Coronavirus: NHS waiting lists, zoos to reopen and schools pressure

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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. Bleak prediction on NHS waits

NHS waiting lists in England could more than double to 10 million people by the end of the year. That’s the warning from the NHS Confederation – which represents hospitals and ambulance trusts. It say staff shortages, a treatment backlog and social distancing measures all present huge challenges. and more funding is vital. The Department of Health insists it will continue to provide the resources the NHS needs. There’s also a warning today that at least 10,000 people are at risk of suffering irreversible sight damage as a knock-on effect of this crisis.

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2. Zoos to reopen

Boris Johnson will lead the daily Downing Street briefing later where he’ll outline further plans to lift England’s lockdown. It’ll include the reopening of zoos, safari parks and other outdoor attractions. They’ll join non-essential retailers – the likes of clothing stores – in being allowed to resume operations on Monday, providing social distancing measures are in place.

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Media captionShopping will look different when stores reopen in England – here are some tips on staying safe

3. Pressure over primary schools move

The prime minister will inevitably face questions – at the briefing and PMQs – about the decision to scrap plans for all primary school children in England to return to the classroom before the summer break. Wednesday’s papers are scathing in their criticism of the move – the view from some parents who spoke to the BBC was mixed. Here’s all you need to know on the school situation, including the picture facing secondary pupils.

4. ‘Nothing’s open – it’s heartbreaking’

Many of England’s seaside towns were already struggling with decay and poverty when coronavirus hit. Will the effects of lockdown tip them into a terminal decline – or is there optimism about a surge in staycations given all the difficulties surrounding international travel? BBC News has been to three seaside towns to find out.

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Blackpool – above – Great Yarmouth and Hastings each face their own set of challenges

5. Call for nationwide ‘thank you’

With the weekly clap for carers winding down, a campaign has been launched asking the country to participate in one huge round of applause on 5 July, the day regarded as the birthday of the NHS. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the CBI and celebrities are among those involved. On the night before, people will be asked to light a candle to remember those who’ve died.

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