Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Friday evening. We'll have another update for you tomorrow.
1. Germany warns of 'exponential' rise in cases
Officials have warned of a huge rise in coronavirus cases in Germany as continental Europe braces itself for a third wave of infections. Germany's public health body said highly contagious variants of the virus could force the country back into lockdown. Other countries, including France and Poland, have already reintroduced restrictions. Europe lacks the vaccines needed to significantly reduce cases, said German Health Minister Jens Spahn. Only 8% of Germany's population has received a first dose of the vaccine so far. The government resumed the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab on Friday. It had been put on hold over fears of possible side effects.
2. UK death rate 'not Europe's worst' by winter
New figures show the UK death rate during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic was not the worst in Europe, but it was one of the 10 worst-affected countries. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that by the end of June 2020, the UK had the highest excess mortality in Europe - meaning the number of deaths was above the average for that time of year. By December, it had been overtaken by Poland, Spain, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. But the UK had one of the highest excess death rates for people under the age of 65 during 2020. Separately, the daily UK coronavirus figures show the number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test is continuing to fall.
3. How Covid has changed where we want to live
The pandemic has changed the kind of property we want to buy or rent. Cornwall has overtaken London this year as the most searched-for location on Rightmove, according to analysis by the property portal for the BBC. Devon sits in third, and Dorset has risen from 20th to 10th. Many have turned a long-term plan to escape to the country into a short-term reality. Although the market slowed considerably during the height of the Covid outbreak, sales then lifted at a faster rate in rural areas, Rightmove says. There are signs though that with lockdown easing and businesses wanting people back in offices, tenants are moving back to London and taking advantage of lower rents.
4. 'Mum was our everything - then she was gone'
A 21-year-old woman is caring for her younger siblings alone after their mother died with coronavirus in October. Chelsea-Leigh Richardson's mother Sarah, 42, had been the sole parent for her and siblings Kala-Jai, 19, Jayden, 17, Preston-James, 14, and seven-year-old Bobbee-Mae. Determined the five of them would not be split up, Chelsea-Leigh says she told herself to "be brave". Read her story here.
5. Jo Whiley's sister to get vaccine
DJ Jo Whiley says she "couldn't be happier" that her sister is due to have her first Covid-19 vaccination this weekend. It comes after Frances, who has a learning disability, contracted the virus earlier this year and had to be taken to hospital where she ended up "fighting for her life". The BBC Radio 2 presenter said of the jab: "It has been a long time coming." Whiley revealed her frustration last month that she had been offered the vaccination before her sister, who has the rare genetic syndrome Cri du Chat.
And don't forget...
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