Covid-19: Test changes a ‘hammer blow’ to travel, and the pros and cons of mandatory jabson December 5, 2021 at 8:01 am

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

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

Travel sector bosses have criticised the return of pre-departure tests for travellers heading to the UK. From 04:00 GMT on Tuesday everyone aged 12 and over will have to take a test a maximum of 48 hours before leaving. Clive Wratten, chief executive of the Business Travel Association, described the measure – announced in response to the Omicron variant – as a “hammer blow” to the sector. Airlines UK called the change a “premature” move that would “hit industry and passengers before we see the full data” on the effect of the Omicron variant. Here are the rules for travelling to the UK.

A man wearing a face mask is seen waiting at the arrival area of terminal 5, heathrow

Image source, Reuters

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The British Medical Association has welcomed plans to allow GPs in England to defer some services they provide patients to deliver Covid booster jabs instead. Practices can postpone minor surgery and routine health checks for over-75s and new patients until 31 March. The new measures will release GPs from “filling out paperwork” and chasing unnecessary and often undeliverable targets, the BMA said. All adults in England are expected to be offered boosters by the end of January, but can it be done?

A Coronavirus booster jab

Image source, EPA

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Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has said it will be a “last-minute” decision on whether to extend Covid passes to pubs and restaurants in the country. He said the emergence of Omicron means the situation in Wales is developing “so fast”. The first case of Omicron was confirmed in Wales on Friday. Ministers are to consider whether to expand the Covid pass scheme over the next week, with the next Covid rules review due on Friday. Currently, Covid passes are required for cinemas, theatres, nightclubs and large events in Wales. Find out more about Covid passes and how you get one.

Group of people drinking at pub

Image source, Getty Images

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Just a few days ago, Germany placed major restrictions on the unvaccinated, barring those who haven’t been jabbed from much of public life. Across the world, there are requirements for people in certain professions to be vaccinated. And in Austria, there is a plan to introduce mandatory vaccinations for everyone by February, with those who refuse facing fines – bar medical and religious exemptions. So, what’s at stake? The BBC spoke to public health and other experts to find out more.

Vaccines administered in Italy

Image source, EPA

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There have been reports globally of captive and domesticated animals being infected with Covid. Now, two hippopotamuses have gone into quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus at a zoo in Belgium. It is unclear how Imani, aged 14, and Hermien, 41, caught the virus, Antwerp Zoo said, adding the animals were doing well – apart from having runny noses. The zoo has tightened restrictions until the animals test negative.

Picture of hippo at Antwerp Zoo, Belgium

Image source, Getty Images

Government statistics show 145,551 people have now died, with 127 deaths reported in the latest 24-hour period. In total, 10,421,104 people have tested positive, up 42,848 in the latest 24-hour period. Latest figures show 7,373 people in hospital. In total, 51,068,961 people have received their first vaccination

The Conservative Party is going ahead, while some other employers have cancelled or scaled back their plans. But what are the rules on Christmas parties this year? Find out in our guide.

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

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