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

Coronavirus - 16th February 2021

Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 10:59

Summary for Tuesday, 16th February

  • First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to announce whether more pupils will start to return to Scottish classrooms from next week
  • Schools in Wales begin the process of reopening on Monday; in Northern Ireland, schools remain closed to most pupils until at least 8 March
  • In England, PM Boris Johnson will set out a roadmap for easing lockdown - including opening schools - on 22 February
  • People must be "optimistic but patient" about the coronavirus situation in the UK and the end to restrictions, the PM said on Monday
  • The newly-appointed head of the World Trade Organization has told the BBC that vaccine protectionism must be overcome to solve the pandemic
  • Lockdown has seen a "disturbing" rise in the number of blind people experiencing distressing hallucinations, according to the RNIB charity
  • Globally, there have now been more than 109 million confirmed Covid cases and 2.4 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University


Good morning and welcome to our rolling coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
We will be bringing you live updates throughout the day on all the major Covid stories around the world.

What's happening around the world?

Here are some of the top headlines around the world this morning:


The latest around Europe


  • France is to hold experimental concerts in Paris and Marseille in the spring to work out how to reopen the culture sector. Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot says she’s very optimistic about seated events but standing events are more complicated. If all goes according to plan, 1,000 people will attend a seated event at the Marseille Dôme venue in the second half of March with the audience having the chance to stand up.
  • Italy’s last-minute decision to halt the reopening of ski resorts until 5 March has prompted the new government’s first row. Local governors and some ministers are furious and a flash mob staged a protest at the northern resort of Bardonecchia.
  • The Czech government has approved plans for a “state of danger” to replace a state of emergency rejected last week by MPs. Many but not all the emergency powers will be available. The government in Prague wants to gradually reopen schools from 1 March.
  • Germany's BDI industry federation has warned of major consequences because of border closures with the Czech Republic and Austria's Tyrol region. Director Joachim Lang says there's a risk of European supply chains breaking down.
  • An opposition motion of no confidence in Slovenia’s government for its handling of Covid and for alleged undemocratic behaviour has failed by six votes. Opposition MPs accused PM Janez Jansa of trying to turn Slovenia into an “authoritarian democracy”.
  • Eurozone finance ministers have decided to keep financial support policies in place for now, as latest forecasts indicate the 19-country area will rebound less than expected in 2021. Chairman Paschal Donohoe says there’s an “inherent risk of withdrawing support too early”.


Here are the key global pandemic developments from the last few hours:
The Guardian

  • UK to consider giving excess vaccine to other countries. The UK will look at making excess doses of coronavirus vaccinations available to other nations after it has vaccinated its adult population, vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Monday. “My priority is to make sure I vaccinate the UK adult population as quickly as we can and then if there are any excess doses, we will look at how we make those excess doses available to other countries,” Zahawi told LBC radio.
  • Bars and pubs in the UK continue to pose a risk for the spread of Covid despite best efforts to make premises safe , researchers have said. Hospitality venues were told to shut up shop in March 2020 as the first UK lockdown was announced. As restrictions were eased, however, venues were once again allowed to trade.
  • South Africa asked the Serum Institute of India to take back 1m vaccine doses. South Africa has asked the Serum Institute of India to take back 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine that the company had sent in early February, The Economic Times reported on Tuesday. Last week, South Africa’s health minister said the government may sell doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, after the country paused its rollout following a small clinical trial that showed it offered minimal protection against mild to moderate illness from the 501Y.V2 coronavirus variant dominant in the country.
  • Boris Johnson said a ‘very low’ Covid case rate key to easing lockdown . In case you missed this earlier:Boris Johnson is closely monitoring coronavirus case rates as a requirement for easing restrictions in England, stressing the need for a layer of caution alongside four key criteria set out at the beginning of lockdown.
  • Andrew Cuomo insisted New York didn’t cover up nursing home Covid-19 deaths . Under fire over his management of the coronavirus’ lethal path through New York’s nursing homes, Andrew Cuomo insisted Monday the state didn’t cover up deaths – but the governor acknowledged that officials should have moved faster to release some information sought by lawmakers, the public and the press.
  • Three sailors tested positive for Covid on USS Theodore Roosevelt. Three sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for Covid, the Navy said Monday, less than a year after a massive outbreak on the ship sidelined it in Guam for nearly two months.
  • South Korea purchased additional vaccines. South Korea has arranged to buy coronavirus vaccines for 23 million more people, its prime minister said on Tuesday, a day after authorities decided to scale back initial vaccination plans, citing delays and efficacy concerns.
  • Syringe shortage hampers Japan’s vaccination roll-out. Fears are growing in Japan, where an inoculation drive against Covid-19 will begin on Wednesday, that millions of doses of Pfizer vaccine could be wasted due to a shortage of special syringes that maximise the number of shots used from each vial.
  • China reported 16 new cases versus nine the day before. All the cases were imported infections originating overseas, and there was no new death or new suspected cases reported, the National Health Commission said in a statement.
  • Mexico began vaccinating senior citizens in more than 300 municipalities across the country Monday after receiving some 860,000 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. Most of the effort was concentrated in remote rural communities, but in a few far-flung corners of the sprawling capital, hundreds of Mexicans over age 60 lined up before dawn for the chance to get vaccinated.
  • South Africa reopens major land borders. South Africa has reopened its major land borders with neighbouring countries after closing them last month to prevent the spread of coronavirus, AP reports.At least 20 border posts reopened Monday, with officials saying steps will be taken to avoid tightly-packed crowds of travellers gathering at the immigration posts which would spread the virus.
  • New Zealand reported zero new cases overnight. New Zealand has recorded no new cases of Covid-19 overnight, either in the community or in managed isolation. It follows a testing blitz after three people tested positive for the UK variant on the weekend. Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, is current at level 3 restrictions, requiring people to stay at home. The rest of the country remains on level 2, which includes the return of social distancing rules, caps on gathering and increased mask wearing.
  • AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine approved by Australia’s drug regulator . Australia’s regulator has approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, ending months of delay to give full approval while other countries begin vaccinations with emergency approvals.
  • WHO approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use. The World Health Organization has approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus jab for emergency use, meaning the vaccine can be rolled out globally and participate in the Covax programme that aims to bring vaccines to poorer countries.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 12:42

'I'd give up my vaccine in a heartbeat for my sister' - Whiley


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BBC Radio 2 presenter Jo Whiley's sister Frances, who has learning disabilities and diabetes, lives in a care home where there is a Covid outbreak.
She has not been offered a vaccine, but Jo herself has - and says she would "give up my vaccine in a heartbeat" if it could go to her sister or others in a similar position.
Jo tells BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's the stuff of nightmares at the moment."
Asked on Today about the situation of people with learning disabilities, who are at increased risk from Covid, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi says unpaid carers and those who live in residential care should be part of category six who should now begin to be vaccinated.
You can read the sull story here.

'Disturbing' hallucinations rise in lockdown for blind people - RNIB

Lockdown has seen a "disturbing" rise in the number of blind people experiencing distressing hallucinations, the RNIB charity says.
The condition, known as Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS), causes patients to have vivid hallucinations.
False images are triggered when the brain tries to fill in the gaps caused by sight loss.
The RNIB says calls to its helpline have increased by almost 50% and patients have reported more sinister visions.
CBS is thought to affect up to 30% of those with sight loss, although it can sometimes be confused with mental health concerns.
Read more here.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 12:50

Police find 150 people inside makeshift nightclub

Police say they found 150 people during a raid on a makeshift nightclub , in Birmingham - complete with DJ, bar and VIP area.
About 70 people were fined £200 while the DJ faces a £10,000 fine, police say.
On the same night, 13 people were found in a workshop that had been turned into a bar nicknamed "The Covid Arms".
West Midlands Police says the garage workshop in Dudley Port had a sign on the wall displaying its new name.
The owner faces a £1,000 fine.

Domestic vaccine passports 'not in our planning' - Zahawi

The UK government is not planning the domestic use of vaccine passports, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi says.
"We don't yet have the evidence of the effect of the vaccines on transmission, it's much better... that you look at rapid testing," he says.
But if people need vaccination certificates for international travel the government will facilitate that, he adds.

Father and daughter to leave quarantine hotel after 'error'


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Measures that require travellers from high-risk countries to quarantine in a hotel have come into force across the UK.
But the first international arrivals to go into one of Scotland's quarantine hotels are now able to leave after a day because of a loophole .
The "managed isolation" rule does not apply to those coming from within the Common Travel Area, including the UK and Ireland and as Chun and Kiernan Wong arrived in Scotland from the US via Ireland they can instead isolate at home.
A Scottish government spokesperson says it thanks the Wong for family for their patience.
"This is a very new system, being implemented at pace, and some initial challenges are to be expected," they say.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 12:55

Breaking News 

Covid deaths falling but overall fatalities still up

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
Covid deaths are falling in the UK, with 7,820 deaths registered in the week to 5 February – down from 9,010 the previous week before, according to Office for National Statistics data.
In total, 19,149 deaths were registered that week in the UK – for any reason – slightly down from the previous week (20,478).
But it is still 38% above the usual number of deaths registered during that week of the year. Since 5 February, the picture has improved further.
These figures describe death certificates that mention coronavirus.
During the second wave they have followed the same pattern as the daily deaths - deaths within 28 days of a positive test - but they arrive about 10 days later.
Back on 5 February, the seven-day average for daily deaths was just under 1,000 a day. It is now down to just over 650 a day.

Dutch curfew must be lifted immediately, judge rules

Anna Holligan - BBC Hague correspondent
The Dutch curfew must be lifted immediately, the preliminary relief judge in The Hague concluded.
The curfew has been established on the basis of an emergency law, which states that a cabinet can introduce rules in an emergency without consulting the House of Representatives and the Senate.
But, according to the court, the curfew is not an emergency "as is the case with a dyke breach".
The lifting of the curfew is effective immediately.
According to a spokesperson for the court, an appeal in the case is possible.
The case was filed by the Virus Truth protest group.

Another 450,000 families fall behind on rent

Almost half a million families in the UK are thought to have fallen behind on rent as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the Resolution Foundation says.
It says more than 750,000 were behind on housing costs last month, 450,000 more than in January 2020.
"Despite widespread calls for forbearance in the face of the Covid-19 shock, just 3% of private renting families have been able to negotiate a lower rent over the last 10 months," the think tank says.
And one in 20 private renters say they have been refused rent reductions.
Landlords in England are banned from evicting tenants until at least the end of March, which offers "some security", the foundation says.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 12:59

Breaking News

Care home deaths drop in England and Wales

There were 2,175 care home resident deaths involving Covid-19 registered in England and Wales in the week to 5 February, the latest Office for National Statistics data shows.
This is a drop of 13% on the previous week.
A total of 37,895 care home residents in England and Wales have had Covid recorded on their death certificate.

New coronavirus infections on the rise in Poland

Adam Easton - BBC Warsaw correspondent
The government is understood to have expressed an interest in securing hotels within 90 minutes of UK airports.
In a message to hoteliers, the government asked to ensure it has a full list of hotels that could be available further afield - and has asked groups to submit hotels that could be suitable.
These are understood to be standby hotels, not for immediate use.
The message has made some in the aviation industry nervous that the government could be planning to add more countries to the UK’s "red list", which currently contains 33 high-risk countries.
Government sources suggest that no announcement on additions are planned imminently.
The exact number of passengers currently in hotel quarantine at the start of day two of the scheme has not been officially confirmed, but is expected to be relatively low.

Arrivals in England face extra £1,200 bill for positive test

Arrivals in England who are required to quarantine in a hotel face an additional £1,200 bill if they test positive for coronavirus, the government says.
This is on top of the £1,750 cost for the entering the quarantine hotel programme and will apply to guests forced to extend their stay beyond the initial 11 nights.
The information was published on the government's website on Monday, the day the new rules came into force.
For more on the rules click here .
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 13:03

Government looking to secure additional quarantine hotels

Caroline Davies - BBC transport correspondent
The government is understood to have expressed an interest in securing hotels within 90 minutes of UK airports.
In a message to hoteliers, the government asked to ensure it has a full list of hotels that could be available further afield - and has asked groups to submit hotels that could be suitable.
These are understood to be standby hotels, not for immediate use.
The message has made some in the aviation industry nervous that the government could be planning to add more countries to the UK’s "red list", which currently contains 33 high-risk countries.
Government sources suggest that no announcement on additions are planned imminently.
The exact number of passengers currently in hotel quarantine at the start of day two of the scheme has not been officially confirmed, but is expected to be relatively low.

'Doing my cancer treatment alone was scary'


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Campaigners are calling for all young people to be allowed a chaperone when undergoing cancer treatment during the pandemic.
Mikaela Forrester, 18, from Somerset, says she found it "scary" and "lonely" undergoing chemotherapy without her mother present.
After having a relapse of Hodgkin Lymphoma, Mikaela had to undergo a round of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and a stem cell transplant during the pandemic.
"Even if I could hug my parents, or if they could stand two metres away with a mask on, just knowing they were there during the most difficult times would have made me feel comfortable because it was so overwhelming," she says.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 13:08

Singapore issues $8bn Covid recovery fund

Singapore has issued a spending programme worth over $8bn (£5.7bn) to help businesses and households recover from the pandemic.
The city-state suffered its biggest ever economic contraction last year, seeing GDP shrinking by 5.4%, with tourism and aviation particularly badly hit.
The financial package will extend wage subsidies in these worst hit sectors and will also provide cash vouchers for households to spend at local shops.
While growth is expected to rebound this year, the government is warning that virus mutations could threaten this.

'I caught Covid twice and worry I'll get it again'

A Scottish care worker has revealed how she caught Covid twice within seven months.
Michelle Lamont, from Ardrossan in North Ayrshire, tested positive for the virus in April 2020.
But the 50-year-old was "stunned" when routine testing picked up the infection again in November.
After becoming ill for a second time, she is now concerned about the possibility of suffering the debilitating symptoms again.

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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 13:12

Covid deaths pass 7,000 in Wales

The number of deaths involving Covid-19 has passed the 7,000 mark in Wales, Office for National Statistics figures show.
But the number of weekly deaths is falling, down for a third successive week.
There were 314 deaths involving Covid-19 in the week ending 5 February, accounting for 34.8% of all deaths, compared with 37.1% the week before.
It takes the total to 7,089 since March last year.

North Korea accused of hacking Pfizer for Covid-19 vaccine data

North Korea attempted to steal Covid-19 vaccine technology from US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, according to South Korean intelligence officials.
It is currently unclear as to what, if any, data was stolen.
South Korea's National Intelligence Agency privately briefed lawmakers about the alleged attack, reported local news agency Yonhap .
The BBC has asked Pfizer for a comment but it has yet to respond.
North Korea has yet to report a single case of coronavirus.
However, the country is due to receive two million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the coming weeks.
Here's the full story.

Passengers fined £10,000 for failing to declare 'red list' travel

Four passengers at Birmingham Airport have been fined £10,000 for failing to declare they had travelled from a high-risk "red list" country - which now requires a 10-day stay at a quarantine hotel.
They were stopped by Border Force officials on Monday morning, the day the new rules came in, and were not allowed to leave the airport, West Midlands Police said.
It is not yet known which country they flew in from.
You can see the full list of high-risk countries on the goverment's website.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 13:15

Lunchtime headlines from around the world

If you are just joining us, here is a reminder of the headlines from around the world this lunchtime:


Jo Whiley's sister tests positive for coronavirus


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Earlier, we told you that BBC Radio 2 presenter Jo Whiley has been offered a coronavirus vaccine but her sister Frances, who has learning disabilities and diabetes, has not.
There's been an outbreak of Covid in the care home where Frances lives and Jo says she would "give up my vaccine in a heartbeat" if it could go to her sister or others in a similar position.
Jo has tweeted that she feels like she is "in a terrible film with bad plot twists" because Frances has now tested positive for coronavirus.
"Our worst fears realised after keeping her safe for a year and with a vaccine so close... she’s OK so far... everything crossed," she posted
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 13:20

Palestinian officials accuse Israel of blocking vaccine supply

Tom Bateman - BBC Middle East correspondent
Palestinian officials have accused Israel of blocking coronavirus vaccines for health workers in the Gaza Strip, after a batch of 2,000 doses was turned back at a checkpoint in the West Bank.
Immunisation has yet to start on the Strip. It is controlled by the armed movement Hamas and blockaded by Israel, which says the move is to stop weapons getting in.
Calling for the transfer to take place, Health Minister Dr. Mai Alkaila accused Israel of breaching international law. An Israeli official said the request had been received but was still being examined.
Israel controls any transfer of Palestinian vaccines from the West Bank to Gaza and the final decision is likely to rest with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He is facing re-election and may be put under pressure on the issue domestically by rivals appealing to his nationalist base.
The right-wing chairman of Israel’s parliamentary committee on security opposed the transfer, claiming vaccines would first go to Gaza’s militant leaders - he linked the issue to that of two Israeli civilians and the remains of two soldiers believed to be held in Gaza.

Another new coronavirus variant found in the UK

Scientists have identified another new variant of coronavirus in the UK with some potentially troubling mutations.
B.1.525 appears similar to the South African variant which prompted door-to-door tests in areas where it has been found.
Researchers from Edinburgh University have found 33 cases so far in samples dating back to December.
It has been seen in other countries too, including Denmark, Nigeria and the US.
UK experts are studying it to understand what risk it poses.
It is too soon to say if it should be added to the UK's list of "variants of concern" and whether mass testing for it should happen.
Here's what we know so far.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 22:14

Summary

A round-up of recent global events today:

  • South Africa is preparing to give its first Covid-19 vaccinations, shots of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still being tested, to health care workers this week as part of a large scale trial, the health minister has said.
  • Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard has said that his government is to present a complaint at the United Nations security council tomorrow about the unequal access to Covid vaccines globally, Reuters reports.
  • France has registered 586 new coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, a sharp fall from 724 last Tuesday while the seven-day moving average of deaths fell to 381, the first time the average was below 400 since late January.
  • Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are three times more likely to die with Covid-19 than the population as a whole, Reuters reports.
  • Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that a phased return to school for younger pupils in Scotland will start from Monday. This will include children aged four to seven and secondary school pupils required to carry out practical assignments.
  • The EU is adding clauses to contracts with vaccine makers to allow the bloc to gain access to possible upgraded shots that may offer better protection against variants of the virus, sources have told Reuters.
  • The Norwegian government will lift all the extra restrictions imposed on the capital region to stop the spread of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus on Thursday, the government has said.
  • Germany is to offer free Covid-19 antigen tests for all from March, the health minister, Jens Spahn, has said, as the country cautiously began allowing some children to return to schools.
  • The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has called on the country to respect a night-time curfew, saying it was still needed to fight the pandemic despite a court ruling earlier today that the measure lacked a legal basis.
    Morocco has received a second batch of 500,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine, health ministry sources have told Reuters.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 22:21

Brits arrested at illegal lockdown party in Austria

Bethany Bell - BBC News, Vienna

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Germany has banned travel from Czech border regions and Austria's Tyrol after a surge in coronavirus variants

Police in Tyrol say they arrested two British nationals who appeared to have been having an illegal party.
The police were called to an apartment in the town of Soll on Monday night, after neighbours had complained about noise.
They found at least six British nationals who appeared to be drunk and were not wearing FFP2 masks.
At least two people escaped via the balcony. Two men, aged 41 and 24, were arrested for trying to punch the police. No one was injured.
The two men, who have now been released, face charges of resisting police authority. The group faces charges of violating pandemic rules.
Austrian media reports say that the group were seasonal workers, who are legally resident in Austria. Soll is in a skiing area.

Breaking News 

A further 1.7m added to shielding list in England

An extra 1.7 million people will be asked to shield in England, the government has announced.
There are already 2.3 million on the shielding list and for some it will also mean they are now prioritised for vaccination.
The move comes after a new model was developed that takes into extra factors rather than just someone's health condition as the original list does.
This calculation includes things like ethnicity, deprivation and weight to work out a person's risk of becoming seriously ill if they were to catch Covid. Here's what we know so far.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 22:24

The carnival that wasn't


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Rio's Sambadrome would normally be packed at this time of year

The days leading up to Ash Wednesday are normally a riot of music and colour in Rio de Janeiro, the city that hosts one of the world's most famous carnival celebrations.
But with Brazil ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic - the country has the second highest number of Covid deaths in the world - carnival, like so many other things, had to be put on hold.
BBC reporter Francesca Gennari has been speaking to those shocked at how much of a void the lack of festivities has left.

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These stands would normally be packed
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 22:27

Some pupils in Scotland will return to school from Monday

Pupils in Scotland will start a "phased and gradual" return to school from Monday, the first minister has announced.
The move will see all children in P1 to P3 and those at pre-school returning from 22 February.
Other age groups will continue to learn from home, apart from some secondary pupils who need to complete coursework.
There will be no immediate changes to lockdown restrictions until "at least the beginning of March and possibly beyond that", Nicola Sturgeon tells MSPs at Holyrood.

Scottish government to advise against booking Easter holidays

The Scottish Government is likely to advise against booking Easter holidays overseas or within Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon says.
That's because it's unlikely hotels or self catering accommodation will be open by then, she tells MSPs.
By the summer, staycations might be possible she says but it will depend on the coronavirus data, she says.

What safety measures will be in place for Scottish schools?

Ms Sturgeon turns to school safety and says:

  • Senior phase pupils, teachers and school staff will be able to get at-home lateral flow tests twice a week
  • As of yesterday, more than 2,200 schools had received deliveries of test kits
  • The government is working with YoungScot to provide online information and support for senior phase pupils who want to take part in the testing programme
  • Senior secondary pupils will be required to observe two-metre physical distancing while in school, and on school transport, in the period immediately after the return

She adds, however, that - other than the returns set out for Monday - it is "unlikely, at this stage, that there will be any further return to school before 15 March".
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 22:30

What are the back-to-school plans across the UK?

Scotland's first minister has just announced that all children in P1 to P3 and those at pre-school will return to class from Monday.
So how does that to compare to schools in the rest of the UK?
In Wales, three-to-seven-year-olds will start going back on Monday, along with some older children on vocational courses.
In Northern Ireland, schools remain closed to most pupils until at least 8 March.
In England, PM Boris Johnson has said pupils could return to school on 8 March "at the earliest".
He will set out a roadmap for easing lockdown - including opening schools - on 22 February.

Scotland schools update: What have we learnt?

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has finished giving a statement about a "gradual and phased" return to school for some pupils - here's the upshot:

  • All children in P1 to P3 and those at pre-school will return from 22 February
  • Other age groups will continue to learn from home, apart from some secondary pupils who need to complete coursework
  • Senior phase pupils, teachers and school staff will be able to get at-home lateral flow tests twice a week
  • Secondary pupils must observe 2m social distancing
  • The National Qualifications 2021 Group will soon publish further details on how qualifications will be awarded this year
  • All teachers and lecturers involved in awarding national qualifications this year will receive a one-off payment of £400
  • There will be no immediate changes to lockdown restrictions until at least the beginning of March and possibly beyond that
  • The Scottish government will unveil its roadmap out of lockdown next week
  • It is likely to advise against booking Easter holidays overseas or within Scotland
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 22:34

A further 799 deaths recorded in the UK

A further 799 deaths have been recorded in the UK, according to the government's daily coronavirus figures.
The number of people who died within 28 days of a positive Covid test is down 24% from 1,052 recorded last Tuesday.
There have been 10,625 new cases recorded in the past 24 hours, down 14% from 12,364 last Tuesday.

Nearly 4,000 Amazon staff given wrong test results

Nearly 4,000 Amazon workers were given incorrect coronavirus test results after an error.
Private test results shared with NHS Test and Trace led to 3,853 notifications being wrongly issued on 13 February, the government confirmed.
Employees were told by Amazon the day before they were negative for the virus, then given the opposite message by contact tracers.
One test and trace call centre received more than 500 calls from employees.
Here's the full story.

Vaccines reach 15.5m people in the UK

A total of 15,576,107 people have now received their first coronavirus vaccine in the UK, the government's daily figures show.
And in addition, 546,165 people have now had their second dose, the data says.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 22:37

Who should be shielding and why?

Michelle Roberts - Health editor, BBC News online
More people are being added to the shielding list in England, as health advisers say they now have a clearer picture of who is at a higher risk from Covid.
About 1.7 million people are being added to the list, bringing the total to about 4 million. These people will soon get a letter explaining why they are being advised to shield.
A combination of factors can contribute to a person's risk - those taken into consideration include:

  • age (older being higher risk)
  • ethnicity
  • deprivation (according to postcode)
  • weight (body mass index)
  • underlying health issues
  • prescribed medications

You can read more about shielding, and who's being added to the list, here.

Birmingham arrivals 'tried to hide their routes'

We've got more on the four air passengers who were each fined £10,000 for failing to declare they had travelled from a "red-list" country.
They were stopped at border control by officials at Birmingham Airport.
Under new rules, arrivals in England have to quarantine in hotels if they have been in a country deemed a high Covid risk in the last 10 days.
The regulations came into effect on Monday and the four passengers had been fined by midday, a senior officer told a meeting of the West Midlands Strategic Policing and Crime Board.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd said that in the same timeframe, the airport received six passengers who did declare travel from a red-list country, who were taken to a quarantine hotel.
But of the offenders he says: "There are some people who have attempted to hide their routes - but that's not worked out."
Kitkat
Kitkat

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Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 16th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 16th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 22:41

What are the new rules for testing and hotel quarantine?

People arriving in the UK now have to take two coronavirus tests while quarantining, and some must pay to self-isolate at a hotel.
This is among the rules aimed at stopping the spread of new, potentially more resistant Covid strains from other countries.
Rule-breakers face stricter penalties, including a prison sentence of up to 10 years for those who lie about having been in a banned "red list" country, such as Portugal.
All incoming passengers must complete a passenger locator form in advance, including their departure country and UK address.
They also have to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours before travelling, to be allowed entry.
Travellers must then self-isolate for 10 days .
Here's your guide to the new rules.

Headlines from the UK and beyond


Coronavirus - 16th February 2021 Dcb36010

We are wrapping up our coronavirus live page for the day, so here's a recap of today's main stories from the UK and around the world:

  • Scotland's youngest pupils will start returning to schools from Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced
  • A further 799 deaths have been recorded in the UK, of people who had tested positive for coronavirus within the previous 28 days, according to the government's daily coronavirus figures
  • A total of 15,576,107 people have now received their first Covid vaccine in the UK
  • About 1.7 million more people are being added to the shielding list in England after experts identified additional adults at serious risk of Covid-19
  • Scientists have identified another new variant of coronavirus in the UK
  • North Korea attempted to steal Covid-19 vaccine technology from US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, according to South Korean intelligence officials
  • Palestinian officials have accused Israel of blocking coronavirus vaccines for health workers in the Gaza Strip, after a batch of 2,000 doses was turned back at a checkpoint in the West Bank
  • And four passengers arriving at Birmingham Airport were each fined £10,000 for failing to declare they had travelled from a "red-list" country

Thanks for joining us.
Today's page has been brought to you by Doug Faulkner, Hamish Mackay, Jennifer Meierhans and Lauren Turner.

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 14:16