UK Covid live: record 618,903 people ‘pinged’ in England and Wales; Covid pass could be mandatory for big events

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Latest updates: record numbers ‘pinged’ by NHS Covid app last week; vaccines minister says venues can use pass as condition of entry

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Global coronavirus updates – live

1.02pm BST

Here are the main points from the No 10 lobby briefing.

We did not expect the EU to take such a purist approach when it came to implementing the Northern Ireland protocol.

For the first time in a generation, the UK has the freedom to make and implement rules that put British businesses and consumers first – freeing businesses from overbearing bureaucracy and reducing costs for consumers, whilst boosting competition, innovation and growth across the economy …

This includes looking at ways to dispense with unnecessary red tape that no longer meets the UK’s needs, including those the UK inherited when it was a former member of the EU – for example reintroducing a way to ‘offset’ new regulations, like the one-in-two-out method whereby to introduce a new regulation, unnecessary regulations would need to be removed.

12.32pm BST

And this is what Downing Street said about Boris Johnson’s call with the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, about the Northern Ireland protocol this morning. (See 12.21pm.) A No 10 spokesman said:

The prime minister set out that the way the protocol was currently operating was unsustainable. Solutions could not be found through the existing mechanisms of the protocol. That was why we had set out proposals for significant changes to it.

He urged the EU to look at those proposals seriously and work with the UK on them. There is a huge opportunity to find reasonable, practical solutions to the difficulties facing people and businesses in Northern Ireland, and thereby to put the relationship between the UK and the EU on a better footing. They agreed to remain in touch.

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