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COVID-19: All the latest LIVE worldwide updates - today's updates are also on our Portal page, here)

Coronavirus - 15th February 2021

Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 12:07

Summary for Monday, 15th February

  • The first British and Irish citizens and UK residents to arrive in England from high-risk Covid countries since rule changes have been taken to their quarantine hotels
  • In Scotland, arrivals from all countries by air must quarantine in hotels; there are no international flights into Wales or Northern Ireland
  • The rules "will bolster the quarantine system and provide another layer of security against new variants at the border," Health Secretary Matt Hancock says
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson says everybody involved in the vaccination project can be incredibly proud of what has been achieved
  • The PM, who will lead a Downing Street briefing later, says it has been an unbelievable effort by the NHS
  • No decisions have been made on whether year groups across schools in England will return together or be staggered, Johnson says
  • Australia has suspended its quarantine-free travel arrangement with New Zealand after the discovery of three new cases in Auckland
  • Dealing with the pandemic is "very, very easy" compared to the climate crisis, says Microsoft founder Bill Gates

Good morning and welcome to our live page coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
We’ll be bringing you updates from around the world throughout the day.

Headlines from around the world

If you are just waking up here are the headlines from around the world.

The latest developments in Europe


  • Italian ski resorts were preparing to reopen after months of lockdown, but at the weekend the health ministry decided to keep them shut until 5 March. Many businesses in the resorts are in dire straits, having lost the influx of winter tourists. The far-right League - now in the new coalition government - sharply criticised the U-turn
  • Germany has reimposed police checks on its borders with the Czech Republic and Austria's Tyrol region. A new Covid surge has hit Tyrol’s ski resorts hard. Meanwhile, long traffic queues have built up at the Czech-German border, including many lorries with goods vital to the German economy. Germany is in lockdown until 7 March and entry is being limited to lorry drivers, medics and those with residence permits
  • In Sweden there has been a sharp rise in cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) at the Astrid Lindgren hospital in Stockholm. In January it recorded 25 children with the potentially life-threatening condition. The numbers in previous months were below 10. MIS-C has been linked to Covid, but that link is not very clear, as Swedish children are not generally tested for Covid
  • The EU has approved vaccine exports to 21 non-EU countries this month, including the US, UK and China - despite continuing vaccine shortages in the EU, German broadcaster ARD reports. The vaccine delays have caused anger in much of Europe, where far fewer people have had the jab than in the UK and US.

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Queues of lorries at the Czech-German border
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 12:17

First travellers arrive at England's quarantine hotels


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The first international travellers required to isolate at quarantine hotels in England have begun arriving for their stay at Heathrow Airport.
Coaches carrying a handful of people pulled up at the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel shortly before 09:00 GMT.
One woman, who says she had come from Zambia, tells the PA Media news agency she had booked in for her stay on Sunday.
"I'm not happy, but you have to do it," she says.

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The bags on the tables at this hotel are to be filled with food for guests

British man pleads guilty to breaking Singapore quarantine

A British man has appeared in a Singapore court, where he pleaded guilty and was convicted of breaking his quarantine in the Asian country.
Nigel Skea, 52, from Southampton, left his room at the Ritz Carton Millenia Singapore Hotel on three occasions without wearing a mask.
On the third occasion, he walked up 13 flights of stairs to spend the night with his fiancée at the time, Agatha Maghesh Eyamalai.
Singaporean citizen Eyamalai, 39, had booked a room at the same hotel after finding out Skea was being placed there for the duration of his quarantine.
She pleaded guilty and was convicted of conspiracy to abet his Covid-19 related offences.
They both face a fine and up to six months in prison when they are sentenced on 26 February.

What is it like isolating in a hotel room?

As we've been discussing this morning, England and Scotland have introduced quarantine hotel stays for arrivals from 33 red-listed countries.
In this video we hear what it is like to be stuck in a hotel room for weeks on end.
Aaron has to spend three weeks quarantined in a hotel room in Hong Kong, while Jane is in a Sydney hotel for a fortnight.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 12:23

An important milestone - but there can be no let up

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
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The UK's top four priority groups all being offered a vaccination is an important milestone but just that - a staging post in the race to vaccinate the vulnerable.
Most covid deaths have come in the over 70s, but just over half of hospitalisations have. It means there are a significant number at risk in the 50 to 70 age group as well as younger adults with health conditions.
They have been promised a jab by the end of April.
Achieving that will be no easy task. From March people will start needing their second dose, which means the rate at which new first doses can be given is expected to tail off.
As always, everything depends on supply. The UK is getting less supply of the Pfizer vaccine at the moment than it expected at the start of the year because of the problems with manufacturing in Belgium. This, the company hopes, will be rectified in the coming weeks.
AstraZeneca supply lines remains strong and by Easter the first deliveries of a third vaccine made by Moderna should arrive. There can be no let up.
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 12:32

South Africa reopens land border crossings

Nomsa Maseko - BBC Southern Africa correspondent

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The border crossings were closed last month

South Africa is reopening 20 land border crossings that were closed more than a month ago to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The land border points with Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, eSwatini, Botswana and Lesotho will now have normal travel.
They were closed following congestion among people seeking to enter the country.
South Africa has the highest number of infections on the continent, with nearly 1.5 million cases and more than 47,000 deaths.
The authorities believe a second wave of the pandemic has passed.
Investigators believe there are syndicates selling fake Covid-19 certificates, after a handful of travellers were caught with them last month.
The home affairs minister has announced that anyone who presents fake certificates will be denied entry and barred from visiting South Africa for a minimum of five years.
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 12:36

Rabbi urges pause to ultra-Orthodox wedding parties

A senior rabbi in London's strictly Orthodox Jewish community is condemning those holding large celebrations , after police broke up a 150-strong wedding party in the area last month.
The BBC has been sent a video of guests dancing at another wedding in Stamford Hill, also believed to be last month.
Research shows the community has one of the world's highest past Covid rates.
"Weddings should not go on under these circumstances," Rabbi Herschel Gluck says.
He says weddings are "very central in Judaism" but "we need to put the brakes on".
High rates of Covid-19 in the community have been partly blamed on misleading legal advice that has been circulating in community newsletters, which says celebrations can have "as many guests as one likes".

Peru's foreign minister resigns in scandal over early vaccination of officials

Peru’s foreign minister has resigned amid uproar over government officials being secretly vaccinated against coronavirus before the country recently received 1m doses for health workers facing a resurgence in the pandemic, according to the Associated Press.
The president, Francisco Sagasti, confirmed that Elizabeth Astete had stepped down and told a local television channel that Peruvians should feel “outraged and angry about this situation that jeopardises the enormous effort of many Peruvians working on the frontline against Covid”.
The scandal erupted on Thursday when the former president Martín Vizcarra, who was dismissed by Congress on 9 November over a corruption allegation, confirmed a newspaper report that he and his wife had secretly received shots of a vaccine from the Chinese state pharmaceutical company Sinopharm in October. Pilar Mazzetti resigned as health minister on Friday after legislators accused her of concealing information.
Read more here
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 12:42

Summary

Key developments around the owrld - from The Guardian this morning:

  • All UK nationals or residents arriving back in England from high-risk countries will begin checking into government-designated accommodation on Monday as the hotel quarantine regime to prevent the spread of new coronavirus cases begins.People returning to England from 33 “red list” countries – comprised of hotspots with Covid-19 variants in circulation – will be required to quarantine in hotels for 10 days.
  • UK variant hits New Zealand. Aucklanders awoke on Monday to a new lockdown, hoping the short and sharp three-day restrictions ordered by Jacinda Ardern arrest the spread of Covid-19. The prime minister said genomic testing had shown that the three community cases were the UK variant of Covid-19, the first to be detected in the country.
  • In the US, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday it is “absolutely” too soon to lift mask mandates, citing daily Covid case numbers that despite recent declines remain more than double the levels seen last summer.
  • US daily Covid cases dropped below 100,000 . Average daily new coronavirus cases in the US have dipped below 100,000 for the first time in months, but experts cautioned on Sunday that infections remain high and precautions to slow the pandemic must remain in place.
  • First vaccine doses arrive in Australia. Australia’s coronavirus vaccine rollout will begin next week after the first doses of the Pfizer jab arrived in Sydney, AAP reports. More than 142,000 doses are being taken to a secure location and batches will be assessed for damage and quality in the coming days.
  • First vaccine doses arrive in New Zealand. Jacinda Ardern said the first vaccine doses arrived in the country on Monday morning. After being checked for quality assurance, inoculations will begin on Saturday, starting with border workers.
  • Japan to start vaccinations on Wednesday. Japanese prime minister Yoshide Suga announced on Monday that that coronavirus vaccinations will start on Wednesday this week.
  • South Korea to exclude people over 65 from AstraZeneca vaccines. South Korea will initially exclude people aged 65 years and older from inoculation with AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine because of a lack of data proving its efficacy in the elderly, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Monday.
  • Pfizer/BioNTech jab gives 94% protection, Israeli study suggests. An Israeli study of more than half a million fully vaccinated people indicated the Pfizer/BioNTech jab offered 94% protection against Covid-19, according to the country’s largest healthcare provider.
  • Australia suspended quarantine-free travel with New Zealand after it locked down Auckland following the detection of three new community cases.
  • Around 1,000 people have been caught flouting restrictions in a Belgrade nightclub, Serbia’s interior ministry said on Sunday. The country’s coronavirus restrictions allow gatherings of up to five.
  • Lebanon has started vaccinating high-risk groups, including healthcare workers and elderly people.
  • Brazil has confirmed two cases of the UK variant in the state of Goiás after sequencing test samples taken on 31 December, Reuters reports, citing the state’s health department. It did not say if these are the first cases of the variant detected in Brazil.
  • Rwanda has started vaccinating healthcare workers and other high-risk groups, its health ministry has said, making it the first country in east Africa to start its rollout.
  • There is growing controversy over a World Health Organization investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic after one of its members said China had refused to hand over key data , and the US national security adviser said he had “deep concerns” about the initial findings.
  • China reported 9 new Covid-19 cases vs 7 a day earlier. China reported nine new coronavirus cases in the mainland for 14 February, compared to seven a day earlier, the health commission said on Monday. Of the cases, eight were imported infections originating overseas, while one case was recorded in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, the National Health Commission said in a statement.
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 13:15

Vaccine passport 'won't be needed for pub'

Boris Johnson says he has no plans to introduce so-called vaccine passports for people going to the pub and other locations.
Coronavirus immunity passports might be required for foreign travel, but they're not thought to be necessary for UK-based activities.
The PM said: "I think inevitably there will be great interest in ideas like, can you show that you had a vaccination against Covid, in the way that you sometimes have to show you have had a vaccination against yellow fever or other diseases in order to travel somewhere.
"I think that is going to be very much in the mix down the road, I think that is going to happen.
"What I don't think we will have in this country is - as it were - vaccination passports to allow you to go to, say, the pub or something like that."

Blackburn mayor fined over wedding Covid breach

A mayor has been fined for breaching Covid restrictions after police visited a house where people were "celebrating a wedding".
Lancashire Police said nine people were fined after being found at an address on Dukes Brow, Blackburn, at about 21:00 GMT on Saturday.
Blackburn with Darwen mayor Iftakhar Hussain confirmed he was fined £200 .
Apologising for the "error", he said he had been there to "facilitate" a food delivery and was unaware of the party.

Cambodia reports first cases of UK virus variant

Cambodia reported on Monday its first cases of the highly contagious UK coronavirus variant, after three foreigners who arrived from overseas tested positive while in quarantine.
Reuters reports:
The Southeast Asian nation of about 16 million people has reported among the lowest number of coronavirus cases, recording less than 500 infections and no deaths, although a rare cluster emerged in November. Most of its cases have been imported.
The health ministry said the cases with the UK variant were two people from India and one from China, all of whom had been isolated.
The B1.1.7 variant, first found in Britain, is highly transmissible and its discovery prompted a tightening of travel restrictions globally among countries keen to keep it at bay.
Cambodia’s health ministry also warned the public against complacency, saying people “seem to forget the enormous risk of transmission” at mass gatherings like ceremonies, parties, weddings and festivals, where health measures were not being followed.
“Cambodians must not underestimate the potential for rapid transmission and severity caused by Covid-19 on the human body,” it said.
“The high prevalence and severity of the disease can happen in our country at any time, any circumstance, anywhere if individuals do not protect themselves.”
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 19:21

Danish mink variant reappears in Germany

German labs have confirmed at least 10 cases of the Danish mink variant in the country.
It comes as an elderly man died from the strain in a Bavarian care home.
Late last year Denmark culled more than 10m mink on fur farms because the variant – known as Cluster-5 - was rife there.
The Bavarian cases are a surprise; experts quoted by German media said Cluster-5 was thought to have disappeared.
Less is known about it than apparently more dangerous variants, notably the British, South African and Brazilian ones.
A virologist quoted by the daily Merkur said Cluster-5 was adapted to mink, rather than humans. But the transmission risk still persuaded Denmark to carry out its massive cull - a shattering blow to its fur industry, which is among the biggest in Europe.

Millions of asthmatics 'must wait for vaccine'

People whose asthma is under control will not be prioritised for the Covid vaccine in England, the government has confirmed.
Those with the condition will not get the jab earlier unless they are formally shielding, regularly take oral steroids or have ever had an emergency hospital admission.
Previous guidance indicated steroid-inhaler users would be eligible - but it has since been judged this group is not at increased risk of death.
The Department of Health and Social Care said it was following independent advice that the immediate priority should be to "prevent deaths and protect health and care staff, with old age deemed the single biggest factor determining mortality".
People with non-severe asthma are considered by the NHS to be at increased risk from Covid - but not at risk of dying from the virus.
Read more here.

'You can't book a quarantine hotel in Manchester'

Britons due to return to England - and enforced hotel quarantine - have been talking about their concerns ahead of their trips home.
Jo Chambers is returning from the United Arab Emirates, one of 33 high-risk countries on the government's "red list" with her two children. While they live in the North West, they will have to fly into London.
"You can't book a quarantine hotel in Manchester," she said. "I just think that's absolutely bizarre."
Government guidelines say travellers from the so-called red list countries must arrive in England at Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Birmingham or Farnborough airports. More airports may be added.
They have to pre-book and pay £1,750 to spend 10 days in government-sanctioned hotels. The cost covers the hotel stay, transport and testing.
The additional rate for one extra adult or a child aged over 12 is £650, while for a child aged five to 12, it is £325.
Ms Chambers will have to pay £3,000 for herself and two children, on top of flights which, since she cannot fly into Manchester, she will have to rebook.
"I've no idea what we are going to get for that. Are we all in one room?" she asked. "It's not cheap."
Read more on travellers' thoughts here .
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 19:25

Second porter dies of Covid at Stoke hospital


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A hospital has seen a second of its porters die from Covid-19 at the site where they worked.
Mark Elliott, 64, died at the Royal Stoke Hospital on Sunday , where he had been a staff member for five years.
Fellow Royal Stoke porter John Jackson died at the site on 7 February .
Tracy Bullock, chief executive at University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust, which runs the hospital, said Mr Elliott, would be "sadly missed by all his colleagues".

Vaccination 'not the only way out of this'

"Vaccination is not the only way out" of the pandemic, a leading scientist has said.
Prof Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said there needed to be a cautious approach to easing restrictions alongside the roll out of coronavirus jabs.
"I think we can win this but it needs to be both vaccination and a cautious approach," he told the BBC.
"We want to keep people out of hospital. The problem is if we let the virus transmit readily it may mutate to give a variant which has vaccine escape and therefore we end up back in the same position where the vaccines aren't protecting against hospitalisations and deaths.
"So you really do need to protect rates at the same time as vaccination."
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 19:28

Guernsey records first Covid death of second wave

Guernsey has recorded its first death of a Covid patient during the second wave of the pandemic.
The man, in his 60s, died at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital on Sunday.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache, chairman of the Civil Contingencies Authority, said his "very deepest and heartfelt condolence" went to the man's family.
He said: "I hope we do not see any more lives lost to Covid-19, but the danger this virus presents is serious."
Mr Ferbrache said after living a "near-normal life for so many months" islanders may have "felt like the virus couldn't hurt us again... but it can, and now it has".
During the first wave 13 islanders lost their lives to the virus, with it presumed to be the cause of a further three deaths.

Queues less than an hour at Heathrow as hotel rule comes in


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A woman gestures to members of the media through the window of Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel

As we told you earlier, today marks the first day of arrivals to England from 33 red-listed countries being required to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days .
Heathrow Airport, one of five that is receiving travellers from those countries, said the measures had come into effect "successfully".
A spokesperson said: "Queues at the border are currently less than an hour long, but this isn't about one day.
"We will continue to monitor and seek assurance from our Border Force colleagues that they maintain adequate resource and effective processes to avoid unacceptable waiting times and compromising the safety of passengers."
Downing Street insisted that "from the point that they land" there were different processes for passengers arriving from "red-list" countries.
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 19:31

NI Covid-related death toll reaches 2,000

Northern Ireland's Covid-19 related death toll has reached 2,000 after four more deaths were reported on Monday , the Department of Health says.
It means the total number of deaths has doubled since December, after reaching 1,000 over two months ago .
A further 234 cases of the virus were also announced.
There are currently 477 Covid inpatients in Northern Ireland hospitals with 59 in intensive care.

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Breaking News 

Daily UK cases under 10,000 for first time since October

There have been another 9,765 new positive coronavirus tests recorded in the UK. It's the first time the daily figure has been under 10,000 since 2 October.
Another 230 deaths have been recorded, of people who had tested positive for coronavirus within the previous 28 days. That's the lowest since 26 December, when the figure was also 230.
However, it is worth noting that fewer deaths tend to be reported on Mondays, due to a reporting lag over the weekend.
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 19:33

Republic of Ireland to set up a vaccine centre in every county

The Republic of Ireland is setting up 37 Covid-19 vaccination centres , with at least one in each county.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly says there will be five vaccination centres in Cork, four in Dublin and two each in Kerry, Tipperary, Westmeath, and Wicklow.
Up to 12 February, 175,238 first doses of Covid-19 vaccines had been administered, as well as 89,999 second doses.
It means 1.8% of the Republic of Ireland's population has been vaccinated so far.
Donnelly says the country is still in the early stage of its roll out and "in the coming months supply will increase substantially".

Tributes to Welsh ambulance worker


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Tributes have been paid to an ambulance worker described as a "dedicated family man" who has died after contracting coronavirus.
Father-of-three Kevin Hughes is the fourth Welsh Ambulance Service employee to have died after testing positive for Covid.
The 41-year-old from Valley, Anglesey, died on Sunday. He leaves behind wife Emma and three children - Liam, Sioned and Jamie.
The ICT service desk analysist at St Asaph had been ill for a number of weeks before he died at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor.
A keen Liverpool FC fan, Mr Hughes joined the ambulance service in May 2017, having previously worked for RAF Valley Search and Rescue operations and Anglesey County Council.
You can read more about Mr Hughes here .
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 19:38

What if people in quarantine hotels can't pay?

(at PM's Briefing today)
Metro's Dominic Yeatman asks the PM about quarantine hotels in the UK - he wants to know if people will have to pay extra if their release is delayed due to testing positive.
What if they can't pay, he asks? He also wants to know what mental health provision is being made for these people being confined to a single room.
Boris Johnson says it's currently illegal to travel abroad for holidays anyway so he would expect people coming in to the UK to be able to cover their costs.
He says mental health support would be made available to whoever needs it.
Sir Simon Stevens is asked why, when the UK is vaccinating an average of 435,000 people a day, the target for giving all over-50s a jab is the end of April.
Sir Simon says the second doses still need to be administered and that the issue is vaccine supply.
If supplies increase, then it "looks like we can go faster".

Analysis: The last lockdown?

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
Could this be the last lockdown?
That is, of course, a huge shared hope and the government’s stated aim.
It will soon be exactly a year since the first lockdown was brought in. Who knew then that we’d be in a third period of national restrictions 12 months later?
Boris Johnson has been accused, at times, of over-promising and under-delivering during this crisis.
Today, again, he’s urging caution - even as case rates fall and the vaccine roll-out goes well.
That’s because ministers really don’t want to lift restrictions only to re-impose them again on a weary nation.

What did we learn from today's press conference?

Today's Downing Street coronavirus briefing was led by the prime minister.
He was joined by Sir Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, and Prof Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer.
Here's what they said:

  • Despite the success of offering a first vaccine to the top four priority groups, we do not know what effect vaccines have on transmission. There are still 1,600 hospital admissions a day, so restrictions must stay in place
  • Protection builds in the three weeks after the first vaccine dose, and then is strengthened and lengthened by the second. As more people are vaccinated, wider protection spreads
  • It is not yet clear whether booster shots will be needed and who will need them if they are, but the health service is prepared to provide them
  • Mr Johnson could not guarantee this would be the last national lockdown but said that due to vaccines and improving therapeutics he was increasingly optimistic
  • The government plans to rely on mass vaccination and rapid lateral flow tests to open up theatres and nightclubs, rather than domestic vaccine passports
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 19:44

Peru minister resigns over vaccinations for officials row

A second minister in Peru has resigned amid growing anger over revelations that senior officials have received the coronavirus vaccine well ahead of the public.
Foreign Minister Elizabeth Astete tweeted that she had been inoculated in January and called it a “serious mistake”.
Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti stepped down last week after it emerged former President Martin Vizcarra was vaccinated in October. Mr Vizcarra’s vaccination came just a few weeks before he was impeached and removed from office on charges of being morally incompetent.
Peru has been hit hard by the pandemic, recording more than 1.2 million cases and over 43,700 deaths.
Vaccinations of health workers began just over a week ago but no date has yet been set to roll out the programme to the wider public.

France reports 4,376 new infections

France has reported 4,376 new coronavirus infections on Monday, compared to 4,317 last Monday and Sunday’s 16,546.
A further 412 people in the country have died from Covid-19, the health ministry said, taking the total official death toll to 82,226.
26,522 people are currently hospitalised with Covid, and 3,381 patients are being treated in intensive care wards, the ministry added.
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 20:05

US troops land in Ireland without negative test, leave hotel quarantine to get food

Rachael O'Connor - Irish Post
US authorities have apologised for an 'error' which resulted in almost 50 US troops arriving in Ireland without a negative PCR test.
Under current Irish law, all passengers into the country must present a negative Cvovid-19 test taken without 72 hours of departure, with fines or jail terms for those who fail to do so.
However, The Irish Examiner  has revealed that 48 US military personnel and five crew members arrived into Shannon Airport from Bahrain in a US Navy aircraft without any negative test.
The troops stayed overnight in a hotel in Limerick and flew out to the United States the next morning, but did not fully isolate as the troops left the hotel to get food during their stay.
The incident, which occurred on 25 January, was discussed in the Dáil today when Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney was questioned by Social Democrats TD Cian O'Callaghan.
Minister Coveney confirmed that they had not presented negative tests, which he said was "due to an error on the US side", but also admitted the military personnel had left the hotel, where they should have been self-isolating, in order to get food.

Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Coveney said:
"Once informed of this breach of regulations by An Garda Siochána, the issue was raised with the US authorities, both through the US embassy in Dublin and through our embassy in Washington.
"The US authorities have undertaken a review of the circumstances which led to this breach.
"They have also confirmed that the passengers concerned were operating in a 'clean bubble', were tested repeatedly during the period they were deployed in the location where the flight originated and, following instructions by An Garda Síochána, self-isolated in a hotel in Limerick overnight, only leaving once to purchase food, while masked, before returning to Shannon Airport the following day to travel onward to their destination."
The Foreign Affairs minister added that he had raised the "serious matter" of non-compliance with the US embassy in Dublin, and Ireland's ambassador in Washington also raised the matter with senior officials.
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"The US authorities have assured me that this is understood and will not happen again," Mr Coveney said, saying it was "clear" that Ireland's mandatory requirements were "inadequately communicated" by the US authorities.
"My department and our embassy in Washington have received apologies, both orally and in writing, from the relevant US authorities, including the US military authorities," he said.
"The US side has recommitted to full compliance in respect of future landings."
While Mr Coveney said the troops self-isolated except to leave to purchase food, under official advice issued by Ireland's own Health Service Executive (HSE), the term 'self-isolate' means "staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people.
"This includes the people you live with. If you live with other people, stay on your own in a room with a window you can open, if possible.
"Ask other people to go to the shop or pharmacy for you."
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Post by Kitkat Mon Feb 15 2021, 20:09

A recap of Monday's headlines

Thanks for joining us today as we've brought you the latest on coronavirus news from the UK and around the world.
Here's a summary of some of the stories we've been covering.

  • People in the UK have to be "optimistic but patient" about the coronavirus situation and how restrictions might ease, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says . It comes as he said he'd set out a roadmap next week that would give a "route to normality" for England to move out of lockdown
  • The PM hailed the "achievement" of the vaccine rollout, during a press briefing at Downing Street, but warned that now was not the time to relax. It comes after No 10 said it had hit its target to offer a jab to the UK's 15 million most vulnerable people by 15 February
  • The first travellers required to stay at quarantine hotels after their arrival in England have begun their 10-day stays
  • Another 9,765 positive coronavirus tests have been recorded in the UK - it's the first time since 2 October the daily figure has been under 10,000 but it's worth remembering figures can be lower on a Monday
  • There have been a further 230 deaths of people who had tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days
  • People whose asthma is under control will not be prioritised for the Covid vaccine, the government has confirmed. The only exceptions will be if they are formally shielding, regularly take steroid tablets or have ever had an emergency hospital admission
  • New data from Israel's vaccination programme suggests the Pfizer vaccine prevents 94% of symptomatic infections - it indicates it is performing in the general population as well as it did in clinical trials
  • The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use, which means it will be part of their global vaccine-sharing scheme Covax
  • Schools do not appear to play a big role in spreading coronavirus , say UK researchers who studied teacher and pupil absences during the pandemic.

Today's live page has been brought to you by James Clarke, Doug Faulkner, Alex Kleiderman, Laurence Peter, Hazel Shearing, Penny Spiller, Lauren Turner, Lucy Webster, Kate Whannel and Cherry Wilson.

We'll be back on Tuesday morning.

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