Covid-19: Economic growth below expectations and cases ‘getting out of control’

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Friday morning. We’ll have another update for you at 18:00 BST.

1. Economic growth below expectations

UK economy expanded for the fourth consecutive month
in August, when the government’s Eat Out to Help Out discount dining scheme boosted demand at restaurants and pubs. However, the 2.1% growth was below expectations and the economy is still 9.2% smaller than before the pandemic struck.

2. Covid cases ‘getting out of control’

Coronavirus is “getting out of control”
in the north of England and the country is an “unbelievably serious situation”, according to junior education minister Gillian Keegan. Her comments come as the government faces criticism for failing to consult local politicians over planned measures, such as the potential closure of bars and restaurants. Meanwhile,
in Scotland, hospitality venues will shut
for 16 days from 18:00 BST across the central belt and face tighter rules elsewhere.

3. Bedside test shows promise in hospitals

rapid test for coronavirus, conducted at the bedside
and analysed by a machine on the same ward, could help cut the spread of the infection in hospitals, a study suggests. Scientists at Southampton General Hospital who used the method to test 500 people say it produced results within two hours, making it much quicker than sending swabs to labs.

Image copyright

zetat/Getty Images

4. ‘My bank account request disappeared down a hole’

Entrepreneurs say
start-up companies are being “stifled” at birth as they find it almost impossible to open a business account
, while banks are tied up processing coronavirus loan support schemes. Sophia Murday, who turned an empty Glasgow shop into a greengrocer, compalins: “It is literally impossible to start a business if you can’t process cash flow through a bank account, take card payments and run books through connected software.”

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Sophia Murday

5. Heritage sites given ‘lifeline’ recovery funding

More than 450
heritage organisations across England are to share the first wave of a £1.57bn
government handout to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. Sites to receive funding from the Culture Recovery Fund’s first tranche of £103m include Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, the Severn Valley Railway and Gloucester Cathedral, below.

Image copyright

Getty Images

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