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Coronavirus: ‘Rule of six’, GP appointments and life under lockdown

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

1. ‘Rule of six’

Social gatherings of more than six people have become illegal in England. Versions of the “rule of six” – explained in detail – are now in place right across the UK and are designed to provide clarity. However, there are significant differences between nations. It applies indoors and out in England and Scotland, but not in Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland and Wales, children under 11 and 12 respectively are exempt. A reminder of why this is all being brought in – that crucial R number is rising.

2. GP appointments

Every GP practice in England has been sent a letter telling them they must make sure patients can access face-to-face appointments where needed. It follows concerns that vulnerable people have been shut out due to the pandemic. The Royal College of GPs said it was an “insult” to suggest its members hadn’t been doing their jobs properly. An estimated half of the 102 million appointments from March to July were by video or phone call. Read more on how GPs are changing the way they work.

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Media captionDr Debbie Noland wears full PPE when seeing patients and cleans the examination room between patients

3. Bleak jobs picture

Employers in Britain are preparing for more than twice as many redundancies than they did at the height of the last recession. According to the Institute for Employment Studies, about 380,000 were planned from May to July this year – set against 180,000 over a comparable period in 2009. Redundancies could reach 735,000 this autumn, researchers say. TUC leader Frances O’Grady is urging the chancellor to “stand by working families” as the furlough scheme nears its end.

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Getty Images

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Many household names have announced redundancy plans since the pandemic began

4. Record rise

Globally, a new daily record of coronavirus infections has been set. The World Health Organization reported more than 307,000 new cases on Sunday. Deaths rose by more than 5,500, bringing the global total to 917,417. The biggest rises were in India, the US and Brazil, but countries across Europe are also seeing a surge in infections.

5. Life under lockdown

The Duchess of Cambridge and the National Portrait Gallery will today unveil a digital exhibition of photographs taken by members of the public during lockdown. More than 31,000 submissions poured in, along the themes of Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness. The final 100 selected by judges are moving and uplifting – take a look at a few in our gallery and see them all on the National Portrait Gallery’s website.

Image copyright
Jason Baird

Image caption

The Stockport Spider-Men kept children entertained during lockdown

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And don’t forget…

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

Plus, you may have heard about Covid marshals who’ll be patrolling city centres to enforce the “rule of six”. But who are they and what powers do they have?

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