Covid-19: Two weeks' notice for England's school return and warning over infection levels

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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. Two weeks' notice before England's pupils return

Parents will know a fortnight in advance when their children will return to schools in England, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says. Telling BBC Breakfast he wants pupils back in classrooms at "the earliest possible opportunity", he says he's "not able to exactly say" when schools will reopen but the "key criteria" will be whether pressure on the NHS was lifting.

Image source, PA Media

2. England's virus levels 'may have risen' in January

Scientists tracking the spread of coronavirus in England say infection levels may have risen at the start of the latest lockdown. Swab tests from 143,000 people indicate 1.58% had the virus during the period 6-15 January - up from 0.91% in early December, according to Imperial College London researchers. Ministers say the Imperial College London report does not yet reflect the impact of the national lockdown in England.

3. Saga says all holidaymakers must be vaccinated

Anyone going on a Saga holiday or cruise this year must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the tour operator says. People aged over 50 in the UK have been rushing to book holidays as vaccinations boost confidence. The company, which specialises in tours for this age group, says it won't restart travel packages until May to give customers enough time to get jabs.

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4. Buyers travelling 'hundreds of miles' to see homes

House hunters are taking advantage of a loophole in lockdown rules to travel hundreds of miles to view homes, estate agents say. In-person viewings are allowed in England, but agents have raised concerns about safety and tell us how some people are travelling across the country to look at second homes. The government says the housing market in England will remain open but that initial viewings should be done virtually "wherever possible".

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5. Do you 'Zoom lunch' with colleagues?

Randi Lippert, 28, moved to London from Canada for work just before the first coronavirus lockdown last year. "I didn't have much in-office time to bond with my new team members before we all had to work from home," she says. Thankfully, she's been getting to know her new workmates over "Zoom lunch". Business reporter Anne Cassidy looks at how companies are encouraging staff to socialise remotely - and other ways the lunch break is changing.

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And don't forget...

If your school-age children are at home and you don't have a laptop, you can check out our guide to the support available for remote learning.

More information, advice and guides are on our coronavirus page.

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