Coronavirus: Unemployment benefit claims spike and UK testing regime criticised

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

1. Huge rise in unemployment benefit claims

Figures just out show the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in the UK soared last month – the first full month of the coronavirus lockdown – rising by 856,500 to 2.097 million in April. It comes as research from an independent think tank found young people were most likely to have lost work or seen their income drop because of the pandemic. The BBC has spoken to three people recently made redundant.

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Media caption‘I’m vulnerable but have to go out and look for work’

2. Big sales expected

There could be large discounts on offer when clothing stores begin to reopen next month. The government is hoping for a phased reopening from 1 June, subject to retailers being able to follow new guidelines. Analyst Richard Lin of Retail Economics said stores “will have to discount heavily” to sell excess stock that may now be out of season.

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Getty Images

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There have been long queues at B&Q, which has already opened stores

3. Football edges forward

From today, England’s Premier League footballers can restart group training under strict conditions. Clubs can expect surprise inspections to monitor compliance. A decision on whether or how to end the season is yet to be taken though, and there’s now an expectation that the suggested restart date of 12 June will need to be pushed back.

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Getty Images

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Players have been training individually until now

4. Did VE Day parties cause a spike in cases?

Prof John Wright, a doctor and epidemiologist in Bradford, is writing a diary for BBC News from the coronavirus front line. He thinks there could be a link between a jump in cases at his hospital and VE Day parties that ended in fist fights, or in embraces. Get the latest picture in your area too.

5. How disabled people are problem-solving

The online world is providing a lifeline for many disabled people, especially those who’ve been left without their carers. We go inside one such community, The Bunker, which is kicking around ideas like using a smart speaker in place of a human support system.

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Dennis Queen

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Dennis Queen says companionship is key to the Bunker


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And don’t forget…

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

After President Donald Trump revealed he was taking the unproven anti-malarial medication hydroxychloroquine as a preventive treatment for Covid-19 – despite medical warnings – BBC Reality Check looks closely at these sorts of drugs.


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