Covid: Djokovic returns to tennis court and Ikea cuts sick pay for unvaccinated staffon January 10, 2022 at 5:04 pm

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

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

1. Djokovic returns to tennis court after legal battle

Novak Djokovic has thanked his supporters after winning a legal battle in Australia that overturned his visa cancellation. Djokovic had his visa cancelled as he had not had the Covid vaccine. But it emerged he had a certified medical exemption and a judge ruled that border officials did not follow the correct procedures when he arrived last week. The tennis star’s legal costs will also be paid. Djokovic said he practised on court in Melbourne within hours of leaving an immigration detention hotel, ahead of the Australian Open. But Australia’s immigration minister still has powers to re-cancel the visa and deport him.

Novak Djokovic with his team on court at the Rod Laver Arena

Image source, Novak Djokovic

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2. Ikea cuts sick pay for some unvaccinated staff

Ikea has cut sick pay for unvaccinated staff who need to self-isolate because of Covid exposure, joining a growing list of firms changing their rules. The furniture seller acknowledged it was an “emotive topic” and said circumstances would be considered on a case-by-case basis – but that its policy had to evolve with changing circumstances. It means unvaccinated Ikea employees who are required to isolate because of a close contact could now receive as little as £96.35 a week – the Statutory Sick Pay minimum – rather than full wages. From this week, sick pay cuts will also be implemented at Wessex Water – and in the US several major companies have starting penalising unjabbed workers, as firms struggle with staff absences. In England, people who are vaccinated with at least two doses do not need to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone infected with Covid. Unvaccinated people contacted through the government’s test-and-trace system must still isolate by law.

Ikea worker

Image source, Getty Images

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3. Common cold may give some Covid protection

Ever wondered why some people catch Covid-19 after being exposed to the virus and other don’t? New research suggests natural defences against a common could could offer some protection against Covid-19 too. The small-scale study, published in Nature Communications, involved 52 individuals who lived with someone who had just caught Covid-19. Those who had developed a “memory bank” of specific immune cells after a cold – to help prevent future attacks – appeared less likely to get Covid. But experts say no one should rely on this defence and vaccines remain key.

Woman blowing her nose

Image source, Getty Images

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4. Restrictions working in Scotland, says adviser

Restrictions in place across Scotland are helping to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant, a government adviser has said. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to give an update on current measures on Tuesday but national clinical director Prof Jason Leitch said steps such as the closure of nightclubs were making a difference. Scotland has faced criticism that its rules are too tough – and the latest Scottish government Covid report shows average daily cases in Scotland per one million population are higher than in England, which has fewer restrictions. But Prof Leitch pointed out Scotland’s rates are well below Wales and Northern Ireland and it is the “worrying” increases in hospital admissions which should be the focus.

Covid Glasgow

Image source, PA Media

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5. Ugandan schools reopen after almost two years

After nearly two years of closure because of Covid, children in Uganda are finally returning to school. But after one of the world’s longest school closures, authorities are warning at least 30% of students may never return, with some starting work, becoming pregnant or marrying early. Some classes reopened in October 2020 temporarily, but closed again in May and June of the following year. While schools were closed, there were lessons via radio, TV and newspapers and some schools provided printed materials – but these have not reached everyone and many pupils have been out of the classroom for about 22 months.

Ugandan students washing their hands outside
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And there’s more…

The rules on when to get a PCR test are changing in England from tomorrow – read the latest advice here.

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

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