Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday morning.
1. School absences
Following concerns some children never fully returned to lessons after lockdown, an investigation has uncovered the scale of school absences. Almost 1.8 million children missed at least 10% of their education in the autumn term in England, and 122,000 have not attended at least half of their lessons. These figures based on council data are “extremely concerning”, says Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza. Blake, 15, was one of those children but his school intervened and he’s on track to sit some GCSEs in the summer.
2. Partygate probe
The police investigation into lockdown parties at Downing Street has so far resulted in more than 80 questionnaires being received by aides, officials and politicians, asking about the events. No-one has so far revealed they have received a fixed penalty notice as a result but the Met Police will disclose the number it issues with an explanation of the associated rule breaches. However, it’s just not clear when that will be. Our political correspondent Iain Watson has taken a look at what’s going on.
3. Critical care patient numbers drop
The average number of critical care patients with Covid in hospitals in Wales is now in single figures. With a daily average of nine patients needing critical care, the numbers are the lowest since last July. Read more here.
4. Hospital visiting rules relaxed
A hospital trust has relaxed its visiting rules following a decline in coronavirus cases in the local area. Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust in North Yorkshire says masks must be work but visitors can have appointments to see patients. Meanwhile, people with Covid symptoms or those who are feeling unwell are advised not to visit patients in Devon hospitals.
5. Covid cruise saga
A 35-day cruise to the Caribbean has ended mid-voyage after an unconfirmed number of Covid cases were reported on board the ship. The Spirit of Adventure set sail from the UK on 22 February, but it is returning to Southampton due to strict entry requirements at its destination, cruise operator Saga said. All customers will be refunded.
And don’t forget…
Remind yourself about what rules have changed as part of the UK’s living with Covid plans.
You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.
What questions do you have about coronavirus?
Use this form to ask your question: