Coronavirus UK news – Brand new vaccines 'needed within a year as covid mutations emerge' plus 3rd wave case surge fears

Coronavirus UK news – Brand new vaccines 'needed within a year as covid mutations emerge' plus 3rd wave case surge fears

BRAND new coronavirus vaccines may be needed within a year as new mutations emerge, experts have warned.

The current crop of UK-approved vaccines – AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna – may become less effective as the year goes on as the virus mutates to get around the protection they afford.

The biggest risk is that an uneven vaccine supply will allow the mutations to emerge in poorer countries where very few people are vaccinated and the virus continues to run riot before spreading to the UK.

In a People’s Vaccine Alliance survey of 77 scientists from 28 countries, two-thirds said they believed the world had a year or less before first-generation vaccines were rendered ineffective.

That doesn't mean the current crop of vaccines will be entirely useless, however, as tweaks to the current AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could once again increase the resistance.

It comes amid fears a summer Covid-19 surge could match numbers at the peak of the first wave, according to an NHS forecast.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust fears the spike predicted for June could see us back where we started.

The trust expects around 100 of their beds in its hospitals to be filled in two months time in a “best case” scenario.

Around the same number were occupied by Covid patients during April of the first wave, with it feared the situation will be replicated nationwide.

And in a “worst case” option – if the vaccine is just 10 per cent less effective – there could be up to 150 beds filled with Covid-19 cases.

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

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    195 CARE HOME DEATHS DOWN 35% FROM PREVIOUS WEEK

    Some 195 care home resident deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales were registered in the week to March 19, down more than a third (35%) on the previous week.

    A total of 41,953 care home residents in England and Wales have now had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began.

    The ONS figures cover deaths of care home residents in all settings, not just in care homes.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    COVID DEATH FIGURES UP FROM LAST WEEK

    Of those who were diagnosed with the disease, 0.13 per cent died, up from 0.04 per cent.

    The figures are still relatively small compared to the death rates of elderly people.

    Meanwhile, deaths doubled among those in their 30s, 40s and 50s, up to 0.32 per cent, 0.9 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    COVID BRAZIL VARIANT TRIPLES RISK OF DEATH IN YOUNG PEOPLE, SCIENTISTS FEAR

    Brazil's new Covid variant is proving to be more deadly in young people.

    Deaths tripled in people in their 20s in Brazil between January and February, when the variant began to take off in the country.

    Of those who were diagnosed with the disease, 0.13 per cent died, up from 0.04 per cent.

    The figures are still relatively small compared to the death rates of elderly people.

    Meanwhile, deaths doubled among those in their 30s, 40s and 50s, up to 0.32 per cent, 0.9 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively. 

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    PARK STRIFE

    This is the moment hundreds of boozy students brawled and were caught weeing in park bushes on the first day of lockdown easing.

    Large crowds of more than six gathered at the Arboretum in Nottingham – where revellers enjoyed beers and danced in yesterday's warm weather.

    The boozy students could be seen starting a fight – as hundreds broke social distancing rules and gathered to see what the commotion was about.

    Revellers could then be seen spraying bottles of alcohol in the air – chanting and clapping as many joined in and danced in the centre of the madness.

    One party-seeker, pulling his shirt over his nose as a make-shift mask, said: "Everyone is feeling happy again, and that's what's important."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    BORIS, MERKEL & MACRON DECLARE PEACE AFTER VACCINE WAR AS WORLD LEADERS PUSH FOR 'PANDEMIC TREATY' TO FIGHT OUTBREAKS

    Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have declared peace after threats of a vaccine war as global leaders push for a "pandemic treaty" to address future health emergencies.

    The British Prime Minister, France's President and Germany's Chancellor are among the leaders demanding an "all-of-government and all-of-society" approach to prepare the world for future pandemics.

    The call has come in an opinion column, published in the Daily Telegraph today, saying: "We believe that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response.

    "Such a renewed collective commitment would be a milestone in stepping up pandemic preparedness at the highest political level."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    SWEDEN'S HEALTH AGENCY SEEKS DELAY IN EASING OF PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS

    Sweden's health agency said on Tuesday it had asked the government to postpone a planned easing of some restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 by nearly a month as the country grappled with a third wave of the virus.

    The agency had previously proposed that some restrictions, such as a limit on the number of visitors to amusement parks, concerts and football matches of only eight people, be lifted from April 11.

    "The spread of COVID-19 is accelerating with an increased burden on healthcare as a result," it said in a statement.

    "The Swedish Public Health Agency therefore proposes that the date for when certain activities should be able to open up be postponed until May 3, provided that the infection situation improves."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    PAIR ARRESTED OVER COVID CARE HOME DEATHS

    A police investigation into Covid-19 deaths at a care home is now focusing on infection control and management.

    A woman, 57, from Sidmouth, and a man, 30, from Exeter, Devon who were arrested last week by police on suspicion of wilful neglect have been released on bail.

    Both are members of staff at Holmesley Care Home in Sidmouth, Devon.

    Nine deaths have been reported at the home since 25 February.

    All are thought to be related to an outbreak of the virus, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

    "The police investigation is currently focusing on infection control and management within the home," the force said in a statement.

    "It is not currently related in any way to the vaccination of residents," it added.

    Holmesley Care Home said it is treating the allegations "with the utmost seriousness".

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    EXPLAINER – WHEN WILL SHIELDING END?

    People shielding have been told to stay home until March 31. In an address to the nation, Health Secretary Matt Hancock was asked tonight by a nurse if she could return to work on April 1.

    Mr Hancock replied: "Yes, it will. I am delighted to say that shielding will be able to end on the 31 March, and absolutely delighted that we'll be able to welcome you back into the NHS as a nurse."

    The Health Secretary shared the good news today alongside Jonathan Van Tam – as he confirmed that more than 25million Brits had been vaccinated with their first dose.

    It comes after Boris Johnson revealed his roadmap out of lockdown last month. Nearly five million people were told to shield in the last few weeks.

    Those who were vulnerable to Covid were told to stay inside and limit their social activity. But all vulnerable Brits have now been offered the jab. All those over 50s are set to be jabbed by April.

  • Patrick Joseph DUGGAN

    60M JABS TO BE MADE IN UK

    THE PM yesterday said Brits could boost resilience to Covid by getting fit in the sun — and revealed 60million new jabs will be made in the UK.

    Boris Johnson said he could not wait to play tennis again as lockdown is eased.

    He added: “We can take advantage of this beautiful weather to build national resilience.”

    The new Novavax jab is also being produced in the North East, he said.

    He hailed the “significant new weapon in the armoury” against the virus as we took a “small step to freedom” yesterday.

  • Patrick Joseph DUGGAN

    TRUMP BLASTS FAUCI AND BIRX

    DONALD Trump released a scathing statement slamming Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Deborah Birx on Monday.

    The former president called Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, the "king of flip-flops," and slammed Birx, who served as his coronavirus response coordinator, as a "liar."

    Trump's comments come after Birx spoke about missteps the Trump administration made while handling the Covid-19 pandemic.

    "Based on their interviews, I felt it was time to speak up about Dr Fauci and Dr Birx, two self-promoters trying to reinvent history to cover up their bad instincts and faulty recommendations, which I fortunately almost always overturned," the statement begins.

  • Patrick Joseph DUGGAN

    MUTATIONS FEARS

    CORONAVIRUS mutations could render current vaccines redundant in less than one year, experts say.

    Jabs have been created to target the original strain of the coronavirus, and do not work as effectively against some new mutations.

    And with Covid evolving all the time, new variants will continue to emerge, some of which could dodge the power or vaccines.

    Two-thirds (66.2 per cent) of epidemiologists say this could happen in less than a year, from March 2021.

  • Patrick Joseph DUGGAN

    BORIS URGED TO LIFT LOCKDOWN

    BORIS Johnson has been urged to lift the lockdown faster and allow foreign holidays – as infections and deaths in the UK today hit a six-month low.

    The Prime Minister is facing increased pressure to unlock earlier after four NHS regions covering 29million people in southern England reported no deaths on Sunday.

    In total, 23 deaths were recorded elsewhere that day.

    On average, 63 people are dying with Covid every day – a 95 per cent plunge from January's crippling peak.

  • Patrick Joseph DUGGAN

    LEADERS PEACE DEAL

    BORIS Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have declared peace after threats of a vaccine war as global leaders push for a "pandemic treaty" to address future health emergencies.

    The British Prime Minister, France's President and Germany's Chancellor are among the leaders demanding an "all-of-government and all-of-society" approach to prepare the world for future pandemics.

    The call has come in an opinion column, published in the Daily Telegraph today, saying: "We believe that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response.

  • John Hall

    30 MILLION BRITS HAVE RECEIVED FIRST DOSE OF VACCINE

    More than thirty million Brits have now received the coronavirus vaccine – just over three months after the first jab was given out. 

    The incredible milestone comes as the government confirmed the rollout of the Moderna vaccine would see under-50s immunised in April. 

    More than 30,151,287 Brits have now received at least their first dose following the weekend's vaccination efforts.

    And 201,335 have received their second dose, taking the total to 3,527,481.

    It comes just over fifteen weeks after 91-year-old Margaret Keenan made history by being the first Brit to receive the jab on December 8.

  • John Hall

    HIDDEN COVID TOLL IN MEXICO REVEALED

    Mexico’s government has acknowledged that the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic now stands above 321,000, almost 60 per cent more than the official test-confirmed number of 201,429.

    Mexico does little testing, and because hospitals were overwhelmed, many Mexicans died at home without getting a test.

    The only way to get a clear picture is to review excess deaths and review death certificates.

    On Saturday, the government quietly published such a report, which found there were 294,287 deaths linked to Covid-19 from the start of the pandemic through February 14.

    Since February 15 there have been an additional 26,772 test-confirmed deaths.

  • John Hall

    GREAT OUTDOORS – BRITS PREFER COUNTRYSIDE JAUNTS

    Adventurous Brits would rather go on holiday in the countryside than lounge on the beach after a year of Covid lockdown, a new survey shows.

    A survey found 67 per cent of adults have spent too much of the past 12 months sitting and lying around doing nothing.

    The survey, by Icelandair, also found more than half of respondents want to go abroad on holiday this year – with 37 per cent of these having booked a trip already.

    More than a third want to avoid sunbathing on the sand and would prefer to do something more adventurous instead the survey of 2,000 adults found.

    Almost one third (32 per cent) would like to see the Northern Lights, but Brits most long to explore the countryside on a walking adventure this year.

  • John Hall

    BRITS MAY NEED THIRD JAB BY AUTUMN TO GO ON HOLIDAY

    Brits may need a third dose of the Covid vaccine in autumn in order to travel abroad, the health secretary has said.

    Matt Hancock revealed a new vaccine is in the making to deal with new variants, believed to be from Novavax. 

    Asked about how it will ever be possible to travel again on This Morning, Mr Hancock told Holly and Phil: “We are also working on a new vaccine that we might have to roll out in the autumn to give people a third dose that will deal with this problem. So we are working on that now.

    “There might be a third dose in the autumn.”

  • John Hall

    SUMMER SURGE PREDICTED

    A summer Covid-19 surge could match numbers at the peak of the first wave, according to an NHS forecast.

    Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust fears the spike predicted for June could see us back where we started.

    The trust expects around 100 of their beds in its hospitals to be filled in two months time in a “best case” scenario.

    Around the same number were occupied by Covid patients during April of the first wave, with it feared the situation will be replicated nationwide.

    And in a “worst case” option – if the vaccine is just 10 per cent less effective – there could be up to 150 beds filled with Covid-19 cases.

  • John Hall

    INFECTIONS DOWN 62% IN CARE HOME RESIDENTS FIVE WEEKS AFTER FIRST JAB – STUDY

    Coronavirus infections in care home residents fell by 62% from five weeks after they received their first vaccine dose, Government-funded research has found.

    Residents in England who were infected after having the vaccine may also be less likely to transmit the virus, according to initial findings from the Vivaldi study.

    The study, led by researchers from University College London, examined data on 10,412 elderly care home residents from 310 care homes between December and mid-March.

    They looked at the number of infections confirmed with PCR tests within specific time periods after vaccination and compared this to the number of infections that occurred before vaccination.

    They calculated the risk of infection was 56% lower from four weeks after a single dose of either the Pfizer or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and 62% lower after five weeks.

  • John Hall

    DOOR NOT SHUT ON INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said "the door is not shut" on international travel this summer, and more evidence on how vaccines work against variants will be known in the next few weeks.

    He told ITV's This Morning the "biggest problem" was from variants, adding: "We're also working on a new vaccine that we might have to roll out in the autumn to give people a third dose that will deal with this problem. So we're working on that now."

    Asked if current vaccines might work against the South African and Brazilian variants, he said: "We're not yet sure, but we're doing the science in Porton Down, and watching very closely, and if that all goes well, then we haven't got a problem and then we'll be much more relaxed about international travel. We will know more over the next few weeks."

    Mr Hancock said he had a "lot of sympathy" for the travel industry, adding: "We all want to get that going as soon as possible but the most important thing is to protect the recovery here at home, so people can see their loved ones and don't have to go into lockdown again.

  • John Hall

    JAB INEQUALITY

    Around four in 10 people in England aged 70 and over identifying as black African are unlikely to have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, new figures suggest.

    Vaccination rates for this ethnic group up to March 11 are estimated to be 58.8%, the lowest among all ethnic minority groups, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    For people aged 70 and over identifying as black Caribbean the estimated rate is 68.7%, with rates of 72.7% and 74.0% for people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds respectively.

    The estimated rate for people identifying as white British is 91.3%.

  • John Hall

    MATT HANCOCK SAYS HE’S EXCITED FOR HIS UK HOLIDAY

    After being quizzed on foreign holiday restrictions on This Morning, Matt Hancock said he “loves this country” and won’t be holidaying abroad – even if the gates reopen.

    “I’m going on holiday in the UK,” he said before being interrupted by Holly who asked: “Even if it opens up? Wouldn’t you just want to get away and put your feet in the sand?”

    “No, I love this country. I’ve had my holiday booked since I took it last year. We went and booked a house and we booked it straight away after.”

  • John Hall

    POTENTIAL THIRD JAB SAYS HANCOCK

    Speaking on This Morning, Matt Hancock told Philip and Holly that there may be a third jab on the way.

    "The biggest problem that we've got in terms of holidays is if there's a different variant that the vaccine doesn't work against.

    "We are also working on a new vaccine that we may have to roll out in the autumn to give people a third dose that would deal with this problem."

  • John Hall

    MATT HANCOCK ON THIS MORNING

    Speaking on This Morning, Matt Hancock was asked today if this was the final lockdown.

    From today, groups of six or two families – no matter the size will be able to meet.

    "I think so and very much hope so. We are on track and we are able to take new steps today.

    "We knew from autumn, when we just had the rule of six, for big families that caused some problems – so we've listened to those concerns.

    "Lets take these steps together safely. We can only do this because people have stuck to the rules and the vaccine programme."

  • John Hall

    PRESS CONFERENCE 5PM TODAY

    Boris Johnson will hold a press conference today at 5pm to mark coronavirus restrictions easing from his new £2.7million studio.

    The PM will speak to the nation when his lockdown roadmap comes into play – giving millions of Brits extra freedoms on March 29.

    The Sun revealed last month that the PM spent £2.7million of taxpayers’ cash on the White House-style TV studio.

    A Number 10 spokesperson said: "Work on the briefing room in number nine Downing Street has now completed.

    "So going forward, all future Coronavirus press conferences, will take place in No9 Downing Street.

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