Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Thursday evening. We’ll have another update for you on Friday morning.
1. Gyms, pools, gigs and team sports to return
Outdoor swimming pools and outdoor live theatre and festivals can resume from Saturday with social distancing in place, the UK government’s culture secretary has announced, while indoor gyms, sports facilities and pools will be able to reopen from 25 July. “Normal life is slowly returning,” Oliver Dowden said. Government guidance has been published for team sports to return from Saturday.
2. Beauticians, tattooists and tanning salons also make comeback
Beauticians, tattooists and tanning salons are among the close-contact businesses that can reopen from Monday. The culture secretary said he was “heartened” to see “good British common sense” as lockdown measures have eased so far, but warned restrictions will be reintroduced if the virus starts to spike again. Two reports charting coronavirus cases in England show the number of people in the community with the disease is currently falling.
3. High Street hit as Sunak says sorry
John Lewis and Boots have become the latest of countless retailers to be hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown, announcing 5,300 job cuts between them. The news comes amid warnings that new economic support from Chancellor Rishi Sunak will not be enough to stop millions of workers losing their jobs – while a top tax official has questioned whether some of the chancellor’s schemes are value for money for taxpayers. Experts from one think tank say taxpayers face a day of reckoning. Mr Sunak said he is sorry that he cannot protect every job as the UK enters a “severe recession”.
4. Lockdown eased further across UK
People in Scotland will be able to visit other households indoors and stay overnight as the country enters the next phase of lockdown easing, after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the virus had been suppressed to a “low level”. Read more about the changes here. In Wales, it’s been confirmed that all state schools will be fully reopened by September – although parents will not be fined if they do not send their children back. Meanwhile ministers in Northern Ireland have been discussing whether changes can be made to quarantine rules, following publication of a list of quarantine-free countries for people in England last week.
5. ‘A lot of people I know are scared for the future’
The pandemic has led to major changes for higher education across the world, with many institutions embracing virtual tuition as a way to allow students to continue their learning. But a move by US immigration authorities has caused uncertainty and fear for the hundreds of thousands of international students who rely on student visas – including Molly Canham, 18, from Devon in the UK. She’s worried her sports scholarship at Louisiana State University could be in jeopardy.
And don’t forget…
…you can read more about the latest social distancing and lockdown rules, with our updated guide.
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