Here’s what you need to know on 26 August. This article was updated at 5pm.
Deaths: Public Health England (PHE) said 41,465 people had died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday, an increase of 16 on the day before. Read more here.
Local lockdowns: Wigan, Rossdale and part of Blackburn with Darwen have been released from local lockdown restrictions today. People living there can visit friends and family for the first time since 31 July. Read more here.
Policy: Conservative MP Huw Merriman has criticised the government for “making it up as they go along” following a U-turn on pupils wearing face coverings in schools. Late on Tuesday the government advised the advice would be changed so that pupils in areas with local lockdown have to wear them in corridors, and elsewhere head teachers will have flexibility. Read more here.
Politics: Permanent secretary Jonathan Slater has been sacked from his role at the Department for Education after the exams fiasco which saw the government U-turn on using an algorithm to determine pupils’ grades at A level. The algorithm was introduced as no exams could be sat due to coronavirus. Read more here.
Wales: The Welsh government has recommended face coverings be used in communal areas in secondary schools, where social distancing is not possible. The new guidance will mean coverings will be worn on school buses too. Read more here.
Crime: One in three people have reported someone to the police over lockdown breaches, figures from the Office of National Statistics show. Their survey found half of people noticed breaches in their area. Read more here.
Vaccine: The coronavirus vaccine being developed by Cambridge University could begin clinical trials in the UK in the autumn. The vaccine has been given a £1.9m boost by the government’s innovation agency. Read more here.
A vaccine being developed in Australia has shown no safety concerns according to the researchers. The trial data shows the vaccine triggers a response with the immune system to protect against the disease. Read more here.
Business: Linklaters, one of the world’s biggest law firms, has told staff they can work from home for up to half the time, a change that will remain in place even after COVID-19 restrictions ease. The new policy signals a step-change in how corporate leaders are viewing offices and productivity. Executives have been surprised how much staff can get done at home and are now considering giving staff more power over where and when they work. Read more here.
Finance: Britain’s lenders are set to extend support to homeowners hardest-hit by the coronavirus crisis, but a watchdog has stopped short of ordering another round of three-month mortgage holidays. The UK’s financial regulator is likely to order banks to let the worst-affected borrowers make reduced or no payments after many mortgage holidays run out at the end of October. Read more here.
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Rest of the world
Germany has extended its work support scheme until the end of next year. The initiative allows employers to reduce workers' hours but keep them on its books and was scheduled to end in March. Read more here.
Two patients in Europe have been reinfected with coronavirus according to reports in the Netherlands and Belgium. Scientists have said it is to be expected but is not good news. Read more here.
A military study has found a chemical commonly used in insect repellant kills the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) have shared their preliminary findings for others to pick up the research. Read more here.