Coronavirus: England lockdown eased as data shows economy hit

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

1. A few freedoms

Lockdown measures are being eased slightly across England after more than seven weeks. People can spend more time outside, meet a friend at the park and take part in some sports, such as golf. The majority of restrictions still remain in place though - see our full breakdown of the rules. And importantly, things are different in Scotland, in Wales and in Northern Ireland.

The Office for National Statistics says public health restrictions and social distancing were a key factor behind some bad economic news just released - the biggest quarterly contraction in the UK economy since the financial crisis.

Image source, Getty Images
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Face masks are now recommended for anyone who cannot avoid using public transport

2. Moving back on the cards

The housing market is also getting back up and running from today, allowing viewings, conveyancing and removals. An estimated 450,000 buyers and renters saw their plans put on hold when lockdown was imposed. Estate agents must, like other workplaces, ensure social-distancing rules are followed. See what a Covid-secure office might look like, and find out why garden centres are so relieved to be open again.

3. Support scheme opens for self-employed

From this morning, millions of self-employed people can apply for an income support grant of up to £7,500. The government says the money will be paid into the accounts of those eligible six days later. It comes after the furlough scheme, which supports employees' wages, was extended by the chancellor on Tuesday.

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Some newly self-employed people are not eligible for help

4. Young fear for the future

School and university leavers face acute challenges at this difficult time, and experts warn those with the fewest qualifications will be worst hit. The BBC has spoken to several young people who paint a picture of a very uncertain future, as their desired career paths are closed off and back-up options for temporary work in the likes of retail and hospitality disappear too.

Image source, Jared Thomas
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Jared Thomas has seen work fail to pick up

5. The road to recovery

With so much focus on the death toll, it's important to remember that the vast majority of coronavirus sufferers do get better, even those who are very ill. Our medical correspondent Fergus Walsh meets some patients starting their rehabilitation after time in intensive care. And read more on how long it takes to recover here.

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How do you recover after nearly dying from coronavirus?

And don't forget...

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page and get all the latest in our live page.

Policymakers say they are following the science on coronavirus, so what do the experts say about easing lockdown rules?

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