Covid-19: Scotland eases restrictions and summer holiday season ‘can be saved’

Covid-19: Scotland eases restrictions and summer holiday season ‘can be saved’


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. Scotland eases restrictions early

People in Scotland can now travel between council areas for non-essential reasons and meet in groups of six from up to six different households. The Scottish government says it’s relaxing the rules earlier than planned to boost people’s mental health and wellbeing. Non-essential shops, leisure centres, pubs and restaurants are still not scheduled to reopen until 26 April.

2. Hancock and sister own shares in NHS contract firm

A company in which Health Secretary Matt Hancock and his sister have shared has this year won contracts worth £300,000 from NHS Wales, it has emerged. The government says Mr Hancock acted “entirely properly” and was advised by civil servants before he accepted the shares that there would be no conflict of interest. As a UK government minister, Mr Hancock has no responsibility for NHS Wales and a spokesman said he had no involvement in awarding contracts.

3. Fear of illness making people quit jobs and move home

A therapist says the pandemic has fuelled a rise in a debilitating mental health condition known as health anxiety. As Andrew Kersley explores, it can lead to job losses and even suicidal thoughts. He hears from people including a bus driver who couldn’t stop thinking one of his passengers would infect him and a woman who would spend an hour washing the supermarket shop.

image copyrightCherelle Farrugia
image caution health anxiety took all logic away from me’, says Cherelle Farrugia

4. Escaping the anti-vax conspiracy rabbit hole

Catherine used to be a huge believer in anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. She tells disinformation reporter Marianna Spring what made her question her beliefs and her ideas on how others can be helped out of the online rabbit hole.

media caption Catherine was a big believer in anti-vaccine conspiracy theories but has since stopped believing in them

5. Summer holiday season ‘can be saved’

There’s hope yet for a summer break abroad – at least according to the boss of Europe’s largest tour company. Friedrich Joussen, who runs TUI, says successful vaccine programmes in the UK, US and EU can prevent another washout for holidaymakers. “We are still confident that we will have a decent summer,” says Mr Joussen, adding his company – which owns a fleet of aircraft, cruise ships and a chain of travel agencies – had taken 2.8 million bookings in March alone.

media captionFriedrich Joussen tells BBC News he is optimistic about the summer.

And don’t forget…

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

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