Covid: 'Divisive' Covid passports and school funding warning

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Friday. We'll have another update for you on Saturday morning.

1. MPs launch campaign against 'divisive' Covid passports

More than 70 MPs have launched a campaign against "divisive and discriminatory" Covid passports in England. The government is currently consulting on the measure, which could be used, among other things, for entry into venues, including pubs, theatres and sports stadiums. But MPs from across the political spectrum have lined up to condemn the proposal, with former Labour and Conservative leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Iain Duncan Smith among them. Read more here about what a Covid passport is and how they could be introduced. Meanwhile, new rules requiring every customer to sign in when pubs reopen in England on 12 April have sparked anger from industry groups.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionCovid passports could be used to allow entrance to restaurants or bars

2. Lack of schools funding 'putting staff and pupils at risk'

A teachers' union has warned that insufficient funding for schools in England during the pandemic is placing staff and pupils at risk. The Nasuwt union said it had seen reports of redundancies of staff who are essential to Covid safety measures in schools. At the same time, leaders of some academy trusts have been receiving "fat cat" salaries, the union said. Read our explainer here on some of the costs involved for schools in keeping Covid-secure.

image copyrightGetty Images

3. Calls for national strategy to reintegrate shielders

A "national strategy" is needed to help people in Wales who have shielding reintegrate into society, an expert on loneliness has said. In Wales, 130,000 people who have been shielding have been told that they no longer need to. But Dr Deborah Morgan warned these people could become "prisoners in their homes", citing a loss of confidence after months of being indoors. "A lot of the young people I know are at a real risk of struggling to go back out into the world in the way that we were before," Amy-Claire Davies, who has been shielding, says.

image captionAmy-Claire Davies said she and other shielders in Wales feel anxious about going outside

4. Public urged to give seals space as lockdown eases

Lockdown has meant that seals have ventured further into spaces that were previously dominated by humans, experts have said. But as restrictions ease, the public is being urged to give the animals space, with concerns that getting too close could lead to their injury and death. The warning comes after a popular seal known as "Freddie" was put down last month after being attacked by a dog in Barnes, south-west London.

image copyrightReuters

5. Glastonbury Festival gets £900,000 arts fund boost

And finally, there is good news for the beleaguered arts and music sector, which has been hit so hard by the pandemic. West End theatres, comedy clubs, the Glastonbury Festival and Canterbury Cathedral will receive a share of £400m emergency government culture funding. A total of 2,700 English culture and heritage venues will share the latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund. Glastonbury Festival organisers Emily and Michael Eavis said the money would "make a huge difference in helping to secure our future".

image copyrightPA Media
image captionThe Glastonbury Festival will receive £900,000 "to secure our future"

And don't forget...

Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page. We've answered some of your questions including what are the rules on dating now?

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