KRAZY KATS

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

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

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 12:35

Summary for Thursday, 18th February

  • The UK's collective sacrifice during the coronavirus pandemic must lead to a better future, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says
  • Covid has exposed deep inequalities and injustices in society and the government needs to play a bigger role in the economy permanently, Sir Keir says
  • There has been a "strong decline" in levels of coronavirus infections in England since January, say scientists tracking the epidemic
  • A group of MPs and peers have signed a letter to the prime minister calling for compensation for key workers suffering from "long Covid"
  • Almost two million people have not worked for at least six months because of the economic impact of the pandemic, a think tank says
  • Life expectancy in the US fell by a full year in the first half of 2020, a change experts say was fuelled by the growing coronavirus pandemic
  • Ministers in Northern Ireland are to meet to discuss whether to extend the nation's lockdown restrictions
  • A star-filled video urging people from ethnic minority communities to get the Covid vaccine will be shown on TV in the UK later
  • Many European countries are ignoring mentally ill patients in their Covid vaccine campaign, according to a survey published by the Lancet


Good morning

Welcome to today’s live page. Here is a summary of the main coronavirus stories in the UK today.


What the UK papers say

Today's newspapers report Boris Johnson's cautious words on lockdown easing – with the focus shifting to young people and their role in spreading the virus.

  • The Daily Telegraph says the government's plans to reopen schools in England will involve parents testing their children for coronavirus twice a week at home .
  • The agreement that secondary school pupils should take bi-weekly lateral-flow tests at home during term time is said to be a "compromise" between the government and teaching unions, who were unhappy about the idea of mass testing in schools.
  • The Guardian highlights why the testing of young people could become a crucial issue , pointing to the latest React study of infection rates by Imperial College London. It suggests Covid-19 is now spreading most among 18 to 24-year-olds and and children aged between 5 and 12.
  • The Express and the Mirror both report comments by the prime minister, insisting on a "cautious" data-led approach to lifting the lockdown.
  • It is a position that appears to have frustrated the Daily Mail, given its headline: "Now take the brakes off, Boris!"
  • Business chiefs and MPs are part of the "growing clamour" for more haste, the paper says, amid fears restrictions could last until July.

Read more.

Latest around Europe


  • Italy's new prime minister, Mario Draghi, easily won a vote of confidence in the upper house of Congress - the Senate - last night, after telling Italians they had to pull together to help rebuild the country after the pandemic. He also promised to fight Covid "with all means". He is now set to win today's vote by MPs in the lower house too.
  • Many European countries are ignoring mentally ill patients in their Covid vaccine campaign, even though they are particularly vulnerable. In a survey of 20 countries published by the Lancet, only the Netherlands, UK, Germany and Denmark have recognised severe mental illness as a high-risk condition. Belgian professor Livia De Picker says patients are between 1.5 and two times more likely to die than others.
  • Airline Air France-KLM has announced net losses of €7.1bn (£6bn; $8.6bn) for 2020, with income badly hit by the pandemic. The previous year it made a profit but Chief Executive Benjamin Smith said the air transport industry had been hit by its "most severe crisis ever". European plane manufacturer Airbus says it managed to limit its losses to €1.1bn last year, slightly better results than 2019.
  • A French vet school has launched a dog training programme to see if sniffing for Covid-19 is more effective than normal PCR tests. The dogs will have to sniff through a metal cone a compress soaked in the sweat of 2,000 young volunteers. Finland's Helsinki-Vantaa airport ran a test late last year using six dogs which officials said was "surprisingly good and promising".
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 13:42

Russia reports 13,447 new covid cases

Russia on Thursday reported 13,447 new coronavirus cases, including 1,950 in Moscow, pushing the national infection tally to 4,125,598 since the pandemic began.
This compares with 12,629 new cases recorded yesterday and 14,803 a week ago.
The government coronavirus taskforce said that 480 people had died of the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 81,926.

Saudi Arabia approves the AstraZeneca vaccine

Saudi Arabia’s food and drug administration has approved the Covid vaccine made by AstraZeneca, state TV reports.
Deputy minister for public health Hani Jokhdar said that the kingdom now had capacity to give 200,000 Covid-19 vaccinations per day. “We will be able to deliver 1.4 million doses every week,” he said, according to the Hindustan Times, with plans to roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine this weekend.
It has already administered 460,000 shots among its population of about 34 million, with the Pfizer jab. The kingdom has reported more than 370,000 coronavirus cases and 6,000 deaths.
According to the Hindustan Times, Jokhdar said vaccination would not be compulsory, and that people would not be able to choose which company’s shot they received. Saudi Arabia plans to vaccinate 70% of the elderly and those with chronic diseases by the June.

Brazil health workers accused of giving Covid vaccinations with empty syringes

Flávia Milhorance - The Guardian
Police in Brazil are investigating allegations that healthcare workers are giving fake Covid inoculations, amid reports of nurses injecting people with empty syringes.
Cases of what local media are calling “wind vaccination” have been reported in four states, adding to the woes of the country’s halting and uncoordinated immunisation programme.
Police announced a criminal investigation on Wednesday, amid speculation that the nurses were either anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists, or were pocketing vaccine shots to be sold on the black market.
Carla Domingues, an epidemiologist who coordinated Brazil’s national immunisation programme between 2011 and 2019, said:
This initially seemed an isolated case, but, although they are still exceptions, it is very concerning that we are seeing this in several places. Either these health professionals were poorly trained or they did it in bad faith. In both cases it is inadmissible.
Read more here
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 13:50

Strong decline in coronavirus across England

There has been a "strong decline" in levels of coronavirus infection in England since January, say scientists tracking the epidemic.
Imperial College London's React study found infections have dropped by two-thirds across England since lockdown began , with an 80% fall in London.
But virus levels are still high, with one in 200 testing positive between 4 and 13 February – similar to levels seen in late September 2020.
The interim findings, based on more than 85,000 swab tests from randomly selected people, suggest social distancing and restrictions are having an impact.
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to receive new data on the effect of vaccines on the spread of coronavirus, ahead of Monday's publication of a roadmap to easing lockdown in England.
A further 12,718 coronavirus cases were reported across the UK on Wednesday - down 24% on the seven-day average.

Mourners gather at funeral of Zanzibar vice-president


Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 9d5e6110
Mourners have gathered to pay respects to Zanzibar's vice-president

The prominent Tanzanian opposition figure Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad will be buried later after dying with Covid-19 at the age of 77. The veteran politician who was vice-president of the semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar is the most high-profile person in Tanzania to have died after catching the disease.
He will be laid to rest in his home village of Mtambwe on Pemba Island. Many people in Zanzibar are still in disbelief, our colleague Aboubakar Famau in Zanzibar tells us.
On social media he has been described as a visionary leader who brought unity to the island. In his home village many shops remained closed for the better part of Wednesday after news of his death broke. Transport services were overwhelmed as people rushed to travel to Pemba to pay their last respects.
On social media he has been described as a visionary leader who brought unity to the island. In his home village many shops remained closed for the better part of Wednesday after news of his death broke. Transport services were overwhelmed as people rushed to travel to Pemba to pay their last respects.
The Tanzanian president, John Magufuli, remains openly sceptical about the risk posed by the virus and has controversially declared the country Covid-free. He has also shunned lockdowns and face masks and has refused to release data on infections.
Earlier this month, the health minister said the government had no plans to roll out Covid-19 vaccines. The World Health Organization has urged Tanzania to consider inoculating its population.
Read more about the country that is rejecting the vaccine.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 14:01

Northern Ireland lockdown rules to be reviewed

There is speculation Northern Ireland's lockdown restrictions could be extended again when Stormont ministers meet to review them later.
Measures were imposed on 26 December to manage the spread of Covid-19, in response to a large spike in the number of coronavirus cases when rules were relaxed in the run-up to Christmas.
The return of some pupils to schools is among the issues to be discussed by the Northern Ireland Executive today, with a limited number of year groups expected to go back to class on 8 March.
BBC News NI understands any return will be "phased" by year groups, with pupils in P1 to P3 in primary schools or those secondary pupils facing exams, in years 12 to 14 - though not both groups - most likely to return first.
On Wednesday, First Minister Arlene Foster said it was important for the executive to set out a "positive" pathway to help society recover from lockdown.
She said she recognised schools needed to reopen fully, businesses needed support and she was concerned about "many people in relation to their mental health".
Health officials have been urging caution against any easing of the restrictions, warning relaxations must be gradual.
They believe Northern Ireland has passed the third wave of the virus, but that case numbers and resulting pressures on the health service remain concerning.
Read more.

Hong Kong eases restrictions as cases decline

Hong Kong is easing limits on how many people can sit together in restaurants, from two to four, while extending the time for indoor dining - it now goes until 22:00 instead of 18:00.
The easing of restrictions follows a sharp drop in new Covid-19 cases.
Gyms and sports facilities, beauty and massage parlours, amusement centres and karaoke bars are also being allowed to reopen.
Customers, however, are required to provide personal details or scan a QR code with an app the government uses for contact tracing.
But amid concerns over privacy, electronic shops have seen an increase in demand for cheap burner phones, Reuters news agency reports. The authorities deny the app offers any privacy risk.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong has formally approved the emergency use of the Chinese-developed Sinovac vaccine. Vaccinations are expected to start next week. The authorities had already approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 14:08

Almost two million in UK 'have not worked for six months'

Almost two million people have not worked for at least six months because of the economic impact of the pandemic, according to a report.
Those people affected are either unemployed or fully furloughed, the Resolution Foundation says.
Among workers currently employed, 8% either expect to lose their jobs in the next three months, or have been told they will be made redundant, the think tank adds.
It is calling for the furlough scheme to remain in place for several months after lockdown restrictions are eased, to allow employers time to recover.
"Job insecurity remains high, particularly among those who have spent long periods not working," says Nye Cominetti, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation.
It says support should be tailored to sectors of the economy hit hardest, such as hospitality.
The Treasury says the government will continue to invest in protecting and creating jobs, adding "the next stage of our plan for jobs" will be set out at the forthcoming Budget.

How working life has changed, and what's next

Emma Simpson - Business correspondent
From key workers still managing the daily commute to home-schoolers sharing the kitchen table, almost everyone's working life has been impacted by the pandemic.
"I wished to have more flexibility... but not this way," says single mum Tare, who currently juggles her full-time job with educating her two children. "My brain is absolutely scrambled."
She adds: "I'd like the flexibility of being able to choose when I can work from home and when I can be in the office... so I hope that there will be some sort of change."
Unlike Tare, supermarket manager Steven has continued to go into work throughout the pandemic, but his job role has completely changed.
"I've also had to be a counsellor... a health and safety expert, a crowd manager," says Steven.
"I hope, at the end of this - whenever that's going to be - people have, and will have, a bit more respect for all key workers."
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 14:29

Delayed Tokyo Olympics has new boss after sexism scandal

Now to the troubled Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to begin on 23 July. Japan's Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto, 56, has now taken charge of delivering the event after her predecessor resigned in a sexism scandal.
She was formally confirmed as president of the organising committee in a unanimous vote after she resigned from the government. A former Olympic speed skater and cyclist, Hashimoto has competed in seven winter and summer games.
She has promised to deliver a summer Olympics that will be welcomed by the Japanese people, as repeated polling shows public opinion has soured on holding the event during the pandemic.
Despite a rise in infections in the country, Japan's authorities are adamant the games - already postponed by a year because of the pandemic - will go ahead without further delay.

Poland considers reinstating curbs, and other world headlines


Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 9edfbf10
No masks and no social distancing in Zakopane

The number of Covid-19 cases in Poland continues to rise, with the government considering reinstating some restrictions as a result. Last Friday, ski slopes were allowed to reopen with cinemas, theatres and hotels also allowed to open at half capacity.
More than 20,000 tourists flocked to the country's main ski resort, Zakopane, over the weekend, some attending street parties. Many people failed to follow social distancing rules or wear the mandatory face masks, our correspondent Adam Easton in Warsaw tells us.
Poland is among the EU countries with the fastest vaccination rates. To date, about 6.3% of the population have been vaccinated.
In some other headlines around the world:

  • Hungary has raised the possibility of issuing restriction waivers to people who have already had Covid-19 or been vaccinated against it as a way to reopen the economy, Reuters news agency reports
  • Senegal has received 200,000 doses of the Chinese-developed Sinopharm vaccine.  President Macky Sall said the government had bought the vaccine, and did not wait to receive doses from the World Health Organization's Covax scheme, which aims to make it easier for developing nations to buy them
  • Venezuela is to begin vaccinating health care workers and public sector employees with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine later today. Human rights groups and opposition figures have criticised the government's response to the pandemic amid claims it has deliberately underreported the numbers of cases and deaths
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 14:33

The main coronavirus stories so far


Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 68020610
Passengers arrive at the Holiday Inn near Heathrow Airport to begin their 10-day quarantine

If you're just joining us or need a recap of the day's coronavirus news, here's what we've been talking about:

  • Covid has exposed deep inequalities and injustices in society and the government needs to play a bigger role in the economy permanently, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer says
  • There has been a "strong decline" in levels of coronavirus infections in England since January, say scientists tracking the epidemic
  • Almost two million people have not worked for at least six months due to the economic impact of the pandemic, according to a report
  • There is speculation Northern Ireland's lockdown restrictions could be extended again when Stormont ministers meet to review them later
  • Meanwhile, Hong Kong's rules are being eased after a sharp drop in new Covid-19 cases
  • A video featuring celebrities including singer Beverley Knight, Olympian Denise Lewis and Citizen Khan’s Adil Ray will be shown on TV this evening, urging people from ethnic minority communities to get the Covid vaccine
  • And a man in his 30s with no underlying health conditions was offered a Covid vaccine after an NHS error mistakenly listed him as just 6.2cm in height
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 14:37

'No jab, no job' policies may be legal for new hires

Companies may be able to require new members of staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as part of their contracts, a minister has suggested.
However, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said employers would need to go to court in order to compel existing staff to have the jab.
Downing Street recently said it would be "discriminatory" to order people to be vaccinated to keep their job.
But some firms have said new hires will in future need to have been jabbed.
In an interview with ITV on Wednesday, Buckland said it is unlikely employers will be able to insist workers must have vaccines under existing contracts, but suggested it may be possible for new staff members.
He says the legality of “no jab, no job” would depend “very much on the terms of employment and the particular contract”.

Man offered vaccine after error lists him as 6.2cm tall


Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 59674f10
Mr Thorp called his GP to check why he was being offered the jab

A man in his 30s with no underlying health conditions was offered a Covid vaccine after an NHS error mistakenly listed him as just 6.2cm in height instead of 6ft 2ins.
Liam Thorp was told he qualified for the jab because his measurements gave him a body mass index of 28,000. The NHS says a BMI of between 30 and 39.9 is classed as obese.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I've put on a few pounds in lockdown but I was surprised to have made it to clinically, morbidly obese.
"It really made me rethink what I was going to do for pancake night!"
The mistake was revealed when Mr Thorp, who is political editor at the Liverpool Echo newspaper, called his GP to check why he was being offered the vaccine.
"I felt a bit uneasy about it because I know - having reported on this extensively - how many more people should be ahead of me in the queue," he said.
NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group said occasional errors could happen.
Dr Fiona Lemmens admitted she could "see the funny side" but also recognised "there is an important issue for us to address".
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 14:54

More surge testing after another discovery of the South African variant

More surge testing is happening in England after another discovery of the South African Covid-19 variant.
The mutation has been found in Leeds, so the Department of Health has announced extra testing and genomic sequencing to track down any other cases and control the spread.
It is the latest area of the country to have targeted testing set up.
People in the LS8 postcode, including parts of Harehills and the area just north of Easterly Road where the variant was found, are being "strongly encouraged" to take a test when offered, whether or not they have symptoms.
Earlier this week the department said targeted testing regimes would be set up in parts of Norfolk and Southampton, as well as Woking, Surrey.
Efforts in Manchester to track down examples of the more transmissible Kent variant were also being expanded following deployment of testing teams last week.

Huge spike in the use of lateral flow tests, data shows


Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 37c90810

There has been a huge spike in the number of rapid turnaround lateral flow device Covid tests being taken in England, according to weekly data.
A record 2,400,724 of the tests were conducted in the week to 10 February, according to the latest NHS Test and Trace figures.
This compares to 1,295,051 PCR tests in the same timeframe.
PCR tests are being used in surge testing in parts of the country where there have been cases of the South African variant. The sequencing of positive tests to find out the variant can take around two weeks, Public Health England says.
This is the second successive week in which more lateral flow tests were conducted than PCR tests.
The rapid tests give results in 30 minutes or less without the need for processing in a laboratory, and are being used as a fast way to test people who do not have symptoms.
Around one in three people with the virus do not display symptoms and the government has described lateral flow tests as "ideal for widespread use in the community".
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 15:05

Covid case rates falling in all areas of England

Covid-19 case rates are continuing to fall in all regions of England, according to the latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England.
South-west England recorded the lowest rate at 87.4 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to 14 February, down from 123.1 the week before.
The East Midlands recorded the highest rate: 176.7 per 100,000 people, down from 228.4 in the previous week.
Case rates in England are also continuing to fall among all age groups, data shows.
The highest rate is among 30 to 39-year-olds, which stood at 192.5 cases per 100,000 people over the seven days, down from 270.8 the previous week. For people aged 80 and over, the rate fell from 208.0 to 129.6
BBC health correspondent Catherine Burns said it was good news, adding: "Cases are falling, hospital admissions are falling, deaths are falling."
She said hospital admissions are down about 15% over the past week, according to the figures, and A&E attendances are also down.
Meanwhile, the number of people with antibodies in their blood has gone up - from 13% to almost 16%, with PHE saying they believe vaccinations were playing an important part in the rise.

Violence and arrests at protests in Spain

Protesters in Spain have been flouting coronavirus restrictions to protest against the imprisonment of a rapper who had posted tweets insulting police and the Spanish monarchy.
More than 50 people were arrested and dozens injured during a second night of protests yesterday that turned violent in several Spanish cities.
The protests began peacefully late Wednesday in dozens of Spanish provincial capitals and other towns in the northeastern Catalonia region, home to the rapper Pablo Hasél, AP reports. But as the evening wore on there were clashes.

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 8256_w10
Thousands demand Pablo Hasel rapper’s release in Madrid. Photograph: Juan Carlos Lucas/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

In Madrid, Barcelona and smaller cities, anti-riot police fired rubber or foam bullets at baton-charged protesters, who threw objects at officers and set trash containers alight. Some used overturned motorbikes to block streets amid rioting.
The rapper and his supporters say that Hasél’s nine-month sentence for writing a critical song about the former King Juan Carlos I and dozens of tweets that judges said glorified some of Spain’s extinct terrorist groups violates free speech rights.
More than 200 cultural figures, including the film director Pedro Almodóvar and actor Javier Bardem, have signed a petition against his jail sentence.

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 3500_w17
Demonstrators clash with police during a protest against the arrest of Catalan rapper Pablo Hasel in Barcelona, Spain, on Thursday. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 15:08

Breaking News 

NI lockdown extended until 1 April

The Stormont executive has agreed lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland will be extended until 1 April, BBC News NI understands.
Another review of the measures will take place on 18 March.

NI's youngest pupils will go back to school if lockdown is extended

Children in primary 1 to primary 3 are set to go back to school in Northern Ireland on Monday 8 March - despite an expectation that lockdown will be extended until 1 April.
Measures were imposed on 26 December to manage the spread of Covid-19, with ministers promising frequent reviews.
Health officials have said they want to avoid a possible rise in cases around St Patrick's Day and in the run-up to Easter.
The first and deputy first ministers are due to provide more detail at a press conference shortly after 16:15 GMT.
We will have more updates for you then, but for now this is what we know.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 15:28

Macron urges Europe and US to send vaccines to Africa

The fast-track development of Covid vaccines was an extraordinary feat of scientific progress. But there are fears that richer countries could hoard jabs at the expense of poorer ones.
The French president is the latest to add his voice to those concerns. Emmanuel Macron has said Europe and the US should urgently allocate 5% of their vaccine supplies to developing countries where vaccination campaigns have scarely begun.
In an interview to the Financial Times, he said some African nations were having to buy Western vaccines at over twice the price paid by the EU - or they were turning to vaccines with uncertain efficacy being offered by China and Russia.
"It won't change our vaccination campaigns, but each country should set aside a small amount of the doses it has to transfer tens of millions of them, but very fast, so people on the ground see it happening."
Speaking ahead of Friday's video conference between G7 leaders, Macron referred to the dangers of unprecedented global inequality, combined with a "war of influences" over vaccines.
The so-called vaccine inequality is expected to persist, as research shows most vaccine doses have been purchased by high-income countries - they currently hold a confirmed 4.6 billion doses, while low-income nations hold 670 million, according to research by the Duke Global Health Innovation Center .
There is an ambitious international scheme called Covax which aims to make sure vaccines are shared fairly among all nations, rich and poor. It currently has 1.2 billion vaccines in total.

NHS hospital waiting list in Wales hits record 538,861

The number of people in Wales who are waiting for non-Covid treatment has hit a record high of 538,861, figures show.
More than 82,000 people have been added to the list since last March, Public Health Wales (PHW) has revealed.
Waiting lists grew after most non-urgent treatment was postponed in March 2020 to make way for Covid patients.
Work is under way to cut the longest waits, with nearly 5,000 fewer patients on the list than in December.
Nonetheless, the numbers of patients who are waiting more than 36 weeks (or nine months) to start treatment in hospital has grown from 27,314 to 226,138 over the past year.
Read more.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 17:09

Breaking News

Further 454 people die with Covid in UK

A further 454 people have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test in the UK, according to the government's daily stats.
This takes the number of deaths by this measure to 119,387.
There have also been a further 12,057 positive cases in the last 24 hours.
Last Thursday there were 678 deaths and 13,494 positive cases reported.
It means a 33% drop in deaths since the equivalent day last week and a drop of about 11% in cases.

UK vaccine total passes 16m

The number of people in the UK to receive their first coronavirus vaccination has passed 16 million.
The total of first doses given out is 16,423,082, according to the government's daily figures. And another 573,724 people have received their second dose.

World round-up: Vaccines in Zimbabwe and fine threat in Indonesia

Zimbabwe's Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga has become the first person in the country to be vaccinated against Covid-19, saying he wanted to show the government's confidence in the Chinese-developed Sinopharm vaccine. China has donated an initial batch of 200,000 doses, with another 600,000 expected next month.
Health workers and members of the security forces are among those due to be immunised next as part of a national campaign. The country aims to vaccinate 10 million people and is still sourcing other vaccines to achieve this target, our colleague in Harare, Shingai Nyoka, tells us.
But human rights lawyers have threatened court action, arguing that trials of the vaccine should be completed before it is widely used.
In other headlines around the world:

  • In the US, the number of people applying for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week to 861,000. The labour market is recovering across the country and experts say the jump could be related to the temporary closure of automobile plants due to a global semiconductor chip shortage
  • Residents of Indonesia's capital Jakarta are to face fines of more than $350 (£251) for refusing a vaccine. In what appears to be a world first, the national government decreed that inoculation would be compulsory, and regional authorities decide on the penalties for non-compliance. Working-age people are being vaccinated first to keep the economy going
  • Regulators in Nigeria have given approval to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The government has not said when the vaccination campaign will start. Three other vaccines are undergoing evaluation
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 17:14

NI's lockdown extended for four weeks, FM confirms

Northern Ireland's First Minister says while the number of cases are decreasing the level of ongoing community transmission still presents "significant concern".
Arlene Foster says decisions have not been straightforward but "what is clear is we must proceed with great care and caution".
"It is considered a full lifting of the current restrictions is not possible at this time," she says.
Lockdown will continue for four more weeks and the Stormont will conduct another full review on 18 March, she says.

Primary schools up to age 7 to return on 8 March in NI

Foster says there will be a gradual return of schools from Monday 8 March, starting with pre-school, nursery and primary 1 to 3 - covering pupils up to the age of seven.
She says key workers' children will continue to attend school as they have done through lockdown.
Students in exam years, studying for GCSEs, A-levels and vocational qualifications, will return full-time on 22 March.

Groups of 10 can meet outdoors in NI from 8 March

Arlene Foster says click and collect services for essential items will be able to start again from 8 March.
This is when 10 people from no more than two households will also be able to meet up in a park or public space, says the FM.
She says the reopening of further click and collect retail services will be considered on 18 March.
Finance Minister Conor Murphy says legislation to protect private renters from eviction will be extended to 30 September.

Analysis: NI's lockdown extension 'no surprise'

Jayne McCormack - BBC News NI political reporter
This decision will not exactly come as a surprise.
While the rate of infection continues falling, the numbers remain higher than when restrictions were initially eased after the first lockdown.
The executive unanimously backed Health Minister Robin Swann's proposal and it's clear the parties all agree (for now), that any reopening will have to be careful and gradual.
But it's also not clear why ministers have stopped short of extending lockdown over Easter weekend - the new date of 1 April is the Thursday immediately before Easter.
Ministers will face added calls to publish an exit strategy soon, with many businesses and people across Northern Ireland crying out for support, as they prepare for four more weeks of lockdown.
If the measures last until 1 April, that means NI will have been in lockdown for 14 weeks in total - a high price paid for Christmas easing.

'Don't book anything for Easter' says NI minister

At the news conference a moment ago, Northern Ireland's Finance Minister Conor Murphy warned the public not to asume that everything would reopen on the new end date for lockdown of 1 April.
With the date falling on Holy Thursday, he said people should not make plans for Easter holidays.
“The advice would not be to book anything for Easter weekend,” he said.
“I would advise people not to be looking at 1 April as the date that everything will be opening up again.”
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 17:19

Man claims he is 'held against his will' at a quarantine hotel


Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 44ce7810
The man who gave his name as Anthony Pium says he is being held "against his will" at a quarantine hotel

A UK airport arrival claims he is "being held against his will" after he tried to leave one of the government's quarantine hotels.
The man, who gave his name as Anthony Pium, returned from Brazil on Wednesday and says he has been "barricaded in" his room at the Heathrow Radisson Blu.
His luggage had been lost at the airport, leaving him without essentials or a change of clothes, he told the news agency PA Media.
"They're trapping me in my room and, to be honest, it's the worst experience of my life," he says.
Mr Pium, who is a travel agent, says he has had a PCR test and two antigen tests which have all returned negative results.
He said he had been asked by hotel staff for his dietary requirements but has refused the food offered because it was not "adequate".
"They have set meals and I don't know where this is coming from. I'm in a room that isn't well-ventilated and I don't want to get sick while I'm here," he says.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 17:22

No jab, no job: Vatican edition


Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 E1d98810
The Vatican is getting tough with anti-vaxxers

The Vatican has told staff they could lose their jobs if they refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19 without legitimate health reasons.
A decree by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, who is effectively the governor of Vatican City, cited the need to protect employees in the workplace, mentioning a specific provision in a 2011 law about employee rights and duties.
The decree, which was signed on 8 February, follows the position of Pope Francis, who is a big supporter of vaccines to curb the spread of Covid-19.
In an interview with an Italian broadcaster last month, the pope said: "It's an ethical choice because you're gambling with your health, with your life, but you're also gambling with the lives of others."
The Vatican employees about 5,000 people and Vatican City is the world's smallest state. Its vaccination programme started in January and the 84-year-old pope was one of the first to get the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.
Our Reality Check team has debunked some of the most spread rumours about the Covid-19 vaccines.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 18th February 2021 Empty Re: Coronavirus - 18th February 2021

Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 19:42

Northern Ireland lockdown restrictions explained

Jayne McCormack - BBC News NI political reporter
Northern Ireland has been in lockdown for almost eight weeks and restrictions have now been extended again until the start of April .
Stormont ministers say they want to keep driving down infection rates so that the eventual reopening will be much more sustainable.
For now, that means family gatherings remain prohibited, people must continue to work from home - in many cases - and should not leave their home without a "reasonable excuse", such as to buy food, medical supplies or take exercise.
Check out our explainer on what the rules mean, what's behind those decisions, and what is set to change soon.

News headlines: NI extends lockdown and Indonesia makes vaccine compulsory

We are going to be wrapping up our live coverage soon - thanks for joining us. Here are some of the main coronavirus stories from today.

  • Northern Ireland's lockdown restrictions will be extended until 1 April, the First Minister announces
  • Some primary school children in NI will go back on 8 March and lockdown will be reviewed again on 18 March
  • Covid has exposed deep inequalities and injustices in society, Labour leader Sir Keir says as he proposes a British Recovery Bond scheme
  • There has been a "strong decline" in levels of coronavirus infections in England since January, say scientists tracking the epidemic
  • A further 454 people have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test in the UK, according to the government's daily statistics
  • There have been a further 12,057 positive cases in the UK in the last 24 hours
  • Meanwhile, a total of 16,423,082 people in the UK have received their first vaccine, the data shows
  • The Vatican has told staff they could lose their jobs if they refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19 without legitimate health reasons
  • Zimbabwe's Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga has become the first person in the country to be vaccinated against Covid-19
  • Residents of Indonesia's capital Jakarta are to face fines of more than $350 (£251) for refusing a vaccine
  • In what appears to be a world first, the national government decreed that inoculation would be compulsory, with regional authorities deciding on the penalties for non-compliance
  • Almost two million people have not worked for at least six months because of the economic impact of the pandemic, a think tank says
  • A star-filled video urging people from ethnic minority communities to get the Covid vaccine will be shown on TV in the UK later


Thank you and goodnight

Thank you for joining us for live coronavirus updates in the UK and around the world.
That's all from us - Hugo Bachega, James Clarke, Jennifer Meierhans, Joseph Lee, Lauren Turner and Victoria Lindrea.

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 14:57