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Covid-19: New data shows care homes worst hit by Covid, and Starmer isolating

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

1. Starmer isolating after his child gets Covid

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is self-isolating after one of his children tested positive for Covid at lunchtime. His office said Sir Keir had been doing daily tests and tested negative this morning before attending the House of Commons for PMQs. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the chancellor are also self-isolating after contact with the health secretary who tested positive at the weekend. More than half a million alerts telling people to self-isolate were sent by the NHS Covid-19 app in England and Wales in the first week of July, with firms warning of rising staff shortages due to people being “pinged”.

Keir Starmer

image copyrightHouse of Commons/PA wire

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2. New data shows care homes worst hit by Covid

A breakdown of the numbers of people who died with Covid-19 in care homes across England has been published for the first time. The data, released by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), shows that more than 39,000 care home residents died with the virus between 10 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. Care homes in the North West had the most Covid-related deaths in the pandemic’s first wave, while those in the South East were hardest hit in the second. “Every number represents a life lost,” said Kate Terroni, CQC chief inspector for adult social care. You can read more about how families and care home staff coped here.

Map showing care home deaths in England

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3. Union criticises DVLA over cases backlog

A union says bad decisions by managers at the DVLA driving licence body have meant a “catastrophic” processing backlog of 1.4 million cases. Mark Serwotka, head of the Public and Commercial Services union, told MPs on the transport select committee that if staff were allowed to work from home the backlog could be reduced. The union wants more staff to be able to work from home to allow better social distancing in offices and so that those self-isolating could continue to be productive. Julie Leonard, the DVLA’s chief executive, said staff safety had been taken “incredibly seriously at every point”.

A number plate recognition camera, operated by the UK's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, scans the M77 motorway for vehicles

image copyrightGetty Images

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4. Self-isolation hits bin collections

Dozens of councils across England have been forced to suspend bin collections due to staff self-isolating. Most have temporarily paused garden waste pick-ups, but some recycling collections have also been affected. Collections are also being affected by a shortage of HGV drivers unrelated to self-isolation. The Local Government Association said if Covid rates increased further, many would have to prioritise services that protect the most vulnerable. Read more here to find out which councils have been having issues.

Bins

image copyrightStockport Council/LDRS

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5. Art installation salutes NHS staff

Life-size cut-outs of 300 NHS workers have been unveiled in an Oxford park to pay tribute to the work of staff during the pandemic – as well as those on the front line who have died with Covid-19. The backs of the silhouettes are black to allow people to write messages of support for NHS workers. The Standing with Giants installation was designed by Witney-based artist Dan Barton and will be displayed until 1 August.

NHS workers with the installation at South Park, Oxford

image copyrightGeraint Lewis/Standing with Giants

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UK coronavirus data chart

And there’s more…

Are you confused about whether you can go to work if you’ve been told to self-isolate? And what, if any, difference does that make when you’re fully vaccinated? We’ve taken a look.

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

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