Covid-19: UK ‘at tipping point’ and hopes BCG vaccine could save lives


Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Sunday morning. We will have another update for you on Monday.

1. UK ‘at the tipping point’

One of the UK’s top scientists has warned the country is at a ‘tipping point’ and more deaths will follow an increase in cases in the coming weeks. Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy medical director, said ‘the seasons are against us’ as the country faces a similar situation with the coronavirus to that last seen in March. He urges people to help the NHS by limiting contact with others. There is “clear evidence of a gradual spread in older age groups” despite the resumption of the epidemic in the country among young people, he said. On Saturday, 15,166 people in the UK were said to have tested positive for the coronavirus and there were 81 more deaths.

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2. Covid MP says she “panicked”

Margaret Ferrier, the MP who used public transport when she knew she was infected with coronavirus, called the incident a “blip”. She had to deal with calls to quit smoking after traveling from Glasgow to London with symptoms, then returned home after testing positive – but now says she won’t quit. In an interview with the Scottish Sun on Sunday, she said the virus “makes you act out of your character”. Ms Ferrier explained that when she got her test result in London, she started to ‘panic’ and ‘want home’ because she did not have a home in London. The MP has been suspended by the SNP and the Metropolitan Police are investigating what happened.

3. Could a 1921 vaccine help save lives?

British scientists have started testing the BCG vaccine, developed in 1921, to see if it can save lives from Covid-19. It was designed to stop tuberculosis, but there is some evidence that it can protect against other infections as well. About 1,000 people will participate in the trial at the University of Exeter. While vaccines are designed to train the immune system to leave lasting protection against a particular infection, the process can lead to larger changes in the immune system. Millions of people in the UK are thought to have received the BCG vaccine at a younger age, but they would likely need to be vaccinated again to benefit from it, if it is found to help protect against the coronavirus.

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BCG vaccine (Bacillus Calmette-Gu ?? rin) against tuberculosis, photographed at the Institut Pasteur in Paris in 1931.

4. Students criticize universities for feeding on self-isolation

Universities face anger from students over the cost and quality of the food some received while secluding themselves in on-campus accommodation. Undergraduates say food parcels were often filled with “junk,” which meant they had to ask parents for fresh fruits and vegetables. A student said her breakfast included crisps and a chocolate bar. Institutions said they were working hard to provide supplies to students.


A student in isolation in Nottingham received bread, jam and an apple for breakfast

5. The orchestra breaks the silence

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has started a 12-week season of special concerts, ending the longest period of silence in its 127-year history. Performing to a live audience of just 285 people, the orchestra also sold 10,000 tickets for people to stream shows online. The musicians are socially distant and screens have been installed on stage to make the place safe by Covid. CEO Douglas Scarfe said: “The darker it is, the more people need music.”

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Media captionTammy Thorn says the lockdown made her realize how special the performance was

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