Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Monday evening. We’ll have another update for you on Tuesday morning.
1. Scotland set to make face coverings compulsory in secondary schools
Since schools in Scotland began returning on 11 August, wearing a face covering has been optional, although some schools have encouraged them. But ministers there are in final talks to make them mandatory when pupils move between classes, following new guidance from the World Health Organization. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says the government is “not in a position where we’re suggesting” secondary pupils or teachers should wear face coverings in England. Meanwhile, many students in Northern Ireland returned to school today.
2. Appeal to save Bletchley Park once more
Computing academic Sue Black has saved Bletchley Park once before in 2009, when the huts where Alan Turing and colleagues cracked the Enigma code during World War Two were falling down. Now she is calling for the tech industry to come to the rescue once more. The museum faces a loss of £2m and is preparing to lay off a third of its workforce due to the pandemic. Dr Black wants to ensure “it never has to worry about telling such an important story to generations to come”.
3. ‘We can’t win,’ say police
Greater Manchester Police is defending its enforcement of coronavirus regulations after officers broke up a 10-year-old’s birthday party. Following criticism, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said many of the guests were adults. “We can’t win,” he said. “If we don’t deal with them, people are saying it isn’t fair and when we do deal with it, people are saying it is heavy-handed.” Local restrictions on social gatherings remain in place in Greater Manchester.
4. Bailiffs resume work – quietly
From today, local authorities are able to resume using bailiffs to pursue unpaid bills such as council tax and parking fines. They will be chasing debts incurred before the pandemic, but new rules mean they are being told not to shout at people, because of the risk of spreading coronavirus through droplets. Charities supporting indebted people say there’s a risk of a “surge” in enforcement, just as the government’s support schemes come to an end. But the Civil Enforcement Association, which represents bailiffs, say they need to recover funding for essential council services.
5. Tesco creates 16,000 permanent jobs for lockdown temps
Supermarkets are among the few businesses to have boomed during the pandemic, with many seeing a spike in demand from online shoppers. Now Tesco says it is creating 16,000 new jobs as a result of the surge in deliveries, including 10,000 staff to pick customer orders from shelves and 3,000 drivers. The company said it expected most of the roles to be taken by staff who started as temporary workers during lockdown.
And don’t forget…
…if your child’s school has not already started, here’s what you need to know about the return to the classroom, how the school day will change and what happens if there is an outbreak.
You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.
Find out how the pandemic has affected your area and how it compares with the national average.
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