Covid-19: Cummings makes fresh claims and sick patients urge caution

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

1. Cummings renews criticism of PM's approach

Boris Johnson was reluctant to tighten Covid restrictions as cases rose last autumn because he thought people dying from it were "essentially all over 80", his former chief adviser says. Dominic Cummings tells the BBC the prime minister messaged him to say: "I no longer buy all this NHS overwhelmed stuff." A Downing Street spokesperson said Mr Johnson had three times prevented the NHS from being overwhelmed by imposing national lockdowns and during the pandemic has "taken the necessary action to protect lives and livelihoods, guided by the best scientific advice".

media captionBoris Johnson "put his own interests ahead of people's lives"

2. Details due on critical workers' isolation exemptions

The government will give more details today about its plans to relax isolation rules for critical workers in England who are "pinged" by the NHS Test and Trace app. The prime minister has said some fully vaccinated food, utility and border workers will join nurses and care staff in qualifying for the exemption. You can read more about the current self-isolation rules here.

image copyrightPA Media

3. Covid patients urge public to 'be careful'

Hospitalisations due to coronavirus are rising, even as the UK's nations have been gradually easing restrictions. We hear from patients at a hospital in Nottingham, who urge the public to continue to take precautions.

media captionOn patient says she's undergoing "the worst experience"

4. How businesses are coping

Some dubbed Monday's easing of restrictions a "Grand Reopening". But it's far from business-as-usual for most companies as the pandemic continues to affect the way they trade. We hear from small businesses in York, where some still strongly encourage use of masks, others are struggling with staff isolation and many are missing international tourists.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionDespite the reopening, in York many firms do not expect the streets to be packed any time soon.

5. Will different mask rules confuse tourists?

The start of the school summer holidays have combined with the current heatwave to give a welcome boost to pandemic-hit Welsh resorts. But are differences in Welsh and English national rules on wearing masks causing problems with tourists? "People realise the rules are not the same but on the whole they are very good," says beach shop worker Diane Simons. Read how others feel.

image captionMs Simons said she would not challenge people who did not wear masks

And don't forget...

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

With hundreds of thousands of UK children at higher risk from coronavirus infection to be offered a Covid vaccine, here's who is eligible and why.

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