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

Coronavirus - 28th March 2021

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Post by Kitkat Sun Mar 28 2021, 11:55

Summary for Sunday, 28th March


  • Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said the Moderna vaccine is expected to be rolled out in the UK in April
  • Mr Dowden also said he "fully expects" the UK to host the biggest moments of this summer's Uefa's European Championships
  • He said he had 'every confidence' that this was England's last lockdown - but experience taught him 'you can't rule things out'
  • Lorry drivers travelling to England from outside the UK, who stay for two days or more, will be required to take a Covid test
  • The chief medical director at NHS England is warning people not to "squander the gains" made in the latest lockdown
  • Prof Stephen Powis says progress made so far "does not mean job done"
  • In the latest step of the government's roadmap, curbs on outdoor gatherings and sports ease in England from Monday
  • A group of charities is urging the prime minister to "swiftly clarify" how many Covid vaccine doses the UK is prepared to donate to poorer countries
  • Poland has reported 29,253 new coronavirus cases on Sunday - up 34% compared with one week ago
  • Facebook freezes Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's page after he claimed without evidence that a herbal remedy could cure Covid
  • A further 4,715 coronavirus cases were reported across the UK on Saturday, alongside 58 new deaths
  • There have been 126,726,308 Covid cases around the world, and 2,777,336 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University


Good morning

Hello and welcome to our live coronavirus coverage this Sunday morning. We’ll bring you all the latest updates as they happen throughout the day.

Here are the key global developments from the last few hours:


  • Germany must suppress virus now or risk losing control, Merkel aide says. Germany must bring down coronavirus infections in the next few weeks or risk new virus mutations that are resistant to vaccines, and should impose night-time curfews in regions with high caseloads, said a top aide to Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  • Ukraine’s daily Covid hospitalisations rise to record high. A record number of Ukrainians were taken to hospital with Covid over the past 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Sunday as the country grapples with a surge in infections.
  • Brazil Covid-19 death toll exceeds 3,000 for second day. Brazil recorded 85,948 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 3,438 deaths from Covid-19, the Health Ministry said on Saturday, the second day in a row fatalities have exceeded 3,000.
  • Queensland authorities say man had not hosted party. Queensland authorities say a man who later tested positive for Covid-19 had not hosted a party while he was supposed to be isolating, drastically reducing the potential for a cluster in the state to expand.
  • Half a million Australians vaccinated. More than half a million Australians have now been vaccinated against Covid, with the rollout boosted by the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in Melbourne.
  • Hong Kong says initial investigation of BioNTech vaccines shows no ‘obvious systemic factors’. Hong Kong’s government said an initial investigation by Germany’s BioNTech and Fosun Industrial into its coronavirus vaccine did not show any “obvious systemic factors” during packaging after use of the vaccine was suspended in the city and neighbouring Macau this week.
  • More than 2.5 million people in England have had second Covid jab. More than 2.5 million people in England have now received their second dose of a coronavirus vaccine, with more than one-in-three of those taking place in the last week.
  • Mexico death toll revised by 60% to 321,000. Mexico’s government acknowledged Saturday that the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic now stands above 321,000, almost 60% more than the official test-confirmed number of 201,429. Mexico does little testing, and because hospitals were overwhelmed, many Mexicans died at home without getting a test. The only way to get a clear picture is to review “excess deaths” and review death certificates.
  • Saudi Arabia daily Covid cases climb back above 500. Daily coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia have risen above 500 for the first time since October and the health ministry on Saturday blamed the increase on gatherings and laxity in complying with preventive measures such as social distancing.
  • Facebook has frozen Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro’s page for violating policies against spreading misinformation about Covid-19 by promoting a remedy he claims, without evidence, can cure the disease, a company spokesman said.
  • More than 150,000 people have died from coronavirus in the UK , according to a Guardian analysis.
  • Turkey has recorded 30,021 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, the highest number this year, Reuters reports.
  • Italy reported 380 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday compared with 457 the day before, the health ministry said. The daily tally of infections fell slightly to 23,839 from 23,987 the day before, Reuters reports.
  • France has recorded 42,619 new cases on Saturday compared with 41,869 cases on Friday, Reuters reports. The total number has surpassed 4.5 million.
  • Allowing international air travel without testing at UK airports risks reversing “all the good our vaccination programme has done”, an infectious diseases expert has warned. He called for efficient testing and tracing at airport and supporting people to self-isolate.
  • The Philippines will reimpose tougher coronavirus measures in the capital of Manila and nearby provinces, a senior official said on Saturday in order to fight a surge in infections.
  • Spain will require people arriving from France by land to present a negative Covid-19 test following a rise in Spain’s infection rate. The requirement will not apply to truck drivers, people who cross the border for work, and people who live within 30km of Spain.
  • Brazil’s coronavirus situation is likely to deteriorate even further, experts have warned, forecasting that the nation’s death toll will pass the United States’ by the end of the year.
  • The World Health Organization says it has not ruled out any theory on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, despite one top official earlier this week appearing to dismiss the idea it had escaped from a laboratory.
  • Indonesia’s vaccination drive will slow down next month due to India’s delay in exporting AstraZeneca vaccines, its health minister has said. India has temporarily suspended large vaccines exports as it seeks to step up its own inoculation efforts amid surging infections.
  • Ireland’s health minister has suspended vaccination provision at a private hospital in Dublin after it emerged that it administered spare jabs to staff at a private school.
  • NHS England has passed the milestone of 25m first vaccine doses administered across the country, after a further 344,008 people received a shot.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Mar 28 2021, 12:05

How are rules changing on Monday in England?


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The next step of the roadmap out of lockdown will see non-essential retail and hairdressers reopen and takeaway pints served from 12 April.
Read more here .

'Don't squander the gains'

Our top story this morning is the warning from NHS England’s Prof Stephen Powis.
He says people in England should not “squander the gains” made during the latest Covid lockdown.
And he says progress with the vaccine rollout “does not mean job done”.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph , Prof Powis said coronavirus could still "wreak more havoc and ill-health on a significant scale" as he cited concerns over variants.
He adds: "We need to hold our nerve and drive for the line, so everyone can get back safely and soon to our normal lives."
In England from Monday, the stay-at-home rule is ending and groups of up to six, or two households, will be allowed to meet outside - including in private gardens.
Read more here .

Removal of restictions in June 'over-optimistic'

Epidemiologist and government advisor Professor Mark Woolhouse says he is "nervous" about the prospect of full relaxation of coronavirus restrictions in June - as currently set out in the government's road map.
"It will be important that the government continues to be guided by the data," he told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show.
Professor Woolhouse said it would depend how well the vaccine is performing: "If they go on at this rate, I think we can get quite close to a full release, but the idea that we can suddenly emerge from this in one great bound, I think is a little over-optimistic."
He told Marr that delays to vaccine supply chains "will slow down the rate at which we can unlock".
"It's not just about the actual number of vaccines being given out, but the coverage of those most vulnerable groups".
He stressed coverage had been "excellent" for the first dose - which affords 80-90% protection - but said we have to bear in mind that only we were only about one fifth of the way to completely vaccinating our entire adult population with both doses " so this is going to go on for quite a long time yet".
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Post by Kitkat Sun Mar 28 2021, 12:14

Facebook freezes Maduro's page over Covid claim


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Facebook has frozen Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's page after he claimed without evidence that a herbal remedy could cure Covid-19.
He claimed in January that a thyme herb solution could cure the disease. He will be unable to post for 30 days.
The company said the leader had repeatedly violated its policies on coronavirus disinformation.
Read more here .

Coranavirus 'with us for the foreseeable future' - Drakeford

Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford has said he believes the virus "is with us for the foreseeable future".
He told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show "life can be, and will be, better" as lockdown restrictions ease in Wales, but added that we "have to go on doing the things that keep each other and one another safe".
Mr Drakeford said given the rising case numbers in parts of Europe and the spread of new variants "there is a job of work still to be done in making sure coronavirus is in the rearview mirror".
It remains "an inherently uncertain time," he said.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Mar 28 2021, 12:20

Search continues after people flee Dublin hotel quarantine


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A search is under way in the Republic of Ireland after three people absconded from a mandatory quarantine hotel in north Dublin on Saturday.
Two people remain missing as RTÉ News reports one of those who left the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry without permission has since been found.
People arriving into the Republic from a list of 33 'high-risk' countries, or who land without a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test must undergo 14 days quarantine.
Read more here .

'Still potential for virus to spread'

Epidemiologist Professor Mark Woolhouse, interviewed this morning on The Andrew Marr programme, said an increase in the number of virus cases is "inevitable as we relax restrictions".
Without the entire adult population being vaccinated "there is still potential for the virus to spread" he said.
"The question is whether or not those increasing cases will translate into a large number of hospitalisations and deaths."
He said the vaccine's efficacy so far was " excellent - and very encouraging" but "we have to be careful".
"Some of the more pessimistic scenarios out there do allow for a significant third wave - so that's something we have to continue to guard against."
"What we need to do is make sure we have systems and processes in place so that we don't allow the virus to get out of control again."
He said it was "crucial" for the whole world to monitor new variants and identify causes of concern that might help in the updating of vaccines in the future.
Professor Woolhouse said he foresaw we would have to "remain alert" to coronavirus throughout 2021 and beyond, suggesting we would still need to rely on Test and Trace, and a process of self-isolation would still be required.
"We are going to have to think very hard about coronavirus safety going forward."
He added that another national lockdown "would be a failure of public health policy" and that we had "all the tools in place" to avoid it.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Mar 28 2021, 12:29

Vaccine passports are short-term tool - Culture Secretary

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has insisted vaccine passports will not be introduced on a "permanent basis".
"Of course we would never look to do this on a permanent basis, it's just whether it might be a tool in the short-term," he told the Andrew Marr Show on the BBC.
He stressed no decisions had yet been made on Covid certification, but "it's important to examine it".
Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, said vaccine passports were something that needed to be considered.
"It's certainly something we have to consider seriously, as part of a wider package of measures that are designed to make our activities safe," he told Andrew Marr.
"Over the last year, when we have tried to make ourselves safe, we have tended to do this by stopping activities," he said, referring to the lockdown measures
"Part of the point of living with this virus, is we have to switch emphasis," said Prof Woolhouse.

Breaking News 

UK to test lorry drivers travelling to England

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has tweeted that lorry drivers travelling to England from outside the UK, who stay for two days or more, will be required to take a Covid test within 48 hours of arriving.
If they remain in the UK for a longer period, a second test is required within five days of arrival - with a third test required a further 72 hours later if they are still in the UK.
The new rules will take effect from 6 April.
All drivers arriving in England from continental Europe will be required to complete passenger locator forms to facilitate contact while in the UK.
Tests will be available free at more than 40 Government Haulier Advice sites, and there will be fines of £2000 for failure to comply.
In addition to the rules on testing, lorry drivers entering the UK will have to follow government rules on social distancing.
A second tweet by Mr Shapps said new rules were being "updated" after he said French authorities have dropped their requirement for cross-channel haulier testing.
France - and many parts of Europe - are currently experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, prompting fears of a third wave in the UK.
Tweet  Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP:

HAULIER NEWS: From April 6, lorries visiting England from outside UK (and the Common Travel Area) for more than 2 days will need to take a #Covid test within 48hrs + one every 72hrs after. This is to ensure we keep track of any future #Coronavirus Variants of Concern.

Hauliers have already been being tested - this is just to update now the French requirement has been dropped.

Tweet Lawrence  @mentalmapping
replying to @grantshapps :

You’ve had a year to implement this!
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Post by Kitkat Sun Mar 28 2021, 12:33

UK goes from 'cavalier' to 'crippling caution' over Covid - scientist


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The UK has "gone from being cavalier to crippling caution" in its approach to Covid, a former head of drug maker GlaxoSmithKline has said.
Sir Richard Sykes, who is now chairman of the Royal Institution, said the possibility of a third wave of infections in the UK was concerning but "very, very unlikely".
"We have gone from being cavalier to crippling caution and I think that's dangerous," he told BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House.
"There could be, but it's very, very unlikely that there will be a third wave."
In a wide-ranging interview, Sykes defended Oxford jab maker AstraZeneca's supply strategy - but he criticised the firm for its communciations amid a row over supplies with the EU.
And reflecting on the achievements of all the vaccine manufacturers, Sykes said: “What we’ve done in nine months is create a vaccine that is ninety-something percent effective, and absolutely safe, and got it into millions of people. I think has to stand as one of the great achievements of mankind.”

  • Listen to this week's episode of Broadcasting House on BBC Sounds


Coronavirus cases in Poland up by a third

Adam Easton - Warsaw correspondent
Poland reported 29,253 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, up 34% compared with one week ago, as a third wave continues to gather momentum, the health ministry said.
There were 131 virus-related deaths, the ministry added. Poland’s third wave is expected to peak during the Easter holidays.
New daily infections reached all-time highs last week, exceeding 35,000 on Friday and the seven day average has now exceeded the peak reached during the second wave in November.
Officials attribute the spike in infections to the highly contagious UK variant, which is responsible for 80% of all new cases.
Heightened restrictions took effect on Saturday with kindergartens, large DIY/furniture stores and hairdressers closing for two weeks. Numbers allowed in supermarkets and churches are restricted further.
Officials have urged people to work from home and not travel for Easter. The measures are in addition to a partial national lockdown introduced last weekend that closed shopping centres, hotels, cultural and sporting facilities.
For the best part of a year, schools have been closed and restaurants, bars and cafes have only been able to offer take away service only.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Mar 28 2021, 12:40

Saudi Arabia daily Covid cases climb back above 500

The Guardian
Daily coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia have risen above 500 for the first time since October and the health ministry on Saturday blamed the increase on gatherings and laxity in complying with preventive measures such as social distancing, Reuters reports.
The Gulf state recorded 510 new infections on Friday and 502 on Saturday to take its total tally to 387,794 cases with 6,643 deaths. More than 200 of the cases were in the capital Riyadh.
The kingdom had seen daily infections fall to below 100 in January from a peak of more than 4,000 in June.
Authorities last week expanded Covid vaccinations to all citizens and residents aged 16 and above. Starting mid-May, unvaccinated workers at food outlets, public transport, gyms and salons would be required to take a PCR test every week.
Saudi Arabia in January postponed the end of a ban on travel for its citizens and full reopening of entry points to 17 May. In February, it suspended entry for non-citizens from 20 states with the exception of diplomats and medical practitioners.

Mexico death toll revised by 60% to 321,000

The Guardian
Mexico’s government acknowledged Saturday that the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic now stands above 321,000, almost 60% more than the official test-confirmed number of 201,429.
Mexico does little testing, and because hospitals were overwhelmed, many Mexicans died at home without getting a test. The only way to get a clear picture is to review “excess deaths” and review death certificates.
On Saturday, the government quietly published such a report, which found there were 294,287 deaths linked to Covid from the start of the pandemic through 14 February. Since 15 February there have been an additional 26,772 test-confirmed deaths.
The higher toll would rival that of Brazil, which currently has the world’s second-highest number of deaths after the United States. But Mexico’s population of 126 million is far smaller than either of those countries.
The new report also confirms just how deadly Mexico’s second wave in January was. As of the end of December, excess death estimates suggested a total of about 220,000 deaths related to Covid in Mexico. That number jumped by around 75,000 in just a month and a half.
Also suggestive were the overall number of “excess deaths” since the pandemic began, around 417,000. Excess deaths are determined by comparing the deaths in a given year to those that would be expected based on data from previous years.
A review of death certificates found about 70.5% of the excess deaths were Covid-related, often because it was listed on the certificates as a suspected or contributing cause of death. But some experts say Covid may have contributed to many of the other excess deaths because many people couldn’t get treatment for other diseases because hospitals were overwhelmed.
Former President Felipe Calderón wrote in his Twitter account Saturday that “more than 400,000 Mexicans have died, above the average for previous years ... probably the highest figure in the world.”

Upsurge in Covid-19 cases across Europe means damaging lockdowns

The Guardian
An upsurge in new coronavirus cases is forcing governments across Europe into new, damaging lockdowns that threaten to delay a much hoped-for return to growth, economists say.
AFP: The plan was that mass vaccination programmes would turn the tide on the pandemic, allowing locked-down consumers free rein after months penned up at home.
Instead the virus has embarked on a third wave which is proving more difficult to bring under control.
French President Emmanuel Macron warned Thursday that the European Union would have to do more and beef up its already massive 750 billion euro ($885 billion) virus recovery fund as a result.
The EU had made a major effort after the first wave last year, Macron said, but “following the second and third waves... we will no doubt have to add to our response”.
In September, as the economy picked up sharply after a rapid reverse in the first wave, expectations were high that by the middle of this year it would be solidly back on track, thanks especially to the vaccine rollout.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Mar 28 2021, 16:37

Hospital admissions will determine lockdown easing


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Hospitals in England faced being overwhelmed at the peak of the pandemic in January 2021

Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (SPI-M), says the number of hospital admissions will be key to England staying on track with lockdown easing.
"As we unlock we will see, potentially, cases rising," Dr Tildesley told Times Radio on Sunday.
"But if we don't see hospital admissions rising then, hopefully, we can be confident we can keep the relaxation campaign on schedule."

Ireland says UK not sharing vaccine 'at this stage'

The Irish Government has said it is "not aware of any specific plans" by the UK to share its vaccine supply "at this stage".
It follows a story in the Sunday Times which reported the UK was planning to give 3.7 million vaccines to Ireland when it had spare capacity.
"The UK has previously indicated that once it has achieved a high level of vaccination of its own population, it would consider sharing vaccines with other countries," a spokesman for the Irish Government said on Sunday.
But added there were no "specific plans" currently.
"The Irish and UK governments maintain close contact across all matters of common interest."
Speaking on Sunday morning, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said there was no vaccine surplus at present.
"We clearly don't currently have a surplus of vaccines. Should we get to the point where we have a surplus of vaccines we'd make a decision on the allocation of that surplus."
"Our first priority is to deliver vaccines in the UK," he told Sky News' Sophy Ridge.
Earlier this month, the NHS warned of a significant reduction in jabs available in England in April, and there has been a delay to Oxford-AstraZeneca shipments from India.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Mar 28 2021, 16:44

Russia 'will reach herd immunity' by end of summer - Putin

President Vladimir Putin has said he expects Russia to reach herd immunity by the end of the summer.
Speaking on television, the president said he was aiming to lift all coronavirus restrictions at the same time.
Mr Putin, who was vaccinated this week with a Russian-made vaccine, also said the only side effects he experienced post jab were a brief muscle ache and some discomfort at the site of the injection.
Last Monday the president revealed 6.3 million Russians had so far received one dose of a Covid vaccine - around 5% of Russia's adult population.
His target is to protect 60% of adults by July - sufficient for "collective immunity" to stop the virus spreading.
But that would require boosting the current vaccination rate from just a few thousand to more than 700,000 every day - and that's just a single dose of the vaccine, reports the BBC's Sarah Rainsford.
The daily count of deaths with coronavirus in Russia has reached 95,818 since the pandemic began - though the number of excess deaths recorded so far is some four times higher.

Variant risk requires cautious unlocking - scientist

New coronavirus variants that escape the protection offered by current vaccines are a "risk", and the answer is to vaccinate as many people as soon as possible, a leading immunologist has said.
Prof Robin Shattock, of Imperial College London, told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend that a rise in overall infection rates could "potentially knock us off course" as lockdown begins to ease.
"If we can keep [the rates] low, then hopefully cautiously we can go through these different stages of unlocking always remembering that we may need to turn back if we see a spike in cases," Shattock said.
New variants of the virus that make current jabs "less effective" mean ministers should take extra care when unlocking restrictions, he said.
He also described a second dose as being important for protection and that speeding these up could offer a better defence against new variants.

Cabin crew and pilots also affected by arrival tests change


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We've heard that lorry drivers will be subject to a new testing regime if they come to England from outside the UK for more than two days.
Now it emerges that aircraft cabin crew, prison escorts and seasonal workers are also among those affected by the new rules.
From 6 April, people who stay in the country for 48 hours or more - but who are exempt from quarantine because of their job - will have to take a lateral flow test by the end of the second day.
Those remaining in the UK for any longer than 2 days will then be required to take a further test every 3 days - typically on days five and eight.
The tougher measures are to "ensure we keep track of any future coronavirus variants of concern", Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter. The new rules will primarily affect hauliers entering from Europe.
Read more here .
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Post by Kitkat Sun Mar 28 2021, 16:47

Analysis: The abnormal has become normal

Chris Mason - Political correspondent

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The return of the legal right in England to go for a walk in the rain with five other people feels like quite a big moment.
And that reminds us of something: alongside the health emergency, the hundreds of thousands of grieving relatives and an economic crisis, this is the ongoing era of liberties crushed for everyone.
That’s why the government is so desperate to avoid the psychological whiplash of yet another slamming on of the brakes, or a reversal.
That’s why there’s the constant refrain of the roadmap being "cautious, but irreversible".
And that’s why, despite the prime minister’s natural instinct to inject his language with optimism, there’s been a concerted effort in recent months to manage our expectations.
For this pandemic has cruelly taught us, repeatedly, that the track back to normality will contain hairpins we haven’t yet seen.
And for every fleeting moment of feeling like we are getting there - it’s still another fortnight in England, at least, before it’s legal to go to the hairdressers.
The abnormal has become normal, but it’s worth reminding ourselves just how remarkable it still is.

Serbia vaccinating neighbours with surplus

Serbia has been inoculating citizens of neighbouring countries amid a surplus of vaccines and a reluctance among many Serbs to have the jab, BBC World Service reported.
Queues were seen on the borders with North Macedonia and Bosnia as word got out that vaccines were being distributed for free in Belgrade.
A German doctor was also reported to be among those getting a vaccine at the main centre in Belgrade, as the rollout in Germany struggles to keep pace with a third wave of coronavirus infections there.
Serbia has also begun vaccinating refugees in camps, in a move praised by the UN Refugee Agency.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Mar 28 2021, 16:57

Breaking News 

Nineteen deaths recorded in past 24 hours

Official government figures indicate 19 people who tested positive for coronavirus within the past 28 days have died in the past 24 hours.
This compares to the 33 deaths reported last Sunday. Figures on Sunday and Monday tend to be lower due to a lag in reporting.
Data also show there have been a further 3,862 positive cases - significantly lower than in recent days and the lowest daily figure since 17 September.
As reported earlier, the number of first dose vaccinations has topped 30m - while more than 3.5m have received both doses.

Met warns Londoners its 'tough stance' will continue


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Up to six people, or two households, will be able to meet outside from Monday

The Met Police has urged Londoners to remain "vigilant" when lockdown restrictions ease tomorrow, with groups of up to six people, or two households, able to meet outside.
While people will also be allowed to take part in formally organised outdoor sport, large gatherings - unless certain exemptions apply - will remain unlawful and risk further spreading the virus, the force warned.
The Met's deputy assistant commissioner, Jane Connors, said: "We must not let Monday's news distract us, or usher in any complacency."
But she said the risk of Covid-19 "has not vanished" and wherever possible people should "continue to be vigilant, minimise our contact as much as possible, wear a face covering where required and keep ourselves safe".
"That means avoiding any large gathering," she added.
The force said it will continue to take enforcement action and hand out fines for "house parties or dangerous raves", adding it makes "no apology for our tough stance" on shutting down large gatherings which risk public safety.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Mar 28 2021, 17:03

My pet has helped me so much during the pandemic'


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Research has shown pets can have a huge benefit to our mental health - especially this past year.
"I don't know what I would have done without him," 24-year-old Francesca Balon tells Newsbeat.
She's registered blind and credits her guide dog, Sean, with getting her through a year of lockdowns.
"He's a real character and it's funny because he's so clever when he's working but he has absolutely no common sense," she says.
Francesca had Sean three years ago when her vision started to worsen, hitting her confidence.
Read more here .

Moderna 'will give extra line of security' in vaccine rollout


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The Moderna jab - due to arrive in the UK next month - will give the UK "an extra line of security" after concerns were raised last week that supply chains of other vaccines may be held up.
So says Professor Adam Finn, from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation
"The quantities that Moderna are capable of providing are likely to be many fewer doses than we are seeing from AstraZeneca and Pfizer," Prof Finn told the PA news agency.
"Partly because they are a small outfit and partly because they are primarily directing their supplies towards the US rather than Europe.
"So I don't think it's a game changer, I think it's an incremental change.
"It adds an extra string to our bow, if you like, and it gives us an extra line of security."
That means it is due to arrive in the UK in the same month that the NHS has warned of a "significant reduction" in vaccine supplies elsewhere.
Moderna is the third vaccine of seven that the UK has put in an order for - and the UK is lined up to receive 17 million doses.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Mar 28 2021, 17:04

What's been happening today?

We're bringing our live page to a close. Here is a brief round-up of today's main headlines from the UK and around the world.

  • Nineteen people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in the past 24 hours in the UK. It's more evidence of a steady fall in deaths attributed to the virus.
  • More than 30m people in the UK have now received their first dose of a Covid vaccine, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling it "a phenomenal achievement".
  • A third vaccine - the Moderna vaccine - is expected to be rolled out in the UK next month . And Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said he was confident vaccinations remained on schedule, with the entire adult population given both doses by the end of July.
  • Serbia has been inoculating citizens of neighbouring countries amid a surplus of vaccines and a reluctance among many Serbs to have the jab, BBC World Service reported. Queues were seen on the borders with North Macedonia and Bosnia.
  • From 6 April, lorry drivers travelling to England from outside the UK, who stay for two days or more, with be required to take frequent tests - according to the length of their stay. Aircraft cabin crew, prison escorts and seasonal workers are also among those affected by the new rules.
  • Poland reported 29,253 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, up 34% compared with one week ago. New daily infections reached all-time highs last week, exceeding 35,000 on Friday. Officials attribute the spike in infections to the highly contagious UK variant.


Goodbye...

That's all for today. Join us tomorrow morning for all the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.

Your writers today were George Bowden, Jo Couzens and Victoria Lindrea. The page was edited by Julian Joyce.

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 13:57