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Coronavirus bubbles: How do they work and who is in yours?

As lockdown restrictions are eased further, people across the UK can now set up support bubbles.

The aim is to help people who've been cut off from friends and family.

Those inside a support bubble count as one household and do not have to socially distance from one another.

What is a support bubble?

A bubble is defined as a group of people with whom you have close physical contact. The idea was first introduced in New Zealand.

Single adults living alone - or single parents whose children are under 18 - can now form a support bubble with one other household.

The second household can be of any size and can now include people who are shielding.

The independent advisory group Sage has been asked to examine if, when and how people might safely be allowed to expand their bubbles.

What are the support bubble rules?

Support bubbles must be "exclusive". Once in one, you can't switch and start another with a different household.

People in each bubble can stay in each other's homes and do not have to socially distance. They count as one household, which means that in England a further household is now allowed to stay overnight with them.

Anyone in the bubble contacted as part of England's test and trace programme must stay at home. If they develop coronavirus symptoms, everyone in the bubble must self-isolate.

BBC Front Page News

A-level results arrive after year with no exams

Grades will be higher but there are questions about the fairness of estimated A-level results.

Investigation into fatal Stonehaven train derailment begins

The train driver, a conductor and a passenger were killed in the crash in Aberdeenshire on Wednesday.

UK heatwave: Thunderstorms forecast after scorching temperatures

Yellow storm warnings are issued for swathes of the UK as forecasters warn of flash flooding.

Dolphin stampede wows whale watchers

A safari group sailing near Dana Point in southern California came across a travelling pod of dolphins.

BBC news for County Antrim

A-levels: Thousands in NI to receive their results

Grades will be awarded based on predictions from schools, which have been standardised by CCEA.

Coronavirus: PM to visit NI to discuss Covid-19 response

Boris Johnson will meet the first and deputy first ministers, as well as the taoiseach (Irish PM).

Coronavirus: Care home owner would close to keep residents safe

A County Down care home owner says he would close his facility to visitors to keep residents safe.

Bird watching: The robin that thinks a cuckoo is its baby

The duo, captured on video in a County Donegal garden, are not exactly birds of a feather.

AskTen - Nine things you may not have noticed last week!

1. A radical idea to boost the economy. The only real growth as we recover from this epidemic is going to come from the gig and hustle economy. Lots of high-earning self-employed professionals could be a lot more effective if they took on an assistant. But they don’t because it immediately traps them in the whole nightmare of employment law and tax and pension regulations. It would be easy to exempt the first employees from all those rules. Likewise, how about a £5,000 tax-free hustle allowance that allows people a side gig they don’t have to pay tax on? Both would create jobs. Editor

2. Covid-19 sees a surge in early retirement. The number of people retiring before the age of 65 rose by more than 55,000 as the UK went into lockdown, official data reveals, suggesting that Covid-19 may be driving an increase in early retirement. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that in the March to May period of this year, the number of under-65s describing themselves as “retired” was 55,311 up on November 2019 to January 2020. MoneyWeek

3. Building your resilience muscle. Resilience is a muscle. The more you fall, the easier it is to get back up. Your recovery and bounce back period decrease every time. But what does resilience look like in the workplace, particularly during crisis times? It’s being open and transparent, sharing the vulnerabilities and acknowledging how challenging a time it is. Encouraging professionals to focus on the one action they can take no matter how they feel or how afraid they are will help them bounce back from adversity. We cover leadership and resilience in the next lesson of 10/10, our government supported leadership development and mentoring programme. [READ MORE]

4. Brits in no rush to return to work. It’s taking British workers longer to return to their normal workplace than their counterparts in continental Europe, according to Morgan Stanley research. Working from home continues to be widespread in the UK, where only 52% of employees have headed back to their place of work. This compares to 85% of workers in France, 76% in Germany, 75% in Spain and 74% in Italy. The survey, conducted in mid-July, also found that 82% of workers in the five countries would like to keep working remotely, but only 17% would want to do so five days a week. The Telegraph

5. Something cool to take the heat out of your finances. Emma is a free app is “described as ‘your best financial friend’…designed to help you avoid overdrafts, cancel wasteful subscriptions, track debt and save money”. You can use Emma to set budgets and track all of your accounts, including investments and pensions, in one place. The app has “the ability to find and cancel any wasteful subscriptions you may have signed up to but forgotten about”. The Emma app is registered with the FCA and uses “state-of-the-art security measures, so you can rest assured your data is safe”. Money Management

6. Redundancy advice requests soar. As the government starts to wind down its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for furloughed workers, thousands of companies and employees are seeking redundancy advice. Conciliation service Acas said calls to its redundancy advice line almost tripled in the past two months as the coronavirus crisis continues to impact UK businesses. Acas suggests redundancies should be used as a last resort and recommends employers look for alternatives instead, such as: recruitment freezes; limits on overtime; more flexible working to cut down on office costs; moving employees into other roles. The Times

7. Is the pandemic workday longer? The pandemic lockdown workday is, on average, 48.5 minutes longer than usual, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. It also has about 13% more meetings and 1.4 more daily emails, according to the research, which looked at 3.1 million people in 16 big metropolitan areas in North America, Europe and the Middle East. VPN data has also pointed to odd work hours, Bloomberg reports, attributing the changes to blurred boundaries between work and home and childcare demands. MSN

8. What to do after you mess up at work. Mistakes at work happen. Even though it can be tempting to avoid responsibility, the best thing to do is to own up honestly and fix the issue for the following reasons: [1] The longer you wait to admit the error or solve the problem, the more damage is done. [2] Not revealing the screw up will count as another mistake you made. [3] You build trust among colleagues and bosses, who know you will always update them about any bad situation before it's too late. Editor 

9. The bottom line. The price of a seat aboard Virgin Galactic’s space plane VSS Unity, the interiors of which were unveiled in a series of virtual simulations last week, has been set at  $250,000. Around 600 customers have paid deposits, although no date has yet been set for take-off. MoneyWeek

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