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Coronavirus: Evening update as test with 20-minute results trialled

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Thursday evening. We'll have another update on Friday morning.

1. 'Results in 20 minutes' test being trialled

A new swab test - which tells people within 20 minutes whether they currently have coronavirus - has begun a six-week trial, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said at No 10's daily briefing. Time is saved because the swabs do not need to be sent to a laboratory. The news comes on the same day the government announced it had secured a supply of antibody tests - which identifies those who have had the virus at any stage - with health and care staff the first to undergo them.

Image copyright Reuters

2. Four phases to easing of Scottish lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon has bided her time - but has now announced that restrictions will be relaxed slightly in Scotland from next Thursday as the first step in the nation's "route map" out of lockdown. Specific dates have not been set for the subsequent phases - but parents and pupils have been told that schools will not reopen until the new school year begins on 11 August.

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Media captionCoronavirus: Scottish schools to restart in August

3. U-turn on NHS fees for overseas staff

It was the political row of the day. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and some Tory backbenchers had called for NHS and care workers to be exempt from paying the health immigration surcharge that charges non-EU migrants £400 a year to use the NHS. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had defended the charge but within hours the announcement came from Downing Street that an exemption would be granted.

Image copyright PA Media

4. Today's key figure is... 137,000

That's the number of people estimated to be currently infected with coronavirus in England. The figure is calculated weekly by the Office for National Statistics, extrapolated from a survey of nearly 15,000 people - to give some sort of idea of how many are infected, including those who don't know they are. It amounts to 0.25% of the population but if you can't picture that, this graphic will help:

5. Small (and big) footsteps on path to reopening zoo

With zoos being mainly outdoor attractions, many are busy making plans on how they can again welcome visitors. Staff at Chester Zoo say indoor animal habitats will remain shut and they have also installed an array of social distancing measures (for the humans, not the animals). No reopening date has yet been announced but, when it arrives, animal lovers will get the chance to see the zoo's latest arrivals - such as elephant calf Riva Hi Way, penguin chicks and rare twin lemurs.

Image copyright chester zoo

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