December 1, 2020

Coronavirus: A-level results anger and outbreak at M&S supplier

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Thursday evening. We’ll have another update for you tomorrow morning.

1. Anger over A-level results

Today’s biggest story in the UK is on A-level results, as nearly 300,000 teenagers received grades despite not sitting the exams due to the lockdown. The way results have been decided has been controversial. While there’s been an overall increase in top grades, many pupils (including more than a third of entries in England) have received a lower grade than teachers predicted, after results were moderated by exam boards. Head teachers say some lowered grades seem to be “unfair”, while some pupils say their future has been “set back”. To understand how results were calculated, check this out.

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Media captionA-level results day: ”I haven’t got into uni because of it”

2. Scotland’s infection rate could be increasing

The reproduction rate of the virus – that’s the average number of people an infected person will pass the virus on to – could now be above one in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said. There’s been a number of small clusters in the country. Ms Sturgeon said the upper estimate of the R number in Scotland “could have been as high as 1.3” last week. But she stressed that there were only thought to have been about 250 infectious people – so urged people not to be “unduly alarmed”.

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3. Trial of England’s coronavirus app begins

We’ve heard a lot in recent months about the government’s much-delayed coronavirus app which will alert people if they’ve been close to someone with the virus. But from today, people living in the Isle of Wight and Newham in east London are able to try out the app for the first time since it was re-designed. Meanwhile, new figures show that since the NHS test and trace programme was launched 10 weeks ago, a total of 52,735 of people with coronavirus in England were referred to the scheme – and contact tracers reached 78.2% of them.

4. Hundreds test positive at M&S supplier

Almost 300 people have tested positive for the virus following an outbreak at a factory which makes M&S sandwiches. Greencore in Northampton started “proactively testing” workers due to rising numbers of cases in the town. A spokesman for the company, which employs 2,100 people, said the employees who had tested positive were self-isolating.

5. Optimism for 2021 foreign holidays

This year’s travel industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, but holiday firm Tui says data for next year looks “very promising”. It says bookings for next summer are up by 145%. It came as the company posted a €1.1bn (£995m) loss for the three months to June. Some of the new holiday bookings for 2021 are either amended bookings or with a voucher by customers who had cancelled trips.

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And don’t forget…

…from foggy glasses to recycling, here’s a guide to wearing a face mask.

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

Find out how the pandemic has affected your area and how it compares with the national average:

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Deaths are death registrations where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. Source: ONS, NRS and NISRA – updated weekly. Although the numbers of deaths per 100,000 people shown in the charts above have not been weighted to account for variations in demography between local authorities, the virus is known to affect disproportionately older people, BAME people, and people from more deprived households or employed in certain occupations.

Cases include positive tests of people in hospital and healthcare workers (Pillar 1) and people tested in the wider population (Pillar 2). Public health bodies may occasionally revise their case numbers. Northern Ireland only publish new figures on weekdays. Average is a median average of rates per area in each UK nation. Source: UK public health bodies – updated daily.

If you can’t see the look-up click here.

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