Coronavirus: Some Leicester lockdown rules eased and Russian spies warning

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

1. Some restrictions in Leicester eased - but not all

The local lockdown in the city of Leicester will continue, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said - although it will be partly relaxed for schools and early years childcare. Earlier, the city's mayor called for 90% of the lockdown to be lifted and said residents will be "very angry" if restrictions are extended further. Meanwhile, the rules for the hundreds of thousands of people shielding in Scotland and Wales are being relaxed.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Testing stations have been set up in several parts of Leicester

2. Russian spies 'target vaccine research'

The security services in the UK, US and Canada are warning that Russian spies are targeting organisations trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine. The hackers "almost certainly" operated as "part of the Russian intelligence services", the UK's National Cyber Security Centre said. Russia has denied responsibility. Read the story plus analysis from our security correspondent here.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Security services did not specify which organisations had been targeted

3. Encouraging results in vaccine trials

In more positive vaccine news, the early results from clinical trials have been encouraging - and have raised hopes that an effective vaccine could materialise. There are 23 vaccines currently at the clinical trial stage around the world. Studies in the US and UK suggest several experimental vaccines produce a good immune response in volunteers without serious side effects.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Some scientists are calling for volunteers to be exposed to the virus to accelerate research

4. Emergency loans for universities about to go bust

Universities have already warned they might face cash problems from the coronavirus pandemic - with 13 saying they could go bust. But under new plans announced by the education secretary, universities in England at risk of insolvency could apply for emergency loans from the government. But any rescue would come with conditions, including cutting pay for vice chancellors and senior staff.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The government has got "last resort" plans to avoid the collapse of a university

5. Spanish king leads memorial

Earlier today, Spain's king led a socially-distanced ceremony to commemorate the more than 28,000 people who have died with coronavirus in the country. Relatives of some of the victims attended and laid white roses outside the Royal Palace in Madrid.

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Media captionTributes were paid to the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic outside the Royal Palace in Madrid.

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And don't forget...

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page and get all the latest from our live page.

Plus, with just over a week until face coverings are compulsory in English shops, we've answered some of your questions about masks.

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