UK

Coronavirus: UK in recession and A-levels 'triple lock'

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Wednesday morning. We'll have another update for you at 18:00 BST.

1. UK economy officially in recession

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has seen the UK economy go into recession for the first time in 11 years. Gross domestic product - the measure of economic activity - contracted by a record 20.4% between April and June, according to the Office for National Statistics. It said that while the economy began to bounce back in June as lockdown eased, GDP in June was a sixth below the level recorded in February before the virus hit.

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2. 'Triple lock' pledge for A-level and GCSE exam results

Ministers have promised A-level and GCSE students in England that their final grades will be no lower than the results they got in mock exams. The move is part of a "triple lock" aimed at ensuring students' results are not downgraded following the cancellation of this year's exams due to the coronavirus pandemic. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that if a pupil's results on Thursday were lower than their mocks, then they will be able to appeal. Teachers' leaders have criticised the move as "panicked and chaotic".

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3. Aberdeen local lockdown to be reviewed

Measures to clampdown on a spike in coronavirus cases in Aberdeen are due to be reviewed later, a week after being brought in. Pubs and restaurants in the city have been closed along with restrictions on travel and visiting other households. The local lockdown was enforced after a number of cases were initially linked to the Hawthorn Bar early in August. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the measures would last no longer than necessary, but has not ruled out extending them.

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4. Coronavirus and the 'ghost ships'

As airline travel has been hit by the pandemic, so has the demand for cruise holidays. As a result, the English Channel has become home to a number of cruise liners with nowhere to go. They're moored out at sea because either it's too costly or there isn't enough room to keep them in port. They've received a great deal of interest as a new part of Britain's coastal scene and have become a tourist attraction in their own right - with one entrepreneur offering boat trips to get close to the massive ships.

Image copyright PA Media

5. Has champagne lost its fizz?

It should have been a good year for champagne, thanks to near-perfect weather conditions in the north-eastern French region where the sparkling wine is made. But, according to the BBC's Hugh Schofield, never in living memory have market conditions been so poor - thanks to the coronavirus pandemic which has left a billion bottles lying idle in cellars. But the collapse in demand has revealed tensions between the farmers who grow the grapes and the champagne houses making it.

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And don't forget...

...wearing a mask is mandatory in some circumstances, although the rules can differ in the UK nations. We have put together a user's guide to wearing a mask.

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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