Here are five of the main coronavirus updates for the UK this Monday evening. We’ll have another briefing for you on Tuesday morning.
1. More UK jobs at risk
There’s been more bad news on the jobs front today, with the pandemic continuing to have a huge impact on employment. Hays Travel, which bought Thomas Cook shops when it went bust last year, now says up to 878 employees – out of a total of 4,500 – may lose their jobs. Owners John and Irene Hays said hundreds of thousands of holidays had been cancelled due to the changes in travelling to and from Spain. In other news, DW Sports – a gym and sports retailer – has collapsed, putting 1,700 jobs at risk. All of its 75 stores will close, but DW, founded by former Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan, is hoping to save as many of its 73 gyms as possible.
2. How testing sewage could predict an outbreak
Sewage testing is being introduced in England as a way of tracking the pandemic. Scientists know that people with Covid-19 “shed” the virus in their faeces. This means that through taking samples of wastewater, a coronavirus outbreak could be spotted up to a week earlier than it would if medical testing was being used. There are 44 wastewater treatment sites in England where the testing is being carried out.
3. Meal deal ‘will affect weekend bookings’
Today marks the start of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme – in which a 50% discount is given off the bill, up to £10 per person, on Mondays to Wednesdays during August. But one restaurant owner says that while he’s taking part, he’s “not crazy” about it as his bookings for weekends have been dropping off as a result. Lubeck Sredojevic, who runs Boulevard in south Croydon, says it’s also confusing to administer as alcohol is not included. “They should have found some way to make it simpler,” he said.
4. Melbourne lockdown as city fights second wave
The Australian city of Melbourne is experiencing a resurgence of coronavirus, with shops, factories and non-essential businesses shutting their doors. There’s also a night-time curfew in place for the city’s five million residents – an earlier lockdown failed to contain the spread of the virus. About one million workers will soon have to stay at home as part of the new rules. Australia is now at its worst point yet in this crisis, due to the Melbourne outbreak. More than half of the nation’s total 18,300 cases have been recorded in just the last month in the state of Victoria.
5. Great North Run goes virtual
For the first time in its 40-year history, the Great North Run is going virtual. Runners will be able to take part in the half marathon wherever they live in the world, with the help of an app playing crowd sounds and providing distance updates. A record 60,000 people were due to run the 13.1 mile (21km) course, between Newcastle and South Shields, on 13 September but it was cancelled due to coronavirus. The virtual event is free and runners qualify for a medal if they complete the run (but they have to pay for this separately). Organisers have urged runners – who can sign up from today – to follow social distancing rules and not turn up at the usual course.
And don’t forget…
… to check out how life in the UK has changed recently as restrictions ease with our feature here.
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