British prime minister Boris Johnson: “The single thing that we didn’t see at the beginning was the extent to which it was being transmitted asymptomatically from person to person.” Photograph:  Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard/PA

British PM looks to winter and 2022, urging people to help NHS by getting flu vaccine

Decorative tape that reads ‘Missing Live Theatre’ hangs on the entrance to The Old Vic theatre in London earlier this month. Photograph: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

London Letter: It can feel as if life has returned to normal until conversation turns to the lockdown

British prime minister Boris Johnson holding  crabs  at Stromness harbour during a visit to the Scottish Highlands and Northern Isles. Photograph:   Robert Perry/PA Wire

EU’s chief Brexit negotiator claims there has been no progress on key issues

Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, on Wednesday. Photograph: UK parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire

British prime minister to argue coronavirus crisis has undermined case for independence

Russian president Vladimir Putin: the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report is a disturbing account of greed, neglect, cowardice and an astonishing lack of curiosity about a threat to democratic processes. Photograph: Sergei Chirikov

London became laundromat for looted wealth long before Putin’s policy of threat

 Boris Johnson blocked publication of the Russia report ahead of last year’s British general election. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Russian influence in Britain is ‘new normal’, delayed parliamentary report finds

UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab in the House of Commons. Photograph: AFP via Getty

Hong Kong extradition treaty suspended as Tory backbenchers urge further measures

Boris Johnson: his suggestion that social distancing restrictions could all be over by Christmas drew irresistible comparisons with the ill-placed optimism of the early months of the first World War. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/EPA

Prime minister stresses next steps in easing lockdown contingent on coronavirus remaining under control

Prime minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing on coronavirus. Photograph: PA Wire

Chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser contradict prime minister’s assertions

Dominic Raab: curious choice of language. Photograph: Pippa Fowles/EPA

London Letter: Raab muddies waters ahead of release of delayed Russia report

Russian president Vladimir Putin: Teams at Oxford University and Imperial College London working on coronavirus vaccines are understood to have been among the targets of hackers. Photograph: ITar-Tass

Coronavirus scientific work in Britain, US and Canada targeted by Russian-backed APT29

Sir Patrick Vallance, the British government’s chief scientific adviser: ‘It’s clear that the outcome has not been good in the UK, I think you can be absolutely clear about that.’ Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire

PM pledges extra £3bn to NHS as top medic admits UK’s coronavirus outcome is ‘not good’

First minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill at Stormont. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

UK government’s £2bn insufficient in light of coronavirus, cross-party group says

Boris Johnson. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

SNP leader at Westminster accuses prime minister of staging a power grab

‘Unfettered access was promised, but it looks less and less likely that it will be delivered.’ Photograph: Peter Morrison/PA

Clarity lacking due to UK’s ‘political approach’ to implementing withdrawal agreement

British prime minister Boris Johnson talks to paramedics during a visit to London Ambulance Service. Photograph:  Pippa Fowles

Wearing masks ‘basic good manners’ says Gove as country battles local Covid-19 outbreaks

British  prime minister Boris Johnson: “I do want people to start to go to work now if you can, but remember to follow the guidance because that is the way to save lives”

UK will not take part in EU vaccine purchase plan aimed at combining buying power to get promising vaccines at cheaper prices

Pedestrians pass a closed and shuttered souvenir shop on Oxford Street in London. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

London Letter: The city’s retail and hospitality sectors face ruin unless workers return to offices

 Boots said it would close 48 of its opticians shops and restructure its headquarters, shedding 4,000 jobs. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Further easing of lockdown as Boots and John Lewis announce 5,000 job losses

 Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak: There is media speculation about the political threat Mr Sunak represents to Mr Johnson. Photograph: Jessica Taylor

Coronavirus crisis has thrust together the fates of Britain’s PM and his chancellor

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak: Employers who bring back someone furloughed and keeps them on the payroll until January will receive a £1,000 bonus.  Photograph: Jessica Taylor

Sunak pledges hospitality 50% meal subsidy during August and furlough scheme bonus

 A circus performer in  Whitehall, London.  Circuses have  handed a petition to Downing Street  asking   Boris Johnson to allow  them to reopen. Photograph: EPA/Will Oliver

Downing Street refuses to apologise after Johnson appears to blame care homes for Covid death tallies

Britain’s health secretary Matt Hancock speaking on Tuesday in the House of Commons, where he said the NHS coronavirus tracing system was ‘working precisely as intended’. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire

British government unsure if new app will be ready before winter after failure of first model

Approved destinations pose “a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens” but the list will be kept “under constant review”, the Department for Transport said. Photograph: iStock

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland shun ‘air bridges’ plan aimed at boosting tourism

Workers preparing an outdoor seating area at a pub  in Birmingham. Photograph:  Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

The prime minister will point to Leicester as a reminder that coronavirus is still a threat in Britain

Boris Johnson: Has the immediate political scope to move either way on the negotiations. Photograph:   Will Oliver/EPA

London Letter: This week’s lack of progress does not obscure UK’s need for an agreement

 Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost said the face to face talks in Brussels had been useful and that the negotiating teams will meet again next week in London as planned. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq / EPA

Barnier says no deal on economic partnership without ‘balanced’ guarantees

 People wearing  face masks in the North Evington area of Leicester as a new lockdown due to coronavirus was imposed this week. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

‘Government must not waste time, we face risk of deadly second wave of infections’

 Police officers search and detain a protester during a rally against a new national security law in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Photograph: Jerome Favre/EPA

Boris Johnson says China’s new security law is serious breach of Hong Kong autonomy

Spinney Hill Park in Leicester: A council worker carries rubbish from a coronavirus testing centre. Photograph: Jacob King

Localised Covid-19 surge taints Johnson’s news of UK infrastructural investment

Builders work at  Wood Wharf, London:  UK government pledges to “Build back better, build back greener, build back faster”.  Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

UK hospitals, schools and roads to be boosted by ‘Rooseveltian build build build’ plan

 Bournemouth beach in southern England. A Dorset MP says half a million people visited the county on Thursday, when a local council declared a ‘major incident’ in Bournemouth. Photograph:  Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images

Fears over crowded beaches on south coast, violence in London after police tried to break up street parties

 Artistic and executive director of Wigmore Hall John Gilhooly.  Photograph:  Amy T Zielinski/Redferns

London Letter: Wigmore Hall’s John Gilhooly says response to streamed concerts has been ‘incredible’

 Rebecca Long-Bailey: Said that after posting a clarification, the leader’s office asked her to delete both her original retweet and the clarification. Photograph:  Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

Labour leader says former rival’s tweeting of article undermined efforts to rebuild trust with Jews

Labour leader Keir Starmer. He said of Boris Johnson: “He has been found out. He either dodges the question or he gives dodgy answers.”  Photograph: Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/AFP via Getty Images

Government rejects calls from heads of 15 top health groups for a review of nation’s preparedness

Boris Johnson  said Britain’s “long national hibernation” was over and the country could start going back out to enjoy itself again. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty Images

PM tempers good news with note of caution as he tries to win back public confidence

Tony Bennett,  owner of The Devereux pub in Temple, London, pouring a pint on Tuesday. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Two-metre social distancing rule to be cut to one metre as lockdown eased dramatically

Forensic officers work near Forbury Gardens, in Reading town centre, the scene of a multiple stabbing attack that took place on Saturday evening. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Khairi Saadallah (25) left three dead and number of others injured in mass stabbing

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy: 'There’s a real need for Labour to . . . make the case for how we’re going to bring different parts of the country together.'

Interview: MP says her party must escape its mythology, be tough on China and unite voters

Michael Gove: “The UK’s customs territory is not altered as a result of the protocol, and unfettered access is one of the clear provisions within the protocol.” Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty Images

British minister says North’s businesses won’t need exit summary declarations when they send goods to rest of the UK

British prime minister Boris Johnson greets French president Emmanuel Macron who visited to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Gen de Gaulle’s “Appel” speech. Photograph: Frank Augstein

French president bestows Legion of Honour on London as UK’s own tracing app ditched

Shops and businesses around London are slowly beginning to reopen but months in lockdown has changed the environment. Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP Photo

Isolation has pushed people across the Rubicon of getting to know their neighbours

 UK prime minister Boris Johnson: “A great ox has stood upon his tongue.”   Photograph: Jessica Taylor

PM reaches for classics to score strike against Starmer around stance on school return

Police detain a man after he ran in front of UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s car. He had been demonstrating about Turkey’s operation against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. Photograph: Victoria Jones

Tories accuse Labour of magnifying Covid-19 infection fears around school reopening

A study found that dexamethasone prevented death in one in eight patients on ventilators, and one in 25 patients requiring oxygen. Photograph: Getty Images

Britain’s NHS to start giving coronavirus patients on ventilators the steroid that has cut deaths by a third in clinical trials

UK prime minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Three former prime ministers warn move will diminish UK’s global standing

Marcus Rashford: stepped up his campaign to pressure the UK government into feeding hungry children during the school holidays. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP

Johnson spokesman announces £120m ‘Covid summer food fund’ for UK poor families

Boris Johnson, David Frost and Michael Gove take part in a videoconference call with the three EU presidents. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing street

Talks likely to go well beyond summer, with stakes rising for British business

Former Labour Northern secretary Peter Hain: called for  the British government and the Northern Ireland Executive to move urgently to implement a compensation scheme for victims of violence in the North. File Photograph:   Tim Whitby/PA

Two former Northern secretaries join Conservative in seeking measures against parmilitaries

Police escort a photographer outside the Houses of Parliament in London, during a protest which included supporters of the far-right Britain First and Football Lads Alliance. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Violent protest involving right-wing extremists led to 113 arrests

British prime minister Boris Johnson during a visit on Sunday to a London shopping centre before it reopens to the public on Monday. Photograph:  Andrew Parsons/EPA

Sides at impasse on issues including fair competition, fisheries and security

RTÉ Players record ‘Ulysses’ (1982) L-R: Daphne Carroll, Paddy Dawson, Cathryn Brennan, Denis Staunton, Marcella O’Riordan, Conor Farrington, Kate Minogue, Eamonn Keane, Gerry McArdle

Dubliners who had long been intimidated by the book found they enjoyed it

British cabinet office minister Michael Gove has ruled out Britain applying for an extension to the post-Brexit transition period. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Scottish and Welsh governments withdraw from talks with London on Brexit strategy

 A protective barrier is seen around the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square in anticipation of protests in London. Photograph:  Peter Summers/Getty Images

Black Lives Matter protest in London cancelled to avoid confrontation with far-right groups

Boris Johnson: will not seek an extension to the transition period but he does want a deal with the EU. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

London Letter: CBI leader says business could not cope with failure to reach a deal

Dido Harding, who is in charge of contact tracing, said the service was not perfect but was fit for purpose. Photograph: Getty

As infection rate falls nationwide, UK capability to test and detect growing, says tracing chief

UK prime minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire

News of easing restrictions lost amid scientist’s contention many deaths were avoidable

Prof Neil Ferguson. Photograph: Parliament TV/PA Wire

Neil Ferguson, a scientific adviser to No 10, says earlier lockdown would have saved lives

Heal’s flagship shop in central London: Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted to get the British economy back to work.  Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP

Zoos, safari parks and drive-in cinemas to open amid concerns for toll taken on pupils

Police stand in front of Oriel College during a protest of the ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ campaign. Photograph: Will Oliver/ EPA

Statue of slaveholder Robert Milligan removed from outside Museum of London

Brexit supporters: The UK government will  soon publish plans for preparing Britain’s border operations for changes after the post-Brexit transition period. Photograph: Andrew Testa/New York Times

Paymaster general says change of format sought ‘for both our sakes’

Home secretary Priti Patel gives a statement to the House of Commons, on Monday, on the public disorder at the Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend. Photograph: Stringer/PRU/AFP via Getty Images

Home secretary describes incidents including toppling of statue in Bristol as hooliganism

UK health secretary Matt Hancock: suggested there would be a local rather than a national response to any new outbreak of the virus. Photograph: Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty Images

Number of daily recorded deaths in UK falls to lowest level since before lockdown

 British Brexit negotiator David Frost: “Any such deal must of course accommodate the reality of the UK’s well-established position on the so-called ‘level playing field’, on fisheries, and the other difficult issues.” Photograph:  Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

David Frost appears to abandon threat to leave talks if shape of deal not in sight in June

The last governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten. He claims the importance of Britain’s broader economic relationship with China is often overstated. Photograph:  Getty Images

London Letter: Former governor predicts other European countries will join Britain in scrutinising their relationship with Beijing

Some passengers wear face masks on a London underground train on Wednesday. Face coverings will be compulsory on public transport in England from June 15th. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty

Passengers risk fines from June 15th if they break new rule to curb spread of coronavirus

Former prime minister Theresa May  in the House of Commons on Wednesday. ‘International air travel is necessary for trade; without it, there is no global Britain.’ Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire

Visitors from Ireland to be largely exempt from measures taking effect from Monday

Members of UK Parliament queue outside the House of Commons in Westminster as they wait to vote on the future of proceedings, amid a row over how Commons business can take place safely. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

1km queue to vote as Jacob Rees-Mogg says it’s time for parliament to return to normal

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson is to  meet European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.  Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP

‘High level of anxiety’ as EU and British negotiators enter crucial round of talks  

 A Stena Line ferry in Belfast Port. Britain will ‘live up to its international obligations,’ said committee chairman Lord Kinnoull. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

North feels like ‘pawn in the game’ on free trade negotiations, says committee report

People sunbathe on the beach  in  Brighton on the south coast of England  on the eve of a further relaxation of the  coronavirus lockdown rules. Photograph:  Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty

‘We’re going to be doing this in a cautious and data-driven way’ says housing secretary Jenrick

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak at a remote press conference in 10 Downing Street, May 29th. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/AFP via Getty

British chancellor announces lower wage supports and plans to stem unemployment

Labour leader Keir Starmer. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

London Letter: Reactions to Labour leader’s virtual town hall meetings will worry Tories

 Britain’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty and prime minister Boris Johnson   at a  press conference to update the nation on the Covid-19 pandemic. Photograph: AFP

PM intends to ‘draw a line under the matter’ as Durham police take no further action

Boris Johnson’s government is seizing on every opportunity for distraction from the Dominic Cummings controversy. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/Downing Street

Prime minister urges Commons liaison committee to ‘focus on the next steps’

British prime minister Boris Johnson appearing before the House of Commons liaison committee  via Zoom, from  10 Downing Street, on Wednesday. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/Downing Street

Number of Conservative MPs calling publicly for PM’s chief adviser to be sacked reaches 44

Minister for the cabinet office Michael Gove was giving evidence to the House of Commons committee on the future relationship with the EU, alongside Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost: Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

No pushback from EU on British government interpretation of protocol, minister tells MPs

 Dominic Cummings leaving  his London home on Tuesday. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

Dozens of MPs voice disquiet and minister quits over Johnson adviser’s lockdown breach

 Dominic Cummings, chief adviser to British prime minister Boris Johnson, making a statement  in the garden of  10 Downing Street. Photograph:   Jonathan Brady/Getty

Adviser blames inaccurate media reports for public anger over 420km journey

 Dominic Cummings blamed inaccurate reporting in the media for the controversy over his journey to Durham during the lockdown. Photograph:  Jonathan Brady-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Chief adviser to Boris Johnson looks set to remain in his role despite apparently breaching lockdown guidelines he helped to draft

Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings speaks at a press conference in the Rose Garden at 10 Downing StreePhotograph: Jonathan Brady / POOL / AFP

British PM’s aide says he went on outing to see if sight was good enough to drive back to London

Eleven Conservative MPs have called for Dominic Cummings to be sacked. Photograph: Peter Summers/Getty Images

British PM accused of undermining his own government’s coronavirus advice

British prime minister Boris Johnson: not only exonerated Dominic Cummings, but praised him. Photograph:  Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty Images

PM emphatically backs chief adviser but by doing so he undermines coronavirus message

Dominic Cummings leaving his home in London on Sunday following allegations he broke coronavirus lockdown rules by travelling across the England in March. Photograph: Glyn Kirk  via Getty

PM’s chief adviser heavily criticised for alleged breaches of Covid-19 lockdown rules

A woman sunbathes on a deck chair in Greenwich Park, London on Tuesday. Photograph: Kirsty O’Connor/PA Wire

London Letter: Impatience is in the air, with many businesses eager to open up again

British prime minister Boris Johnson: His change of mind has been applauded by Keir Starmer as a victory for common sense. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

British PM pressured by Starmer to exempt key workers in Covid fight from £400 charge

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney: he  welcomed the British paper, but said a lot of technical discussions would be needed to flesh out the details of the plan.  Photograph: Getty Images

Government sources privately fear the North set to become Brexit battleground again

Labour  leader Keir Starmer (bottom right) during  prime minister’s questions  in the  Commons on Wednesday. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/AFP via Getty Images

Rees-Mogg tells MPs that arrangements which allow them to participate and vote without being in Westminster end on June 2nd

The DUP’s  Jeffrey Donaldson: “We welcome the clarity that this statement brings...”

While the DUP thanked Gove for his reassuring words, the paper does not reinterpret the essentials of the protocol Johnson agreed (...)

The UK has said they will expand some entry points for agrifood goods

EU says customs checks and controls on some goods from Britain required

  Rishi Sunak: “There still will be restrictions on how people can shop, which will have an impact on how much they spend and how many people go out.”  Photograph: PRU/AFP via Getty Images

Top adviser says British opted instead in March to concentrate testing resources on those in hospital

Michael Gove: “It remains difficult to reach a mutually beneficial agreement while the EU maintains such an ideological approach,” he told MPs. Video grab: PRU/AFP via Getty Images

Gove blames EU for lack of progress in talks as UK seeks standard free trade agreement

British health secretary Matt Hancock: Covid-19 testing programme is to expand as  the death toll reached 34,796, up 160 since Sunday. Photograph: Andrew Parsons

Spokesman plays down concerns Common Travel Area could be used as back door into Britain

Boris Johnson: whether Britain’s death toll is the second, third or fourth-highest in the world, the government’s performance during the crisis has compared unfavourably with that of most of its European neighbours.  Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

Public opinion could be about to turn due to high death toll and unfulfilled promises

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: “I’m still determined but I’m not optimistic, given the incomprehension on the British side of the conditions of access to our market.” Photograph: Francois Lenoir/EPA

Both sides say little progress made in this week’s talks with crunch time approaching

Britain’s Northern secretary Brandon Lewis told MPs  the issue was ‘under review’  and he hoped  travellers from Britain would be exempted from this requirement because of the Common Travel Area.  Photograph: Peter Summers/Getty Images

Travellers from Britain will have to self-isolate like everyone else, says spokesperson

Patrons at the Coleherne bar in Earls  Court in 1993. Photograph:  Ian Cook/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

London Letter: Early casualties of Aids in the 1980s were mostly in their 20s and 30s

Labour leader Keir Starmer: Asked why a slide with an international comparison of deaths  had been dropped from the government’s daily briefing after being shown every day for seven weeks. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/AFP via Getty Images

Labour leader accuses PM of misleading parliament by denying threat to residents was downplayed

Dr Cillian De Gascun, chair of the Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group: ‘We know we need to get better, but it’s a huge improvement on where we were.’ Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Data entry errors, missing contact details and incompatible systems among issues

Chancellor Rishi Sunak making a statement in the Commons. He said that from August onwards  furloughed workers would be allowed to work part-time. Photograph: PA Wire

Independent scientific experts say North should harmonise its Covid policies with those of the Republic

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