Friday morning UK news briefing: ‘Needless’ isolation of children

Meanwhile, it was confirmed last night that companies in critical industries will have to apply to the Government if they want key workers to avoid self-isolation when “pinged”.

The Government named 16 sectors that can benefit from an exemption to the normal rules for people to quarantine for 10 days if they come into contact with someone who has Covid. 

The so-called pingdemic is reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic from March last year, with people forced to stay at home and supermarket shelves running empty. 

Guy Kelly looks at how it feels as though nothing has changed, even though we are supposed to be “free”. 

And Matt has a wry look at the pingdemic in today’s cartoon.

Holidaymakers try to beat the traffic light system

Summer holidaymakers going abroad will double in number from last week as travellers race to escape before any further tightening of the rules. Tour operators and airlines reported 100pc-plus increases on last week, with many last-minute bookings as travellers targeted the Spanish and Greek islands for the start of the school holidays. It means nearly 400,000 Britons are expected to fly out this weekend, making a total of 1.5m for the week, the highest number so far this year. Read about which countries are on the amber list – and what it means for your holiday. And browse our selection of 10 life-affirming amber list holidays.

I should be free to take knee, says Asher-Smith

Dina Asher-Smith has warned Olympics officials against punishing her or any other athlete if they take the knee on the podium in Tokyo. The fastest British female sprinter in history, who has a realistic chance of becoming the first to win Olympic gold, said: “When it comes to people’s voice, there’s very little you can control.” The opening ceremony (follow live here from midday to 3pm UK time today) will involve logistical difficulties for Team GB’s male and female flagbearers – who will make history, but have an 18-inch height difference. For analysis throughout the Games, sign up to our free daily Olympics Briefing newsletter.

‘Start living again’: Front Page readers on ‘freedom’

Did you expect life to change after “Freedom Day”? What were you thankful for? We asked Front Page readers – and have been showcasing a selection of comments each day this week. Read dozens more here.

“I will look the same; grey hair, mask and steamed up glasses in shops and trains. But within me a swelling of gratitude both for the vaccine and clear intent we will not keep draconian laws when their time has passed.”
Barbara Nixon, 66, south west London

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Shooting ‘haters’ | Britain’s biggest shooting groups have formed a coalition to protect the rural landscape and fight climate change. The nine rural organisations forming Aim to Sustain, including the Countryside Alliance and the British Game Alliance, say that the land management gamekeepers provide is “crucially important”. Read an article by Lord Botham, a shooting enthusiast, who says the coalition will prove the “haters” who have tried to ban the sport have “lost the battle”.

Around the world: Sheep tales fall prey to ‘wolves’

At face value, they could not look more innocent – a set of children’s picture books featuring cartoon sheep in a rural idyll. But to Hong Kong’s newly censorious police force, there is no mistaking the real meaning behind stories such as Defenders of the Sheep Village. Colin Freeman reports that police have arrested five people on sedition charges. See more pictures of the day in our world gallery.

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