PM told children are ‘forgotten victims’ of pandemic
School’s out… but for how long? A backlash is growing against plans that may keep classrooms closed until Easter. Tory MPs have told Boris Johnson schoolchildren have become the pandemic’s “forgotten victims”. A dozen Conservative MPs – including Esther McVey, the former Cabinet minister, and Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee – today back a campaign by the parents’ pressure group UsforThem to reopen schools fully. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to announce as soon as this week that schools will remain shut to all but the most vulnerable and children of key workers beyond the February half-term break. See the signs that you are suffering from “parental burnout” and try our tips for navigating the minefield of homeschooling.
As figures showed the number of daily Covid infections fell by 22 per cent over the past seven days, calls intensified for the Government to lay out plans for lifting lockdown. It has emerged that Britain faces a three-month lockdown “halfway house” after Easter, with a full reopening delayed until all over-50s have had their second dose of the vaccine. Ministers are considering proposals to begin reopening swathes of the economy in April under similar restrictions to those in place over the summer, with the “rule of six” and social distancing measures.
Vaccine staff offering ‘spare’ jabs to family and friends
NHS vaccine centres are offering Covid jabs to friends and family aged under 70 in breach of national policy. Senior health service sources threatened to take disciplinary action against hospitals and GPs offering leftover jabs to people outside the top four priority cohorts. Health bosses insisted a “friends and family list” helps avoid waste by ensuring they never throw away any vaccine. Ministers are determined that younger people with a connection to NHS staff should not be allowed to “jump the queue” over the vulnerable. Read more about the priority list for Covid vaccines.
Eat local, lose weight: Secrets of the Great British Diet
What the world’s healthiest diets come down to is fresh food. In Britain, we can get the same nutrients, vitamins and minerals hailed as the key to a long, healthy life – and we only need look to our own shores to supply the goods. In part one of a four-week series, Eleanor Steafel explains how to lose weight and feel better by embracing the Great British Diet. Amelia Freer offers ideas for adapting meals as the seasons progress.
At a glance: More coronavirus headlines
Also in the news: Today’s other headlines
Ex-PM’s warning | The United Kingdom risks becoming a “failed state” unless Boris Johnson considers radical ideas such as replacing the House of Lords with a “senate of the regions”, Gordon Brown says today. Writing for us, the former prime minister says Mr Johnson should also use the NHS and the Armed Forces to demonstrate the “everyday benefits” of the Union. It came as a new poll showed voters in all four UK nations now expect Scotland to become independent within the next 10 years.
Around the world: Savouring the moment
Kamala Harris – the first female, first black and first Asian-American US vice-president – wrote on Twitter: “The beginning of our new journey,” as she shared an image of herself with her husband, Douglas Emhoff, the first ever second gentleman, in her new office in the White House. View our gallery of more striking pictures from the weekend.