Coronavirus news UK latest: Boris Johnson to 'examine Covid stats this week' before making June 21 lockdown decision

THE Government is "drawing up other options" before deciding on whether a June 21 end to Covid restrictions will still go ahead.

The UK recorded another 5,765 coronavirus cases and 13 further deathsyesterday – a figure slightly down from Friday's two-month high.

Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) Government advisory panel, said the Government has a “difficult call” to make about easing restrictions on June 21.

He told Times Radio: “It’s a hard one. I’m going to be annoying and sit a little bit on the fence on this, as I don’t think it’s our role as epidemiologists to call that. I think the difficult thing that we have, the difficult situation the government have is of course if you delay that then of course you’ll get a smaller subsequent wave.

Number 10 is still planning to go ahead with the final step in the roadmap, but is waiting for more data before taking any decisions, a Government source has said.

It comes as new data suggests the mutation is twice as likely to cause hospitalisation, as June 21's "Freedom Day" hangs in the balance.

A Public Health England report showed that people who tested positive for the Indian coronavirus variant were at 161% higher risk of needing hospital treatment within 14 days.

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

  • Joseph Gamp

    MATT HANCOCK HAILS ‘ASTONISHING ACHIEVEMENT’ OF 40 MILLION FIRST JABS IN UNDER SIX MONTHS

    In a statement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It is an astonishing achievement to deliver over 40 million first doses in under six months. In all corners of the UK, people are rolling up their sleeves when their time comes to protect themselves and the people around them.

    “It seems with every day we pass another major vaccination milestone on the road back to recovery. Over three quarters of adults have received a first dose and over half of adults have now been vaccinated with the life-saving second dose.

    “I pay tribute to the tireless work of the NHS, volunteers and armed forces in building this momentum – but our work is not yet done. I encourage everyone who is eligible to join the millions who have the fullest possible protection from this virus by getting their jab when the time comes.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    WATCH: BRITONS BAFFLED AT FARO'S AIRPORT BY LAST-MINUTE CHANGES OF UK'S GREEN LIST

    Britons baffled at Faro’s airport by last-minute changes of UK’s green list

  • Joseph Gamp

    VACCINATE THE WORLD BY CLOSE OF 2022 TO END PANDEMIC, PM TO TELL G7

    The Prime Minister will call on fellow leaders at the G7 in Cornwall to pledge to vaccinate the world’s population against coronavirus by the end of 2022.

    With the face-to-face gathering of leaders due to take place on Friday, Boris Johnson is planning to use the UK’s G7 presidency to implore his counterparts to “rise to the greatest challenge of the post-war era” and put a stop to the pandemic by ensuring every person on the globe has access to a jab within the next 18 months.

    “Next week the leaders of the world’s greatest democracies will gather at an historic moment for our countries and for the planet,” said Mr Johnson. “The world is looking to us to rise to the greatest challenge of the post-war era: defeating Covid and leading a global recovery driven by our shared values.

    “Vaccinating the world by the end of next year would be the single greatest feat in medical history.

    “I’m calling on my fellow G7 leaders to join us to end to this terrible pandemic and pledge will we never allow the devastation wreaked by coronavirus to happen again.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    MAPPED: COVID-19 SURGE TESTING AREAS

  • Joseph Gamp

    INDIAN VARIANT HAS MADE JUNE 21 UNLOCKING 'MORE DIFFICULT' SAYS HANCOCK

    Mr Hancock said the Indian variant had made the decisions behind the June 21 unlocking "more difficult" as he confirmed the latest advice is that the so-called Delta mutation is 40% more transmissible than the Kent variant.

    The Health Secretary said: "That means that it is more difficult to manage this virus with the new Delta variant.

    "But crucially, after two doses of vaccine we are confident that you get the same protection that you did with the old variant.

    "So the good news is that the vaccine still works just as effectively. "Everybody must go and get their second jab though because the first isn't as effective on its own.

    "So ultimately it does make the calculation more difficult for June 21 but it doesn't change our strategy which is we all need to go and get vaccinated and that way we will break this link between the number of cases to the number of hospitalisations."

  • Joseph Gamp

    BORIS JOHNSON WILL EXAMINE COVID STATS THIS WEEK TO DECIDE OVER LIFTING RESTRICTIONS ON JUNE 21, MATT HANCOCK REVEALS

    BORIS Johnson will examine the Covid stats this week to decide over lifting restrictions on June 21, Matt Hancock has revealed.

    The Health Secretary said it was "too early" to determine whether the Government would lift all coronavirus restrictions later this month.

    Asked whether he had seen anything in the data that could delay reopening this month, the Cabinet minister told Sky News: "It is too early to make a final decision on that. The Prime Minister and I and the team will be looking at all of the data over this week.

    "We have said that we will give people enough time ahead of the June 21 date which is pencilled in as the next step – which is to be not before June 21 – and the critical thing is to see whether the four tests we have set have been met. That's in terms of the number of cases, and cases are rising slightly, the number of hospitalisations, which are much more flat.

    "That's because the third test, the rollout of the vaccine, is going incredibly well. Then, of course, we have to look at the impact of new variants and we have seen a very significant impact of a new variant – the Delta (also known as the Indian) variant – over the last month or so."

  • Joseph Gamp

    SO CALLED ‘NEPAL VARIANT’ SPARKS CONCERN

    It comes after a Public Health England report showed people who tested positive for the Indian variant – also known as the Delta variant – were at 161 per cent more risk of needing hospital treatment within 14 days.

    Experts warned the Indian Covid mutation could be 100 per cent more infectious than the Kent variant, which caused the country to lockdown in January.

    The “Nepal variant” found in Britain – a mutated version of the Indian variant ripping through the country – has also sparked concern.

    And the crucial R rate is also as high as 1.2 according to Sage — meaning the virus is up again.

  • Joseph Gamp

    LABOUR TO FORCE VOTE ON ‘TOTALLY INSUFFICIENT’ SCHOOL CATCH-UP FUNDING

    Labour is looking to force a vote on the Government’s “totally insufficient” schools catch-up plan in the Commons after the education recovery commissioner quit over the proposals.

    Catch-up tsar Sir Kevan Collins walked away from his post on Wednesday, issuing a stinging condemnation of the Government’s £1.4 billion recovery fund for children who have been affected by school closures due to the pandemic.

    Following Sir Kevan’s criticism, in which he warned the support package “falls far short of what is needed”, and an outcry from senior Conservative MPs, Labour is hoping to test the resolve of Government backbenchers on the issue.

    The party plans to use an opposition day debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday to pile pressure on ministers to U-turn on the support package by encouraging Tory MPs to rebel and demand more cash for schools.

    Sir Kevan reportedly was pushing for a £15 billion learning recovery fund – 10 times more than that announced by the Education Secretary – and 100 extra hours of teaching per pupil as part of his recommendations for addressing lost learning.

  • Joseph Gamp

    BRITS CRAM INTO FARO AIRPORT TO RETURN TO THE UK TO AVOID QUARANTINE BEFORE PORTUGAL IS SLAPPED ONTO AMBER LIST

    BRITS have flooded Faro airport as they rush to get back to the UK before Portugal is plunged onto the amber travel list from Tuesday.

    Hundreds of holidaymakers have been crammed into the airport today as they desperately try to catch flights back to Britain to avoid needing to quarantine.

    Long, snaking queues of tourists – who don’t appear to be social distancing – have been snapped looking fed up as they wait to board planes in scorching 22C heat.

    Brits are scrambling to get back to the UK before the Portugal moves to the UK’s amber list from 4am on Tuesday.

    The sunny European country was on the green travel list – meaning holidaymakers could freely fly for a holiday there without any need to quarantine.

    Read more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    ‘TIME TO DISTINGUISH’ BETWEEN VACCINATED AND UNVACCINATED, SAYS TONY BLAIR

    Former prime minister Tony Blair has said it is “time to distinguish for the purposes of freedom” between people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated when it comes to travel and domestically.

    Mr Blair also described the NHS app that proves vaccination as “inadequate” as he said it makes “no sense at all to treat those who have had vaccination as the same as those who haven’t”.

    The former Labour leader was reacting to a report published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change which says “vaccine status matters” and champions the idea of health passes “to allow citizens to prove their status in a secure, privacy-preserving way”.

    Proposing the health pass system be used both at home and abroad, the report said: “With this ability to securely prove vaccination status, we can move beyond blunt, catch-all tools and align with other countries by removing certain restrictions for the fully vaccinated, thereby enabling us to sustainably reopen the economy.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    MATT HANCOCK HAILS ‘ASTONISHING ACHIEVEMENT’ OF 40 MILLION FIRST JABS IN UNDER SIX MONTHS

    In a statement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It is an astonishing achievement to deliver over 40 million first doses in under six months. In all corners of the UK, people are rolling up their sleeves when their time comes to protect themselves and the people around them.

    “It seems with every day we pass another major vaccination milestone on the road back to recovery. Over three quarters of adults have received a first dose and over half of adults have now been vaccinated with the life-saving second dose.

    “I pay tribute to the tireless work of the NHS, volunteers and armed forces in building this momentum – but our work is not yet done. I encourage everyone who is eligible to join the millions who have the fullest possible protection from this virus by getting their jab when the time comes.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    INDIAN VARIANT HOSPITAL NUMBERS NOT INCREASING 'SIGNIFICANTLY'

    The Covid-19 vaccine appears to have "broken the chain" between catching coronavirus and becoming seriously ill, the chief executive of NHS Providers has said.

    Chris Hopson said the number of people in hospital with the Covid-19 variant first detected in India, also known as the Delta variant, was not increasing "very significantly".

    He told BBC Breakfast that many of those in hospital in Bolton – which has the highest number of cases of the Indian variant in England – were younger than in previous waves of the pandemic.

    It is understood there are GPs in Bolton who have begun offering vaccines at a 28-day gap, in the face of pressure not to waste any doses.

    Some patients are believed to have been contacted by text message to say they are eligible for a second jab after four weeks, rather than the eight to 12 week gap advised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

  • Joseph Gamp

    VACCINATE THE WORLD BY CLOSE OF 2022 TO END PANDEMIC, PM TO TELL G7

    The Prime Minister will call on fellow leaders at the G7 in Cornwall to pledge to vaccinate the world's population against coronavirus by the end of 2022.

    With the face-to-face gathering of leaders due to take place on Friday, Boris Johnson is planning to use the UK's G7 presidency to implore his counterparts to "rise to the greatest challenge of the post-war era" and put a stop to the pandemic by ensuring every person on the globe has access to a jab within the next 18 months.

    "Next week the leaders of the world's greatest democracies will gather at an historic moment for our countries and for the planet," said Mr Johnson. "The world is looking to us to rise to the greatest challenge of the post-war era: defeating Covid and leading a global recovery driven by our shared values.

    "Vaccinating the world by the end of next year would be the single greatest feat in medical history.

    "I'm calling on my fellow G7 leaders to join us to end to this terrible pandemic and pledge will we never allow the devastation wreaked by coronavirus to happen again."

  • Joseph Gamp

    MAPPED: COVID-19 SURGE TESTING AREAS

  • Joseph Gamp

    IRELAND: 14 ARRESTED AFTER CROWDS GATHER IN DUBLIN CITY CENTRE

    Fourteen people have been arrested after missiles were thrown at gardai during disturbances in Dublin on Friday night.

    Gardai were called into the city centre after large crowds had gathered on various streets. Access to South William Street was blocked by officers.

    Videos and images on social media show gardai charging crowds down the street.

    Uniformed gardai and “soft cap” public order gardai dispersed that particular group from the area. Objects, including glass bottles, were thrown at gardai on South William Street.

    One garda member sustained a leg injury and received hospital treatment. One garda patrol vehicle was damaged. Gardai said that a large number of “organised groups” congregated at a number of other locations in the city, including St Stephen’s Green and Temple Bar Square

  • Joseph Gamp

    MATT HANCOCK WARNS LINK BETWEEN COVID CASES AND DEATHS HAS BEEN ‘BROKEN BUT NOT SEVERED’ BY VACCINE AS DAILY CASES SURGE

    Matt Hancock warns link between Covid cases and deaths has been ‘broken but not severed’ by vaccine as daily cases surge

  • Joseph Gamp

    SO CALLED ‘NEPAL VARIANT’ SPARKS CONCERN

    It comes after a Public Health England report showed people who tested positive for the Indian variant – also known as the Delta variant – were at 161 per cent more risk of needing hospital treatment within 14 days.

    Experts warned the Indian Covid mutation could be 100 per cent more infectious than the Kent variant, which caused the country to lockdown in January.

    The “Nepal variant” found in Britain – a mutated version of the Indian variant ripping through the country – has also sparked concern.

    And the crucial R rate is also as high as 1.2 according to Sage — meaning the virus is up again.

  • Joseph Gamp

    EXPERT SAYS DECISION OVER JUNE 21 LOCKDOWN LIFT ‘A DIFFICULT CALL’

    Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) Government advisory panel, said the Government has a “difficult call” to make about easing restrictions on June 21.

    He told Times Radio: “It’s a hard one. I’m going to be annoying and sit a little bit on the fence on this, as I don’t think it’s our role as epidemiologists to call that.

    “I think the difficult thing that we have, the difficult situation the government have is of course if you delay that then of course you’ll get a smaller subsequent wave.

    “I mean that’s the case with any control policy – if you leave them in for a longer period of time then it’s going to reduce cases. But of course, if you delay that we know that negatively impacts businesses, people’s livelihoods, and so forth.

    “So this is the difficult call that they have to make, and all we can do is put together as much evidence as possible and say this is what we expect to happen if you relax on June 21, this is what we may expect if you delay that by two weeks for example or four weeks and so on, so they have all the evidence they can to make the decision.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    COVID-19 NEWS ROUND UP: THE LATEST

    • UK Covid cases rise by 70% in a week amid fears June 21 Freedom will be pushed back – with 13 daily fatalities
    • Social distancing and masks on public transport ‘here to stay’ after June 21 Freedom Day amid lockdown lift delay fears
    • Surge Covid testing deployed for anyone over 12 in Reading and Wokingham to stop spread of Indian variant
    • Family fear they will be stuck in Portugal as hospital runs OUT of Covid tests they need to get back to the UK
    • Covid vaccines have ‘broken the chain’ between catching bug and becoming ill, NHS expert says
    • Brits cram into Faro airport to return to the UK to avoid quarantine before Portugal is slapped onto amber list
    • Teens line the street to get a Covid vaccine ‘so they can go clubbing’ in just weeks

    MATT HANCOCK HAILS ‘ASTONISHING ACHIEVEMENT’ OF 40 MILLION FIRST JABS IN UNDER SIX MONTHS

    In a statement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It is an astonishing achievement to deliver over 40 million first doses in under six months. In all corners of the UK, people are rolling up their sleeves when their time comes to protect themselves and the people around them.

    “It seems with every day we pass another major vaccination milestone on the road back to recovery. Over three quarters of adults have received a first dose and over half of adults have now been vaccinated with the life-saving second dose.

    “I pay tribute to the tireless work of the NHS, volunteers and armed forces in building this momentum – but our work is not yet done. I encourage everyone who is eligible to join the millions who have the fullest possible protection from this virus by getting their jab when the time comes.”

    'TIME TO DISTINGUISH' BETWEEN VACCINATED AND UNVACCINATED, SAYS TONY BLAIR

    Former prime minister Tony Blair has said it is "time to distinguish for the purposes of freedom" between people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated when it comes to travel and domestically.

    Mr Blair also described the NHS app that proves vaccination as "inadequate" as he said it makes "no sense at all to treat those who have had vaccination as the same as those who haven't".

    The former Labour leader was reacting to a report published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change which says "vaccine status matters" and champions the idea of health passes "to allow citizens to prove their status in a secure, privacy-preserving way".

    Proposing the health pass system be used both at home and abroad, the report said: "With this ability to securely prove vaccination status, we can move beyond blunt, catch-all tools and align with other countries by removing certain restrictions for the fully vaccinated, thereby enabling us to sustainably reopen the economy."

    • Joseph Gamp

      CONTINUED…

      It went on: "For as long as the world goes largely unvaccinated and the risk of a new variant remains significant, it's vital that we have an alternative to the blunt tool of lockdowns to enable the country to live freely and safely."

      Mr Blair said: "It is time to distinguish for the purposes of freedom from restriction between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, both for citizens here for domestic purposes; but also for our citizens and those from other countries in respect of travel on the basis that being vaccinated substantially reduces risk.

      "It therefore makes no sense at all to treat those who have had vaccination as the same as those who haven't."

      He pointed to the report which says "why the current NHS app for proving vaccination is inadequate and should be changed to be simpler and more effective" and later went on: "Of course we are discriminating between vaccinated and unvaccinated.

      "But the whole of risk management is based on discriminating between different types and levels of risk. Nothing matters more to risk than vaccination, which is precisely why we're doing it," Mr Blair said. Yes by allowing greater freedom and fewer restrictions to the vaccinated we're providing a powerful incentive to take up vaccination, but this is a perfectly valid public policy objective.

      "Other than for medical reasons, people should be vaccinated."

    • Joseph Gamp

      COVID LOCKDOWN WAS ‘STAGGERINGLY DIFFICULT’ FOR QUEEN

      The coronavirus pandemic was “staggeringly difficult” for the Queen and Prince Philip during lockdown in Windsor Castle, Prince Edward has revealed.

      The Earl of Wessex, 57, and his wife Sophie, 56, opened up about how the Covid crisis impacted his parents when the world shut down and they were forced to isolate.

      “For them, life is so much about contact, it’s so much about people and then suddenly that all stops,” Edward told The Telegraph Magazine.

      Although the Queen’s engagements keep her busy and it “doesn’t really give her very much time to dwell on anything for too long”, he said the pandemic was “staggeringly difficult” for his parents.

      The Queen, 95, was locked down at Windsor Castle with 22 members of staff in what a top aide dubbed “HMS Bubble”, The Sun on Sunday revealed in April last year.

      Credit: AFP
    • Joseph Gamp

      GRAPH: UK COVID-19 CASES AND DEATHS PER DAY

    • Joseph Gamp

      BRAZIL REGISTERS 66,017 CORONAVIRUS CASES AND 1,689 DEATHS IN 24 HOURS

      Brazil had 66,017 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours and 1,689 deaths from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

      The South American country has registered 16,907,425 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 472,531, according to ministry data, in the world's third worst outbreak outside the United States and India and the second deadliest.

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