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Covid-19: UK ‘at tipping point’ and hopes BCG vaccine could save lives

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Sunday morning. We’ll have another update for you on Monday.1. UK ‘at tipping point’One of the UK’s top scientists has warned the country is at a “tipping point” and that more deaths will follow a rise in cases in the coming weeks.…

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Sunday morning. We’ll have another update for you on Monday.

1. UK ‘at tipping point’

One of the UK’s top scientists has warned the country is at a “tipping point” and that more deaths will follow a rise in cases in the coming weeks. Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said “the seasons are against us” as the country faces a similar situation with coronavirus to that last seen in March. He is urging people to help the NHS by limiting contact with others. There is “clear evidence of a gradual spread into older age groups” despite the country’s epidemic re-starting again among younger people, he said. On Saturday, 15,166 people in the UK were reported to have tested positive for coronavirus and there were a further 81 deaths.

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PA Media

2. Covid MP says she ‘panicked’

Margaret Ferrier, the MP who used public transport despite knowing she was infected with coronavirus, has called the incident a “blip”. She has faced calls to quit after travelling from Glasgow to London while experiencing symptoms and then returning home after testing positive – but now says she won’t be stepping down. In an interview with the Scottish Sun on Sunday, she said the virus “makes you act out of character”. Ms Ferrier explained when she got her test result while in London, she started “panicking” and “wanting home” as she does not have a home in London. The MP has been suspended by the SNP and the Metropolitan Police is investigating what happened.

3. Could a vaccine from 1921 help save lives?

Scientists in the UK have begun testing the BCG vaccine, developed in 1921, to see if it can save lives from Covid-19. It was designed to stop tuberculosis, but there is some evidence it can protect against other infections as well. Around 1,000 people will take part in the trial at the University of Exeter. While vaccines are designed to train the immune system to leave lasting protection against one particular infection, the process can cause wider changes in the immune system. Millions in the UK are thought to have had the BCG jab when younger but they would probably have to be vaccinated again to benefit, if it is proved to help protect against coronavirus.

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Getty Images

Image caption

BCG (Bacillus Calmette-GuŽrin) vaccine for tuberculosis, pictured at the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1931.

4. Students criticise universities over self-isolation food

Universities are facing anger from students over the cost and quality of food some have been provided with while self-isolating in campus accommodation. Undergraduates say food parcels have often been filled with “junk”, meaning they have had to request fresh fruit and vegetables from parents. One student said her breakfast one day included crisps and a chocolate bar. Institutions said they were working hard to provide students with supplies.

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A student isolating in Nottingham was given bread, jam and an apple for breakfast

5. Orchestra breaks silence

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has begun a 12-week season of special concerts, ending the longest period of silence in its 127-year history. Performing to live audiences of just 285 people, the orchestra has also sold 10,000 tickets for people to stream performances online. The musicians are socially distanced and screens have been put up on stage to make the venue Covid-secure. Chief executive Douglas Scarfe said: “The darker it gets, the more people need music.”

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Media captionTammy Thorn says lockdown made her realise how special performing was


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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.