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August 2 round-up: PM wants plan to avoid second UK lockdown; Clarification urged over schools reopening; Astronauts head for splashdown

Time 9 months ago

  • Here’s your news, business and motoring round-up for Sunday, August 2

PM ‘orders preparations to avoid second national lockdown’

Boris Johnson has ordered officials to work up a plan for avoiding a second national lockdown, according to reports.

The PM is considering asking elderly people to shield once again and is mulling lockdown-like conditions for London should there be a second wave of coronavirus infections, The Sunday Telegraph and The Sunday Times said.

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The claims come after Johnson was forced to announce a slowdown of the lockdown easing on Friday, with planned relaxations for the leisure and beauty sectors delayed after a rise in Covid-19 cases was recorded.

Johnson held a ‘war game’ session with Rishi Sunak on Wednesday to run through possible options for averting another nationwide lockdown that could stall any potential economic recovery, it was reported.

Disaster declared in Australian state as coronavirus cases rise

The premier of Australia’s hard-hit Victoria state has declared a disaster as he imposed sweeping new coronavirus restrictions across Melbourne and elsewhere.

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An evening curfew will be implemented across Melbourne from 8pm to 5am, Daniel Andrews said, as the state of disaster proclamation gave police greater power.

He said 671 new coronavirus cases had been detected since Saturday, including seven deaths. It comes amid a steadily increasing toll in both deaths and infections over the past six weeks in Victoria.

Renomination of Trump for president to be held in private

The vote to renominate Donald Trump for US president is to be held in private later this month, without the press present, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Convention said.

Trump called off the public components of the convention in Florida last month, citing rising cases of coronavirus across the country, but 336 delegates were scheduled to gather in Charlotte, North Carolina, on August 24 to formally vote to make him the Republican party’s standard-bearer once more.

A convention spokeswoman said: ‘Given the health restrictions and limitations in place within the state of North Carolina, we are planning for the Charlotte activities to be closed press.’

Overhaul of planning system to build homes faster

Plans for a radical shake-up of a ‘complex and outdated planning system’ are due to be announced this week, in a bid to speed up the building of new homes.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has proposed a complete overhaul of a system that has been in place since just after the Second World War, and one he says has failed to keep up with the needs of the country.

Union urges clarification over schools reopening

School leaders, teachers and parents must have ‘greater clarity’ on the reopening of schools amid a rise in Covid-19 cases, a teachers’ union has said.

Boris Johnson previously pledged that all pupils at primary and secondary schools in England would return in September, following months of closures for most students.

Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, told the Observer: ‘In light of recent changes to plans for relaxing lockdown measures, the government needs to provide greater clarity to school leaders, teachers and parents about what this will mean for the reopening of schools in September.’

A warning from chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty that the country is ‘near the limit’ for opening up society will prompt questions for parents as well as teachers, Roach told the newspaper.

Nasa astronauts leave ISS en route to first splashdown return in 45 years

Two Nasa astronauts will make the first splashdown return in 45 years after SpaceX’s astronaut carrier the Crew Dragon successfully undocked from the International Space Station and began its journey back to Earth, SpaceX said.

Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are due to splash down at 7.48pm BST, but they are returning to Earth amid the threat of Hurricane Isaias, which is edging closer to their landing destination on the south Florida coast.

The astronauts made history on May 30 when they became the first people to launch into low-Earth orbit on a commercial spacecraft that was built by SpaceX. Their mission, named Demo-2, also marked the first time Nasa had launched astronauts from US soil in nine years.

The last time astronauts made an ocean landing was in July 1975 during an Apollo mission.

New Bentayga enhanced further

Four new collections of Bentley accessories are now available for the new Bentley Bentayga to enhance the specification and capability of the luxury SUV even further.

The portfolio – Exterior, Interior, Touring and Protection – has been developed by the same engineers at Crewe as the cars themselves.

A highlight is the sports exhaust, created in conjunction with manufacturer Akrapovič, which Bentley says creates a more exciting exhaust note.

And looking at the weather forecast…

Today
The morning will be mostly dry with sunny spells across England, Wales and Northern Ireland but there will be a few showers in the west. It’ll be mostly cloudy with frequent showers in Scotland. Showers will become more widespread in the afternoon, especially in the north.

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Tonight
In the evening, most showers will fade, allowing clear spells to develop. It will remain cloudy with a threat of rain in the far north of Scotland. During the night, cloud and a few showers will affect south-west England but clear spells will persist for most.

Monday
It will be mostly dry and bright across England and Wales but rain is possible for a time in south-west England. Scotland and Northern Ireland will be cloudy with a few showers.

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