Covid-19: Millions living in areas with no deaths and vaccine rollout extended

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By BBC Health News


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


1. Millions living in areas with zero Covid deaths

About 22 million people in the UK areĀ living in areas that have not reported any Covid-19 deathsĀ occurring in April, according to BBC News analysis. That applied to fewer than 50,000 people during four weeks in January’s peak. Scientists welcoming the findings nonetheless urged caution, while the government is calling on people to “follow the rules so that our roadmap out of lockdown is irreversible”.


2. England’s vaccine rollout extends to all over-40s

People aged 40 and 41 in EnglandĀ can now book Covid jabs, NHS officials say, after nearly 750,000 appointments were made in two days when vaccinations were opened to those aged 42 to 44 this week. About 34 million people – nearly two-thirds of the UK’s adult population – have had at least one dose. Northern Ireland has already opened its vaccination programme to those aged 35 and over, Wales is offering jabs to the over-40s, as well as those over the age of 30 in some areas. Scotland is vaccinating people over-45.


3. Northern Ireland’s shops, pubs and gyms to reopen

Shops, gyms, pubs, restaurants and cafes in Northern Ireland areĀ back in business after four months of lockdown. Caravans and self-contained tourist accommodation can also now reopen. Hospitality businesses must only operate outdoors, with table service and limited numbers per table, while gyms and pools can only open for individual training or one-to-one coaching with a personal trainer.


4. Restaurants struggle for staff ahead of reopening

While many bars and restaurants hope to welcome people inside within weeks, and anticipate huge demand as restrictions ease in more parts of the UK,Ā many are struggling to recruit enough staff after thousands of workers left the sector. Some have managed to find alternative employment, but a high proportion may have left the UK altogether in the wake of Brexit, according to recruitment site


5. Captain Tom’s family embark on 100-lap challenge

On what would have been his 101st birthday, the family of Capt Sir Tom Moore are recreating the famous garden walking challenge that saw him raise almost Ā£33m for NHS charities. Celebrities are joining in the fun, after the armed forces veteran’s family asked people to create their own charity “100 challenge” over the bank holiday weekend. David Beckham has pledged to do 100 keepy-uppies, while Dame Mary Berry will be baking 100 cakes.