Covid: Boosters added to NHS Covid pass for travel and Austria to enter full lockdownon November 19, 2021 at 5:03 pm

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

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

Millions of travellers who have had a booster dose of a Covid vaccine in England are now able to prove their vaccination status using the digital NHS Covid Pass. It enables quarantine-free travel to countries such as Israel, Croatia and Austria, which have a time limit for vaccination status to be valid. Booster jabs appeared automatically for users of the Covid pass from midday on Friday, but the data is not available immediately via the Covid Pass letter service. Third jabs are not being added to the domestic pass as they are not currently needed for someone to qualify as being fully vaccinated. Boosters were first offered to over-50s, health and social care staff and people with certain health issues before being offered to over-40s in the UK last week.

Chart showing that while the number of first and second vaccine doses being administered is now low in England, the number of daily booster doses has been rising
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Just days after imposing lockdown on the unvaccinated, Austria has announced a nationwide Covid lockdown starting on Monday amid record infections. Under the lockdown, which will last a maximum of 20 days, non-essential shops will close and people will be asked to work from home. But schools will remain open for children who need in-person learning. The measures will continue until 12 December, with a review after 10 days. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said people would be legally required to get vaccinated from 1 February 2022. Austria has one of the lowest vaccination levels in Western Europe.

People wait in front of a vaccination bus during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vienna

Image source, Reuters

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A cinema in Swansea has been told to shut down after its owner defied Welsh government rules and refused to ask for Covid passes. Earlier this week, Anna Redfern, owner of Cinema & Co, said she would not obey the law, saying it was an “infringement of our human rights”. Notices were pinned outside the premises, stating the business had not carried out a Covid risk assessment. Since Monday, people have had to show an NHS Covid pass in Wales to legally enter cinemas, theatres and concert halls. Ms Redfern confirmed to the BBC she had been told to close by Swansea council, but would not comment further.

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A top whisky expert has revealed how he is still living in lockdown because he fears losing his senses and his livelihood to Covid-19. Since March 2020, Blair Bowman has only gone out of his Edinburgh home for walks and to collect his weekly food shop. Pre-Covid, he travelled the world for corporate events, but now does all his work online – and his business is booming. Mr Bowman told BBC Radio Scotland’s Mornings programme that currently “the risks are just much too high for me.”

Blair Bowman

Image source, Blair Bowman

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A intensive care consultant in Wales has written a moving open letter to NHS staff as they continue to deal with Covid-19. Having previously wrote an open letter to patients and their families during the pandemic, Dr Matt Morgan, who works at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, decided to write another for his exhausted colleagues. He read his latest letter on BBC Radio 4’s Today on Friday morning, telling staff: “You may be cracked, but not broken. You are still there. You still care. But now the helpers need help.”

Dr Matt Morgan
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You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

Wondering which children are being vaccinated – and why? Here’s our explainer.

Daily Covid cases graphic
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Image source, BBC

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