Covid: Daily cases drop below 100,000, and No 10 apologises to Queen

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

1. No 10 apologises to Queen over lockdown parties

Downing Street has apologised to Buckingham Palace for two staff parties in No 10 the night before Prince Philip's funeral. The gatherings - which took place on 16 April 2021, when Covid restrictions banned indoor socialising - went on until the early hours. The PM's spokesman said it was "deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning". They have been added to the list of gatherings in government buildings being investigated by senior civil servant Sue Gray. Boris Johnson was not at either party but opposition leaders are calling for him to resign.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
A day after the alleged parties took place, the Queen was pictured sitting alone at Prince Philip's funeral due to Covid restrictions

2. Number of babies in hospital with Omicron rises

More babies are being admitted to hospital with Covid during this latest Omicron wave, but they are not very sick with the virus, UK experts say. The findings for around 50 infants are based on the available data since December. Doctors say parents can be reassured, and the NHS has space if babies need care. While many of the babies had a fever, few needed treatment such as oxygen. The rise in Covid-related paediatric admissions is largely for under-fives, and particularly children under the age of one.

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Image caption,
Doctors say the findings, for around 50 infants, are "incredibly" encouraging

3. UK records lowest daily Covid cases in weeks

The number of daily Covid-19 cases recorded in the UK is below 100,000 for the first time in weeks. A further 99,652 cases were reported on Friday. This is the lowest figure recorded in the past 23 days, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the country to 15,066,395. According to official figures, a further 270 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid, bringing the total to 151,612. The number of Covid deaths are instead rising sharply in the UK but a BBC analysis suggests that that's because some people die with Covid rather than from it.

4. Novak Djokovic set to be detained in Australia

Tennis star Novak Djokovic is to be detained on Saturday after Australia cancelled his visa for a second time, in a row over his right to remain in the country unvaccinated. The decision on "health and good order" grounds means he faces deportation and a three-year visa ban. Djokovic's lawyers said they would appeal. The men's tennis number one is still scheduled to play in the Australian Open in Melbourne on Monday. An appeal hearing is expected on Sunday.

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Image caption,
Novak Djokovic is still scheduled to play in the Australian Open next week

5. Pandemic a boom time for YouTube

New research suggests that in 2021, YouTube had 2.3 billion users worldwide. During the pandemic, lots of traditional entertainment media had a difficult time adjusting. But for YouTube it was a boom time. The platform says one billion hours of video content is consumed on the platform every day. According to Forbes, Jimmy Donaldson, the 23-year-old American better known as MrBeast, was YouTube's highest-earning content creator in 2021.

Image source, MrBeast/Youtube
Image caption,
MrBeast uses stunts and pranks to delight his audience

And there's more...

Covid cases in the UK are on the way down. Has the winter wave peaked already?

Image source, BBC

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