Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Friday morning. We’ll have another update for you at 18:00 BST.
1. Economic growth below expectations
The UK economy expanded for the fourth consecutive month in August, when the government’s Eat Out to Help Out discount dining scheme boosted demand at restaurants and pubs. However, the 2.1% growth was below expectations and the economy is still 9.2% smaller than before the pandemic struck.
2. Covid cases ‘getting out of control’
Coronavirus is “getting out of control” in the north of England and the country is an “unbelievably serious situation”, according to junior education minister Gillian Keegan. Her comments come as the government faces criticism for failing to consult local politicians over planned measures, such as the potential closure of bars and restaurants. Meanwhile, in Scotland, hospitality venues will shut for 16 days from 18:00 BST across the central belt and face tighter rules elsewhere.
3. Bedside test shows promise in hospitals
A rapid test for coronavirus, conducted at the bedside and analysed by a machine on the same ward, could help cut the spread of the infection in hospitals, a study suggests. Scientists at Southampton General Hospital who used the method to test 500 people say it produced results within two hours, making it much quicker than sending swabs to labs.
4. ‘My bank account request disappeared down a hole’
Entrepreneurs say start-up companies are being “stifled” at birth as they find it almost impossible to open a business account, while banks are tied up processing coronavirus loan support schemes. Sophia Murday, who turned an empty Glasgow shop into a greengrocer, compalins: “It is literally impossible to start a business if you can’t process cash flow through a bank account, take card payments and run books through connected software.”
5. Heritage sites given ‘lifeline’ recovery funding
More than 450 heritage organisations across England are to share the first wave of a £1.57bn government handout to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. Sites to receive funding from the Culture Recovery Fund’s first tranche of £103m include Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, the Severn Valley Railway and Gloucester Cathedral, below.
And don’t forget…
The travel quarantine lists have changed. See what’s new.
Also, find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.
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