Here’s what you need to know on 18 August. This article was updated at 4.30pm.
Deaths: The Government said 41,381 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19, as of 5pm on Monday, an increase of 12 on the day before.
England and Wales have recorded the lowest number of weekly deaths from coronavirus since entering lockdown, figures show. It’s also been the eighth week in a row that deaths have been below the weekly average. Read more here.
Policy: Over 35 million discounted meals have been claimed across the UK in the first two weeks of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme. More than 85,000 eateries have now signed up for the scheme, including high-street chains as well as thousands of small independent businesses, according to new data released on Tuesday. Read more here.
Public Health England will be scrapped and replaced with a body called the National Institute for Health Protection, which will also work against the threats of biological weapons and infectious diseases. Baroness Dido Harding has been chosen to temporarily lead the organisation, which has caused controversy. Read more here.
Mental health: The number of Britons experiencing depression almost doubled during the coronavirus pandemic with one in five people suffering, figures have revealed. Data published on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that 19.2% of people experienced some form of depression in June. Read more here.
Local lockdowns: Leicester’s hairdressers and nail salons can reopen as its lockdown is eased. Infection rates halved during the seven weeks of extra restrictions for the city, now down to 67 per 100,000 people. Read more here.
Science: A mutation of coronavirus which is more infectious but less deadly could be a good thing, according to a prominent infectious diseases doctor. Paul Tambyah, senior consultant at the National University of Singapore pointed out it’s in the interest of the virus to infect but not kill, as it would rely on the host for food and shelter. Read more here.
New research has linked the coronavirus to the onset of type 1 diabetes in children. The infection is said to be mild in four out of five cases, with young people generally being particularly resilient. One study suggested children are half as likely to catch the virus in the first place, let alone become seriously ill. Read more here.
Business: Britain’s bellwether retailer Marks & Spencer has announced in a statement that it will cut around 7,000 jobs. It said that job cuts were part of a major shake-up of its stores and management following the severe impact the coronavirus crisis has had on UK high streets. Read more here.
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Rest of the world
Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister, has hit back at Donald Trump after he claimed her country was experiencing a “big surge” in coronavirus cases. While New Zealand has recorded a total of 22 deaths, the US has had more than 5.2 million cases and 170,000 deaths. Read more here.
People in their 20s, 30s and 40s who did not know they had coronavirus were likely to be the biggest spreaders of the disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Takeshi Kasai, regional director of WHO Western Pacific, said: “This increases the risk of spillovers to the more vulnerable.” Read more here.
The government of the Balearic Islands has introduced a number of new social distancing measures in attempt to stop a recent coronavirus outbreak from getting out of control. President Francina Armengol said on Tuesday that boat and pool parties will be banned in Formentera, Menorca, Mallorca and Ibiza. Read more here.
The planet is nowhere near achieving herd immunity to coronavirus, the WHO has said. The head of its health emergencies programme, Dr Michael Ryan, dismissed the theory at a press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday. Read more here.
A “remarkable” study suggests coronavirus antibodies do help to ward off a second infection. New research has raised hopes, however, after scientists from the University of Washington analysed a small coronavirus outbreak on a fishing vessel off the coast of Seattle. Read more here.
Nothing says confidence in life after coronavirus like thousands of people packed together at a huge pool party in Wuhan, the Chinese city where scientists believe coronavirus first spread to humans. Images from the event show thousands of people without face masks crammed together in an enormous swimming pool. There haven’t been any locally transmitted cases there since May. Read more here.