Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Tuesday evening. We’ll have another update for you tomorrow morning.
1. Scotland’s roadmap out of lockdown unveiled
The reopening of Scotland’s economy – including shops, bars, restaurants, gyms and hairdressers – is expected to start in the last week of April, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. She said there would be a “progressive easing” of restrictions before then, with four people from two households allowed to meet outdoors from 15 March. All primary and more secondary school pupils could also return from that date, after the youngest pupils returned to classrooms on Monday, while the government hopes to lift the stay at home restrictions on 5 April.
2. PM promises review on vaccine passports
Boris Johnson has promised a review into the use of vaccine passports, but said there were “deep and complex issues” to consider. The prime minister said the idea of Covid status certificates – having to show something to go to a pub or the theatre – was a “novelty” for the UK. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove will lead the vaccine passport review. The prime minister also said he was “very optimistic” Covid restrictions in England can be lifted on 21 June, but warned “nothing can be guaranteed” as he urged everyone to “continue to be prudent”.
3. Millions of NHS masks withdrawn over safety concerns
Millions of high-grade masks used in the NHS may not meet the right safety standards and have been withdrawn. The Department of Health told the BBC there are 12 million of these masks either in use or in hospital stores and it has told staff to stop using them. Distribution of some gloves has also been suspended because they may not meet technical requirements. The Department of Health said safety of frontline staff was an absolute priority and the affected masks and gloves represented a very small proportion of its overall stocks.
4. Father’s plea after son told to quarantine in hotel
A father wants the Scottish government to reconsider its Covid quarantine rules after his son was told he had to isolate in a hotel for 10 days. Antonio Caraballo’s 10-year-old son Sami, who lives with his mother in Finland, flew to Edinburgh on Saturday to see his father. Mr Caraballo expected Sami to self-isolate at the family home and filled out pre-flight paperwork accordingly. But on arrival, border officials insisted he had to isolate in a hotel – and because he is a child Mr Caraballo had to quarantine with him, at a total cost of more than £2,400. The Scottish government said it understood how difficult the restrictions were for families with children but that limits on international travel were necessary to minimise the risk of importing new variants.
5. ‘Why we can’t wait to get back on the pitch’
Andy Cain usually plays football a few times a week but lockdown forced him to hang up his boots. Like many others, he’s looking forward to getting back on the pitch, after the prime minister announced outdoor sport would be allowed to resume in England from 29 March. “You don’t realise how important it is until it’s taken away from you,” 25-year-old Andy says. “With football, it’s not about talking at length about our problems. You completely forget your problems because you’re enjoying yourself.” Along with other football fans, Andy has been telling Radio 1 Newsbeat what he misses most about the game. You can read about when other restrictions could be lifted in our guide to the roadmap out of lockdown in England.
And don’t forget…
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