Covid-19: new employment assistance program and longer wait for test results


Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Thursday night. We will have another update for you tomorrow morning.

1. New emergency measures from the Chancellor

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has revealed a new employment assistance program that will allow workers to receive 77% of their regular wages for six months from November 1. The new worker support framework only applies to “viable” jobs and the government’s contribution to workers’ wages will drop from 80% of a monthly salary to 22%. In addition, the Chancellor extended the reduction in VAT for the hospitality and tourism sectors. It comes as the government announced another 6,634 cases of Covid-19, an increase from Wednesday’s figure of 6,178, plus 40 deaths, from 37.

Media playback is not supported on your device

Media legendRishi Sunak: “We must face the difficult choices presented by the coronavirus”

2. Longer waits for test results

People are waiting longer for test results from community Covid testing centers in England. Only 28% received the results within 24 hours of the week until September 16. That’s down from one in three (33%) last week and two in three (67%) the week before. Over 5% of tests took more than three days to complete. On a brighter note, over a million people downloaded the government contact tracing app for England and Wales on day one of its release. Here is how you can take a Covid test.

Image copyright
Getty Images

3. Students need PPE to go to the bathroom.

Students are being forced to self-isolate in their residences following the Covid outbreaks at several Scottish universities. The mother of an 18-year-old student in Glasgow explained how “she has to put on PPE to go to a wee”. Meanwhile, opposition parties have argued the Scottish government should have been better prepared for coronavirus outbreaks in universities. Scottish students are no longer allowed to go to pubs. In England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has not ruled out a national Christmas lockdown for students.

Image copyright
Getty Images

4. MP seen unmasked on Tube

A photo has emerged on social media of DUP MP Sammy Wilson reading a magazine on public transport in London without any form of face covering. A witness claimed he did not wear a mask during his underground journey from Westminster to Heathrow. Mr Wilson said he only removed it briefly to answer a phone call. You can view the rules for face masks across the UK here.

5. Reaction of Dutch celebrities

Dutch celebrities, including singer and model Famke Louise (pictured), have come under heavy criticism in the Netherlands after publicly announcing they were abandoning their efforts to fight Covid-19. Their campaign came as the workforce in Dutch intensive care units reached 100 for the first time since June, and infection rates rose 60% from last week. The young stars used the hashtag #ikdoenietmeermee – “I’m out”.

Image copyright

Receive a longer daily BBC briefing delivered to your inbox, every weekday morning, by signing up here.

And do not forget …

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

Our FAQ contains everything you need to know about the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app.

What questions are you asking yourself about the coronavirus?

In some cases, your question will be published, displaying your name, age and location as you provide them, unless you specify otherwise. Your details will never be published. Please make sure you have read our terms and conditions and privacy policy.

Use this form to ask your question:

If you are reading this page and cannot view the form, you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question or email them to


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here