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

Travellers returning to England are now able to take cheaper lateral flow tests instead of more expensive PCR tests. It means fully-vaccinated people arriving from a non-red list country can now use a lateral flow test on, or before, day two of their return. The lateral flow tests must be bought from private providers – not from the NHS – with some prices starting at £19. Wales will make the same change in a week’s time. Scotland and Northern Ireland have indicated they may follow suit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeated his call for people to get their booster jabs as the UK reported more than 40,000 daily Covid cases for the 11th day in a row. Mr Johnson, who has so far resisted calls by some health experts to reintroduce Covid restrictions despite rising infection levels, said: “Vaccines are our way through this winter.” People eligible for boosters include anyone aged 50 and over, those living and working in care homes for the elderly, and frontline health and social care workers.

Image caption, The prime minister visited a vaccination centre in west London on Friday

The Republic of Ireland is facing “one of the most difficult winters” it has experienced “for many years”, Health Service Executive chief Paul Reid has warned. He said the virus was “putting severe pressure” on the Republic’s hospital system. There are no paediatric intensive care unit beds available in the Republic and there are only 11 adult ICU beds free, Mr Reid told RTE. He said that 93 of the 206 ICU beds available in the system are occupied by Covid patients, and added that about 57% of the people in ICU have not been vaccinated.

Image source, Getty Images

A relaxation of restrictions in hospitality settings in Northern Ireland could be reversed if they cause a surge in Covid cases, Health Minister Robin Swann has warned. Mr Swann said he hoped such a move would not be needed and stressed the importance of getting Covid and flu vaccines. The executive has also agreed masks will not be mandatory for dancing in nightclubs when they reopen next Sunday.

Image source, Getty Images

And finally, a man’s love affair with a wooden rollercoaster has resumed after he finally enjoyed his 6,000th ride, which had been delayed by the pandemic. “It’s escape from reality, it’s two minutes of forgetting all your worries,” says Ryan Hackett, 61, from Milford Haven. He’s been riding the Megafobia at Oakwood Theme Park in Pembrokeshire for more than 25 years.

Media caption, Ryan Hackett says he never gets bored of escaping reality on the Megafobia

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You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

With new tests for travellers returning to England, make sure to read up on all the latest travel rules here.

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