Coronavirus live news: Merkel backs EU chief over AstraZeneca; UK marks one year since first lockdown – The Guardian

A public inquiry into the Scottish government’s handling of the pandemic will include families who have lost loved ones, Robert Booth reports.

A year to the day since the UK went into a historic lockdown to combat a frightening and deadly new pandemic, the nation looks back in disbelief and horror. One hundred and twenty six thousand dead. A decimated economy. The reckoning will take decades to pick over.

Tuesday’s day of reflection, organised by the cancer charity Marie Curie and backed by over 110 organisations, will be observed across the nation. A minute’s silence at midday is followed by a doorstep vigil at 8pm. Boris Johnson, Keir Starmer, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford are expected to mark the occasion. Prominent buildings and national landmarks will be illuminated in yellow, to commemorate the dead.

For the families and friends bereaved by Covid-19, it is a day to quietly contemplate those they have lost. For long Covid survivors, it is a reminder the vaccine-enabled relaxing of restrictions will not do much for the bodies they are trapped in that do not work like they used to. For everyone else, it is a day to take stock. So many taken before their time.

The nation grieves:

People will be allowed to leave the UK to prepare a second home for sale or rent, according to new coronavirus regulations coming into force later this month.

The latest restrictions, which will apply from 29 March, will include a list of specific “reasonable excuses to travel” outside the country, including what Labour branded as “the Stanley Johnson clause”.

Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley, last summer apparently breached Covid guidelines by travelling to his Greek villa to make it “Covid-proof”.

The exemption allows people to travel abroad “in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property”. Those activities include visiting an estate agent, developer sales office or show home, viewing residential properties to rent or buy, and preparing a property for moving in.

Other exemptions include study or competing in an elite sporting event:

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Coronavirus live news: Merkel backs EU chief over AstraZeneca; UK marks one year since first lockdown – The Guardian

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