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. PM ‘hoping to avoid’ national lockdown in England
PM Boris Johnson says he is “hoping to avoid”
another national lockdown in England but admits Covid cases have increased “very much” in recent weeks. He was speaking after a tough new six-week lockdown was announced in Northern Ireland from 26 December. Wales will also begin a lockdown on 28 December, while the Scottish government says “all options are on the table”.
2. School staff ‘broken’ by England’s late Covid test plan
School staff feel “broken” by last-minute demands for them to run testing schemes in secondary schools in England, a head teacher says. Teachers and administrators face working over Christmas to get ready for January – but the PM says mass testing can help get pupils back safely.
3. UK R number back above one
The UK’s R – or reproduction – number is now estimated to be between 1.1 and 1.2, meaning the epidemic is growing once again. Covid-19 cases have risen to an estimated 660,000 infections across the UK between 6-12 December. Meanwhile, a further 28,507 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the UK on Friday, with a further 489 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
4. Christmas post delays blamed on ‘high demand’
Still have Christmas cards and parcels to send? Well, you might want to think about getting a move on. The Royal Mail says its network is running as usual – despite what it describes as “exceptionally high volumes”. There have been complaints about delivery delays from businesses and consumers across the UK.
5. Is rule-breaking causing the surge?
And don’t forget…
…if you’re concerned about the prospect of picking up – or passing on – the virus over Christmas, we have some advice from scientists.
You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.
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