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. Any lockdown change will be ‘small’
Everyone is waiting to hear what Boris Johnson will announce on Sunday in terms of any easing of lockdown measures. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, leading the daily Downing Street briefing, stressed any changes would be “modest, small, incremental” steps.
The prime minister has said the government will proceed with “maximum caution” when considering easing restrictions, as Scotland announced its lockdown was being extended. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have the power to diverge from what the government at Westminster decides on the lockdown.
Mr Raab urged everyone, ahead of what’s expected to be a sunny bank holiday weekend for VE Day, to continue following the social distancing guidelines. People have also been told not to travel to beauty spots such as beaches or national parks.
2. Black Britons face ‘twice the risk of death’
There’s been some new analysis from the Office for National Statistics, showing that black men and woman in England and Wales are nearly twice as likely to die with coronavirus as white people. Those from Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities also face a significantly higher risk of death.
Dominic Raab said the government was “very concerned” about the statistics. A review has been launched looking into the issue.
3. UK heading for ‘worst recession’
There’s worrying news from the Bank of England, which warns the UK economy is heading towards its deepest recession on record. It predicts the impact of coronavirus will see the economy shrink 14% this year, if the lockdown is relaxed from June.
Andrew Bailey, governor of the bank, says there will be no quick return to normality.
4. Notting Hill carnival cancelled
For the first time in its history, there will be no Notting Hill carnival this year. It’s the latest big summer event to be cancelled, following the likes of the Tokyo Olympics and Glastonbury Festival. The annual event, on the streets of west London, was meant to happen on the August bank holiday weekend.
5. Hobbit reading to ‘take people on adventure’
Andy Serkis, perhaps best known for playing Gollum in the film adaptations of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, is to do a continuous live reading of The Hobbit to help people under “stressful conditions” right now and to take them “on an adventure”.
He is reading JRR Tolkein’s 1937 novel from beginning to end, starting at 10:00 BST bank holiday Friday, to raise money for NHS Charities Together and Best Beginnings.
And don’t forget…
What is testing – and why is it important? Find out more here.
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