Coronavirus: ban on gatherings, vaccine trial interrupted and student struggles


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

1. «Safe six»

Social gatherings of more than six people must be banned in England in a bid to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. The ban will come in from Monday and will be supported by law. There are exceptions – schools, workplaces, organized sports among them. We’ll have more details later, but here’s what we know so far. Ministers and health advisers believe the country is at a critical juncture and the average rate of new infections is now four times higher than it was in mid-July. However, here are five important reasons why it is not that simple.

The number of cases is increasing, but there is no – at least yet – a corresponding increase in hospital admissions

2. Vaccine trial suspended

The results of coronavirus vaccine trials are being watched closely around the world, and hopes for one led by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca are high. However, it was temporarily halted around the world after a participating volunteer in the UK fell ill. BBC medical editor Fergus Walsh said such occurrences were common and the trial could resume in a few days. How close are we to having a vaccine? And when we have one, how are we going to deliver it to seven billion people?

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This is the second time the Oxford trial has been suspended

3. Mask line

A man with chronic asthma says he was “ambushed” by wearing a face mask on an EasyJet flight, despite an exemption card. One of its pilots was filmed threatening to remove the passenger. EasyJet has apologized, but charities say there are other stories of people with respiratory problems who have been denied shopping and public transport. Elsewhere this morning, find out why British Airways is at an impasse with some of its customers over refunds.

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Media legendPictures show EasyJet pilot refusing to accept Nick’s medical exemption card

4. Students in difficulty

Young people in college rely heavily on part-time work – usually in hospitality or retail – to make ends meet while in school. But there are concerns about how many will succeed this year, given the challenges these sectors face and the job cuts they are facing. The Save the Student website encourages those affected to explore other options such as scholarships, grants, and scholarships.

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Ellen Walsh


Ellen Walsh, a student at Solent University, says she struggles to pay her bills

5. Make art from plants during lockdown

To help maintain his well-being during the coronavirus lockdown, photographer Tim Boddy has turned to a natural process to create beautiful prints of flowers and leaves. Known as anthotypes, he uses a technique that dates back to the mid-1800s. See the results of his work.

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Tim Boddy


Tim Boddy created 147 prints of anthotype plants during lockdown

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And do not forget …

Find more information, tips and guides on our coronavirus page.

Also, do you remember the R number? Expect to hear a lot more about this in the coming days as the government tries to control the spike in cases. Here is a reminder of what it is.

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