Coronavirus: Greater Manchester lockdown easing U-turn and steroids saving lives

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We have another five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Wednesday evening. We'll be back on Thursday morning with another update.

1. U-turn over Greater Manchester lockdown easing

Lockdown restrictions in Bolton and Trafford were due to be eased overnight after virus cases dropped last month. But that lockdown easing has now been halted by the government due to a "significant" rise in cases. Before the U-turn was announced, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham had called the proposed easing "illogical" and urged the boroughs' residents to ignore it. Bolton currently has one of the highest rates of new virus cases per 100,000 residents in England.

2. Cheap steroids save lives in severe cases

Studies show cheap steroids can save the lives of patients who are critically ill with Covid-19. The findings confirm the results of an earlier trial, which has already led to steroids being used widely for Covid patients in intensive care. The new results show eight lives would be saved for every 100 patients treated. The researchers said the findings were impressive, but stressed steroids were not a coronavirus cure. Read about the progress on treatments here.

Image source, Getty Images

3. Ofqual warned public would not trust exam grades

England's exams regulator says it warned the government of the risk of widespread dissatisfaction with the emergency grading system it used when exams were cancelled due to the pandemic. Ofqual chairman Roger Taylor told MPs there were good reasons to attempt it, including fairness between schools, but he said there were other options, such as delaying exams. Many A-level results were downgraded when Ofqual used a controversial algorithm based on schools' prior grades. After an uproar, the government U-turned and used teachers' estimated grades instead.

Image source, PA Media

4. No tax rise 'horror show', Sunak tells Tory MPs

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has reassured recently elected Tory MPs there will not be a "horror show of tax rises with no end in sight", as the government deals with the costs of coronavirus. Mr Sunak seemingly accidentally revealed the wording of his statement while holding his notes outside 11 Downing Street. It read: "We will need to do some difficult things, but I promise you, if we trust one another we will be able to overcome the short-term challenges." The party's poll lead has been cut in recent weeks, leading to concerns among MPs who seized constituencies in traditional Labour heartlands at the 2019 election.

Image source, PoliticalPics/Steve Back
Image caption,
A photographer picked up the words in Rishi Sunak's statement

5. New Nolan film gives shot in arm to cinemas

Christopher Nolan's latest sci-fi movie Tenet has made £5.33m in its first week on release in the UK and Ireland. It's seen as a welcome shot in the arm as takings have been modest since cinemas began reopening in July. Only one other title - Russell Crowe road rage thriller Unhinged - has made more than £1m over the period since they reopened. Cinemas in Ireland and the UK are operating at a reduced capacity due to social distancing guidelines and masks are mandatory while you watch a film.

Image source, Warner Bros
Image caption,
John David Washington plays the unnamed 'Protagonist' in Nolan's film

And don't forget...

... to read up about what your boss needs to do to keep you safe.

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page and follow the latest developments via our live page.

Image source, BBC

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