Returning pupils urged to get tested as ministers consider delaying unlocking
Returning school pupils are being asked to play their part in keeping coronavirus rates under control as ministers consider whether to delay lifting all restrictions amid rising cases.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who signalled he was in favour of vaccinating 12-15-year-olds to prevent school outbreaks, told pupils returning to classrooms this week after the half-term break that the ‘most important thing’ they could do was get tested.
It comes as the government faces a difficult choice this week on whether to relax all Covid measures on June 21 in England, with a decision due in the next seven days. Hancock said ministers are ‘absolutely open’ to delaying unlocking if the Indian variant starts to fuel hospital admissions and refused to rule-out social distancing and guidance on wearing face coverings staying in place.
NHS staff ‘broken and terrified’ of impact of June 21 easing of restrictions
Easing coronavirus restrictions too soon will be a ‘recipe for disaster’, a doctor has warned, amid concerns for an NHS already struggling with a backlog of non-Covid patients.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under pressure to move ahead with ‘freedom day’ on June 21, given the uptake of Covid-19 vaccines in recent months.
Several frontline workers have already expressed fears about the impact of reopening in the coming weeks, with some describing the health service as still ‘on its knees’ and at higher capacity than usual.
Under-30s invited to book coronavirus jab appointments from this week
People under 30 will be invited to book their coronavirus vaccine appointment from this week.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the next move down the age range will bring the country ‘a step closer’ to seeing all adults offered a jab.
The government has set a target for every adult in the UK to be offered a first dose by the end of July.
‘Iconic’ British street scene hopes for electric vehicle charge points
Electric vehicle charge points could join red phone boxes and post boxes as an ‘iconic’ sight on British streets under new design plans.
A contract valued at £200,000 has been advertised by the Department for Transport in an effort to secure a design team for the project.
It explains how officials from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles want the successful bidder to develop an ‘iconic, functional public electric vehicle charge point’.
Waterloo & City line reopens in London for first time since March 2020
The Waterloo & City line will reopen today for the first time since the start of the pandemic, Transport for London (TfL) has announced.
The important London commuter link, which connects Waterloo and Bank stations in the centre of the capital, closed in March 2020.
Services will now run every five minutes Monday to Friday from 6am to 10am and 3.30pm to 7pm.
London’s e-scooter trial will be as safe as possible, firm says
Rental electric scooters in London are ‘as safe as possible’, according to one of the firms involved in a trial which launches today.
The contraptions are ‘very stable’ and have ‘the best possible safety features’ such as dual brakes and a reduced top speed, Alan Clarke, director of policy at Lime, told the PA news agency.
The scheme is initially restricted to a handful of areas in the capital, including Canary Wharf, City of London and Ealing.
Staycationers facing shortage of camping gear and garden furniture
Stock levels of summer essentials including tents, picnic baskets and garden toys are taking a hit due to supply chain issues and pent-up demand, according to experts.
Around 60 per cent of UK-based suppliers have seen import delays in the past month with more than four out of five worried they will run out of stock and struggle with sourcing extra.
Camping equipment has seen a boom as holidaymakers plan staycations but with much of it made in China, delays on the Suez Canal remain. Similarly, garden furniture and toys also arrive from China and are facing the same delays.
Wagamama launches home-cooking supermarket range
Wagamama is launching a range of ‘cook at home’ products for sale in supermarkets as part of the pan-Asian chain’s post-pandemic growth strategy.
The restaurant brand will start selling its meal kits, pastes and sauces from today in Waitrose, before expanding its ranges into Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Ocado in the coming weeks.
It said that all the profits from the range will be donated to mental health charity partner YoungMinds.
Weekday road traffic exceeds pre-pandemic levels for first time
Weekday road traffic has exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time, new figures show.
The number of vehicles on Britain’s roads on May 28 was at 104 per cent of the figure before the virus crisis began, according to Department for Transport data.
The rise in vehicle use on that date was driven by it being the Friday before a bank holiday weekend, but traffic for the previous four days still averaged 96 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Weekend road traffic has been at or near 100 per cent since mid April.
Queen and royal family ‘delighted’ at birth of Harry and Meghan’s daughter Lili
A delighted Queen and royal family have welcomed the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby daughter Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana.
The monarch, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s social media accounts shared their congratulations on the happy news.
Meghan gave birth to her second child at 11.40am on Friday at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California, with the couple saying they were ‘blessed’ by Lili and described her as ‘more than we could have ever imagined’.
Travelodge expands UK network as it opens seven new hotels
Travelodge is opening seven new hotels today, creating almost 150 jobs in an investment of around £70m.
Locations include Boston, Bristol, Poole, St Albans and Witney, boosting the number of Travelodge hotels to 592 across the UK, Ireland and Spain.
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More than half of people ‘hoping to attend live events in next 12 months’
More than half (59 per cent) of people are hoping to attend big events such as a music concert, a festival, a comedy or theatre show, or live sports in the next 12 months, a survey has found.
On average, they hope to attend two big events over the next year – one less than before the coronavirus pandemic, according to Nationwide Building Society.
More than three-quarters (78 per cent) of people who go to large events book their tickets online, the society found.
El Salvador president wants Bitcoin as legal tender
El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has announced his intention to send proposed legislation to the country’s congress that would make Bitcoin legal tender in the Central American nation.
The 39-year-old president characterised it as an idea that could help El Salvador move forward.
Fiesta ST and Puma ST gain power boost through Mountune packages
Specialist Ford performance firm Mountune has introduced new packages for the Fiesta ST and Puma ST designed to boost power output.
Called m260, the first of the new kits can be fitted to either the Fiesta ST or the higher-riding Puma ST, taking power up to between 246bhp and 256bhp – a considerable leap from their 197bhp standard output.
The package – which costs £675 for new customers and £99 for those with existing Mountune kits but are looking to upgrade – includes a new induction kit, charge pipe kit and intercooler.
Mixed week of weather ahead
Today will see a cloudy but dry start to the day for most, says the BBC. However, showers will develop through the afternoon across eastern parts, possibly heavy. Elsewhere will be drier, with sunny spells.
This evening, a few showers will linger to the north-east, but these will die out in the evening. England and Wales will see clear skies, but it will be cloudy for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Tomorrow will turn breezier for north-western areas, with cloud and some spells of rain pushing in from the west. A warm and sunny day elsewhere.
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