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Coronavirus: PM to unveil Covid-19 alert system and call for BAME deaths inquiry

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Sunday morning. We’ll have another update for you tomorrow.

1. Boris Johnson to launch new Covid-19 alert system

A new coronavirus alert system for England to track the virus is set to be unveiled by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he updates the nation on lockdown measures on Sunday evening. The system will rank the threat from the virus ranging from green (level one) to red (level five) and will be adjusted according to data.

He will also reveal a new slogan, telling the public “stay alert, control the virus, save lives”. Read more here if you want to know what else to look out for in the PM’s speech.

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2. Shops should only re-open if they are safe, says retail chief

Retail bosses will also be watching the prime minister’s speech very closely, as the head of the British Retail Consortium tells the BBC decisions on which shops can reopen after lockdown should be based on safety, not their size or business type. Chief executive Helen Dickinson hopes the government’s guidance will reflect her organisation’s own advice on practical safety measures for retailers, including staggering shift times, managing the number of people in stores, and the use of plastic screens at payment points.

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3. Call for public inquiry into BAME death risk

More than 70 public figures – including author Malorie Blackman and Baroness Doreeen Lawrence – have signed an open letter to the prime minister calling for a full independent public inquiry into deaths from Covid-19 among people from ethnic minority backgrounds. It comes after analysis by the Office for National Statistics found black men and women are nearly twice as likely to die with coronavirus as white people in England and Wales.

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4. Social distancing will be difficult in some places of worship

Britain’s faith communities will face long-term changes to their worship in order to stem the spread of coronavirus, senior religious leaders have told the BBC. They say social distancing would be difficult – if not impossible – in some places of worship if ministers allow them to reopen, with the Bishop of London, Rt Rev Sarah Mullally, warning churches might not return to normal services before the end of the year.

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5. Spreading the hope of NHS rainbow portraits

Photographer Tom Skipp started photographing the many rainbows that have sprung up across the city of Bristol after being unable to visit his mother, who lives in a care home about a four-hour drive away from him, due to social distancing and lockdown measures.

Rainbows have become a nationwide symbol of hope and support for the NHS, and brought comfort to Mr Skipp as news of the situation in care homes “became darker and darker”. By photographing them, he wants to “spread the hope” they give him to other people.

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Tom Skipp


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And don’t forget…

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page, and follow all the latest development via our live page.

Reality Check examine why more people from BAME backgrounds are dying from the virus.


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