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All the lockdown measures that will change over July and August

Everything you need to know…

Alex Watson

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Boris Johnson has set out plans to further ease lockdown in England and ‘return to normality’ as early as November. 

The Prime Minister explained the country had made ‘steady progress in our collective effort to beat coronavirus’ in the press conference last week. 

He also revealed the plan for the next four months to ‘return to normality’ from as early as November. 

According to SAGE, the R rate has remained between 0.7 and 0.9 and the number of infections has been shrinking leading the government to create easing plans late July and more in August. 

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The frame for easing the lockdown measures is ‘conditional’ according to Boris Johnson and the changes can be reversed depending on a resurgence of coronavirus. 

Here’s what has been set out: 

July

  • Face coverings compulsory from July 24th in shops and supermarkets with a £100 fine if failed to comply.
  • Gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities can reopen from July 25th

August 

  • Bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos can open from August 1st 
  • The beauty industry will be in full operation from August 1st with the remaining close-contact services permitted
  • Indoor performances to audiences can restart from August 1st (subject to the success of pilots) 
  • Wedding receptions can take place with up to 30 guests from August 1st 
  • Guidance for people who are shielding will be paused from August 1st
  • Employers are encouraged to discuss bringing more employees back to the workplace from August 1st

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You should wear masks and avoid kissing during sex to stop spread of coronavirus, experts say

Strictly no kissing!

Alex Watson

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A sexual health charity has published advice on sex in a pandemic, and it includes avoiding kissing, wearing face masks and not using face to face positions.

Terrence Higgins Trust has said that 84% of people have abstained from having sex with a partner they don’t live with throughout the lockdown, but the charity urges officials that this is no longer realistic.

Asking people to refrain from sex completely is no longer realistic now there has been easing of the lockdown measures. 

The charity said we need to find a way ‘to balance our need for sex and intimacy with the risks of the spread of Covid-19’. 

The charity’s advice is simple, the best sexual partner during a pandemic is either yourself or a partner you already live with. 

The advice explains that masturbation, sex toys, phone sex or online sex are all great and safe alternatives. 

If you are having sex with someone you don’t live with, the charity suggests limiting the number of sexual partners. It also provides a list of other precautions you should take, and some might seem a bit unusual at first.

First up, like anything these days, before and after sex you need to wash your hands for 20 seconds. Nothing gets you in the mood quite like lathering up your hands as you hum Happy Birthday twice over!

Next, the advice states to avoid kissing, to wear a face mask during intercourse and to pick positions that are not face to face – get creative! 

The charity also warns that the virus can be found in some bodily fluids, so ensure you are wearing condoms and dams for oral sex. 

Other advice has even gone one step further, and suggested using physical barriers like glory holes that prevent face-to-face contact but allow sexual contact. 

Dr Michael Brady, the charity’s medical director, said: “We’re clear that abstaining from sex is the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus, but we hope by issuing this advice we will help people to manage the risks of Covid-19 while also being able to have and enjoy sex.”

The charity also stresses the importance of practising good sexual health beyond the pandemic, including getting tested before becoming sexually active again.

Find out more about how to minimise the risk of Covid-19 while having sex here, including how to get tested for STIs and HIV

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Jet2 plane circles Greater Manchester after people report hearing ‘loud bang’

JUST IN.

Alex Watson

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Dark_Snipers117/Twitter

A plane was spotted circling the skies above Greater Manchester this afternoon, with witnesses reporting that they heard a ‘loud bang’.

The Manchester Evening News reports that a Jet2 Boeing 757 took off from Manchester Airport, but ended up circling the skies above Greater Manchester – as seen on online flight trackers.

According to the MEN, the flight has now landed safely back down at Manchester Airport.

A Twitter user said: “I saw the plane as it flew overhead. Following the noises, it stopped climbing and banked left. Looks to be trying to return to the Airport. Fingers/eyes/toes crossed that everyone & everything is okay x”.

Others reported they heard a ‘loud bang’ that could have been an ‘engine backfiring’. 

One user wrote: “That was scary to hear and witness flames coming out of the right engine! Never heard anything like it before living under flight path”.

Some reports on Twitter suggest the noise could’ve been a bird strike. 

The latest update from the MEN says the plane was on a test flight, with the airline set to issue an official statement shortly.

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The ‘best meteor shower of the year’ will be visible over the UK this week

This will be amazing!

Alex Watson

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Michael Mancewicz/Unsplash

The Perseid meteors are active between mid-July and the end of August, and this year they will be reaching their peak this week. 

There is set to be as many as 50 to 100 comets flying across the sky each hour, as part of the spectacle this week.

To get the best glimpse of the meteor shower, you’re gonna have to stay up late. The Royal Observatory advises that The Perseids will be most visible between midnight and 5:30am.

The meteors will be flying across the skies on the nights of August 11th and 12th, meaning you can get a glimpse as early as tomorrow evening!

Nick Iliasov/Unsplash

According to the Royal Observatory: “[The shower] is always above the horizon as seen from the UK, which means that observers in the UK should be able to see some meteors as soon as the Sun sets.

“Therefore, it is worth looking up in the early evening.

“It is always favourable to try and spot meteors when the Moon is below the horizon or when it is in its crescent phase, because otherwise it will act as a natural light pollution and will prevent the fainter meteors from being visible.”

Clint McKoy/Unsplash

Many stargazers wait all year for this extra special meteor shower due to the rate and brightness of the meteors.

The Perseid meteor shower is caused as the Earth moves through a stream of debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, which has a huge 133-year orbit.

The particles hit the Earth at a super speed of 37 miles per second, burning and streaking across the sky.

It is possible to see some rare meteors just before midnight that graze the Earth’s atmosphere and produce the occasional bright long trail, called a ‘fireball’.

The Royal Observatory recommends heading to the countryside for the best view, and to ensure you’re in an area of clear skies.

Find out more about the Perseid meteor shower here

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