Good morning everyone. I will be running the blog today so feel free to drop me a message on Twitter with any story tips.
As the Guardian revealed yesterday, senior government officials have voiced “urgent” concerns about the mass expansion of rapid Covid testing, estimating that as few as 2% to 10% of positive results may be accurate in places with low coronavirus rates.
Last week, Boris Johnson urged people in England to take two rapid-turnaround tests a week, as a means to limit any continued community transmission of the virus, in parallel with the vaccination programme.
Leaked emails seen by the Guardian, however, show that senior officials are now thinking of scaling back the widespread testing of people without symptoms because of a rising number of false positives.
Across England as a whole, government officials estimate that only 38% of self-reported tests are thought to be accurate, based on the current prevalence of the disease.
In one email, Ben Dyson, an executive director of strategy at the health department and one of health secretary Matt Hancock’s advisers, stressed the “fairly urgent need for decisions” on “the point at which we stop offering asymptomatic testing”.
In Scotland, meanwhile, people can now travel between council areas for non-essential reasons and meet in groups of six from up to six different households. The Scottish government says it’s easing the restrictions earlier than planned to boost people’s mental health and wellbeing.
As of 26 April, travel restrictions to and from England and Wales will also be lifted – although Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has said that it may be necessary in future to reintroduce temporary travel restrictions.
Here is the agenda for the day (so far):
09:30am: ONS release on coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain
12:00: Weekly UK Covid-19 infection survey, from the ONS
For coronavirus news from around the world, do read our global live blog: