Coronavirus latest news LIVE – UK protected from 3rd wave but EU at risk over covid vaccine shambles, ex MHRA chief says

Coronavirus latest news LIVE – UK protected from 3rd wave but EU at risk over covid vaccine shambles, ex MHRA chief says

THE UK is likely to be protected from a crippling third wave of coronavirus, according to the ex chief executive of the MHRA.

But Sir Kent Woods laid into the EU's shambolic vaccine rollout, saying the bloc appearing to promote completely unsubstantiated claims about AstraZeneca causing blood clots was "very unfortunate".

As a result of the vaccine crisis on the continent and fresh waves of covid ripping through countries including France and Italy, Sir Kent said "It may have contributed to a third wave".

"I think the wave was probably on its way but nevertheless it's very unfortunate that there was the pause for two reasons.

"Firstly, it loses time. The second aspect is public confidence. Will people now be willing to get their vaccine as quickly as possible? That's the way these successive waves are going to be stamped out."

Discussing the UK's vaccine rollout, he added: "I have great hopes that as the proportion of the population who have been vaccinated increases, we will be able to protect ourselves from a third wave."

Follow our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic

  • Katie Davis

    MACRON HAS 'NO REGRETS' ABOUT DELAYING LOCKDOWN

    French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly has "no regrets" about delaying the Paris lockdown.

    The leader ignored mounting pressure to tighten restrictions – despite the country facing a Covid "plane crash every day".

    PM Jean Castex this week plunged Paris into lockdown as France struggles under a deadly third wave of the virus.

    He said the "time had come to consider new measures in Paris" as health authorities reported 34,998 new cases in a day of Covid-19 across the country.

    The death toll in France has now risen to 91,706, according to the latest data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

  • Katie Davis

    HOSPITAL VISITS TO RESTART ON APRIL 26 IN SCOTLAND

    Hospital visiting in Scotland will restart from April 26, the Health Secretary has said.

    Jeane Freeman told the Scottish Government's coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Friday that, depending on the continued suppression of the virus, one visitor will be allowed per patient.

    She said: "April 26 will not be a return to normal visiting, but it is I think an important step towards normality and will, I hope, be welcomed by health staff, by patients and by their loved ones."

    More funding will also be made available for digital visitation, Ms Freeman said, but no figure was provided.

  • Katie Davis

    GOV IN 'CONSTANT CONTACT' WITH JAB SUPPLIERS

    Downing Street said the UK Government is in "constant contact" with vaccine suppliers following a delay of a shipment from India.

    Reports have suggested that ministers are in secret talks with India in a bid to release the doses to avoid a supply drop next month.

    A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: "I would say we are in constant contact with all manufacturers to understand and address potential variations in supply.

    "I would reiterate the point about the words from the Prime Minister where he was very clear that the Indian government hasn't stopped any export of the vaccine and any delay …is very frequent in vaccine rollout programmes."

  • Katie Davis

    LATEST FIGURES FROM SCOTLAND

    Scotland has recorded eight deaths from coronavirus and 655 positive tests in the past 24 hours, Scotland's Health Secretary has announced.

    It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 7,554.

    Speaking at the Scottish Government's coronavirus briefing, Jeane Freeman said of the new tests 162 are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, 138 in Lothian and 134 in Lanarkshire.

    The daily test positivity rate is 2.9 per cent, up from 2.7 per cent on Thursday.

    There are 397 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, down eight in 24 hours, and 35 patients are in intensive care, down three.

  • Katie Davis

    NUMBER OF PEOPLE TESTING POSTIVE DOWN IN FOUR REGIONS

    The percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 is estimated to have decreased in four regions of England: eastern England, London, south-west England and the West Midlands, the ONS said.

    There may be early signs of an increase in the East Midlands, while the trend is uncertain for the other regions.

    The East Midlands had the highest proportion of people of any region in England likely to test positive for coronavirus in the week to March 13: around one in 225 people.

    Yorkshire and the Humber had the next highest estimate: one in 255.

  • Katie Davis

    LATEST FIGURES FROM WALES

    There have been a further 201 cases of coronavirus reported in Wales.

    That takes the total number of confirmed cases to 207,438.

    Public Health Wales reported nine further deaths.

    Since the start of the pandemic, there has now been 5,476 deaths in Wales.

  • Katie Davis

    CONTINUED

    He told Euronews: "Summer starts on June 1 and we have another date, May 17, which is the date where our British friends have announced that they will resume international travel.

    "I think this is a notion of time which realistically we should target."

    Brussels boss Ursula bon der Leyen had previously warned it would take until the start of June just to put the systems in place for vaccine passports.

    And even then, she said the documents would at first only be used for restarting internal travel within the EU.

    But a number of countries like Greece, Spain, Italy, and Portugal are desperate to welcome back Brit tourists and want the plans to go faster.

  • Katie Davis

    EUROPE SPEEDING UP COVID PASSPORT PLANS

    Europe is accelerating its plans for vaccine passports so Brits can hit beaches on the continent from May 17.

    The EU wants to make sure the system is up and running the moment Boris Johnson drops our ban on international travel.

    Under the blueprint sun seekers will be able to provide either proof of a jab or a negative test to go on holiday.

    Top eurocrat Margaritis Schinas said it will be "perfectly doable" to recognise travel documents issued in the UK.

    Asked when the scheme will be ready, the Greek EU Commissioner said "there are grounds for optimism to be ready before summer".

  • Katie Davis

    JABS ARMY VOLUNTEERS SEND SELFIES IN FOR AD

    Our Jabs Army volunteers have done themselfies proud.

    We asked the Sun’s vaccine centre volunteers to send us photos of themselves on duty for an amazing tribute to the 50,000 readers who are helping make the jabs rollout an amazing success.

    The Sun is making an advert to be shown on primetime Saturday night TV to thank the Jabs Army for selflessly giving up their time to help vaccine hubs around the UK.

    And if you are in the Jabs Army YOUR picture could be used in our telly ad, backed by the NHS and the Royal Voluntary Service. All we need is you to send in photos of yourself in your hi-vis vest volunteering at a vaccine centre to win a chance of being in the TV ad.

    Upload your selfie here

  • Katie Davis

    VACCINATION ALONE IS UNLIKELY TO CONTAIN COVID-19 INFECTIONS IN THE UK – STUDY

    Vaccination alone is unlikely to contain coronavirus infections in the UK, but gradual reopening and high vaccine uptake could minimise future waves, new research suggests.

    Vaccinating all adults in the UK is unlikely to achieve herd immunity and fully contain the virus, according to a new study.

    Therefore, the gradual release of restrictions, high vaccine uptake, and a vaccine with high protection against infection is necessary to reduce the risk of future outbreaks, researchers say.

    In England the road map out of lockdown, involves the slow and gradual relaxation of measures, with the majority of restrictions being eased after the most vulnerable have been vaccinated.

    The modelling study was done before early real-world data from vaccination rollout studies.

  • Katie Davis

    ALMOST 40% OF ADULTS WILL AVOID CROWDED AREAS POST-PANDEMIC

    More than a third of adults will continue to avoid crowded places once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, new figures suggest.

    Some 38% of people in the UK said they were more likely to avoid crowds in the future than they were before the pandemic began, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    Three in 10 people (33%) said they would continue to shop online more frequently for non-grocery items.

    A further 23% said they were more likely to avoid public transport, and almost three in 10 working adults (29%) said they would continue to do their jobs from home more often.

    The figures come from the ONS' Opinions and Lifestyle Survey which asked people aged 16 and over what activities they had done more frequently during the pandemic and which ones they would continue to do when it ends.

  • Katie Davis

    NHS WILL GET £6.6MILLION TO COVER COVID COSTS

    The NHS will get another £6.6billion this year to cover the massive Covid costs it faces, Matt Hancock revealed yesterday.

    The much-needed cash will go on vaccinating and testing as well as treating Brits who catch the killer bug.

    It will also be used to clear the spiralling backlog of operations which were delayed as hospitals battled coronavirus.

    Panicked health bosses had warned that the Budget had failed to allocate any more money for battling the pandemic.

    But addressing MPs yesterday, the Health Secretary said the Government has always coughed up the cash so the NHS can fight Covid “and we are backing them again today”.

  • Katie Davis

    COVID CASES FALL 20% DESPITE SCHOOLS GOING BACK

    Covid cases in the UK have fallen by almost 20 per cent in one week despite schools opening.

    According to the ZOE COVID Symptom Study, currently an estimated 4,470 people are falling sick with symptomatic Covid every day.

    The figure compares to 5,494 cases a week ago – a decrease of 18 per cent.

    In England alone, 3,226 people are getting Covid each day – down from 4,225.

    Opening schools was the first step of lifting lockdowns, so the data bodes well for the next phase.

  • Katie Davis

    PM TO GET AZTRAZENECA VACCINE TODAY

    Boris Johnson is to receive his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, as several European countries start inoculating their populations again in light of new assurances on the jab's safety.

    The Prime Minister will receive his vaccine in London later today.

    Mr Johnson, 56, told a Downing Street press conference on Thursday: "The Oxford jab is safe and the Pfizer jab is safe.

    "The thing that isn't safe is catching Covid, which is why it is so important that we all get our jabs as soon as our turn comes."

    Like Mr Johnson, French prime minister Jean Castex is expected to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday.

  • Katie Davis

    ADULTS LIVING WITH KIDS HAVE JUST 4% EXTRA CHANCE OF CATCHING COVID

    Adults living with kids have just a four per cent extra risk of catching Covid, a new study has found.

    It comes as week after school reopened their doors in Britain, giving comfort to nervous parents.

    People under 65 living with children were also found to be at no extra risk of death from Covid in the first and second waves, research in the BMJ revealed.

    After poring through health records for 12 million adults, researchers estimated the number of people with the virus rose from 810 to between 850-870 per 10,000 people living with kids aged 0-11 years.

  • Katie Davis

    COVID CASES RISING IN 124 AREAS

    Coronavirus cases are still rising in 124 places in England.

    Data from Public Health England (PHE) states that of the 315 local areas in England just 58 per cent have seen a fall in infection rates in the last seven days.

    An interactive map reveals if your local area is on the list HERE

  • Katie Davis

    FIVE REPORTS OF BLOOD CLOTS NOT LINKED TO JAB

    There have been five reports of a specific brain blood clot in people who had had the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in the UK.

    However, no link has been made with the jab at this stage, the medicines regulator has said, urging Brits to take the jab if offered.

    The five people were men aged 19 to 59 who experienced a clot together with low blood platelet count. 

    One of them has died, but no details were given on whether the patients had underlying health conditions.

    The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it was looking at the reports but stressed the events were “extremely rare”.

  • Katie Davis

    MARSTON'S TO REOPEN 700 PUBS FROM APRIL 12

    Pub chain Marston’s is to reopen almost 700 of its boozers from April 12 when lockdown restrictions ease.

    The sites will reopen for outdoor eating and drinking only to coincide with the roadmap out of lockdown in England.

    Punters won’t be allowed to dine inside until mid-May at the earliest, and only if restrictions allow.

    The 696 pubs being reopened by Marston’s are all in England, although not all English sites will welcome customers back due to not having an outdoor space. 

    Marston’s says around 70% of its England branches will open their doors again in April.

  • Katie Davis

    GET MEDICAL HELP FOR HEADACHES & BRUISING 4 DAYS AFTER JAB

    Brits suffering a headache up to four days after receiving a coronavirus vaccine should seek medical help, experts have warned.

    The MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) advised that Brits experiencing severe bruising after the jab should also seek help as it could be a sign of a rare blood clot.

    Speaking at a Downing Street press conference yesterday Dr June Raine said people with these symptoms needed to seek medical advice.

    She said that there has been five reports of cerebral sinus venous thrombosis (CSVT). She said, they had occurred shortly after vaccination with the AstraZeneca jab.

    Dr Raine added: “This type of blood clot can rarely occur naturally in unvaccinated people as well as in people with Covid-19."

  • Katie Davis

    GRANDMA, 95, PARALYZED AFTER HOSPITAL GAVE HER ‘COVID VACCINE OVERDOSE’

    A 95-year-old woman has been left “totally incapacitated” after receiving two doses of the Covid vaccine just a day apart

    Brenda Whalen has been unable to walk, talk, or eat for more than two weeks after receiving the vaccine overdose from North York General Hospital.

    She received her required two doses of the vaccine in her Toronto retirement home in early March.

    Yet fell drastically after being admitted to hospital with a leg injury and administered with a third dose only a day after receiving the second.

    Her daughter Cynthia Whalen now fears that she will never “have a conversation with her again” as doctors struggle to confirm what treatment she needs.

    Read more here.

  • Katie Davis

    FIRST NATION VACCINATES ENTIRE ADULT POPULATION

    Gibraltar has become the first nation in the world to fully vaccinate its entire adult population against Covid.

    Matt Hancock revealed that the British territory hit the impressive milestone on Wednesday in the fight against the killer bug.

    The British overseas territory, with a population of just 33,701 residents, had its Covid vaccines supplied by the UK Government and delivered by the RAF.

  • Katie Davis

    PREDICTING WHEN PEOPLE WILL GET JAB IS 'AN ART RATHER THAN A SCIENCE'

    Professor Robin Shattock of Imperial College London said that predicting when people will get their vaccine is "an art rather than a science".

    He told Sky News: "The NHS is doing an incredible job in rolling out vaccines.

    "The danger is by providing promises and predictions when people come to get their vaccines, is creating potential false expectations.

    "Everybody needs to be reassured the programme is going as fast as possible, but predicting exact dates when people are going to get vaccines is really an art rather than a science."

  • Katie Davis

    MAN IN HOTEL QUARANTINE FURIOUS AFTER BEING GIVEN FROZEN SANDWICH

    A man in hotel quarantine has blasted his stay a "disgrace" after being served a frozen chicken sandwich and kids-sized meals.

    Chris Wood, 36, has been staying at the Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh Airport after returning to the UK from a work trip to Angola, southern Africa.

    Travellers from high-risk countries entering the UK must quarantine at a government-approved hotel under Covid rules, paying £1,750.

    Chris, from Aberdeen, claims he was served a frozen chicken sandwich, and when he complained was given one with a dead insect.

    He described his quarantine, which started on March 12, as a "kick in the teeth".

  • Katie Davis

    CONTINUED

    French Prime Minister Jean Castex finally called for a lockdown in Paris yesterday, after Covid patients were airlifted from Paris as hospitals reached breaking point.

    Italy imposed new Covid restrictions on March 15 to slow another wave, while reporting around 22,000 cases a day.  And Germany – where fewer than 10 per cent of people are vaccinated – a lockdown imposed in December has been extended to the end of March.

    “Prof Lockdown” said Europe is seeing increasing levels of cases, albeit driven by the Kent variant.

    “Perhaps more concern for the UK though is that some countries are notably seeing a significant fraction, 5-10 per cent of cases, of the South African variant”, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. 

    “When infection levels go up in France, 30,000 cases a day, that implies there’s at least 1,500-2,000 cases a day of the South African variant. That is the variant we really do want to keep out of the UK.”

  • Katie Davis

    SOUTH AFRICAN VARIANT 'MUST BE KEPT OUT TO STOP 3RD WAVE'

    A leading scientist has warned the South African variant must be kept out of the UK because it is causing a spike in cases in Europe.

    Professor Neil Ferguson, a senior scientific adviser to the Government whose work triggered the first national lockdown, estimates at least 1,500 cases per day in France are caused by the strain.

    The South African strain is up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the original coronavirus variant, meaning it spreads faster and is less easily controlled by typical Covid restrictions.

    But its most worrying mutations help it to evade immunity, either built by prior Covid infection or vaccination. 

    France, like much of Europe, is entering into a third wave of Covid amid a bungled vaccine rollout. 

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