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Covid-19: UK self-isolation time cut, and New Zealand’s film industry boom

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

1. UK self-isolation period shortened

The self-isolation period for contacts of people who test positive for coronavirus and those instructed to quarantine after returning from high-risk countries,
will be shortened from 14 to 10 days across the UK
from Monday.
Here’s a reminder of all of the self-isolation rules.

Image copyright

Getty Images

2. Pupils urged to get tested

Pupils, their families and teachers should take a Covid test, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said
as he set out a mass-testing scheme for secondary schools in parts of London, Kent and Essex
. Cases among 11 to 18-year-olds in those areas have been rising rapidly in recent weeks – with one head teacher saying resources for extra testing had been “a long time coming”. The National Education Union welcomed the extra tests but said the government should commit to mass testing “across the country, not just in the South East”.

Image copyright

Getty Images

3. London virus levels on the rise

While the schools testing programme only applies to the worst-affected areas of London and parts of Kent and Essex, positive coronavirus tests are increasing across the capital,
according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics
. Cases could be on the up in the east of England too. It’s a mixed picture across the UK though. Wales is seeing rising infections, while levels are falling in Northern Ireland and staying the same in Scotland. Meanwhile,
the UK’s R number
, or reproduction number, has
crept up slightly in the past week
.

4. Christmas isolation for Canaries holidaymakers

Britons holidaying on Spain’s Canary Islands
say their Christmas plans have been thrown into jeopardy
after quarantine rules were imposed. Travellers returning to the UK will have to self-isolate from Saturday due to rising infection rates. Even a reduced 10-day quarantine period means some of those due to return later next week would still need to isolate over Christmas.
Here’s a guide to travelling abroad during the pandemic.

5. How New Zealand’s film industry thwarted Covid

International blockbusters including James Cameron’s Avatar sequels, Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series and Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog all managed complex film shoots in New Zealand this year. Thanks to its handling of the pandemic,
the country is enjoying an unprecedented boom in film production
, with directors seeking safe conditions and that most elusive thing in 2020 – a normal life.

Image copyright

20th Century Fox

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And don’t forget…

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

Plus, as the global race to develop a Covid vaccine makes great strides, we take a look at
the vaccine pioneer the world forgot.

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