Optimism is growing in the UK after the country recorded zero deaths from Covid-19 for the first time since March 2020.
There was also good news for the UK economy as data suggested a strong rebound from the pandemic as restrictions have been eased in recent weeks.
However, a “pause” in Scotland’s planned easing of restrictions, due to rising cases of the Indian variant, has added to fears of a potential delay to the current lockdown easing plans across the UK, although Downing Street has said there is nothing to suggest further delays are necessary.
UK records zero Covid deaths
There were no deaths recorded from Covid-19 in the UK on Tuesday (1 June) for the first time since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. But health experts continue to urge caution due to rises in cases of the Indian variant, which could threaten the planned end of Covid restrictions in the UK on 21 June. (Daily Mirror)
Fresh hope for 21 June as deaths fall
Downing Street says plans to end all remaining Covid restrictions in England on 21 June remain “on track” because the current data on the spread of the virus does not suggest a further delay is needed. (The i/The Times)
Johnson urged to push ahead with reopening
The prime minister is “under pressure” to lift England’s final Covid restrictions on 21 June, despite Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon deciding to delay the easing of lockdown in parts of Scotland due to increasing cases of the virus. (Daily Telegraph)
‘Red hot’ economy lifts markets
The UK’s recovery from the pandemic is gathering pace with strong economic data increasing business optimism. Growth is being fuelled by surges in manufacturing and house prices, and the positive data caused the pound to reach its highest level for three years. (The Times)
Fury over holiday stealth tax
MPs have called for chancellor Rishi Sunak to end the “stealth tax” of charging VAT on Covid travel tests. They said the 20% tax charged on tests was helping to price families out of foreign breaks, as well as damaging the economy by holding back the rebound of the UK travel industry. (The Daily Mail)
Biden to suspend Alaska drilling licences
US president Joe Biden has suspended oil and gas drilling licences in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to endangered wildlife including polar bears, to conduct an environmental review. Former president Donald Trump had granted licences to oil and gas firms to operate in the refuge while he was in power. (BBC News)