Coronavirus latest news: Keep restrictions in place ‘for a few more weeks’, PM urged by public health expert – Rajpostexam.com

Combat medics from Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps assisting in vaccinating members of the public at a rapid vaccination centre, set up outside Bolton Town Hall – Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

  • UK to give 100m Covid vaccines to other countries as part of G7 push

  • Global Britain is ‘shut for business’, warns Theresa May

  • Face masks should continue forever, says Sage scientist

  • Hospital Covid admissions well below the lockdown modelling predictions

  • Cornwall hotel shuts amid Covid outbreak ahead of G7 summit

Boris Johnson has been urged by a public health expert to keep restrictions in place “for a few more weeks” to “stop us going backwards” into another lockdown.

Jim McManus, the vice-president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, has said that the current restrictions should be kept going four four more weeks, and that if we “invest that little bit of time to keep us going forwards, it will stop us going backwards”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the “uneven and rapid” spread of the new more-transmissible Delta variant means that the Prime Minister should delay the planned June 21 reopening.

Mr McManus said data, and not dates, should be behind the final decision, adding: “Patience now will pay off in the long run.”

The latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England, published on Thursday, showed case rates had risen in nearly all age groups in England and more than doubled among 20 to 29-year-olds.

Mr McManus said: “Covid is not going to disappear on the 21st of June and lifting all measures as early as the 21st risks reversing the significant progress we have made.

“The complete lifting of measures on the 21st of June not only risks an increase in cases and hospitalisation, but risks the introduction of new variants to the UK which will undermine our vaccination programme and derail our path back to normality.”

Follow the latest updates below.

09:43 AM

Watch: Lockdown easing has to be ‘careful’, says vaccines minister

09:42 AM

New Covid Delta variant figures from PHE

As of June 7, there have been 42 deaths in England of people who were confirmed as having the Delta variant of Covid-19 and who died within 28 days of a positive test, according to Public Health England.

Of this number, 23 were unvaccinated, seven were more than 21 days after their first dose of vaccine and 12 were more than 14 days after their second dose.

09:30 AM

Vaccine minister urges against ‘squander(ing) those hard fought gains’ in unlocking on June 21

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi stressed the importance of being “really careful” in lifting coronavirus restrictions following reports there could be a four-week delay to the planned easing of all restrictions on June 21.

He urged against “squander(ing) those hard fought gains” made by the vaccination programme amid concerns over the rise of the Delta variant, which was first identified in India.

It comes as The Times reported ministers are considering a four-week delay to what some are calling “freedom day”, in order to give businesses certainty and allow more time for people to receive both vaccine doses.

Boris Johnson is due to make a decision shortly on whether England can go ahead with full reopening on June 21, with an announcement expected on Monday.

The Prime Minister is being urged to err on the side of caution and delay the next stage of his road map as new figures show case rates have increased in every region in England.

08:59 AM

PHE: More than 90pc of new Covid cases are now the Delta variant

More than 90pc of new Covid-19 cases are now the Delta variant, which continues to show a significantly higher rate of growth compared to the Alpha (or Kent) variant, Public Health England said.

New research suggests the Delta variant is associated with an approximately 60pc increased risk of household transmission compared with the Alpha variant.

Growth rates for Delta cases are high across all parts of the country, with regional estimates for doubling time ranging from 4.5 days to 11.5 days.

08:45 AM

PHE confirms total of 42,323 cases of Delta variant in UK

A total of 42,323 cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus that originated in India have now been confirmed in the UK, up by 29,892 from last week, Public Health England said.

08:10 AM

Still on track to meet target of all over 50s being offered their second jab by June 21, says vaccines minister

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said that ministers were on track to meet a target of all over 50s being offered their second jab by June 21, as he appealed as those who had not had a first dose to come forward to be vaccinated.

“We are on track for offering all over 50s who have had the first jab their second jab by June 21,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“We have got very high levels of uptake, in the 90%, but we have got to make sure they get their second jab.

“Anyone who hasn’t had the jab, in that 5 or 6% who didn’t have their jab, please come forward and have your first jab.

“75pc of the 12,500 people who were infected with the Delta variant, 75pc, three quarters, hadn’t had a jab, so it’s really important.”

08:01 AM

Boris Johnson urges G7 leaders to make similar vaccine pledges globally

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Meanwhile, the vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi confirmed that the British public would not have to wait longer for a coronavirus vaccine as a result of the UK’s contribution to vaccine programmes around the world.

“Our priority is to make sure that the British public are protected, so our deployment programme will not be impacted at all by our donation of 100 million doses,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“We have got over 500 million doses on order.”

07:51 AM

Today’s front page

Here is your Daily Telegraph on Friday, June 11.

tel front page

tel front page

07:47 AM

Pfizer supply is ‘stable’, insists vaccines minister

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi admitted that supply of the Pfizer vaccine will be tight over the next few weeks but insisted that it was “stable”.

It comes after Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf warned supply of the Pfizer vaccine will be “particularly tight” over the next few weeks.

Mr Zahawi told LBC: “I am absolutely confident, and I’ll speak to Humza on this, that we will be able to deliver the Pfizer vaccines that Scotland needs to be able to meet its targets for end of July, as the United Kingdom target.”

Asked if it is going to be “tight” in the next few weeks, he said: “It will be, there is no doubt. Every time I’ve come on your show I’ve said that the determining factor in terms of vaccine in arms is supply.

“And supply remains finite, but it is stable, and Pfizer have done a great job in being consistent on their delivery schedule.”

07:30 AM

‘Highly unlikely’ full relaxation of restrictions will go ahead this month, says Labour

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said it was “highly unlikely” the full relaxation of coronavirus restrictions will go ahead later this month.

When asked on BBC Breakfast on Friday if “caution and temperance” was needed when opening up she added: “I do, I am desperate to unlock, I think like everybody else, to try to get back to normal.”

She said: “But I think if we proceed too fast, if the Government can’t get control of the new variant that has emerged which is more transmissible than previous variants, then we could end up in another lockdown and this has got to be the last lockdown.”

When asked if she supported a delay she said: “I think it’s highly unlikely they are going to go ahead with full unlocking on the 21st [of June].”

07:15 AM

‘Fiendishly difficult decision’ to further lift restrictions in England on June 21

Jim McManus, vice-president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, acknowledged it was a “fiendishly difficult decision” on whether to further lift coronavirus restrictions in England on June 21.

Asked about reports in the Times that the Government is considering a four-week delay to Step 4 of the road map, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think if they are considering that, that is really welcome.

“I think we should strongly welcome the fact that they have given a very strong indication they will be driven by the data.

“This is a fiendishly difficult decision for anybody, nobody wants lockdown.

“But actually if that is what they are doing – and of course we are speculating – then good on them for actually really thinking closely about how we keep the progress we have made.”

07:07 AM

Global Britain is ‘shut for business’, warns Theresa May

Britain is “shut for business” because of travel restrictions that are “incomprehensible” in one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, Theresa May has warned.

In a forthright attack on the Government’s Covid policy, the former prime minister said that if ministers blocked travel every time there was a new variant, “we will never be able to travel abroad ever again”.

She said Britain was “falling behind” the EU in reopening travel, despite being way ahead on vaccinations, and called on Boris Johnson to be “up front” with the British people about the fact that Covid deaths would continue, in the same way that 10,000 to 20,000 people die from flu each year.

06:55 AM

We need to be ‘really careful’ when deciding whether to reopen, says vaccines minister

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi stressed the importance of being “really careful” when asked about the possibility of a delay to the June 21 lifting of coronavirus restrictions in England.

“There has been some really hard won battles against this virus and we don’t want to squander those hard fought gains that we have made through the vaccination programme,” he told Times Radio Breakfast.

“In saying that, the virus hasn’t gone away, the virus will continue to attempt to mutate, to escape, to try and survive, and I think it’s really important that we are really careful.”

06:52 AM

Pushing back June 21 reopening would ‘stop us going backwards’

Jim McManus, vice-president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, said that pushing back the June 21 reopening would “stop us going backwards”.

“Businesses and organisations have done so well in reopening that if we just keep that going for a few more weeks, and invest that little bit of time to keep us going forwards, it will stop us going backwards,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“If you get enough people infected, you will get a rise in hospitalisations. You will also get a significant rise in long Covid, which is something we want to avoid too.

“The second thing is that the more people infected, the more variants will develop, and the more risk we have that a variant will develop that evades the vaccine completely.

“So actually, investing a bit of time is really important to enable the vaccine programme to finish and do its job.”

06:49 AM

Heathrow passenger numbers 90pc below pre-pandemic levels

Heathrow lost more than six million passengers in May compared with the same month in 2019.

Just 675,000 people travelled through the London airport last month, a 90pc reduction on the total for May 2019.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “With the G7 starting today, ministers have a chance to kickstart the green global recovery by agreeing how to resume international travel safely and setting a mandate for sustainable aviation fuels that will decarbonise aviation.

“This is the time for them to show global leadership.”

Passengers wait at the Terminal 5 departures area at Heathrow Airport in London amid coronavirus restrictions - HANNAH MCKAY/REUTERS

Passengers wait at the Terminal 5 departures area at Heathrow Airport in London amid coronavirus restrictions – HANNAH MCKAY/REUTERS

06:44 AM

UK economy grew in April at fatest level since July 2020

The easing of coronavirus restrictions saw the UK economy grow in April at the fastest level since July 2020 but it still remains below pre-pandemic levels, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Gross domestic product (GDP) – a measure of the size of the economy – rose 2.3pc driven by a 3.4pc rise in the services sector as restaurants, pubs and non-essential retailers welcomed customers back. It was tempered by a fall in construction, the ONS added.

Commenting on the latest GDP figures for April, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Today’s figures are a promising sign that our economy is beginning to recover.

“With more than a million people coming off furlough across March and April and the number of employees in work rising, it is clear that our Plan for Jobs is working.

“But I know there are people who still need our support, which is why the furlough scheme is in place until September to protect as many jobs as possible, and schemes like Kickstart will continue to create jobs for young people, as we look to build the economy of the future.”

06:36 AM

UK to give 100m vaccines to other countries as part of G7 push

An extra 100 million Covid-19 jabs will be given to the world by the UK, Boris Johnson has announced as part of a drive to vaccinate the globe by the end of 2022.

The 100 million doses will be distributed over the next year, with five million issued by October and 25 million sent out by the end of 2021.

It is part of a new push by the G7 world leaders at their summit in Cornwall to collectively give away a billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to other countries.

America alone is giving 500 million. Leaders from the other nations present – Italy, Canada, France, Germany and Japan – are expected to announce their own new commitments.

Currently, developing countries are lagging far behind the richest nations in the proportion of their populations getting jabbed, leading to calls for more vaccine charity.

05:51 AM

Australia’s Victoria reports zero cases as lockdown ends

Australia’s Victoria state reported zero locally acquired cases of Covid-19 for the first time in nearly three weeks on Friday as state capital Melbourne came out of a snap two-week lockdown after an outbreak that has seen about 90 cases since May 24.

Melbourne exited the lockdown on Thursday night but some restrictions on travel and gathering will remain, including a rule that would force the city’s five million residents to stay within 25 km (15 miles) of their homes.

Neighbouring New South Wales (NSW) state and Queensland, meanwhile, are on virus alert after an infected woman and her husband travelled from Victoria through several country towns in both states.

Read more: The so-called traffic light travel system is the Australia zero Covid policy in disguise

05:18 AM

British Airways puts thousands of staff back on furlough

British Airways has furloughed thousands of its staff, citing delays to travel as the reason behind its decision.

The airline confirmed on Thursday that a large number of its workers – including management staff – have been put back onto the scheme.

Workers were being brought off furlough ahead of the summer holiday period after the Government set May 17 as the date for the restart of international travel.

Read the full story

03:40 AM

China invites Taiwanese to come to get vaccinated

China’s government said on Friday that it welcomed Taiwanese to come and get vaccinated against Covid-19 and called on Taiwan to remove obstacles and allow its people to receive the “highly effective” Chinese shots.

China claims democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory and has repeatedly offered to send vaccines to the island, which is battling a spike in domestic infections but has expressed concern about the safety of Chinese shots and has not cleared them for use.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement two Chinese-made vaccines had been granted emergency use authorisation by the World Health Organisation and its shots were in use or approved by more than 90 countries, showing their safety and efficacy.

Taiwan people can come to China to get vaccinated against Covid-19, provided they strictly comply with China’s pandemic control measures, the office said.

It urged Taiwan’s government to “quickly remove artificial obstacles for mainland vaccines being sent to Taiwan and allow the broad mass of Taiwan compatriots to receive the safe and highly effective mainland vaccines”.

Staff disinfects a Covid-19 testing site at the Hsinchu science park, following an increasing number of locally transmitted cases in Taiwan - Reuters

Staff disinfects a Covid-19 testing site at the Hsinchu science park, following an increasing number of locally transmitted cases in Taiwan – Reuters

02:38 AM

Brazil plans to allow vaccinated people to not wear face masks

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that the health minister was preparing a measure to no longer require face masks for people who have been vaccinated for the coronavirus or previously infected.

Mr Bolsonaro, who has opposed lockdowns and social distancing despite his country having the second-deadliest outbreak, said in a speech that quarantines should be only for infected people.

“They are useful for people who are infected,” he said, adding: “Quarantines are for those who are infected.”

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said Mr Bolsonaro has asked him for a study on the use of masks in Brazil.

The minister, however, testified this week before a Senate commission of inquiry that masks should be used to prevent transmission.

Read more: Face masks should continue forever, says Sage scientist

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro holds his protective face mask  - Reuters

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro holds his protective face mask – Reuters

12:01 AM

Passengers on cruise ship test positive

Two guests on one of the first cruise ships to sail out of North America since Covid hit tested positive on Thursday, the cruise company said, adding all passengers and crew had been vaccinated.

“Two guests sharing a stateroom onboard Celebrity Millennium tested positive for Covid-19,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement. “The individuals are asymptomatic and currently in isolation.”

Read more: Cornwall hotel shuts amid Covid outbreak ahead of G7 summit

11:28 PM

World’s first organ transplant from Covid-positive to negative patient

The world’s first organ transplant from a Covid-positive patient to a Covid-negative one has taken place in the Italian city of Bologna, writes Erica Di Blasi in Turin.

The operation took place in late April but news emerged only on Thursday. Normally transplants from Covid sufferers are banned by the Italian health authorities but this operation “was necessary to save the life of the recipient”, said the Sant’Orsola hospital in Bologna, where the surgery took place. The patient was discharged in good health on June 1.

A second heart transplant from a Covid sufferer was made to a 15-year-old boy at the Child Jesus hospital of Rome. He had been on the waiting list for a heart since September last year. A compatible organ was identified last month but it was from a donor who had the virus. Again, special authorisation from Italy’s National Transplant Centre and the Italian Medicines Agency was needed.

The boy has been treated with monoclonal antibodies to minimise the risk of developing Covid.

11:02 PM

Today’s top stories

  • Britain is “shut for business” because of travel restrictions that are “incomprehensible” in one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, Theresa May has warned.

  • Face masks and social distancing measures should continue “forever”, a senior scientist on the Sage committee that advises the Government has said.

  • The Health Secretary has pledged to investigate cases where “do not resuscitate” decisions were inappropriately given to people with learning disabilities, following a Telegraph investigation into the issue.

  • Hospital occupancy was forecast to be far worse by now under scientific modelling used to inform the roadmap out of lockdown, analysis shows.

  • A hotel in Cornwall reportedly hosting media and security staff for the G7 summit has closed following a coronavirus outbreak.

  • The NHS will begin recording data showing which patients are hospitalised with Covid separately to those who test positive in hospital while seeking treatment for another condition.

  • Nearly all over-50s in England now have antibodies to coronavirus, either through vaccination or a previous infection, latest figures suggest.

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