Scotland’s restrictions ease and A-level grading ‘fair’

1. Scotland’s Covid restrictions ease but ‘virus still with us’

Covid is “still here” so the Scottish government is reluctant to call today “freedom day”, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf says. But for those living in Scotland, the day where almost all remaining coronavirus restrictions are lifted has arrived. Level zero restrictions have ended so large outdoor gatherings can now take place and hospitality venues are allowed to open at full capacity. However, some restrictions remain. “I would enjoy this day but also please remember that the virus is still with us,” says the health secretary.

2. A-level grades fair, says exams watchdog

As students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland gear up to receive their A-level results on Tuesday, the head of the exams watchdog says they can feel satisfied that their grades are fair. Teacher assessments give a “much more accurate reflection” of achievements, according to Simon Lebus from Ofqual. Grades have been based on teachers’ estimates, rather than exams, for a second year due to the pandemic. The Scottish Highers results are also being released on the same day.

3. Heart surgery waiting list rise warning

Waiting lists for vital heart care were “far too long” before the pandemic, says the British Heart Foundation as it warns they could get even longer. It says the numbers of people waiting for heart surgery in England could rise by more than 40% by next spring. It predicted patients who didn’t come forward during the pandemic would do so now. And unless the government, which invested £1bn this year, spends more money it will take up to five years for cardiac services to return to pre-Covid levels, the charity says.

4. Will GP surgeries go back to normal?

As Wales moves into alert level zero, all businesses can reopen with risk assessments, although face masks in many indoor venues will remain. But what about GP surgeries, which have been using initial phone consultations and only holding face-to-face appointments when necessary? We’ve taken a look.

5. ‘World’s smallest baby at birth’ goes home

Kwek Yu Xuan – born at just under 25 weeks and weighing about as much as an apple – had a “limited chance of survival”, said the hospital where she was delivered by emergency C-section four months early. Thirteen months later she’s been discharged and is considered to be “an extraordinary ‘Covid-19’ baby – a ray of hope amid turmoil,” National University Hospital in Singapore says. Read her story here.

And there’s more…

Most restrictions have now ended in Scotland. Find out what’s changed and what that means, and also remind yourself of the rules in the rest of the UK.

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