Covid-19: New job support scheme and longer waits for test results

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

1. Chancellor's new emergency measures

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has revealed a new job support scheme which will allow workers to receive 77% of their normal salaries for six months from 1 November. The new framework for supporting workers only applies to "viable" jobs and the government's contribution to workers' pay will fall from 80% of a monthly wage to 22%. In addition, the chancellor has extended the VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors. It comes as the government announced another 6,634 Covid-19 cases, an increase on Wednesday's figure of 6,178, plus 40 deaths, up from 37.

Media caption,

Rishi Sunak: "We need to face up to the hard choices coronavirus presents"

2. Longer waits for test results

People are waiting longer for test results from England's community Covid testing centres. Only 28% received results within 24 hours in the week up to 16 September. That is down from one in three (33%) last week, and two in three (67%) the week before. More than 5% of tests took more than three days to turn around. On a more positive note, more than one million people have downloaded the government's contact-tracing app for England and Wales within its first day of release. Here is how you can get a Covid test.

Image source, Getty Images

3. Students in Scotland to stay away from pubs

Students across Scotland have been asked not to go to pubs, parties or restaurants in a bid to stem a spate of coronavirus outbreaks. Hundreds of students have tested positive at campuses across the country, while many are being forced to self-isolate in their halls of residence. Meanwhile, opposition parties have claimed the Scottish government should have been better prepared for coronavirus outbreaks at universities. In England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has not ruled out a national Christmas lockdown for students.

Image source, Getty Images

4. MP seen unmasked on Tube

A photo has emerged on social media of DUP MP Sammy Wilson reading a magazine on public transport in London without any form of face covering. One witness claimed he did not wear a mask for the duration of his underground journey from Westminster to Heathrow. Mr Wilson said he only took it off briefly to answer a phone call. You can check the rules on face coverings across the UK here.

5. Dutch celebrity backlash

Dutch celebrities including singer and model Famke Louise (pictured) have been heavily criticised in the Netherlands after publicly announcing they were abandoning efforts to combat Covid-19. Their campaign came as the numbers in Dutch intensive care units hit 100 for the first time since June and infection rates rose 60% on last week. The young stars used the hashtag #ikdoenietmeermee - "I'm out".

Image source, RTL4/JINEK

And don't forget...

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

Our Q&A has all you need to know about the NHS Covid-19 contact-tracing app.

Image source, BBC

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