Here’s what you need to know on 8 July. This article was updated at 4pm.
Deaths: There were 126 UK deaths in the 24 hours up to 5pm on Tuesday, bringing the total to 44,517.
Policy: Rishi Sunak has unveiled a mini budget that ploughs billions into the UK economy to help it bounce back after the lockdown. It includes a new £2bn “Kickstart Scheme”, to be launched in August, that will subsidise employers who offer six-month work placements for 16- to 24-year-olds. Read more here.
Britons are also being lured back to restaurants with a government promise to foot half their food bill. The Eat Out To Help Out scheme will see the government cover 50% of food and non-alcoholic drinks on a bill, up to £10 per person, on Mondays to Wednesdays in August. Read more here.
VAT will be slashed on food, accommodation and attractions to help the hospitality sector recover. The tax will drop from 20% to 5%. Read more here.
Stamp duty will be scrapped on all home purchases up to £500,000 in a bid to put a spring back in the housing market. From 15 July until 31 March next year, buyers will pay no stamp duty on the first £500,000 of their purchase when they move home. Read more here.
Politics: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of “ducking responsibility” for the “chilling” number of care home deaths during the coronavirus pandemic. Johnson has so far refused to apologise for saying that “too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have”. Read more here.
Science: An expert has warned it “remains to be seen” whether the coronavirus causes similar brain damage to Spanish flu. A small study by University College London found a “higher than expected number of people” had showed signs of brain damage, with such patients not necessarily having severe respiratory symptoms. Read more here.
England’s deputy chief medical officer has urged Brits to lose weight in order to help fend off a potential second wave of coronavirus. Dr Jenny Harries said she is “very, very concerned” about a resurgence of COVID-19 and suggested people take action now to prepare for it. Read more here.
The number of people infected with coronavirus every day in England is 75% higher than previously thought, experts have revealed. The figures come as the country waits on whether the government’s decision to reopen businesses like pubs and hairdressers has an impact on the virus’s spread. Cambridge University’s MRC Biostatistics Unit, which runs nowcasting and forecasting for infections, believes that 5,300 people are contracting COVID-19 every day, up from the 3,000 estimated last week, an increase of 76.6%. Read more here.
Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon has released a list of countries people can arrive from without having to self-isolate for 14 days. It’s similar to the list released by the government for England last week. Read more here.
Scotland is also loosening its restrictions for shielding people, allowing them to meet up with people from two households outdoors and go inside to use the toilet. It bring them in line with the rest of the country.
Hospitals: Hillingdon Hospital, in Boris Johnson’s constituency, has had to close to emergency admissions after an outbreak of coronavirus. Ambulances were diverted from the hospital last night but walk-in patients are still being seen. 70 staff members are isolating. Read more here.
Parking charges for NHS staff in hospitals will return after being scrapped during the pandemic. The Department of Health confirmed on Wednesday that the free parking will continue only for "key patient groups and NHS staff in certain circumstances", although no further timeline has been given. Read more here.
Crime: Police have arrested more than 250 people suspected of violence and disorder during recent protests and an illegal rave in London. They are still looking for 22 people. Large gatherings are still banned as coronavirus restrictions ease. Read more here.
Read more about COVID-19
Rest of the world
The World Health Organization has said there is emerging evidence that coronavirus transmission can be airborne. It comes after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease passes between people. Read more here.
Portugal is in talks with the UK government over what it calls an “absurd” decision to leave it off the list of countries where Britons can holiday without self-isolating on return. The country's prime minister Antonio Costa said Britons were welcome to enjoy a safe holiday in the Algarve. Read more here.
Some NHS staff could get a free holiday to Ibiza as the island seeks to thank health workers for their role in the pandemic recovery. A website for the scheme says its aim is “to find at least 1,000 best in class accommodation providers in Europe” to provide free lodging for healthcare staff in 2021. Read more here.
Cricket fans have welcomed the return of the sport as the first test match between England and the West Indies got underway at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. Players took a knee before it began on Wednesday morning. Read more here.