Coronavirus is continuing its spread across the world, with more than three million confirmed cases in 185 countries and more than 200,000 deaths.
The United States alone has more than one million confirmed cases – four times as many as any other country.
This series of maps and charts tracks the global outbreak of the virus since it emerged in China in December last year.
How many cases and deaths have there been?
The virus, which causes the respiratory infection Covid-19, was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China, in late 2019.
It is spreading rapidly in many countries and the number of deaths is still climbing.
Note: The map and table in this page uses a different source for figures for France from that used by Johns Hopkins University which results in a slightly lower overall total.
The US has by far the largest number of cases, with more than one million confirmed infections, according to figures collated by Johns Hopkins University. With more than 60,000 fatalities, it also has the world’s highest death toll.
Italy, the UK, Spain and France – the worst-hit European countries – have all recorded more than 20,000 deaths.
In China, the official death toll is approaching 5,000 from about 84,000 confirmed cases. Numbers for deaths jumped on 17 April after what officials called “a statistical review” and critics have questioned whether the country’s official numbers can be trusted.
Note: The past data for new cases is a three day rolling average
The outbreak was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March. This is when an infectious disease is passing easily from person to person in many parts of the world at the same time.
More than three million people are known to have been infected worldwide, but the true figure is thought to be much higher as many of those with milder symptoms have not been tested and counted.
While the US and much of Europe has been hit hard by the virus, some countries have managed to avoid similar death tolls.
New Zealand, for instance, says it has effectively eliminated the threat for now after fewer than 1,500 cases and just 19 deaths.
The country brought in some of the toughest restrictions in the world on travel and activity early on in the pandemic but is now relaxing some of these. This week some non-essential businesses will be reopening but most people will still have to stay at home and avoid all social interactions.
While some countries are beginning to ease restrictions, others are only now starting to impose them as cases and deaths begin to rise.
Across Latin America, where many economies are already struggling and millions live on what they can earn day-to-day, there are concerns about the strain the growing number of virus cases could put on health care systems. Of particular concern are Ecuador and Brazil.
Ecuador has already seen its health system collapse – thousands have died from the virus and other conditions that could not be treated because of the crisis. While Brazil has also seen a steep rise in both cases and deaths, with every state in South America’s largest country affected.
Across the world, more than 4.5 billion people – half the world’s population – are estimated to be living under social distancing measures, according to the AFP news agency.
Those restrictions have had a big impact on the global economy, with the International Monetary Fund saying the world faces the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The UN World Food Programme has also warned that the pandemic could almost double the number of people suffering acute hunger.
Europe beginning to ease lockdown measures
The four worst-hit countries in Europe are Italy, the UK, Spain and France – all of which have recorded at least 20,000 deaths.
However, all four countries appear to have passed through the peak of the virus now and the number of reported cases and deaths is falling in each.
Germany and Belgium also recorded a relatively high number of deaths and are now seeing those numbers decrease, though as Belgium has a far smaller population than Germany the number of deaths per capita there has been higher.
How countries across Europe are deciding to move out of lockdown varies, with the EU saying there is “no one-size-fits-all approach” to lifting containment measures.
Spain has announced a four-phase plan to lift its lockdown and return to a “new normality” by the end of June. Children there under the age of 14 are now allowed to leave their homes for an hour a day, after six weeks in lockdown.
In Italy, certain shops and factories have been allowed to reopen and the prime minister says further measures will be eased from 4 May.
In France, the prime minister said this week that non-essential shops and markets will open their doors again from 11 May, but not bars and restaurants. Schools will also be reopened gradually.
Other European countries easing restrictions include Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Germany, where children’s play areas and museums have been told they can reopen and church services can resume, under strict social distancing and hygiene rules.
In the UK, where there have been more than 170,000 confirmed cases and at least 26,000 deaths, lockdown measures are still in full effect. The prime minister has promised a “comprehensive plan” in the next week on how the government will get the country moving again.
New York remains epicentre of US outbreak
With more than one million cases, the US has the highest number of confirmed infections in the world. The country has also recorded more than 60,000 deaths.
The state of New York has been particularly badly affected, with 18,000 deaths in New York City alone, but Governor Andrew Cuomo says the toll “seems to be on a gentle decline”.
Mr Cuomo has suggested some parts of his state could begin to reopen after the current stay-at-home order expires on 15 May.
At one point, more than 90% of the US population was under mandatory lockdown orders, but President Trump has stated that he will not be renewing his government’s social distancing guidelines once they expire on Thursday and some states have already begun to lift restrictions.
Georgia, Oklahoma, Alaska and South Carolina have all allowed some businesses to reopen in recent days following official unemployment figures that showed more than 30 million Americans have lost their jobs since mid-March.
But public health authorities have warned that increasing human interactions and economic activity could spark a fresh surge of infections just as the number of new cases is beginning to ease off.
White House coronavirus taskforce coordinator Dr Deborah Birx has said social distancing should remain the norm “through the summer to really ensure that we protect one another as we move through these phases”.
Tributes have been paid to three British nationals who died when a Ukrainian plane crashed in Iran.
Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, who owned a dry cleaners, BP engineer Sam Zokaei and PhD student and engineer Saeed Tahmasebi were all on board the flight.
They were among the 176 people from seven countries who died in the crash.
Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed just after taking off from Imam Khomeini airport at 06:12 local time (02:42 GMT).
The airline said the plane underwent scheduled maintenance on Monday.
A Downing Street spokesman said the UK was “working closely with the Ukrainian authorities and the Iranian authorities” over the crash, and there was “no indication” the plane was brought down by a missile.
As well as the three Britons, the victims in the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians – including all of the crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans and three Germans, Ukraine foreign affairs minister Vadym Prystaiko said.
Rescue teams have been sent to the crash site but the head of Iran’s Red Crescent told state media that it was “impossible” for anyone to have survived the crash.
Tributes were paid locally to Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh, 40, who ran a neighbourhood dry cleaners in Hassocks, West Sussex, and had a nine-year-old daughter.
Steve Edgington from the pet shop next door said he had known Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh for 14 years, and described him as a lovely, hardworking man who was good at his job and loved by staff.
Savvas Savvidis, 36, who rented a room in Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh’s home in Brighton, said he was a “super-nice person”.
“It’s so sad. Before he left we had a conversation, he told me that he spent all his life working, working really hard, and now finally he wants to start to enjoy life a bit more.”
Mr Savvidis described Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh as a humble man who loved his daughter very much.
The dry cleaners closed on Wednesday, with neighbouring businesses telling the BBC that staff were too upset to stay open.
Meanwhile, in a statement, BP said “with the deepest regret” that its employee Mr Zokaei, 42, from Twickenham, was among the passengers.
Mr Zokaei had been on holiday. He had worked for BP for 14 years and was based at the company’s site in Sunbury-on-Thames in Surrey.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic loss of our friend and colleague and all of our thoughts are with his family and friends,” BP said.
A friend of Mr Zokaei, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC they were “still in shock”.
“He was a highly accomplished person. Very clever and very friendly. Always smiling and full of positive energy. He will be sorely missed.
“He was always trying new adventures. He cycled and toured Europe on bikes a few times. He also loved travelling to interesting far out places.”
Also killed was Mr Tahmasebi, 35, who worked as an engineer for Laing O’Rourke in Dartford.
Last year, Mr Tahmasebi married his Iranian partner, Niloufar Ebrahim, who was also listed as a passenger on the plane.
“Everyone here is shocked and saddened by this very tragic news,” said Laing O’Rourke.
“Saeed was a popular and well respected engineer and will be missed by many of his colleagues. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult time and we will do all we can to support them through it.”
‘Humble and generous’
Mr Tahmasebi – whose full name was Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi – was also a part-time PhD student at Imperial College London’s Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation.
A spokeswoman for the university said: “We are deeply saddened at this tragic news. Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi was a brilliant engineer with a bright future.
“His contributions to systems engineering earned respect from everyone who dealt with him and will benefit society for years to come.
“He was a warm, humble and generous colleague and close friend to many in our community. Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Saeed’s family, friends and colleagues, as well as all those affected by this tragedy.”
At Prime Minister’s Questions earlier, Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn both said their thoughts were with the families of those killed.
A UK Foreign Office spokesman has said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in the plane crash in Iran overnight.”
They said it was “urgently seeking confirmation” about how many British nationals were on board and would be supporting any families affected.
Melinda Simmons, British ambassador to Ukraine, said her thoughts are with those affected.
Ukraine’s state aviation service has forbidden its national airlines from using Iranian airspace from Thursday, with the restrictions in place until an investigation into the cause of the crash has concluded.
Ukraine’s embassy in Tehran and Iranian state television both initially said technical issues caused the crash.
But the embassy later removed this statement and said any comment regarding the cause of the accident prior to a commission’s inquiry was not official.
Ukraine said its entire civilian aviation fleet would be checked for airworthiness and criminal proceedings would be opened into the disaster.
The country’s president warned against “speculation or unchecked theories regarding the catastrophe” until official reports were ready.
Ukrainian International Airlines said the flight disappeared from radar just a “few minutes” after take-off.
The Ukrainian national carrier said according to preliminary data there were 167 passengers and nine crew members on board but its staff were “clarifying the exact number”.
“The airline expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the air crash and will do everything possible to support the relatives of the victims,” a statement said.
The airline, which is investigating the crash, said the aircraft – a Boeing 737-800 – was built in 2016 and had its last scheduled maintenance on Monday.
There was no sign of any problems with the plane before take-off and the airline’s president said it had an “excellent, reliable crew”.
A statement from Boeing said its “heartfelt thoughts” were with all those affected following the “tragic event”.
There are several thousand Boeing 737-800s in operation around the world which have completed tens of millions of flights. They have been involved in 10 incidents, including this crash, where at least one passenger was killed, aviation safety analyst Todd Curtis told the BBC.
This is the first time a Ukraine International Airlines plane has been involved in a fatal crash.
Mikel Arteta earned his first win as Arsenal boss as the Gunners produced a powerful first-half performance to beat a lacklustre Manchester United.
The visitors, who were without the injured Paul Pogba, actually began brightly, but the game took a different turn on eight minutes when Nicolas Pepe steered in his fifth goal of the season after Sead Kolasinac’s cross was deflected to him.
That led to a first half in which the hosts were in control and Pepe hit the post before they doubled their lead when his corner was smashed in from close range by Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s side came into the game with one loss in their previous nine games, and although they improved after the break, they rarely tested Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
It was characteristic of a stop-start season in which they are yet to win three Premier League games in a row.
The defeat leaves them fifth in the table, five points behind Chelsea, who drew with Brighton earlier in the day.
Victory for Arsenal lifts them to 10th place, four points behind United, but they remain closer to the relegation zone than the top four.
Pepe peps up Arsenal
There had been little evidence of a lift in Arsenal’s three performances since Arteta was appointed, and questions were already being asked as to whether he was the right man to take over from former boss Unai Emery, given his lack of experience as a manager.
Arteta was just an onlooker in the stands for the lifeless draw at Everton, but that was followed by a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on Boxing Day and a crushing late defeat by Chelsea at home last Sunday.
This was a different game altogether, though. With Granit Xhaka, who has been linked with a move to Hertha Berlin, restored to the midfield, the Swiss and Lucas Torreira were quicker to the tackle than their opponents.
Pepe was also at the heart of their attacking endeavour.
After scoring early on, he sent United left-back Luke Shaw halfway down the Holloway Road with a sharp turn before setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who sliced a volley over.
The Ivorian then fed Alexandre Lacazette, who somehow hit his shot out for a throw-in from about six yards out, before Torreira went close from another Pepe pass.
The hosts had to withstand greater pressure from Solskjaer’s side in the second period but in contrast to the Chelsea defeat, when they conceded twice in the last seven minutes, Arteta’s side managed the game well.
Their only concerns were injuries to Kolasinac and Lacazette, who were both taken off in the second half.
More to follow.
Christmas dinners have been served to Londoners who are reliant on the city’s homelessness services.
Hairdressers and opticians were also made available at City Hall before guests were given a three-course meal.
Last year, 8,855 people were seen rough sleeping in London, an 18% increase since last year, and more than double the number in 2010.
“Events like this help bring a sense of community back in to London,” Claire, a former rough sleeper, told the BBC.
Claire, who spent 30 years either living on the streets or in prison, said: “It’s the type of event that does matter. It forms partnerships and builds bonds.
“If it wasn’t for the support of St Mungo’s, I’d either be dead or doing what I was before.”
Guests were chosen from the thousands of Londoners that currently receive assistance from services funded by City Hall and delivered by charities St Mungo’s and Thames Reach.
But Claire said services were still “hit and miss”.
“Where I live I’m still waiting for support with my mental health,” she added.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “St Mungo’s and Thames Reach are struggling with finances.
“Since I became mayor we’ve more than doubled the amount of money we’ve spent on rough sleeping and the size of our outreach team.
“But we’re just scratching the surface. We’ve not got the money or the resources to do much more – as it is I’m criticised for going outside my remit and my power.
“It is both heartbreaking and shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do.”
Last year 15,470 people were accepted as being homeless by London councils.
There were 55,000 families living in temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and hostels.
Hundreds more people are estimated to be sleeping on London’s night buses.
Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper Services at St Mungo’s, said: “It’s wonderful that the Mayor has opened the doors of City Hall for this festive event.
“Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions for clients in our services and our staff work hard to support those who stay with us over the holiday period.”
Kyle Sinckler says he has no recollection of England’s World Cup final defeat after being knocked unconscious early in the match.
Harlequins prop Sinckler collided with team-mate Maro Itoje during a tackle on Makazole Mapimpi in the third minute of South Africa’s 32-12 victory.
He walked off the field after regaining consciousness and watched the remainder of the final from the sidelines.
“I didn’t really know what was going on,” he told the Press Association.
“I can’t remember anything really from the final. They said I came back out, but I can’t remember that.”
Until that point, Sinckler, 26, had enjoyed an outstanding World Cup campaign in which he had scored his first Test try in the quarter-final against Australia.
He says he struggled to come to terms with how his tournament ended but has now “snapped out of it”.
“It took three or four weeks to get over the final. It was dark,” he said. “You go through phases where you’re distraught, feeling sorry for yourself and down in the dumps.”
He added: “It was an innocuous incident which was just meant to be, but it was really, really tough.
“You ask yourself, ‘why me? I’ve trained so hard to get to this moment. I’ve dreamed it, this is my life’.
“But then I snapped out of it, realising that you can either be the guy who is always feeling sorry for yourself or use it as motivation to push on.”
‘If anyone was going to win the World Cup, I’m glad it was Kolisi’
South Africa’s World Cup victory proved an historic moment as Siya Kolisi – the Springboks’ first black captain – lifted the Webb Ellis trophy.
Sinckler visited South Africa last summer with Newcastle Falcons fly-half Tim Swiel and said a chance encounter with Kolisi left him in no doubt their “paths would cross again”.
“We were in a petrol station and it was 11pm. It’s the off-season and I wanted some ice cream and this was the best place to get some ice cream,” said Sinckler.
“Then Siya walks in – it was really random. He had a knee brace on and he was struggling with his injuries. He said, ‘Kyle, what are you doing in Cape Town?
“Siya is such a genuine guy. He took my number and then next day he drove us around and took us to a township.
“He told me about the struggles they have in South Africa and the quota system. In the township we saw kids with no shoes or socks, they had nothing, but were happiest kids in the world.
“He said this is why the system is in place – if it’s not then these kids won’t get an opportunity and that would never have got an opportunity.
“Siya looked after us, we went to a braai [Afrikaans for barbecue] and he dropped me off at the airport when I was leaving. I just had a feeling that our paths would cross again.
“If anyone was going to win the World Cup, I’m glad it was him. He’s such an honourable man.”
Botanist and broadcaster David Bellamy has died aged 86, the Conservation Foundation he formed has said.
London-born Bellamy, who became a household name as a TV personality, scientist and conservationist, died on Wednesday, according to the foundation.
His colleague, David Shreeve, described him as a “larger-than-life character” who “inspired a whole generation”.
In later life Bellamy, who lived in County Durham, attracted criticism for dismissing global warming.
In 2004 he described it as “poppycock” – a stance which he later said cost him his TV career.
Bellamy worked in a sweet factory and as a plumber before embarking on his broadcasting career.
His scientific career began when he got a job in the biology department of a technical college in Surrey, he told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs programme in 1978.
It was there that he met his future wife, Rosemary.
But it was on a trip to Scotland where he discovered his love for plants, he told the programme.
“I got really turned on by plants and I found out that if somebody told me what a plant was, I just couldn’t forget it,” he said.
He gained public recognition for his work as an environmental consultant over the Torrey Canyon oil spill, when a tanker was shipwrecked off the coast of Cornwall in 1967.
He went on to present programmes such as Don’t Ask Me, Bellamy On Botany, Bellamy’s Britain, Bellamy’s Europe and Bellamy’s Backyard Safari.
And in 1979 he won Bafta’s Richard Dimbleby Award, for best presenter of factual programmes.
His distinctive voice also inspired comedian Sir Lenny Henry’s catchphrase “grapple me grapenuts”.
In more recent years, Bellamy was criticised for his views on global warming.
In 2003, he told BBC News that he was sceptical about mankind being responsible for rising temperatures and suggested that they might be part of the Earth’s natural cycles.
He said: “We have got to get this thing argued out in public properly and not just take one opinion.”
Ten years later, he told the Independent newspaper: “It (global warming) is not happening at all, but if you get the idea that people’s children will die because of CO2 they fall for it.”
Well-known figures have paid tribute to Bellamy, including comedy writer and fellow broadcaster Danny Baker, who described him as a “truly brilliant and canny broadcaster”.
Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said Bellamy was a “brilliant naturalist, broadcaster & character”, in a tribute posted on Twitter.
The Walking Dead actor David Morrissey tweeted that Bellamy “cared about nature and our environment deeply.”
And former England footballer Stan Collymore called him a “childhood icon”, adding that he “learnt about botany and shrubs and trees as a kid because of this man’s love and infectious enthusiasm.”
Bellamy’s wife Rosemary died last year.
Marcus Rashford scored twice as Manchester United condemned former manager Jose Mourinho to defeat on his return to Old Trafford and ended Tottenham’s three-match winning steak under the Portuguese.
Rashford beat Tottenham keeper Paulo Gazzaniga at his near post after six minutes after the ball had broken to the England forward off Davinson Sanchez.
Then, after a long wait for a VAR check, Rashford kept his nerve to convert a penalty four minutes after the break, once it had been ruled the striker had been fouled by Moussa Sissoko.
Dele Alli had equalised with a brilliant goal at the end of the first half but United were good value for their victory after creating a number of excellent chances they failed to take.
Rashford was unable to become the first United player to score a league hat-trick since Robin van Persie’s memorable effort against Aston Villa in 2013 but he now has 12 goals in 13 games for club and country, and his nine Premier League goals leave him one short of his season best.
Mourinho’s return well-received
As expected, Mourinho was well received by the United fans, who never fell out with their former manager and have no particular axe to grind with him.
That respect will never match the affection Old Trafford has for Solskjaer though.
And the Norwegian used memories from his playing days to get the crowd up for the game by emerging last from the tunnel, triggering a song in his honour and the start of what proved to be a lively atmosphere.
Evidence of change at United came with a team that contained only five players Mourinho picked for the corresponding fixture last season.
That August night ended in a 3-0 defeat for United and an angry Mourinho demand for the media to show him some “respect” for his three Premier League titles.
The first of those triumphs is over 15 years ago now. Mourinho’s task is to show his best days are not behind him.
He didn’t make a particularly brilliant job of that in his last weeks in Manchester and, as happened so often then, tonight he spent long periods in his technical area with his hands in his pockets watching his team get outplayed.
His substitutes failed to inspire and with eight goals conceded in four games, Mourinho evidently has some work to do defensively.
At the end, he moved to shake Solskjaer’s hand before striding purposefully away to try and lift his players.
More to follow.
An alleged serial rapist threatened to “chop up” two 14-year-old girls who he snatched off a street in Greater Manchester, a court has heard.
Joseph McCann is accused of stealing a Fiat car belonging to a 71-year-old woman and then forcing the girls into the vehicle on 5 May.
The Old Bailey was shown CCTV of him buying petrol and a pack of condoms at a garage while they waited in the car.
Mr McCann, 34, of Harrow, London, denies 37 offences against 11 victims.
The jury heard a petrol attendant who served the defendant in the Shell garage thought he appeared to be “angry, nervous and in a rush”.
After leaving the garage, Mr McCann was spotted by a police patrol who were already on the look-out for the vehicle.
PC Michael Jennings saw two girls in the back and one of them appeared “terrified” while the other raised a hand to attract attention, the Old Bailey heard.
Dashcam footage of the subsequent police chase was played in court which showed the Fiat going the wrong way around a roundabout and colliding with a bronze Mercedes.
Despite being damaged it carried on at speeds of up to 60mph (97km/h) in a 40mph (97km/h) zone, the court was told.
Jurors heard Mr McCann then abandoned the car, leaving the two girls by the road, and was later seen on CCTV running past a man who was cleaning a driveway.
He was then seen riding a bicycle having swapped his T-shirt and later he got a taxi from a restaurant in Stoke, which was stopped by police.
At 20:40 BST, Mr McCann was seen running through a field, having fled from the taxi when he was challenged by an officer.
He was finally arrested after climbing a tree, the court has heard.
Mr McCann, who was not in court, is charged with the following offences against women and children aged 11 to 71, between 20 April and 5 May this year:
- Ten counts of false imprisonment
- Seven counts of rape
- One count of rape of a child
- Two counts of causing or inciting a person to engage in sexual activity without consent
- Seven counts of kidnap
- One count of attempted kidnap
- Three counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity
- Three counts of assault by penetration
- One count of sexual assault
- Two counts of committing a sexual offence with intent
The trial continues.
A commuter is fighting for his life after being struck by a London Tube train at rush-hour.
The man suffered a medical episode and fell in front of an incoming train at Oxford Circus at 17:30 GMT, British Transport Police (BTP) said.
He was taken to hospital with serious leg injuries and is in a critical condition.
Victoria Line trains were cancelled while the man was rescued and severe delays followed the incident.
Commuter Sophie King told BBC London she was travelling south on the Victoria Line when the train began pulling into Oxford Circus.
“It was very crowded and then everyone started screaming and shouting and calling for a doctor,” she said.
“It looked like the man was crushed at the side of the train.”
BBC cricket commentator Ebony Rainford-Brent was also among the witnesses to the incident.
She said she saw a man fall in front of a train as people filled the “overcrowded” platform.
“I just watched a man fall under the tube two metres in front of me,” she said.
“As the train was coming in he was at the very front… it looked like he swivelled and lost his balance, it looked like a fall.
“He sort of fell on his back. The way it looked to me he could have almost froze.
“[It] was honestly the most horrific thing to witness.”
Saracens have brought in a major communications company to help manage the public fallout of the salary cap scandal, with the Premiership champions yet to formally appeal against their points deduction and fine.
Sarries are set to be docked 35 points and fined £5.36m after an inquiry into business dealings between owner Nigel Wray and some of the club’s players.
Journalists were banned from asking director of rugby Mark McCall questions about the salary cap breach during Wednesday’s regular media briefing.
The news conference was called to preview their match against Racing 92 on Saturday, when they will begin the defence of their European Champions Cup crown.
FTI Consulting, a global business advisory firm, were present at the briefing and will oversee how Sarries manage the situation publicly.
McCall confirmed the club have until Monday, 18 November to officially lodge their appeal.
In a statement issued on the same day the sanctions were announced, owner Wray said it felt as though “the rug is being completely pulled out from under our feet” and vowed to “appeal against all the findings”.
Premiership Rugby has said a review “can only be on the basis that there has been an error of law, the decision is irrational or that there has been some procedural unfairness”.
What did McCall actually say on Wednesday?
Former Ireland international McCall said it will be a “heck of a challenge” if the 35-point deduction stands, adding that it would be about the Premiership holders “trying to avoid relegation”.
“It’s a challenge we haven’t had to experience before as a group and I think one that we’ll get our head around and relish if we have to do that,” he told BBC Sport.
“We’re in a bit of adversity at the moment and I think over the years when adversity has come our way we’ve dealt with it pretty well.
“This is obviously probably adversity at a different level to what we’ve been used to before.”
Saracens have won six of their opening eight games in all competitions and are likely to be without most of their England World Cup players for their European opener in France, with several yet to return to training.
“I genuinely don’t think it’s realistic that people can jump from being away for five months into something completely different,” McCall added.
“For us to try and tell them playing against Racing’s the biggest game – they played a World Cup final two weeks ago – so we’ve been having some individual conversations to see how they genuinely feel and try to make some decisions with them, rather than for them, as to when they come back.”
What does it all mean for their European campaign?
Saracens centre Alex Lozowski, who spoke to the media after McCall, insisted the club can “absolutely” defend their European crown, adding they are “not going to lie down and give it away”.
But European Professional Club Rugby director general Vincent Gaillard earlier said the sanction “isn’t good news” for their tournament.
“Our concern rests in their capacity to put everything into the European Cup knowing that they will have to fight all the way to avoid relegation,” said Gaillard.
“Perhaps other clubs will be happy that they are going to be a bit wounded but it’s not good news for us.
“We would prefer that they are thoroughly behind the competition.”
England international Lozowski said the Saracens squad had become accustomed to not being popular within the sport, after the silverware they have won over recent years.
“Since I’ve been here we’ve been pretty much been universally disliked so it’s not really new to us,” he said.
“That’s what happens when you have success and win championships. What happened has, I guess, made that a bit worse but we are used to being disliked so it’s nothing new for us.
“The target on our backs may be a little bit bigger now but looking at the people we have I’m pretty sure everyone’s ready to deal with that.”
What’s the background?
The charges relate to a failure to disclose player payments in each of the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
Saracens previously claimed they “readily comply” with salary cap rules and were able to spend above the £7m cap because of the high proportion – almost 60% – of home-grown players in their squad.
The Allianz Park outfit have several of the game’s biggest stars on their books, including seven of the 31-man squad that represented England at the World Cup in Japan.
One of the dominant forces in northern hemisphere club rugby, Sarries have won five Premiership titles and three European Champions Cups since 2010-11 – with two of those domestic titles coming in the timeframe that Premiership Rugby have been investigating.
Their three European successes have all come within the past four seasons.