Coronavirus: PM’s school plea, travel industry struggles and teen anxiety

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

1. Back-to-school message

Boris Johnson has issued a direct appeal to parents to send their children back to school when classes reopen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The PM said it was “vitally important” to get back to face-to-face learning and the risk to teachers and pupils of contracting coronavirus was “very small”. Unions, though, say schools still need more guidance. Children in Scotland have already returned, so hear what’s it been like for some of them. And read more on some of the measures schools are taking.

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2. Travel’s troubles

The UK travel industry has reached a “critical point” and further support is vital to prevent even more redundancies and company closures. That’s the message from industry body Abta. It says the pandemic has already claimed about 39,000 jobs and “the government’s stop-start measures” around quarantine restrictions have meant “the restart of travel has not gone as hoped”.

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Media captionCoronavirus: How to fly during a global pandemic

3. Alcoholism spike

Health charities are urging the government to update its alcohol strategy after a steep rise in the number of people seeking help for drink problems during the lockdown. One helpline says it has received almost 7,000 calls in England and Scotland since March. Chris McLone told the BBC how his drinking escalated when he found himself isolated and anxious during the pandemic.

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Media captionMusician Nick Davis was in alcohol recovery when lockdown started and has had to find new ways to stay sober

4. Scotland eases lockdown further

Bingo, funfairs, arcades and casinos are allowed to reopen from today, and people of all ages can take part in organised outdoor contact sports. Live events such as concerts and comedy will be permitted outdoors in Scotland, and driving lessons can resume. Some of the tighter local restrictions imposed in Aberdeen three weeks ago due to a spike in virus cases have also been lifted today. Hear the voices of some people living in the city.

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5. Teenagers less anxious

Much of the debate around schools has focused on the detrimental impact of closures on children’s wellbeing. However, a study published today suggests anxiety levels among 13 and 14-year-olds actually fell during lockdown. Researchers at the University of Bristol said the results were a “big surprise” and raised questions about the impact of the school environment – pressure, peer relationships and so on – on teenagers’ mental health.

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And don’t forget…

Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

Plus, 10 countries in the world have no confirmed cases (excluding North Korea and Turkmenistan), but can they call themselves winners? The BBC’s Owen Amos takes a look.

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