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UK coronavirus live: Johnson says country prepared for more ‘wretched Covid’ as some pupils return to school

PM also claims workers heading back to offices ‘in huge numbers’; Gavin Williamson to face MPs after exams fiasco

1.57pm BST

The Downing Street lobby briefing has finished. Here are the main points.

We concluded the seventh round of negotiations on the 21 August and, while we had useful [discussions], little progress was made. An agreement is still possible, and it is still our goal, but it is clear that it will not be easy to achieve. The EU is still insisting, not only that we must accept continuity with EU state aid and fisheries policy, but also that this must be agreed before any further work can be done in any other areas of the negotiation, including on legal text, making it very difficult to make progress.

We will continue to work had to reach agreement and look forward to the next round taking place next week.

We have discussed previously the large amounts of speculation that you have read over the weekend. It was just that – speculation. There is on change with regard to the commitment on 0.7%.

Related: Tony Abbott: some elderly Covid patients could be left to die naturally

Later this week you can expect us to run our latest phase of our All In, All Together campaign and what that will look at is reiterating our guidance on how to return safely to work. It is the campaign we have been running with both regional and local media.

Some of the things we’ve looked at so far is the support that is available to businesses, how to shop safely and also what people need to know about NHS Test and Trace.

I saw that report … I don’t think I would have any argument with it. As you would expect, No 10 works closely with the Royal Household.

The PM owes the future king one, I hear. Boris Johnson had to ring Prince William personally last week to ask if he could pinch his man to be the new Cabinet Secretary. Highly rated Simon Case didn’t apply for the job, and wanted to return to KP when his No10 secondment ended (1)

The education secretary [Gavin Williamson] wrote to Ofqual about this on June 18. Ofqual then began a consultation on the idea of exams starting after the May half-term. Ofqual will set out their final view in due course and we will wait to see what that recommendation is.

1.15pm BST

Exams in Wales could be delayed next summer, the country’s education minister, Kirsty Williams, has said.

Speaking at the Welsh government’s weekly press conference, Williams said Qualifications Wales was in discussion with colleagues across the UK about a change to next summer’s exam timetable. She said:

It is our intention at this time to hold examinations next year. There are discussions about when those examinations may take place.

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