Covid: Cases hit new high and pharmacies urge test supply booston December 29, 2021 at 7:25 am

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

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday morning.

1. Record daily case rises reported in England, France and the US

Coronavirus cases reached a new high in England with a further 117,093 infections reported on Tuesday as the Omicron variant continues to spread. The US and France have reported their highest daily rises in new Covid cases since the pandemic began. More than 440,000 new infections were recorded in the US on Monday while France saw Europe’s highest ever number of new daily cases on Tuesday, with 179,807 infections.

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2. Pharmacies urge action on lateral flow test supplies

Pharmacists are urging the government to ensure they have enough coronavirus lateral flow tests after demand soared due to restrictions to slow the spread of Omicron. Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that every five minutes, approximately, somebody goes into a pharmacy asking for a test but do not always get them as supply is “patchy”. The UK Health Security Agency said it had doubled the number of kits available to 900,000 a day and they can still be ordered for home delivery via the government website.

Lateral flow Covid test

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3. Huge slump in UK air travel

The Covid pandemic triggered a 71% drop in international flights in and out of the UK in 2021, according a new report. About 406,060 international flights operated from the UK this year, compared with 1,399,170 in 2019 before travel was restricted. UK domestic flights also fell by nearly 60%, said aviation analytics firm Cirium.

Airport arrival hall

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4. Scottish Parliament recalled

The Scottish Parliament is being recalled later for a Covid update from the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The virtual session was announced last week after the latest restrictions in Scotland were outlined. Ms Sturgeon has warned Covid cases are likely to increase further as new figures indicate virus levels in Scotland remain at record levels.

Nicola Sturgeon

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5. Welsh pubs fear for New Year’s Eve business

Welsh pubs and bars near the border with England fear they could miss out on business if people are tempted to travel to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Nightclubs have closed and limits on who can meet have been introduced in Wales, but in England there are no plans to tighten restrictions. UK Hospitality said Welsh business had been hit significantly worse than those in England.

Pub on Boxing Day

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Graphic showing UK Covid cases as of 28 December 2021

And there’s more…

The number of boosters has grown dramatically, as part of steps to limit the impact of Omicron. Here’s how you can book your jab.

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

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