Covid: Another twist in No 10 party saga as mask rules extended

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

1. PM's press chief spoke at No 10 party

The PM's press chief addressed staff and gave out awards at a Downing Street party last Christmas that is now under investigation, it is understood. Jack Doyle, then deputy director of communications, gave a speech to 20-30 people at the gathering on 18 December - at a time when London was under Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions, meaning people were told not to mix indoors except in household or support bubbles. Downing Street says it won't comment while a review is ongoing.

Image source, Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street

2. Masks required in more indoor venues

Face coverings are compulsory from today in most indoor venues in England, under measures to tackle the Omicron variant. The new rules require people to wear masks in locations including theatres, cinemas, places of worship, museums and indoor sport stadiums. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's chief medical officer suggests restrictions such as social distancing may need to be reintroduced from January.

Image source, Getty Images

3. People asked to test themselves before going out

No changes to coronavirus regulations in Wales are expected when First Minister Mark Drakeford announces his latest review later. But people are being asked to take lateral flow tests before going shopping, to parties, or visiting others, while those in pubs and restaurants are being asked to wear masks when not eating or drinking.

Image source, Getty Images

4. 'The unvaccinated ask for jabs but it's too late'

Many Covid patients being admitted to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary are unvaccinated - and ask to be jabbed when they come in, says senior nurse Jenny Cain. The hospital is treating unprecedented numbers of sick people - with Covid and other conditions - at the start of what hospital bosses say could be the toughest winter in the NHS's 73-year history. We hear from doctors, nurses and patients.

5. Arena plan after esports' lockdown popularity

They were hailed as a way for otherwise isolated people to be together during lockdown. And now esports - electronic sports - could have a space where thousands of fanatics can gather in real life. There are plans for a £60m 4,000-seat gaming arena in Dundee.

Media caption,

Game on for Scottish esports boom

And don't forget...

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

Remind yourself of when you need to wear a face covering, wherever you live, and the penalties that apply for failing to do so.

Image source, BBC

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