Customers, wearing a face mask or covering due to the Covid-19 pandemic, socially distance as they queue to enter a NatWest bank in Blackburn - Paul Ellis/AFP
Customers, wearing a face mask or covering due to the Covid-19 pandemic, socially distance as they queue to enter a NatWest bank in Blackburn – Paul Ellis/AFP
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

Banks have been told customers will need to wear masks ahead of the publication of guidance on coverings in England. 

Asked if people should cover their faces if they are going into a bank, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: “Yes… it’s all retail outlets and retail banks on our high streets are retail outlets effectively as well. 

“And what you’re doing when you are in a bank, if you’re going in there to pay money in or withdraw money, you’re going in there in the same way as you’re going into a shop to buy a sandwich, or a book or some clothes. 

“Therefore it is appropriate that you should be wearing a face mask.” 

There has been mass confusion over settings were masks are required, including takeaways. Mr Lewis said that if a customer is getting a take away coffee from an outlet like Pret a Manger, they should wear a face mask, but if they are dining in there is no need to wear one. 

Coronavirus podcast newest episode
Coronavirus podcast newest episode

Follow the latest updates below.

07:45 AM

Government to slash aid budget by nearly £3bn amid economic downturn

The government is to slash its aid budget by £2.9 billion this year amid a “severe economic downturn” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The budget – set at £15.8 billion before Covid-19 hit – is being cut because it is pegged to gross national income (GNI), which is expected to drop amid the fall-out from the pandemic. 

Government sources said that a “line-by-line” review of aid projects had taken place and what were considered the “40 most vulnerable countries” were prioritised for overseas development assistance (ODA). No further details about which programmes will face the axe have been released.

Anne Gulland and Sarah Newey have more on this here.

07:37 AM

Trump blames bars, protests and Mexico for rise in cases 

07:27 AM

Boris Johnson schooled on manners by SNP ahead of visit

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said he did not think Boris Johnson’s message about Scotland’s dependence on the Union during coronavirus would be well received during his visit.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said:

“I think he’s going to find that this message is going to go down particularly badly in Scotland.

“Is he really saying that any other small nation in Europe and any other part of the world doesn’t have the capability to deal with the Covid crisis?

“I think the days of telling Scotland that we are either too wee, too poor or too stupid really is over.

“I think what we’ve demonstrated over the past two months in the areas of devolved responsibility and of public health is that the leadership that has been shown by our First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon) is in sharp contrast with the bluster we have seen from Boris Johnson.”

07:23 AM

You must wear a face mask in a bank, minister says

Banks should be treated as a shop and therefore customers must wear a face mask when they enter, a Government minister has said. 

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: “If you’re using it as a shop, you should be wearing a face mask. 

Asked if people should cover their faces if they are going into a bank, Mr Lewis said: “Yes. Because the idea of wearing a face mask, the point around retail outlets and takeaways as of tomorrow and supermarkets is this balance…looking at where you’re coming into contact in a confined or more enclosed space for a longer period of time. 

“When you’re outside and in the fresh air and moving around, obviously the virus is less likely to spread around. 

“When you’re in an enclosed environment like public transport and retail when you’re in that space with strangers for longer, then it is appropriate to wear a face mask.

“It’s all retail outlets and retail banks on our high streets are retail outlets effectively as well. 

“And what you’re doing when you are in a bank, if you’re going in there to pay money in or withdraw money, you’re going in there in the same way as you’re going into a shop to buy a sandwich, or a book or some clothes. 

“Therefore it is appropriate that you should be wearing a face mask.” 

07:01 AM

Nicola Sturgeon welcomes PM’s visit to Scotland

The First Minister has tweeted ahead of Boris Johnson’s visit to Scotland. 

06:52 AM

Wear face mask if you’re going to get coffee from Pret, says minister

If you are getting a take away coffee from an outlet like Pret a Manger, you should wear a face mask, but if you are dining in there is no need to wear one, a Government minister has said. 

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told Sky that the Government would be publishing guidance after confusion about which circumstances made it mandatory for a mask to be worn. 

He said: “Wear face masks where you can and when it’s appropriate, but obviously if you’re at a food outlet it’s not practical to wear a face mask. 

“What changes from tomorrow is that if you’re in a retail environment, a shop or a supermarket, you should be wearing a face mask. 

“What changes tomorrow around the Pret a Manger question as it’s become – if you’re going to Pret a Manger and you’re eating at Pret a Manger, which in some stores you can, then obviously you wouldn’t be wearing a face mask because you’re eating. 

“But it’s clear, good common sense that if you’re going in to buy a take away and leaving again, you’re treating it like a shop and you should be wearing a face mask.”

06:42 AM

Blackford: PM’s message ‘going to go down badly in Scotland’

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said he did not think Boris Johnson’s message about Scotland’s dependence on the Union during coronavirus would be well received during his visit.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “I think he’s going to find that this message is going to go down particularly badly in Scotland.

“Is he really saying that any other small nation in Europe and any other part of the world doesn’t have the capability to deal with the Covid crisis?

“I think the days of telling Scotland that we are either too wee, too poor or too stupid really is over.

“I think what we’ve demonstrated over the past two months in the areas of devolved responsibility and of public health is that the leadership that has been shown by our First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon) is in sharp contrast with the bluster we have seen from Boris Johnson.”

06:29 AM

South Africa edges towards 400,000 cases

South Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases have nearly reached 400,000 as the country reports a new daily high of 572 deaths.

South Africa is now one of the world’s top five countries in terms of reported virus cases, and it makes up more than half of the cases on the African continent with 394,948. Deaths are at 5,940.

Public hospitals are struggling as patient numbers climb, and more than 5,000 health workers have been infected.

The struggles by Africa’s most developed country in coping with the pandemic are a worrying sign for other, far less resourced countries across the continent as the spread of infections picks up speed.

06:16 AM

Liverpool celebrates Premier League win 

The strangest trophy celebration in recent memory took place on Merseyside on Wednesday night. 

With no fans allowed inside Anfield, Jurgen Klopp’s men hoisted the Premier League trophy aloft alone in the stadium. 

The Premier League trophy is lifted inside an empty Anfield - Liverpool FC/Andrew Powell
The Premier League trophy is lifted inside an empty Anfield – Liverpool FC/Andrew Powell

 But outside the stadium, fans had gathered in their thousands to light flares and celebrate.

Crowds, some holding flares, gather outside Liverpool's Anfield stadium - Reuters/Matty Johnson
Crowds, some holding flares, gather outside Liverpool’s Anfield stadium – Reuters/Matty Johnson

 Relive the night of drama here.

05:58 AM

Care homes | Only one family member will be able to visit relatives

Families will be told to choose one member to visit elderly relatives in care homes, with “unbelievably difficult” dilemmas facing those who have already endured four months apart, Health Editor Laura Donnelly writes.

New Government guidance for the care sector – which bans flowers and hugs – says homes can begin allowing visitors shortly after they have undergone risk assessments of safety protocols. 

The advice recommends “limiting the numbers of visitors to a single constant visitor per resident, wherever possible”. It says: “This, for example, means the same family member visiting each time to limit the number of different individuals coming into contact.” 

Read the full story here.

05:53 AM

PM to hail ‘sheer might’ of UK ahead of Scotland trip

The “sheer might” of the UK has been shown during the coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister has said ahead of a visit north of the border.

Boris Johnson will arrive in Scotland on Thursday, ahead of the one year anniversary of his first day in Downing Street on Friday.

He will say that being part of the UK saved 900,000 Scottish jobs during the pandemic, according to the BBC, which reported Inverness MP Drew Hendry of the SNP as saying Scotland could flourish as an independent country.

Downing Street said that during his visit – his first to Scotland since the general election in December – the Prime Minister will meet with businesses hit by the pandemic, those working in green energy, and military personnel to thank them for their efforts in the response to coronavirus.

There are no plans to meet with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who said at her regular coronavirus briefing on Wednesday that she would be willing to meet with the Prime Minister.

05:44 AM

Customers must wear face masks in takeaways

Here is that front page exclusive on face masks by Deputy Political Editor Anna Mikhailova and Political Editor Gordon Rayner.

Customers will be required to wear a face mask in takeaways and sandwich shops under laws to be introduced on Friday, The Telegraph understands.

Buying food from the counter and then sitting down to eat will be banned. Takeaways with seating inside will be counted as shops, where masks will become compulsory.

A government source said only premises with table service would not require masks, adding that customers would not be allowed to come in, buy a sandwich at the till, then sit down.

Read the full story here.

05:33 AM

Today’s front page

Here is your Daily Telegraph on Thursday, July 23. 

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04:38 AM

Australia reports its highest daily number of deaths

Pedestrians take time out for a selfie along Sydney Harbour - SAEED KHAN/AFP
Pedestrians take time out for a selfie along Sydney Harbour – SAEED KHAN/AFP

Australia reported its highest daily number of coronavirus-related deaths in three months on Thursday as new infections continue to climb in its second-most populous state.

Victoria state said it had confirmed another 403 infections, while five people died from the virus in the past 24 hours.

The fatalities, including a man in his 50s, mark the country’s biggest one-day rise in Covid-19 deaths since late April.

“This demonstrates the growing toll this terrible virus is taking on our community,” Health Minister Jenny Mikakos told reporters in the state capital of Melbourne.

Nationally, Australia has recorded about 13,000 coronavirus cases with a death toll of 128.

Coronavirus Australia Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Australia Spotlight Chart – Cases default

04:09 AM

New outbreak forces Papua New Guinea to ask for WHO help

Papua New Guinea has asked the World Health Organisation for help after a rapidly spreading new coronavirus outbreak sparked preparations for large-scale community transmission in the under-resourced country.

Having mostly dodged the Covid-19 pandemic until now, Papua New Guinea reported on Thursday that it had detected three new cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 30 – up from just 11 on Sunday.

With limited testing and many positive cases found in health workers, there are fears the virus may have a stronger foothold than those detected cases may indicate.

Papua New Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the Pacific. Its rickety health system is already under severe pressure from the widespread transmission of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, as well as one of the world’s few remaining outbreaks of polio.

WHO is in the process of mobilising international emergency medical teams to deploy to the country.

03:40 AM

Mexico continues to battle high infection numbers

Municipal employees work in a cloud of dust at Zocalo square in Mexico City - REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Municipal employees work in a cloud of dust at Zocalo square in Mexico City – REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Mexico’s Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 6,019 new confirmed infections and 790 fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 362,274 cases and 41,190 deaths.

The government said the real number of infected people was likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

Earlier, Latin America exceeded the four million mark after Brazil reported a record number of cases.

03:19 AM

China to provide loan for countries to access vaccine

China plans to provide a billion-dollar loan to make its coronavirus vaccine accessible for countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, the Mexican foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a statement that China had made the pledge in a virtual meeting between ministers from some Latin American and Caribbean countries.

02:32 AM

Victoria struggles as it records five more deaths

Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria reported on Thursday five deaths from coronavirus in the past 24 hours and logged the third-highest daily rise in cases.

Victoria recorded 403 new cases overnight, Premier Daniel Andrews told a media briefing in Melbourne, a day after posting its biggest one-day spike of 484 cases.

Melbourne, the state’s largest city, has seen a flare-up in infections in recent weeks, prompting the government to enforce a six-week partial lockdown and make  masks mandatory for its residents or risk a A$200 (£112).

READ MORE: Australia sees worst day yet with almost 500 new coronavirus cases

Coronavirus Victoria, Australia cases
Coronavirus Victoria, Australia cases

02:13 AM

Masks to become compulsory in takeaways

Disposable masks being sold at a store on Oxford Street in London - ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Disposable masks being sold at a store on Oxford Street in London – ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Customers will be required to wear a mask in takeaways and sandwich shops under laws to be introduced on Friday, The Telegraph understands.

Buying food from the counter and then sitting down to eat will be banned.

Takeaways with seating inside will be counted as shops, where masks will become compulsory.

A government source said only premises with table service would not require masks, adding that customers would not be allowed to go in, buy a sandwich at the till, then sit down.

Read the full story here.

02:09 AM

Californian numbers exceed New York’s

California’s confirmed coronavirus cases have topped 409,000, surpassing New York for most in the nation.

However, California has nearly 8,000 deaths compared to New York’s 32,000.

Read the full story here.

02:07 AM

China records more cases

China continues to see newly confirmed coronavirus cases in its north-western region of Xinjiang, with 18 reported on Thursday.

More than 50 people have been infected in China’s latest outbreak focused on Xinjiang’s regional capital and largest city of Urumqi.

City leaders have restricted travel, locked down some communities and ordered widespread testing to contain the spread.

An additional three confirmed cases brought from outside China were reported by the National Health Commission.

China has reported a total of 83,729 cases, with 4,634 deaths.

12:47 AM

Families forced to choose one visitor as care homes reopen

Families will be told to choose one member to visit elderly relatives in care homes, with “unbelievably difficult” dilemmas facing those who have already endured four months apart.

New Government guidance for the care sector – which bans flowers and hugs – says homes can begin allowing visitors shortly after they have undergone risk assessments of safety protocols. 

Read the full story here.

12:33 AM

White House says transmission risk is low after cafeteria worker tests positive

A cafeteria employee who works in a building where some White House staffers have offices has tested positive for coronavirus, an NBC News reporter said on Twitter on Wednesday.

The White House is doing contact tracing after the worker in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is next to the White House, tested positive, NBC News reporter Josh Lederman said.

The White House Medical Office determined the risk of transmission of the virus was low.

12:26 AM

Trump announces funding support for nursing homes

Fearing another grim wave of nursing home deaths as Covid-19 cases rebound, Donald Trump on Wednesday announced his administration will provide $5 billion (£3.9 billion) to help facilities counter the virus.

The move follows Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s recent unveiling of a family caregiver plan that aims to greatly expand and subsidise alternatives to institutional care for frail older adults.

Both men are competing for seniors’ votes against a backdrop of eroding political support for Mr Trump among older Americans.

“I want to send a message of support and hope to every senior citizen,” Mr Trump said at the White House.

“The light is starting to shine and we will get there very quickly.”

12:22 AM

Coronavirus updates from around the world

  • Global coronavirus infections surged past 15 million on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, with the pandemic gathering pace even as countries remain divided in their response to the crisis.

  • Donald Trump has expressed a willingness to work with China or other countries to bring a successful coronavirus vaccine to the United States.

  • Australia will record its biggest budget deficit since World War II, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will say on Thursday.

  • Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has had another positive result for coronavirus in the third test he has taken since falling ill on July 7.

  • Spain‘s Tourism Minister, Reyes Maroto, said a resurgence in coronavirus cases in Catalonia was coming under control and she hoped there would be no need for France to close the border.

  • Italy‘s government will approve a new spending package – the third major cash injection since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the country – to try to prop up the economy.

  • A party at a Prague music club has led to infections in 68 people so far, including athletes.

  • Ukraine will let spectators return for football matches – up to a quarter of stadium capacity – after a three-month pause.

  • Hong Kong expanded strict new social distancing measures from midnight on Wednesday, mandating masks in all indoor public areas including malls and markets.

  • Aritana Yawalapiti, one of Brazil‘s most influential indigenous leaders, arrived at a hospital in the central city of Goiânia to be treated at an intensive care unit for Covid-19.

  • Total confirmed cases in Africa have passed 750,000.

  • Gazans are thronging beaches and crowding markets filled with holiday sweets and clothes as they prepare to celebrate Eid al-Adha largely free of restrictions.

11:58 PM

President urges young people to stay away from packed bars

At his second coronavirus-related press briefing in as many days, Donald Trump urged young people again to avoid packed bars and said he was conducting the briefing without doctors from his White House Coronavirus Task Force because he had been briefed by them himself.

Mr Trump cited civil rights demonstrations around the country as one reason for the spike in cases.

The US President has been criticised for his “law and order” emphasis in response to protests after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis who died in police custody.

Mr Trump again encouraged people to wear masks.

He said it was up to governors to decide how strongly to encourage or require face coverings in their states. 

Mr Trump has worn a mask only once in public but this week started encouraging their use on a wider scale.

He also pressed Americans to practice good hygiene.

“I’m finding more and more people are saying, ‘wash your hands’. So, wash your hands,” he said. 

11:35 PM

Numbers continue to rise in Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro visits supporters outside Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, on Wednesday. Mr Bolsonaro tested positive in a third test for coronavirus - EVARISTO SA/AFP
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro visits supporters outside Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, on Wednesday. Mr Bolsonaro tested positive in a third test for coronavirus – EVARISTO SA/AFP

Brazil recorded a new daily record of coronavirus cases on Wednesday with nearly 68,000 infections, a sign Covid-19 is still far from being brought under control in the hard-hit country.

The health ministry said 67,860 new infections and 1,284 deaths had been reported in the past 24 hours in Brazil, which has the second-biggest outbreak in the world after the United States.

The South American country of 212 million people has recorded 2.2 million infections and 82,771 deaths since confirming its first case five months ago.

Experts say under-testing means the real numbers are probably much higher.

Coronavirus Brazil Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Brazil Spotlight Chart – Cases default

11:15 PM

Britain risks becoming ‘cultural wasteland’ without arts support

The Government’s “failure” to act quickly enough to help UK arts in the pandemic could affect the sector’s position as a world leader and result in Britain becoming a “cultural wasteland”, MPs have said.

Ministers “consistently failed to recognise” the scale of the challenge to the arts and culture industry, according to a new report by MPs.

A £1.57 billion package of support for the sector came “too late” for many and there is little detail on how it will be distributed, they say.

Read the full story here.

11:12 PM

WHO leader refuses to be blown off course

Since coronavirus first emerged in China at the beginning of the year, the World Health Organisation and its director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, have been accused of being soft on Beijing.

These claims were given renewed vigour this week by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who told a private meeting of Conservative and Labour MPs that Dr Tedros had been “bought” by the Chinese government when he was elected to the top job at the UN agency in 2017. 

Part of the problem stems from the rules governing WHO – voted on by member states including the US.

In the words of Devi Sridhar, professor of global health at the University of Edinburgh, WHO can only support, encourage and advise countries.

READ MORE: In the eye of the storm – how WHO leader refuses to be blown off course

11:00 PM

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