Covid-19: Growing epidemic and legal challenge over travel

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

1. Young people driving growing epidemic, study suggests

Younger people who have not yet had their vaccines are driving much of the growth of the Covid epidemic in England, a study suggests. Most cases were found in five to 12-year-olds and 18 to 24-year-olds, researchers from Imperial College London discovered. They say the rollout of jabs to younger people is key to reducing further spread. The analysis, from the React-1 study, looked at the period 20 May to 7 June. But tentative signs in the latest daily data suggest growth may be beginning to slow.

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2. Legal challenge over travel traffic light system

A legal challenge over the government’s traffic light system for trips abroad is due to launched by members of the travel industry. Ryanair and the owner of Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports are calling for more transparency about how the government decides which countries qualify for the green list of safe places to visit amid the pandemic. The system currently rates countries green, amber or red based on their Covid risk, which ministers say “cautiously manages the risk of new variants”.

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3. UK aid cuts risk millions of lives, warns WHO

Cuts to the UK’s aid budget will leave millions of people at risk of dying from “neglected tropical diseases”, the World Health Organization has said. It comes after the annual foreign aid budget was reduced from 0.7% to 0.5% of national income – a cut of almost £4bn – due to the pandemic. The Foreign Office said it had been forced to take tough decisions to leave programmes that treated these diseases. This will mean almost 280 million lifesaving tablets are likely to expire and have to be incinerated due to the withdrawal of UK money, according to the United Nations agency. However, ministers say £10bn will be still spent in 2021, with £1.3bn on global health.

4. Covid threat to India’s holiest river

India’s holiest river, the Ganges, is one of the most polluted in the world but a new environmental crisis is looming due to the country’s second wave of Covid. Watch the report to find out more.

media captionRupa Jha investigates how Covid has caused a new environmental dilemma for India’s Ganges River

5. Takeaway apps ‘more expensive’ than buying direct

You’re struggling to make anything for lunch or dinner – or tea as it’s known in some places in the UK – and you reach for your phone to get something in. Who’s done it? According to consumer watchdog Which? food-delivery apps have experienced a huge boost during the pandemic. But a snapshot from its investigation suggests they may not be the cheapest option. It compared the costs of meals from five providers, bought directly and ordered on apps – and on average, a takeaway cost 23% more on an app. Read more here.

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And there’s more…

Rising coronavirus infections rates have led to a four-week delay in all restrictions being lifted in England. What difference does waiting another month make? We’ve had a look.

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

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