Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday morning. We’ll have another update for you at 18:00 GMT.
1. Operation Christmas
Universities are being told to stagger the return home of England’s 1.2 million students in the week after the national lockdown ends. The aim is to avoid a sudden exodus that could spread infection. Universities will be expected to move almost all teaching online by 9 December. Before travelling, as many students as possible will be offered Covid tests and anyone who’s positive will be required to self-isolate on campus for 10 days. They’ll still be able to get home for Christmas once that period is up. The Scottish government is expected to outline similar plans later.
2. Northern England ‘worst hit’ during pandemic
Coronavirus has “exacerbated” regional inequalities in poverty, education, employment and mental health, according to a study from the Northern Health Science Alliance. Researchers also found the mortality rate, even after factoring in deprivation, ages and ethnicity, was worst in the north. The report recommends a series of steps to “level up” – to use Boris Johnson’s own language – including prioritising deprived communities in the first phase of any vaccine rollout.
3. Lockdown latest
Less than 48 hours before Northern Ireland’s four-week lockdown is due to end ministers still haven’t decided what happens next. The executive is divided over whether to reopen certain sectors of the economy, such as cafes and hairdressers. Meanwhile, about 50 Conservative MPs have formed a new group to fight the imposition of any further blanket restrictions in England beyond the end of the current lockdown on 2 December. They’re calling for the publication of a cost-benefit analysis and more scrutiny of government scientists.
It’s now too late for many businesses to reopen this weekend, and if they are taken off the closed list they will lose the financial support.
The only option is to keep them closed with financial support, and engage with us to get them reopened ASAP and no later than 27th Nov. pic.twitter.com/pEK4Q2uiqB
— Hospitality Ulster #HelpOurHospitality (@HospUlster) November 10, 2020
4. Extremists ‘exploiting stay at home orders’
Senior counter-terrorism officer Supt Matthew Davison is warning young people are being targeted “in their bedrooms” during lockdown by those using the pandemic to spread hate and disinformation. He said extremists know young people are spending more time online and are making “proactive plans” to take advantage of that. At the same time referrals to the anti-extremism Prevent programme are falling.
5. Start-up success stories
The BBC’s CEO Secrets series is looking at people who’ve launched businesses during the pandemic. This week, it’s hearing from fathers balancing start-ups with childcare. Among them is Keith Tiplady, from Leicester, who’s been inspired by his entrepreneurial wife to become a chocolatier. Check out previous instalments of the series, including recent graduates making money from snacking, and mums of young children pursuing their passions.
And don’t forget…
Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.
Plus, developments this week have brought us closer to a Covid-19 vaccine, but how far off world immunisation are we? BBC correspondent Tulip Mazumdar explains.
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