The spread of Omicron has been slowing among secondary school children, as well as among Londoners, the Office for National Statistics says. Is this a decisive shift, or will infections among children quickly tick up, with spring term under way? It’s certainly too soon to get carried away, although this does offer hope for the months ahead. Omicron’s rapid spread also means that more and more people are developing antibodies.
The key issue is just how much strain Omicron will place on medics. Our data reporters revealed that record numbers of staff left the NHS in 2021. This exodus leaves others in the health service working harder than ever.

In the latest edition of iweekend (published on Saturday 8 January) rather than simply being the messengers of doom, we have suggested eight ways to fix the NHS exodus. They include a recruitment surge (to tackle 100,000 vacancies already budgeted for), a tweak to pensions rules, and full bursaries for student nurses. All of our ideas cost money. Some are cheap, while others necessitate the planting of a magic money tree. Still, you reap what you sow – and both the PM and Chancellor are known to be anxious about the state of the NHS, come the next election.

On to jollier matters. As booster vaccines jostle with Omicron for supremacy, foreign travel is picking up again. We have compiled a list of travel adventures to whet your appetite for 2022. Please suggest your own and we will share the best with other iweekend readers. You can reach me by email or social media. Right, wrap up warm and have a good weekend. The days are getting longer!

@olyduff