City suburb of New Rochelle, home to one of the country’s earliest coronavirus clusters, believed centered around a synagogue, took the first steps to reopen.

Twenty U.S. states reported an increase in new cases for the week ending on Sunday as the U.S. death toll nears 100,000.

Florida reported a nearly 6 percent increase, while New York registered a double-digit decline.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged President Donald Trump to invest in major infrastructure projects such as bridges, roads and rail systems to jumpstart the economy as states further relax lockdowns.

Cuomo, a Democrat who has criticized the Republican president over his handling of the pandemic, will meet with the president in Washington this week.

“This is one of the things I want to talk to the president about … You want to reopen the economy. Let’s do something creative, let’s do it fast, let’s put Americans back to work,” Cuomo said.

Beaches, fitness centers and hotels in Florida’s Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, got the green light to open on Tuesday with some restrictions.

California eases pandemic restrictions

California, the most populous U.S. state, took another step on Tuesday toward ending sweeping lockdowns imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic, allowing barber shops and hair salons in most counties to

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom lifted orders that banned church services and in-store retail shopping, although with restrictions in place to prevent further outbreaks of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.

“(California) is flattening the curve. Expanding testing. And carefully re-opening businesses,” Newsom said on Twitter.

“But we MUST continue to take this seriously.” Although 47 of California’s 53 counties have qualified to reopen barber shops and hair salons under the complex formula established by Newsom and health officials, they will remain closed in two of its largest and best-known cities: Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Statewide nail and brow salons, tattoo shops, gyms, bars and entertainment venues as well as community centers and public pools are still banned from operating.

Newsom slapped stay-at-home orders on businesses across the state on March 19 as the pandemic began to spread nationwide.

Brits ‘will soon be allowed to invite family and friends to meet in their garden’

Brits will finally be allowed to invite friends and family members for gatherings in their gardens next month, after weeks of being apart.

Measures being weighed up by ministers are said to include allowing small groups to meet outdoors as the UK slowly comes out of lockdown.

It could happen as early as next month, according to reports.

Read more here.

President insists he has authority to reopen places of worship

The US President has insisted he has the power to override state governors in reopening places of worship.

Donald Trump said: “I can absolutely do it if I want to and I don’t think I’m going to have to because it’s starting to open up.

“Churches, synagogues and mosques, we want them open and we want them open as soon as possible.”

Trump asks reporter to take off his mask during briefing

Donald Trump asked a reporter to take his mask off when he asked him a question during today’s briefing.

The President said: “Your second question was? I couldn’t hear you. Can you take it off because I cannot hear you.”

The reporter replied ‘I’ll just speak louder sir’, prompting Trump to reply ‘oh okay, you want to be politically correct’.

The reported added: “No sir, I just want to wear the mask.”

Tomorrow’s Daily Mirror front page

Amazon workers ‘not social distancing’ – despite coronavirus outbreak

Amazon workers have hit out at safety standards at a warehouse where a staff member tested positive for coronavirus.

They accused bosses at the Rugeley fulfilment centre of flouting social distancing rules and failing to supply the right PPE.

Photos show empty or broken hand sanitiser stations and busy work floors at the Staffordshire site.

Other pictures show staff queueing, without social distancing, for third-party operated buses to the warehouse.

A whistleblower said: “Catching coronavirus is always on my mind at work. If the hand sanitiser has run out, you don’t have time to find another as you’re expected to pack your item within 30 seconds.”

Click here to read the full story.

Government urged to ban Brits from beaches after two died over weekend

Brits should be banned from visiting beaches after two people died in Cornwall yesterday, lifeboat charity the RNLI says.

Chief executive Mark Cowie said the lifting of lockdown restrictions in England had put the charity in an “impossible situation” – forcing them to decide whether to put lifeguards or the public at risk.

In an open letter Mr Cowie said lifeboat crews had their busiest weekend of the year, despite warning that no lifeguards were on patrol.

On Monday, a 17-year-old girl died after a boat capsized near Wadebridge and a man died after being pulled from the water by a member of the public in Padstow.

“With thousands flocking to English beaches now lockdown restrictions have been eased, we must choose between keeping the public or our lifeguards safe,” Mr Cowie wrote.

“Safety advice and warnings will only go so far when people are desperate to enjoy some freedom after weeks of lockdown.

Click here to read the full story.

People of Durham demand Dominic Cummings is sacked after lame excuses

Residents of Durham have demanded Dominic Cummings be fired over his lockdown visit to the town as they told of their outrage at his lame excuses.

Locals and politicians joined the growing call for Boris Johnson ’s key aide to go after he admitted he drove 260 miles from London while his wife had symptoms of coronavirus.

They insisted his actions ­undermined the sacrifices millions of other Brits have been making in a bid to contain the virus, with one MP accusing Mr Cummings and his cronies of “laughing at us”.

And they laid into the PM and Tories who again jumped to his defence – even after he claimed he drove to nearby Barnard Castle to “test his eyesight” in a clear breach of the lockdown rules.

Click here to read the full story.

Prime Minister and WHO agree on need for inquiry into origins of outbreak

An independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak needs to take place, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

He made the comments in a telephone call to the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) today, Downing Street said.

WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus agreed with the PM, according to Number 10.

Mr Johnson also spoke with UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres about the Covid-19 outbreak.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “On both calls, the Prime Minister set out the UK’s support for the international effort to defeat coronavirus and for the work of the UN and WHO in helping to co-ordinate the global response.”

Britain’s first coronavirus medicine is approved and can shorten recovery time

Regulators have approved Britain’s first medicine to treat coronavirus – a drug intended for use on Ebola victims.

Clinical trials suggest remdesivir can shorten recovery time for Covid-19 sufferers by an average of four days, from 15 to 11.

Formal licence approval takes months but the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said the anti-viral drug can be prescribed before this is complete.

Hospital doctors can give remdesivir to Covid-19 patients aged over 12, while clinical trials with manufacturer Gilead Sciences continue.

The move boosts efforts to find an effective treatment and improve NHS capacity to cope with a potential second wave of the disease.

Click here to read the full story.

Police break up illegal lockdown birthday party at Tory MP’s house

Police broke up an illegal lockdown bank holiday birthday party at the house of a Tory MP, the Mirror can reveal.

Two people who were visiting the house of Rob Roberts, MP for Delyn in North Wales, were asked to leave.

There were balloons and banners outside the house yesterday marking a 40th birthday. It is understood that Mr Roberts’ wife Alexandra turned 40 on Monday.

Superintendent Mark Pierce of North Wales Police told the Mirror: “In response to two reports of a possible breach of Covid 19 regulations we visited an address at Ty’n y Coed, Mold, yesterday (Monday, May 25).

“When we called at the property two people visiting the house left following advice and no further action was taken.”

Click here to read the full story.

Staff at nursing homes wear painters’ overalls for protection

Staff at nursing homes had to wear painters’ overalls and goggles and relied on protective equipment from a local vet as they struggled to get stock, it has been revealed.

The huge backlog in personal protective equipment (PPE) forced hundreds of nursing homes in Ireland to introduce contingency measures.

Correspondence between the Department of Health and Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) was given to members of the special Covid-19 Oireachtas committee today.

In a survey carried out by NHI on April 7 and 8, managers at nursing homes outlined their difficulties in sourcing PPE for staff.

One stated they are using painters’ overalls, painters’ goggles and surgical masks.

Primary school closes after pupil and their parents test positive for coronavirus

A primary school has been closed after a child tested positive for coronavirus.

Skerne Park Academy in Darlington has confirmed the pupil’s parents have also tested positive for Covid-19.

The family has been accessing the school’s key workers provision, which has been providing support to around 40 children during the lockdown.

The school has now been closed until further notice to allow for the necessary period of isolation, reports Chronicle Live.

A spokesman for the school said: “We can confirm that a child who has been accessing school provision at Skerne Park Academy has tested positive for coronavirus. The child’s parents have also tested positive.”

Click here to read the full story.

Police officer says people violating lockdown are using Dominic Cummings as an excuse

A police officer claims people are using Dominic Cummings as an excuse to violate lockdown rules.

Speaking in an interview, the Met Police officer says he has handed out tickets to people sitting on benches in London’s public parks in recent weeks.

But revelations about Dominic Cummings’ 260-mile road trip to see family in Durham – despite firm instructions to stay at home – have made his job much harder, he claims.

The officer, named Scott, says Cummings’ actions have made a ‘mockery’ of his instructions to enforce social distancing.

He told Tom Swarbrick’s LBC radio show : “How I can go to bed tonight, knowing that I’ve made people pay fines for breaching lockdown when it seems if you’re powerful and wealthy enough you can just do whatever you want?”

Click here to read the full story.

Hospital packed with coronavirus patients reports ’emerging picture of asymptomatic staff’

Bosses at a hospital which has temporarily stopped accepting new patients due to the high number already being treated there with coronavirus have said there is an “emerging picture of asymptomatic staff testing positive for the virus”.

Weston General Hospital in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, stopped taking new admissions, including into its A&E department, from 8am on Monday “to maintain patient and staff safety”.

In an update on Tuesday evening, Dr William Oldfield, medical director at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There are currently a high number of patients with coronavirus in the hospital. We have tested all inpatients and will undertake retesting in line with national guidance, and we have appropriate segregation in place for patient care.

“Testing for symptomatic staff and household contacts has been offered across the trust since the beginning of April.

“In addition, there is an emerging picture of asymptomatic staff testing positive for the virus. Any members of staff who have tested positive have self-isolated in line with national guidance.”

Click here to read the full story.

Trump thinks there would be ‘no greater example of reopening’ than G7 meeting in US

President Donald Trump believes there would be “no greater example of reopening” than holding a summit of Group of Seven leaders in the United States near the end of June, the White House said today.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said the goal was for the summit to be held at the White House and that world leaders who attend would be protected.

“The president thinks no greater example of reopening in his transition to greatness would be the G7 and the G7 happening here,” McEnany told reporters.

Nursing home patients left in soiled diapers during crisis

Canadian soldiers helping manage the coronavirus outbreak in nursing homes saw staff leaving people in soiled diapers, ignoring calls for help and reusing unsterilised equipment, an official report said today.

Nursing homes account for around 80% of all deaths attributed to the new coronavirus in Canada.

The situation is dire in Ontario and Quebec, the two most populous provinces, where around 1,400 soldiers are working.

A report by the armed forces on five of the worst-affected Ontario homes revealed residents left in soiled diapers as well as “significant fecal contamination,” cockroaches and ants in patient rooms.

Schools, businesses or workplaces may close in ‘local lockdowns’

Local schools, businesses or workplaces being closed in areas with high prevalence of infection as part of local lockdowns, Matt Hancock said.

Mr Hancock added that the ability to tighten restrictions in individual regions will be part of the NHS test, track and trace system – which is set to expand on Monday next week.

Trump ‘underscores’ social distancing after mass gatherings over Memorial Day weekend

Donald Trump wants to ‘underscore’ social distancing measures after pictures emerged of mass gatherings over Memorial Day weekend, his press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.

Michael Gove claims he has driven a car to test his eyesight

Michael Gove today claimed he had gone on drives to test his eyesight.

The Cabinet Office Minister insisted he, like Boris Johnson’s aide Dominic Cummings, had got behind the wheel to see if his eyes were good enough for a long journey.

Mr Cummings prompted incredulity when he tried to explain a 60-mile round trip to a beauty spot by saying he wanted to test his eyesight before a 260-mile journey from Durham to London.

But Mr Gove, who as Education Secretary from 2010 was Mr Cummings’ boss, suggested he too had taken the unusual step of testing his eyesight through driving.

Asked on LBC if he would have gone “on a 60-mile round trip to test your eyesight?”, Mr Gove replied: “I have, on occasions in the past, driven with my wife in order to make sure, what’s the right way of putting it … ?”

Click here to read the full story.

Crowd control staff enforce social distancing on Australia’s public transport

Australia’s most populous state has deployed hundreds of crowd control staff to enforce social distancing on public transport amid an expected commuter surge as schools and offices reopened.

The country has reported just over 7,100 COVID-19 infections, including 102 deaths, well below figures reported by other developed countries.

With fewer than 20 new COVID-19 cases most days, Australian states are pressing ahead with a three-stage plan to remove most social restrictions imposed by July.

In New South Wales, which includes the city of Sydney, children returned to full-time face-to-face learning on Monday, allowing many parents to return to offices.

Students change education plans due to uncertainty around coronavirus pandemic

Students are changing their education plans due to uncertainty around the pandemic – with more than a third now wondering if it is worth going to university at all.

A study of 1,000 college and sixth-form pupils found concerns around finances, family and their future in general have led to four in 10 changing their mind about their upcoming higher education.

Prior to lockdown, 37 per cent of these had planned to go to university but are now looking at other options, while a tenth are questioning their choice to take a gap year.

More than one in 10 are also re-evaluating whether they should stick with their decision to defer their education.

Click here to read the full story.

Police quiz key Dominic Cummings witness and track car’s movements with software

Durham detectives have begun their investigation into Dominic Cummings, it was revealed today.

A key witness has already been interviewed, and software has been used to track the movement of a vehicle used by the prime minister’s top aide.

The developments came after Cummings denied all wrongdoing.

It also follows police being asked on Monday to establish the facts by Steve White, the police, crime and victims’ commissioner for Durham.

By Monday evening – as Mr Cummings gave his account of what happened to journalists at No 10 – detectives from Durham police were visiting potential witnesses.

Click here to read the full story.

Police unable to disperse rave involving 300 people

Around 300 people reportedly attended a rave in Paston, Peterborough.

Police attended the scene but there were apparently too few officers to safely disperse the crowd.

A person was stabbed at the party on Monday, according to reports.

Tory MP says Cummings should ‘do the decent thing and resign’

Backbench Conservative MP Mark Garnier said Dominic Cummings should “do the decent thing and resign” over his alleged lockdown breaches.

The Wyre Forest MP, who said he has received more than 300 emails critical of Mr Cummings from constituents, said he does feel “hugely sympathetic about his plight”.

But Mr Garnier told the PA news agency: “The whole of coronavirus has now been taken over by him and his actions. “I think at the end of the day people feel so strongly about this. This story isn’t going to go away until he’s gone and now I think it’s time for him to do the decent thing and resign.”