Covid-19: Government's pandemic plans criticised and double-booking holidays

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

1. Government 'lacked plans for pandemic response'

The government did not plan enough for a "threat" on the scale of coronavirus, its spending watchdog has found. The National Audit Office said when the pandemic hit the UK last year, the government lacked plans for many areas of its response in England, however, it had enjoyed some success in their efforts to deal with the crisis. The government says it "acted quickly and decisively" as new evidence emerged.

Image source, PA Media

2. 'We've booked two summer holidays for the same time'

Lee and Louise Chambers know they'll be taking their two children on holiday this summer. What they don't know is where they'll go - it might be Norfolk or it might be their preference - Fuerteventura. They booked both in case Covid restrictions prevented them from going to the Canary Islands. They're not the only ones double-booking holidays to make sure they don't miss out but UK resorts fear they could be facing a rush of cancellations.

Image source, Lee and Louise Chambers

3. Don't holiday in amber list countries, PM warns

People should not be holidaying in the amber list countries, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said, after confusion arose about where holidaymakers could and couldn't go. His warning came after Environment Secretary George Eustice said people could go to those countries if they quarantined when they returned. If people do have to go to countries on the amber list for "some pressing family or urgent business reason", they will have to self-isolate, take tests and do passenger locator forms, Mr Johnson said.

Image source, Getty Images

4. Bloated art market needs a reset - Grayson Perry

Art fairs and other "bloated, money-drenched" parts of the art world might not return after the pandemic, according to Grayson Perry. The Turner Prize winner caused a stir in November when he said Covid could clear some "dead wood" from the arts. "I thought things like art fairs might go down the pan. That was what I meant at the time," he said.

Image source, Andrew Brooks
Image caption,
Grayson Perry (left) with his wife Philippa Perry

5. Bingo's back - but no full house just yet

Man alive it's number five, cup of tea it's number three - yes, that's right, bingo halls have reopened in the latest easing of restrictions. We've met the callers and punters who are pleased to be back.

Media caption,

Bingo: Venues reopen after five months of lockdown

And there's more...

With increasing concern over the Indian variant of the Covid-19 virus in the UK, we've had a look at what it means for you, how it spreads and whether it's more transmissible.

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

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