Covid: UK passes seven million Covid cases and England and Wales' pupils return to school

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

1. UK passes seven million Covid cases

The UK has recorded more than seven million confirmed cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began, official figures show. The milestone came as another 41,192 new infections were reported on Monday, along with 45 deaths within 28 of a positive test. The real number of people infected during the pandemic is likely to be much higher, partly due to the lack of testing in the early stages of the outbreak - modelling by Cambridge University suggests 17 million people in England have been infected, which is about three in 10 of the population.

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With 41,192 people testing positive on Monday, the total number of Covid infections during the pandemic reached 7,018,927

2. Millions of students start new school term

Millions of students in England and Wales returned to schools and colleges for the start of the new term on Monday. Many students and teachers are excited to get back in the classroom but some pupils find the prospect "very daunting" and have asked to repeat last year. Across Scotland - where schools have already returned - students have begun returning to universities for the start of a "more normal" academic year. However, with high infection rates in Scotland - and rates of full vaccination in young people averaging 50% - concerns still remain about Covid-19 outbreaks.

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Mass Covid testing for students was introduced in Scotland last year but is now more widely available

3. Busiest morning on Tube since March 2020

Monday morning was the busiest rush hour on the Tube since the first national lockdown in March 2020, according to Transport for London (TfL). Data showed 831,000 taps into the Tube network between 07:00 and 10:00 BST and 860,000 registered passengers on buses. Many children have returned to school this week, impacting the numbers, but TfL said the data chimed with recent passenger trends. However, numbers are still far behind the pre-pandemic highs - with nearly twice as many passengers using the Tube before Covid.

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Last month an average of around 1.8 million journeys were being made on the Tube every day

4. Lockdown rules ease in Irish Republic

There's good news for people living in the Irish Republic. From today, restrictions on indoor events and mass gatherings are easing, meaning live music and dancing can resume at weddings. This change follows the Irish government's agreed plan to end most Covid-19 measures by 22 October. But the timetable agreed by the cabinet is dependent on 90% of adults being vaccinated and the number of Covid cases being manageable.

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Officials said the relaxations had been possible because of the Irish Republic's "world-class vaccination programme"

5. Stereophonics plan concert after Covid 'stress, pressure and loss'

Tom Jones, the Stereophonics and Catfish and the Bottlemen have announced a concert in Cardiff this Christmas to help people enjoy themselves after Covid. "After almost two years of being locked down and families all having their own stories of stress and pressure and loss, I wanted to give something to the Welsh people to feel good about," said Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones. Organisers say measures will be in place to combat possible infections.

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Tom Jones said it would be "a very special show in a very special place"

And there's more...

As pupils return to school for the new term, with restrictions lifted for most, find out what measures are in place to keep them Covid-safe.

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

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