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Coronavirus - 8th April 2021


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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 11:01

Summary for Thursday, 8th April

  • The risk of a blood clot after Covid vaccination is about the same as on a long-haul flight, Matt Hancock says
  • Under-30s in the UK are to be offered an alternative Covid jab to the AstraZeneca vaccine
  • There are more than enough Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for under-30s, the health secretary says
  • The European regulator says unusual blood clots should be listed as very rare side effects of the AZ vaccine
  • The UK vaccination programme is starting to break links between Covid-19 cases and deaths, scientists say
  • While a decline in coronavirus cases has stalled, deaths have not followed the same pattern, they say
  • Infections are now most common in primary and early secondary school-aged children, the study says
  • Unpaid carers looking after terminally ill loved ones during the pandemic struggle to access pain relief, a survey finds
  • Sales at non-essential shops are likely to "bounce back" once they reopen on 12 April, analysts say

Good morning and welcome to our coronavirus live page.
Here is a round-up of the main coronavirus stories in the UK this morning.

  • The UK's vaccination programme is beginning to break the link between Covid-19 cases and deaths , scientists have said. While a decline in cases has stalled - probably because people are beginning to mix more - deaths have not followed the same pattern, a study has found
  • Unpaid carers looking after terminally ill loved ones during the pandemic have struggled to access pain relief , with some patients dying in unnecessary pain, a survey has found. The survey of 995 unpaid carers by charity Marie Curie also finds people have had difficulties getting personal care and respite nursing for loved ones
  • Sales at non-essential shops are likely to "bounce back" once they reopen on 12 April, analysts say. Springboard predicts a 48% rise in sales when lockdown restrictions are lifted
  • Under-30s in the UK are to be offered an alternative Covid vaccine to the AstraZeneca jab due to the evidence linking it to rare blood clots. The EU's medicines regulator says the blood clots should be listed as a very rare side effect of the jab.

Latest around Europe

  • EU countries are to continue following their own rules on which age groups should receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, after the EU’s medicines agency EMA recommended it should be given to all ages. The agency said very rare blood clots should be listed as a possible side effect. Belgium will now limit the vaccine to people over 55, while Spain and Italy will give the drug only to over 60s. France limits the drug to over 55s and Germany to over 60s.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to change the law to harmonise Covid lockdown measures across the country and not only state by state, according to Bild newspaper. She’s been frustrated by some states’ refusal to tighten rules while infections remain high. In the past 24 hours there have been 20,407 new infections and 306 deaths.
  • Three students at Kirschgarten High School in the Swiss city of Basel have landed their entire class in quarantine by faking positive tests to avoid school, Blick newspaper reports. They falsified text messages from the Swiss contact tracing app, which meant 25 classmates and some teachers had to self-isolate.
  • A German mayor who got vaccinated before his turn has been suspended from his job in the eastern city of Halle. Bernd Wiegand refused to resign, insisting the dose had been left over and would have just gone to waste.
  • Prague hospital head Petr Arenberger has been appointed as the fourth Czech health minister since the start of the pandemic. He replaces Jan Blatny who has been repeatedly criticised by President Milos Zeman for refusing to back Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
  • Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg, says Covid restrictions will be relaxed in four stages that are each three weeks apart. Norway has managed to limit infections to about 100,000 cases and the government will decide when it can start loosening measures imposed on 25 March.

More key recent developments around the world today:

The Guardian

  • Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has insisted there would be “no national lockdown,” ignoring growing calls from health experts a day after the nation saw its highest number of coronavirus deaths in 24 hours since the pandemic began. Brazil has also recorded its first confirmed case of the highly contagious coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa.
  • Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel is in favour of tightening virus restrictions for a short period to stem rising case numbers, her spokeswoman said. AFP reports that Merkel backs calls for a “short national lockdown”, Ulrike Demmer said, noting that the country’s health system was under growing pressure.
  • The Belgian government has said it will restrict access to the AstraZeneca vaccine to just those people over 55 in light of the European medicines agency’s advice that blood clots are a potential side-effect of the jab.
  • South America is now the most worrying region for Covid-19 infections, as cases mount in nearly every country, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.
  • The French health ministry reported on Wednesday that the number of people in intensive care units with Covid-19 increased by 103 to a new 2021 record of 5,729 people.
  • Adults under 30 should be offered an alternative vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca jab if there is one available in their area and they are healthy and not at high risk of Covid, the UK government’s vaccination advisory body said.
  • The EU drug regulator will begin an investigation next week on whether clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine followed global clinical and scientific guidelines, the Financial Times reported. But the official twitter handle for Sputnik V called the FT report “fake” and “incorrect”.
  • Moderna Inc’s chief medical officer Tal Zaks said the company should be able to provide a booster shot for protection against variants of the coronavirus by the end of this year, Reuters reports.

What do I need to know about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine?

The Guardian's Nicola Davis - Science correspondent, and Jon Henley - Europe correspondent have put together
this guide to what you need to know overnight, which is worth your time:
All medications including vaccines have some side-effects. The most common with the Covid jabs are mild and short-lived, including localised soreness, fatigue or aches and headaches.
However the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab has been linked to a small but concerning number of reports of blood clots combined with low platelet counts (platelets are cell fragments in our blood that help it to clot).
These include a rare clot in the brain called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). In an unvaccinated population, upper estimates suggest there may be 15 to 16 cases per million people per year. But also highly uncommon is the combination of CVST or other rare clots with low platelets, and sometimes unusual antibodies – and that combination is at the centre of current concerns.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said recipients of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab should look out for new headaches, blurred vision, confusion or seizures that occur four days or more after vaccination. The MHRA also flagged shortness of breath, chest pain, abdominal pain, leg swelling and unusual skin bruising as reasons to seek medical advice.
Up to and including 31 March, the MHRA said it received 79 reports of cases of blood clots combined with low platelets, including 19 deaths, following more than 20m doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab. That equates to about four cases for every million vaccinated individuals.
The MHRA added that 44 of the reports and 14 of the deaths related to CVST with a low platelet count. Of the 19 deaths, 11 were in people under the age of 50 and three were in people under the age of 30. The European Medicines Agency is also examining three cases of venous thromboembolism blood clots involving the Johnson & Johnson jab.
The MHRA says blood clots combined with low platelets can occur naturally in unvaccinated people as well as in those who have caught Covid, and that while evidence of a link with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has become stronger, more research is needed.
Read in full – there’s a lot more information here: What do I need to know about the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine?


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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 11:16

Ireland expands list of countries facing mandatory hotel quarantine

Travellers to Ireland from more European Union countries will be subjected to mandatory hotel quarantine in the coming days in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19 variants, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Thursday.
The government last week added 26 countries to the list of arrivals who must spend up to 14 days in a hotel room but stopped short of a recommendation by health officials to include the United States, Germany, Italy and France, countries where large numbers of Irish nationals live, Padraic Halpin reports for Reuters.
“What this is about is ensuring that when we - because I think it’s when, not if we extend the list of countries and that is going to include more EU countries - that we are ready for that and can deal with the capacity issues that are undoubtedly going to flow from it,” Coveney told national broadcaster RTE.

Distribution of AstraZeneca vaccine

A reminder that Italy is one of several countries that has decided, following the new advice from the EMA, to change how it distributes the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. It will from now on recommend the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine only for people over aged 60
It is a total switch for the country, which originally limited AstraZeneca to people under the age of 65 because of trial data showing it offered less protection against Covid-19 than other vaccines. On 8 March the health ministry said it could also be administered to over-65s. Now it will only be administered to the over-60s.
As my colleague Jon Henley has noted , there has been a considerable variation across Europe with how people have handled the AstraZeneca shot since it first went on the market.
Norway and Denmark were the first to temporarily halt the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot on 11 March after reporting several cases of a rare clot in the brain called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis combined with a low count of blood platelets.
Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, along with non EU-members Iceland and Norway, subsequently either paused the vaccine or banned the use of particular batches.
Most countries had already resumed innoculations with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, although often with restrictions. But Denmark and Norway have prolonged their initial suspension of the shot until mid-April pending further investigations.
Countries that have resumed use without restrictions include: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania.
Countries that have imposed restrictions on the shot’s use include Finland (65 and over); France (55 and over); the Netherlands (60 and over); and Sweden (65 and over).
Germany is offering the shot only to people aged 60 and over and in high-priority groups, with under-60s who have had a first shot recommended to get a different one, and Spain is giving it to only to those aged 55-65, plus essential workers over 65. Belgium is limiting it to over-55s.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 11:30

Change in AZ advice shows safety system is working - Hancock

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been speaking about new UK guidance on the use of the AstraZeneca jab for people under the age of 30.
On Wednesday, new advice was released saying under-30s in the UK are to be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca jab because of the evidence linking it to rare blood clots.
Hancock tells BBC Breakfast this shows the UK's safety system is working because the regulators were able to spot an "extremely rare event" that affects about four in a million people.
He says for under-30s it is still safe to have the AstraZeneca jab but, if they want, they can have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine instead.
He also reiterates that the UK remains on course to vaccinate all adults by end of July.

More than enough Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for under-30s

Hancock tells BBC Breakfast there will be "more than enough" Pfizer and Moderna supplies to offer all those who are under 30 one of those vaccines instead of the AstraZeneca jab.
He says there are 10.1 million people aged between 18 and 29 in the UK and 1.6 million of them have already been vaccinated because they’re care workers or clinically vulnerable.
He says the change in guidance will not affect the speed of the rollout.

No evidence of blood clots after second doses - Hancock

Hancock says there is "no evidence" of rare blood clots after people have received a second dose of the AstraZeneca jab, though regulators "remain vigilant" about the possibility of this.
He says for that reason, unless people have had a blood clot after their first dose they should come forward and have their second dose.

Risk of AZ blood clots similar to a long-haul flight - Hancock

Hancock is asked what he would say to people under 30 who are thinking of not getting a vaccine after seeing the news about blood clots.
He says the evidence suggests long Covid affects people in their 20s as much as any other age group.
The mental health impacts of Covid are also becoming "increasingly clear", the health secretary says.
Regulators are clear the benefits of vaccination "far outweigh the risks".
He adds the risk of developing blood clots after having the AstraZeneca jab is about the same as on a long-haul flight.

UK took 'sensible, rational decision' on AZ guidance, Hancock says

Hancock is asked about other countries "jumping on" the link between the AstraZeneca jab and blood clots and whether the UK reviewed it as early as it should have.
Hancock says regulators have looked at this daily "since the start".
He says the approach the UK took was to balance the benefits and risks and come to a "sensible, rational decision", pointing to other countries whose advice has changed several times on the jab.
He says the benefits for over-40s "spectacularly outweigh the risks".
"So I think we're taking the right approach, which is to be as safe as possible but not to lose out on the benefits that vaccination brings."

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 12:05

Half of people who tested positive in community had no symptoms - ONS

The Office for National Statistics data has also found that 53% of people who had a "strong" positive test for coronavirus reported having no symptoms, compared to 47% who did.
The strength of the test is measured by a cycle threshold (Ct) value and the lower the Ct value, the higher the viral load and stronger the positive test, the ONS said.
Fatigue, headache and cough were the most commonly reported symptoms from people who tested positive for Covid with a strong positive test between 1 December last year and 22 March.
Of those testing positive with a strong positive test, 18% reported a loss or taste of smell only, the ONS said.
All figures are for people in private households and excludes cases in hospitals, care homes and other institutional settings.

Poland reports highest daily death toll of pandemic yet

Adam Easton - Warsaw Correspondent
Poland has reported 954 coronavirus-related deaths in the previous 24 hours, by far the highest since the pandemic began, the health ministry has said.
The number of deaths is 42% higher than the previous record of 674 set during the peak of the second coronavirus wave in November.
A health ministry spokesman said the record was due to the recent surge in new infections and all-time high hospital admissions, but also because there was a delay in reporting deaths during the Easter holiday period, so Thursday’s figure reflects the number of deaths over a longer period than usual.
The number of new infections reported on Thursday was 27,887, up 87% from Wednesday, but lower than an all-time high last Thursday. The UK variant of the virus is responsible for 90% of all new cases, health ministry officials say.
Poland’s third coronavirus wave is testing the health system’s capacity to the limit, with 78% of available hospital beds and ventilators now occupied.
In the worst affected province of Silesia, some patients have been relocated to less burdened hospitals in neighbouring regions.
In total, Poland has reported 2,499,507 cases and 56,659 virus-related deaths. Some 15.6% of adults have received at least one vaccine dose.
Read more here .

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 12:11

What are the symptoms of a blood clot?

We've been answering readers' questions on the news that under-30s will be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.
This change was announced yesterday after the UK's medicines regulator shared evidence of its link to rare blood clots.
Lindsey Handley, from Caterham in Surrey, asked: "What are the signs you may be developing a blood clot?
The UK’s medicines regulator - the MHRA - says anyone who has the following symptoms four or more days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine should seek prompt medical advice:
Severe or persistent headache, blurred vision, chest pain, shortness of breath, swollen legs, persistent abdominal pain, unusual skin bruising, pinpoint spots - not including the injection site.
Read answers to more of your questions here .

Sputnik V vaccine in Slovakia

The Guardian
Most of the news is wall-to-wall vaccine-related this morning, and this is no different – with a new development in the row over the Sputnik V vaccine in Slovakia.
You may recall that prime minister Igor Matovic resigned last month after a festering political crisis started by the decision to purchase 200,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, despite it not being approved for use.
The country is yet to administer any doses, and Slovakia’s health agency SUKL said it didn’t have enough data from the manufacturer to approve it.
The makers of Sputnik V hit back at newspaper reports in Slovakia yesterday, saying that “Reports that somehow the Sputnik V vaccine in Slovakia is different from Sputnik V in clinical trials, citing anonymous sources, are fake. Unfortunately, we also expect additional fake news and provocations from enemies of Sputnik V in Slovakia who try to undermine the vaccine.”
Today that is SUKL itself, who Reuters report saying have issued a statement that the Sputnik V vaccine batches delivered to Slovakia do not have the same characteristics as the batches used in the Lancet Magazine studies. Expect more on this row.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 12:33

India reports record new Covid cases as vaccines run short in states

The Guardian
India reported a record 126,789 new Covid cases on Thursday as several states struggled to contain a second surge in infections , Reuters reports.
Daily infections surpassed 100,000 for the first time on Monday and have now exceeded that mark three times, the biggest daily rises in the world.
The government attributes the resurgence mainly on crowding and a reluctance to wear masks as shops and offices have reopened.
Vaccine centres in several states, including hardest-hit Maharashtra, have been shutting early and turning people away as supplies run out.
Read more here .

Iran sets Covid infection record for third consecutive day

Iran hit a new Covid infection record on Thursday for the third consecutive day, reporting 22,586 new cases, according to AP.
AP reports:
The new case count pushes Iran’s total during the pandemic over 2m, including 63,884 deaths after health authorities reported 185 new daily fatalities due to Covid-19.
The single-day infection toll exceeded the previous record set Wednesday by over 1,600.
Iran, which has battled the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East for over a year, is in the midst of a major surge after millions defied government guidance to gather and travel during Nowruz, the country’s biggest holiday.
The health minister has ordered non-essential shops in the capital and other major cities closed. The nation’s vaccine rollout, meanwhile, has gotten off to a slow start.

Indonesia bans all travel during Eid al-Fitr

Indonesia has banned land, air, water and rail travel during the Eid al-Fitr celebrations from 6 May to 17 to curb Covid transmission, a spokeswoman for its transport ministry has said.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 12:36

European court backs Czech mandatory jabs

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has backed the Czech Republic in its requirement for mandatory pre-school vaccinations, after families who were fined or whose children were refused entry to pre-schools appealed.
In a landmark ruling, the court found that while the Czech policy interfered with the right to a private life, there was a need to protect public health. All the cases pre-date the pandemic.
However, the issue of routine childhood vaccinations has come under increasing scrutiny due to the spread of Covid-19. The "measures could be regarded as being 'necessary in a democratic society'" the ECHR said.
"The objective has to be that every child is protected against serious diseases, through vaccination or by virtue of herd immunity," it added.
Under the Czech rules, parents are legally obliged to vaccinate their children against a number of childhood diseases unless this is not possible for health reasons.
However, the jabs cannot be forcibly given and unvaccinated children cannot be excluded on this basis once they reach primary school age.
Read more here .

Recap: Key developments this lunchtime

Here is a recap of the main stories so far today as it reaches lunchtime in the UK:

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 18:17

Scotland passes 10,000 Covid deaths milestone

Scotland has now recorded more than 10,000 deaths linked to Covid-19 since the outbreak began last March.
Figures from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show that 9,997 death certificates mentioned Covid up until Sunday 4 April.
Since then, a further five Covid deaths have been registered within 28 days of a positive test for the virus.
Pete Whitehouse, the NRS's director of statistical services, says: "We are seeing an encouraging reduction in the number of deaths involving Covid-19 but I am very conscious that these figures represent painful losses for families across Scotland.
"While registered deaths continue to fall, care should be taken when interpreting this week's figures. These have been affected by the recent public holiday as there may have been a delay in registering some deaths."
You can see the figures in more detail here.

How are European countries tackling the pandemic?

Europe's vaccination campaign has been hit by delays and the number of infections is rising in many countries. Lockdowns are once again coming into force, as governments take action against a third wave.
In France, new restrictions are being rolled out across the country.

  • Schools move to remote learning at least until 26 April
  • Non-essential shops across the country also have to close
  • People will be allowed to exercise outdoors within 10km (6 miles) of their home but cannot travel to other parts of the country unless they have a valid reason. As in previous lockdowns, they will have to fill out a form to explain why they have left their homes
  • There is a nationwide curfew between 19:00 and 06:00

Germany has extended its current restrictions until 18 April .

  • However, a planned five-day nationwide lockdown at the beginning of April has now been cancelled , after the plans were widely criticised
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it had been a "mistake" to try to introduce the additional measures at such short notice

In Italy, shops, restaurants and schools are once again closed in more than half of the country, including in Rome and Milan. People are required to stay at home except for work, health or other essential reasons.
Read more here .

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 18:25

Iran cases pass 2 million mark

Iran has recorded two million Covid cases, as the country battles the Middle East's worst outbreak, and as officials blame rising cases on trips made during last month's Persian New Year holidays.
Iran officially recorded 22,586 new cases over the last 24 hours, while 185 people lost their lives.
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi described the Covid infection rate as "meteoric" and said it was now "highly probable" that Iran could hit 600 deaths a day.
Many experts believe the actual number of infections is likely higher.
"The situation is bad, one really cannot imagine it being any worse," Payam Tabresi, a health expert at Tehran's Masih Daneshvari hospital, told the Ebtekar Daily.
More than 63,000 people have lost their lives to the virus in Iran.

The wall of hearts for each life lost to Covid-19

Bereaved families of Covid-19 victims are painting a mural on London's South Bank to pay tribute to and mourn their loved ones who have died of the virus.
The mural will be made up of almost 150,000 hand painted hearts and currently stretches to half a kilometre.
Fran Hall, whose husband died after contracting coronavirus three weeks after they got married, told BBC Newsnight: "Every single one of these hearts represents one person, and one family that have been bereaved like I have."
The memorial has been co-ordinated by the campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice and was founded by Matt Fowler who lost his father, Ian, to coronavirus in April 2020.
There are calls for the National Covid Memorial Wall to be made permanent and the prime minister has already indicated he's committed to a permanent memorial to those we've lost.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 18:29

Cambodia closes famous Angkor Wat as cases rise

Coronavirus - 8th April 2021 D8691210

Cambodia is shutting its most popular tourist destination, the centuries-old Angkor Wat temple complex, for two weeks as the country battles with a rise in cases.
Visitors are banned from 7 April to 20 April. The ancient site in Siem Reap province attracted 2.2 million foreign tourists in 2019, but numbers dropped drastically last year as the pandemic hit.
Coronavirus cases surged in February in the Southeast Asian nation. The health ministry blamed a foreign resident breaking quarantine in a hotel to visit a nightclub in the capital Phnom Penh as the source for the outbreak.
A total of 113 new local cases of the coronavirus and two deaths have been announced.
The government ramped up its restrictions last week, including a two-week, 20:00 to 05:00 curfew in the capital. It has also widened its vaccination campaign, targeting one million doses a month beginning this month.
Cambodia has so far avoided the worst of the pandemic, recording a total of 3,028 cases and 23 deaths.

Tendulkar leaves hospital following coronavirus infection

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India cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has been released from hospital a week after he was admitted having contracted Covid-19.
Tendulkar, 47, said on 27 March he had tested positive and was taken to a Mumbai hospital six days later "as a matter of abundant precaution".
The former batsman says he has returned home and "will remain isolated while continuing to rest and recuperate".
"I would like to thank everyone for all the good wishes and prayers," he said.
"I remain ever grateful to all the medical staff who took such good care of me and have been working tirelessly for over a year in such difficult circumstances."
Read more here .

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 18:35

Unpaid carers 'struggled to get pain relief' for terminally ill

Coronavirus - 8th April 2021 A1d30a10
Susan Lowe says she struggled to get pain relief medication for her mother, Sheila (pictured)

Unpaid carers looking after terminally ill friends and relatives during the pandemic struggled to access pain relief, with some patients dying in unnecessary pain, a survey has suggested.
The study, by charity Marie Curie, also found people had difficulties getting personal care and respite nursing for loved ones.
Figures show the number of people dying at home rose by 42% in the past year.
The government said it had taken action to support unpaid carers.
Nearly two-thirds of the 995 unpaid carers surveyed by the charity said their loved one did not get all the pain relief they needed when they were dying.
Susan Lowe, from Solihull, cared for her mother Sheila before she died with bowel cancer in April last year, aged 74.
She said caring for her mum during lockdown was hard as "the system was just under so much pressure that we had to manage largely on our own".
Read more here .

Shush! Libraries prepare to reopen on 12 April

Staff at the London Library, in St James Square are making final preparations ahead of its planned reopening to members on 12 April as the government eases current coronavirus restrictions.
Libraries will be allowed to open their doors in England along with shops and hairdressers. Restaurants and pubs will be able to serve people outside according to the next step of the government's roadmap.
There has been a reported surge in online book borrowing in England during the pandemic as the nation sought escapism and comfort in e-books.
And some people told us that libraries became a lifeline in lockdown.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 18:39

Where are numbers rising in South Asia?

India has the third largest number of coronavirus cases in the world, and its infection numbers are rising again.
Neighbouring countries are also seeing cases rising, as they attempt to ramp up vaccination programmes which only started in the last couple of months.
What's happening in India?
India is now reporting more than 100,000 cases in a single day, which is higher than the daily peak during last year's initial coronavirus wave.
And the Indian authorities recently reported the presence of a "double mutant" variant, leading to concerns that this might make the virus more transmissible.
But many of India's neighbours are now experiencing a rise in infections.

Coronavirus - 8th April 2021 E46ecb10

Read more here .

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 18:42

Breaking News

UK records 53 Covid deaths

There have been a further 53 coronavirus related deaths in the UK, according to government daily statistics.
It takes the total number of deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test to 126,980.
There were also 3,030 new infections recorded.

How many people have been vaccinated in the UK?

A total of 31,807,124 people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK, according to data from the government.
That's a rise of 99,530 since we had the statistics this time yesterday.
And 6,091,905 people have had their second dose - that's up by 408,396 in 24 hours.

When will I get the vaccine?

As we just told you, more than 31.8 million people in the UK have already have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and more than six million have now also had their second dose.
The UK is now using all three coronavirus vaccines which have been approved for use in the country: Pfizer, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna.
The government aims to have offered a first vaccine dose to about 32 million people in the top nine priority groups by 15 April.
Vaccines supplies are expected to be delayed during April, but the government insists the remaining 21 million people will still be offered their first dose by the end of July.
However, people under 50 without underlying medical conditions in England may now have to wait until May for their first jab. And, as we've been reporting, those under 30 will be offered an alternative to the Oxford jab.
They will be vaccinated in order of age:

  • 40-49 years
  • 30-39 years
  • 18-29 years

Read more here .

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 19:01

Philippines and Australia to limit AstraZeneca jab in youth

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The Philippines says only those over 60 will receive the jab

The Philippines and Australia have become the latest countries to limit the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in younger people.
The Philippines says only those over 60 will receive the jab. Australia will give those under 50 the Pfizer vaccine instead.
It follows findings in Europe that in extremely rare cases AstraZeneca's jab might be linked to blood clots.
Both the Philippines and Australia are facing delays in their inoculation programmes.
A lockdown in and around the Philippine capital, Manila, has just been extended as cases surge again.

Wuhan marks one year of lockdown ending

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
Today, people across China are marking a year since the central city of Wuhan ended lockdown.
For the Chinese people, this was one of the most powerful and emotional moments of the country’s Covid-19 outbreak. People today are revisiting footage of a city clock tower striking midnight, symbolising that the city’s 11 million people were safe enough to leave their homes for the first time.
Wuhan was the original epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. There were more than 50,000 confirmed cases in the city, more than half of China’s total cases.
People there spent 76 days in full lockdown in order to control the outbreak. On 23 January 2020, Wuhan closed its borders and people were ordered to stay within their homes. The city, which has a population of 11 million people, became a ghost town.
But today, state media is full of footage showing the city’s streets returning to their former vitality. Praise is being given to people for staying in their homes during a period of great uncertainty.
The lockdown had a significant impact on people’s mental health.
A psychology professor tells Xinhua: “When the epidemic was at its worst, we answered more than 300 calls a day.”
And other specialists have warned there needs to be continued attention in the city with regards “feelings of uncertainty, PTSD haunting front-line medics, and discrimination against former Covid-19 patients”.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 19:07

Buses in England to return to pre-pandemic levels as lockdown eases

Bus services in England should return to pre-pandemic levels by Monday, according to industry body CPT.
Passenger levels were at about 40% just before Easter, says CPT, which represents the bus and coach sector.
But companies are expecting more people to be travelling as lockdown measures ease further from 12 April, with shops and outdoor hospitality reopening.
In Wales services are at 80% of normal levels, while in Scotland they are at 95%, according to CPT.
A spokesman says: "The industry will be closely monitoring passenger demand as restrictions ease to ensure that services are at a level that allows passengers to travel safely."
Read more here .

When will I get the Covid jab?

In the UK, those most at risk from Covid-19, including front-line health and social care staff and older people, were offered the vaccine first.
The jab is now being offered to over-55s in England and Scotland, over-50s in Wales and over-45s in Northern Ireland, as well as over-16s with some underlying health conditions which increase their risk from the virus.
After this, younger people will be vaccinated in order of age and the government says it is on track to offer all adults a first dose by the end of July.
You can read more about the vaccine rollout here .

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 19:11

Rare blood clots: What you need to know

Investigations are taking place into whether cases of a rare type of blood clot are connected to the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.
The link between the vaccine and these rare clots - known as CVSTs - is not yet proven but experts say evidence is "firming up".
So how do the clots happen and how can you tell if you have one?
Our health reporter Smitha Mundasad explains more here .

Cameroon to probe 'embezzlement' of Covid-19 funds

Killian Ngala - BBC News, Yaoundé
Cameroon's President Paul Biya has ordered an investigation into the use of Covid-19 funds following allegations of financial embezzlement.
Human Rights Watch raised concern last month about what it called the "scant transparency" in the management of funds, although transparency was a pre-condition for getting loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to tackle the pandemic.
In April 2020, the health minister announced a $105m (£76m) response plan. The following month, the IMF approved a $256m emergency loan to help finance it.
In October, it approved a further loan of $156m to finance the health system and help businesses and households affected by the pandemic.
The IMF now wants accountability on the use of these funds.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 20:04

Ban on over-65s visits out of care homes 'dropped from guidance'

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Restrictions preventing people in residential care over the age of 65 in England from taking trips outside the home appear to have been dropped from government guidance.
John's Campaign, which fights for relatives to have better access to their loved ones while they are in care, launched a legal challenge last week over the rule.
Campaigners branded the guidance "discriminatory" and spoke of their "anger and heartbreak" at being apart from loved ones who, despite being vaccinated, had "no hope of visits out".
The "visits out of care homes" guidance on the government's website, that was updated on Wednesday, now has no reference to an age restriction.
It is understood the change was not in response to any campaign, but part of the ongoing review of guidance.
John's Campaign said it would "continue to press" the government to drop rules which mean anyone who leaves a care home must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

African Union drops plans to secure vaccines from India

The African Union (AU) has dropped plans to secure coronavirus vaccines from the Serum Institute of India and is instead exploring options with the US drug maker, Johnson & Johnson.
The head of Africa's Centres for Disease Control, John Nkengasong, says reliable supplies of vaccines were vital - and Indian restrictions on exports have complicated things for Africa.
He says the AU has already signed a deal for up to 400 million single dose jabs from Johnson & Johnson.
India's Serum Institute is licensed to make global supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab but Delhi has commandeered stocks to deal with surging infections.
Nkengasong says the AU's decision has nothing to do with the possible link to blood clots in rare cases involving the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will still be supplied to Africa through the UN's Covax scheme.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 08 2021, 20:09

Re-cap: Main developments in the UK and around the world

We're drawing our live coverage of today's coronavirus developments in the UK and around the world to a close, thanks for joining us. Here's a re-cap:


Thank you for joining us for coronavirus updates today.
They were written by Alex Therrien, Becky Morton, George Wright, and Jennifer Meierhans, and edited by George Bowden and James Clarke.
We will have more updates for you tomorrow, have a good evening.

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 12:57