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Coronavirus: Help for firms repaying loans and the smells we miss with long Covid

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Saturday morning. We'll have another update for you tomorrow morning.

1. Small firms to get more help repaying loans

Small businesses are to get more time to repay state-backed loans taken out to help survive the lockdown. The changes include giving companies an option to extend the length of Bounce Back loans from six to ten years under a "pay-as-you-grow" initiative. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the move was to give companies "breathing space to get back on their feet", amid fears continuing restrictions will spark a wave of company closures.

2. Top surgeon 'tackles vaccine hesitancy'

A leading surgeon whose work includes helping knife crime victims has a new mission - tackling Covid "vaccine hesitancy" in ethnic minorit

y communities. BBC community affairs correspondent Adina Campbell spent the day with Martin Griffiths at the Royal London Hospital, where he's been delivering the jab.

3. Johnson and Macron discuss vaccine collaboration

Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron have discussed co-operation in the global fight against Covid-19 in their first conversation since an EU-UK row over vaccine supply. No 10 said the prime minister and the French president agreed that collaboration between governments was vital for a successful global vaccination progra

mme. It comes after the EU withdrew its threat last week to restrict vaccine exports to Northern Ireland after an outcry in the UK. The dispute was prompted by concerns on the continent over the supply of jabs and the slow rate of the rollout. Our correspondent in Berlin has explored the tensions over the rollout in Germany here.

4. How healthcare workers came to feel 'expendable'

Almost a year into the pandemic, many hospital staff still say they don't feel properly protected at work. They blame a sudden weake

ning in policy on masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) back in March last year. Now health unions and many professional groups say the new variants of coronavirus could put staff at even greater risk. Doctors have been sharing their concerns with our science editor David Shukman, with one saying the level of PPE he was given made him feel almost "e


5. 'The smells and tastes we still miss'

Many people with Covid-19 temporarily lose their sense of smell - but some are still waiting for it to return months later. Parosmia, a condition where tastes and smells are distorted, and pleasant smells often become disgusting, is thought to affect roughly one in 20 people who have coronavirus. Some of those impacted have been telling us about the flavours and aromas they miss most - from Nando's to breakfast in bed.

And don't forget...

You can read about how the vaccine rollout is working in the UK - and when you might get the jab - here.

And there's more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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