Coronavirus: Evening update as PM announces further easing and economists voice recession fears




Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Wednesday evening. We’ll have another update for you on Thursday morning.

1. People can now form ‘support bubbles’

From this Saturday, adults who live alone in England can join forces with one other household. They can visit each other as often as they like, stay over, and won’t have to do any social distancing.

It means single grandparents can visit their grandchildren, for example, and couples who don’t live together can get together again. There are caveats, of course – it won’t apply to those who are shielding, for example. You can brush up on the social distancing rules here.

2. UK likely to suffer deepest recession

International economists assessing the impact of coronavirus have warned the UK is likely to suffer the deepest recession among developed countries. The OECD said the British economy was likely to dip by 11.5% this year, outstripping falls in Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

It comes as several businesses confirmed store closures and job losses. The Restaurant Group, which owns the Frankie and Benny’s chain, as well as retailers Monsoon Accessorize and Quiz announced major restructures with job losses totalling 3,600.

3. Questions continue over England schools plan

Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said the government’s policy for reopening schools in England lies “in tatters”. At Prime Minister’s Questions, he urged Boris Johnson to develop a “robust national plan” to regain the confidence of parents.

The PM said he was committed to getting all children back to school in September.

Meanwhile, the Commons’ Education Select Committee heard there was “a tsunami of anxiety hitting schools” over what will happen with next year’s GCSE and A-level exams in England.

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4. Coronavirus came to UK ‘at least 1,300 times’

Coronavirus was brought into the UK on at least 1,300 separate occasions, a major analysis of the genetics of the virus shows.

The study completely quashes the idea that a single “patient zero” started the whole UK outbreak, and also concludes that European countries, rather than China, had the biggest impact on cases in the UK.

5. ‘Earlier lockdown would have halved UK death toll’

The scientist who advised the government during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic has said if the UK had introduced lockdown measures a week earlier the death toll – which currently stands at 41,128 – would have been halved.

Prof Neil Ferguson said the outbreak had been doubling in size every three or four days before lockdown was introduced on 23 March.

The prime minister said it was “simply too early to judge” whether they had got things wrong.

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And don’t forget…

…there’s more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page and you can get the latest updates on our live page.

And with more of us needing to find news ways to get around, you can read up on what’s happening with e-scooters here.


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