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Covid: Should The Lead Up To Christmas Be So Relaxed?

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A senior politician has stated it’s ‘in our hands’ to ensure Covid restrictions are not needed over the Christmas period like last year.

Oliver Dowden didn’t rule out the need for further measures as he called on people to get their booster jab as soon as they are eligable.

Asked about his predictions for six weeks time, in the run-up to Christmas Day, he said “Really it is in our hands…if you get the booster when the call comes that is the biggest wall of defence that we have against Covid. If you look at the infection numbers at the end of October, they were roughly comparable to where they were in mid-January last year, when we were really in the height of it. But hospital admissions were 74% lower. Now that shows you the power of the vaccine. So I’m confident if we stick the course, if people take the boosters when they are asked to do so, that vaccine will hold up and we’ll be able to have a decent Christmas this year.”

Pressed on whether the country could find itself in a similar position to 2020, (when celebrations were cancelled with a few days notice), Mr Dowden said there were ‘no plans to stop Christmas happening’.

He also stated that “The way we avoid a challenging position is to take the booster. I can assure you there are no plans or anything else to stop Christmas happening. The huge difference this time is the vaccine and the huge impact of the vaccine. The way we keep that vaccine topped up…is get your booster when you get the call up. If you compare to where we were last year, zero people had the vaccine we are now at around 89/90% of adults with the vaccine. That is what is protecting us from going back to what we had at Christmas but we have to keep that protection topped up.”

With cases rising again across parts of Europe, Mr Dowden admitted travel restrictions between the UK and its near neighbours may have to be reviewed again in the future. The Netherlands is among the countries to have brought back Covid restrictions in recent days, including shutting bars and restaurants early, as we did last Autumn.

Mr Dowden said what’s happening abroad is a ‘constant reminder’ that the global pandemic hasn’t gone away and things should not be so relaxed as they are planned to be. He added: ‘We keep these things under review all the time. We have moved away from some of those restrictions but we haven’t ruled it out. If the situation changes dramatically we would have to review that again.”

Do you think restrictions should be stricter again on the build up to Christmas? Let us know over on socials!

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London’s new Elizabeth Line to finally open on May 24

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The long-awaited Elizabeth Line is officially opening on May 24, Transport for London has announced. Just a week before the Queen’s Jubilee.

It will initially operate as three separate railways, with services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield. The £19bn underground railway will be shut on Sundays until Autumn, when it will connect with central tunnels also.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘I’m delighted that our world-class new Elizabeth line will be opening to passengers later this month, helping build a better London – one which is safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous city for all Londoners.

‘This is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades, and will revolutionise travel across the capital and the South East – as well as delivering a £42 billion boost to the whole UK economy and hundreds of thousands of new homes and jobs.

‘Green public transport is the future and the opening of the Elizabeth line is a landmark moment for our capital and our whole country, particularly in this special Platinum Jubilee year.

‘I’m so proud of this new line and can’t wait for millions of passengers to start riding on the Elizabeth Line from 24 May.’

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Holidu reveals the top 10 British cities

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Credit: Jackmac34

Rated as cultural attractions, Holidu has shared the best cities to visit in Britain 2022.

Fancying a city break? According to the search engine for holiday rentals, these are the best places to explore!

Edinburgh – Average of 4.61/5 stars

Credit: Jackmac34

Portsmouth – Average of 4.61/5 stars

Newcastle – Average of 4.59/5 stars

Credit: Digihanger

York – Average of 4.56/5 stars

Belfast – Average of 4.56/5 stars

Credit: Endamac

Find out more about these destinations here!

Leeds – Average of 4.56/5 stars

Credit: Northern Punkie

London – Average of 4.56/5 stars

Liverpool – Average of 4.52/5 stars

Sunderland – Average of 4.52/5 stars

Coventry – Average of 4.51/5 stars

Credit: Iankelsall1

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Edinburgh Zoo’s Giant Pandas To Stay in Scotland for Another Two Years

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Scotland’s only giant pandas will remain in the country for another two years after China gave permission to extend their stay.

Yang Guang and Tian Tian arrived at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) Edinburgh Zoo back in 2011 when they were eight, with the hopes they may have a cub.

The pair were loaned to the RZSS charity as part of a 10-year arrangement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, but will now return to China at the end of 2023.

Tian Tian gave birth to a cub in 2007 before she came to Scotland, but efforts to breed from the pair in Edinburgh have proved elusive.

A natural breeding attempt was made in 2012, with artificial insemination used instead each year between 2013 and 2017. Tian Tian was believed to be pregnant in August 2017, but her hormone levels and behaviour later returned to normal. Phantom pregnancies are common among giant pandas.

She was artificially inseminated again in 2019 and April this year, but both were unsuccessful.

Hopefully the pair will produce a cub before they return back to their furever homes in Asia.

Check out the Zoo’s Live Panda Cam here

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