Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Monday evening. We’ll have another update for you tomorrow morning.
1. Contact tracers to be reduced by 6,000 in England
The NHS test and trace system in England is letting 6,000 staff go by the end of August, the government has announced. The 12,000 remaining contact tracers will work more closely with local public health teams in communities. It’s hoped the change will help make the system better at tackling the virus, its boss said. The approach has already been used in coronavirus hotspots in Blackburn with Darwen, Luton and Leicester.
2. Sturgeon ‘sorry’ over Scottish exam results
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has apologised after accepting her government “did not get it right” over its exam results. With no exams sat this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish Qualifications Authority ran a system based on teacher assessments. However, officials then applied a moderation technique which led to about 125,000 estimates being downgraded – disproportionately affecting lower-income areas.
3. PM understands ‘anxiety’ over exam grading
Amid concern over impending A-level results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Boris Johnson has sought to reassure pupils and parents – saying he understands “anxiety” over estimated grades for exams cancelled due to the pandemic. Visiting a school in London, the PM said he was also “very keen that exams should go ahead as normal” in the new academic year. He reiterated a pledge to bring all pupils back in September despite safety fears.
4. What NI shoppers make of mandatory face coverings as they are introduced
While shoppers in England and Scotland have grown used to wearing face coverings, people in Northern Ireland have only been subject to the requirement from today. So what did they make of it? “Difficult” but the “right thing to do,” shoppers in east Belfast said. For business owners, though, enforcing the rules is awkward. Forgotten where coverings are needed? Read our quick catch-up.
5. ‘Fake office noise helps me to focus working from home’
Being forced to work from home during lockdown has been isolating for many – so some, like statistician Paul Hewson, have turned to websites providing artificial office noise to help get them through the day. The sound of staples like printers and coffee machines, as well as people chatting, have attracted millions of hits during the crisis.
And don’t forget…
You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.
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