Coronavirus: Care homes criticism, ethnicity studies and ‘zombie’ firms


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. Critical care homes report

Care homes in England were “thrown to the wolves” by the government at the height of the coronavirus outbreak, a cross-party committee of MPs has concluded. Their damning report says it was an “appalling” and “reckless” error to allow thousands of patients to be discharged from hospitals into homes without being tested in order to free up beds on wards. At least 20,000 residents in England and Wales have died from Covid-19. BBC Reality Check has looked closely at what advice homes were given, and when.

2. Covid ethnicity studies

UK researchers are to receive millions of pounds of government funding to study why people from an ethnic minority background are significantly more likely to die from Covid-19 than the white population. Six projects will look at factors including social circumstances, genetic risk factors and underlying health conditions. Scientists hope results will be translated into guidance that will help save black, Asian and minority ethnic lives within months. Reality Check has looked at some of the potential reasons behind the elevated risk.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionBAME coronavirus deaths: What’s the risk for ethnic minorities?

3. ‘Zombie companies’

A wave of firms kept afloat during lockdown are facing cliff-edge in the autumn, according to BBC analysis. After a surge of companies going bust in March, the rate of insolvencies slowed as the government rescue package, including loans and tax deferrals, kicked in. But debts have continued to mount, and with demand still depressed, there are fears many will not survive.

Insolvency notices have slowed from April

More firms have gone under this year so far

4. Staycation struggles

Pandemic-related travel restrictions, including the recent changes for Spain, have led to a surge in bookings for UK holiday rentals and hotels – and with increased demand comes low availability and high prices. Unable to visit family in the Caribbean as usual, Rachel Douglas was hoping to find somewhere in Devon or Cornwall for a trip with her daughter, but now faces, as she calls it, a summer in the “Costa del Enfield” because accommodation is so expensive.

Image copyright
Rachel Douglas

Image caption

Rachel Douglas has found affordable staycation accommodation thin on the ground

5. ‘Saved from the streets’

Simon had been sleeping rough in shop doorways in Manchester for three years when coronavirus hit. He was offered an en suite room at the Holiday Inn and says the opportunity has changed his life. Simon hopes he can now stay off the streets for good – but he’ll need continuing support to do so.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionSimon had been sleeping rough in shop doorways for three years when coronavirus reached the UK

Get a longer news briefing from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning, by signing up here.

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 so much focus on travel, why isn’t the UK testing people arriving at airports, like other countries are doing?


What questions do you have about coronavirus?

In some cases, your question will be published, displaying your name, age and location as you provide it, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. Please ensure you have read our terms & conditions and privacy policy.

Use this form to ask your question:

If you are reading this page and can’t see the form you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question or send them via email to



BBC News