Northern Ireland has toughened penalties for breaking coronavirus rules and made it compulsory to wear face coverings in more locations as the region’s devolved government grapples with surging infections and a sharp post-lockdown recession.

France has moved another four towns into a state of “maximum alert” against the pandemic, closing bars and imposing strict rules in restaurants as cases climb and hospitals come under increasing strain.

Florida reported its biggest one-day increase in cases in nearly a month on Thursday, and its biggest rise in deaths in just over a week. A further 3,306 people in the state tested positive over the past 24 hours.

New figures from Newcastle University showed 1,003 students, plus 12 university staff, have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last seven days. Northumbria University shortly afterwards announced that it had 619 new cases of students with Covid.

The Czech Republic and Poland both announced new restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus on Thursday, as the pandemic continues to rage in central Europe.

Britain’s National Trust, a charitable organisation that runs stately homes, gardens and historic locations, plans to shed nearly 1,300 jobs as the effects of the coronavirus crisis hit “almost every aspect” of its income.

Portugal’s daily cases have exceeded 1,000 for the first time since April, reaching 1,278 in the past 24 hours. Health authorities said on Thursday that 10 Covid-19 patients died over the same period, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus in the country to 2,050.

First-time applications for US unemployment benefits dropped slightly last week but remained elevated at 840,000, underscoring the sluggish improvement of the labour market as it recovers amid the pandemic.

The number of people in England testing positive for coronavirus *rose 56 per cent *in the most recent week for which data are available, while fewer than seven out of 10 who had been in contact with them were reached and advised to self-isolate.

Americans’ appetite for Big Macs at drive-throughs has helped McDonald’s sales bounce back in the US, but greater reliance on dine-in and foot traffic in other markets hurt overseas revenues.

A court has thrown out Spanish restrictions on entering and exiting Madrid, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and throwing his government’s strategy in the country’s coronavirus hotspot into chaos.


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