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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Covid-19: PM's new vaccine target, and the special effects livening up lockdown

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

1. Pledge to offer vaccine to all UK adults by 31 July

More than 17 million people in the UK have been given a coronavirus vaccine since December, and now the prime minister says he wants the rollout to go “further and faster”. So fast, in fact, that Boris Johnson has pledged that every adult in the UK will be offered their first dose by the end of July. The previous target was September. NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens, meanwhile, has said there are “early signs” the vaccine rollout is contributing to a fall in hospital admissions.

A man wearing a face mask walks in Cardiff, Wales

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2. More social contact ‘a priority’ in lockdown easing

The prime minister will on Monday unveil his roadmap outlining how lockdown restrictions in England will be eased. After schools reopen, reuniting families and allowing people to have more social contact will be an “absolute priority”, No 10 has said. BBC political correspondent Helen Catt said it is likely that a small tweak will be made from 8 March to allow people to meet one other person outdoors for social purposes rather than just for exercise. A Downing Street source said the government recognised the impact of not seeing loved ones.

Older couple meeting children

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3. How risky are the routes out of lockdown?

During the course of the pandemic, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has advised the government, assessing the risks of transmission in many areas of daily life. The BBC has looked at what Sage’s advice has been across a number of areas, including schools, outdoor gatherings, non-essential retail, holiday homes and rentals, pubs and restaurants.

Chart showing closed restaurant

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4. Fewest firms planning job cuts since pandemic began

Some 292 British employers made plans to cut jobs in January, the lowest figure since the pandemic began. A total of 32,000 redundancies were proposed, numbers released by the Insolvency Service revealed – up 9% on last January, despite new lockdown rules closing businesses across most of the UK. The numbers were released by the Insolvency Service in response to a BBC Freedom of Information request.

Woman in mask walks past shop sign saying 'This store is closed'

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5. The homemade special effects livening up lockdown

As the famous saying goes, limitation breeds creativity. And you can’t get much more limited than being locked down during a global pandemic. Peter Quinn, who works in motion design, is taking the internet by storm with his homemade special effects creations.

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And don’t forget…

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page, including our how we will know if the coronavirus vaccines are working.

Covid figures graphic

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This post courtesy of uk-news

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