Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday evening. We’ll have another update for you on Thursday morning.
1. UK passes grim milestone
The UK has become the first country in Europe to pass 50,000 coronavirus deaths, according to the latest government figures. A total of 50,365 people have died within 28 days of a positive Covid test, up by 595 in the past 24 hours. The only other countries to pass the milestone are the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico. There have been around 1.2 million confirmed cases in the UK and more than 180,000 people have been admitted to hospital with the virus.
2. Van-Tam ‘would be front of vaccine queue’
England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam says he would be at the front of the queue for a Covid-19 vaccine if he could be. Priority will be given to those at higher risk from coronavirus, because of their age or medical condition. But he said he had told his own 78-year-old mother to “be ready” to get the jab when it became available. The vaccination programme is to start with care home residents and will eventually cover 99% of people at risk of dying from Covid. But officials say no decision has been made on how to offer the vaccine to people under 50.
3. Clothes and book shops voice lockdown anger
Retailers forced to close because their businesses are deemed “non-essential” have hit out at the latest lockdown rules for England. Clothes and book sellers are complaining that they have had to close while supermarkets and large newsagents remain open – and are selling items such as clothes, shoes and books. A group of 60 independent fashion shops have joined a group called Boutiques in Business, to campaign against the coronavirus restrictions. And James Daunt, boss of Waterstones, says bookshops should be allowed to open because they are a “support for people” .
4. Scotland and Wales outline students plans
We told you earlier about plans to bring England’s 1.2 million students back home for Christmas, should they choose to do so. Now, Scotland and Wales have outlined their plans too. In Wales, students will be asked to travel by 9 December at the latest. Many will be offered rapid-result tests. The Scottish government wants as many as possible of its 80,000 students going home for Christmas to be offered tests before they travel. Northern Ireland is expected to publish its plans in the coming days.
5. The youth orchestra performing Tchaikovsky – remotely
Many orchestras have been silenced due to the pandemic. But now the 70 young musicians of the Ulster Youth Orchestra have got together – remotely – to record an ambitious rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet overture. Under the supervision of Daniele Rustioni, the Ulster Orchestra’s chief conductor, they recorded their parts separately and these were then carefully patched together to create a spectacular orchestral experience.
And don’t forget…
Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.
Plus, we’ve been answering your questions on the potential new vaccine and more – which you can find here.
What questions do you have about coronavirus?
Use this form to ask your question: