Workers began returning to city centre desks last week, suggests a study measuring footfall in central London.
With some firms offering free food and gifts to tempt staff back, one barometer of activity around offices recorded an increase of almost 5%.
Data experts Springboard said that between Tuesday and Friday, footfall was 4.9% up on the previous week, based on its London office block tracker.
Pret a Manger, which became a poster child for the turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic as travel restrictions and home working emptied shops, has hailed a comeback for takeaway sandwiches and coffee.
No independence referendum until Covid restrictions lifted, Sturgeon says
Scotland’s first minister has ruled out the possibility of a second referendum on independence until all day-to-day Covid restrictions are lifted.
Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly pledged to hold another poll by the end of 2023, but only if the public health crisis is over.
The SNP leader said that for a referendum campaign to have proper focus from the public, it was crucial that there was “an overall environment in the country where people are not in their day-to-day lives being asked to limit or restrict their behaviour”.
France reported 29 coronavirus deaths on Sunday, bringing the overall death toll to 88,776, with 2,129 people recorded as currently in intensive care.
More than 120,000 people demonstrated across the country yesterday in protest against coronavirus health passes, which are required for entry into cafes, restaurants and other public places.
It was the ninth consecutive week of protests, although numbers were down on previous weeks, according to official figures.
Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, has criticised the SNP government’s plans to proceed with vaccine passports after Sajid Javid confirmed the proposals are to be scrapped in England.
Plans for vaccine passports were passed by Holyrood earlier this week with the support of the Scottish Greens, despite opposition from the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats.
From 1 October, the scheme will make a QR code available through a smartphone app, along with a paper alternative for those who need it, which will be scanned before entry is allowed to nightclubs or similar venues.
Douglas Ross claims the SNP “bulldozed” the scheme through Holyrood, despite potential harms to business, failing to consider other alternatives.
“The SNP bulldozed their scheme through Holyrood without any thought for the livelihoods it would affect.
It was rushed, riddled with holes and no thought was given to how businesses would be impacted.
No alternatives were considered.
Vaccine passports have been examined as a potential safeguard against another damaging lockdown or fresh restrictions.
But they are a major intervention for business sectors which are only just starting to get on their feet.
I am pleased the Health Secretary has confirmed this won’t be going ahead in England.
The SNP should reflect on their half-baked plans that only passed in Holyrood with the votes of SNP and Green politicians.
Wales’ health minister has warned that strain on hospitals is expected to continue until at least mid-October.
Eluned Morgan urged people to visit their GP and to visit A&E only if completely necessary.
Appearing on BBC Politics Wales, the health minister said:
“We have huge pressures on our GP surgeries at the moment.
We have pressures on our A&E services, so we would ask people not to use those services unless they are necessary.
Of course, if they have an emergency, they should be using them.
I think we are likely to see an increase in the number of people hospitalised in the next few weeks.
Our modelling suggests these figures are likely to continue in terms of the number of people catching Covid, until at least the end of September and then we’re likely to see a levelling off.
Public Health Wales today reported eight further deaths with Covid, and 2,317 new cases.
Italy has reported 34 coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday, according to the health ministry, with the daily tally of new infections standing at 4,664.
Italy has registered 129,919 deaths linked to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain. The country has reported 4.6 million cases to date.
UK death toll increases by 56
Hello. My name is Euan O’Byrne Mulligan, taking over for the next few hours.
The UK has recorded 56 new deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test on Sunday and 29,173 new cases.
The overall death toll is now 134,200 and the total number of coronavirus cases is 7,226,276.
That’s it from me today. Here’s a summary of the day’s main events:
- Malaysia’s ministry of health has reported 100 Covid-19 deaths yesterday, and announced a further 492 backlog deaths, via its Covid information website.
- New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has purchased 500,000 doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine from Denmark.
- The US president, Joe Biden, will announce new steps to slow the spread of Covid-19 before the UN general assembly meets, the surgeon general, Dr Vivek Murthy, said.
- China reported 46 new Covid-19 cases on the mainland for 11 September, up from 25 a day earlier, the national health authority said.
- The UK health secretary, Sajid Javid, has confirmed that plans for vaccine passports in England are going to be scrapped. Javid also said he expects the booster vaccination programme for Covid-19 to start this month.
- Sri Lanka is facing food shortages with customers in state-run supermarkets reporting long queues for items such as rice, sugar, lentils and milk powder.
This is very interesting by Megan Hosey, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
She writes that it is not surprising so many people have symptoms of long Covid as, in recent years, doctors and researchers have increasingly realised that many of those who survive an illness of any kind or who go through serious physical trauma, are at high risk for a range of debilitating and chronic physical, cognitive and mental health symptoms.
Here’s a bit more on England’s “shambolic” U-turn on vaccine passports from Aubrey Allegretti: