Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Tuesday evening. We’ll have another update for you on Wednesday morning.
1. Virus won’t be gone by Christmas… or for years
We must be realistic about the fact that coronavirus is here for the long term, leading scientists have told MPs. Even potentially successful vaccines and treatments will not be enough to eliminate it, and humanity will have to live with it for “decades to come”, Prof Sir Jeremy Farrar of the Wellcome Trust explained to the Commons health select committee. The disease will come and go, and we will need a continual cycle of vaccinations. It comes after the PM said last week he was hoping for a return to some sort of normality by Christmas.
2. EU leaders get enormous recovery deal over the line
After four days of painstaking negotiations, European Union leaders finally hammered out a €750bn (£677bn) package to help countries in the block rebuild their economies. A €390bn programme of grants will be made available to those hardest hit by the virus – countries such as Italy and Spain, while a further €360bn in low-interest loans will also be up for grabs for member states. It’s the biggest joint borrowing ever agreed by the EU, with summit chairman Charles Michel describing it as a “pivotal moment” for Europe. For more on the global impact of the pandemic, see our visual coronavirus guide.
3. Back in the UK, borrowing hits new record and property sales slump
The strain of the virus continues to be felt across the UK economy, with government borrowing reaching a record £127.9bn between April and June – the first quarter of the financial year and the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. The figure – which is the difference between spending and tax income – was more than double the £55.4bn borrowed in the whole of the previous tax year. But borrowing in June was lower than in May, at £35.5bn. Meanwhile, summer property sales were nearly a third lower than the same time last year – even though things picked up in June when the market reopened. If you’re thinking of buying a house, check out what recent stamp duty changes could mean for you.
4. Nurse recovers from 40-day Covid coma
Nurse Ayesha Orlanda, 52, has been given an emotional send-off from hospital after spending nine-and-a-half weeks there. The senior sister at Bradford Royal Infirmary became critically ill with coronavirus and was eventually put on a ventilator. She said she was “one of the lucky ones” and felt she’d been given “a second chance at life”. Staff from four wards gathered to applaud her as she left.
5. Tea, coffee, biscuits and a good book…
…that’s what we wanted most during lockdown, according to market research firm Kantar. Brits working from home splashed out an additional £24m on tea and coffee, and an extra £19m on biscuits in the past three months, it said. We’ve also been reading much more, publisher Bloomsbury found, with book sales jumping almost a fifth compared to last year. Bestsellers included JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series and books relating to the Black Lives Matter campaign.
And don’t forget…
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