Scientists fear the rising cases of the Indian Covid variant in the UK could derail plans to ease lockdown.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Parliament on Wednesday (12 May) that the variant, officially known as B.1.617, is of “increasing concern” and warned the “lethal danger” posed by Covid variants could lead to a new wave of disease worse than that endured in January this year.
It is understood that members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) have been called for an emergency meeting on Thursday (13 May) to assess the threat of the increasing number of cases, amid fears it could delay the government’s road map out of lockdown.
The government has said it is “anxious” about the Indian variant of concern and is “ruling nothing out”, although England’s road map still looks on track, the Prime Minister has said.
Speaking at a primary school in Ferryhill, County Durham, Boris Johnson said: “It is a variant of concern, we are anxious about it.
“We want to make sure we take all the prudential, cautious steps now that we could take, so there are meetings going on today to consider exactly what we need to do.
“There is a range of things we could do, we are ruling nothing out.”
Hundreds gather in Glasgow to protest Home Office dawn raid
Hundreds of protesters gathered on a Glasgow street today in an attempt to prevent immigration officers from detaining people.
Residents from Kenmure Street, in Glasgow’s Southside, and the nearby area, surrounded an immigration enforcement van following a dawn raid carried out by the Home Office on Thursday (13 May).
The vehicle, which was surrounded by police officers, was holding two male detainees and the protesters were blocking it to stop it from driving away.
One man forced himself under the van while others were sitting on the road in front of it.
The men detained in the raid have since been released, with Police Scotland basing the decision on “public health and well-being”.
A statement from Police Scotland said: “In order to protect the safety, public health and well-being of all people involved in the detention and subsequent protest in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, today, Chief Superintendent Mark Sutherland has, following a suitable risk assessment, taken the operational decision to release the men detained by UK Immigration Enforcement back into their community in the meantime.”
Do children need to take tests before holidays?
Travel abroad for leisure is set to reopen on May 17, with travellers now able to visit 12 countries without needing to self-isolate on their return.
Many hardworking families could be priced out of international travel, however, with tests required before and after travel.
While travel companies have driven down the price of PCR tests, costs for large families could mount up to £100s of pounds on top of the usual travel expenses.
But children under 11 do not need to take a Covid-19 test before travelling.
Children aged between 11 and 18, however, must take a Covid-19 test before travelling. Proof of the child's negative test result must be shown by an adult travelling with the child upon arrival.
At this stage it remains unclear whether children would also be required to use a vaccine passport in order to avoid a period of quarantine.
10 books to improve your mental wellbeing
This week (10 to 16 May) marks Mental Health Awareness Week, an annual event focused on encouraging people to have conversations about their mental health, seek support if they need it, and reduce the stigma that can stop people from asking for help.
If you would like to improve your mental health, a self-help book can be a good place to start, providing expert advice without you having to leave your home.
They offer a cost effective means of learning good behaviours and habits to help you become more productive, develop a new daily routine, curb anxious thoughts, or feel more courageous in difficult situations.
Mental health charity MIND advocates the use of self-care to help improve your mental wellbeing, saying, “Self-care techniques and general lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms of many mental health problems.
A great book can teach you these techniques.
With that in mind, Rochelle Barrand runs through some of the best reads out there to help get your mental health in shape.
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