Published on 29th June 2020 by Premela

Welcome to the COVID-19 weekly update. Every Monday we summarise the key events that have happened in the previous week in this pandemic. We will give you a rundown of what’s going on in the UK and the major events globally.

This week’s key statistics

  • UK cases rise from over 305,000 on Monday to over 311,000 on Sunday
  • UK deaths rise from 42,647 on Monday to 43,550 on Sunday
  • Worldwide cases rise from more than 9 million on Monday to over 10 million on Sunday
  • Worldwide deaths rise from over 469,000 on Monday to nearly 500,000 on Sunday

What has happened in the UK this week?

It was announced on Monday that those shielding from the virus will have more freedom to see other people from 6th July. They will be able to meet other people outdoors in groups including up to five others, and form support bubbles.

From 1st August, they will no longer need to shield in England. It is now estimated that 1 in 1700 people currently have the virus.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said that next year’s GCSEs and A levels may be delayed to later in the summer to allow for more teaching time.

Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that from 4th July, hairdressers, pubs and restaurants will reopen in England. Cinemas, museums and other attractions are also set to reopen but not ‘close proximity’ venues such as indoor gyms.

From 4th July, the 2m social distancing rule will be changed to 1m plus, where 2m is not possible in England. Certain precautions should be taken, such as wearing face masks. Northern Ireland is introducing this same easing. 

Members of two different households can meet indoors and stay over but should stay socially distant from 4th July. Weddings of up to 30 people will be allowed from early July.

Experts have warned that tens of thousands of COVID-19 patients who have had a serious infection will need to be checked for permanent lung damage. Prof Chris Witty expects the coronavirus circulating widely to continue into 2021. The epidemic in the UK is shrinking at 2-4% per day.

A human trial of a vaccine being developed at Imperial College London has begun – around 300 people will receive this vaccine. The vaccine already in human trials from Oxford University is now being trialled in volunteers from Brazil and South Africa too.

On Thursday, a major incident was declared in Bournemouth after thousands flocked to the coast. The government has the power to close beaches if it deems it necessary.

Temporary new laws in England and Wales will make it easier for pubs and restaurants to get pavement licenses, in an attempt to boost the hospitality industry.

Northern Ireland will release its own contact tracing app within weeks after the UK government’s efforts failed to have an app ready by the stated deadline.

Leicester might be placed on a local lockdown after a spike in infections. The UK is set to scrap the quarantine for travellers returning from some countries this week. Likely destinations to have ‘air bridges’ with the UK include Spain, France and Greece.

What has happened globally this week?

The WHO recorded a record number of cases on Monday – 183,000 in one day with the most infections coming from Brazil, followed by the USA and India. This week, global total cases of coronavirus passed 10 million.

As cases surge in many US states, some states such as New York and Connecticut will quarantine people coming from hard hit states. On Friday, the US hit a record high of 40,000 new cases in a single day. Some of the southern states are reinstating restrictions on daily life.

China has imposed a strict lockdown near Beijing after an outbreak linked to a food market. Almost half a million people are banned from travelling in and out of Anxin county in Hubei province. Officials in South Korea say that the country is going through a second wave, with outbreaks in other Asian countries including Japan.

Coronavirus cases in Europe have increased for the first time in months. The WHO has said that this marks a very significant resurgence. Two districts in Germany are reintroducing lockdowns after more than 1,550 workers at a meat-processing plant tested positive.

Drug company Moderna plans to launch a phase 3 trial for its vaccine as early as July, pending positive results from phase 2.

Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug, has been endorsed by the European Medicines Agency for use in adults and children over 12 who have pneumonia and require oxygen support.

Unicef is warning that millions of children in Yemen could face starvation as aid drops due to the pandemic.

3 hopeful pieces of news

All of the news on COVID-19 can seem very doom and gloom, but there are good things happening amongst all of the pandemic chaos. Here are 3 snippets of good news from the last week:

  • World’s largest urban farm opened in Paris

The first phase began this week with the farm covering 4000m2 on the roof of the Paris Exhibition Centre. It is planned to cover 14,000m2 by 2022.

  • Sunday marked the third day in a row that Scotland had no coronavirus deaths

A public health expert has said Scotland could eliminate COVID-19 by the end of summer if new cases continue to decline.

  • Free phones distributed to pupils in Lagos

As schools closed, and classes went online, authorities attempted to bridge the digital divide by giving disadvantaged students free phones so that they can access their schoolwork.

Other articles to check out:

Three Big Changes To UCAT 2020

2021 Entry: Personal Statements

Work Experience Medical Schools Want For 2021 Entry


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