Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Wednesday morning. We’ll have another update for you at 18:00 BST.
1. Testing now open to millions
In England, all care home staff and residents, everyone aged over 65 and anyone who must leave home to work can now apply. The picture in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is slightly different, but all are expanding their testing regimes. See how close this brings the UK to its 100,000 tests a day target, and why testing is so vital.
2. Daily death figures
From today, the grim total will include deaths that occur in care homes as well as hospitals. A jump in numbers is inevitable, given that a third of all coronavirus fatalities in England and Wales are now happening in care homes. Read more on why keeping residents safe is so difficult..
3. The hidden health costs
Behind the headlines is what experts refer to as the “parallel epidemic”. That’s the wider impact on public health, including late or missed diagnosis of everything from cancer to appendicitis. To help reassure those who might be put off seeking medical treatment, regional “virus-free” centres have been set up in 21 areas of England to carry out urgent cancer surgery.
4. Poorer pupils ‘need extra help’
A group of northern MPs and peers are calling for a “catch-up premium” of £700 to be given to all poorer secondary-age pupils when schools reopen. The money would fund extra tuition and prevent those already disadvantaged falling further behind.
5. VE Day commemorations revised
Social distancing has scuppered plans to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War with a veterans’ procession and street parties. However, lockdown-friendly events will take place. They’ll include a televised address from the Queen and a national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again.
And don’t forget…
Will the rest of the UK follow Scotland’s lead in recommending the use of face masks? Our online health editor takes a look.
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