, Monday morning UK news briefing: PM urged to end ‘pingdemic’, The Nzuchi Times

Monday morning UK news briefing: PM urged to end ‘pingdemic’

Today was dubbed “Freedom Day” when Boris Johnson announced it would spell the end of all legal Covid restrictions. 

But it will be overshadowed by the so-called “pingdemic”, with hundreds of thousands of people in self-isolation, causing chaos for businesses. 

The Prime Minister is under pressure to end the “mad” system as both he and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are in quarantine as close contacts of Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday. 

Downing Street was forced into a U-turn just 160 minutes after saying the pair would avoid the required 10 days in isolation by taking part in a pilot scheme. 

In the wake of the farce, ministers are urging Mr Johnson to ditch the requirement for fully vaccinated people to self-isolate – as the Government announced that front-line NHS and social care staff who have had both jabs can keep working if they are “pinged”.

, Monday morning UK news briefing: PM urged to end ‘pingdemic’, The Nzuchi Times

Cartoonist Blower’s take on so-called ‘Freedom Day’

Credit: Blower

Legal Covid restrictions have now ended as planned after 480 days. At the stroke of midnight, clubbers flocked to the first rule-free live music events.

But confusion looms as rail bosses told commuters that masks must be worn on busy platforms but can be removed if boarding a quiet train

The Government is still encouraging people to wear face coverings in enclosed spaces and not rush to return to the office. 

Remind yourself of all the lockdown rules that changed today. And follow our complete guide to living your life again – what to see, where to go and what to do.

All children could be vaccinated by end of the year

The Covid vaccine may be offered to all children later this year once trials conclude – despite officials being expected to stop short of that recommendation today. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is expected to announce that only vulnerable children aged 12 to 15, and 17-year-olds within three months of their 18th birthday, will be offered a jab amid concerns there is too little data on safety and efficacy in young people. But the JCVI is expected to leave the door open for more children to be vaccinated once trials conclude later this year. Science Editor Sarah Knapton explains why experts believe it may be difficult to reach herd immunity if children are not vaccinated.

Life after lockdown: Do you have ‘cave syndrome’?

Are you afraid to step into the light? You might have what experts are calling “cave syndrome”. Though we have spent more than a year longing for things to go back to how they were, many are now feeling – sometimes to their own surprise – reluctant to emerge. Psychiatrists tell Eleanor Steafel why so many of us are reluctant to embrace our old freedoms – and how to overcome social anxiety. And Luke Mintz explains why returning to the office is good for your health.

Your views as legal Covid restrictions end

We asked Front Page readers to let us know what you will be doing differently after Covid restrictions ended today and what you are thankful for. This week, we will share some of your contributions.

, Monday morning UK news briefing: PM urged to end ‘pingdemic’, The Nzuchi Times

“I’ve already booked theatre tickets. Can’t wait to see live shows. I’ve also booked a holiday so I can visit places of historical interest. What I can’t do is visit my son who lives and works in Dubai. I miss him so much.”
Roy Smith, 74, Romsey, Hampshire

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Rhodes row | Oxford dons should stop “throwing tantrums” over Cecil Rhodes and instead focus on addressing the inequalities of today, Oriel College’s only African tutor has said. Dr Marie Kawthar Daouda, who is from Morocco, said she was “perplexed” by her colleagues’ complaints about keeping the statue of the Victorian imperialist in place.

Around the world: Merkel sees floods devastation

Angela Merkel visited flood-hit towns yesterday and said the German language barely had the words to describe the “terrifying” devastation, hours after the candidate poised to succeed her as chancellor apologised for laughing during a speech about the victims. Watch the video below and see more striking world pictures from the weekend.

, Monday morning UK news briefing: PM urged to end ‘pingdemic’, The Nzuchi Times

Comment and analysis

Editor’s choice

  1. Professor T, review | ‘ITV should be ashamed of using rape as cheap entertainment’
  2. Relationships | ‘I’ve always condemned infidelity – then fell in love with a married man’
  3. Secret coastal spots | 24 of the UK’s poshest seaside towns – and how to visit in style

Business and money briefing

Debt mountain | Rishi Sunak faces an extra £10 billion bill over the next two years as inflation surges, driving up interest bills on government debts linked to the cost of living. About a quarter of government debt – £460 billion – is tied to the retail price index, so the Treasury must pay out more to savers and investors when prices rise.

Sport briefing

Tokyo Olympics | Team GB’s plans have been thrown into disarray by news that six track and field athletes, two athletics staff members and two headquarters staff members have been forced to isolate in Japan after they were identified as close contacts of positive Covid cases. Join our Olympics Briefing newsletter for daily insight direct to your inbox.

Tonight’s dinner

Turkish-spiced lamb with onions, yogurt and pasta | A dish by Diana Henry that is perfect for days when you crave something hearty. View the recipe and try our Cookbook newsletter.

And finally… for this morning’s downtime

‘I never expected to become the Covid widow’ | Amanda Kloots, the US television host, lost her husband early on in the pandemic. She speaks to Celia Walden about the devastating loss of Broadway star Nick Cordero – and the one regret that keeps resurfacing.

If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here. For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing – on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp. 

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