Covid news latest: Boris Johnson tells Brits 'get boosted NOW' to return to normal life as data shows Omicron IS peaking

Covid news latest: Boris Johnson tells Brits 'get boosted NOW' to return to normal life as data shows Omicron IS peaking

January 11, 2022

Boris Johnson has stressed the need for people who have so far refused a booster jab to "join the movement" and get a vaccination.

Mr Johnson yesterday urged Brits to support his plan to beat the Covid variant on track, insisting: “We can do it, we can all get boosted now.”

But while data shows the Omicron wave peaking, take-up of third jabs has plummeted.

Just 141,495 third doses were put in arms on Sunday — compared to almost a million a day in December, with one in three eligible Brits is still not boosted.

Yesterday the PM also said he would "act according to the science" around cutting the self-isolation period for Covid-19 cases.

Experts are examining whether the period could be cut from seven to five days for cases, something which would help ease staffing crises across the economy and public services.

Read our Covid-19 live blog for the latest news and updates…

  • Louis Allwood

    The 242 locations where cases are still rising

    Cases per 100,000 in the seven days up to January 6. The figure on the RIGHT shows infections, also per 100,000, in the seven days up to December 31.

    1. Derry City and Strabane, Northern Ireland, 4013.7, (6065), 3777.4, (5708)
    2. Fermanagh and Omagh, Northern Ireland, 3309.3, (3883), 2922.4, (3429)
    3. Middlesbrough, North-east England, 3144.0, (4442), 1648.4, (2329)
    4. Barrow-in-Furness, North-west England, 3039.3, (2028), 2786.0, (1859)
    5. Stockton-on-Tees, North-east England, 3015.4, (5953), 1976.5, (3902)
    6. Mid Ulster, Northern Ireland, 2993.6, (4459), 2201.4, (3279)
    7. Copeland, North-west England, 2958.5, (2013), 2718.9, (1850)
    8. Redcar and Cleveland, North-east England, 2879.9, (3952), 1681.1, (2307)
    9. Newry Mourne and Down, Northern Ireland, 2848.0, (5174), 2408.2, (4375)
    10. Hartlepool, North-east England, 2816.6, (2643), 1548.4, (1453)
    11. Allerdale, North-west England, 2766.0, (2706), 1974.8, (1932)
    12. North Tyneside, North-east England, 2722.3, (5686), 1746.5, (3648)
    13. Knowsley, North-west England, 2678.9, (4084), 2385.7, (3637)
    14. Barnsley, Yorkshire & the Humber, 2669.8, (6623), 1832.9, (4547)
    15. Hyndburn, North-west England, 2659.8, (2158), 1818.0, (1475)
    16. South Tyneside, North-east England, 2634.8, (3982), 1500.0, (2267)
    17. Sunderland, North-east England, 2619.8, (7279), 1404.4, (3902)
    18. St Helens, North-west England, 2533.5, (4588), 2450.6, (4438)
    19. Nuneaton and Bedworth, West Midlands, 2522.8, (3289), 1910.7, (2491)
    20. Wirral, North-west England, 2521.8, (8179), 2373.5, (7698)
    21. Burnley, North-west England, 2511.6, (2244), 1986.7, (1775)
    22. Halton, North-west England, 2505.4, (3251), 2378.3, (3086)
    23. Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2480.1, (8496), 2216.8, (7594)
    24. Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon, Northern Ireland, 2474.8, (5376), 1851.5, (4022)
    25. Northumberland, North-east England, 2455.1, (7950), 1531.4, (4959)
    26. Wakefield, Yorkshire & the Humber, 2449.1, (8611), 1753.7, (6166)
    27. Salford, North-west England, 2431.3, (6387), 2311.8, (6073)
    28. Rotherham, Yorkshire & the Humber, 2428.4, (6435), 1977.1, (5239)
    29. Wigan, North-west England, 2422.7, (8012), 2364.0, (7818)
    30. Gateshead, North-east England, 2421.9, (4891), 1570.7, (3172)
    31. Blackburn with Darwen, North-west England, 2414.9, (3623), 1662.3, (2494)
    32. South Ribble, North-west England, 2414.3, (2682), 2227.1, (2474)
    33. Blackpool, North-west England, 2412.2, (3338), 1918.6, (2655)
    34. Cannock Chase, West Midlands, 2367.9, (2403), 1991.4, (2021)
    35. Blaby, East Midlands, 2349.2, (2395), 1957.8, (1996)
    36. Doncaster, Yorkshire & the Humber, 2336.1, (7307), 1729.3, (5409)
    37. Tameside, North-west England, 2331.0, (5294), 2214.3, (5029)
    38. Chorley, North-west England, 2325.2, (2764), 2169.6, (2579)
    39. Ribble Valley, North-west England, 2308.7, (1432), 1905.7, (1182)
    40. Rochdale, North-west England, 2304.4, (5154), 1968.6, (4403)
    41. Carlisle, North-west England, 2276.9, (2471), 1518.6, (1648)
    42. West Lancashire, North-west England, 2273.4, (2603), 2176.5, (2492)
    43. Warrington, North-west England, 2262.7, (4738), 2161.0, (4525)
    44. West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, 2260.6, (1997), 2053.4, (1814)
    45. County Durham, North-east England, 2246.7, (11978), 1304.1, (6953)
    46. Darlington, North-east England, 2243.0, (2409), 1262.5, (1356)
    47. Antrim and Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, 2230.2, (3206), 2058.3, (2959)
    48. Neath Port Talbot, Wales, 2229.4, (3219), 2119.3, (3060)
    49. Liverpool, North-west England, 2215.9, (11090), 2127.4, (10647)
    50. Oldham, North-west England, 2201.3, (5231), 1940.0, (4610)
    51. Wolverhampton, West Midlands, 2184.1, (5775), 1776.0, (4696)
    52. Causeway Coast and Glens, Northern Ireland, 2169.1, (3144), 1993.9, (2890)
    53. Dudley, West Midlands, 2168.4, (6990), 1758.3, (5668)
    54. Wyre, North-west England, 2142.1, (2422), 1678.7, (1898)
    55. Newcastle upon Tyne, North-east England, 2140.0, (6566), 1402.1, (4302)
    56. Cheshire West and Chester, North-west England, 2130.7, (7326), 1995.8, (6862)
    57. Fylde, North-west England, 2130.3, (1730), 1800.2, (1462)
    58. Preston, North-west England, 2120.8, (3057), 1662.9, (2397)
    59. Hull, Yorkshire & the Humber, 2109.8, (5467), 1532.5, (3971)
    60. Bolton, North-west England, 2104.1, (6065), 1849.8, (5332)
    61. North Warwickshire, West Midlands, 2100.8, (1375), 1627.1, (1065)
    62. Walsall, West Midlands, 2090.9, (5995), 1627.4, (4666)
    63. South Staffordshire, West Midlands, 2088.7, (2347), 1881.3, (2114)
    64. Pendle, North-west England, 2085.8, (1922), 1472.7, (1357)
    65. Bury, North-west England, 2081.2, (3969), 1967.9, (3753)
    66. Rugby, West Midlands, 2064.2, (2284), 1754.2, (1941)
    67. Kirklees, Yorkshire & the Humber, 2061.5, (9097), 1480.7, (6534)
    68. North East Lincolnshire, Yorkshire & the Humber, 2053.8, (3273), 1735.0, (2765)
    69. Oadby and Wigston, East Midlands, 2043.2, (1171), 1612.2, (924)
    70. North East Derbyshire, East Midlands, 2042.7, (2088), 1970.3, (2014)
    71. Calderdale, Yorkshire & the Humber, 2036.0, (4305), 1614.7, (3414)
    72. Hinckley and Bosworth, East Midlands, 2034.9, (2313), 1712.0, (1946)
    73. Rossendale, North-west England, 2017.3, (1441), 1685.5, (1204)
    74. Moray, Scotland, 2004.0, (1918), 1868.1, (1788)
    75. Corby, East Midlands, 1993.1, (1456), 1592.0, (1163)
    76. Selby, Yorkshire & the Humber, 1987.0, (1822), 1787.4, (1639)
    77. Leicester, East Midlands, 1984.0, (7024), 1574.4, (5574)
    78. Lisburn and Castlereagh, Northern Ireland, 1976.8, (2895), 1975.4, (2893)
    79. Bolsover, East Midlands, 1976.5, (1607), 1708.4, (1389)
    80. Hounslow, London, 1974.9, (5367), 1830.6, (4975)
    81. Mid and East Antrim, Northern Ireland, 1974.3, (2753), 1526.1, (2128)
    82. East Riding of Yorkshire, Yorkshire & the Humber, 1972.0, (6768), 1447.0, (4966)
    83. Sandwell, West Midlands, 1969.4, (6480), 1553.3, (5111)
    84. High Peak, East Midlands, 1966.9, (1822), 1904.3, (1764)
    85. Cheshire East, North-west England, 1961.1, (7583), 1841.4, (7120)
    86. North Lincolnshire, Yorkshire & the Humber, 1957.2, (3381), 1490.6, (2575)
    87. Derby, East Midlands, 1947.3, (5001), 1810.3, (4649)
    88. Bassetlaw, East Midlands, 1942.8, (2298), 1630.0, (1928)
    89. North Ayrshire, Scotland, 1940.4, (2605), 1708.0, (2293)
    90. Manchester, North-west England, 1937.8, (10769), 1910.6, (10618)
    91. Sheffield, Yorkshire & the Humber, 1937.5, (11416), 1704.8, (10045)
    92. Wrexham, Wales, 1933.0, (2630), 1763.3, (2399)
    93. Ashfield, East Midlands, 1929.3, (2476), 1830.3, (2349)
    94. Stafford, West Midlands, 1928.1, (2658), 1705.4, (2351)
    95. Gedling, East Midlands, 1926.6, (2278), 1923.2, (2274)
    96. Leeds, Yorkshire & the Humber, 1922.5, (15357), 1648.6, (13169)
    97. Swindon, South-west England, 1913.1, (4264), 1656.9, (3693)
    98. Telford and Wrekin, West Midlands, 1907.1, (3458), 1371.0, (2486)
    99. North West Leicestershire, East Midlands, 1901.6, (1993), 1647.8, (1727)
    100. Wyre Forest, West Midlands, 1896.4, (1918), 1313.0, (1328)
    101. Lichfield, West Midlands, 1895.2, (2002), 1713.4, (1810)
    102. Ealing, London, 1881.1, (6402), 1812.3, (6168)
    103. Stoke-on-Trent, West Midlands, 1875.5, (4813), 1432.8, (3677)
    104. Charnwood, East Midlands, 1865.6, (3515), 1655.4, (3119)
    105. Mansfield, East Midlands, 1865.6, (2040), 1705.5, (1865)
    106. Falkirk, Scotland, 1861.6, (2989), 1790.6, (2875)
    107. Staffordshire Moorlands, West Midlands, 1848.1, (1819), 1353.3, (1332)
    108. Harborough, East Midlands, 1843.3, (1761), 1640.2, (1567)
    109. Ards and North Down, Northern Ireland, 1837.0, (2977), 1804.9, (2925)
    110. South Derbyshire, East Midlands, 1834.4, (2009), 1681.9, (1842)
    111. Tamworth, West Midlands, 1831.8, (1408), 1627.5, (1251)
    112. Richmondshire, Yorkshire & the Humber, 1823.9, (980), 1086.9, (584)
    113. South Ayrshire, Scotland, 1823.6, (2045), 1683.6, (1888)
    114. Bracknell Forest, South-east England, 1820.2, (2260), 1806.5, (2243)
    115. Coventry, West Midlands, 1819.0, (6901), 1452.3, (5510)
    116. Kettering, East Midlands, 1807.0, (1847), 1589.8, (1625)
    117. Great Yarmouth, Eastern England, 1802.5, (1788), 1509.1, (1497)
    118. Craven, Yorkshire & the Humber, 1799.9, (1032), 1459.8, (837)
    119. Amber Valley, East Midlands, 1796.2, (2314), 1672.8, (2155)
    120. Bedford, Eastern England, 1793.5, (3133), 1640.6, (2866)
    121. East Staffordshire, West Midlands, 1792.9, (2168), 1309.9, (1584)
    122. Redditch, West Midlands, 1785.7, (1528), 1751.8, (1499)
    123. Fife, Scotland, 1784.1, (6675), 1430.3, (5351)
    124. Hillingdon, London, 1783.1, (5510), 1765.3, (5455)
    125. Harrow, London, 1778.2, (4487), 1754.8, (4428)
    126. Bradford, Yorkshire & the Humber, 1777.3, (9635), 1126.1, (6105)
    127. Solihull, West Midlands, 1773.4, (3857), 1611.6, (3505)
    128. Luton, Eastern England, 1770.3, (3780), 1535.2, (3278)
    129. South Lakeland, North-west England, 1769.2, (1856), 1627.2, (1707)
    130. Newcastle-under-Lyme, West Midlands, 1764.5, (2287), 1368.7, (1774)
    131. Rushmoor, South-east England, 1751.3, (1653), 1538.3, (1452)
    132. Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, 1744.6, (2587), 1480.2, (2195)
    133. Slough, South-east England, 1742.9, (2607), 1285.0, (1922)
    134. Carmarthenshire, Wales, 1736.2, (3300), 1709.9, (3250)
    135. Newark and Sherwood, East Midlands, 1733.2, (2134), 1699.1, (2092)
    136. Eden, North-west England, 1720.8, (925), 1211.1, (651)
    137. Peterborough, Eastern England, 1717.0, (3479), 1350.3, (2736)
    138. Thanet, South-east England, 1716.4, (2428), 1507.9, (2133)
    139. Surrey Heath, South-east England, 1708.4, (1524), 1670.3, (1490)
    140. Daventry, East Midlands, 1699.8, (1478), 1405.4, (1222)
    141. Ipswich, Eastern England, 1695.9, (2306), 1465.7, (1993)
    142. Perth and Kinross, Scotland, 1694.4, (2574), 1454.8, (2210)
    143. Bristol, South-west England, 1693.4, (7889), 1558.0, (7258)
    144. Shropshire, West Midlands, 1688.9, (5496), 1422.5, (4629)
    145. Cherwell, South-east England, 1683.3, (2556), 1673.4, (2541)
    146. Scarborough, Yorkshire & the Humber, 1679.3, (1826), 1135.8, (1235)
    147. Bromsgrove, West Midlands, 1677.5, (1687), 1593.9, (1603)
    148. Angus, Scotland, 1673.3, (1938), 1324.5, (1534)
    149. Aberdeen City, Scotland, 1665.9, (3816), 1425.8, (3266)
    150. Three Rivers, Eastern England, 1645.3, (1546), 1612.3, (1515)
    151. Woking, South-east England, 1640.9, (1641), 1617.9, (1618)
    152. Dundee City, Scotland, 1640.2, (2441), 1590.5, (2367)
    153. Northampton, East Midlands, 1639.8, (3678), 1358.5, (3047)
    154. Hambleton, Yorkshire & the Humber, 1626.2, (1495), 1294.4, (1190)
    155. Reading, South-east England, 1626.0, (2607), 1481.9, (2376)
    156. Nottingham, East Midlands, 1609.9, (5427), 1597.5, (5385)
    157. Birmingham, West Midlands, 1600.9, (18259), 1365.2, (15570)
    158. Gloucester, South-west England, 1599.0, (2074), 1193.4, (1548)
    159. Swale, South-east England, 1598.5, (2414), 1487.3, (2246)
    160. Stratford-on-Avon, West Midlands, 1595.9, (2113), 1398.8, (1852)
    161. Norwich, Eastern England, 1587.5, (2257), 1563.5, (2223)
    162. Wellingborough, East Midlands, 1585.9, (1270), 1369.9, (1097)
    163. West Lindsey, East Midlands, 1577.2, (1517), 1379.6, (1327)
    164. East Suffolk, Eastern England, 1574.9, (3943), 1410.3, (3531)
    165. Warwick, West Midlands, 1571.3, (2277), 1564.4, (2267)
    166. South Kesteven, East Midlands, 1561.9, (2237), 1490.7, (2135)
    167. East Lothian, Scotland, 1561.6, (1685), 1537.5, (1659)
    168. Harrogate, Yorkshire & the Humber, 1558.1, (2517), 1350.1, (2181)
    169. Plymouth, South-west England, 1553.8, (4084), 1185.5, (3116)
    170. South Gloucestershire, South-west England, 1552.7, (4469), 1390.5, (4002)
    171. Vale of White Horse, South-east England, 1551.0, (2139), 1382.8, (1907)
    172. Portsmouth, South-east England, 1541.7, (3310), 1397.4, (3000)
    173. Highland, Scotland, 1538.5, (3622), 1270.9, (2992)
    174. Gosport, South-east England, 1522.2, (1289), 1192.7, (1010)
    175. Wokingham, South-east England, 1521.2, (2646), 1453.3, (2528)
    176. Worcester, West Midlands, 1520.0, (1524), 1491.0, (1495)
    177. Eastleigh, South-east England, 1517.9, (2057), 1447.8, (1962)
    178. North Kesteven, East Midlands, 1513.3, (1788), 1491.3, (1762)
    179. Fareham, South-east England, 1512.8, (1760), 1277.3, (1486)
    180. Eastbourne, South-east England, 1502.1, (1552), 1234.0, (1275)
    181. Powys, Wales, 1496.7, (1991), 1491.4, (1984)
    182. East Northamptonshire, East Midlands, 1488.9, (1416), 1455.3, (1384)
    183. North Devon, South-west England, 1484.2, (1457), 827.1, (812)
    184. Oxford, South-east England, 1475.7, (2237), 1347.8, (2043)
    185. Rutland, East Midlands, 1470.0, (595), 1242.7, (503)
    186. South Oxfordshire, South-east England, 1464.7, (2106), 1444.5, (2077)
    187. Buckinghamshire, South-east England, 1459.4, (7984), 1393.1, (7621)
    188. Aberdeenshire, Scotland, 1448.3, (3777), 1216.0, (3171)
    189. Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole, South-west England, 1441.9, (5724), 1341.3, (5325)
    190. Havant, South-east England, 1434.2, (1812), 1298.1, (1640)
    191. Test Valley, South-east England, 1426.5, (1814), 1395.1, (1774)
    192. West Berkshire, South-east England, 1412.9, (2239), 1349.8, (2139)
    193. North Somerset, South-west England, 1411.1, (3042), 1181.5, (2547)
    194. Folkestone and Hythe, South-east England, 1403.1, (1590), 1276.9, (1447)
    195. Torbay, South-west England, 1402.9, (1911), 855.2, (1165)
    196. Bath and North East Somerset, South-west England, 1402.0, (2753), 1298.7, (2550)
    197. South Northamptonshire, East Midlands, 1393.8, (1331), 1267.1, (1210)
    198. Forest of Dean, South-west England, 1390.2, (1211), 1013.7, (883)
    199. Southampton, South-east England, 1376.2, (3480), 1322.4, (3344)
    200. Cambridge, Eastern England, 1371.3, (1715), 1253.8, (1568)
    201. Adur, South-east England, 1364.8, (876), 1296.2, (832)
    202. King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Eastern England, 1362.0, (2060), 1278.7, (1934)
    203. East Cambridgeshire, Eastern England, 1345.2, (1213), 1157.8, (1044)
    204. Cheltenham, South-west England, 1342.6, (1558), 1171.1, (1359)
    205. Wychavon, West Midlands, 1340.4, (1757), 1170.2, (1534)
    206. Fenland, Eastern England, 1333.3, (1361), 1252.0, (1278)
    207. South Holland, East Midlands, 1331.1, (1276), 959.8, (920)
    208. Hastings, South-east England, 1326.8, (1228), 1064.2, (985)
    209. East Lindsey, East Midlands, 1326.5, (1884), 1146.2, (1628)
    210. Herefordshire, West Midlands, 1320.7, (2557), 1172.9, (2271)
    211. South Somerset, South-west England, 1314.2, (2217), 944.3, (1593)
    212. Mendip, South-west England, 1310.5, (1524), 1028.5, (1196)
    213. Dover, South-east England, 1307.9, (1550), 1259.8, (1493)
    214. Exeter, South-west England, 1298.3, (1731), 988.5, (1318)
    215. West Suffolk, Eastern England, 1297.8, (2301), 1155.1, (2048)
    216. Sedgemoor, South-west England, 1287.2, (1589), 1012.6, (1250)
    217. Wiltshire, South-west England, 1286.3, (6484), 1184.8, (5972)
    218. Horsham, South-east England, 1283.4, (1867), 1260.7, (1834)
    219. Winchester, South-east England, 1271.4, (1601), 1265.0, (1593)
    220. Dorset, South-west England, 1257.8, (4777), 1109.0, (4212)
    221. Mid Suffolk, Eastern England, 1238.8, (1299), 1170.2, (1227)
    222. East Hampshire, South-east England, 1236.3, (1531), 1195.1, (1480)
    223. Torridge, South-west England, 1228.2, (844), 778.5, (535)
    224. Breckland, Eastern England, 1226.9, (1733), 1169.5, (1652)
    225. Stroud, South-west England, 1225.8, (1482), 1100.9, (1331)
    226. Somerset West and Taunton, South-west England, 1225.7, (1905), 1021.1, (1587)
    227. South Hams, South-west England, 1215.5, (1069), 914.2, (804)
    228. North Norfolk, Eastern England, 1215.2, (1278), 1077.3, (1133)
    229. Wealden, South-east England, 1197.7, (1949), 1188.4, (1934)
    230. Boston, East Midlands, 1194.3, (846), 979.7, (694)
    231. Tewkesbury, South-west England, 1164.3, (1125), 1071.2, (1035)
    232. Arun, South-east England, 1158.1, (1866), 1028.4, (1657)
    233. Chichester, South-east England, 1136.6, (1381), 1089.6, (1324)
    234. Teignbridge, South-west England, 1125.6, (1520), 912.3, (1232)
    235. West Devon, South-west England, 1111.5, (624), 735.7, (413)
    236. Malvern Hills, West Midlands, 1101.4, (875), 941.5, (748)
    237. Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, South-west England, 1099.3, (6327), 894.7, (5149)
    238. East Devon, South-west England, 1094.0, (1620), 919.8, (1362)
    239. Mid Devon, South-west England, 1090.2, (908), 875.3, (729)
    240. Rother, South-east England, 1014.3, (981), 872.7, (844)
    241. Isle of Wight, South-east England, 877.0, (1248), 856.7, (1219)
    242. Shetland Islands, Scotland, 721.5, (165), 612.2, (140)
  • Louis Allwood

    New Omicron epicentre emerges

    A NEW Omicron epicentre has emerged and this interactive map reveals if your local area is a hotspot for infections.

    Coronavirus cases have risen in 242 areas in the last seven days and there are five areas where infections have climbed at a rapid rate.

    Cases have fallen in just 134 areas in the seven days to January 7 and the map above shows current infection rates, with an epicentre of infections forming in the North East of England.

    Derry City & Strabane in Northern Ireland continues to have the highest rate of Covid infections in the UK, with 6,065 new cases in the seven days to January 6, the equivalent of 4,013.7 per 100,000 people.

    This is up from a rate of 3,777.4 for the seven days to December 30.

    Fermanagh & Omagh in Northern Ireland has the second highest rate, up from 2,922.4 to 3,309.3, with 3,883 new cases.

    Figures for Northern Ireland as a whole show that six additional deaths were recorded yesterday, with a further 2,706 cases.

  • Louis Allwood

    Boris wants to follow science on Covid – science says it’s time to start dismantling ‘Plan B’

    This is a comment piece by Iain Duncan Smith

    THE past two years have undoubtedly been tough for the nation, with so many of us experiencing bereavement.

    But we can be cheered that, thanks to our world-beating vaccine programme, recent statistics show the virus is finally in retreat.

    Data released by the UK Health Security Agency yesterday shows cases dropped by close to ten per cent in a week to 142,224, falling for a fifth day in a row.

    Now it’s time to start to plan, with some degree of urgency, about how we live with Covid and get on with our lives.

    Some good ideas are already being aired — and should be enacted.

    We should cut the time people have to self-isolate. Reducing it to five days seems sensible. It is the current ten-day requirement (seven if testing negative) that is leading to a shortage of doctors and nurses in hospitals and other key workers.

    Next, we need to start the process of dismantling “Plan B” and getting people back to their offices, instead of working from home.

    This is not just so companies can thrive again but, importantly, for their workers’ mental health and wellbeing.

  • Louis Allwood

    Man, 51, dies from Covid because he was too scared of needles

    Stewart Gilray, 51, lost his battle for life after the virus attacked his lungs – and now widow Bec has urged Brits to get the jab, even if they're nervous.

    The veteran games creator, who lived in Aberdeen, Scotland, was part of the industry for over three decades before he passed away.

    Stewart told pals on social media that he contracted the virus last month. He was admitted to hospital on December 20.

    The dad-of-two then sadly died last week.

    Bec told the Daily Record: "Stewart had a serious fear of needles. In all seriousness, in 25 years he had one blood test.

    "He avoided trying to go to the doctor's in case they ever needed to draw blood, but the truth is Stewart wasn't poorly in the 25 years I knew him.

    "He was fit – he could have lost a stone or two like the rest of us – but he genuinely believed he was going to survive this virus because he was healthy.

    "Before he was intubated he said to me: 'There's nothing to worry about. I'm going to be fine. I just need a little rest.'"

  • Louis Allwood

    Garden party (Continued…)

    Less than an hour earlier, Minister Oliver Dowden had told the public at the daily press conference to stick to meeting in pairs outdoors.

    Ex-aide Dominic Cummings alleged the PM and his wife Carrie attended the bash — which is now being investigated by top civil servant bulldog Sue Gray.

    The Met police have said they are speaking to the Cabinet Office about the possible breach of lockdown rules.

    A spokesperson said: "The Metropolitan Police Service is aware of widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at Downing Street on 20 May 2020 and is in contact with the Cabinet Office.”

  • Louis Allwood

    PM and Carrie ‘attended “bring your own booze” garden party'

    Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie are alleged to have attended the “bring your own booze” bash in the garden behind No10 in May, 2020.

    At that time, people were only allowed to meet in pairs outdoors. But it is understood around 40 people gathered in the garden, along with the Prime Minister, enjoying drinks and picnic food.

    An email invite was sent out by the PM’s Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds to more than 100 employees at No10, including advisors, speech-writers and door staff.

    The email, published by ITV News, said: “After what has been an incredibly busy period, it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening.

    “Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”

  • Louis Allwood

    Post-pandemic blueprint

    A blueprint for a post-pandemic world is being worked on by Whitehall officials.

    Ideas include an end to free lateral flow tests as soon as April, and scaling back of vaccines to an annual jab for the most vulnerable.

    There would be a phasing-out of legal restrictions on isolating and the contact tracing system.

    Pressure is growing on medics to cut the isolation time to five days, with the PM backing the idea publicly for the first time.

  • Louis Allwood

    Latest figures

    Figures out yesterday showed there were 77 deaths across the UK, up from 42 a week earlier.

    Another 142,224 positive tests were announced yesterday — down by ten per cent compared to last Monday — but higher than Sunday’s figure.

    Hospital Covid patient admissions have flattened out for now.

    But Mr Johnson told The Sun last night: “Two doses aren’t enough against Omicron — you need to get a booster. Three jabs will give you the best protection against severe illness which is why it’s so important people continue to come forward.”

    Writing in The Sun today, top doc Sir Jonathan Van Tam stresses: “The higher the uptake for those all-important booster jabs, the fewer people end up in hospital and the sooner the pandemic will be over. It really is as simple as that.”

  • Louis Allwood

    “Get jabbed” plea as:

    • OFFICIALS began drawing up a “living with Covid” blueprint to phase out free tests and contact tracing this spring;
    • THE PM backed reducing isolation to five days if science allows;
    • DOCTORS admitted bungling their evidence against reducing isolation, and;
    • CABINET minister Michael Gove said he was wrong to back more restrictions before Christmas — and that the PM called it right.
    • Louis Allwood

      WFH and face masks could go by the end of January

      The PM yesterday urged Brits to keep it on track insisting: “We can do it, we can all get boosted now.”

      But while data shows the Omicron wave peaking, take-up of third jabs has plummeted.

      Just 141,495 third doses were put in arms on Sunday — compared to almost a million a day in December. One in three eligible Brits is still not boosted.

      Take-up in some areas is so low that batches of the Pfizer jab are being wasted as the vaccine cannot be stored once opened.

      Politicians and medics warn that waning booster rates could delay a return to normality when the Plan B rules are reviewed on January 26.

    • Joseph Gamp

      IS Omicron over in London?

      Asked whether the Omicron wave is over in London but not elsewhere in the country, Graham Medley, professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think that at the moment the testing capacity issues, and the Christmas and the new year, mean that we can’t really rely on cases to tell us what’s going to happen exactly.

      “At the moment we are seeing a relatively high number of admissions, how long that continues, whether that goes up or goes down, I think is unknown at the moment.”

      He said the Omicron virus itself is “less severe” than Delta but it is “just as threatening” due to its transmissibility.

      Pressed on whether the nation was moving away from a situation where Covid-19 was an “emergency”, Prof Medley said: “I think that that transition is absolutely true. It can’t be an emergency forever.

      “So at some point it will have to stop being an emergency but that is likely to be a phase out rather than an active point in time where somebody can declare the epidemic over.

      “It’s going to fade out and disappear much more slowly than that I think.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      Private hospitals to support NHS (continued…)

      Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “NHS staff continue to go above and beyond to ensure people get the treatment they need this winter and our support for the NHS through this challenging period remains at full throttle.

      “This agreement demonstrates the collaboration across our health care services to create an additional safeguard that ensures people can continue to get the care they need from our world-leading NHS, whenever they need it.

      “I encourage everyone to keep doing their bit to look after themselves and their loved ones and, most importantly, for all those eligible, to get boosted now.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      Private hospitals will support NHS through pandemic

      Hospitals will be able to use spare capacity in the private sector under a new deal struck with the NHS, while hospitals have been told to find extra beds.

      The three-month agreement, for an undisclosed sum, will see private healthcare staff and facilities put on standby to support the NHS should Covid cause unsustainable levels of hospital admissions or staff absences.

      There are no routine figures for how many doctors and nurses from the NHS also work in private hospitals.

      In the announcement, NHS England said the patients who can be referred to private firms under the deal include some of those waiting for cancer surgery.

      The NHS has also been asked to look at using spare capacity in gyms and education centres to create “super surge” wards on top of their usual surge capacity.

      Nightingale hubs are already being created in the grounds of some hospitals as part of a move to find up to 4,000 extra beds.

    • Joseph Gamp

      The Sun’s Jab Army needs YOU

      Although Omicron is markedly milder than previous variants, the sheer number of cases have left up to a million people self-isolating and threatening widespread disruption to schools and the economy.

      Ministers also say the combination of boosters and Plan B measures are “working” and are not expected to announce fresh measures.

      A third jab also significantly slashes the risk of falling seriously ill – and The Sun’s Jab’s Army campaign is helping get vital boosters in people’s arms.

    • Joseph Gamp

      5 to 11 Year-old’s could get Covid vaccines in weeks 

      Experts believe that the roll out of jabs for kids aged five to 11 may be key to stop disrupting education because of staff shortages.

      Professor Russell Viner believes that the “balance of risks” indicates that schoolchildren should be vaccinated.

      Prof Viner, from University College London, is an expert in child and adolescent health and is a member of SAGE.

      He believes that while the age group are the least affected by covid sickness, if they were jabbed then it could stop the spread of the virus to staff.

      Speaking to the i he said: “Five to 11s are probably the group least affected by Covid disease.

      “The thing about Covid is it’s got the most extraordinary age risk profile… to be honest, five to 11 is the healthiest time of our life.

      “It’s the time when we’re least likely to die or get sick from almost anything, and that is true of Covid.

      “However, I expect and I would like the Government to include educational disruption and mental health issues in the decision, which is what happened with teenagers.

      “I think it’s a very marginal medical decision, but if you include those broader issues.

      “I think given the extremely promising safety profile in children– but I think the balance of risks is towards vaccination.

      “We can be fairly sure that this is really a very safe vaccination for the five to 11-year-olds.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      Boosters provide the most protection

      It comes as a string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

      Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

      The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits’ arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Join The Sun’s Jab Army

      Although Omicron is markedly milder than previous variants, the sheer number of cases have left up to a million people self-isolating and threatening widespread disruption to schools and the economy.

      Ministers also say the combination of boosters and Plan B measures are “working” and are not expected to announce fresh measures.

      A third jab also significantly slashes the risk of falling seriously ill – and The Sun’s Jab’s Army campaign is helping get vital boosters in people’s arms.

    • Joseph Gamp

      New ‘Deltacron’ Covid variant found in Cyprus

      The discovery was made by a research team led by Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus.

      The team have identified 25 such cases and data shows the relative frequency of the combined infection is higher among patients hospitalised due to Covid, Bloomberg reports.

      The variant was called Deltacron due to the identification of omicron-like genetic signatures within the delta genomes, Kostrikis explained.

      “There are currently omicron and delta co-infections and we found this strain that is a combination of these two,” Kostrikis said in an interview with Sigma TV Friday.

      Kostrikis, the head of the university’s Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology said “we will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail”.

      But his personal view is that this strain will also be displaced by the highly contagious omicron variant.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Are lateral flow tests safe?

      LFTs are totally safe, and pose no risk to your health.

      Officials have expressed concerns about misinformation regarding the tests spread via Facebook, Whatsapp and other social media platforms.

      The Department for Health and Social care told Reuters: “Lateral flow tests have been rigorously tested and are safe to use on a regular basis. Any suggestion otherwise is inaccurate and harmful misinformation.

      “Ethylene oxide is only used in the sterilisation of swabs and it is one of the most commonly used sterilisation tools in the healthcare industry, principally applied by manufacturers to keep medical devices safe.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      How do you read a lateral flow test result?

      If two red lines appear that means a positive result.

      But Dr Nathan warns one of the most common mistakes people make when taking LFTs is misreading the result.

      He said: “Any positive line within 30 minutes, even if it is so faint that it is barely visible, equals a positive result. 

      “However, if a faint line appears after 30 minutes, this can be ignored.”

      If there is just one red line, at the top, then that is a negative result.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Djokovic 'pleased and grateful' for Australia visa appeal victory

      Novak Djokovic is "pleased and grateful" that his appeal against a decision to refuse him a visa in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia was successful and he wants to "stay and try to compete" at the Australian Open.

      Judge Anthony Kelly quashed the visa cancellation and ordered the Australian Government to pay legal costs and release the Serbian from detention within half an hour.

      But Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke is still considering whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation of Djokovic's visa in a process that could drag on for a number of days.

      The world number one tweeted: "I'm pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete @AustralianOpen.

      "I remain focused on that. I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans.

      "For now I cannot say more but THANK YOU all for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong."

    • Joseph Gamp

      Bereaved daughter 'feels sick' over Boris Johnson lockdown party claims

      The daughter of a key worker who died after contracting Covid-19 has said it makes her "feel sick" to think Boris Johnson was "partying" on the day her father's death certificate was signed.

      Hannah Brady, a spokeswoman for the Covid-10 Bereaved Families for Justice Group, said her father Shaun, who worked at the Kraft Heinz factory in Wigan, died four days before an email was sent out by the Prime Minister's private secretary appearing to organise drinks in the garden of Number 10.

      Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister's principal private secretary, sent an email to more than 100 Downing Street employees in May 2020 saying they should "make the most of the lovely weather", despite England being under tough Covid-19 restrictions.

      ITV reported the party took place on May 20 2020 and alleged it was attended by the Prime Minister and his wife Carrie.

      Ms Brady said her father was 55 and fit and healthy when he contracted Covid, and she and her family had done "everything they could" to keep him safe during lockdown.

    • Joseph Gamp

      What should you do if you have Covid symptoms?

      You should always get a follow-up PCR test if you have symptoms of the coronavirus, regardless of your lateral flow test result. 

      The NHS lists the three classic signs of Covid as a new, persistent cough, a high temperature and loss of smell or taste.

      But many more including cold-like symptoms are now accepted as signs you could have the virus.

      Experts have said, if you feel under the weather at all, do a test.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Covid lateral flow tests for sale on Facebook and eBay for up to £100

      The tests have found their way on to Facebook and eBay for a price – despite being free to Brits.

      Some have even popped up at an auction house in Stockport as the shortage grips the UK, MEN reports.

      Simon Charles Auctioneers and Valuers had four job lots of tests due to go under the hammer this week.

      Each contained up to 20 kits – with bids of around £5 already floating around as revellers tried to grab one before last night’s New Year celebrations.

      Other “unused and sealed” tests have appeared on Facebook for as much as £100.

      One shameless user was slammed for trying to flog the kits on social media for £5 each.

      Posting on the Didsbury M20 group, they wrote: “12 lateral flow tests for sale. £5 per box but will do deal for more than 1.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      Gove: UK can learn to live with Covid once NHS is in the clear

      Levelling Up Secretary Mr Gove this morning admitted the country should start learning to live with the virus once the NHS is in the clear.

      He told the BBC: "Our first responsibility at the moment must be to support the NHS.

      "But… if we get through – and at the moment, I hope and pray that we will get through this difficult period – then there will be better times ahead.

      "And I think one of the things that we need to do is how we live with this particular type of coronavirus. 

      "So guided by the science, we can look to the progressive lifting of restrictions. But I think for all of us, the sooner the better."

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