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

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Thursday morning. We will have another update for you at 6:00 PM BST.

1. Safety concerns for over 50 million PPE masks

Legal documents seen by the BBC show that 50 million masks ordered by the government to protect health workers will not be used by the NHS due to safety concerns. The FFP2 respirator masks were purchased under a £ 252million contract signed in April with Ayanda Capital Limited. But their use in the healthcare department has been discontinued because they have loops that catch on the user’s ears and there is concern that this may not provide a tight enough fit to prevent inhalation of viral particles. Ayanda Capital says its product meets the specifications set by the government.

2. UK slowdown is “less severe than expected”

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

Image copyright
And Kitwood

Legend

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


3. Trump campaign targeted at virus allegations

Facebook and Twitter took action against Donald Trump’s re-election campaign after posting an excerpt from an interview with the president in which he said children were immune to the coronavirus. This goes against official US public health advice. Facebook said it removed the video because it violated its policies on disinformation about coronaviruses. Twitter said the Trump campaign account will be suspended until the tweet is deleted. Experts say children can catch and spread the virus, but they are less likely to get seriously ill.

Image copyright
Reuters

4. City dwellers seek country life

The coronavirus appears to have made some people wonder why they continue to live in cities, according to real estate website Rightmove and realtors Knight Frank. A desire for countryside and outdoor space has prompted more city dwellers to want to relocate, while the increase in remote working means that some people may now consider living further away from their desks. 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 the lockdown began, says he will continue until there are no more coronavirus deaths in England. Mr Goose, from South Yorkshire, started his nighttime routine on March 29 and has maintained it for 130 days so far. Each performance is broadcast live and dedicated to NHS staff, key workers and victims of the pandemic.

Image copyright
Paul Goose


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