Covid-19: ‘Common sense’ call over foreign travel, and cash for NHS Wales backlogon May 20, 2021 at 7:40 am

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

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

Travellers should use “common sense” when considering overseas trips, the transport secretary has said, as he defended the UK’s traffic light system. Grant Shapps said people should only go to countries on the “amber” list in “exceptional circumstances”, amid concern over the Indian Covid variant. The boss of airline EasyJet said people were “confused” by the system. Follow the story here.

People at Heathrow Airport

image copyrightReuters

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An initial £100m will be spent to try and deal with the record backlog of NHS treatments caused by the pandemic, Wales’ new health minister has said. Eluned Morgan said the money will “kick start” the recovery of the health and care system. All health boards will get a share of the funding for new equipment, staff and promoting “new ways of working”. Last month NHS Wales statistics showed more people were on waiting lists than ever before.

Emergency unit with doctors in PPE

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In the latest expansion of Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme, people aged from 25 to 29 years are now eligible for a Covid-19 jab. Supplies remain limited but there will be about 20,000 slots available weekly, with additional slots released every Thursday. England’s rollout has reached the 34 and over age group, people aged 40 and over in Scotland have been invited to have their jabs but in some parts of Glasgow 18-39 year olds can book, while in Wales everyone aged 18 and over is being offered a vaccine.

Medical staff member prepares a shot of a Covid-19 vaccine at Belfast's SSE Arena

image copyrightReuters

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They’ve been hailed as virus success stories – places that have seen virtually zero or single-digit Covid cases since the start of the year. But Singapore and Taiwan have seen a sudden and aggressive rise in cases – with Singapore logging 248 new infections just last week, and 1,200 in Taiwan. By global standards, these numbers may seem small – but for these places, such figures would have been unthinkable just months ago. So what exactly went wrong?

Taiwanese people wearing a face mask pay worships at Lungshan Temple

image copyrightGetty Images

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After a band member tested positive for coronavirus, Iceland’s Eurovision song contest entry will not be allowed to perform in this year’s live shows. Daði og Gagnamagnið, who have been favourites to win, will stay in the competition but Jóhann Sigurður Jóhannsson said: I’m generally very sad about the whole situation”. The semi-final takes place on Thursday followed by the final on Saturday.

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Vaccination will be expanded and second doses are being offered earlier to some people to tackle the spread of the Indian variant of Covid-19, so who can get the vaccine now?

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

Government statistics show 127,694 people have now died, up three in the latest 24-hour period. In total 4,452,527 people have tested positive, up 2,696 in the latest 24-hour period. Latest figures show 939 people in hospital. In total, 36,985,505 people have received their first vaccination.
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