Covid: Downing Street garden lockdown drinks and PCR testing changes

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

1. Downing Street garden lockdown drinks

As many as 100 people were invited to a "bring-your-own-booze" drinks event in the Downing Street garden during the first lockdown, it's understood. Boris Johnson's declined to say to whether he attended the gathering on 20 May 2020 but witnesses have told the BBC he and his wife Carrie were among about 30 people who were there. The email, first revealed by ITV News, about socially distanced drinks was held when rules were in place over gatherings. The Met police says it's in contact with the government over the reports. Here's our political editor Laura Kuenssberg's take on the story.

Image source, Getty Images

2. PCR testing changes for asymptomatic people

If you don't have coronavirus symptoms but a lateral flow test is positive, you no longer need to take a PCR test to confirm the result. These are the new rules for England and come into force as a surge in Omicron cases has seen many people struggle to book follow-up PCR tests. The change reflects the high prevalence of coronavirus in the community and the accuracy of rapid tests, says the UK Health Security Agency.

Image source, Getty Images

3. Djokovic saga 'damaging'

Novak Djokovic's visa application has been "damaging on all fronts", says the men's professional tennis tour. A statement has been released by the ATP after he won a court battle against a decision to refuse his Australian visa over his Covid vaccine exemption. The ATP's calling for more clarity of the rules to enter Australia and is urging players to get vaccinated. While Djokovic is allowed to remain in the country to play in the tournament, Australia's immigration minister can still cancel the visa and deport the unvaccinated Serbian player. Ros Atkins explains how Djokovic got to this point and you can listen to an expert view on the world number one's latest court victory.

Media caption,
Ros Atkins on... questions that remain for Djokovic

4. Under pressure NHS staff

"We're having to skip meal breaks or work hours late to meet basic needs of patients," says Emma Scott-Spivey, a 23-year-old student paramedic, based in North Yorkshire. Meanwhile in Birmingham, junior doctor Kishan Bodalia, 27, is having a similar experience. They've told us about the impact Omicron is having on their jobs in the NHS. Take a look.

Image source, Emma Scott-Pivey

5. Loungewear in, party pieces out

What did you buy in the Christmas sales? Comfy clothes or going out outfits? If you spent money on the former then you're one of the many shoppers who opted for loungewear after the Omicron variant of coronavirus meant the return of some restrictions. Loungewear's "back in fashion", says the British Retail Consortium. Read more here.

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And there's more...

Remind yourself about all of the rules surrounding Covid testing.

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

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