Covid: UK government ‘abandoned science’ and plane turns around mid-flighton January 21, 2022 at 4:48 pm

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

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

1. UK government ‘abandoned science’ – Mark Drakeford

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has accused the UK government of caring more about distracting people from its issues than it does about Covid. Confirming Wales’ rules would ease further, Mr Drakeford said the UK government had “long abandoned any sense of following the science”. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Plan B Covid measures in England would be removed. Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said the comments from Mr Drakeford were “uncalled for”.

Mark Drakeford and Boris Johnson

Image source, Getty Images

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2. American Airlines plane turns around mid-flight over mask row

An American Airlines plane travelling from Miami to London has had to turn back because a passenger refused to wear a face mask, the airline said. The flight, which had 129 passengers on board, returned to Miami where police were waiting. Reports say a woman in her 40s was escorted off the plane. The airline said she had been placed on a list of people barred from flying with them, pending further investigation.

File picture of an American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER taking off

Image source, Reuters

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3. ‘We’ll be second-class citizens if self-isolation rules go’

Work-from-home guidance has been scrapped, mandatory mask-wearing will soon go and Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said compulsory self-isolation could be next. But what happens to people who cannot live with the virus, because their immune conditions mean vaccines may not work? For nearly two years, Julie – not her real name – has worked from home and lived like “an absolute hermit”. If coronavirus measures such as self-isolation come to an end, there could be a greater risk to her – along with the estimated 500,000 people who have conditions which mean vaccination may not work for them. She said she feels like a second-class citizen as a result.

Stock image of woman wearing a mask at a window

Image source, Getty Images

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4. London ‘major incident’ over Omicron stood down

The major incident declared in London last month as Omicron spread across the capital has been stood down. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan made the initial declaration as the number of hospital cases rose. City Hall said the downgrade in status was a result of pressures on critical services reducing to manageable levels and fewer staff absences. Mr Khan praised the NHS and emergency services for going “above and beyond” during “an extremely testing period”.

Sadiq Khan

Image source, Getty Images

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5. Banker who quit over Covid breach went to Euros final

Banker António Horta-Osório, who quit as Credit Suisse boss for breaking Covid isolation rules, also went to the Euros football final. He resigned last weekend, with reports saying he had lost the confidence of other directors for going to the Wimbledon tennis finals last summer. But Mr Horta-Osório also attended the football at Wembley on the same day, sources have confirmed. The Swiss bank had organised corporate hospitality at both events, but Mr Horta-Osório took family members to both events after other guests were unable to use the tickets, the Financial Times said.

António Horta-Osório

Image source, Reuters

Covid statistics for January 21 2022

And there’s more…

Reported Covid cases in the UK remain high, but have fallen sharply since their early-January peak. See the data here. And you can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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