Covid-19: Food discounts offer to boost youth jabs and one in five firms to cut jobs over furlough

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Sunday. We'll have another update for you on Monday.

1. Taxi and food discounts offer to boost youth jabs

Young people will be offered discounted takeaways and taxi rides to get their Covid jabs in a bid to boost vaccine uptake, the government has announced. Food delivery and taxi-hailing firms including Uber, Bolt, Deliveroo and Pizza Pilgrims will offer the incentives - and the Department of Health and Social Care said details on more partnerships would be released "in due course". So far, around 67% of 18 to 29-year-olds in England have had a first dose of a vaccine - prompting renewed government efforts to encourage more people to get vaccinated. Over the weekend, a circus, festivals and sporting events across England hosted a string of pop-up vaccination clinics.

Image source, Getty Images

2. Jabs will not be mandatory for university lectures or halls

Plans to make it compulsory for university students to be fully vaccinated to attend lectures or stay in halls of residence in England have been shelved by the government, the BBC has been told. It comes after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab previously said students would get "advance warning" if they needed to be double jabbed. The government has already announced its plans to require people to have two jabs to enter nightclubs and other crowded venues from September - with an NHS Covid Pass to be used as proof. You can read more here.

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3. One in five firms plan job cuts as furlough tapers

A survey has found that one in five firms plan on letting staff go in response to the latest furlough policy change - which will see employers pay more towards workers' wages. From Sunday, firms will have to pay 20% towards staff salaries, with the government's contribution reducing to 60% as the scheme continues to wind down. The British Chamber of Commerce surveyed 250 businesses, with 18% telling the chamber they were likely to make staff redundant in response to the change to furlough. A quarter said they would aim to reduce hours or move staff to part-time working patterns. Jane Gratton, head of people policy at the chamber, said it was "crucial" employers and the government gave returning furloughed staff support and training to help them be "re-engaged and productive".

Image source, Getty Images

4. Concern over use of oxygen monitors on darker skin

Experts are warning that a device designed to spot early signs of dangerous falls in oxygen levels in Covid patients works less well in those with darker skin. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and NHS England say pulse oximeters may sometimes overestimate oxygen levels. The devices beam light through the blood, and skin pigmentation may affect how light is absorbed, they say. NHS England is issuing updated guidance advising patients from black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups to continue using pulse oximeters, but to seek advice from a healthcare professional.

Image source, Prostock-Studio
Image caption,
Pulse oximeters have been used increasingly during the coronavirus pandemic in hospital and the community

5. Athletes told to leave Olympics after sightseeing trip

After being delayed for a year due to the pandemic, the Tokyo Games is into its ninth day of events. Covid measures are in place to protect against the virus amid a surge in cases in the city, including the wearing of face coverings and the daily testing of athletes and support staff. But two Georgian silver medallists were told to leave the Games after taking a Tokyo sightseeing tour. Athletes are also told not to leave the Olympic village for non-Games purposes to protect against the virus. The Georgian Olympic Committee later said two of its athletes - both judoka - were no longer allowed on Olympic premises. They added the pair had already left Japan after finishing their events, in line with rules which state athletes must leave the country within 48 hours of competing.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Olympic Village is situated on Harumi Island in Tokyo

And don't forget...

Here's a reminder of the rules of entry for some holiday hotspots including Spain and Portugal.

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

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