Shoppers crowd to get into the Niketown store on Oxford Street - Matt Dunham/AP
Shoppers crowd to get into the Niketown store on Oxford Street – Matt Dunham/AP

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Big crowds: Inside England’s first day back at the shops

Shoppers abandoned all thoughts of social distancing on some high streets today as pictures emerged of crowds scrambling for the chance to buy a new pair of trainers. The country has been in lockdown for nearly three months now, but when non-essential stores reopened today on London’s Oxford Street, there seemed to be little effort to adhere to the Government’s two-metre guidelines among shoppers. Marks & Spencer had some of the longest queues, though the actual number of shoppers in store was very limited. Click here to see shoppers queuing outside Primark. Initial figures showed the overall picture was cautious, with visits down 41pc year-on-year in England, although branches on high streets did see a 51pc rise in footfall compared with this time last week. Here is a list of the top sellers in the first two hours of trading at the two John Lewis stores that reopened today. Our fashion editors outline the first thing you should be looking to buy now the shops have reopened.

Today also saw new rules on face coverings on public transport come into force. Yet there are fears confusion about some people travelling without wearing masks could cause vigilantes to intervene. There are exemptions for children aged under 11 and those with legitimate health reasons not to wear one. Graham Vidler, the chief executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said “issues could arise” if some passengers do not follow the guidelines. Judith Woods was on the first face-covered commute, and said it resembled “a scene from a disaster movie”. Read her account. The Government has warned that keeping clothes clean is essential in fighting Covid-19. Read on for the new rules of washing clothes in 2020, from face masks to gym gear.

China vows to stop Beijing becoming ‘second Wuhan’

China is ramping up efforts to avoid a “second Wuhan” after Beijing, the country’s capital, reported for two consecutive days its highest daily infection counts since late March. Health officials have quickly ramped up measures to contain the latest outbreak in Beijing, ending a 56-day streak of zero cases. Read how China continues to battle new waves of coronavirus. Meanwhile, researchers fear India will not reach its coronavirus peak until mid-November amid plans to convert train carriages into isolation wards to cope with a surge in infections. Read how Delhi is being overwhelmed. Over in California, Josh White reveals how the slow easing of lockdown is dividing people and costing jobs.

What happened on easyJet’s first post-lockdown flight

Usually the round of applause comes at the end of a flight after a safe landing. Not today. The eruption of cheers on board easyJet’s 7am flight from Gatwick to Glasgow came as the aircraft took to the skies. It was the first time an easyJet plane has taken off since the airline ceased operations at the end of March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Greg Dickinson was on board and sets the scene. It comes as Europe begins to reopen its doors to holidaymakers with the largest lifting of lockdown restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic. Travellers on the Continent will now be able to move freely between most of the 22 EU countries in the Schengen area, but some nations have decided to keep restrictions. Britain remains out in the cold. Read on for the latest.

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At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Memorial outrage | A man has been jailed for two weeks for urinating next to a memorial to PC Keith Palmer during an event to protect war monuments. Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told Andrew Banks had been drinking through the night and admitted to consuming around 16 pints of alcohol, having travelled to Westminster with a group of football “lads” for the event. Read on for more. It comes as the Microsoft-owned computer code company Github is planning to replace the term “master” from its systems as the Black Lives Matter movement puts tech companies under pressure to drop perceived references to slavery.

You Are Not Alone – Getting you through the crisis

  1. Months later | I’ve recovered from the virus. Why hasn’t my sense of smell?

  2. The overlooked county | The place that has perfected the art of social distancing

  3. Marriage diaries | After full lockdown house, I dread being left with grumpy old husband

Comment and analysis

Video: How to make a government-approved face mask

With face coverings compulsory on public transport from today, there is no need to panic if you need to travel but do not own a mask. Click here to see how to make your own cloth face mask out of an old t-shirt.

Business and money briefing

2,500 job losses | Builders merchant Travis Perkins is cutting almost 10pc of its workforce as it battles the coronavirus downturn. It plans to axe some 2,500 jobs and close 165 outlets. Read on for details.

World news: The one story you must read today…

Journalist convicted | One of the Philippines’ most prominent journalists has been found guilty of cyber libel charges in a verdict viewed as a test of press freedoms and attempt to silence government critics. The ruling could lead to six years in prison for Maria Ressa, the editor of Rappler, one of the country’s most influential news sites, which has reported on the brutal realities of the country’s drugs war.

Sport briefing

Restart to the rescue | If it feels like a long time since Liverpool last kicked a ball in public, it was a click of the fingers compared to the gap since they were last English champions. Without this week’s resumption, the Premier League trophy would have gone to Anfield but with an asterisk in the record books. Paul Hayward analyses why Jürgen Klopp’s team will have to be given full credit for their remarkable season.

Tonight’s TV  

Murder in the Car Park, Channel 4, 9pm | This absorbing three-part documentary covers the 1987 killing of private investigator Daniel Morgan in a seedy tale of informants, police corruption and robbery. Read on for more.

And finally… for this evening’s downtime

The lost Rolling Stone | Recruited by the Stones and worshipped by Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher was a musical prodigy. So why, asks his brother Dónal, did the Irishman die so quietly? Read how the guitar great was airbrushed from rock history.

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