Welcome to Krazy Kats - a friendly informal online community discussing life issues that we care about. Open 24/7 for chat & chill. Come and join us!

COVID-19: All the latest LIVE worldwide updates - today's updates are also on our Portal page, here)
Message to all: Stay well, stay safe, stay at home - and stay in touch!

Coronavirus - 4th January


Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 09:51

Summary for Monday, 4th January

  • PM Boris Johnson is expected to announce a new set of national restrictions in a televised address at 20:00 GMT
  • It's thought people will be told to work from home and schools will close, after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases
  • People in Scotland will be legally required to stay at home - except for essential purposes - from midnight tonight
  • Most schools in Scotland will remain closed until 1 February
  • The newly-approved coronavirus vaccine created by Oxford University and AstraZeneca is being rolled out across the UK today
  • Dialysis patient Brian Pinker, 82, has become the first person to receive it this morning, at Oxford's Churchill Hospital
  • Primary schools in large parts of England are re-opening, despite calls from teaching unions and some councils
  • Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce new Covid-19 restrictions following a sharp rise in cases
  • PM Boris Johnson has warned regional restrictions in England are "probably about to get tougher"
  • Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for a new national lockdown to be imposed from Monday
  • India authorised two Covid-19 vaccines on Sunday, including the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab and the locally-produced Covaxin
  • Globally more than 85 million cases of Covid have been reported and 1.84 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University

Welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll be bringing you all the latest developments throughout the day. Here’s a round-up of the main headlines:

'Pivotal moment' as Oxford vaccine rollout begins

The first doses of theOxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus jab are to be given as the UK accelerates its vaccine programme to tackle a surge in cases.
Six hospital trusts - in Oxford, London, Sussex, Lancashire and Warwickshire - will begin administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab today, five days after it was approved, with 530,000 doses ready for use.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has described it as a "pivotal moment" in the UK's fight against the virus, as vaccines will help curb infections and ultimately allow restrictions to be lifted.
Most other available doses will be sent to hundreds of GP-led services and care homes across the UK later in the week, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
On Sunday more than 50,000 new confirmed Covid cases were recorded in the UK for the sixth day running.
Read more here.

UK papers: 'Happy New Tier' and 'Jabby Monday'

Coronavirus - 4th January 9e26d610
News of the Oxford vaccine rollout features on several front pages in the UK press this morning, as do warnings from Boris Johnson that a tougher tier-system of coronavirus restrictions may be needed.
"A national lockdown looms" , is the Daily Telegraph headline, while the Metro quips "Happy New Tier" .
The i expects more areas to be placed in tier four, while the Times writes Boris Johnson will make a decision on Wednesday, when figures reveal the impact of Christmas mixing.
The continuing row over the reopening of primary schools leads the Daily Mirror which describes the situation as "class chaos" .
The Sun celebrates the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine with the headline"Jabby Monday" and the Daily Express says the vaccine will give hope to tens of millions .
Read more here .

Where are schools closed in the UK?

The start of the new term will be delayed by two weeks for many secondary school pupils in England.
Most primary schools in England reopen today, but schools in areas with very high rates of coronavirus infection will stay shut.
Schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also open later than normal.
Secondary schools in England will stagger their return.
The plan is that pupils taking exams in 2021 will now start on 11 January, with other year groups returning in person on 18 January.
The delay is intended to give schools time to set up mass testing.
Primary schools in London, Essex, Kent, East Sussex, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire are not opening today.
See the full list of areas here.
In Wales, there will be "flexibility" at the beginning of term , with teaching due to start in most places from today. Schools are expected to offer face-to-face learning for most pupils by 11 January, with a full return by 18 January.
In Northern Ireland, primary school pupils will be taught online until 11 January . In secondary schools, years 8 to 11 will be taught online throughout January. Years 12 to 14 will return to school after the first week of January.
In Scotland, the Christmas holidays have been extended to 11 January, and the following week will be online learning only . A full return to face-to-face learning is planned for 18 January.

Tiers 'no longer strong enough' with new variant - Hancock

Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the new UK coronavirus variant “makes life much harder for everybody” as it is harder to control the spread because it passes on so much faster.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that tougher virus rules may be needed in the short-term.
Hancock said that the new variant means that the old tier system in England “which was clearly working is no longer strong enough”.
He says the “saving grace” is the vaccine but before that can help curb infections “we have some very difficult weeks ahead”.

'Hope to get back to normal by summer' - NHS director

Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, has told BBC Breakfast he hopes the country may be able to get back to "normal ways of life" by the summer.
Asked if he can suggest a timeline for when people can go to restaurants or book a holiday, he said: "Like everybody, I'm hoping that when we get into the spring and into the summer we will be able to get more back towards those normal ways of life.
"But there's no doubt at the moment that infection rates are high, the NHS is under severe pressure, particularly in London and parts of the South East where the new variant has been accelerating in transmission.
"In the rest of the country we're also seeing pressures and of course the new variant has begun to spread."
Prof Powis stressed the need to follow government guidelines on social distancing.
He also described the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as a "remarkable scientific achievement".

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 10:02

Pope 'really saddened' by Covid holidaymakers

Pope Francis has criticised people who have taken off on holiday to escape lockdowns.
He called on those jumping on planes to avoid restrictions to think about the suffering of others.
"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," the Pope said after his weekly noon blessing on Sunday.
"(They thought) only about going on holiday and having fun," he added.
"This really saddened me."
During his Christmas address, Pope Francis called on world leaders to ensure unfettered access to coronavirus vaccines for everyone.

Thousands line up for vaccine in Beijing

Coronavirus - 4th January 30abb010
People wait to board shuttle buses to a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine centre in Beijing

Thousands of people have been lining up in Beijing to receive a coronavirus vaccine, as China aims to inoculate millions before the Chinese New Year next month.
More than 73,000 people in the Chinese capital were given the first dose of the vaccine in the first two days of the programme, state media said.
Those receiving the vaccine included community workers and bus drivers.
China granted "conditional" approval to a vaccine by Chinese pharma giant Sinopharm on 31 December.
Read more: What do we know about China's coronavirus vaccines?

Coronavirus - 4th January 73504d10

Coronavirus - 4th January A1a3d310

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 13:14

What's happening in the UK?

It's been a busy morning so far in the UK, so here's a reminder of the main headlines:

When will I be eligible for a vaccine?

Many people will be wondering when their vaccination is coming.
Broadly, vaccines are being given to the most vulnerable first, covering about a quarter of the UK population.
Jabs are due to be given to members of nine priority groups, mainly according to age, but also those with serious underlying health conditions and frontline health staff and care home workers.
It could be well into later this year before the vaccinations reach people who are considered less likely to be seriously ill with Covid-19, such as the under-50s.
The government has so far ordered seven different types of vaccine and expects to receive 355 million doses - certainly enough for every adult in the UK.
You can read more on how the vaccines will be rolled out here.

'The benefits of being at school far outweigh the cons'

BBC Radio 5 Live has been hearing from parents about how they are feeling about the uncertainty around schools this morning.
Single mum Claire Hughes told presenter Rachel Burden the added pressures on her when her seven-year-old son is at home are "enormous".
"There will be many mums and dads waking up with that pit of anxiety in their stomach thinking, 'How are we going to get through this?'" she said.
Listen to 5 Live on the free BBC Sounds app.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 13:18

Tokyo faces state of emergency, Japan's PM says

Coronavirus - 4th January Bf251710
People offer prayers for their companies and the economy to mark the new year in Tokyo

The Japanese PM is considering declaring a state of emergency in Tokyo. Yoshihide Suga has said such measures in the capital's region may be necessary to combat a very severe third wave of coronavirus infections. It's likely to last a month from next Saturday.
Tokyo saw a record 884 new cases on Monday, more than 100 of them serious.
The emergency measures won't include school closures or be as strict as the one last spring, but Suga urged people to go out as little as possible.
The PM said there would be penalties for businesses that disobey instructions to shorten their hours.
He said he hoped Japan would begin vaccinations in late February, and he would receive one as an example.

Concern over 'rushed' approval for India Covid jab

Experts have raised concerns over India's emergency approval of a locally-produced coronavirus vaccine before the completion of trials.
On Sunday, Delhi approved the vaccine - known as Covaxin - as well as the global AstraZeneca Oxford jab, which is also being manufactured in India.
Health watchdog All India Drug Action Network said it was "shocked" at the Covaxin decision.
It said that there were "intense concerns arising from the absence of the efficacy data" as well a lack of transparency that would "raise more questions than answers and likely will not reinforce faith in our scientific decision making bodies".
India's Drugs Controller General, VG Somani, has insisted Covaxin is "safe and provides a robust immune response".
India is gearing up to vaccinate its population of more than 1.3 billon people. Amid fears that richer countries are buying up much of the vaccine supply, India too appears to be stockpiling vaccines.
In an interview with the Associated Press , Adar Poonawalla, whose Serum Institute of India (SII) is manufacturing the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine, said the jab was given emergency authorisation on the condition that it would not be exported outside India.
Poonawalla said his company, the world's largest vaccine maker, was also not allowed to sell the shot in the private market.
This has raised concerns in India's neighbouring countries, including Nepal and Bangladesh, which are primarily depending on the SII to start vaccinating their populations.
Read more here.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 13:30

Analysis: UK in race against time to vaccinate

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
Make no mistake, the UK is in a race against time.
That much is clear from the decision to delay the second dose of the vaccine to focus on giving as many people as possible their first doses.
So how fast can the NHS go? Ultimately it wants to get to two million doses a week.
That will not be achieved this week.
But today marks the start of the NHS putting the accelerator to the floor.
How quickly the UK can go is dependent on several complex processes.
First the vaccine has to be manufactured, then put into vials and packaged up, after that each batch has to be checked before being sent to NHS vaccination sites where there needs to be enough staff to ensure those doses are given as quickly as possible.
Problems at any one stage can disrupt how quickly the vaccination programme can be rolled out.
While there are millions of doses of each vaccine in the country and a total of 140 million of both vaccines pre-ordered, there are currently just over one million – around 500,000 of each – ready to be given this week.

Ex-health secretary supports third national lockdown

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt says the UK has to recognise that it is has a “very, very virulent new strain” of coronavirus.
Hunt, chair of the health and social care select committee, called it a “national emergency”, adding that the UK was “going to need to go a lot further and a lot faster and the sooner we take these tough measures the better”.
Asked by Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour whether he was expecting a third national lockdown in the next couple days, he said: “I think it may well be the case, and if it did it would have my full support.”
He also said the majority of schools “should” remain closed until the February half-term because the NHS was in an “incredibly challenging state” at the moment.

Boris Johnson: Tougher measures coming soon

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that tougher measures will be announced "in due course" in England to control the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking during a visit to Chase Farm Hospital in north London to meet some of the first people to receive the Oxford vaccine, Johnson said there were "tough, tough" weeks to come.
He added: "If you look at the numbers there's no question we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing those in due course."
More than three-quarters of England's population is already under the highest - tier four - restrictions.
On Sunday, the UK recorded more than 50,000 new confirmed Covid cases for the sixth day in a row.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 13:45

Call to 'furlough parents' while schools are closed

Working parents trying to balance work and childcare should be put on furlough while schools are closed in England, says the Trades Union Congress (TUC) - the umbrella body for UK trades unions.
All secondary schools will remain closed to students this week, except for the children of key workers such as NHS staff, while most primary schools are open to pupils from today, except in London and parts of the south east of England.
However, decisions over whether it was safe for pupils to return to school in person were still being discussed over the New Year holiday weekend, leaving parents with little time to find support.
Bosses may not be aware that they can use the scheme to support parents, the TUC said, adding that many families would be "frantically" looking for a solution.
"Without further action, many will have no choice but to cut their hours or take unpaid leave from work," said Frances Grady, general secretary of the TUC.
"This will lead to further hardship and will hit mums and single parents hardest."

Schools in Kenya reopen after nine-month Covid closure

Coronavirus - 4th January 3584ed10
Final year students resumed face to face learning in October

Lots of countries have grappled with how to reopen schools safely amid the pandemic. But in Kenya, where public and private schools were shut in March, the closures have been among the longest in Africa.
Millions of children are finally returning to primary and secondary schools in the country today.
The ministry of education has issued guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.
These include urging teachers to use every available space, including learning under trees, to ensure social distancing.
Parents have been asked to buy face masks for their children and the government promised to distribute some to needy students.
Teachers aged over 58 years old and those with pre-existing conditions have been asked to work remotely or teach in open spaces.
Final year students had resumed in-person learning in October but took a short break over the festive season.
The country has recorded 96,802 cases of the virus including 1,685 deaths, according to the health ministry.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 13:49

Germany looking into delaying second vaccine dose - report

Germany is seeking advice on whether to delay giving the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to make supplies go further, in a similar move to the UK, according to a document seen by the Reuters news agency.
The country's health ministry has asked an independent vaccination commission for its opinion on administering the second shot later than 42 days after the first.
The UK will give both parts of both the Pfizer and the Oxford vaccines 12 weeks apart , having initially planned to leave 21 days between the Pfizer jabs.

Macron 'furious' at slow vaccine rollout in France

France is starting to vaccinate healthcare workers over 50, but President Emmanuel Macron has voiced his anger at the slow progress of the rollout in one of the world's most vaccine-sceptical countries.
France launched its vaccination programme last Monday using the Pfizer jab. But after the first few days of the campaign, only several hundred had received the first dose.
President Macron is reportedly furious, criticising the pace as like a "family stroll".
So far the strategy has focused on administering vaccines in care homes, which face logistical problems in storing the Pfizer jab, and time-consuming processes of consent.
Vaccine scepticism runs high in France, with one poll suggesting only 40% of people planned to get a coronavirus jab.
More than 65,000 people with the virus have lost their lives in the country.
Read more here

Britons turned away from Sweden over testing

Maddy Savage - BBC News, Stockholm
British citizens travelling to Sweden from the UK are being refused entry, amidst a lack of clarity over new Covid-19 testing requirements.
Since 1 January, UK nationals who are resident in Sweden have been exempt from a general entry ban from the UK to Sweden - introduced due to the new coronavirus variant in the UK - as long as they can provide a negative Covid-19 test certificate.
However, some Britons have been turned away at the Swedish border despite proof of negative test results.
The UK’s Ambassador to Sweden Judith Gough has called for “greater clarity and consistency” over what type of test is needed.
Sweden has not previously required negative Covid-19 tests for inbound travellers from any destinations, and Swedish citizens are still allowed to travel home without being tested in advance.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 13:52

Analysis: An uncertain first day of term

Sean Coughlan - BBC News, education correspondent
It’s been a cold, dark and confusing start to the new school term for many families in England.
Primary schools - apart from those already closed to most pupils because of high coronavirus levels - were meant to reopen this week.
But it’s been an uncertain first day - with some schools staying closed, amid worries about safety when coronavirus levels are rising.
This in turn will have caused last-minute childcare problems for parents trying to get back to work.
There are no official figures yet about how many schools have not fully opened - in what seems to be a patchwork of local closures.
But the biggest teachers’ union, the National Education Union, is advising teachers it is not safe to teach classes in school and wants a two-week switch to online learning.
Local authorities are also querying why some schools in tier four areas are open, while others have been closed.
But the government is emphasising the importance of keeping schools open whenever possible.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says there might be “mixed emotions” but school is the “right place” for children.
Read more here

University goes against UK government advice on return date

Students at University College London (UCL) are being told to not return to campus until at least the end of February.
It goes against government advice for students to return to university at the end of January.
In a statement, UCL said it wanted to be "honest and transparent" about its decision-making .
It said: "Our current and most realistic assessment is that it is unlikely that case rates will have reduced sufficiently to allow students to return to campus before at least mid-February, and quite possibly the end of March.
It said there would be no in-person teaching until 22 February "at the earliest", adding: "We are aware that this is later than the government is advising but we believe this is the most responsible course of action in this complex situation."
The National Union of Students has previously called for refunds for students if the ''quality of learning is severely impacted'' by online teaching, as well as more government money to support students who will be paying for properties "they are being told not to live in for months".

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 14:05

Analysis: Hard to see how PM can wait much longer

Vicki Young - Deputy Political Editor
The old tier system is no longer enough… the figures are only heading in one direction.
Those are the words of the health secretary and a health minister.
Boris Johnson says stricter measures are coming, which immediately sparks the questions “When?” and “What are you waiting for?”
Downing Street wants to push a tougher message on adherence to the current rules while it assesses the latest Christmas data, but it is coming under growing pressure to act sooner.
With Nicola Sturgeon about to go further and the Labour leader calling for an immediate national lockdown it’s difficult to see how the prime minister can wait much longer.

Close schools and borders, says ex-health secretary

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt is calling for schools and borders to close "right away" as he warns the pressures facing hospitals are "off-the -scale worse" than previous winter crises.
The chairman of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee says, while in previous years, elective care has been cancelled in January to protect emergency care that too is now under severe pressure, with "record trolley waits for the very sickest patients".
"Even more worryingly, fewer heart attack patients appear to be presenting in ICUs, perhaps because they are not dialling 999 when they need to," the Conservative MP said on Twitter .
"[The number one] lesson is countries that act early & decisively save lives & get their economies back to normal faster.
"We therefore cannot afford to wait: all schools should be closed, international travel stopped, household mixing limited and the tier system reviewed so that the highest tier really does bring down infection levels (as with the first lockdown)," Hunt concluded.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 14:07

Coronavirus headlines from around the world

It's been a busy day so far, with coronavirus vaccines leading the headlines. Here is a reminder of what's been happening:

How are European countries handling their vaccine rollouts?

As the UK rolls out the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and France's programme is accused of going far too slowly , how are other countries in Europe doing?

  • The Netherlands is the only EU country yet to start its vaccination campaign - the launch is set for 8 January
  • In Germany, about 240,000 people had been vaccinated by Sunday morning
  • Vaccinations started in Italy on 27 December and more than 70,000 doses had been administered by Sunday
  • Portugal has started to vaccinate people in nursing homes after health workers were first to receive it
  • There is frustration in Spain over the perceived slow roll out in some regions. Spain is to set up a register of people who refuse to be vaccinated .

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 14:10

Breaking News

Sturgeon 'to announce strict stay at home message'

Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to make a statement shortly to the Scottish Parliament about coronavirus measures.
BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley says "a strict stay at home message is about to be announced". She will be speaking at around 14:00 GMT.


Sturgeon announces new 'stay at home' restrictions

The Scottish government has decided to introduce from tonight “a legal requirement to stay at home except for essential reasons” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says.

1,905 more Covid cases reported in Scotland

A further 1,905 people have tested positive for Covid-19, 15% of the 13,810 new tests carried out yesterday.
That's a drop in the total number of new cases but positivity rates remain very high.
The Scottish government will provide updated information on the number of deaths that have been reported during the Christmas holiday period tomorrow.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 15:24

What are the new rules in Scotland?

Here are the new rules announced by Nicola Sturgeon which will come into force in mainland Scotland from midnight:

  • People will only be allowed to leave home for essential purposes, such as essential shopping, exercise and caring responsibilities
  • No limit is to be put on how many times people can go out to exercise, but outdoor meetings are to be limited to a maximum of two people from two households (excluding children under 12)
  • Schools are to remain closed to the majority of pupils until at least February
  • Everyone who can work from home will be required to, and people in the "shielding" category are advised not to go in to work at all
  • Places of worship are to close, the number of people who can attend weddings is to be cut to five, and funeral wakes will no longer be allowed

These rules we be in place until at least the end of January, and will be kept under review.
Island areas will remain under Scotland's level three restrictions - but Nicola Sturgeon says they would be monitored carefully.

Breaking News 

PM to set out 'further steps' at 20:00 GMT

Boris Johnson will set out "further steps" this evening, a No10 spokesman says.
The UK prime minister is to give a televised address at 20:00 GMT and parliament will be recalled on Wednesday.
A No10 spokesman said: "The spread of the new variant of COVID-19 has led to rapidly escalating case numbers across the country.
"The prime minister is clear that further steps must now be taken to arrest this rise and to protect the NHS and save lives.
"He will set those out this evening."

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 15:28

England cricketer Moeen Ali tests positive for Covid-19

Coronavirus - 4th January F5fb9f10

England cricketer Moeen Ali has tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival at Hambantota airport in Sri Lanka.
Moeen, 33, will now isolate for 10 days, in line with the Sri Lankan government's quarantine rules.
Fellow all-rounder Chris Woakes is deemed as a possible close contact, and will self-isolate before further testing.
England's two-Test tour of Sri Lanka starts in Galle on 14 January.
The rest of the touring party will be retested on Tuesday morning, before being allowed to train for the first time on Wednesday.
Moeen is the first England player to test positive for the virus, with a full summer of games against West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Ireland being completed without any cases.
England's last overseas tour, in South Africa, was cut short after positive cases in the Cape Town hotel where England were staying. England returned two positive tests - that were later verified as false positives.
Read more on this story.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 15:52

What could 'tougher' measures mean?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a televised address at 20:00 GMT tonight as No 10 says further steps must now be taken to address a surge in coronavirus cases in England.
We don't know what the PM is going to announce, but our science editor David Shukman has taken a look at some of the possibilities.
Clues about such measures to tackle the new more infectious variant come from the government's Sage advisory committee .
We'll particularly be looking out for whether there will be a return to only being allowed one form of daily outdoor exercise, or stricter controls on travel around the country,
Sage advisers suggest considering a return to the two-metre rule because it's more effective than the one-metre plus guidance adopted last year.
Masks also need to be made of three layers, not just one, and worn in more locations than now - including workplaces, schools and crowded outdoor spaces.
The key message is that it is vital to reduce social contact - so expect tier four-type bans on visiting other households to become normal.
Read the full article.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 16:05

Covid threat level 'to be upgraded to highest level'

The Covid threat level is to be increased to five, the highest level, sources tell the BBC.
The decision is made by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which includes the UK's chief medical officers.
Level five would not automatically signify a lockdown being introduced - the alert level system is used by the UK governments to help their decisions on lockdown rather than as strict rules.
The threat level is different from tiers.
You can read more on the threat levels here.

Coronavirus - 4th January D4d34a10

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 16:15

Anger as Polish celebs jump vaccine queue

It's been a busy day for Covid updates in the UK. Let's take a look now at what's been happening in other countries.
An investigation has been launched in Poland after 18 celebrities and politicians jumped the queue to receive coronavirus vaccinations.
Currently only medical workers and their families are eligible to be vaccinated.
But actress Maria Seweryn, singer Michal Bajor, and TV journalist Edward Miszczak have all confirmed they have received the jab.
They were reportedly among 18 "cultural figures" who agreed to serve as ambassadors as part of a vaccination drive.
They got the jabs at the Warsaw Medical University, which said it had an additional supply of doses that needed to be used before the end of last year.
In a separate case, Poland's governing Law and Justice Party expelled a local politician after he received a vaccination ahead of schedule, prompting considerable public anger.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called it “a real scandal”.
“There is no justification for breaking the rules,” he told local media.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 16:21

Breaking News 

Further 58,784 Covid cases across the UK

There have been a further 58,784 coronavirus cases confirmed across the UK, the government says.
There have also been a further 407 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, taking the total by that measure to 75,431.
No deaths data is available from Scotland today.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 17:05

What has happened today?

If you are just joining us it has been a busy day around the world.
Here are some of the headlines:

Latin America: 1,000-strong party and packed beaches

Coronavirus - 4th January 36570b10
With summer in full swing in the southern hemisphere, there's concern as beaches are packed

A large dance party attended by about 1,000 people in the state of Veracruz has caused outrage in Mexico. Several bands played at the party held in the local baseball stadium, and videos shared online suggested that party-goers weren't abiding by social distancing rules.
A local politician denied having organised the party. Mexico has the fourth-highest number of Covid fatalities in the world with more than 127,000 deaths.
There is also concern in Argentina over packed beaches in Buenos Aires province. Enio García, who leads a team advising the health ministry in the province, said he didn't rule out the introduction of a curfew to curb the spread of the virus. "We have to be careful though, because we don't want people to hold clandestine parties instead," he said.
Meanwhile, in Brazil, private health clinics say they have been negotiating with the Indian pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech to buy five million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine. While a number of countries in Latin America have begun vaccinating people, Brazil's government has still not given a date for the arrival of vaccines the country, which has the second highest number of Covid-related deaths worldwide.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 18:12

PM expected to announce measures similar to March

Laura Kuenssberg - Political editor
The prime minister is expected to announce a set of new national restrictions for England at 20:00 GMT, similar to the national lockdown in March, that he is likely to urge the public to follow from midnight.
It’s expected that people will be told to work from home unless they are a key worker, or it is not possible for them to do so, for example if they work on a construction site.
Schools will close again for most pupils.
It is not yet clear when the measures will be reviewed, but MPs are likely to be given a vote to approve them retrospectively on Wednesday.
This comes after the rapid rises in coronavirus cases and admissions to the NHS.
And after the Joint Biosecurity Centre raised the alert from the pandemic to level five tonight, which means the NHS is at risk from being overwhelmed and that a national lockdown is imminent.
It is also understood that the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, told the prime minister the new more infectious variant of coronavirus is spreading now throughout the country.

Starmer: Everybody can see virus is out of control

Ahead of a statement from the UK PM, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is calling on Boris Johnson not to delay introducing measures that go "back to what we had in March".
He tells the BBC: "The virus is out of control, everybody can see that, the tier system clearly isn't working and we all know tougher measures are necessary.
"I say to the prime minister 'why delay?'. Have national restrictions and bring them into force as soon as possible.
"Those restrictions are now necessary to get the virus back under control, to protect the NHS which is near breaking point this January, but critically to create the space for the rollout of the vaccine, that now needs to be mission critical."
Sir Keir says the contract for asking the British people to suffer tighter restrictions has to be for the vaccine to be "rolled out as quickly as possible" and calls for two million doses to be delivered per week in January and "double that in February".

Four nations call ahead of England briefing

Senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove is understood to be discussing coronavirus restrictions with the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in a call ahead of Boris Johnson's statement at 20:00 GMT.
The talks come ahead of the Stormont Executive's meeting to discuss further possible coronavirus restrictions for Northern Ireland.
And they follow Scotland's First Minister's announcement of a new lockdown from midnight .
Wales is likely to remain in lockdown for the rest of January.
Boris Johnson is expected to announce a lockdown in England similar to the first wave of the pandemic in March.

Breaking News 

'NHS could be overwhelmed in 21 days' - chief medical officers

The UK's chief medical officers and NHS England's medical director have recommended that the UK Covid alert level should move up to level five, the highest possible, after warning that they were "not confident that the NHS can handle a further sustained rise in cases".
In a statement they said that "without further action there is a material risk of the NHS in several areas being overwhelmed over the next 21 days".
"There are currently very high rates of community transmission, with substantial numbers of Covid patients in hospitals and in intensive care," they said.
"Cases are rising almost everywhere, in much of the country driven by the new more transmissible variant."
But the statement added it was "absolutely crucial" people still came forward for emergency care.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 18:21

Breaking News

Schools in Wales to stay shut until 18 January

All schools and colleges will move to online learning until 18 January in Wales, education minister Kirsty Williams has announced.
Some schools had been due to open on Wednesday and others by 11 January, with decisions made by local authorities.
Teaching unions wanted a delay and a national decision on reopening amid concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus variant.
Read more .

South African variant causes concern over vaccine efficacy

Andrew Harding - BBC News, Johannesburg
For weeks now, South Africa has been wrestling with an aggressive new wave of Covid-19.
The virus here has mutated to make it much more transmissible – very much like the British variant.
So far there’s no evidence that the virus has become deadlier. But scientists in South Africa are now racing to establish whether the mutations may have affected the virus’s ability to resist current vaccines.
There’s no hard evidence either way yet. But the concern arises from the fact that the virus here has mutated more than the one in Britain, and one of those mutations is linked to its ability to connect to antibodies – like those contained in a vaccine.
If that ability to connect is weakened, then the vaccine might not bind, and therefore work, so well.
Experts here are carrying out urgent tests and say they should know if that’s an issue within a matter of weeks.
But they also point out that it should be relatively quick and easy to adjust the vaccines. What’s more, they say, the current vaccines would still have some effect in neutralising South Africa’s variant of Covid-19.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 18:40

Warnings over delays to second doses

Vaccine manufacturers BioNTech and Pfizer have warned there is no evidence that their injection will offer protection against developing Covid-19 if the second dose is given later than was tested during clinical trials.
“The safety and efficacy of the vaccine has not been evaluated on different dosing schedules," the companies said in a statement on Monday. “There is no data to demonstrate that protection after the first dose is sustained after 21 days.”
The two jabs are designed to be given three weeks apart, with full immunity only developing after the second dose.
However, the UK has already said it will delay giving the second dose of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford vaccines by 12 weeks , while Denmark has agreed to wait six weeks between injections. Germany is reportedly considering a similar move.
The warning came as the European Medicines Agency said that the maximum interval of 42 days between the first and second doses should not be exceeded in order to ensure full protection.

Breaking News 

Scottish MP arrested over alleged breach of Covid restrictions

Scottish MP Margaret Ferrier has been arrested and charged in connection with alleged culpable and reckless conduct over an alleged breach of coronavirus regulations last September.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "We can confirm that officers today arrested and charged a 60-year-old woman in connection with alleged culpable and reckless conduct.
"This follows a thorough investigation by Police Scotland into an alleged breach of coronavirus regulations between 26 and 29 September 2020."

Who is Margaret Ferrier?

Coronavirus - 4th January Ea22eb10

Scottish MP Margaret Ferrier has been arrested and charged by police over an alleged breach of coronavirus restrictions.
She was suspended from the SNP group at Westminster after she admitted using public transport while infected with Covid-19 last September.
The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP apologised after travelling from London to Glasgow having tested positive for coronavirus.
She said she had experienced "mild symptoms" and taken a test, but had then decided to travel to Westminster because she was "feeling much better".
She then travelled home again on a train after receiving the positive test result, and said she "deeply regretted" her actions.
Despite facing pressure to resign her seat, Ms Ferrier is now an independent MP.
Read more on this story here .

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 20:46

What has happened so far today?

While we wait for the PM to announce more lockdown measures, here's a quick round-up of the top headlines in the UK so far:

  • The UK's chief medical officers and NHS England's medical director have recommended that the UK Covid alert level should move up to level five, the highest possible, after warning that they were "not confident that the NHS can handle a further sustained rise in cases"
  • All schools and colleges will move to online learning until 18 January in Wales , education minister Kirsty Williams has announced. Some schools had been due to open on Wednesday and others by 11 January
  • A new lockdown has been announced in Scotland from midnight as Nicola Sturgeon warned she was "more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March last year"
  • Scottish MP Margaret Ferrier has been arrested by police after she admitted using public transport while infected with Covid-19. Police Scotland said she had been charged in connection with "alleged culpable and reckless conduct"
  • Hospital admissions of patients with coronavirus have hit a record high, according NHS England data. There were 3,145 admissions in England reported for 2 January, exceeding the previous peak of 3,099 recorded on 1 April last year.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 20:48

'Achieving vaccination goals requires a lot to go right'

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
The lockdown announcement contained the clearest indication yet of how quickly the government hopes to vaccinate the at risk groups.
A target of mid February for vaccinating all the over 70s and those deemed extremely clinically vulnerable opens up a pathway to a significant easing of restrictions by the start of March.
But it will require a rapid acceleration in vaccination rates.
So far nearly one million people have been vaccinated.
By the end of the week that number is expected to double.
The hope is that later in January two million doses a week will be given.
That will be the minimum needed – there are around 10 million in those priority groups.
By vaccinating them, there is the potential to prevent close to nine in 10 deaths.
But achieving that requires a lot to go right.
There is enough vaccine in the country to vaccinate that many people, but not all of it has been through the final “fill and finish” process which involves packaging it in glass vials (and there is a shortage of those) and then the batches have to be checked and signed off by the regulator – a process that is taking weeks at the moment.
And all of that is before it is sent out to the NHS vaccination centres to inject it into people’s arms.

Are restrictions more severe than March?

Reality Check
We know that the UK is going to threat level 5, the highest level, which means there is a danger of the NHS being overwhelmed within 21 days.
When the prime minister announced these threat levels in May he was clear that during the first lockdown the country had only been in level four.
At the time he also said: “The higher the level, the tougher and stricter we will have to be.”
So on that basis should we have expected tighter restrictions in England than we saw during the first lockdown in March?
If anything, the restrictions appear slightly less severe. For example, support bubbles and childcare bubbles exist this time. Also, outdoor playgrounds will be open when they were closed last time.
Communal worship is still allowed as long as social distancing is observed.
One significant change since March is that face coverings are compulsory in indoor public settings such as shops, public transport or places of worship.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 21:44

Quick recap: What did the PM say on England's new lockdown?

We're about to close the live page now, but before we go, here's a quick re-cap of the key points from Boris Johnson's speech:

  • Hospitals are under "more pressure from Covid than at any time since the start of the pandemic" and the number of Covid patients in England's hospitals increased by almost a third last week
  • England must enter a new national lockdown. People must stay at home except for specific reasons allowed under law, such as essential shopping and going to work
  • The government will advise those clinically extremely vulnerable people who previously shielded to do so again
  • Primary and secondary schools must move to remote learning from tomorrow, except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. However, early years education such as nurseries, will still be accessible
  • The school closures for most pupils might mean it is "not possible or fair" for all exams to happen this summer "as normal", and the education secretary will work with the exams regulator Ofqual to put in place alternative arrangements
  • If "things go well", the government expects to have offered a first Covid vaccine dose to everyone in the four top priority groups - all care home residents and their carers, everyone aged 70 and over, all frontline health and social care workers, and the clinically extremely vulnerable - by mid February
  • If the vaccine roll-out continues to be "successful", deaths begin to fall, and people follow the rules, the PM said he hoped we can "steadily move out of lockdown, reopening schools after half term and starting, cautiously" to move regions down England's tiered system of restrictions.

Thanks and goodbye

Thanks for joining us.
Updates were brought to you today by Claire Heald, Vanessa Barford, James Clarke, Doug Faulkner, Becky Morton, Mary O’Connor, Jasmine Taylor-Coleman, Jen Meierhans, George Wright, Katie Wright, Victoria Bisset and Sarah Fowler.

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 4th January Empty Re: Coronavirus - 4th January

Post by Kitkat Mon Jan 04 2021, 23:44


Kevin Rawlinson - The Guardian
Here’s a summary of the most recent developments:

  • BioNTech and Pfizer warned they had no evidence their vaccine would continue to work if the booster shot was given later than tested in trials. They said the “safety and efficacy of the vaccine has not been evaluated on different dosing schedules”.
  • The European Medicines Agency said the maximum interval between doses should be respected. It said the second dose should be administered no more than 42 days after the first.
  • Brazil confirmed its first two cases of the new variant. A 25-year-old woman and a 34-year-old man were confirmed as having been infected.
  • The UK’s four chief medical officers recommended implementing the toughest restrictions. They said the UK alert level should move from level 4 to level 5. The British government had declined to rule out another national lockdown and the British prime minister is due to address the nation within an hour.
  • Thailand’s prime minister urged the public to stay home. Authorities confirmed 745 new infections; the country’s worst daily total and the government declared 28 provinces – including Bangkok – high-risk zones.
  • Singapore said its police would be allowed to use contact-tracing data for criminal investigations. The technology, deployed as both a phone app and a physical device and made mandatory in some places, is being used by nearly 80% of the 5.7m population.
  • The German health ministry considered delaying second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to make scarce supplies go further. According to a document seen by Reuters, the ministry was seeking the view of an independent vaccination commission on whether to delay a second shot beyond the current 42-day maximum.
  • German media also reported that country’s lockdown would be extended until 31 January. Bild reported that national and federal authorities had agreed to continue the existing restrictions, which include the closures of schools, most shops, restaurants and bars.
  • The UK became the first country to administer the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. NHS England tweeted that Brian Pinker, an 82-year-old dialysis patient, had become the first person to be given the jab.

England to enter toughest Covid lockdown since March

Jessica Elgot - The Guardian
England will enter its toughest nationwide lockdown since March, with schools closed and people allowed to leave home once a day for exercise for at least six weeks, prime minister Boris Johnson has announced as the numbers of people in hospital reach new highs.
All pupils will switch to remote learning until the February half-term, the prime minister said in an address to the nation, and GCSE and A-level exams are unlikely to go ahead as planned. All non-essential shops will be told to close.
Under the third national lockdown, people in England will be ordered to stay at home until at least 15 February and advised only to leave once a day for exercise. MPs are expected to vote the tough new measures into law from Wednesday, though businesses will be advised to close from Monday night.
Across the country, people must now only leave home for work – and only if it is impossible to work from home – and for essential food and medicine. Exercise with one other person from a different household is permitted but the advice is to stay local and limit activity to once a day.
Read more here

    Current date/time is Sat Feb 27 2021, 20:54