Here’s what you need to know on 19 May. This article was updated at 3pm.
Deaths: The number of deaths linked to coronavirus in the UK has passed 44,000, according to new data. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed that care home deaths fell by a third in the week up to 8 May as the impact of COVID-19 on residents continued to be scrutinised. Read more here.
The number of people in who have died across the UK after contracting coronavirus has risen by 545. The number was given in the government’s daily press briefing. Read more here.
Science: A top scientist has told the government that coronavirus may never be fully eradicated as he warned that the disease is “almost uncontrollable”. Professor David Robertson, head of viral genomics and bioinformatics at the of University of Glasgow, told the House of Lords science and technology committee that COVID-19 could be around for years to come. Read more here.
People who survive a severe coronavirus infection may experience delirium or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), research suggests. After looking at people admitted to hospital with different coronavirus strains, scientists from University College London concluded a quarter of people in hospital during the ongoing pandemic may have delirium. Read more here.
Policy: The government is looking into the possibility of “air bridges” which could save Britons summer holidays. The proposal would mean opening up some travel routes so that people don’t have to quarantine. Read more here.
Pubs could reopen in July with social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic, the government has said. Environment secretary George Eustice said he is hopeful pubs can open their doors again in two months, as long as scientific evidence supports the move. Read more here.
Ministers and royals are urging people to “pick for Britain” as the country faces a shortage of farm workers during the pandemic. George Eustice, the environment secretary, said the UK needed more people to bring the harvest home, during the daily coronavirus government briefing. Prince Charles launched the campaign on Tuesday morning. Read more here.
Politics: Support for the government has plummeted since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed, new polling suggests. Amid the UK’s continued struggles with the COVID-19 outbreak, a YouGov tracker updated on Tuesday shows more voters – 42% – disapprove of Boris Johnson’s administration for the first time since early March. Some 39% currently approve. Read more here.
A former minister has warned rushing through controversial immigration reforms next year risks shortages in roles on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. Caroline Nokes, the UK’s immigration minister until last year, sounded the alarm in a virtual Commons debate as MPs voted to end EU free movement rules last night. Read more here.
Finance: Pizza Express is the latest chain to emerge from lockdown, by reopening 13 London restaurants for delivery only for 10 days. It said it would begin with an edited menu from restaurants in “London villages”, including Balham, Fulham and Notting Hill, where it had high demand. Read more here.
Royals: The Queen’s staff members could face pay freezes as the Royal Family prepares to lose millions of pounds of income during the coronavirus pandemic. Buckingham Palace will not be open to tourists this summer, as usually happens while the Queen is in Balmoral. Read more here.
Rest of the world
US president Donald Trump is taking an anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, to prevent COVID-19 despite warnings it is unproven as a treatment for the disease. He told a press conference he had started taking it after hearing “good stories”. Read more here.
Wildlife markets in China ‘stack the odds in favour’ of viruses spreading from animals to humans, a UK scientist has said. John Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said animals are being kept “cheek-by-jowl” in Chinese wet markets. Read more here.
Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice
A great-great-grandmother is knitting a model hospital called Knittingale to raise funds for the NHS. Margaret Seaman, 91, is creating the woollen masterpiece at the home she shares with her 72-year-old daughter Tricia Wilson in Caister-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Read more here.
A disabled man is working on his 2.6 challenge, walking 0.26 miles every other day to raise money for Scope. Gabe Judge, 21, has cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, and is blind, but has raised more than £14,000 for the disability charity with his efforts. Read more here.