Covid: PM faces calls to quit over party and VIP lane for PPE ‘unlawful’on January 12, 2022 at 5:14 pm

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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 in the morning.

1. Boris Johnson faces resignation calls after lockdown party apology

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologised for attending a “bring your own booze” party in Downing Street during the first coronavirus lockdown. He told MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions the event on 20 May 2020 was “technically within the rules”, but added he should have realised how it would look to the public. In reply, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the PM must now resign over what he called his “ridiculous” lies and excuses, while Mr Johnson is also coming under significant pressure from his own MPs over the garden gathering.

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2. Bereaved families’ fury at No 10 party

Families of people who died of coronavirus, along with those forced by lockdown rules to curtail funerals and limit hospital visits, have expressed their fury at the 20 May party. Teenager Isabel McEgan, who died of cancer just over a week before was only allowed to have her parents with her in hospital. The 19-year-old’s mother Amanda said the revelation “brings back pain” of Isabel’s death, adding it was “heart-breaking” the funeral could only have 14 other people there. You can watch the testimony of other bereaved families who have spoken to the BBC here:

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3. Government’s PPE ‘VIP lane’ unlawful, court rules

In another blow to Mr Johnson, the government’s use of a “VIP lane” to award contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE) to two companies was ruled unlawful by the High Court. Campaigners claimed the VIP lane was reserved for referrals from MPs, ministers and senior officials and gave some companies an unfair advantage. A judge ruled it was unlawful to give the two companies preferential treatment as part of the VIP lane, but noted both offers were likely to have been given PPE contracts anyway.

A member of staff puts on PPE at King's College Hospital in London

Image source, PA Media

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4. Scottish nightclubs still waiting for financial help

Nightclub owners in Scotland have criticised the slow rollout of financial support for their businesses, which have been closed again under Covid restrictions. Clubs have been shuttered since 27 December, which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced will remain in place until at least 24 January. But trade groups said government funding promised before Christmas has not yet materialised. The SNP’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said grants will be paid “very soon”.

File image of people dancing

Image source, Getty Images

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5. Australian newsreaders’ Djokovic rant leaked

An expletive-laden conversation between two Australian newsreaders on tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa saga has gone viral, after a video of it was leaked. It shows Channel 7 journalists Mike Amor and Rebecca Maddern in candid discussion about the tennis star as they prepare for Tuesday’s evening news. Maddern describes the world number one as “lying” and “sneaky”, while Amor says the athlete has “fallen over his own… lies”. The broadcaster said it has launched an investigation into the “illegal” leak. For the latest on the troubles facing Djokovic as he attempts to play in next week’s Australian Open, our colleague Ros Atkins has this helpful explainer:

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Chart showing the total and latest data for Covid-19 cases, deaths and vaccinations, as well as latest hospitalisations numbers

And there’s more…

BBC health correspondent Nick Triggle has taken a closer look at whether the Omicron wave has peaked in the UK, click here to find out more.

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

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Image source, BBC

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