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Coronavirus latest: UK plans £226m recovery fund for local bus networks in England

Growth in the US services sector cooled in June from a record-setting pace the month before, as businesses grappled with higher prices and labour challenges. The Institute for Supply Management’s index measuring activity in the services sector fell to 60.1 last month, the lowest level since February, from a record high of 64 in May.

Costco will later this month cut the special shopping hours for US seniors that it started in March 2020, shortly after the pandemic was declared a national emergency in the country. Costco stores will from July 26 no longer have special operating hours from 9am to 10am, Monday through Friday, for members who are aged 60 or older, or those who have disabilities or are immunocompromised.

Gavin Williamson, UK education secretary, has confirmed an end to the so-called “bubble” self-isolation system in schools. The system, which will be scrapped from July 19, required students to stay at home if a member of their class or year group bubble contracted Covid-19.

Close contacts of a person who has tested positive for coronavirus will from August 16 no longer have to self-isolate in the UK if they are fully vaccinated, the health secretary has said. Anyone who receives their second dose “just before or just after” that date will need to wait a fortnight for the vaccine to become as effective as possible before the rule applies to them, Sajid Javid told the House of Commons.

The North West had the highest coronavirus death rate in England last year, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. The ONS said the North West had 176 deaths per 100,000 people related to Covid-19. The South West of England had the lowest rate at 59.3 deaths per 100,000 individuals. 

More people died in the UK than were born last year for the first time since 1976, according to official statistics. In 2020, there were 90,000 deaths registered involving Covid-19 across the UK, taking the total number of deaths to 690,000, an increase of 85,000 from 2019, data from the Office for National Statistics show.

Author: Gary Jones in Hong Kong
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