Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Saturday morning. We’ll have another update for you on Sunday.
1. Quarter of UK population under strict Covid rules
More than a quarter of people in the UK are set to be subject to stricter coronavirus lockdown rules by the end of the weekend. New rules come into force on Saturday in parts of northern England – Leeds, Wigan, Stockport and Blackpool – which ban households from mixing in each other’s homes or gardens. Later, Llanelli in Carmarthenshire will be subject to rules also limiting households mixing – with Cardiff and Swansea to get the same restrictions 24 hours later. It will take the total number of people across the UK living under stricter rules to 17 million. Read the full story here – and here’s an explanation of exactly which areas are under local lockdown.
2. Up to 1,700 students locked down in halls
The new university year has only just started, but hundreds of students at Manchester Metropolitan University are being forced to self-isolate in their accommodation block for two weeks after an outbreak of cases. One student said there were police and security officials outside the halls who said “we can’t leave”. “We have been told we are not allowed to leave and if we do we cannot come back, so now we are all stuck inside,” another student said. Meanwhile, students in Scotland have been told not to go to pubs, parties or restaurants this weekend.
3. Children behind rising demand for tests in England
We’ve heard a lot in recent weeks about an increase in demand for tests, and now figures show where some of that demand might have come from. The number of young children seeking coronavirus tests almost trebled in England this month – but only 1% were actually found to have the virus. The government figures reveal that demand for tests increased across all age groups under 40, but it was particularly noticeable among the under-20s. This sharp rise in demand in England coincided with the start of the new school term.
4. UK to donate £500m to global vaccine sharing scheme
A pre-recorded speech by Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be played to the United Nations over Zoom later today. In it, Mr Johnson will promise £500m for a new scheme designed to ensure that any treatments for Covid-19 are distributed fairly – so poorer countries can also access a jab if and when one is developed. He will also promise extra funding for the World Health Organization. It comes as the WHO warned that the death toll for the virus could reach two million before an effective vaccine is widely used. There’s more on when we might get a vaccine here.
5. How to fight ‘maskne’ – or face mask breakouts
Masks have gone from being something you normally only see on medical staff, to a compulsory part of everyday life. But for some they’re taking a lot of getting used to. One of the problems they’re reportedly causing is “maskne” or mask-related acne. Consultant dermatologist Dr Sivanie Sewell has some tips on what you can do to prevent spots when wearing a mask – but also how to deal with breakouts should you get one.
And don’t forget…
Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.
As more people in the north of England face extra lockdown restrictions, our Reality Check team consider: Is the virus spreading more in the North than the South?
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