HERE'S everything you need to know about the pandemic: 

  • No deaths within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 were reported on Tuesday, according to the Government. It is the first time this has happened since July 30, 2020. It means the UK total remains at 127,782. Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have now been 153,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. The Government also said that, as of 9am on Tuesday, there had been a further 3,165 lab-confirmed cases in the UK.
  • Covid-19 case rates are starting to rise steeply in more areas of north-west England, though rates in Bolton are continuing to fall, new analysis shows. Rossendale, Ribble Valley and Hyndburn – all parts of Lancashire – are among those areas now recording some of the highest rates in the UK. Blackburn with Darwen, also in Lancashire, remains the area with the highest rate in the country. But while rates in Bolton are now dropping, other areas of Greater Manchester, such as Bury, Manchester and Salford, are recording a sharp rise.
  • The regional rate for north-east England is even lower than neighbouring Yorkshire: 20.4, up very slightly from 19.4 one week earlier. At the peak of the second wave the regional rate stood at 484.9. North Tyneside has the highest local rate in the region (55.3, up from 52.4) while Northumberland has the lowest (9.3, up from 8.1). Rates have increased slightly in most areas, but not by enough to put any area in the top 30 highest rates in England.
  • Nicola Sturgeon has put a pause on plans to ease Covid restrictions in much of Scotland – as she insisted the country was still at a “delicate and fragile point” in the battle with the virus. In an announcement she described as a “mixed bag”, the First Minister confirmed that Glasgow, which had been under the strictest restrictions in all of Scotland, will see these relaxed somewhat, with the city moving to Level 2 from Saturday. On that date many island communities will move to Level 0 – the lowest level there is under the Scotland’s five tier system – while 15 council areas will step down to Level 1.
  • Oxfordshire is considering a smoking ban for outdoor hospitality as part of plans to become the first smoke-free county by 2025. The plans will see employers encouraged to promote smoke-free environments and support staff to quit smoking. Local NHS trusts will be smoke-free while encouraging smokers using, visiting or working in the NHS to quit. Local organisations working across the community will be supported to promote smoke-free environments including homes, cars, play parks and school gates.
  • Public Health England is considering whether to adopt the World Health Organisation’s new naming system for coronavirus variants, which has been brought in to avoid discrimination. A No 10 spokesman said: “I understand Public Health England is considering how to adopt the new naming system and will set out further details in due course.”
  • Downing Street has indicated that Boris Johnson still sees nothing in the data to suggest the plan to end all legal lockdown restrictions on June 21 will need to be delayed.
  • Asked about the Prime Minister’s plans amid warnings over the spread of the Indian variant, a No 10 spokesman said: “I was going to point to what the PM said on Thursday. The Prime Minister has said on a number of occasions that we haven’t seen anything in the data but we will continue to look at the data, we will continue to look at the latest scientific evidence as we move through June towards June 21.” Last Thursday, Mr Johnson said: “I don’t see anything currently in the data” to divert from the June 21 target for the next stage of exiting lockdown." But he did concede that “we may need to wait” for more data.