Covid: PM returns lockdown party survey to police, and New Zealand reports record case numberson February 19, 2022 at 7:45 am

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

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

1. PM returns lockdown party questionnaire to police

Boris Johnson has submitted his responses to a Metropolitan Police questionnaire about allegations of Downing Street lockdown breaches, the BBC has been told. He had until 22:00 GMT on Friday to answer the survey. Officers investigating potential Covid rule-breaking sent the document to more than 50 people. Mr Johnson has previously said he did not believe he was breaking any rules, but apologised “for the things we simply didn’t get right”. Read more about the parties police are investigating, and what the rules were when the events were held at Downing Street.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Image source, PA Media

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2. New Zealand reports record Covid cases

A record number of Covid infections have been detected in New Zealand, with more than 1,900 cases reported in the latest 24-hour period – the highest daily figure so far. The country abandoned its “zero Covid” strategy late last year and is slowly reopening its borders while trying to control the spread of the Omicron variant. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it is vital that people protect themselves by topping up their vaccine doses.

Women wear face coverings as they chat over coffee in Aukland, New Zealand

Image source, Getty Images

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3. Pharmacists say abuse from customers is increasing

“He was very angry from the beginning of our interaction,” says Kara McIvor, who works at a pharmacy in Glenrothes in Fife, Scotland. “I did everything in my power to calm down the situation but he wasn’t for listening.” The police had to be called when the customer lost his temper. She is among the rising number of pharmacists to experience abuse from aggressive customers. A combination of Covid pandemic pressure and unrealistic expectations is causing customers to become increasingly angry, with security staff being employed in some cases to protect staff.

Kara McIvor pressed the panic button after a customer became aggressive
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4. Covid vaccination hub is dead zone, says volunteer

Figures show just over half of Newcastle’s eligible population has received a booster dose so far, while only 75% have had their first jab. Now, the “staggeringly low” numbers using Newcastle’s Covid-19 vaccination hub have prompted volunteer and Labour councillor for Blakelaw Oskar Avery to call for the city to “get the momentum back”. There are concerns that the facilities at the Centre for Life – the North East’s first mass vaccination hub when the rollout started – was becoming a “dead zone”. Meanwhile, here are the latest vaccination stats in the UK.

People queuing outside the Centre for Life in January 2021

Image source, PA Media

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5. Proposal to stand down Ireland’s expert Covid team

After two years, the expert team that advises the Irish government how to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic could be stood down under new proposals. The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) was set up as the virus began to spread in Europe. The country is now moving out of the “emergency phase” of the pandemic, Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan has said, adding it is “timely to conclude the work of the NPHET”.

Dr Tony Holohan

Image source, PA Media

Government statistics show 160,379 people have now died, with 158 deaths reported in the latest 24-hour period. In total, 18,546,205 people have tested positive, up 47,685 in the latest 24-hour period. Latest figures show 11,555 people in hospital. In total, more than 52 million people have have had at least one vaccination

And there’s more…

A new drug to treat Covid is being used in the NHS for the first time. Find out about the difference it could make to fighting the virus here.

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

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Image source, BBC

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