Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday evening. We’ll have another update for you on Thursday morning.
1. Millions more to enter tier 4
Millions more people in the east and south east of England are to enter tier four on Boxing Day, the health secretary has announced. The places moving into the highest level of restrictions – which include a “stay at home” order – border the areas already in tier four. A number of areas in England will also move up into tiers three and two. Matt Hancock said the old tiering system was not enough to control the new variant of the virus. You can find out more about the rules in the different tiers in our explainer.
2. Another new Covid variant found in the UK
It’s emerged that two cases of another “more transmissible” variant of coronavirus have been detected in the UK. Speaking at a Downing Street press conference today, the health secretary said both people had travelled to South Africa, where the variant has been linked to a surge in cases. The government has imposed travel restrictions on the country. Anyone who has been there in the past fortnight, and anyone they have been in contact with, has been told to quarantine immediately.
3. Trucks start leaving lorry park after delays
It’s been a difficult few days for truck drivers who have been stuck in Kent after France closed its border with the UK following concern over a variant of the coronavirus detected in southern England. But the first trucks have started to leave the temporary lorry park at Manston airfield after the border reopened earlier today. France ended its ban on UK arrivals on condition of a negative coronavirus test. But the temporary border closure has led to huge delays and drivers have clashed with police as they wait for tests and a negative result. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has urged people to avoid travelling to the area.
4. Baby girl becomes Scotland’s youngest death
A child under the age of one has died with Covid-19 in Scotland, official figures show. The death of the baby girl is the youngest Covid death in Scotland and the only one under the age of 15. National Records of Scotland (NRS) counts all death certificates that mention Covid-19, even if the person has not been tested for the virus. The baby’s death was registered between 14 and 20 December along with 202 others that week. In total, 6,298 death certificates in Scotland have mentioned Covid-19 since the outbreak began in March.
5. Families sing to thank care home staff
Staff at a Somerset care home moved in for 84 days earlier this year to keep residents safe during the coronavirus pandemic. One worker was separated from his wife and their four-year-old daughter, while another slept in a stock room to ensure they could look after residents safely. In a unique show of thanks, families of those they cared for at Court House in Cheddar came together virtually to sing for the staff.
And don’t forget…
Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.
Plus, if you’re able to see loved ones on Christmas Day this year then check out our handy tips on how you can avoid catching Covid.
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