Here’s what you need to know on 19 August. This article was updated at 4.20pm.
Deaths: The Government said 41,397 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19, as of 5pm on Tuesday, an increase of 16 on the day before. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland reported no new deaths.
Politics: Health secretary Matt Hancock has dismissed accusations of “cronyism” after Tory peer Baroness Dido Harding was announced as head of the new National Institute for Health Protection. When questioned over a “whiff of cronyism” over the appointment of Harding, who is married to Conservative MP John Penrose, Hancock said he “strongly objected” to the claim. Read more here.
Sage member Jeremy Farrar has accused ministers of “passing blame” for the coronavirus crisis in a blistering attack. Farrar, who is the director of The Wellcome Trust, said he was upset by “arbitrary sackings, passing of blame, ill-thought through, short term and reactive reforms.” Read more here.
Gavin Williamson has been warned he faces the sack if he fails to get schools back in September, following the government U-turn on A level and GCSE exam grades. Senior backbenchers said any mishap would make his position unsustainable. Read more here.
Local lockdowns: Putting Oldham into a local lockdown would be a disaster according to the leader of the local council. Sean Fielding said the area was so "completely and utterly interwoven" with other parts of Manchester that it would be impractical. Read more here.
The local lockdown in Aberdeen will remain in place for another week, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed. She said the situation is improving, giving Sunday as the next review date. Read more here.
Science: The loss of sense of smell and taste is much more profound with coronavirus than cold or flu, scientists have found. Unlike cold or flu, a study found sufferers cannot detect bitter or sweet tastes. Read more here.
Sport: There’s been a spike in positive coronavirus cases in the Premier League as players returned to training. With 14 cases recorded at just 12 clubs there are concerns ahead of the season return next month. Read more here.
Prisons: There’s a risk of “psychological decline” among prisoners because of ongoing restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the chief inspector Peter Clarke has warned. He has said a resurgence in the virus should not lead to an increase in the restrictions again. Read more here.
Testing: The Office of National Statistics will increase home testing of coronavirus across the country in a bid to keep the virus under control before the winter. Testing will be ramped up from 28,000 a fortnight to 150,000 a fortnight. Read more here.
Travel: Heathrow has unveiled plans for a new coronavirus testing facility which could end the need for travellers into the UK to isolate for 14 days. The swabs could be returned within seven hours and those with a negative test would only have to quarantine between five and eight days. Read more here.
Finance: Rising fuel prices and an increase in the cost of haircuts and private dental appointments were among the factors that drove an unexpected increase in the UK inflation rate in July. The cost of men’s haircuts rose by 6.1% in the year to July, while women’s cut and blow dries climbed by 4.5%. The price for women’s highlighting rose by almost 4%, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) pointing to costs associated with personal protective equipment (PPE) in hair salons. Read more here.
Several restaurants have pulled out of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme because of “unwelcome behaviour” from some diners. Kelly Hill, who runs the Tavern Inn in Newquay, told the BBC she had pulled out of the scheme because the demand has brought them “nothing but negativity”. Read more here.
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Rest of the world
Ireland has imposed new restrictions including limits on public gatherings and discouraging people from using public transport after spike in coronavirus cases in the last three weeks. The rules will be in place until at least 13 September. Read more here.
There are concerns in Italy after hundreds of new cases of coronavirus were registered at the weekend, the rate of which had not been seen since the end of May. Read more here.