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Covid-19: Pressure on shops and NHS pay offer 'anger'

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

1. No need to panic buy, says supermarket boss

There’s no need to panic buy, says the managing director of a supermarket, who warns there’s a risk shops will shut due to the numbers of workers being forced to self-isolate for 10 days. The comments from Iceland boss Richard Walker came after a warning from the British Retail Consortium that pressure is mounting on shops to keep their shelves stocked as more and more staff are being pinged by the NHS Covid app. He says photographs of empty shelves were isolated incidents but he is calling for retail staff to be exempt from staying at home when contacted. The government says it is crucial people isolate when contacted to stop the spread of the virus.

Supermarket worker in mask

image copyrightGetty Images

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2. Anger and upset over 3% pay offer for NHS staff – union

A 3% pay rise offered to nurses and other NHS workers by the government has left staff “really angry and upset” and feeling they are not “valued for what they do,” a union has told the BBC – and after a consultation it could lead to a strike. The Royal College of Nursing had called for a 12.5% pay increase, which it says would help fill vacancies and retain staff. It claims the 3% – or an additional £1,000 a year for the average nurse – is effectively a pay cut once inflation is factored in. The pay rise, recommended by an independent NHS pay review body then accepted by the government, was a recognition of the “extraordinary efforts” of the health service’s workers, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.

Nurses protesting at Westminster on Wednesday

image copyrightPA Media

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3. Female guards for lone women in quarantine hotels

Women quarantining in UK hotels will now have female guards, when possible. The change made by the Department of Health and Social Care comes after the BBC reported allegations of sexual harassment. Sixteen women contacted the BBC and some said complaints were ignored or disbelieved. One male guard had mimed having sex in a lift, and another had asked for a hug, they said. If it’s not possible for women to have female guards they should be escorted by two male guards, the new guidance says.

Woman with suitcase in hotel

image copyrightGetty Images

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4. Why is the US falling behind with its vaccinations?

Covid vaccine supply isn’t generally a problem in the US. It was one of the world’s leaders in the uptake of vaccinations until the middle of April, but its rate has slowed down. The US is still ahead of some other major economies, such as Japan, but the rate is dropping off as it climbs elsewhere. We’ve had a look into why.

Vaccinations in selected countries

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5. Zoomtown-on-Sea?

You’ve been told you can work from home indefinitely by your boss, so do you find different places to work from time-to-time, stay put or move more than 200 miles away? One family decided to do just that. Meet the Lancasters, who say the pandemic gave them a chance to reinvent their lives – they moved from Berkshire to a new life on the North Yorkshire coast.

Lancaster family


Government statistics show 128,896 people have now died, with 73 deaths reported in the latest 24-hour period. In total, 5,563,006 people have tested positive, up 44,104 in the latest 24-hour period. Latest figures show 4,658 people in hospital. In total, 46,388,744 people have received their first vaccination

And there’s more…

More than 90% of the adult population have had a first dose of the vaccine and about two thirds both doses so who’s next to be invited to book their Covid jab?

Find further information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.


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