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Coronavirus: Safety concerns over masks and UK recession less severe than feared

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. Safety concerns over 50 million PPE masks

Legal papers seen by the BBC show 50 million masks ordered by the government to protect health workers will not be used by the NHS because of safety concerns. The FFP2 respirator masks were bought as part of a £252m contract signed in April with Ayanda Capital Limited. But their use in the health service has been halted because they have loops which hook over the user’s ears and there are concerns this may not provide a tight-enough fit to prevent virus particles from being inhaled. Ayanda Capital says its product meets the specification the government set out.

2. UK downturn ‘less severe than feared’

The Bank of England has published its first official forecast since the pandemic hit, in which it warns it expects the UK economy to shrink by 9.5% in 2020. This would be its worst performance in 100 years – but better than the 14% contraction that was initially estimated. The Bank says economic recovery has been “earlier and more rapid” than it had assumed when it made that prediction back in May. However, economic recovery from the pandemic is forecast to take longer than first expected – not returning to pre-Covid levels until the end of next year.

Image copyright
Dan Kitwood

Image caption

A man wearing a mask walks past the Bank of England in London

3. Trump campaign targeted over virus claims

Facebook and Twitter have taken action against Donald Trump’s re-election campaign after it posted a clip from an interview with the president in which he claimed children had immunity to coronavirus. This runs counter to official US public health advice. Facebook said it removed the video because it was in violation of its policies on coronavirus misinformation. Twitter said the Trump campaign account would be suspended until the tweet was deleted. Experts say children can catch and spread the virus but they’re less likely to become seriously ill.

Image copyright
Reuters

4. City dwellers seek life in the country

The coronavirus seems to have made some people question why they continue to live in cities, according to property website Rightmove and estate agents Knight Frank. A desire for countryside and outdoor space has led to more city residents looking to move, while increased remote working means some people can now consider living further away from their offices. Rightmove says searches for properties in villages jumped 126% in June and July.

5. Bugler to play until there are no more deaths

Army veteran Paul Goose, who has played the Last Post every night since lockdown began, says he will continue until there are no more coronavirus deaths in England. Mr Goose, from South Yorkshire, began his nightly routine on 29 March and has so far kept it going for 130 days. Each performance is live-streamed and dedicated to NHS staff, key workers and victims of the pandemic.

Image copyright
Paul Goose


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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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