Five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday evening.
Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday evening. We’ll have another update for you on Thursday morning.
1. UK cases top 100,000 for first time
A further 106,122 positive Coronavirus tests have been recorded in the UK – the first time the daily figure has topped 100,000. The previous high was on 17 December, when there were 93,045 cases reported, according to government figures. It’s the highest number of cases since mass testing began. Infections have remained at record levels in recent days. Wednesday’s figures also showed 140 deaths reported within 28 days of a positive Covid test.
2. Jabs for some primary-age children approved
Vulnerable primary-age children should be offered a low-dose Covid vaccine, government advisors say. It comes after the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the use of a new formulation of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for 5-11 year olds, having reviewed safety data. The dose would be a third of that given to adults, with eight weeks between the first and second doses. A final decision on vaccinating this age group has not yet been made – it has to be approved by ministers. Meanwhile, a record 968,665 boosters and third doses were reported in the UK on Tuesday.
3. Wales brings back rule of six
New coronavirus measures are going to be introduced in Wales from 26 December to try to halt the spread of the Omicron variant. People can only meet in groups of up to six in pubs, cinemas and restaurants from then and two-metre social distancing rules will return to public places. Premises that sell alcohol can only offer table service, with people having to wear facemasks and give their details for contact tracing. Outdoors events will be limited to 50 and indoor events to 30 – but life events like funerals and weddings will be exempt. New measures for Northern Ireland are also being decided by Stormont ministers – they’re expected to include the closure of nightclubs from 20:00 on 26 December.
4. Omicron wave appears milder
Early evidence suggests fewer people are needing to go to hospital with Omicron – possibly as much as a two-thirds reduction – than with other variants. That’s according to preliminary studies published in the UK and South Africa pointing at this wave of the virus being milder. The researchers said the findings were a “qualified good news story”. But there are still concerns that even if Omicron is milder, the number of patients could overwhelm hospitals. And the study is based on very few cases and had few people over the age of 65 – who are most at risk of severe disease.
5. ‘I won’t have to isolate at Christmas now’
People who were facing Christmas in isolation have been telling Radio 1 Newsbeat how relieved they are at a change of England’s rules. It means some people who test positive for Covid can now end self-isolation after seven days rather than 10 – as long as they test negative on lateral flows on days six and seven and have no symptoms. If he tests negative on Thursday, Alex Morgan will be out on Christmas Eve – which is also his 25th birthday. He says – all being well – he’s planning on going to the pub with friends to celebrate. You could read the new rules on self-isolation here.
And there’s more…
Remind yourself what the rules on mixing this Christmas and beyond are here.
You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.
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