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Frank Langfitt

After a quiet summer where life largely returned to normal, England now faces new restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in the House of Commons on Tuesday morning that pubs, bars and restaurants in England must close at 10 p.m. He also encouraged people who are able to work from home to do so, reversing a previous government position.

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U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV told embassy staff in 2018 that his friend, President Trump, asked him to help get the British Open golf tournament held at one of the Trump family's golf resorts in Scotland.

U.S. Embassy staff have separately complained that Johnson made racist and sexist comments on the job.

The British government will spend nearly $2 billion to help rescue the nation's theater, museum and arts sectors. Sunday's announcement came as more than 1,000 theaters remain shuttered across the country because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

The widespread protests that began in the United States are now reverberating through Europe, leading to the removal of two statues in the United Kingdom and one in Belgium with racist, colonial legacies.

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About 1 in 5 adults in England believe the coronavirus is to some extent a hoax, according to research on conspiracy theories by the University of Oxford.

In addition, researchers found nearly 3 out of 5 adults in England believe the government is misleading them to some extent about the cause of the virus, and nearly 1 in 10 strongly agree that China developed the coronavirus to destroy the West — which is utterly false.

Updated at 5:02 p.m. ET

It was supposed to be a day of parades, a vast party that would transcend borders and bring generations together, not unlike the spontaneous euphoria that swept through victorious European allies when Nazi Germany finally surrendered.

But instead of a mega-event, leaders in London, Paris, Moscow and other capitals, observed the 75th anniversary of V-E Day at a diminished level Friday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With pubs shuttered across the United Kingdom, a brewery in the northeast of England is giving away free beer on Fridays. In return, it's asking recipients to donate to the country's health care workers.

When the British government announced a lockdown in late March, the country's tens of thousands of pubs were forced to shut down, leaving Northumberland's Alnwick Brewery Company with 80 casks of ale, stout and IPA it had brewed for the Easter holiday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson left the hospital on Sunday, one week after he was admitted with COVID-19, and in a video message, thanked the U.K.'s National Health Service for saving his life.

Johnson, who spent multiple nights in an intensive care unit, credited health staff for keeping him alive when, he said, "It could have gone either way."

Updated at 3:39 p.m. ET

Queen Elizabeth II addressed the United Kingdom on Sunday in a rare speech, urging self-discipline and resolve in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The queen, 93, acknowledged the grief and financial pain that Britons are enduring while also thanking health workers for their service and ordinary people for staying home.

"Together we are tackling this disease and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it," she said.

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Authorities around the world have issued their own guidelines and rules designed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. And as they've sought to enforce these rules, some efforts have sparked backlash and concerns about privacy.

The British government is under fire for only testing a tiny percentage of National Health Service staff as deaths from COVID-19 in the United Kingdom rapidly rise to nearly 3,000.

"Shambles!" reads the headline in the Daily Mirror.

"550,000 NHS staff, only 2,000 tested," roars the Daily Mail.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has COVID-19, pledged the government was going all out to support front-line health care workers.

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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus. Here he is.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some other news now - Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, tested positive for coronavirus; the prince's royal office says so. NPR's Frank Langfitt is on the line from London. Hi there, Frank.

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

Panic shopping as the coronavirus spreads in the United Kingdom has driven supermarkets to limit sales of certain items and add security to keep customers in line.

Updated at 6:54 p.m. ET

More than 3 1/2 years after the landmark Brexit referendum, the United Kingdom finally left the European Union at 11 p.m. GMT on Friday.

That means Britain exited the bloc of 27 remaining countries and will begin to forge its own way in the world, but there's a transition period before the U.K. cuts itself off entirely.

The U.K. has been a member of the EU since 1973. Leaving is one of the biggest, riskiest and most divisive steps the country has taken in decades.

Voters in the United Kingdom head to the polls Thursday for a crucial election that could determine the country's future, and how and when it will break off from the European Union.

This will be the fifth major vote in the country in less than five years — including two previous general elections, European Parliament elections and the Brexit referendum — a sign of how chaotic British politics have become.

The stakes are high, voters are weary and the two main candidates for prime minister are especially polarizing.

The European Union and the United Kingdom reached a new Brexit agreement on Thursday, and while it appeared to mark a big breakthrough in the years-long process, the saga doesn't end here.

The withdrawal deal still needs approval in both the U.K. and European parliaments. Although EU leaders unanimously endorsed it in Brussels on Thursday, it faces stiff opposition in Britain's Parliament, which has voted down three previous Brexit deals.

The U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU on Oct. 31.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is ready to call a snap election after lawmakers cleared the way for a vote on Wednesday to prevent the U.K. from leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement at the end of October.

The announcement was the culmination of a dramatic day that saw a defection rob Johnson and his ruling Conservative Party of their single-seat majority in Parliament.

Even by the standards of the Brexit era, this has been an extraordinarily turbulent week for the United Kingdom.

Queen Elizabeth II agreed to grant Prime Minister Boris Johnson's request to suspend Parliament, just as legislators are rising to block his threat to crash the country out of the European Union.

The United Kingdom is headed for another showdown next month over Brexit, an issue that has paralyzed British politics for several years and ended the careers of the two previous prime ministers.

This year, Parliament thrice defeated a U.K. withdrawal agreement that then-Prime Minister Theresa May's government had negotiated with the European Union. Parliament reconvenes on Sept. 3.

Here are some of the key challenges facing Boris Johnson, the new prime minister, who has vowed to take the U.K. out of the European Union one way or another on Oct. 31.

Britain would face gridlock at ports; shortages of medicine, fuel and food; and a hard border with Ireland if it left the European Union with no deal, according to a leaked government document.

At a time of polarization and political chaos, the United Kingdom and the United States are about to be led by two remarkably similar figures. On Tuesday, Britain's ruling Conservative Party elected Boris Johnson as their leader by an overwhelming margin, sending him to No. 10 Downing Street. He will take office on Wednesday.

When the Mail on Sunday published private assessments of the White House from the British ambassador to the United States, President Trump expressed outrage.

In a leaked cable, Ambassador Kim Darroch called the White House "inept" and "incompetent" and said the president "radiates insecurity." Trump called Darroch "stupid" and said he wouldn't deal with him.

Boris Johnson is a larger-than-life British politician who likes to project the image of a bumbling, fun-loving man of the people.

His many supporters in Britain's Conservative Party find him charismatic, entertaining and — to their minds — refreshingly politically incorrect.

Many critics, however, see him as unprincipled, offensive and driven wholly by ambition.

The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom may not feel very special at the moment. President Trump's three-day visit to the U.K. got off to a rocky start on Monday, when he launched a Twitter attack on London Mayor Sadiq Khan as Air Force One was preparing to land.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

British voters are expected to deliver a humiliating defeat to Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party in European Parliament elections on Thursday. Many who want Britain to pull out of the European Union are angry with May, who is under heavy pressure to resign, for failing to deliver on the Brexit referendum result nearly three years ago.

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