Covid: PM ‘can’t hide from party claims’ and Scotland lifts crowd ruleson January 11, 2022 at 5:12 pm

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

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

1. Johnson can’t hide from party claims, says Labour

Boris Johnson “can run, but can’t hide” from allegations he attended lockdown drinks in the Downing Street garden, Labour’s deputy leader has said. Angela Rayner said the prime minister should have come to the Commons to respond to a question about the claim Covid rules were broken in May 2020. Paymaster General Michael Ellis told MPs an “impartial investigation” had to take place before any conclusions could be made. Meanwhile, a major Tory donor has issued an ultimatum to the PM, telling him to “sort it out… or step aside”.

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2. Scotland lifts restrictions on outdoor events

Some of the measures imposed in Scotland to try to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid are to be lifted from Monday. Fans will be able to return to football and rugby matches when a limit of 500 spectators at outdoor events is removed. Restrictions on indoor venues will remain until at least 24 January but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would soon set out plans for how Scotland can live with Covid without the need for restrictions.

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3. Half of Europe to be infected with Omicron – WHO

More than half of Europe’s population will have been infected with Omicron within six to eight weeks, the World Health Organization has warned. It said a “west-to-east tidal wave” of Omicron was sweeping across the region, on top of the surge of the Delta variant already present, adding that Covid was still a long way off from being described as endemic.

A pharmacist shows an antigen test to a person at 'Las Gemelas' pharmacy, on 10 January, 2022 in Madrid, Spain

Image source, Europa Press News/Getty Images

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4. One in 12 teachers absent in England

One in 12 teachers was absent from England’s schools during the first week of term, as Omicron cases spread. Numerous schools have told the BBC they are unable to find cover for teaching staff, with absences due to Covid up from 3% in December to 4.9%. Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said he was making contingency plans to deal with rising rates of staff absence.

Boys socialise in mask at Fulham Boys School, London

Image source, Reuters

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5. Return to normal could be years, says Heathrow

At least 600,000 passengers scrapped plans to fly from Heathrow Airport last month as the Omicron coronavirus strain sparked tougher travel restrictions. Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said a return to normal “could be years away”. About 19.4 million passengers passed through London’s main airport in 2021 – less than a quarter of the pre-pandemic levels.

Heathrow airport sign

Image source, Reuters

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Government statistics show 150,609 people have now died, with 379 deaths reported in the latest 24-hour period. In total, 14,732,594 people have tested positive, up 120,821 in the latest 24-hour period. Latest figures show 19,828 people in hospital. In total, 51,992,559 people have have had at least one vaccination. Updated 11 Jan.

And there’s more…

The rules on when to get a PCR test in England have changed – read the latest advice here.

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

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