Five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday evening.
Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday evening. We’ll have another update for you tomorrow morning.
Children who are stopped from returning to school because of misleading Covid test results are being unfairly punished, experts say. Reports have emerged of pupils having to isolate after testing positive at school using the on-the-spot rapid tests – only for a more reliable follow-up lab-based PCR test to find them negative. Rapid tests taken at home or in workplaces can be overruled by a lab test but the government insists this cannot happen for tests done in school – though it has been unable to explain why.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says it is still too early to book foreign summer holidays – despite some countries saying they hope to welcome vaccinated British tourists from May. Current plans say people in England could be allowed to go on holiday abroad from 17 May, but Mr Shapps said there were “lots of questions… about how safe it will be in June”. It comes as Heathrow’s chief operating officer said queues up to seven hours long for border control at the airport were “unacceptable”. Unions representing Border Force officials said part of the problem was that Covid restrictions required immigration officials to work in bubbles of 10.
The prime minister has “corrected” European Council President Charles Michel after he claimed on Tuesday that the UK had imposed an “outright ban” on the export of Covid-19 vaccines. Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson said the government had “not blocked” any sales to other countries. Mr Michel then tweeted that there were “different ways of imposing bans or restrictions on vaccines/medicines”. But he did not elaborate on this. The argument over vaccine exports comes at a time when European leaders are under pressure over the slow distribution of jabs.
Several Central European countries are struggling with a new wave of the virus. The number of patients in intensive care has reached a new high in the Czech Republic, with authorities starting to send patients abroad for treatment as facilities struggled to cope. In Hungary, the number of cases in the current wave has surpassed the previous peak in December.
A couple who have been married 67 years but have been kept apart since the first Covid lockdown have said it is “absolutely wonderful” to be reunited. Restrictions had meant Harry McNeilly, 91, was unable to visit his 92-year-old wife, Flo, at Eden Cottage Care Home in Darlington. But after the rules were relaxed on Monday, the pair were finally able to sit together and hold hands. Mrs McNeilly said being able to hold her husband’s hand meant “the absolute world” to her.
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