Covid-19: Wales and Scotland ease lockdown as economy takes hiton March 12, 2021 at 7:45 am

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Five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Friday morning.

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Friday morning. We’ll have another update for you this evening.

Lockdown is being eased in Wales from Saturday, with four adults from two households able to socialise outdoors, some outdoor sports facilities reopening and solo visitors allowed into care homes. The Welsh government says all primary pupils can return to class from Monday, when hairdressers will also reopen for appointments. Non-essential shopping will gradually resume from 22 March.

File image of cars driving past a sign advertising Welsh Covid restrictions

image copyrightReuters

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Rules on meeting people outdoors in Scotland have also been relaxed, with up to four adults from two households able to meet in private gardens. Four people aged 12-17 can meet even if they are all from different households, while outdoor non-contact group sports for adults have also restarted.

Edinburgh people walk past a sign advertising social distancing

image copyrightPA Media

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Winter lockdowns across the UK contributed to a 2.9% contraction in the economy in January, according to the Office for National Statistics. Deputy national statistician Jonathan Athow says as well as shops being closed, manufacturing saw its first decline since last April. He called it a “notable hit, albeit smaller than some expected”. The Bank of England had expected the economy to shrink by 5%.

A man walks past a sign reading "Back Soon" in the window of a closed shop in Edinburgh city centre

image copyrightPA Media

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Royal Mail is to trial Sunday parcel deliveries for major retailers in response to the online shopping boom accelerated by the pandemic. The company says it has “processed unprecedented parcel volumes” in the past year and the trial with a number of brands will open the door to package deliveries seven-days-a-week.

Generic image showing Royal Mail vans

image copyrightPA Media

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The BBC will provide further learning support to teachers and pupils from April, in the form of a three-hour Bitesize Learning Zone on CBBC and BBC iPlayer on school days. It will initially feature archive content until the introduction in May of new programming, which the corporation’s Patricia Hidalgo says will be “full of fun to help kids learn and catch-up”.

Kate Thistleton

You can check how many cases there have been in your area.

Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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