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Coronavirus - 13th February 2021

Kitkat
Kitkat

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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 13 2021, 12:12

Summary for Saturday, 13th February

  • Ministers have begun a "final push" to persuade over-70s to get vaccinated
  • The government aims to offer the vaccine to 15m people by Monday
  • Up to 30 ministers are taking part in the vaccination drive this weekend
  • On Friday Wales became the first UK nation to reach its vaccination target
  • Covid could be a flu-like illness we have to live with, says the Health Secretary
  • The number of UK people who have received their first vaccine dose has now passed 14 million
  • Latest figures indicate 116,287 people have died of the virus in the UK
  • Heathrow airport has expressed concern over the implementation of hotel quarantine plans
  • Trials will begin this month to examine the effectiveness of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on children
  • Treatments for Covid-19 will be fast-tracked through the UK's clinical trial system
  • Canada's PM Justin Trudeau is under pressure to boost vaccinations


Good morning

Welcome to today’s live page. Here are some of the key coronavirus stories in the UK this morning

  • Those in the UK aged 70 or over who have not yet had a Covid jab are being urged to come forward, in a final push by ministers to meet their vaccination target
  • They want at least 15 million people in the top four priority groups offered a dose by Monday 15 February.
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that with the aid of vaccines and new treatments, Covid-19 could become a “treatable disease” that we can live with "like we do flu". His comments, in the Daily Telegraph suggest he is ruling out eliminating the virus entirely from the UK.
  • Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of Covid cases is going down in all nations of the UK - although infection levels remain high. It comes after 15,144 new cases were recorded in the UK on Friday, as well as 758 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
  • Internal government projections suggest the number of people in hospital with coronavirus in England will halve over the next month, returning to the levels last seen in October, according to reports in The Times.
  • A new hotel quarantine system is due to come into force in England and Scotland on Monday. All British and Irish citizens and UK residents arriving in England from so-called "red-list" countries will have to quarantine in a hotel at a cost of £1,750 for an individual. In Scotland, hotel quarantine will be in force for residents arriving from any country.
  • "Cautious" talks about Wales' tourist industry reopening in time for Easter have started, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said. On Friday Mr Drakeford said a revised plan out of lockdown would be published "within days".


What the UK papers say

There's a note of optimism on many of the front pages of the UK papers, amid what they regard as positive signs that the lockdown in England could soon be eased.


Australian state enters lockdown over UK strain

The Australian state of Victoria has entered a five-day lockdown as the authorities race to suppress an outbreak of the UK strain of the virus.
At least 14 cases have been confirmed, and they are thought to all stem from a quarantine worker who became infected at a Melbourne hotel.
International flights to the city will be stopped during the lockdown. The Australian Open tennis tournament, however, will continue in the city without spectators.
Meanwhile, in other global headlines:

  • Railway journeys in China over the past two weeks fell by nearly 70% when compared with the same period last year, state authorities said. This time is usually marked by a travel rush due to the Lunar New Year holiday
  • Hungary became the first EU nation to use Russia's Sputnik V vaccine. It broke ranks with the EU last month by approving the jab , which showed promising results in early trials
  • Peru's Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti has resigned amid claims that former President Martin Vizcarra was given the vaccine before it was made available to the public. He was reportedly given a dose in secret in October, but maintains he was taking part in a trial
  • And the World Health Organization (WHO) warned against complacency as global cases of the virus continued to decline. "Now is not the time for any country to relax measures, or for any individual to let down their guard," its head, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Friday


'Significant gaps' in quarantine plan - Heathrow airport

Caroline Davies - BBC London News
Heathrow airport has expressed concern over the implementation of hotel quarantine plans which are due to take effect on Monday.
From 15 February, anyone arriving in England from 33 high risk countries will be required to quarantine in a hotel for ten days.
But the London airport, which is expected to receive the largest number of passengers from these countries, has said there remain "significant gaps" in the plan for implementation.
“We have been working hard with the government to try to ensure the successful implementation of the policy from Monday, but some significant gaps remain and we are yet to receive the necessary reassurances," a Heathrow spokesperson said.
"We will continue to work collaboratively with government over the weekend, but ministers must ensure there is adequate resource and appropriate protocols in place for each step of the full end-to-end process from aircraft to hotel to avoid compromising the safety of passengers and those working at the airport.”
On Friday, the union that represents immigration officials said that they had not been given an operational instructions for the policy.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 13 2021, 12:36

'Long way to go' between now and next winter

Questions are already being asked about when the lockdown restrictions in England might be lifted, given the current vaccine roll-out.
It comes amid suggestions that Covid will ultimately have to be treated in a similar manner to flu - where an annual number of deaths, sometimes up to 20,000, is viewed as unavoidable.
Professor Steven Riley, a member of the Spi-M modelling group, stresses the roll-out of the vaccination programme does not mean coronavirus controls should be dropped.
"We are certainly going to be in the situation where we can allow more infection in the community, but there is a limit," he tells Radio 4's Today programme.
"I am not sure that Covid settles down to look like flu quite so quickly. I think there is quite a long way to go between now and next winter.
"We need to see how low we can get the prevalence of the virus in the community as we exit the summer," he explains.
Prof Riley adds scientists "don't want to show that it is an excellent, but not perfect, vaccine - by having another large wave in the UK".

Unequal vaccine roll-out 'could prolong crisis'

The pandemic is unlikely to end unless poorer countries can also access vaccines, scientists have warned.
Unprecedented numbers of doses are needed, according to an article in the Lancet, but poorer countries lack funds and richer countries have snapped up supplies.
The scientists want to see vaccine production ramped up and doses priced affordably.
"Unless vaccines are distributed more equitably, it could be years before the coronavirus is brought under control at a global level," said lead author Olivier Wouters from the London School of Economics.
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'Significant gaps' in quarantine plan - Heathrow airport

Caroline Davies - BBC London News
Heathrow airport has expressed concern over the implementation of hotel quarantine plans which are due to take effect on Monday.
From 15 February, anyone arriving in England from 33 high risk countries will be required to quarantine in a hotel for ten days.
But the London airport, which is expected to receive the largest number of passengers from these countries, has said there remain "significant gaps" in the plan for implementation.
“We have been working hard with the government to try to ensure the successful implementation of the policy from Monday, but some significant gaps remain and we are yet to receive the necessary reassurances," a Heathrow spokesperson said.
"We will continue to work collaboratively with government over the weekend, but ministers must ensure there is adequate resource and appropriate protocols in place for each step of the full end-to-end process from aircraft to hotel to avoid compromising the safety of passengers and those working at the airport.”
On Friday, the union that represents immigration officials said that they had not been given an operational instructions for the policy.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 13 2021, 12:40

'We cannot afford another peak'

As ministers call for an easing of lockdown measures in England and the return of pupils to schools, Lord Adebowale - who chairs the NHS Confederation - says the government should not even consider lifting restrictions before the middle of March.
The crossbench peer has warned that the health service and its staff are on their knees.
"We have to be really careful, really systematic, about easing any lockdown," Lord Adebowale tells Radio 4's Today programme.
"What we cannot afford is another peak."
"I understand the pressure to open schools. We need to do so very safely.
"I think mid or late March is when we should be reassessing."
"We have had a number of false dawns when we have set dates, taken the action, then find ourselves having to row back very quickly."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously said he will give more information on how restrictions might be eased on 22 February.

'Simply being realistic' about Covid suppression

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that, with the support of vaccines and new treatments, Covid-19 will become a " treatable disease" that we "have to live with, like we do flu".
But there are experts who warn we are still "a long way" from being able to treat the virus as we do flu - with mutations getting "more dangerous" and "more infectious"
Dr Richard Horton has suggested it would up to four years to build up sufficient levels of immunity in the population, but agreed we can't live under restrictive measure indefinitely.
BBC Health Correspondent Nick Triggle says it's simply about being realistic:
"Covid isn't something that can be eradicated like smallpox.
"Temporary suppression, which is essentially what countries like New Zealand have done, is about protecting people in the short-term. Unless they keep their borders shut forever, it cannot work long-term.
"Vaccines mean immunity builds up and, at the very least, should stop most people falling seriously ill.
"There will be an ongoing challenge of keeping up with a virus that will mutate - although this is likely to be less difficult than it seems as coronaviruses tend to be much more stable than flu, for which different strains circulate every year.
"There will always be people who are susceptible, either the vaccine doesn't work or they have refused to have it. That is why the continued advances in treatments are essential.
"But we should never again see the levels of deaths we have.
"Thousands will still die in winters to come. But each year this should lessen until it gets near to the levels of mortality we see with flu - something which society readily accepts."
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 13 2021, 12:45

Ice-skating Dutch enjoy welcome distraction

Anna Holligan - BBC News Hague correspondent

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Ice-skating fever is gripping the Netherlands.
After almost a year of Covid-related restrictions, a nation of ice-skating fanatics are taking a welcome break from the pandemic.
Freezing temperatures have seen the canals here ice over, and there is a glimmer of hope that the world's biggest competition on natural ice might just go ahead later this year.
The winter activity is not without its risks, however. Firefighters had to rescue more than 10 people in the Hague after a frozen pond they were skating on began to thaw on Friday.
Some were lifted out as they sunk into the water, while others crawled to reach the edges of the pond before the ice could crack further.

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Police and firefighters helped rescue people from the thawing pond in The Hague
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 13 2021, 13:15

Scottish pupils 'could face 2m social distancing' rule


Coronavirus - 13th February 2021 D89fd610

Secondary school pupils in Scotland may have to adopt two-metre social distancing rules when they begin a phased return to school later this month.
The tougher new social distancing guidelines have been put forward by the government's advisory group on education and children's issues.
The advisory group says the "additional protective measure" should also apply on school buses.
The two-metre rule is already in place for teachers at secondary schools, while primary pupils should observe it "whenever possible".
Scotland's youngest pupils are likely to return full-time from 22 February.
Some senior secondary pupils preparing for exams could also be back in the classroom from the same date.
Education Secretary John Swinney described the proposals as "an important scientific and clinical update".
Read more.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 13 2021, 13:20

Iran heading for ‘fourth wave’, president warns

Iran, already the Middle East country worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic, is heading towards a “fourth wave” as cases rise in certain areas, its president has warned.
After weeks of low alert levels across the country, Hassan Rouhani said that some cities in the south-western province of Khuzestan were now “red” – the highest of Iran’s colour-coded risk levels – after weeks of low alert levels across the country.
“This is a warning for all of us,” Rouhani said in televised remarks, according to the French state-backed news agency AFP.
“This means the beginning of moving towards the fourth wave. We all have to be vigilant to prevent this.”
The country of more than 80 million people has lost close to 59,000 lives out of more than 1.5 million cases of Covid infection.
Rouhani’s remarks came a day after Iran received 100,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V jab “ahead of schedule” on Friday, according to Kianoush Jahanpour, the health ministry spokesman.
The Islamic republic has purchased a total of 2m doses of the Russian vaccine, according to Jahanpour. It is also working on its own vaccine.

Breaking News

Surge testing increased in UK after new cases of SA variant found

More surge testing is to take place in parts of Middlesbrough - covering the TS7 postcode - in areas of Walsall and in specific areas of the RG26 postcode in Hampshire, after new cases of the South African variant were found.
The surge testing is being introduced, in addition to existing testing, to monitor and suppress the spread of the virus after confirmed cases of the SA variant - not associated with international travel - came to light in those regions.
In Walsall, the surge testing operation has been extended in response to a confirmed second case of the variant.
People living within these targeted areas are strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 test this week, whether they are showing symptoms or not.
Those with symptoms should book a test in the usual way, while those those without symptoms should visit their local authority website for more information.
A mobile testing unit will be available in Middlesbrough from Saturday onwards, the council said and urged residents to come forward.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 13 2021, 13:32

Mexico reports 10,388 new coronavirus cases and 1,323 deaths

Mexico has reported 10,388 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,323 fatalities, bringing the total to 1,978,954 cases and 172,557 deaths.
The government says the real number of infected people and the death toll in Mexico are both likely significantly higher than reported levels, Reuters said.

Russia reports 14,861 new coronavirus cases

Russia has reported 14,861 new cases of Covid-19 and 502 deaths on Saturday, authorities have said.
Some 1,963 of the new cases are in Moscow. It brings the number of cases in Russia since the pandemic began to 4,057,698. The death toll stands at 79,696.

What we've learned so far today

The Guardian - Let’s recap what has happened in the past few hours:
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 13 2021, 16:20

First vaccines set to arrive in Lebanon

The first batches of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will soon arrive in Lebanon, as the country prepares to begin its vaccination programme.
The launch will take place at midday on Sunday at the headquarters of the prime minister - where the outgoing premier Hassan Diab will receive the first dose.
The purchase of the vaccine is being financed by the World Bank, which says it will ensure a fair and transparent distribution of the first batch of doses.
Lebanon has been facing a surge in infections in recent weeks amid a deep economic and political crisis.

Dangling legs give game away as police break up party


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Police bodycam footage captured a man's legs dangling from the loft at a house party in Scarborough

A man was discovered hiding at an illegal house party when his legs were spotted dangling from an entrance to a loft, police have said.
North Yorkshire Police found the reveller in a ceiling hatch as they attended a report of the gathering in Scarborough.
Officers described it as an "unusual incident".
In January, the force said they were still breaking up house parties in the town "every night" despite lockdown.
More than 100 people have now been fined for being at illegal indoor gatherings in the town.
"We're all looking forward to a good party once this is over. In the meantime our officers won't wait for an invitation," a spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said.
Coronavirus - 13th February 2021 Kitkat13  Sorry, I can't help but stifle a bit of a laugh here ... giggle  ... it's like something out of a comedy sitcom ... lololol
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 13 2021, 16:29

Iranian leader warns of 'fourth wave'


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The Iranian president said "we all have to be vigilant"

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has warned of a potential "fourth wave" of cases as infections rise in some areas of the country.
He said some cities in the south-western province of Khuzestan were now categorised as "red" - the highest alert level.
"This is a warning for all of us," President Rouhani said on state television earlier today.
"This means the beginning of moving towards the fourth wave. We all have to be vigilant to prevent this," he added.
Iran started its vaccination campaign on Tuesday, and the first shipment of doses arrived on February 4.

Breaking News 

UK case numbers continue to fall

The average number of daily reported virus cases continues to fall, with a further 13,308 confirmed cases across the UK according to government figures.
However, figures are often lower at the weekend, due to a lag in reporting.
In addition there were a further 621 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
It takes the total number of UK deaths to 116,908.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 13 2021, 16:33

Portugal extends suspension of UK flights

Portugal has extended the suspension of all flights from the UK and Brazil until at least 1 March.
The move comes amid concern over the new variants of Covid-19 identified in the two countries.
"In the context of the epidemiological situation... all flights from Brazil and the United Kingdom" are suspended, the interior ministry said.
Portugal also extended its stricter border controls with neighbouring Spain until 1 March.

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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 13 2021, 17:15

'Don't look my children up!' says parent of UK boarders


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British parents living overseas whose children will have to travel back to boarding school in the UK when schools reopen, have pleaded with the government to rethink hotel quarantine rules.
Those arriving from countries on the government's red list will be required to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days once new rules are introduced on Monday.
With no date confirmed for schools to reopen - but with 8 March clearly in the PM's sights - parents have been left with a difficult choice.
Karl Feilder, who lives in the United Arab Emirates, has two daughters, aged 15 and 17, who attend a boarding school near Reading.
He said he would not allow his children to return if it meant quarantining in a hotel alone.
"To be perfectly honest, I think anyone in their right mind would not do that with their children.
"The fact that they haven't told us when schools are going back means we can't take the decision now to put them on a plane today or tomorrow to beat the Monday morning deadline.
Mr Feilder suggested children returning to the UK should be allowed to quarantine at school, adding: "The schools are perfectly well able to look after the kids and make sure they're staying put."
"We're quite happy to do the Covid tests, we're quite happy to do the home quarantine, whatever - just don't lock my children up."
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 13 2021, 17:28

The Philippines reports 12 new deaths and 1,060 new infections

The Philippines reported 12 new deaths and 1,960 new infections on Saturday, the Department of Health announced, taking the country’s overall tally to 547,000 infections and 11,507 fatalities.
The agency’s case bulletin showed a total of 547,255 with 6.4% or 34,967 active or currently ill patients. At least 86.3% of the active patients have mild symptoms, 8.7% do not have symptoms, 2.3% are in critical condition, 2.2% are severe cases and 0.64% are in moderate condition, CNN Philippines reports.
So far, 2.10% of people who were recorded as having had the virus have died in the country, while 91.5% of the people who were recorded as positive for Covid-19 are considered recovered.

Italy reports 311 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday

Italy on Saturday reported 311 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday against 316 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections dipped slightly to 13,532 from 13,908 reported on Friday.
Last Saturday Italy had reported 385 new Covid-19 deaths and 13,439 new cases.
Some 290,534 tests for Covid-19 were carried out, compared with 305,619 the day before, the ministry said.

South Africa to reopen 20 of its land borders

South Africa will reopen 20 of its land borders to allow normal travel after restrictions were implemented to control rising Covid-19 infections last month, the Home Affairs ministry said on Saturday.
The ministry said land borders, including those with Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Botswana, would reopen after being closed on 11 January, Reuters reports.
South Africa has recorded the highest number of coronavirus infections and deaths on the African continent, with more than 1.4 million cases and over 47,000 deaths.

Protest against corruption and lockdown measures in Cyprus

Clashes broke out between police and activists in Cyprus on Saturday during a protest against corruption and lockdown measures.
Reuters reports:
Police used water cannon and tear gas in an attempt to break up the gathering of several hundred people just beyond the medieval walls in Nicosia, the capital of the east Mediterranean island, Reuters witnesses said.
At least one person who said he was struck on the head by police was taken to hospital.
Cyprus has been rocked by allegations of graft in a lucrative citizenship-for-investment programme, which was abruptly cancelled last November after a senior state official was secretly filmed allegedly offering to arrange a passport for a fictitious Chinese investor with a criminal record.
Despite the scheme being halted, uproar over the scandal-hit scheme has persisted, with comments from opposition politicians, newspaper editorials and from ordinary Cypriots on social media pointing to endemic corruption.
[…]
The use of violence at protests in Cyprus is highly unusual.
Authorities had banned the gathering, citing restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Those restrictions allow people out twice a day for mainly essential errands.

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Cypriot policemen confront protesters during a demonstration against government corruption and coronavirus restrictions, in the capital Nicosia on 13 February, 2021. Photograph: Christina Assi/AFP/Getty Images
Kitkat
Kitkat

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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 13 2021, 17:34

What has happened in the UK today?



Farewell

That's it from the Live Page today. We'll be back again tomorrow with all the latest updates from the Sunday morning shows and the rest of the day's news.

Your Live Page writers today were Gareth Evans, Victoria Lindrea and Hazel Shearing. The page was edited by Julian Joyce.

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 15:09