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22nd July 2020

Science Coronavirus: Lockdown latest, growing wealth divide and saliva tests

Science Coronavirus: Lockdown latest, growing wealth divide and saliva tests


Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Monday morning. We’ll have another update for you at 18:00 BST.

Science 1. Lockdown latest

Boris Johnson will discuss the next steps in relaxing England’s lockdown with senior scientific advisers and ministers today. He’ll set them out for the public on Tuesday. The expectation is that the prime minister will confirms pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers can start reopening on 4 July. It looks likely, too, that the two-metre social distancing rule will be reduced – we’ve looked at the science behind that decision.

Science 2. Shopping and (small) celebrations

Non-essential shops are able to open today in Wales for the first time since lockdown was imposed. As in other parts of the UK, strict social-distancing and hygiene measures must be in place. A ban on weddings and civil partnerships in Wales is also being lifted, but no big parties will be allowed. See more on what you’re allowed to do and where in our comprehensive guide.

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Media captionCardiff’s arcades are introducing social distancing

Science 3. Masks and dental care

Face coverings are now compulsory on public transport in Scotland. The rule applies to buses, trains, trams, taxis and more, with only a few exemptions. Other changes coming into effect from today include the partial reopening of dentists and places of worship. Professional sport can also get going again behind closed doors. See the latest figures on coronavirus in Scotland.

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Media captionCoronavirus: How to wear a face covering

Science 4. Entrenching disadvantage

The pandemic is widening existing inequalities of wealth, according to think tank the Resolution Foundation. It says lower income households are turning to borrowing, most commonly credit cards, to cope, while many higher income households, by contrast, have boosted their savings. Meanwhile, a charity is warning that already disadvantaged children are developing serious mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, during this time.

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Getty Images

Science 5. Saliva testing trial

A new “no swab” saliva coronavirus test that lets people collect their own sample at home is being trialled in Southampton. The hope is that it could provide an alternative to taking swabs from the nose and throat which can be uncomfortable and hard to do without help. Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the study is “highly promising”.

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Media captionBBC Reality Check looks at why testing matters

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Science And don’t forget…

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page and get all the latest from around the world via our live page.

Even countries currently controlling the virus fear “the second wave”. Is that inevitable? And how bad could it be?

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