Coronavirus: PM warns second lockdown 'disastrous' and a snake for a face mask

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday evening. We'll have another update for you on Thursday morning.

1. PM: Second lockdown would be 'disastrous' for economy

After a day defending the beleaguered testing system in the House of Commons, Boris Johnson faced more questions from a committee of MPs this evening on the possible impact of a second national lockdown. He told them it would be likely to have "disastrous" financial consequences for the UK and insisted the government was doing "everything in our power" to prevent another one. The prime minister also admitted there was not enough testing capacity. Earlier he blamed a "colossal spike" in demand for ongoing problems with accessing tests and delayed results. Labour, meanwhile, continues to accuse the PM of "incompetence" in his handling of the outbreak.

Media caption,

Angela Rayner accuses the PM of blaming others for his “incompetence" with "no plan" for a second coronavirus wave

2. 'Don't go to A&E for a test'

In Bolton, more than 100 people turned up at an A&E asking for Covid-19 tests, prompting the hospital trust to urge people who are not seriously ill to stay away. Bolton has the highest infection rate in England with 196 cases per 100,000 people recorded on Saturday. But people there say they can't get booked into test centres. Here's how to get a test.

Image source, Reuters

3. 'Booking a test is like getting Harry Potter tickets'

With many staff and students unable to tell a winter bug from the virus, a big factor in the rise in demand has been schools reopening. One teacher told us he spent 11 hours trying to book a test for his young son. "It's like booking Harry Potter tickets," he said. School leaders estimate about 740 schools in England have sent home some pupils, whether a bubble, a year group or multiple year groups, said Steve Chalke, founder of the Oasis trust. He said one parent called him "in tears" after spending days trying to book a test for her child with special needs, only to be offered one she could not reach without a car.

Image source, Reuters

4. Another Welsh county goes into lockdown

A second county in Wales is to face more restrictions on daily life after cases topped 82 per 100,000 people over the past seven days. First it was Caerphilly. Now, from Thursday evening, the people of Rhondda Cynon Taff, in south Wales, must not leave the area without a reasonable excuse and pubs and restaurants can't open later than 23:00. Live in the area? These are the new rules.

Image source, Getty Images

5. A particularly slithery face mask

In what may well be a world first, a man has been spotted using a snake as a face covering. A fellow passenger on the Swinton to Manchester bus said she had initially thought the man was wearing a "funky mask" until she saw the snake slither over a hand rail. Transport officials later confirmed live snakes are not acceptable face coverings, so here's how to make a more suitable one.

Image source, PA Media

And don't forget...

Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

Got concerns about whether your child should still be in school with sniffles and a sore throat? We might be able to give you some guidance.

Image source, BBC

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