Covid-19: Test and Trace failure ‘helped variant spread’ and Prince William gets jabon May 20, 2021 at 4:23 pm

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

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

Failures in England’s Test and Trace system were partly responsible for a surge in the Indian coronavirus variant in one of the worst affected parts of the country, according to a report seen by the BBC. Technical difficulties left eight councils unable to identify cases of the variant for three weeks from late April – including Blackburn with Darwen, where a surge in infections has been linked to the Indian variant. The Department of Health said the temporary problem concerned a small number of contacts of positive cases but was resolved quickly. Read more here: where is the Indian variant and how is it spreading?

Contact tracing app
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The reopening of indoor hospitality and a foreign travel traffic light system have been given the go-ahead in Northern Ireland from Monday. The Northern Ireland Executive met on Thursday to sign off the changes. These also include allowing six people from two households to meet indoors in homes. The traffic light system for foreign travel will follow a similar system already implemented in the rest of the UK – read more about it here.

Bars reopened

image copyrightPAcemaker

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The boss of EasyJet has defended people who want to travel to amber list countries – such as Spain and Italy – saying it is “absolutely legal”. It comes after the government advised people not to go to those countries on holiday. Johan Lundgren said the government stance was “very confusing” and frustrating for passengers. The legal ban on foreign holidays ended in the UK on Monday, with the government bringing in a traffic light system of rules for international travel. The amber list covers the vast majority of foreign destinations, including most of Europe, and the government says people should only travel to these countries in exceptional circumstances.

Graphic showing how the traffic light system for arrivals will work
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The Duke of Cambridge has shared a photograph showing him getting his first Covid jab on Tuesday, joining the UK’s total of more than 37 million people to have received a first dose. Prince William, 38 – who received his jab at London’s Science Museum – is the latest senior royal to share having received the vaccine, following the Queen and the Prince of Wales. “To all those working on the vaccine rollout thank you for everything you’ve done and continue to do,” he tweeted.

Prince William receiving his jab

image copyrightKensington Palace

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An orchestra which disbanded more than 60 years ago has been revived to provide a platform for musicians hit by the pandemic. The Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra – established in Leeds in 1947 but disbanded eight years later – is due to accompany headline acts at major concerts and events this year. Trumpeter Anthony Thompson, who has played for Pope Benedict XVI and performed with Sting, took a job as a builder’s labourer when the pandemic hit. He will be among those joining the orchestra, which is due to play at concerts around Yorkshire this summer.

Viola player Sophia Dignam

image copyrightPA Media


The speed of the vaccine rollout varies across the UK, head here to find out when you will be offered the jab.

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

Government statistics show 127,701 people have now died, up seven in the latest 24-hour period. In total 4,455,221 people have tested positive, up 2,874 in the latest 24-hour period. Latest figures show 894 people in hospital. In total, 37,250,363 people have received their first vaccination.
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