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Coronavirus - 3rd January 2021

Kitkat
Kitkat

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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 12:55

Summary for Sunday, 3rd January 2021

Good morning and welcome to the Guardian’s rolling coverage of coronavirus in the UK and around the world.

  • In Britain this morning, Boris Johnson is due to be interviewed by Andrew Marr for the BBC. He’ll face what is likely to be a testing encounter, his first one-to-one interview since the government changed its guidance over Christmas and as case numbers continue to rise.
  • The Sunday newspapers are leading on coverage of the vaccine rollout and the battle over reopening of schools, with my Observer colleagues Michael Savage and Donna Ferguson reporting :
    :Left Quotes: The planned reopening of schools in England has descended into disarray, as unions advised teachers not to return to the classroom, heads took legal action over the government’s plans and senior Tories warned that school gates may have to remain shut for weeks to come.

  • Elsewhere, India authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine for use as well sa one developed by Indian company Bharat Biotech. Russia has just reported another 24,150 coronavirus cases and 504 deaths in the last 24 hours, slightly fewer cases but more deaths than yesterday. Germany, meanwhile, reported 10,315 new cases, and 312 deaths.
  • We’ll bring you all the developments as they happen.


Thailand reports 315 new coronavirus cases

Thailand’s government held off from ordering new nationwide business shutdowns on Sunday amid a new wave of coronavirus cases, Reuters reported, but empowered some provincial governors to set their own restrictions and pleaded with the public not to travel.
Thailand, which had largely controlled the virus by mid-2020, saw a second wave of outbreaks beginning in December.
On Sunday, it confirmed 315 new coronavirus cases, the majority of which are from local transmission, bringing its total to 7,694 cases and 64 deaths since its first case last January.
The country also reported its first known case of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus called B.1.1.7 on Sunday, Yong Poovorawan, a senior virologist from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, said in a post on his official Facebook page.
The variant was found in a family of four who were in quarantine after arriving in Thailand from the UK, and Yong said there is no risk of that variant being spread in Thailand.
The government Covid-19 taskforce had earlier designated 28 provinces, including Bangkok, as high risk zones and recommended suspension of some businesses and crowded activities in those area that pose infection risks to the public.
The measures, which still need final approval from prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, will empower provincial governors to suspend businesses and other activities if there is a risk of infection, Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for Thailand’s Covid-19 taskforce said.

South Korea says it is containing third wave

In South Korea, a health official said on Sunday that a third wave of the novel coronavirus is being contained, as it reported the lowest number of new infections in nearly four weeks with the help of tougher restrictions during the New Year holiday season.
New cases for Saturday numbered 657, Reuters reported – much lower than 824 the day before, but bringing the country’s total cases to 63,244 with 962 deaths, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
“The latest third wave of coronavirus spread is being contained as a result of expanded Covid-19 testing (recently) and strengthened distancing measures,” Sohn Young-rae, a senior health official, told a briefing.
He said the worst for the country seems to be passing, though added it is premature to say the situation has definitely shifted to a decline, given the decreased testing during the New Year holiday and weekends.
The government decided on Saturday to expand a ban on private gatherings larger than four people to include the whole country, and extend unprecedented social distancing rules in Seoul and neighbouring areas until 17 January.

Japan urged to announce a state of emergency

In the Japanese capital, Tokyo, officials reported 816 new daily coronavirus cases on Sunday, a day after governors from the capital and neighbouring prefectures called on the Japanese government to announce a state of emergency to combat a recent surge in cases.
Japan’s health ministry said there were 3,045 new confirmed cases of the new coronavirus across the country.
Prime minister Yoshihide Suga has resisted calls for a second national state of emergency; the government first introduced that measure in April during an earlier wave of the pandemic. Suga is scheduled to speak publicly on 4 January.
Japan’s economy minister told reporters on Saturday the government needed to consult with health experts before deciding on a new declaration.
As an interim measure, restaurants and karaoke parlors in the Tokyo area are being asked to close at 8pm, while businesses that serve alcohol should close at pm, he said.
The previous state of emergency relied on voluntary business closings and travel restrictions rather than the sort of rigid lockdown measures seen elsewhere in the world.
Tokyo raised its Covid-19 alert to its highest level on 17 December. New infections in the capital hit a record 1,337 on 31 December.
Since the start of the pandemic, Japan has reported more than 240,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and 3,548 deaths, according to the health ministry.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 13:35

Pope Francis condemns people going on holiday to avoid lockdowns

Pope Francis has condemned people who had gone abroad on holiday to escape coronavirus lockdowns, saying they needed to show greater awareness of the suffering of others.
Speaking after his weekly noon blessing, Francis said he had read newspaper reports of people catching flights to flee government curbs and seek fun elsewhere.
“They didn’t think about those who were staying at home, of the economic problems of many people who have been hit hard by the lockdown, of the sick people. (They thought) only about going on holiday and having fun,” the pope said, according to Reuters.
“This really saddened me,” he said in a video address from the library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
“We don’t know what 2021 will reserve for us, but what all of us can do together is make a bit more of an effort to take care of each other. There is the temptation to take care only of our own interests,” he added.

Kenya extends nightly curfew to March 12

Kenya is extending its nightly curfew to March 12 as part of measures aimed at taming the spread of COVID-19, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s office said on Sunday.
In early November, Kenyatta extended the nightly curfew that was in place, and it had been due to expire on Sunday. It runs between 10 p.m and 4 a.m.
A ban on political and roadside gatherings that could turn into super spreader events was also extended for another 60 days, as was a prohibition on overnight events and vigils, Kenyatta’s office said in a statement.
When the first coronavirus cases were confirmed in Kenya in March 2020, the government closed schools, imposed a curfew, banned public gatherings and at one point restricted movement in and out of the most-affected regions.
Kenya has recorded a total of 96,802 cases and 1,685 deaths, Ministry of Health data showed on Sunday.

US Covid death toll passes 350,000 amid vaccine distribution delays

The Covid-19 death toll in the US passed 350,000 early on Sunday, as experts anticipated another surge in cases and deaths stemming from holiday gatherings over Christmas and the new year.
You can read more about that here
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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 13:41

Cumbria schools told not to open tomorrow

Schools in Cumbria, one of England’s most northern counties, have been told not to re-open tomorrow for the new term.
Colin Cox, the director of public health for Cumbria, said he had written to the Department for Education formally requesting that Cumbrian primary schools are added to the Contingency Framework of schools not expected to open tomorrow.
He said rates in the north of the county, particularly in Carlisle and Eden were now “very high” and that rates in Barrow, Copeland and Allerdale were all doubling every four to five days.
“We don’t have the capacity in the NHS to respond easily to further increases in rates. So while primary children may not themselves be at high risk, we have to reduce opportunities for transmission wherever possible to protect the wider community,” said Cox on Twitter.
Tweet  Colin Cox:

Following extensive discussions over the last 48 hours, the CCC Exec Director (People) and I have this morning jointly written to DfE formally requesting that Cumbrian primary schools are added to the Contingency Framework of schools not expected to open tomorrow.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 16:12

India’s approval of Covid vaccines triggers mass immunisation drive

India has granted emergency approval to both the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and the domestically developed Covaxin, signalling the start one of the largest Covid-19 immunisation drives in the world.
You can read Hannah Ellis-Petersen’s full story on that development here .

Brazil approves import of AstraZeneca vaccine

Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa has approved the import of 2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, although the jab is not yet approved for use in the country.
Anvisa said late on Saturday that it approved the importation request from federal government-affiliated biomedical center Fiocruz on Thursday, Reuters reported.
Importing the doses prior to approval will enable vaccination to begin as soon as Anvisa okays its use, the regulator said. Brazil has yet to approve any vaccine.
Fiocruz will apply for emergency use of the vaccine by Wednesday, its president, Nísia Trindade, said last week.
Brazil has recorded the second-deadliest outbreak of COVID-19 after only the United States. South America’s largest country has the third highest tally of coronavirus cases, with the health ministry registering more than 7.7 million, after the United States and India.

386 more coronavirus deaths in English hospitals

A further 386 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 51,437, NHS England said on Sunday.
Patients were aged between 30 and 107. All except 18, aged between 59 and 95, had known underlying health conditions.
The deaths were between December 6 2020 and January 2 2021. There were seven other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 16:15

Kuwait suspends flights to and from UK

Kuwait’s civil aviation authority has suspended flights to and from the United Kingdom, according to a tweet published a few minutes ago.
The post said that the decision was “based on the instructions of the Health Authorities in the State of Kuwait”. The suspension of flights will begin at 1am Wednesday UK time and run until further notice.

High street chains Tesco and Boots have offered to help with the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines

It is believed that Tesco has offered its distribution arm to help with the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine while Boots is opening three Covid-19 vaccination sites, in Halifax, Huddersfield and Gloucester.
The supermarket giant’s subsidiary Best Food Logistics, food delivery and supply chain specialists, has offered its support, which could include the use of its refrigerated lorries and warehouses to move the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which can be stored in a fridge.
Covid-19 restrictions, which have shut down many pubs and restaurants, may have opened up some capacity which could be diverted to the vaccine programme.
Boots, the high street chemist, said its three vaccination sites, set up with the local clinical commissioning groups, are to open to patients this month and more could be on the way.
A spokesman told PA: “Boots has extensive knowledge and experience of mass vaccination (having completed over a million flu vaccinations last year, for example) and we have developed a model for Covid-19 vaccination that is aligned with our exceptional safety, clinical and operational standards.
“We stand ready to do much more and our national network of pharmacy expertise is prepped to support the NHS and the Government to accelerate the rollout of the vaccine.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC One that there will be 530,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at about 540 GP vaccination sites and about 101 hospital sites on Monday, “on top of the million or so that have already been vaccinated”.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 16:17

Lancashire and Liverpool will not order schools to close

Lancashire council has said that it will not push for a blanket closure of all primary schools in the county but said that the ultimate decisions on closures would rest with the schools themselves.
County Council councillor Phillippa Williamson, the Conservative cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “Clearly the best place for children is in school, not just for their education but for their social, mental and physical wellbeing.
“Having looked at the infection rates in Lancashire and following advice from our public health experts, we are not advocating a blanket closure of primary schools across Lancashire at this time.
“The ultimate decision on whether to open remains with each individual school. Each of those schools knows their own circumstances best, and we will support them to help make the right decision for their pupils and staff.”
In Liverpool, parents are being advised that schools in the city scheduled to reopen this coming week will do so, unless they are notified.
In a joint statement, cabinet member for education, Cllr Barbara Murray, and director of children and young people services Steve Reddy said: “With less than 24 hours to go, we are not asking schools and parents to change their plans.
“As a Tier 3 area which has a lower infection rate than others, the schools that are scheduled to reopen this week should do so, including primary and special schools as well as secondary schools for vulnerable and key worker children.
“No parent will be fined if they keep their child away tomorrow for safety reasons.
“Where headteachers alongside their staff decide that they cannot safely reopen, they will have our full support. The council will continue work with and support schools if this happens.”



Cyprus has discovered 12 cases of the new coronavirus variant in people who recently travelled from Britain, Reuters reported the health ministry as saying on Sunday.
The new highly transmissible variant - first found in the UK - is now spreading around the world. Of 19 positive tests for Covid-19 recorded on individuals who travelled to Cyprus from Britain between December 6 and December 20, 12 were for the new variant.




In Switzerland, the Canton of Geneva said that cases of the new variant had been detected in the area. “A few cases of the variant identified in the United Kingdom of the new coronavirus were identified in Geneva recently,” a press release said . “It is very likely that there is community circulation of this strain in our canton. This means that the transmission of this new strain is active in Geneva and that, today, it is not just about imported cases.”
Thanks to reader Jaya John for pointing this out.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 16:21

Starmer: bring in new national restrictions immediately

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has urged Boris Johnson to bring in new national Covid restrictions within the next 24 hours, rather than hint that he will do so soon.
Starmer told reporters: “The virus is clearly out of control. And there’s no good the Prime Minister hinting that further restrictions are coming into place in a week, or two or three.
“That delay has been the source of so many problems. So, I say bring in those restrictions now, national restrictions, within the next 24 hours. That has to be the first step towards controlling the virus.”
Read more here: Keir Starmer calls for immediate lockdown in England as Covid cases soar



Egypt said on Sunday it had opened an investigation into the deaths of four Covid-19 patients in an intensive care unit allegedly due to lack of oxygen, which had sparked a public outcry.
“The prosecutor’s office in Al-Husseiniya (in the northern Sharqiya province) summoned the director of Al-Husseiniya hospital to question him over the deaths of four people due to lack of oxygen,” a judicial source told AFP, without specifying the dates of the deaths.
Since Saturday, numerous social media users had shared a video of patients in a hospital ward, with a voice heard saying “everyone is dead in intensive care”.
The prosecutor’s office confirmed the video was of Al-Husseiniya hospital, which was also identified in comments on social media.
The 45-second video also shows hospital staff apparently trying to revive patients.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 16:27

Greece reports 390 new coronavirus infections

Greece reported 390 new coronavirus infections and 36 deaths on Sunday as the government imposed strict new curbs for a week.
Today’s figures bring total cases to 140,099 while the death toll stands at 4,957.
The restrictions , announced on Saturday, will see businesses including hair salons and bookstores shut, while the nighttime curfew will begin at 9pm - an hour earlier than before.
In a televised statement, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said the measures were aimed at helping schools reopen on 11 January.


Doctor ‘disgusted & heartbroken’ at anti-mask crowd chanting ‘COVID is a hoax’ outside UK hospital
Jack Beresford - Irish Post
A UK doctor has been left “disgusted” after witnessing a crowd of anti-maskers chanting “COVID is a hoax” outside a London hospital.
Dr Matthew Lee shared video footage of the astonishing scene, which played out outside St Thomas’ Hospital in London on New Year’s Eve.
The crowd gathered with little regard for social distancing measures while no one present was wearing a mask.
It came as Covid-19 case numbers in the UK continued to rise sharply with London one of the worst affected areas in the country.
Ireland is also beginning to see an uptick in the number of positive tests and deaths recorded with the Government taking steps stem the flow of the virus.
Anti-mask and anti-lockdown sentiment has been rife in Ireland, with Dublin witnessing several demonstrations as well as a sit-in protest by those opposed to the measures.
Tweet  Matthew Lee:

Worked the late A&E SHO shift on NYE and came out to this. Hundreds of maskless, drunk people in huge groups shouting "Covid is a hoax", literally outside the building where hundreds are sick and dying. Why do people still not realise the seriousness of this pandemic?

Coronavirus - 3rd January 2021 Click_12

In the instance of the scenes that played out in London, Dr Lee suspects many of those in attendance were under the influence of alcohol.
Writing alongside the video, the junior doctor said: “Worked the late A&E SHO shift on NYE and came out to this.
“Hundreds of maskless, drunk people in huge groups shouting ‘Covid is a hoax’, literally outside the building where hundreds are sick and dying.
“Why do people still not realise the seriousness of this pandemic?
“I’m disgusted but mostly heartbroken. I wish people could see the amount of #COVID19 and death in hospitals, and the sacrifices that healthcare workers make. This week alone has been so tough.
“Their ignorance is hurting others. I really wish people would keep themselves safe.”



The shocking footage has since gone viral, sparking reactions from a number of celebrities on Twitter including Piers Morgan, who branded the behaviour of those in the clip as “disgusting”.
“These morons shame Britain,” he said.
“If it’s a hoax, let’s take all these imbeciles inside the covid ward without PPE. See how brave they feel when confronted with the reality of people choking to death.”
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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 18:21

Ireland passes 100,000 cases

Ireland has reported a further 4,962 cases of Covid-19, taking the total number of cases past 100,000.
Sunday’s figure breaks the previous day’s record of 3,394 cases – itself almost double the highest number of cases previously recorded in 24 hours.
An additional seven coronavirus-related deaths were also registered, bringing the toll to 2,259.

Italy reports 347 coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday

Italy reported 347 coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday compared to 364 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 14,245 from 11,831.
Some 102,974 swab tests were carried out in the past day, the ministry said, against a previous 67,174.
Italy has registered 75,332 Covid-19 deaths since its outbreak came to light on Feb. 21, the highest toll in Europe and the fifth highest in the world. The country has also reported 2.155 million cases to date, the health ministry said.
Patients in hospital with Covid-19 stood at 23,075 on Sunday, up by 127 on the day before. There were 154 admissions to intensive care units, compared with 134 on Saturday.




South Africa is trying to get Covid-19 vaccines as soon as February, but the timing will depend on bilateral negotiations with pharmaceutical companies, health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday.
Mkhize added at a news conference that the government’s aim was to vaccinate a minimum of 67% of the country’s population of roughly 60 million people to reach herd immunity.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 21:06

The new variant of the coronavirus, first spotted in the UK, has been detected in Greece, it was reported this evening.
Five Greeks and a Briton who tested positive for the virus upon arrival from the UK were found to have been infected with the new strain according to Skai radio. All have been quarantined in a hotel since flying into the country at Christmas.
The news came as the Greek Orthodox church governing body, the Holy Synod, was preparing to convene in emergency session following the government’s decision to re-close places of worship as part of strict lockdown measures re-imposed today



Protesters built a chain of beer glasses containing lit candles in central Prague on Sunday to challenge restrictions adopted to combat the Covid-19 spread.
The kilometre-long chain led from the government building to the historic Old Town Square, with glasses placed two or three metres apart.
“We are here because we are really desperate and at the end of our tether, physically and mentally,” protest organiser Jiri Janecek told AFP.
The manager of the Maly Janek small brewery south of Prague complained that the government was hurt the sector with its three restaurant closures since the Covid-19 outbreak last March.

Coronavirus - 3rd January 2021 6349_w10
A man lights a candle in a beer glass on the bridge in the Old Town district amid the COVID-19 pandemic on January 03, 2021 in Prague, Czech Republic. Photograph: Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images

“The government misfired with its restrictions and kicked off a far more lethal pandemic of poverty, unemployment, collapsing companies,” said Janecek, bemoaning paltry compensations for the business.
On the chilly, foggy Sunday afternoon, protesters lit candles and placed them in beer glasses handed out by the organisers, which they then put on the pavement.
Some carried Czech flags and the organisers put up a coffin with nails as a symbol of the looming death of their business.
“I don’t like the bans, the restrictions affecting our personal freedom, you cannot go anywhere, nothing’s going on. I don’t like this kind of life,” protester Veronika Musilova told AFP.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 21:11

In a further sign of the new coronavirus strain’s ever expanding reach, health authorities in Cyprus said the variant had been detected on the island, the EU’s most easterly member state.
In a statement the health ministry announced Sunday that of 19 people who had tested positive for the virus upon arrival from Britain, 12 were found to be carrying the highly contagious variant. The samples were taken between 6 and 20 December, it said.
The former British colony, which retains strong links with the UK, has been battling a surge in cases, reporting 627 new infections on Saturday, more than twice the number reported in Greece. Health authorities announced a further 529 confirmed coronavirus cases this evening compared to 390 new infections in Greece. The death toll in the island’s Greek-administered south rose by two to a total of 131 people while 182 patients were being treated for Covid in local hospitals – 45 in serious condition in intensive care.
Since the epidemic’s outbreak in March some 23,974 cases have been recorded in the Greek-run south. The war-split island’s Turkish-held north has also seen a rise in cases with authorities enforcing tougher restrictions to rein in the spread of the virus.




A secondary school teacher in Armagh, Northern Ireland - who wished to remain anonymous - has told the PA news agency that while they “desperately” want schools to be able to open, they are suffering from “constant” stress and fear of the risk of coronavirus.
“I really love my job and desperately want schools to be able to remain open,” they said. “While they are still open I will continue to go in and work.
“The difficulties I find are related to the constant, underlying stress and fear associated with interacting with large numbers of people. My school is good and we can wear masks/visors.
“(But) I find I don’t sleep well, and every night I wonder if I will wake up with symptoms and if I do, I wonder if I will survive the virus.”
The Armagh educator also said they would prefer it if teachers were able to have the option of being in school to broadcast Zoom lessons to pupils at home.
“I think that would be safer for everyone while it also could not be said that ‘teachers are doing nothing’. I find that really upsetting because it is not true and I want all my pupils to do well.”




Chris Hopson, the CEO of NHS Providers, has said the “government needs to think very carefully, and very quickly, about strengthening restrictions on social contact and its approach to return to school” in light of data showing rapidly rising hospitalisations.
Tweet  Chris Hopson:

1/3 Today's data on NHS hospital beds occupied by confirmed COVID-19 patients continues to be really worrying and shows how difficult this is now becoming for NHS. Two things to note. 1. Very large increases overnight for London, SE and E (+8%, +6% and 5% in just ONE day)

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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 21:12

Three people were arrested in Nottingham following a coronavirus protest in the city.
A Nottinghamshire police statement also confirmed 12 fixed penalty notices, adding that it was likely numbers would rise.
A protest was spotted at around midday at the Victoria Embankment, and according to local press it continued to move into the city centre.
An anti-Covid-19 vaccination leaflet and an anti-lockdown sticker were also spotted in the city – which is currently under tier 4 restrictions – on Sunday.
Assistant chief constable Steve Cooper, from Nottinghamshire police, said: “We had an increased police presence this afternoon as we looked to maintain security and offer reassurance, as well as engaging with those present at the protest including organisers.
“The police were on hand to make sure the wider public were kept safe and secure and preserve any evidence of any breaches before dispersing the crowd. As a consequence we have made three arrests and issued 12 fixed penalty notices so far, with the likelihood this will rise.”
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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 21:14

Summary


  • Coronavirus cases in the UK have passed 75,000, with 54,990 new cases reported on Sunday as well as 454 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
  • The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has urged Boris Johnson to bring in new national Covid restrictions in England within the next 24 hours, rather than hint that he will do so soon.
  • A number of local councils in England have asked the government to allow primary schools to remain shut ahead of the first day of term tomorrow, including Southampton city council and Cumbria county council, both of which have they support schools in prioritising education for children of key workers and vulnerable children in light of staffing shortages.
  • Ireland has reported a further 4,962 cases of Covid-19, taking the total number of cases past 100,000. Sunday’s figure breaks the previous day’s record of 3,394 cases – itself almost double the highest number of cases previously recorded in 24 hours.
  • The new variant of the coronavirus, first spotted in the UK, has been detected in Greece, it was reported this evening. Five Greeks and a Briton who tested positive for the virus upon arrival from the UK were found to have been infected with the new strain according to Skai radio.
  • France has recorded 12,489 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, up from the 3,466 reported a day earlier, according to the country’s health ministry.
  • Kuwait’s civil aviation authority has suspended direct commercial flights to and from the UK, according to a tweet published a few minutes ago.
  • Egypt has said it had opened an investigation into the deaths of four Covid-19 patients in an intensive care unit allegedly due to lack of oxygen, which caused a public outcry.
  • Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa has approved the import of 2 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, although the jab is not yet approved for use in the country.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 23:41

Britons refused entry to the Netherlands

Ten Britons have been refused entry to the Netherlands since 1 January, according to news outlet NOS , after failing to meet the condition for entry to the country. Only travellers making an essential visit are allowed entry.
“They all have a negative PCR test, but they forget the basic rule that it must be a necessary trip, for example for work or due to serious private circumstances,” said spokesman Robert van Kapel of the Marechaussee police force. “People from a safe country are also allowed to pass, such as Australia or Singapore, but the United Kingdom is certainly not a safe country.”
Since 1 January, non-EU/EEA nationals and nationals of non-Schengen states have not been permitted entry to the Netherlands for non-essential purposes due to EU-wide Covid-19 restrictions.



Brazil recorded 17,341 additional confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 293 deaths from Covid-19, the country’s health ministry said on Sunday.
Brazil has registered more than 7.7 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began 10 months ago, while the official death toll has risen to 196,018, according to ministry data.





Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has reiterated calls for a national lockdown, adding that any further delay will mean “more lives lost”.
She underlined that “test and trace, isolation and sick pay” still remain an issue, and called for frontline workers to be vaccinated immediately.
Earlier on Sunday, Sir Keir Starmer had also urged Boris Johnson to bring in new national Covid restrictions in England within the next 24 hours, rather than hint that he will do so soon.
Tweet Angela Rayner:

Where is BorisJohnson?
We need further restrictions and national lockdown now. School closures are inevitable.
Why wait and act later? Delay = more lives lost.
Frontline workers must be vaccinated immediately. Test & trace, isolation support and sick pay STILL need fixing.

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Post by Kitkat Sun Jan 03 2021, 23:44

People in the UK will begin receiving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday, after the prime minister expressed hope that the pace could be ramped up to protect tens of millions of people from Covid-19 within the next few months.
In England the first doses would be administered in a small number of hospitals for surveillance purposes, said the NHS: in Oxford, where the vaccine was invented, London, Sussex, Lancashire and Warwickshire.
Read the full report, by the Guardian’s health editor Sarah Boseley, here .



The US government is considering giving some people half the dose of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine in order to speed vaccinations, a federal official said on Sunday.
Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed, the federal vaccine program, said on CBS’ Face the Nation that officials were in talks with Moderna and the Food and Drug Administration about the idea. Moderna’s vaccine requires two injections.
“We know that for the Moderna vaccine, giving half of the dose to people between the ages of 18 and 55, two doses, half the dose, means exactly achieving the objective of immunising double the number of people with the doses we have,” Slaoui said.
“We know it induces identical immune response” to the full dose, he added.
He rejected the suggestion that officials should prioritise giving more people a single shot, rather than holding back doses for the second shot, saying that cutting Moderna vaccine doses in half was “a more responsible approach that would be based on facts and data”.
Slaoui said it would likely not be known until late spring whether vaccinated people can still spread the disease to others.




Australians have been urged to “kick back into gear” and take coronavirus safety seriously, as New South Wales makes masks mandatory.
Victoria has recorded three new locally acquired coronavirus cases and is ramping up testing sites to deal with long queues. Another additional case came from hotel quarantine, bringing the total number of active cases in the state to 36.
The Black Rock cluster in bayside Melbourne, seeded from NSW’s northern beaches outbreak, prompted a swift crackdown by the state government on border rules last week.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said people could have been forgiven for thinking it was all over, after 60 days of zero cases in his state.
“But this virus was never going to just go away,” he tweeted . “As hard as it is, we all have to kick back into gear and get on top of it.”

    Current date/time is Sat Feb 27 2021, 21:52