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The lockdown will start to ease on Monday but no one can agree how, and racist attacks on people of Chinese heritage have skyrocketed.
So far 30,076 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, the latest figures show.
Anti-Chinese abuse skyrockets during coronavirus outbreak
Victims describe being spat at, physically abused and told to “f*** off back to China” in experiences that made them feel “shocked” and “anxious”.
Over a third of people of Chinese heritage had experienced anti-Chinese racism in public places, while 20% of those surveyed say they had encountered increased racism in the workplace.
The study, which was led by Professor Binna Kandola and included a survey of more than 400 people and interviews with 29 participants, warned that these attacks could once again increase when the lockdown is lifted.
Read the full report here.
Lockdown to be eased but reports disagree on how and when
On Wednesday Boris Johnson hinted he will announce a limited return to pre-pandemic life in an address to the nation on Sunday, with new measures set to come in as early as Monday.
But just how far these will go is still up for debate.
Reports suggest changes could include unlimited exercise, the return of some sports, park picnics, and the opening of pub and cafe gardens – but people would still be required to remain two metres apart.
The move could also see the government scrap its “stay home” slogan, and encourage people to wear face coverings on public transport and in crowded places as some return to work, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Free school meal vouchers ‘not working’
Supermarket vouchers issued to parents of children normally entitled to free school meals have been failing at checkouts, the BBC reports.
The scheme, set up in March, is supposed to ensure those on lower incomes can feed their families while the coronavirus lockdown keeps schools closed.
The vouchers – for £15-a-week for each eligible child – had been set above the £11.50 currently paid to schools for the cost of providing free meals.
But the scheme has been beset by problems, with some schools unable to register. Parents are now reporting they’ve been left “humiliated” at supermarket checkouts after the vouchers failed to scan.
One told the BBC: “It was embarrassing, everyone was looking at us.”
It is estimated that 1.3 million pupils are currently entitled to free meals.
Much-vaunted PPE shipped from Turkey fails safety tests
A shipment of 400,000 gowns from Turkey shipped to Britain amid much government fanfare has reportedly been impounded in a warehouse after falling short of UK standards.
The personal protective equipment (PPE) was flown into the UK by the RAF last month but has been held in a government warehouse near Heathrow, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The paper said inspectors deemed the equipment to be faulty.
Issues over the supply of protective equipment such as gowns and masks for health workers have plagued the government throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Under huge pressure, the government announced in April that it had managed to source a substantial supply of gowns from Turkey, which, after an initial delay, was flown into the UK on April 22.
It is not yet clear whether the government will pursue a refund over the order.
Trump U-turns on coronavirus task force because he ‘didn’t know how popular it was’
Just a day after saying he would wind it down, Donald Trump has said his administration’s coronavirus task force will continue, because he’s since realised how ‘popular’ it is.
Speaking from the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon, Trump came close to admitting that his plans to dissolve the advisory group were a mistake.
“I had no idea how popular the task force is until actually yesterday,” Trump said. “When I started talking about winding it down, I got calls from very respected people saying, ‘I think it’d be better to keep it going. It’s done such a good job. It’s a respected task force.’ I knew it myself, but I didn’t know whether or not it was appreciated by the public, but it is appreciated by the public.”
Trump’s plans to wind down the task force, a team of health and government officials overseeing the US response to Covid-19, were widely criticised as an attempt to shirk responsibility for the crisis by passing it onto state and local leaders, potentially shielding the president from blame over the country’s response in the lead-up to the November election.