Covid-19: Trust watchdog on AstraZeneca jab says PM and changes to NHS contact-tracing app

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

1. Trust regulator on AstraZeneca jab safety, PM says

Boris Johnson has said the public should continue to get a coronavirus vaccine when they are offered it, amid concern over potential side-effects of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. The PM said getting vaccinated was "the key thing" and the advice from the UK's medicines watchdog was to keep giving the jab. Inquiries by regulators into whether there is a link between the jab and rare blood clots are ongoing. A number of countries have suspended the use of the jab among younger people, including in Germany and Canada. Read more about the blood clot risk here.

media captionThe PM on the safety of the AstraZeneca jab

2. IMF forecasts stronger recovery for world economy

A stronger economic recovery for this year and next is being forecast by the International Monetary Fund, in an upgrade of its UK and global forecasts compared with its projections in January. The British economy is still predicted to return to its pre-pandemic level of activity only in late 2022. The new UK forecast is for growth of 5.3% this year and 5.1% in 2022. Both figures are upgrades, though the latter is only marginally higher than the January forecast. You can read more here.

image copyrightReuters

3. Scottish secondary schools to return full time

Scotland's secondary schools will reopen full time as planned after the Easter break, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed. Students will no longer have to follow the two-metre social distancing rule when they return, but they will have to wear face coverings at all times and all age groups will be offered access to twice-weekly Covid lateral flow testing. Pupils who are shielding are advised to remain at home until 26 April. Meanwhile, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said that secondary school pupils in England must continue to wear face masks in class after the Easter holidays.

image copyrightPA Media

4. Contact-tracing app to share venue check-ins

The NHS Covid-19 contact-tracing app for England and Wales will soon ask users to share details of venues they have checked in to if they test positive for coronavirus. Officials will be able to use the information to alert other visitors as to whether they need to be tested for Covid. The Department of Health and Social Care insisted a "privacy-protecting" approach is being taken. The updates to the app come ahead of the reopening of non-essential shops in both nations on 12 April, in addition to outdoor hospitality in England. Read more about how the lockdown rules are changing here.

image captionPosters of the QR barcode used for the app are being relaunched with a simplified design ahead of 12 April

5. Covid 'uncertainty' sees flower show cancelled

The UK's largest independent flower show has been cancelled for a second year in a row due to the "uncertainty of the pandemic", organisers say. Southport Flower Show chairman Max Steinberg said despite the lockdown easing and the "progressive" vaccine rollout, it still faced "too many" uncertain elements. The four-day event, which was due to run between 19 and 22 August, usually has more than 55,000 visitors.

image copyrightGetty Images

And don't forget...

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

Want to know if your boss can make you head to the office? Find out here.

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