Covid UK news LIVE – Lockdown EXTENDED by 3 more weeks and schools closed in Wales as mutant coronavirus strain surges

Covid UK news LIVE – Lockdown EXTENDED by 3 more weeks and schools closed in Wales as mutant coronavirus strain surges

01/08/2021

Boris Johnson says everyone will live within 10 miles of one of 1,200 vaccine sites next week, as the NHS acquired two new life saving drugs.

Critically ill Covid-19 patients fighting for their lives in ICU will be given new drugs that can “significantly” reduce the risk of death from the virus and cut time spent in hospital by up to 10 days. 

Mr Johnson hailed the “life-saving” drugs tocilizumab and sarilumab – usually used for arthritis – in yesterday's Downing Street press conference. 

Boris confirmed everyone will be within 10 miles of a vaccination centre as he unveiled a new national booking service for people to get their jab.

More than 1,000 GP centres, 223 hospital sites and seven mass vaccination centres are due to open by next week, as part of efforts to hasten the rollout.

The news came after 1,162 new fatalities and 52,618 infections recorded between Wednesday and Thursday – while the NHS is currently at 50% higher capacity than it was during the peak of the first wave of coronavirus last summer.

Follow the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis in our live blog below.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    RIGHT SHOT

    The coronavirus vaccine offering from Pfizer/BioNTech will protect against the two new mutant variants of the virus spreading across the UK, research has revealed.

    Experts carried out lab tests on the strains and found that the vaccine had levels of antibodies that worked against the variants.

    The variants have caused the virus to spread rapidly across the UK, resulting in a third national lockdown that officials claim will last until mid-February.

    The variant, which emerged in Kent in September, is understood to be up to 74 per cent more infectious than the strain that was dominant last year.

    The variant is called B.1.1.7 and is a version of the virus with 23 mutations, eight of which are in the spike protein the virus uses to bind to and in turn enter human cells.

    The second variant was discovered in South Africa and is called 501.V2 – experts previously warned this variant would be able to a evade testing.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    TRANSPORT SECRETARY SAYS THOSE WHO QUALIFY FOR QUARANTINE EXEMPTIONS WILL REQUIRE TEST BEFORE TRAVELLING

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said people whose jobs mean they qualify for travel quarantine exemptions will be required to take a coronavirus test before travelling.

    The Government lists dozens of jobs that qualify for exemption from completing the passenger locator form or self-isolating, including some defence personnel, elite sportsmen and women, and health workers.

    Mr Shapps told ITV's Good Morning Britain that, despite not needing the quarantine, they "won't be exempted from taking the Covid test".

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    MARSTON'S CHIEF CALLS FOR RATES EXTENSION AND VAT CUT TO SAVE PUBS

    The boss of pubs group Marston's has warned he does not expect venues to reopen until March at the earliest and even then social distancing restrictions will remain in place.

    Chief executive Ralph Findlay said the Government must step up and extend the business rates holiday beyond its current end date in April, and cut VAT when doors finally open again.

    "The pub sector has been closed for much of the last nine months and remains in a very difficult position," he said.

    "Regrettably there have been casualties across the sector and it is vital that the Government reviews urgently the opportunity to continue to support pubs as we reopen the economy in the coming weeks.

    "Pubs are viable businesses which are part of the social fabric of Britain and which make a major contribution to the economy and the communities in which they serve.

    "It is vital that they not only survive the short-term crisis but are supported in order to recover and flourish.

    "Extending the business rates holiday and VAT cut for the rest of this year is a minimum requirement."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    PM'S FATHER ' VERY MUCH LOOKING FORWARD' TO HIS SECOND CORONAVIRUS JAB

    The Prime Minister's father Stanley Johnson, who is due to have his second coronavirus jab on Friday, said he was "very much looking forward" to it but that he was not clear what the rules were after he had been vaccinated.

    Mr Johnson told Good Morning Britain that he would soon be "fancy free" and that he would behave "perfectly properly" after receiving the second vaccine.

    "Do we have a get out of jail free card… I think probably not. I think the rules will still have to be locked down," he said.

    He added: "I'm very reassured by the fact that we have got a grip on the vaccination programme.

    "Someone has said, 'give us the tools and we'll finish the jab'… so I'm confident that we'll get there, and we'll get there by Easter."

    Asked about his social distancing practices Mr Johnson said: "Sometimes the mask slips, as you know… I have a prominent nose and it's not always easy to keep it all covered."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    M&S HIT BY COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS AND EU PAPERWORK

    Covid-19 restrictions in the past three months saw Marks & Spencer take a knock in sales as the retailer suffered from the November lockdown and tiering restrictions.

    Bosses at the high street stalwart revealed that sales in the three months to December 26 fell 7.6% on a like-for-like basis, with the food division growing 2.6%, but clothing and home sales dropped 24.1%.

    The national lockdown in England hit particularly hard, with both food and non-food sales down 4.5% and 40.5% respectively.

    Online sales were strong – including a new tie-up with Ocado to offer grocery deliveries for the first time – and shoppers were keen on buying sleepwear and leisurewear as they stayed indoors.

    Boss Steve Rowe also warned that, despite the UK signing a free trade agreement with the EU, new rules and regulations are set to "significantly impact" its overseas ventures in Ireland, the Czech Republic and France, although he insisted the company is "actively working to mitigate" the issues.

    However, he said that, in spite of the Brexit and Covid knocks, M&S had a "robust" Christmas period.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    PFIZER COVID-19 VACCINE 'WORKS AGAINST RAPID SPREAD MUTANT STRAINS'

    The Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech protects against two new mutant variants that are causing rapid spread across the UK, according to new research.

    The pharmaceutical giant and researchers from the University of Texas carried out lab tests on the strains, one of which was found in the UK while the other originated in South Africa.

    The variants contain mutations including N501Y, an alteration in spike protein of the virus, which is a target for vaccines.

    In the new study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, blood samples were taken from 20 people who received the Pfizer vaccine.

    Laboratory studies found that the samples had neutralising levels of antibodies which worked against the new strains.

    The third lockdown in England was in response to the rapid spread of the mutant strain found in the South East, which has now spread to other parts of the UK.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    TRAVELLERS MUST TEST NEGATIVE FOR COVID TO ENTER ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND

    All travellers to England and Scotland from international destinations will have to test negative for coronavirus before they can enter the country, it has been announced.

    Under plans set out by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, from next week passengers arriving in England by boat, train or plane – including UK nationals – will have to take a test up to 72 hours before leaving the country of departure.

    Similar measures have been announced by the Scottish Government, while officials were said to be working closely with the devolved administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland on adopting them there.

    Mr Shapps said the move was designed to prevent new variants of the disease which have emerged in countries such as South Africa and Denmark. Failure to comply will lead to an immediate £500 fine.

    There will be a limited number of exemptions, including hauliers, children under 11, crews, arrivals from the Common Travel Area with Ireland and for those travelling from countries without the infrastructure available to deliver tests.

     

  • Britta Zeltmann

    SET US FREE

    MATT Hancock has set out the four key criteria for lifting the latest lockdown in England – including how well the vaccination programme is working.

    The Health Secretary suggested that the new restrictions may run until at least March as he laid out the conditions (below) to relax the stay-at-home orders as coronavirus rips through the country.

    The Health Secretary said there were no "fixed thresholds" for any of the key criteria – but stressed ministers were always looking at the "direction" deaths and hospitalisations are travelling.

  • Britta Zeltmann

    SMALL BIZ HELP 

    The Treasury is finally considering a scheme to bailout up to a million small business owners excluded from previous Covid support, The Sun can reveal. 

    A team of Treasury officials are scrutinising a proposal that would see the Government pay up to 80 per cent of lost trading profits of sole directors of limited companies. 

    The Directors Income Support Scheme would pay grants of up to £7,500 to cover three months of lost trading profits and would be limited to those who earn less than £50,000 a year.

    Initial estimates have put the cost of the scheme between £2-3 billion depending on take-up. 

  • Britta Zeltmann

    GLOBAL TOLL

    More than 87.42 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,888,982 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

    Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

    Yesterday, the UK recorded 1,162 more deaths and 52,618 new infections.

    It was the second day in a row the daily death count in Britain topped 1,000.

     

  • Joseph Gamp

    INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLERS TO ENGLAND WILL REQUIRE NEGATIVE COVID-19 TEST

    All travellers to England from international destinations will have to test negative for coronavirus before they can enter the country, the Government has announced.

    Under plans set out by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, from next week passengers arriving by boat, train or plane will have to take a test up to 72 hours before leaving the country of departure.

    He said the move was designed to prevent new variants of the disease which have emerged in countries such as South Africa and Denmark.

    Failure to comply with the new regulations will lead to an immediate £500 fine.

    There will be a limited number of exemptions, including hauliers, children under 11, crews and for those travelling from countries without the infrastructure available to deliver tests.

  • Joseph Gamp

    NEW BREAKTHROUGH DRUGS CAN CUT RISK OF COVID-19 DEATH BY 25%

    Two breakthrough Covid drugs which left Boris Johnson tongue-tied can cut the risk of death from Covid by nearly a quarter, breakthrough trials have revealed. 

    Critically ill Covid-19 patients fighting for their lives in ICU will be given new drugs that can “significantly” reduce the risk of death from the virus and cut time spent in hospital by up to 10 days. 

    Read more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    MORE PICTURES OF LONDON LANDMARK TRIBUTE TO NHS

    The London Eye was lit up blueCredit: PA:Press Association
    Trafalgar Square showed the special LightItBlue coloursCredit: PA:Press Association
    The Shard glows blue over central LondonCredit: PA:Press Association

     

  • Joseph Gamp

    LONDON LANDMARKS LIGHT UP BLUE TO CELEBRATE NHS AND FRONTLINE HEROES

    Iconic landmarks in London lit up blue in a renewed gesture of thanks to the NHS and frontline workers.

    Well-known buildings and sporting and entertainment venues across the capital illuminated in blue on Thursday evening to celebrate the hundreds of workers who have put their lives on the line during the pandemic to help others.

    Trafalgar Square, Wembley Arch and the London Eye along the South Bank were among several landmarks that joined the #LightItBlue campaign which began last year. Blue lights beamed from the spires of The Shard, as well as the globe atop Madame Tussauds.

    The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "It is a very challenging time for our city and nation, and we owe a great debt to our NHS and key workers who are working so incredibly hard to serve our city.

    "By lighting up buildings in blue in their honour, our capital is again standing together to thank them for their tremendous efforts. These workers deserve our praise and our thanks, and I urge Londoners to continue following the lockdown rules so they can play their part in supporting the NHS and save lives."

    NINTCHDBPICT000629351310Credit: PA:Press Association
  • Joseph Gamp

    WATCH: BORIS JOHNSON SAYS EVERY CARE HOME RESIDENT WILL BE OFFERED VACCINE BY END OF JANUARY

    Boris Johnson says every elderly care home resident will be offered vaccine by end of January

     

  • Joseph Gamp

    MAPPED: 'SUPER JAB HUBS' IN ENGLAND

  • Joseph Gamp

    CRITICALLY ILL COVID-19 PATIENTS TO RECEIVE NEW POTENTIALLY LIFE-SAVING DRUGS

    Critically ill Covid-19 patients admitted to intensive care units across the UK will be able to receive new drugs that can "significantly" reduce the risk of death as well as time spent in hospital by up to 10 days.

    NHS patients will have access to tocilizumab and sarilumab – which are typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis – under updated guidance due to be issued tomorrow by the Government and the NHS to Trusts across the UK.

    It comes after results from the Government-funded REMAP-CAP clinical trial showed that both drugs reduced the absolute risk of mortality by 8.5 percentage points when administered to patients within a day of entering intensive care alongside a corticosteroid, such as dexamethasone.

    Professor Anthony Gordon, chair in anaesthesia and critical care at Imperial College London and a consultant in intensive care medicine at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "This is a significant finding which could have immediate implications for the sickest patients with Covid-19.

    "We found that among critically ill adult patients – those receiving breathing support in intensive care – treatment with these drugs can improve their chances of survival and recovery. At a time when hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 are soaring in the UK, it's crucial we continue to identify effective treatments which can help to turn the tide against this disease."

  • Joseph Gamp

    BRAZIL'S COVID DEATH TOLL PASSES 200,000

    Brazil has registered more than 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

    "In the name of President Jair Bolsonaro, the Health Ministry and all the federal government, we want to offer our solidarity to every family that lost loved ones," said the statement.

    The country recorded 87,843 new cases of the virus and 1,524 deaths in the last 24 hours.

  • Catriona Graffius

    NEW GRAPH REVEALS COVID HOSPITAL CASES ARE THREE TIMES HIGHER THAN WINTER FLU ADMISSIONS

    A shocking new graph reveals Covid hospital cases are three times higher than normal winter flu admissions.

    While sceptics often claim Covid is “no worse than flu”, staggering figures reveal just how bad the virus is in comparison to annual bouts of the common flu. 

    A new graph mapping how many patients were admitted annually to intensive care with the flu shows numbers peaked at approximately six flu patients in ICU per million people between 2013 and 2019. 

    But compare these numbers to Covid hospital admissions over 2020 and 2021 and the true difference between the two illnesses becomes apparent. 

    As hospitals across Britain buckle under the strain of the virus, there are currently around 17 Covid patients fighting for their lives in ICU per million Brits.

  • Catriona Graffius

    PARENTS ACCUSED OF FALSELY CLAIMING TO BE KEY WORKERS TO GET KIDS INTO SCHOOL IN LOCKDOWN

    Parents are being accused of falsely claiming to be key workers to get their kids into school during lockdown.

    Mums and dads inundated Our Lady’s Bishop Eton School in Liverpool with complaints after spotting kids allegedly from families with no key workers at school during a video lesson.

    The school also said it had been "overwhelmed" with applications for on-site learning throughout the lockdown, which saw learning moved online for everyone apart from children of key workers and vulnerable kids.

    Find out more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    WATCH: DAILY UK COVID DEATHS PASS 1,000 FOR SECOND DAY RUNNING

    Daily coronavirus deaths top 1,000 for second day running as cases rise by 52,618

     

  • Joseph Gamp

    IRELAND CONFIRMS 6,521 NEW COVID-19 CASES AND 10 ADDITIONAL DEATHS

    There have been 6,521 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland and 10 additional deaths linked to the disease.

    The number of people in intensive care units with the disease has risen by eight to 96.

    There are a total of 1,043 people in hospital with the disease.

  • Joseph Gamp

    JAPAN: MONTH-LONG STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED IN TOKYO

    Japan's government has declared a month-long state of emergency in the Tokyo area after the capital reported another record surge in daily infections.

    Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga describes a "great sense of crisis" as he announced the measure.

    Tokyo recorded 2,447 new cases today – shattering the previous record of 1,591 logged a day earlier.

  • Joseph Gamp

    SPAIN CONFIRMS 42,360 NEW CASES IN 24 HOURS

    Spain's total number of coronavirus infections surged past two million as cases jumped following the Christmas holidays, according to government figures.

    The health ministry announced another 42,360 new cases over the past 48 hours, taking the overall figure to 2,024,904, although seroprevalence studies suggest the figure is far higher.

  • Joseph Gamp

    CORONAVIRUS: WHAT'S HAPPENED TODAY?

    • Boris Johnson vowed to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of people a day by next week
    • The UK recorded 52,618 new COVID-19 coronavirus cases and 1,162 additional deaths
    • Matt Hancock laid out four criteria for lifting Britain's lockdown – and said he thinks this third lockdown will be the last
    • A new Covid drug which can slash the risk of death will be given on the NHS.

    Source: Read Full Article