Covid-19: Turkey and Poland off safe travel list, and more local restrictions announced

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

1. Turkey and Poland off safe travel list, as quarantine fines increased

Travellers arriving in the UK from Turkey, Poland and the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba will need to quarantine for 14 days from 04:00 BST on Saturday, the government has announced. Ministers have also raised fines for travellers who fail to self-isolate. The initial penalty remains £1,000 but the maximum fine for someone who repeatedly flouts the rules is rising from £3,200 to £10,000. You can find out which countries are on the UK quarantine list here.

Image source, Reuters

2. More areas of the UK subject to stricter Covid rules

Liverpool, Warrington, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool are the latest areas of England to be subject to tougher rules on how and where friends and family can meet. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons that the government was banning different households from mixing because cases "continue to rise fast". While the mayor of Middlesbrough said he did not accept the measures, he later confirmed he would obey the law. Pubs, cafes, restaurants and hotels in the Derry and Strabane council areas of Northern Ireland are also to be placed under new restrictions to try and curb the spread of Covid-19. You can also read more about which parts of the UK are now under some form of lockdown.

Image source, Press Eye

3. Slight fall in UK Covid-19 cases and deaths

Latest figures from the Department of Health show there were 6,914 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, compared with 7,108 the day before. Meanwhile, 59 deaths of people who tested positive for the disease within the past 24 hours were reported on Thursday. That compares with 71 deaths on Wednesday. You can see the latest coronavirus statistics for the UK here, and see how many cases there are in your area.

Image source, PA Media

4. Why having a vaccine may not see an immediate return to normality

The development and distribution of an effective vaccine against coronavirus is seen as the silver bullet which will end the pandemic and return our lives to normal. But a report published by the Royal Society suggests that we may need to be "realistic" about the time it will take to vaccinate the country. According to researchers, restrictions on our daily lives may have to be relaxed gradually, as it could take up to a year to get everyone protected.

Image source, Reuters

5. Can Luton show the way forward for the country?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has praised the way Luton responded to being declared an "area of intervention" after cases of Covid-19 began to rise in the town. Back in July, as the rest of England saw lockdown rules being eased, it remained subject to restrictions. It subsequently emerged from a local lockdown - but on Thursday was declared by the government to be an "area of concern". We've been speaking to local people about their efforts to suppress the virus.

Image source, Reuters

And don't forget...

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

If you want to know more about the rules on how we interact with friends and family, click here.

Image source, BBC

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