Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Tuesday morning. We’ll have another update for you this evening.
Face coverings will still be “recommended” on public transport when restrictions in England are eased from next Monday, ministers say. But laws will be replaced by guidance, meaning people will no longer be fined for refusing to wear a mask. So bus and rail companies must decide whether or not to turn people away. Some are calling for clearer guidance.
Nicola Sturgeon will confirm whether Scotland’s Covid-19 rules will be eased in the coming weeks. The first minister had planned to move the entire nation to the minimum level of restrictions from 19 July, lifting most legal limitations from 9 August. However, Scotland has since been hit by a record wave of infections. Ministers have said they believe the peak has passed but will discuss the data ahead of this afternoon’s announcement.
Retailers have just enjoyed the best three months on record, with High Street sales from April to June up 28.4% on 2020’s figures and 10.4% higher than in 2019, the British Retail Consortium says. But it warns many retailers still face “strong headwinds” as the UK economy recovers from the pandemic, with the shift to online shopping apparently here to stay.
The prime minister must start delivering an ambitious levelling-up programme for the north of England “at pace”, with grants for deprived areas, say a group of 50 Conservative MPs. The Northern Research Group is calling for an economic strategy focused on helping communities rebuild after the pandemic. A recent study by the Northern Health Science Alliance found the area had been hit harder than the rest of England during coronavirus, “exacerbating” regional inequalities.
The UK’s first testing “mega lab” has opened and is expected to be capable to processing hundreds of thousands of samples a day. The government says automation and robotics at the Rosalind Franklin laboratory in Leamington Spa will help increase the UK’s daily coronavirus testing capacity. The centre is expected to create up to 1,500 jobs.
image copyrightDepartment of Health and Social Care
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Wondering whether you should wear a mask after Covid restrictions have been lifted? Our health editor Michelle Roberts runs through some circumstances when you might.
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