Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Monday evening. We’ll have another update on Tuesday morning.
1. Five and overs in UK now eligible for coronavirus test
Everyone aged five and over in the UK with symptoms can now be tested for coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced. The government was “expanding eligibility for testing further than ever before”, he said. Meanwhile, Dominic Raab, leading the daily No 10 briefing, said it was “not sustainable” to keep the lockdown “permanently” but ministers needed to watch the impact of every change made “very closely”. A further 160 coronavirus deaths have been recorded in the UK, taking the total to 34,796 – the highest figure in Europe.
2. UK adds loss of smell and taste to list of symptoms
Loss of smell or taste have now been added to the UK’s list of coronavirus symptoms that people should be aware of and ready to act upon. Scientific advisers told the government to update its advice, which already warned the public to look out for either a new, continuous cough or a fever. People with any of the symptoms, including loss of smell or taste, should self-isolate. It comes as the first hints that a vaccine can train people’s immune system to fight coronavirus have been reported by US company Moderna.
3. Scotland and Northern Ireland announce lockdown easing measures
Coronavirus lockdown measures in Scotland could begin to be lifted from 28 May, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. She said this would mean people could meet someone from another household as long as social distancing is maintained. And ministers in Northern Ireland have agreed to ease more lockdown restrictions, including allowing groups of up to six people who do not share a household to meet outdoors from Tuesday.
4. Mixed verdict in NHS contact-tracing app trial
It is 10 days since all Isle of Wight residents were invited to test the NHS app at the heart of the government’s test, track and trace strategy. So how’s it going? Mixed would probably be a fair verdict, according to BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones. One concern is that the app does not yet let users know if the person they have had contact with ends up testing positive. Instead, it has only let them know if the contact has developed symptoms. However, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab defended the government’s record on the app, telling the No 10 briefing “good progress” was being made.
5. First ever virtual Chelsea Flower Show is under way
The first ever virtual Chelsea Flower Show has begun, after the coronavirus lockdown forced the event to the event to be cancelled for the first time since World War Two. It usually takes place at London’s Royal Hospital Chelsea, but instead content including tours of gardens by designers like Monty Don are being posted online. Organisers are billing it as being “about sharing gardening knowledge”.
And don’t forget…
You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.
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