Here’s what you need to know on 29 May. This article was updated at 5pm.
Furlough: Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced changes to the government’s furlough scheme, which will gradually introduce payments from businesses and make it more flexible. The support for self-employed people will continue too. He made the announcement in the government’s daily briefing. Read more here.
Back to School: An Assistant Head Teacher who became a national hero during lockdown says the government’s plans are not quite up to scratch. Zane Powles – a teacher in a school in Grimsby who rose to national prominence during lockdown for his efforts to feed vulnerable students – said the decision to send Reception, Year One and Year Six back next week is baffling to him. Read more here.
Science: A World Health Organisation expert says coronavirus has not gone away and is “lurking” as Boris Johnson announced some measures will be relaxed. Dr David Nabarro, the WHO’s COVID-19 special envoy, said people needed to be prepared against the fast-spreading virus as measures are relaxed. Read more here.
Lockdown: National Trust gardens will start to reopen from next month as the government lifts some lockdown measures. Gardens and parkland properties in England and Northern Ireland will open for people who have booked tickets in advance. Read more here.
Thousands of older people may have placed themselves into total self-isolation “unnecessarily” during the coronavirus lockdown, a charity has said. But the chief executive of the elderly care charity Independent Age says there are “real concerns” after a poll revealed 43% of over-65s wrongly believed that the Government’s rules told all over-70s, without any underlying health conditions, to not leave the house. Read more here.
Pubs with beer gardens and restaurants with outdoor spaces are likely to reopen before other hospitality venues, according to a UK government minister. Environment minister George Eustice has confirmed food and drink venues like pubs and restaurants are likely to be able to reopen outdoor spaces first. It was not made clear whether a similar easing would also apply to Britain’s cafes with outdoor spaces. Read more here.
Politics: Boris Johnson has said the case is closed against his special advisor as journalists continue to ask questions about Dominic Cummings’ trip to Durham. The aide denies any wrongdoing. Read more here.
Test and trace: Contact tracers working on the government’s test and trace programme have reported problems on the first two days of the rollout. One said they had no cases assigned to them when they logged onto work on day two. Read more here.
Read more about COVID-19
Rest of the world
New Zealand has all but eradicated coronavirus as it has just one active case. The Ministry of Health announced that the last active COVID-19 case is a patient in their 50s from the Auckland region. Read more here.
Denmark has loosened border restrictions to let couples separated by coronavirus lockdowns finally see each other again. The exceptions, which came into force last Monday, only apply to people from other Nordic countries or Germany. Read more here.
South Korea has been forced to close schools, museums and galleries again after a surge in new coronavirus cases. In three days, 177 new cases were reported. Read more here.
Emergency workers in Japan were honoured with a flypast in recognition of their work. Doctors and nurses were able to enjoy the 'Blue-Impulse' acrobatic flypast as it made its way over the Self-Defence Forces Central Hospital. Read more here.