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Coronavirus live blog, May 19
Last updated: Tuesday, 19 May, 2020, 17:50
Pubs could “hopefully” reopen during July
Environment Secretary George Eustice has said he is hopeful pubs will be safe to reopen to customers in July, providing scientific evidence supports it.
Mr Eustice told MPs that the government is already working with the hospitality and pub sector to identify what and how social distancing measures could be implemented.
He said” As the Prime Minister has outlined, we intend that the hospitality sector, including pubs, would be able to tentatively start gradually opening hopefully during the month of July - subject to the epidemiology supporting such a move”.
His comments came as Tory David Johnston (Wantage) said pubs operating as takeaways “is not a substitute for being open properly”.
Churches need to prepare for online presence post-lockdown
The Church of England will need to prepare for a “significant” online presence following the UK lockdown after a spike in interest, MPs have been told.
Conservative Andrew Selous, the Church of England's representative in the Commons, said five million people listened to the Archbishop of Canterbury's Easter Day sermon, while the Amazon Alexa church app has had a 70 per cent usage increase in the last month.
Polling suggests one in four adults have remotely joined a religious service during lockdown, with a third of 16 to 30 year-olds taking part.
As a result, Mr Selous said the church will need to keep up “a significant online presence well after lockdown has finished”.
Banks are helping vulnerable customers
This is how banks are helping vulnerable customers across the UK during the coronavirus lockdown:
29 more coronavirus deaths recorded in Scotland
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that 29 more coronavirus deaths have been recorded in Scotland.
These figures take the total number of deaths in Scotland to 2,134.
There are 1,447 patients in hospital with confirmed or suspected coronavirus, up 20 from 1,427 on Monday (18 May).
Of these, 59 people are in intensive care, marking a fall of four.
Sturgeon pledges £33 million to help get people back to work
Scotland’s First Minister has pledged £33 million to go towards helping people return to work once lockdown eases.
Nicola Sturgeon said a rise in unemployment underlines the need to restart the economy as quickly as is safely possible, after stating the current restrictions are creating an “economic emergency”.
Most of the money will go to Fair Start Scotland and will be used to support young people, disabled people and lone parents.
174 more coronavirus deaths in England
Another 174 coronavirus deaths have been announced by NHS England.
This brings the total number of confirmed deaths in hospitals in England to 24,913.
A further 29 deaths were recorded in Scotland, 17 in Wales and seven in Northern Ireland.
Places of worship to be “supervised” after reopening
Places of worship will have to be “supervised” when they reopen to the public, the Archbishop of Westminster has said.
Speaking on a Zoon panel about the process of safe reopening, Cardinal Vincent Nichols suggested certain sections of churches could be closed off each day to allow cleaning to take place.
He said: “I think one thing is very clear, access to a church in the foreseeable future will be supervised, so it's not as if the church doors will be flung open and say 'come in when you want'.
"There will have to be people there, the whole process will have to be supervised."
“Each day a different section of the church might be made available, it doesn't have to be the whole church, the whole time.”
Pizza Express to reopen restaurants for delivery
Pizza Express has announced plans to reopen a number of its restaurants for home delivery.
The Italian chain will start delivery from 13 locations in London over the next 10 days, with customers given a choice from a limited menu.
The news comes following an announcement from Wagamama, which is expanding its delivery service at 67 locations across the UK by the end of May.
Popular fast food chains including KFC, McDonald’s and Subway have also recently started trading again on a limited basis.
Contact tracing could help to ease UK lockdown
The UK is to introduce an NHS contact tracing app which is planned to be rolled out on a large scale.
The app is currently being tested on the Isle of Wight, after trials started on 5 May.
Wales considering changing ban on outdoor meeting rules
The Welsh Government is considering making changes to its ban on people meeting up in outdoor spaces.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said the decision to amend the rule would be informed by “developing evidence” regarding the risks of transmitting the virus outside.
New evidence, published on Tuesday (19 May) by the government’s Technical Advisory Cell (TAC) suggests that coronavirus is “very likely” to decay within a few minutes when exposed to sunlight.
Such findings will feed into “active considerations” about easing restrictions at next week’s lockdown review.
At present, people in Wales are banned from meeting with people they do not live with outdoors.