Covid: Garden photo shows ‘work meeting’ and shoppers avoid High Streetson December 20, 2021 at 7:53 am

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

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

1. Garden gathering shows work meeting, says No 10

Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie and 17 members of staff have been pictured during lockdown in Downing Street’s garden with bottles of wine and a cheese board. It was a “work meeting”, No 10 has said, after the picture was published in the Guardian. The paper says the image was from May 2020 when restrictions on meeting other people were in place. Details of this latest gathering comes as senior civil servant Sue Gray carries out a review of other alleged events inside government buildings, which were against the rules at the time.

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2. Shoppers avoid High Streets

The number of people on High Streets fell on the crucial weekend just before Christmas amid fears over the Omicron Covid variant. However, retail parks did appear to be more popular. Consumers are “clearly cautious” about venturing out to the shops, says one expert, while another suggests people are also making quick “in-and-out” visits.

Shoppers wearing face masks on Oxford Street on 18 December 2021

Image source, AFP

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3. Cutting back on Covid stats this Christmas

Should we cut back on Covid stats this Christmas? Our head of statistics, Robert Cuffe, has three reasons for people to cut down on them, two numbers you can “cheat” with and a tip if you do want to do cold turkey. Take a look.

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4. The incentives to boost vaccination rates in India

A litre of cooking oil, boosted chances for parents to get their children a place in a good preschool, and a 10% discount on alcohol – although that was later withdrawn. These are some of the incentives, or nudges, states in India have been offering people to boost vaccination numbers. Have these incentives tempted people? Find out here.

People stand in queue amidst the process of receiving free ration. Government Ration shops distributed 5Kg free food grain under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Anna Yojana (PMGAY) during the Covid-19 crisis

Image source, AFP

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5. Virtual reality carols at Christmas

Adam has learning difficulties and finds in-person religious services challenging, but the pandemic led to more of those happening online. And now, over Christmas, this means he’ll be able to watch virtual reality carols after they were released by the Church of England.

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Government statistics show 147,218 people have now died, with 128 deaths reported in the latest 24-hour period. In total, 11,361,387 people have tested positive, up 82,886 in the latest 24-hour period. Latest figures show 7,611 people in hospital. In total, 51,463,255 people have received their first vaccination. Updated 19 Dec.

And there’s more…

Here’s what you should do to look after yourself if you catch Covid.

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

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