Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Thursday morning. We’ll have another update for you at 18:00 BST.
1. Teens to get A-level results in no-exam year
Almost 300,000 teenagers will receive their A-level results on Thursday – but their grades are based on estimates as examinations were cancelled due to the pandemic. The way the grades have been decided remains controversial. Ministers say a “triple lock” means students in England should get whichever is the highest out of three assessments – their estimated grade, an optional written paper in the autumn, or an appeal through their school if the estimated result is lower than the mock exam. About 40% of the grades awarded on Thursday will be different from teachers’ predictions.
2. More coronavirus cases reported in New Zealand
After having no locally-transmitted coronavirus cases for more than three months, New Zealand has reported 14 new infections, a day after putting its largest city, Auckland, back into lockdown. Of the new cases, 13 are related to an outbreak within one family. The other new case is an arrival from overseas who has been placed in quarantine. New Zealand has been praised for its early response to the virus, and it has moved quickly to restrict movement in Auckland and enforce social distancing elsewhere.
3. How will we vaccinate the world?
The massive global effort to find a vaccine against Covid-19 is well under way, but how well are preparations going to get it to the world’s seven billion people? For its part, the UK has brought forward the construction and operation of the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, which it’s hoped will be able to distribute a jab created at the nearby University of Oxford. And while billions of doses will be needed to inoculate the world’s population, there are fears of “vaccine nationalism” where countries operate in their own self-interest.
4. Amazon donates to stars’ theatre fund
The streaming service Amazon Prime Video has announced that it is giving £500,000 to a fund aimed at helping theatre workers, which was set up by two of the stars of the hit TV series Fleabag. Olivia Colman and Phoebe Waller-Bridge said they were “blown away” by the “extraordinary” support. The donation will help provide hardship grants of £3,000 to staff and freelancers who have seen their work dry up as theatres have had to close because of the pandemic.
5. Lockdown photography ‘set me up for life’
A teenager from Somerset has told of how taking photographs during the lockdown has helped him cope with the uncertainty around A-level results this year. James Manning, 18, wants to be a photojournalist and wildlife cameraman – and says his expanded photographic portfolio is a good back-up if his grades don’t work out. He says the changes to how results will be awarded is unsettling – but feels he has become more self-reliant as a result of his photography.
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And don’t forget…
…loss of taste and smell are among the symptoms of coronavirus. Find out more about how it affects our bodies.
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