Hugs and indoor dining expected to return
Hugs with family and friends and indoor socialising are expected to be allowed from next week as Boris Johnson announces further easing of coronavirus restrictions in England.
The next stage of the road map out of lockdown is expected to go ahead as planned in a week’s time, with ministers to hold a meeting this morning to agree the next set of measures.
From May 17, most social contact rules outdoors will be lifted, although gatherings of more than 30 will remain illegal. Indoors, the rule of six or two households will apply, with Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove suggesting physical contact between friends and family will be allowed.
Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes are expected to reopen. Other measures include allowing up to 30 people to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals.
Royal Mail tests drone deliveries
Royal Mail is to trial the use of drones to deliver health and safety equipment, Covid testing kits and other items to the Isles of Scilly.
The company said it will be the first time an out-of-sight, autonomous scheduled drone flight has been used between the UK mainland and an island.
Part of the trial will also include inter-island parcel deliveries across the Scillies. Parcels will be flown to the islands’ airport in St Mary’s by drone which can carry up to 220lb (100kg) of mail at a time – equivalent to a typical delivery round.
Most drivers back wider use of average speed cameras on motorways
More than half of drivers would be in favour of using average speed cameras on regular stretches of motorway to combat speeding.
The cameras, which measure how long it takes motorists to travel between two fixed points, are sometimes used on A-roads, but on motorways they mostly operate in sections of highway with roadworks.
However, in a survey of more than 3,000 people for the RAC Report on Motoring, 54 per cent said they would be in favour of using them on regular motorways to enforce the 70mph limit.
Sadiq Khan to announce new domestic tourism campaign
Sadiq Khan will commence his second term as Mayor of London by announcing the ‘biggest domestic tourism campaign the capital has ever seen’.
Khan, the Labour incumbent, was re-elected after seeing off Conservative rival Shaun Bailey in last week’s local election.
The 50-year-old will formally sign in for a second term on stage at Shakespeare’s Globe this morning, where he will unveil the Let’s Do London campaign as an immediate priority. The £7m programme is aimed at bringing in a wealth of domestic tourism to help London’s economy get back on its feet.
Sunday Car Dealer headlines you may have missed
Amazon blocked 10bn fraudulent listings in 2020
Amazon prevented more than 10bn fraudulent product listings from appearing in its online stores in 2020 and seized more than two million counterfeit products, according to a new report.
The online giant’s latest brand protection report said its verification processes also stopped more than six million attempts to create selling accounts because they were deemed suspicious.
Amazon said it invested £501m to protect its stores from fraud and abuse in 2020 and employed more than 10,000 people to oversee the protection effort. The company said its target was to reduce counterfeits on the platform to zero.
Cyber crime’s 15-fold surge
The UK’s cyber security agency has taken down more scams in the last year than in the previous three years combined, with coronavirus and NHS-themed cyber crime among the surge.
Experts oversaw a 15-fold rise in the removal of online campaigns compared to 2019, according to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
There was a jump in the number of phishing attacks using NHS branding to dupe victims, with the Covid-19 vaccine rollout used as a lure via email and text message to harvest people’s personal information for fraud.
Retailers slash carbon emissions
UK retailers have cut their carbon emissions in half since 2005 and smashed environmental targets for the past year, according to new figures.
Data from the British Retail Consortium has revealed that carbon emissions across leading firms in the sector have dropped by 49 per cent since 2005.
Carbon emissions in retail stores dropped by 46 per cent, while store delivery emissions tumbled by 84 per cent of the period.
Street parties held to celebrate end of Spain’s state of emergency
Impromptu street celebrations erupted across Spain as the clock struck midnight on Saturday, when a six-month national state of emergency to contain the spread of coronavirus ended and many night-time curfews were lifted.
In Madrid, police had to usher revellers out of the central Puerta del Sol square, where the scenes of unmasked dancing and group singing resembled pre-pandemic nightlife.
Teenagers and young adults also poured into the central squares and beaches of Barcelona to mark the relaxation of restrictions.
India’s vaccination campaign falters as cases grow
The pace of administering vaccinations in India since the country offered jabs to all adults this month has dropped, with states saying they only have limited stock to give out.
The offer was made in a bid to halt the disastrous coronavirus surge sweeping across the country, but cases are still rising at a record pace.
Yesterday, India reported 403,738 cases, including 4,092 deaths. Overall, India has 22m confirmed infections and 240,000 deaths. Experts say both figures are undercounts.
Sunshine and showers
Today will be another mild but blustery day with a mixture of sunny spells and scattered showers across the country, says the BBC. Showers will be heaviest in the north and west, with a risk of thunder and hail.
Tonight, it will turn gradually drier, although a few showers will linger in western Scotland and Northern Ireland. Southern areas will have mostly clear skies. Winds will ease for many overnight.
Tomorrow will be another day of sunny spells and showers for many areas. Showers again will be heavy with the risk of thunder. Northwest Scotland will have persistent rain for a time.