Coronavirus: The 14 major developments that happened on Friday

Rebecca C. Taylor
·4-min read

Here’s what you need to know on 24 July. This article was updated at 7pm.

Deaths: The Government said 45,677 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Thursday, up by 123 from the day before.

North-west England had the highest death rate linked to coronavirus of all English regions in June according to new figures. Mortality rates dropped across the country compared to May though. Read more here.

Policy: Face masks must be worn in shops and other indoor venues from today in England, but some supermarkets have already said they won’t enforce the policy. Read more here.

The towns of Luton and Blackburn have been designated ‘areas of intervention’ as part of the government’s watchlist for coronavirus. Authorities there have delayed the opening of leisure facilities in response to being named an area of intervention. Read more here.

Politics: Boris Johnson has conceded there were “things we could have done differently” at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK. He said there would be a time to “run a kind of inquiry into what happened in the past” but it was not now. Read more here.

Boris Johnson has told overweight people to get fit this summer. The prime minister, while saying he is reluctant to “nanny” the public, said people need to shed pounds to help protect themselves from the coronavirus. Read more here.

Vaccines: Boris Johnson has declared those who oppose vaccines “nuts” as he announced there would be an extension of the free flu jab programme to help the NHS cope with a potential winter peak in coronavirus cases. He said Britain will be "well on the way past" coronavirus by the "middle of next year". Read more here.

Travel: Bosses at Heathrow Airport have asked travellers to stop turning up early to flights because it’s causing congestion. Passengers shared pictures of scenes at the London airport, with some describing crowds as packed “like sardines”. Read more here.

More countries will be added to the UK’s exemption list, with travellers into England from Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines no longer having to quarantine on their return. It comes into effect from Tuesday. Read more here.

Cases: Hundreds of people are still getting coronavirus every week, figures show. The number of people with it is estimated to have been 27,700 in the week ending July 19, up from 24,000 the week before. Read more here.

R rate: England’s R rate range of coronavirus infection could be as high as one in all parts of the country. Last week many area hovered just below one, but London and the south west had reached a top range of 1.1. This week all regions reported ranges reaching one. Read more here.

Read more about COVID-19

How to get a coronavirus test if you have symptoms

What you can and can’t do under lockdown rules

In pictures: How UK school classrooms could look in new normal

How public transport could look after lockdown

How our public spaces will change in the future

Rest of the world

France is considering closing its border with Spain, as the country records more cases of coronavirus. Spain recorded 2,615 new infections on Thursday, compared with 132 per day on average during June. Read more here.

Positive news

Retail sales rebounded strongly in June as non-essential shops reopened, taking sales back to pre-pandemic levels. New figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Friday showed retail sales rose by 13.9% in June, far exceeding economists’ expectations of an 8% month-on-month rise. Read more here.

Hotel Chocolat is to create 200 new jobs after seeing a boost in sales during the pandemic. Customers switching to its online store helped to mitigate the losses of its store closures, particularly with Easter and Mother’s Day gifts being bought via its website. Read more here.

Coronavirus: what happened today

Click here to sign up to the latest news, advice and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter