Covid vaccine news – 8/10 UK adults now have covid antibodies but Indian variant coronavirus cases still soaring

Covid vaccine news – 8/10 UK adults now have covid antibodies but Indian variant coronavirus cases still soaring

June 9, 2021

COVID cases have almost doubled in a week – casting further doubt on the June 21 Freedom Day amid a surge of Indian variant infections.

The latest figures released on Tuesday by the Government showed 6,048 new cases and 13 new deaths were recorded in the 24 hours from Monday.

The news comes as Boris Johnson reportedly weighs up whether to delay the lifting of all Covid restrictions in England on June 21.

Rishi Sunak is understood to have said he would accept a delay of up to four weeks to the end of the Covid roadmap according to The Guardian.

Government ministers will continue to scrutinise data on cases and hospitalisations over the course of this week, with a final decision set to be announced by the prime minister on Monday. 

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest news and updates…

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    AFRICA FACING A SEVERE SHORTAGE OF COVID VACCINES

    The World Health Organization says the continent of 1.3 billion people is facing a severe shortage of vaccine at the same time a new wave of infections is rising across Africa. Vaccine shipments into Africa have ground to a "near halt," WHO said last week.

    "It is extremely concerning and at times frustrating," said Africa CDC Director Dr. John Nkengasong, a Cameroonian virologist who is trying to ensure some of the world's poorest nations get a fair share of vaccines in a marketplace where they can't possibly compete.

    The United States and Britain, in contrast, have fully vaccinated more than 40% of their populations, with higher rates for adults and high-risk people. Countries in Europe are near or past 20% coverage, and their citizens are starting to think about where their vaccine certificates might take them on their summer vacations. The U.S., France and Germany are even offering shots to youngsters, who are at very low risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

    In South Africa, one of sub-Saharan Africa's richest countries, only 0.8% of the population have been vaccinated while Nigeria, with a population of more than 200m people, has only vaccinated 0.1%.

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    MAPPED: LOCAL LOCKDOWNS

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    DELTA VARIANT MORE TRANSMISSIBLE THAN ALPHA VARIANT

    The Delta coronavirus variant of concern, first identified in India, is believed to be 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant found in Kent last year, Neil Ferguson has warned.

    Boris Johnson has said that England's full reopening from COVID-19 lockdown, pencilled in for June 21, could be pushed back due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant.

    Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London told reporters that estimates of Delta's transmission edge over Alpha had narrowed, and "we think 60% is probably the best estimate".

    Ferguson said that modelling suggested any third wave of infections could rival Britain's second wave in the winter – which was fuelled by the Alpha variant first identified in Kent, south east England.

    But it was unclear how any spike in hospitalisations would translate into a rise in deaths, as more detail was needed on how well the vaccine protects against serious illness from Delta.

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    MODELLING SHOWS 'RISK OF THIRD WAVE', TOP SCIENTIST WARNED

    Modelling submitted to the Government in recent days shows there remains a "risk of a substantial third wave" of Covid infection, top scientist has warned.

    Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, whose modelling was instrumental to the first lockdown in March 2020, suggested that delaying the road map for England could have benefits in ensuring more people have second vaccines.

    He said his team's work is basically "saying there is a risk of a substantial third wave – we cannot be definitive about the scale of that, it could be substantially lower than the second wave, or it could be of the same order of magnitude".

    The size of the wave "critically depends" on how effective vaccines are at protecting people against admission to hospital and death, in the face of the variant first identified in India, as well as a few other issues, he said.

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    WATCH: INDIA'S DEATH TOLL TOPS 350,000

    India tops 350,000 coronavirus deaths as deadly Covid-linked black fungus brings nation to its knees

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    'DIFFICULT TO ENVISAGE' ASYLUM-SEEKER BARRACKS BEING COVID-SAFE, EXPERTS SAY

    Health experts have cast doubt on Home Office claims that a former Army barracks being used to house asylum seekers is Covid-safe following an outbreak earlier this year.

    Nearly 200 people contracted the virus at Napier Barracks in Kent.

    In April the Home Office declared the outbreak "over" and insisted asylum seekers were staying in "safe, suitable, Covid-compliant conditions".

    But last week two senior health officials said it was still "difficult to envisage" the site being considered Covid-safe.

    Around 270 people were living at the barracks as of last week, the PA news agency understands.

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    UPDATED VACCINATION RATE IN ENGLAND

     A total of 58,206,264 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and June 8, according to NHS England data, including first and second doses, which is a rise of 361,765 on the previous day.

    NHS England said 33,998,814 were first doses, a rise of 109,068 on the previous day, while 24,207,450 were a second dose, an increase of 252,697.

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    UN-FARE

    The boss of Ryanair has slammed the government for the “bonkers” travel rules which have caused holiday chaos for Brits.

    Last week, the government announced that Portugal was to be removed from the UK’s green list, just three weeks after it was added.

    Thousands of Brits frantically scrambled home to avoid the new amber restrictions which require a 10-day quarantine at home – leading to overcrowded airports and flight prices hitting highs of £800.

    Ryanair’s Michael O’ Leary slammed the “stop, go, stop, go” approach, telling Sky News: “Portugal has the exactly the same Covid cases rates and higher vaccination rates than when it was taken off the UK’s green list than it had when it went on it.

    “Malta which has higher vaccinations than the UK can’t get on the green list.

    “The whole thing is a shambles and typical of Boris Johnson’s government making this up as we go along.

    “There is no green list.”.

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    POLITICAL PRISONER DIES FROM COVID-19 IN BAHRANI JAIL

    A political prisoner serving a life sentence in Bahrain has died after contracting COVID-19, activists and an opposition group said on Wednesday, as the tiny Gulf state fights a surge in infections.

    Western-allied Bahrain has come under pressure from human rights organisations over prison conditions including overcrowding, poor sanitation and lack of medical care.

    Since an outbreak of the disease in Jau, Bahrain's main prison, in March, families have been holding small protests demanding the release of political prisoners and better conditions. There was a violent confrontation between guards and prisoners in April after detainees protested against conditions.

    Dissolved Bahraini opposition group al-Wefaq, which has called for the release of prisoners of conscience since the start of the pandemic, said Husain Barakat had died on Wednesday, having been admitted to intensive care after contracting COVID-19.

    Barakat was sentenced in 2018, along with another 53 individuals, to life in prison in a mass trial of 138 defendants accused by authorities of belonging to a terror cell.

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    GREECE SOON TO JOIN GREEN LIST, CLAIMS AMBASSADOR

    Greece will "soon be on the green list," the UK ambassador to Greece has claimed.

    Ambassador Kate Smith predicted that it will be removed from the amber list due to the improving Covid situation in the country.

    She made the claims during a live webinar yesterday, echoed by Greek Minister of Tourism, Haris Theocharis who said declining cases and increased airport measures would open up tourism soon.

    Following a spike in cases in April, daily Covid rates in Greece have fallen again with 1,368 new cases reported yesterday.

    The country has also given the first vaccine dose to nearly 40 per cent of the population – while further behind the UK, Greece hopes to have all of the holiday islands fully jabbed by the end of the month.

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    WATCH: RYANAIR'S MICHAEL O'LEARY ON THE FUTURE OF THE UK GREEN LIST

    Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary says it is inevitable that Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy will be added to the green travel list in July and August

     

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    'INADEQUATE' RESPONSE TO PANDEMIC CAUSED TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DEATHS – EXPERT

    The UK suffered from "inadequate delays" in Government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, an expert has said.

    Alison Rodger, professor of infectious diseases at the UCL Institute for Global Health, said the delays caused tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, particularly among older people in care homes.

    Speaking at the UCL-Lancet lecture on lessons from the pandemic for science and public health, she also said the fact the UK had a higher death rate than some European countries, Australia and New Zealand is "cause for national shame".

    Prof Rodger said: "The Covid-19 pandemic, I think, laid bare clear differences in the effectiveness of different government responses, even in the face of mounting scientific evidence and advice around effective strategies to control the virus.

    "I think the UK suffered from inadequate delay in Government responses and policies, which caused tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, particularly in older people in social care settings, and directly put at risk the lives of frontline health and social care staff – the staff from ethnic minority groups bearing a disproportionate burden.

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    COVID REQUIREMENTS FOR WEMBLEY HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED FOR THE EUROS

    UK-based supporters attending European Championship group games at Wembley can be admitted with proof of a second COVID-19 vaccine dose more than two weeks before the match, European soccer’s governing body UEFA said on Tuesday.

    The announcement offers an alternative to the existing requirement of a negative COVID-19 test.

    However, other ticket holders from elsewhere must still show evidence of a negative Lateral Flow Test taken within 48 hours before gates open, UEFA said on its website.

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    HOTSPOTS

    The Delta variant is fuelling a rise in Covid cases as new data reveals a surge in the North.

    The North West has some of the highest infection rates in England, the Public Health England stats show.

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    AVERAGE OF JUST OVER ONE DEATH A DAY IN SCOTLAND OVER PAST WEEK

    The number of deaths involving coronavirus in Scotland has remained the same as last week, according to the latest figures.

    Eight deaths were recorded between May 31 and June 6, the same as the previous seven-day period, bringing the total to 10,130.

    National Records of Scotland (NRS) data shows three of the latest deaths occurred in South Ayrshire, with two in both Glasgow and North Lanarkshire.

    One death was recorded in the Scottish Borders.

    Seven deaths occurred in hospitals while one took place in a care home.

    One of those who died was aged under 65, two were aged 65-74, and five were over 75.

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    NEW DAILY COVID CASES SHOT UP BY 90% IN A WEEK

    The latest figures released on Tuesday by the Government showed 6,048 new cases and 13 Coronavirus deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours, compared to 3,165 cases last Tuesday.

    The news comes whilst Boris is weighing up the option on whether to extend lockdown. The current road map gives Brits freedom come June 21 with nightclubs set to open and restrictions set to ease.

    Meanwhile the NHS has reported a web meltdown as over-25s jam up the vaccine booking system.

     

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    PRINCE CHARLES WARNS WORLD IS “DANGEROUSLY EXPOSED” TO ANOTHER PANDEMIC DUE TO HABITAT DESTRUCTION

    The world is being left “dangerously exposed” to further pandemics due to the rapid destruction of the diversity and interconnectedness of all species, the Prince of Wales has warned.

    Charles said he did not need to stress the “planetary emergency confronting us, nor the desperately urgent need for action”.

    He made the comments during a speech to the Sustainable Growth 2021 Conference, hosted by Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, on World Oceans Day and ahead of the G7 summit, which begins on Friday.

    Other speakers at the online event included Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, who said there was no “get out of jail free” card to reaching the target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

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    RISHI SUNAK WILLING TO ACCEPT FOUR WEEK DELAY TO COVID LIFTING

    Rishi Sunak is understood to have said he would accept a delay of up to four weeks to the end of the Covid road map according to the Guardian.

    Government ministers will continue to scrutinise data on cases and hospitalisations over the course of this week, with a final decision set to be announced by the prime minister on Monday. 

    The UK is currently expected to move to the final stage of the road map on June 21.

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    BRITISH AIRWAYS AND RYANAIR UNDER INVESTIGATION OVER COVID REFUNDS

    British Airways and Ryanair are under investigation over whether they breached consumer laws by not offering refunds to customers for cancelled flights due to the Covid pandemic.

    The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the companies should have issued refunds for the cancelled trips when planes were grounded due to the pandemic.

    Investigators will be writing to both airlines and will also look at whether refunds should have been given where flights took place but non-essential travel was banned due to lockdown restrictions.

    During the pandemic BA offered vouchers or rebookings, while Ryanair provided the option to rebook, the CMA added.

    Legally, customers are entitled to a cash refund within 14 days.

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    ROBERT JENRICK SAYS HE WILL BE LIKELY GOING ON HOLIDAY IN THE UK THIS SUMMER

    Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said that he would likely be going on holiday in the UK this summer.

    He told Sky News: "I think a lot of people are coming to the conclusion, perfectly understandably, that this isn't a normal summer – opportunities for international travel are going to be more limited, and so why not enjoy everything that this country has to offer this summer?

    "That's probably the decision that I'm going to make, many other people will be doing the same.

    "We would like to offer people the opportunity to go to more of those green list countries but that's very dependent on what's happening there.

    "We can't control the vaccination rollout in those countries, we obviously can't control the spread of new variants, and we have to do everything that we can to protect all that we're achieving here domestically."

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    GOVERNMENT CRITICISED OVER HANDLING OF GOVERNMENT DISPUTE

    Union officials and MPs have voiced concern over the Government’s handling of a long-running dispute over Covid-related safety at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), claiming the Department for Transport (DfT) intervened to prevent an agreement to end the row.

    The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps asking for an explanation.

    Union members at the DVLA office in Swansea have launched a series of strikes as part of a campaign for more safety measures to be taken, including a reduction in the number of staff expected to work at the site.

    Further industrial action is planned.

    The DVLA insists it has followed official guidance and is doing all it can to keep staff safe.

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    MAPPED: LOCAL LOCKDOWNS

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    NEWEST DATA ON US VACCINATION EFFORT

    The United States had administered 303,923,667 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and distributed 372,100,285 doses in the country as of this morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

    Those figures are up from the 302,851,917 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by June 7 out of 371,520,735 doses delivered.

    The agency said 171,731,584 people had received at least one dose while 140,441,957 people are fully vaccinated as of Tuesday.

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    WATCH: ANDY BURNHAM CALLS FOR VACCINES TO BE DIVERTED TO MANCHESTER TO FIGHT INDIAN VARIANT

    Boris Johnson can save June 21 Freedom Day by diverting vaccines to Manchester to crush Indian variant, says Burnham

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    HOSPITALS 'COPING' WITH INFECTION LEVELS

    Hospitals in Covid hotspots are seeing a "significantly" lower death rate among people admitted for treatment and are coping with current levels of infection, the head of NHS Providers has said.

    Chris Hopson, chief executive of the body which represents NHS trusts, said there was a degree of confidence that vaccines appear to have "broken" the link between infections and the "very high level of hospitalisations and mortality we've seen in previous waves".

    He told Times Radio: "And if, and it is a big if, if Bolton has gone through its complete cycle and if other areas follow Bolton, the view from the hospital there was that they were able to cope with the level of infections.

    "It's important not to just focus on the raw numbers here… you also do need to look at who's being admitted into hospital and how clinically vulnerable and what level of acuity they've got.

    "What chief executives are consistently telling us is that it is a much younger population that is coming in, they are less clinically vulnerable, they are less in need of critical care and therefore they're seeing what they believe is a significantly lower mortality rate which is, you know, borne out by the figures.

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