Coronavirus UK news – Lift lockdown EARLY as cases plunge and NHS breaks vaccine record 3 days in a row, MPs urge Boris

BORIS Johnson is to ramp up vaccine production in the UK amid fears a fourth wave of Covid could hit.

The PM has ordered a massive push in action to increase output to make the country less reliant on imported doses.

The move comes asconcerns grow of further chaos caused by meddling EU chiefs or breakdowns at other overseas sites.

More than half of the UK’s adult population has now received a first dose of the Covid vaccine.

It means the midway point to jabbing the entire nation by the end of July was passed in the last 24 hours – with 26.8 vaccines now hands out.

But the PM wants to keep pushing the rollout and up production to prevent vaccine wars from disrupting supplies.

It comes as Professor Andrew Hayward says “another wave” of coronavirus cases is possible in the UK – but its consequences would be less due to high levels of vaccination.

Appearing on Times Radio he was asked if a “fourth wave” of infections could be possible if “mistakes” are made during the easing of lockdown measures.

Prof Hayward, of University College London (UCL), said: “I think another wave is possible, likely even.

“I guess the difference is that another wave will cause substantially fewer deaths and hospitalisations because of high levels of vaccination across the sorts of people who would have ended up in hospital or unfortunately dying if they haven’t been vaccinated.

“So the consequences of another wave are less. I think the challenge is of course we don’t know exactly how much less."

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

  • Olivia Burke

    B&Q RAKES IN BIG BUCKS THANKS TO COVID

    The owner of B&Q has cashed in on a DIY boom as millions of people stuck at home tried to improve their living conditions.

    Kingfisher said it had seen pre-tax profits balloon 634% from £103 million to £756 million in the 12 months to the end of January.

    Sales increased by 7.2% during the same period to £12.3 billion, the company revealed on Monday.

    Growth was driven by a boom in online sales, which were up by 158%.

    Chief executive Thierry Garnier said: "Kingfisher is coming out of the Covid crisis as a stronger business, with an improved competitive position in all key markets, strong new customer growth and a step change in digital adoption.

  • Olivia Burke

    ASTRAZENECA SAFE AND EFFECTIVE, NEW TRIALS SAY

    The AstraZeneca vaccine is 79% successful at preventing symptomatic coronavirus infections and 100% effective against serious illness, studies in the US, Chile and Peru have found.

    The large trial involved more than 32,000 volunteers across all age groups.

    The research also deemed the jab "safe", calming fears of blood clots and paving the way for the jab manufacturers to apply for US approval.

  • Olivia Burke

    PM PLANS TO SWEETEN EU LEADERS OVER PHONE

    The Prime Minister is set to speak to EU leaders this week to squash the vaccine supply row.

    A virtual meeting will be held on Thursday to discuss the proposal to ban exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the UK, but Boris Johnson wants to conduct one-on-one phone calls first.

    It comes as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been left scrambling to secure a steady supply for the continent, while blaming the UK.

    She says the EU can "forbid" vaccines made on the continent being sent to the UK, despite contractual commitments.

  • Olivia Burke

    NEW RESEARCH SUGGESTS COVID CAN CAUSE HEARING PROBLEMS

    New research suggests there could be a substantial link between hearing loss and other auditory problems and contracting coronavirus.

    Researchers from The University of Manchester and Manchester Biomedical Research Centre that approximately 7.6% of people infected are affected by hearing loss.

    They estimate 14.8% suffer from tinnitus, and 7.2% are hit by vertigo.

    The figures, compiled from 24 studies on the matter, is "something we should take very seriously", Prof Kevin Munro, director of the Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness told Sky News.

  • Olivia Burke

    NHS SMASH JAB RECORD FOR THIRD DAY

    The National Health Service continue to outdo themselves, after beating their Covid vaccine record for the third day in a row.

    An amazing 27 jabs were distributed a second.

    On “Super Saturday”, a whopping 844,285 doses were dished out – the same as the adult populations of Liverpool, Southampton and Oxford combined.

    At the peak, 100,000 were jabbed in one hour.

  • Olivia Burke

    ASTRAZENECA SNUBBED

    The public trust in the AstraZeneca vaccine has nosedived after recent speculation of its effectiveness and the suspension of use in Europe.

    After being shrouded in claims that it can cause blood clots, over 13 EU countries suspended its use.

    A survey conducted by YouGov suggested that a large majority now see the vaccine as unsafe after a series of mixed messages.

    The poll took place between March 12 and 18, involving around 8,000 people across several EU countries.

    Extensive studies have found no evidence suggesting an increase in the risk of blood clots. Some of the countries involved in the suspension have since resumed their rollout and admitted it was a political play.

    Leading British experts and the World Health Organisation have always maintained it is absolutely safe to be administered.

  • Olivia Burke

     INDIA HITS HIGHEST DEATH TOLL SINCE JAN

    India reported 212 coronavirus deaths on Monday, the highest daily figure since early January.

    Infections also jumped by 46,951, the highest since early November.

    The country closely follows the United States and Brazil's mounting numbers, with the total death toll hitting 159,967 and 11.65 million infections.

  • Claudia Aoraha

    BRITAIN SMASHES COVID DAILY VACCINE RECORD

    Britain has smashed its Covid daily vaccine record for the third day in a row.

    Yesterday saw 844,285 more jabs administered across the UK in 24 hours.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "Yesterday was a record-breaking day for the vaccine rollout, with 844,285 people receiving a jab.

    "A huge thank you to everyone involved and please come forward to get your jab when you are invited to do so."

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock used the record breaking announcement to encourage Brits to get the jab when it is offered to them.

    In a video on Twitter he said: "Yesterday we saw another record day of vaccinations across the UK.

    “More than three quarters of a million people coming forward to get the jab."

  • Claudia Aoraha

    WORSENING INFECTION RATES IN EUROPE

    Summer holidays abroad were plunged into further doubt yesterday amid fears over Europe’s worsening infection rates.

    Breaks abroad might have been back on from May 17 but ministers warned that nothing was set in stone.

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said it was still too early to book a foreign trip.

    He said the Government “can’t be deaf and blind” to what was going on in Europe and warned against being “reckless in any way”.

    Mr Wallace told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday: “Even though the United Kingdom is almost leading the world on vaccination rates over half the adult population, it’s really important we don’t import new variants to undermine all that hard work.”

  • Claudia Aoraha

    'TRAFFIC LIGHT' SYSTEM FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

    A “traffic light” system could allow Brits to go on holidays to low risk destinations.

    The scheme being considered by ministers will make it easier for holidaymakers to flock to lower risk “green” areas.

    The three-tiered system could see passengers flying to certain countries exempt from pre-departure tests and a mandatory quarantine when they return.

    However those looking to get away to higher risk “red” destinations could face tough restrictions such as extra Covid-19 tests and an isolation period.

  • Claudia Aoraha

    UK TELLS BRUSSELS TO 'GROW UP'

    Desperate EU bureaucrats tried to block AstraZeneca vaccine exports to Britain last night as the UK told the bloc to “grow up”.

    The European Commission said it would ensure a jab facility in the Netherlands would keep the remedies in the EU.

    Run by drugs firm Halix, the Leiden-based plant is listed as a supplier of vaccines in both the contracts that AstraZeneca has signed with Britain and the European Union.

    An EU official said: “The Brits are insisting that the Halix plant in the Netherlands must deliver the drug substance produced there to them. That doesn’t work.

    “What is produced in Halix has to go to the EU.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE FEELING LONELINESS HAS DOUBLED SINCE LAST YEAR, STUDY SHOWS

    The percentage of people in the UK experiencing feelings of loneliness during the pandemic has more than doubled since March 2020 despite overall anxiety levels decreasing, a new study has revealed.

    A survey conducted by the Mental Health Foundation also revealed that fewer adults felt they were coping well with the stress of the ongoing pandemic compared to last year.

    Out of 4,251 adults surveyed in February 2021, over a quarter (26%) said they now felt lonely, up from 10% last March.

    Younger people were also more likely to feel alone, with 48% of those surveyed in February reporting feeling alone.

    The foundation said that feelings of loneliness had not returned to their pre-lockdown levels at any point over the past year even when most restrictions were lifted over the summer.

  • Joseph Gamp

    'KILL THE BILL' RIOT ROUNDLY CONDEMNED

    Violent scenes which marred a "Kill the Bill" protest in Bristol that saw a police station attacked, officers injured and vehicles set alight have been widely condemned.

    Home Secretary Priti Patel branded the scenes "unacceptable" and said "thuggery and disorder" would never be tolerated.

    Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, who said he had "major concerns" about the Government's Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, condemned the thuggery but said the disorder would be used to justify the legislation.

    Mass gatherings are currently banned under coronavirus legislation and anyone breaching the regulations could be fined.

    Many who attended the protest on College Green were wearing face masks and carried placards, saying: "Say no to UK police state" and "Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy" and "Kill the Bill".

  • Joseph Gamp

    CHARTED: UK COVID CASES AND DEATHS PER DAY

  • Joseph Gamp

    CHINA DONATES 400,000 DOSES OF SINOPHARM VACCINE TO NIGER

    China donated 400,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinopharm to Niger on Sunday, the first vaccines the West African nation has received, Niger's presidency said.

    Vaccinations have been slow to get started in many African countries, which are primarily relying on free vaccines from COVAX, a programme backed by the World Health Organization and other international organisations.

    China has donated vaccines to several other African countries as it aims to cultivate goodwill through so-called vaccine diplomacy.

    Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou received the vaccines at a ceremony in the capital Niamey that was also attended by the Chinese ambassador.

    "Starting next Saturday, March 27, 2021, we are going to start to vaccinate the Nigerien population with this vaccine," Issoufou said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    MEXICO REPORTS 2,133 NEW CASES OF COVID-19, 209 MORE DEATHS

    Mexico’s Health Ministry on Sunday reported 2,133 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country and 209 more fatalities, bringing its total to 2,195,772 infections and 198,036 deaths.

    The real numbers of infected people and deaths are likely significantly higher than the official count, the ministry has said

  • Joseph Gamp

    MINISTER KIT MALTHOUSE SPARKS COVID PANIC IN HOME OFFICE AFTER HE FAILED TO WAIT FOR TEST RESULT

    Police minister Kit Malthouse sparked virus panic in the Home Office after breaching Covid rules, it’s claimed.

    Mr Malthouse, 54, took a test on his way to the office but did not wait for the result before going in. It later came back positive.

    Staff were forced to self-isolate and the Home Office’s HQ in central London had to be deep cleaned and the air vents changed, the Sunday Times reported.

    Read more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    BRITAIN ISSUES WARNING TO EU OVER VACCINE BLOCKING (CONTINUED….)

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace hit back by warning the manufacture of the Pfizer vaccine depends on supplies from the UK.

    "The grown-up thing would be for the European Commission and some of the European leaders to not indulge in rhetoric but to recognise the obligations that we all have," he told The Andrew Marr Show.

    "We will all hold each other to our contracts. Making a vaccine is like baking a cake. We all have different ingredients and the European Commission will know that.

    "You pointed out the point about Pfizer. They will know you wouldn't want to cut off your nose to spite your face."

  • Joseph Gamp

    BRITAIN WARNS EU THAT BLOCKING VACCINE EXPORTS IS 'COUNTERPRODUCTIVE'

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has issued a warning to the European Commission that any attempt to block coronavirus vaccine exports to the UK would be "counterproductive".

    Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has ramped up the rhetoric this weekend, saying the EU has the power to "forbid" exports, adding: "That is the message to AstraZeneca."

    The warning reflects growing frustration on the continent that the EU is not getting the supplies it expected from the British-Swedish manufacturer.

    Ireland's commissioner Mairead McGuinness said no decisions have been taken but EU leaders will consider the matter when they meet on Thursday.

  • Joseph Gamp

    WATCH: MASKED THUGS TORCH COP CARS AND SMASH POLICE STATION WINDOWS DURING BRISTOL 'KILL THE BILL’ PROTEST

    Masked thugs torch cop cars and smash police station windows as hundreds join ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol

  • Joseph Gamp

    PRITI PATEL CALLS BRISTOL RIOTS 'UNACCEPTABLE'

    Home Secretary Priti Patel has called the Kill the Bill protest that turned violent thuggery and disorder"- and said it "will never be tolerated".

    "Unacceptable scenes in Bristol tonight," the home secretary tweeted this evening.

    "Thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated," she continued.

    "Our police officers put themselves in harms way to protect us all.

    "My thoughts this evening are with those police officers injured"

  • Joseph Gamp

    VIOLENT THUGS ATTACK POLICE DURING 'KILL THE BILL' DEMO

    Scenes of violence overshadow a 'Kill the Bill' protest in Bristol today, with a police station attacked, officers injured and a van set alight by violent thugs.

    What started as a non-violent demonstration in the city centre against the Government's Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill turned violent after hundreds of protesters marched from College Green to the New Bridewell police station.

    Police Federation representatives said Avon and Somerset officers had suffered broken arms and ribs after being attacked by rioters. Thugs smashed the windows of the police station and also targeted Avon and Somerset Police vans parked nearby.

    Some had their windows smashed, were sprayed were graffiti and repeatedly rocked from side.

    Uniformed officers with riot shields put used a fire extinguisher to put one small blaze that was started underneath one vehicle.

  • Joseph Gamp

    HEALTH CHIEF CONCERNED BY RISING COVID-19 HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS

    There is growing concern about the number of Covid-19 cases in the community and the rising hospital admissions, the head of the HSE has said.

    Paul Reid said there has been a slight increase in the number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus this weekend. There are currently 360 patients in hospitals on Sunday, a rise of 32 patients in 24 hours.

    Mr Reid told Newstalk On The Record programme that hospital numbers have been "stuck" over recent weeks and the number of patients with Covid-19 is the same as the peak in the second wave.

    "We're at no way normal levels in our hospitals," Mr Reid added.

    "In the last week when we saw the numbers stuck for the past few weeks, they had come down for the past five or six weeks very well. A slight increase again this weekend would give us concern around trends, particularly in line with some of the cases we're seeing come through this weekend, a slight rise in cases would give us concern."

  • Joseph Gamp

    EU REBUFFS UK CALLS TO SHIP ASTRAZENECA COVID VACCINES FROM EUROPE

    The European Union is rebuffing British government calls to ship AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines produced in a factory in the Netherlands, an EU official said on Sunday.

    Former EU member Britain has so far administered many more vaccines than EU countries in proportion to the population.

    "The Brits are insisting that the Halix plant in the Netherlands must deliver the drug substance produced there to them. That doesn't work," the official told Reuters.

    The Leiden-based plant which is run by sub-contractor Halix is listed as a supplier of vaccines in both the contracts that AstraZeneca has signed with Britain and with the European Union. "What is produced in Halix has to go to the EU," the official added.

    Britain has insisted that contracts must be respected.

  • Joseph Gamp

    MINISTER TRIGGERS HOME OFFICE ALERT AFTER POSITIVE COVID TEST

    Policing Minister Kit Malthouse triggered a coronavirus alert in the Home Office after testing positive for the disease, it has emerged.

    Officials said Mr Malthouse "promptly" left the department's headquarters in Marsham Street, central London, on Monday after being informed of the result of a lateral flow test he took on the way into work.

    However The Sunday Times reported a number of staff from two teams of officials working in the building had been required to self-isolate as a result.

    Officials insisted no protocols were broken and that the Home Office's Covid team had been informed "promptly and verbally" of what had happened.

    Mr Malthouse was said to have driven himself in his own car back to his London home where he is now self-isolating with members of his household.

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