Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Wednesday evening. We’ll have another update for you on Thursday morning.
1. Housing market reopens amid economic slump
Figures show the UK economy shrank at the fastest pace since the 2008 financial crisis in the first three months of 2020, and economists expect an even bigger slump is to come. Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned it is likely to be a “significant recession”. In England, one aspect of the economy – the property market – has been released from some elements of the lockdown. There are some changes involved, such as leaving all internal doors open.
2. Lockdown eases in England
Some people in England who couldn’t work from home have returned to their workplaces, as a slight ease in lockdown measures comes in. The government had urged people to avoid public transport if at all possible, but some commuters said buses and trains were still too crowded to enable them to observe social-distancing rules. So what’s the risk on public transport? There’s also still a difference between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – leading to some confusion for areas straddling a border between nations.
3. Unions warn over reopening schools
An alliance of nine teaching unions has called on the government to delay plans for a phased return of primary school pupils in England on 1 June. The government has warned against scaremongering by the group, which said “classrooms of four and five-year olds could become sources of Covid-19 transmission and spread”. But how might social distancing work in schools?
4. Young facing job despair
Jemma was in the middle of a hairdressing apprenticeship when the coronavirus pandemic hit. The 16-year-old was let go by the salon, and now not only does she not have a job, but also no qualification. History shows that young people like her are usually hardest hit following a recession. For lower-skilled young adults, the Resolution Foundation warns the chances of getting a job will be reduced by a third as “the first rung of the ladder appears to be broken”. It recommends one way to ride out a financial crisis is to stay on in education.
5. ‘There’s never any bloodshed’
For many people, spending more time within the same four walls with the same people is one of the challenges of lockdown. But the Shaw family in Mapperley, Nottingham – all 14 of them – say life is “calmer and more sedate”, although trips to the supermarket have proven trickier.
And don’t forget…
As England eases its lockdown on Wednesday, what are the new rules?
What questions do you have about coronavirus?
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