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Coronavirus: Evening update as minister resigns over Cummings row

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

1. Junior minister resigns over Cummings row

Douglas Ross has resigned as a government minister after Dominic Cummings’ defence of his trip to Durham during the coronavirus lockdown. The Scotland Office minister’s decision to step back comes as more than 35 MPs called for Mr Cummings’ resignation and six opposition leaders said removing the PM’s chief adviser was the only way to restore trust in public health advice.

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Media captionDouglas Ross: “There are unanswered questions I couldn’t defend”

2. Anti-viral drug Remdesivir offered by NHS

Remdesivir, an anti-viral medicine that appears to shorten recovery time for people with coronavirus, will be offered on the NHS. Speaking at the daily No 10 briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it is “probably the biggest step forward in the treatment of coronavirus since the crisis began”. But experts have cautioned the drug, previously used against Ebola, shouldn’t be seen as a “magic bullet”.

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3. Virus deaths fall to six-week low

Coronavirus deaths in the UK have fallen to a six-week low according to the latest weekly figures from the Office for National Statistics. Separately, the latest daily figures released by the Department of Health and Social Care show the number of people to die with coronavirus in the UK rose by 134 to a total of 37,048 on Tuesday.

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As in the general population, the total number of deaths in care homes rose slightly while the number of Covid-19 registered deaths fell

4. John Lewis plans phased reopening of stores

Following the announcement that all non-essential shops in England can reopen on 15 June, John Lewis says it is planning a phased reopening of its stores, using lessons it has learned on social distancing from the partnership’s Waitrose shops. New safety measures will include having a customer service host to monitor numbers inside and answer queries, as well as fewer entrances.

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5. Rowling unveils first non-Harry Potter children’s book

Fans of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books may be pleased to learn the author has announced a new children’s book which she will publish in daily instalments for free on her website. The Ickabog is her first children’s story unrelated to Harry Potter, and she says it is intended for “children on lockdown, or even those back at school during these strange, unsettling times”.

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JK Rowling

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In the latest instalment of his diary from the NHS front line, Dr John Wright describes some of the trials under way to find a cure for Covid-19.

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