Covid-19: More testing sites and PM faces isolation pressure

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Saturday morning. We'll have another update for you tomorrow.

1. Daily tests to avoid isolation expanded in England

A scheme to allow key workers to avoid Covid self-isolation in England has been significantly expanded following criticism it did not go far enough. Police, fire, Border Force, transport and freight staff will now be able to join a daily workplace test scheme, whether they are vaccinated or not. It follows the announcement that up to 10,000 supermarket depot and food factory workers would be eligible.

image source, Getty Images

2. Khan urges PM to change isolation rules earlier

The government plans to end isolation for those double-jabbed by 16 August. But some business leaders and politicians want Boris Johnson to bring forward the date. Among those is Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who has written to the PM, along with industry leaders, to urge him to amend his timetable. They argue that businesses are being put at risk by the "pingdemic", with some closing temporarily due to staff shortages. "The summer months are crucial for many businesses' recovery and their ability to recover must not be put in jeopardy," the letter reads. Nearly 608,000 contact tracing alerts were sent in England in the week ending 15 July - a record high.

image source, Reuters
image captionSadiq Khan won re-election in the capital in May

3. Airports having their busiest weekend since Covid

It's the busiest weekend since the pandemic began for airlines and airports, as schools close and the summer holidays begin for millions. Heathrow Airport expects 60,000 passengers to depart daily, while Gatwick says it expects 250 flights a day - up from a low of just 15. Spain is the top destination for UK travellers, followed by Greece. However, the numbers venturing abroad remain well below pre-pandemic levels. So, what are the rules for foreign holidays this summer?

image source, Getty Images

4. The holiday makers having to self-isolate abroad

"My friends have been bringing me food and dropping it at the door. I've got a balcony, but I'm still going a bit crazy in the room." University student Aimee flew out to Zakynthos, Greece, in early July. However, she tested positive for coronavirus and has had to quarantine abroad. Tempted to go on holiday this year? Here's your guide to Spain, Portugal and other holiday hotspots.

image source, Getty Images

5. Latitude festival: Magical, emotional... scary?

Latitude is the UK's first full-capacity festival since 2019 (alongside Sheffield's Tramlines, which also takes place this weekend), and performers and festival-goers are overwhelmed at being back in gig-land. "We've had so many dreams about this," says Dream Wife's guitarist Alice Go, as the band prepare to play their first show since January 2020. "Dreams and nightmares," corrects her bandmate Bella Podpadec. Part of the government's live event pilot scheme, Latitude has brought 40,000 mask-less but Covid-tested fans to Suffolk for three days of music, comedy, drama and entertainment.

image source, PA Media
image captionPop star Mabel performed "banger after banger after banger" as the sun set behind Latitude's main stage

And there's more...

Some critical workers in England won't have to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace. But who is included in that group? Find out all the information you need here.

There is further information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

image source, BBC

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