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

Coronavirus - 13th April 2021

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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 19:10

Summary for Tuesday, 13th April

  • US health officials call for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout to be paused
  • Six cases saw women develop a rare disorder involving blood clots after being vaccinated - one died
  • Johnson & Johnson says it's going to delay the rollout of its vaccine in Europe and is reviewing the blood clot cases
  • The target of offering all UK over-50s and those in high-risk groups a first dose of a vaccine by 15 April has been met, ministers say
  • People in their late 40s can now book a jab in England, while those aged 40-45 have been making appointments in Wales and Northern Ireland
  • PM Boris Johnson warns that Covid cases and deaths will rise as lockdown lifts, despite the successful rollout
  • In Scotland some lockdown easing is brought forward - from Friday, people can travel outside their local area and six adults can meet up outside
  • The first Moderna vaccine has been given in England - Scotland and Wales began using it last week
  • Surge testing is implemented in two areas of south London, after a cluster of the South African variant was found


Welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are the latest headlines in the UK:


Summary from The Guardian


  • India is to fast-track emergency approvals for Covid-19 vaccines that have been authorised by western countries and Japan, paving the way for possible imports of Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax and Moderna shots. Since 2 April, India has reported the world’s highest daily tallies of infections, reaching more than 100,000 a day in the last week.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a halt to the sale of live wild mammals in food markets to prevent the emergence of new diseases. The WHO said that while traditional markets play a central role in providing food and livelihoods for large populations, banning the sale of live wild mammals could protect the health of market workers and shoppers alike.
  • Amnesty International has called this morning for a more equitable distribution of vaccines by South Asian governments. “Marginalised groups across south Asia have been effectively locked out by practical barriers. South Asia’s governments must ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for everyone,” said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director.
  • Thousands of supporters of a Pakistan Islamist party who blocked major roads to protest against the arrest of their leader also disrupted critical oxygen supplies for Covid-19 patients, health officials said.
  • US infectious disease official Dr Anthony Fauci said if safety concerns about AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine were “straightened out” it had good efficacy, but it might not be needed for Americans because of supplies of other shots.
  • Austria’s health minister, Rudolf Anschober, said on Tuesday he is stepping down as he is overworked because of the Covid-19 pandemic and his health has suffered.
  • Germany’s government is expected to agree today on controversial changes to a national infections control law that would hand Berlin more centralised power to impose sweeping measures to curb the raging coronavirus pandemic.
  • All over-50s and high-risk groups in the UK have been offered a coronavirus vaccine before the mid-April government deadline. The second phase of the rollout to younger cohorts is now beginning. England will follow Wales and Scotland and start using the Moderna vaccine at over 20 sites this week.


Latest across Europe


  • Three elderly Covid patients have died in Romania after a malfunction in a mobile intensive care unit’s oxygen supply. The ventilators stopped working because oxygen levels rose too high, officials in Bucharest said.
  • Belgian prosecutors have launched an investigation into threats made against virologist Marc van Ranst,who fronts Belgium’s anti-Covid campaign. Mr van Ranst says he’s fed up with constant death threats – the latest is allegedly from a dance manager. The virologist has had to have police protection for months.
  • Italian rugby will today pay its final respects to Massimo Cuttitta, a national rugby hero who played 70 times for his country and has died of Covid aged 54, days after his mother.
  • Cuttitta also played in England for Harlequins. His twin brother said Massimo had recently come back to Italy to spend more time with his mother after his father died.
  • Ireland has become the latest European country to limit the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca drug to over 60s. Extremely rare blood clots have been linked to the drug but the EU’s medical regulator say the benefits outweigh any risk.
  • French Prime Minister Jean Castex is expected to tell parliament today that regional elections will take place on two weekends running in the second half of June. The government asked 35,000 local mayors what they thought and most of them agreed they should go ahead.
  • The German government is set to agree changes to the country’s infections control law that hand more powers to the central government. Berlin has struggled to implement Covid measures on the 16 states and this change would enable imposing curfews and school closures.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 19:21

England 'buzzing' after first night out in 97 days

"It's full everywhere, It feels like a celebration, basically," one drinker tells the BBC.
"Honestly it feels so good, it feels like we're out of prison. We're celebrating a birthday, so it's the best gift, I guess," says another.
These were some of the responses from drinkers on their first night out in 97 days as England reopened outdoor hospitality yesterday.
Outdoor drinking and dining resumed for the first time since England's lockdown began on 5 January - although for millions of people who lived under tier 4 restrictions in December, the wait had been even longer.
Shops, hairdressers, gyms and zoos were among the other businesses reopening in England, while Northern Ireland's "stay-at-home" order was lifted and some rules were eased in Scotland and Wales .
Despite flurries of snow in parts of the country, people flocked to pubs and restaurants to celebrate the return of some of their freedoms.


Moderna vaccine rollout begins in England

England has begun giving out its first doses of the Moderna jab.
It will be available at 21 sites, including the Madejski Stadium in Reading and the Sheffield Arena, and is the third Covid-19 vaccine in the nation's rollout.
Along with the Pfizer jab, it offers an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for under-30s, after concerns about a possible link to very rare blood clots.
Prof Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, says having "a third jab in our armoury" marks another "milestone" in the vaccine programme.
He says more sites will offer the Moderna vaccine as further supplies arrive.
And he is urging people to come forward for vaccination when they are invited, saying the vaccines are "our hope at the end of a year like no other".
Wales and Scotland began using the Moderna vaccine last week.

When will I get the vaccine?

As we have mentioned, all over-50s and those in high-risk groups in the UK have now been offered a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
The government says it is on track to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July, with those in their late 40s expected to be next in England.
More than 32 million people in the UK have had their first dose.
So when will you get the jab?
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 19:32

NHS website crashes as people over 45 can now book vaccine

The NHS website for vaccination appointments has crashed after it updated to say those aged over 45 could book their jab .
A message on the website says: "The NHS website is currently experiencing technical difficulties.
"We are working to resolve these issues. Thank you for your patience."
Other users reported being placed in a queue, with a holding screen which read: "You are in a queue. Lots of people trying to book an appointment."

'Only halfway up the hill' in vaccine rollout

BBC Breakfast
Hitting the government's target of vaccinating all over-50s and those in high-risk groups in the UK is "great news" but "we're only halfway up the hill", a vaccine adviser says.
On reaching the milestone, Prof Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, tells BBC Breakfast: "It's obviously great news, but we're only halfway up the hill.
"We mustn't take our eye off the task and we've got to keep working to get to the top."
Prof Finn says people over 50 who have not been invited for a first dose of the vaccine should make a "gentle enquiry" with their GP.
He also says the Moderna vaccine, which begins rollout in the UK today, is "enormously important" and will enable the country to begin phase two of the vaccination programme.
Asked about the use of beer gardens, which is allowed again in England since yesterday, Prof Finn says people should view the easing of Covid restrictions "in relative terms".
"It's not like it's over and we can all go back to normal, because otherwise there will be risks," he says.

Third wave 'could cause 30-50,000 deaths'

Today Programme - BBC Radio 4
Prof Jeremy Brown of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) says even with vaccinations, a third wave of coronavirus infections could cause 30-50,000 more deaths in the UK.
He has been telling the Today programme about the importance of everyone taking up their vaccine where offered - and says the higher the proportion of the population vaccinated, the less likely those deaths will be.
He says he feels "mighty relieved" the UK is in a position where a high proportion of the vulnerable population has been vaccinated already, so if we "lost control" of the virus, the amount of damage it could do would be "relatively restricted".
But a big third wave could still lead to up to 50,000 deaths, which is why vaccines for all and other measures such as social distancing are important, he says.
it's "vitally important" that the last few percentage of people to not take up their jab offer now do so, Prof Brown says. The 5-10% of people not taking up their jab offer could get infected when the virus recirculates through the community, and they could end up in hospital.
He says too as 10-15% of hospitalisations are in people under 50, it's really important for those aged 40-50 to get vaccinated.
Younger people can be affected by long Covid, which is another reason it will be important for them to have a jab - "social issues" like vaccine passports will also play a part, he says. He adds he thinks "the population is more accepting of the concept of vaccine passports than some politicians".
Prof Brown also talks about booster jabs - he says it's going to be difficult to guarantee you get the same type of vaccine, after your first two doses, but testing is going on into mixed vaccine combinations.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 19:37

'Virus variant spread could lead to reopening pause'

Today Programme - BBC Radio 4
Prof James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, has been reacting to Prof Brown's comments.
He says it "remains a possibility" that until the vaccination reaches the younger population, there are so many young people that if there is a "large uncontrolled spread", then "some of them will die".
Prof Naismith says he is supportive of the government's unlocking but we have to be driven by what happens with the Covid variants and how the vaccination campaign continues to unfold.
if the South Africa variant has really taken off - and we will know in the next two to three weeks - then the rest of reopening might have to be paused, he adds.

NHS vaccine booking website 'fixed'

The NHS booking website for Covid vaccinations is now working.
Shortly after it crashed, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi tweeted that the problem had been "fixed".

Everyone in two London boroughs urged to take test


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Everyone aged 11 or over in two London boroughs is being urged to be tested for coronavirus after a cluster of the South African variant was found.
The additional testing in Wandsworth and Lambeth comes after there were 44 confirmed, and 30 probable, cases of the variant.
All identified cases are isolating or have completed their isolation and their contacts have been traced.
People aged 11 and over who live, work or travel through the affected areas are being urged to take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, as well as using twice-weekly rapid testing.
Positive results from PCR testing will be sent for genomic sequencing at specialist labs.
It's the largest surge testing operation so far, the Department of Health and Social Care says.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is urging people in the affected boroughs to get tested "as soon as possible".
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 19:43

People in surge testing boroughs 'can still enjoy lockdown easing'

Today Programme - BBC Radio 4
People living in areas of London where surge testing is being advised can still go out and enjoy lockdown easing, a local official says.
Ruth Hutt, director of public health at Lambeth Council, when asked about whether people should stay home, replies: "No, we want everybody to follow the advice that still stands around 'hands, face, space'.
"We want them to enjoy the easing of lockdown but to do that safely, and it is a really good opportunity now to mobilise all this testing just to check we don't have any further cases of this variant in either Lambeth or Wandsworth."
She says a lot of the cases found have been discovered through asymptomatic testing, with one of the clusters picked up in a local care home where regular testing takes place.
"As a result of that, what we want to do is a wider testing across the general public of anybody who doesn't have symptoms to check there aren't further cases out there that we may have missed," adds Hutt.
She says she is "fairly confident" the local authority has managed to trace the contacts of people who have tested positive for the South African variant so far.

Coronavirus - 13th April 2021 Bcd86110
A queue has been forming at a temporary PCR testing site on Clapham Common



More deaths 'involving' flu and pneumonia than Covid-19

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
In the week ending 2 April, there were more deaths registered “involving” flu and pneumonia in England and Wales than there were involving Covid-19.
But there were more deaths caused by Covid.
This has been the case every week since the end of February.
About 1,100 deaths in the most recent week “involved” flu and pneumonia – about 800 below the five year average for that type of death. “Involved” means that the registering doctor believed that it contributed in some way to the death.
But only a small number of those deaths (21% - or just under 240) deaths were caused by flu or pneumonia.
Of the 450 deaths “involving” Covid-19 in the UK in the most recent week, 400 were in England and Wales. And of those 400, more than three-quarters (308 deaths) were caused by Covid.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 19:50

Botswana halts Covid vaccination in some regions

The authorities in Botswana have stopped vaccination in some regions saying doses allocated to them have been depleted.
The country has so far vaccinated 17,808 people, according to data from the health ministry.
People in affected regions have been advised to wait for the next vaccine shipment which is expected to arrive in weeks, the ministry says.
Meanwhile President Mokgweetsi Masisi has moved a night curfew to start at 22:00 local time (20:00 GMT) from the earlier start time of 20:00 local time.
Botswana has reported 40,998 Covid-19 cases including 663 deaths.

Austria health minister resigns because of exhaustion

Austria's health minister Rudolf Anschober has resigned, saying he's exhausted.
"I've decided to resign from my job... I'm overworked and powered out," he says, adding that his 15 months in the role has felt like 15 years.
He has been off work since last week, and he also took a week off sick last month and checked into a hospital.
Anschober became health minister just before the pandemic last year, when his Green party formed an unlikely coalition with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's conservatives.
Austria was praised in the first wave for managing to keep the virus relatively at bay. Now, its capital Vienna and two adjacent provinces have been in lockdown since the beginning of the month.
The country has recorded more than 581,000 cases and over 9,700 deaths.

'Community and coming together is hindered'

The month of Ramadan is affected by Covid restrictions for the second year running. Here, Muslims in Wales talk about the impact the virus is having on Ramadan this year.

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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 19:53

.
Breaking News 

PM: Lifting lockdown will mean more deaths

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned of the consequences of lifting lockdown, telling reporters: "As we unlock, the result will inevitably be that we will see more infection, sadly we will see more hospitalisation and deaths, and people have just got to understand that."
He also says it is "very important" for people to understand that the reduction in infections, hospitalisations and deaths "has not been achieved by the vaccination programme".
"People don't, I think, appreciate that it's the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic and the figures that we've seen," he says.
"Yes of course the vaccination programme has helped but the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown."
The PM says he cannot see any reason to change the roadmap out of lockdown at the moment, but urges caution, saying that people must continue to "do the basic things" to get there.

Germany to have more power to impose national restrictions

The German government has agreed on a controversial law change that gives it the power to pass tougher Covid restrictions.
The adjusted national infections control law, which still needs to be approved by parliament, would allow the federal government to impose curfews from 9pm to 5am, and to close schools and businesses in areas with high infection rates.
Currently, restrictions are decided on in consultation with the federal government and are then supposed to be put in place by the regions. But in many cases, regional leaders have failed to put in place agreed-upon shutdown measures - and in some cases have even allowed shops and cinemas to stay open.
Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, says the aim of the new law is to apply "uniform national" rules.
Germany is currently seeing a third wave of the virus, despite non-essential businesses being closed for months. With cases continuing to rise, health officials are warning that hospitals could soon become overwhelmed if stricter national measures are not put in place.

Breaking News 

Scotland's stay at home message to end on Friday

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says people will be allowed to travel outside their local council area for the first time from Friday.
Six adults from up to six households will also be able to meet up outside, Sturgeon says.
Read more here
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 19:59

Scottish FM warns against complacency

We've got more from Nicola Sturgeon as she announces Scots can leave their local area from Friday.
The first minister says they can take this step out of lockdown because "significant progress" has been made in reducing the number of Covid-19 cases in Scotland.
Addressing the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, Sturgeon says figures are now at their lowest since September, and have fallen by 40% in the past two weeks.
But she warns against complacency as Scotland continues to tackle the virus, saying: "We've got to be careful not to do too much all at once, because we don't want the virus quickly gaining ground again, particularly because this new variant is, we know, more infectious and setting us all back."

Man City & Tottenham to take 2,000 fans each to Wembley

Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City will both have 2,000 fans at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final on 25 April.
But fans under 18 cannot attend and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable or pregnant have also been told not to apply for tickets.
To get into Wembley, fans must take a lateral flow coronavirus test at a designated site - not at home - in the 24 hours before the game.
And they must bring proof of a negative result, either a text or an email.
Fans who get a ticket must sign a consent form, as the match is part of the government's events research programme, which is assessing how major events can reopen safely to the public as coronavirus restrictions ease.
Find out more here.

Turkey to tighten Covid restrictions

Turkey will need stricter Covid restrictions to fight a "third peak" of the virus, the country's health minister Fahrettin Koca says.
A panel of scientists advising the government on the pandemic is recommending a series of tougher measures to combat the virus.
Koca doesn't provide details, but says more contagious variants are now dominant in Turkey.
He says the Coronavirus Science Council's recommendations will be presented to the cabinet today, adding: "This is the third peak [of the virus] in Turkey, and the fourth in Istanbul."
Turkey is the fourth-highest globally in new cases numbers, which hit almost 56,000 on Saturday - a five-fold jump from early March.
On 29 March Turkey announced weekend lockdowns and restrictions for restaurants and cafes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts today.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 20:02

Testing firm to reduce cost of PCR tests for travellers returning to UK

Major coronavirus testing firm Randox says it will reduce the price of PCR tests to £60 for travellers returning to the UK from overseas.
This is around half the typical cost.
The discounted tests will be available for people flying with partner airlines, who have not been announced.
It comes after criticism that the government's plan for restarting international leisure travel will be too costly for some - requiring all passengers to get at least one PCR test on return to the UK. Transport Minister Grant Shapps has said costs do need to be driven down.
The earliest date that holidays abroad will be permitted is 17 May - although that is not yet confirmed.

Mansfield has highest Covid infection rate

Amy Woodfield - BBC News
Mansfield now has the highest number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in England.
Figures for the seven days to 8 April showed the Nottinghamshire market town had an infection rate of 104.3.
That's a 14% increase on the previous week.
The actual number of cases reported in Mansfield during those seven days was 114.

Latest around the world

Good morning to our readers in the US, and good afternoon to those of you in the UK and Europe. If you're reading this from the Middle East or Asia, good evening.
A lot has happened today. To help you catch up, here's a summary of the main stories from around the world so far.

  • The US's Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has recommended that jabs with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are paused
  • The decision comes after six people developed a rare disorder involving blood clots - one died, and another is in a critical condition. According to the CDC, almost seven million people have had the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine so far
  • In response, Johnson & Johnson says "no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events" and the jab
  • In Austria, health minister Rudolf Anschober has resigned, citing exhaustion. He has told a press conference today he is "overworked and powered out", and his 15 months in the job have felt like 15 years
  • The German federal government has moved to give itself more powers to enforce national coronavirus measures, including imposing curfews from 9pm to 5am and to close schools and businesses. The adjusted national infections law still needs to be approved by parliament
  • Ireland has become the latest European country to limit the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to over-60s, over links to rare blood clots
  • Turkey is going to impose tighter coronavirus restrictions, health minister Fahrettin Koca says, but he hasn't given any details. The measures, he says, are necessary to contain the "third peak" of the virus in the country - particularly as more contagious variants of the virus are now dominant
  • Botswana has halted vaccinations in some regions, saying doses allocated to them have been depleted. People in affected regions have been told to wait for the next shipment, which is expected to arrive in weeks.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 20:11

Ban on clinically vulnerable at Wembley cup final 'direct discrimination'


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Wembley has been hosting games behind closed doors

Earlier we told you that 4,000 football fans will be able to watch the Carabao Cup final at Wembley - but those who are clinically vulnerable cannot attend.
Tottenham disabled fans' group, SpursAbility, has called the decision "direct discrimination" and is asking for it to be reviewed.
In a statement SpursAbility says a number of its members have been shielding for over 12 months and see the match as an opportunity to return to some form of normal lifestyle.
Most will have had their first and second jabs and "are at considerably lower risk than those who are yet to be vaccinated", it says.
It says government guidance places those aged 70 or over at an equal or higher risk category yet they are not banned from attending the match.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has been approached for a response and there's more on that story here.

Breaking News 

Johnson & Johnson to delay European jab rollout

Johnson & Johnson says it's going to delay the rollout of its vaccine in Europe, and is reviewing cases of extremely rare blood clots in a small number of people who've received the jab.
US health officials earlier called for a pause on Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccinations, after six people there developed a rare disorder involving blood clots.
All of the people who developed the disorder were women between the ages of 18 and 48. One person died, and another is in a critical condition.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost seven million people have been given the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the US so far.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 20:14

Source of South African variant cluster in south London

By Jim Reed, BBC News health reporter
The outbreak of the South African variant of coronavirus in south London appears to have been triggered by an individual who travelled from Africa in February, according to documents seen by the BBC.
The link has not been proved beyond doubt but is the working assumption of contact tracers at this time.
The country involved was not on the red list for mandatory hotel quarantine at that time, but it has now been placed on the list.
An executive summary of the outbreak published yesterday at 15:00 BST and marked "Official Sensitive" says the individual did self-isolate and requested a home test after showing symptoms.
It’s thought the virus was spread from that person to members of their household and then to a care home in Lambeth.
Some 23 cases of the South African variant were detected in the care home, involving 13 staff and 10 residents.
Six of the 10 residents infected had received one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine two or more weeks before their positive test date. One of the 13 infected staff had a single Pfizer vaccine dose two or more weeks before their positive test date.
The timing may raise questions about the vaccination of care home workers at a time when the government is considering making the jab mandatory for that group.
Other clusters related to the first outbreak were detected at two primary schools in Wandsworth.
Some 54% of pupils, teachers and their families who could have taken up extra surge testing made available since the cases came to light have now done so.
Surveillance of wastewater in a small part of Southwark also identified the presence of the South African variant, although that specific genetic type has not yet been linked to the outbreak in Lambeth and Wandsworth.
Targeted surge testing is expected to be put in place in Southwark as a result.
The document, from the National Covid-19 Response Centre run by the Department of Health, describes the ongoing risk to public health of the outbreak in south London as moderate.

Israel to start letting vaccinated tourists visit

Israel is going to start allowing vaccinated groups of tourists into the country next month, an official statement says.
All foreign visitors will have to show evidence of a negative PCR Covid test before boarding their flight to Israel. When they land at Ben Gurion airport, near Tel Aviv, they will need to take a serological test to prove they've been vaccinated.
The country shut its borders at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020.
However, its own vaccination campaign has quickly brought down the number of Covid-19 infections within the country.
"Israel is the first vaccinated country, and the citizens of Israel are the first to enjoy this result," health minister Yuli Edelstein says. "After opening the economy, it is time to allow tourism in a careful and calculated manner."
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 20:18

Vaccines alone will not stop Covid spreading - here's why

Many of us are hoping vaccines against coronavirus will be our route out of lockdown, enabling us to reclaim our old lives.
But scientists say jabs alone will not currently be enough and other measures are still needed.
Click here to find out why .

Ramadan begins amid Covid restrictions

Millions of Muslims are celebrating the start of Ramadan , a festival that includes a month of fasting and prayer.
This is the second Ramadan to fall during the coronavirus pandemic, meaning some communities will be celebrating amid Covid restrictions.
Believers taking part will not eat or drink anything during daylight hours.
Fasting is considered to be an act of worship, which enables Muslims to feel closer to God and strengthen their spiritual health and self-discipline.
Here are pictures from around the world showing preparations for Ramadan and the first day of the festival.

Scotland: What Covid rules are changing, and when?

The latest announcement on Scotland's journey out of lockdown means people will be allowed to meet in groups of up to six adults from six households in outdoor settings from Friday.
People will also be permitted to travel across Scotland as long as they do not stay overnight.
All remaining shops and close-contact services such as nail salons are due to reopen on 26 April.
Pubs, restaurants and bars will be able to serve people outdoors - in groups of up to six from three households - until 22:00 from that date. Alcohol will be permitted, and there will be no requirement for food to be served.
There will also be a partial resumption of indoor hospitality - food and non-alcoholic drinks can be served until 20:00 for groups of up to four people from no more than two households. Contact details will still need to be collected.
Here are dates for when more of the current rules will be relaxed.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 20:21

Pub landlord says staff having to 'police rule-benders'

A pub landlord says his staff are having to police people who try to bend coronavirus rules by booking extra tables.
Covid restrictions mean venues can only serve customers sitting outdoors in groups of up to six people or from two households.
James Linder of The Eagle in Norwich says: "We've had people try to book under different names to try to form large groups - we've had to catch them out, which is not great.
"With the greatest will in the world, they start mingling between the tables after a couple of drinks and forming one group."
He says he has to turn tables away which loses money and upsets staff.
"They don't want to be going in and policing people," he says.
Trade body UK Hospitality says: "We need people to stick by the rules."
Read more on this story here.

Laptop and tablet target 'nearly met'

The Department for Education (DfE) pledged to provide 1.3 million laptops and tablets to disadvantaged pupils at the start of the pandemic - and is very close to the target, but has not yet reached it, new data suggests.
The DfE figures show that a total of 1,295,752 laptops and tablets have been delivered or dispatched to support children to access remote education since the start of the pandemic.
Overall, 733,331 devices have been sent to councils, academy trusts, schools and colleges across England since the most recent lockdown began on 4 January.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, says: "The government has been promising for months that it would deliver 1.3 million laptops to schools and we are now tantalisingly close to seeing that target achieved.
"We do not underestimate the scale of the government's logistical operation but the truth is they were slow to react in the first place, slow to get started and progress since has been painfully slow."
The DfE has said it is in contact with local authorities, schools and colleges to encourage them to order their allocated devices if they have not yet done so.

Portugal's lockdown easing 'could be halted'

Portugal is currently in the process of easing out of its lockdown - but, senior officials have been told, this may need to be halted or reversed within two weeks.
The country is a week into phase two of the government's roadmap for easing the lockdown imposed on 15 January, with all but the largest on-street shops allowed to open since last Monday, and cafes and restaurants open for outdoor dining.
However, officials were told at an expert briefing that case numbers and the R number could soon breach thresholds the government has said would make it necessary to halt or even reverse course, the BBC's Alison Roberts reports.
"With this level of growth and a rate close to 71 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the time to reach the line of 120 is between two weeks and one month," Baltazar Nunes, a biostatistician at the National Health Institute (INSA), says. He adds the Algarve, Madeira and Azores regions have already breached this threshold.
The R rate, he adds, has also shown a "systematic increase" in recent days, with the most recent official figure - for 8 April - being 1.09.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 20:25

Disabled football fans 'should be able to make their own choices'

Charities working with disabled people are criticising plans to exclude vulnerable football fans from being able to apply for tickets for the Carabao Cup final.
It was announced earlier Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City will both be allowed 2,000 fans at Wembley for the final on 25 April. But under-18s, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and pregnant women have been asked not to apply.
Level Playing Field - a charity that campaigns for inclusive matchday experience and equal access for all disabled sports fans - says it is "very disappointed" by the decision.
And Louise Rubin, head of policy and campaigns at disability equality charity Scope, says: "Disabled people have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic and, as the UK begins to recover from coronavirus and open up again, they should be able to access sport and other social events just in the same way as everyone else.
"Disabled people should be able to make their own choice about what's right for them, rather than being subject to arbitrary and discriminatory blanket policies."
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has been approached for a response.
You can read more here.

Is the South Africa variant outbreak in London under control?

Jim Reed - BBC health reporter
Earlier, we brought you the news that surge testing had begun in Wandsworth and Lambeth after an outbreak of the Covid-19 variant first identified in South Africa.
It appears to have been triggered by an individual who travelled from Africa in February, according to documents seen by the BBC.
The documents say that in Southwark - which is to the east, the neighbouring borough - they tested sewerage water there and found traces of the South African variant in one particular area. At the moment they don't know if it's related to these other outbreaks but they are sending in targeted surge testing in Southwark.
The impression I get is that they are quite confident this is probably under control but not certain yet at this stage, which is why they have done this huge rollout of these tests to make sure that they're going to pick up people who are asymptomatic in particular.

Younger Brazilians fall ill as Covid cases explode

Concern is growing in Brazil about the rising number of young people who are critically ill in hospital with Covid-19.
Research suggests more than half of patients being treated in intensive care last month were under 40.
The BBC's Mark Lowen visited Latin America's largest cemetery, a makeshift hospital and a vaccine hub to find out why the handling of the pandemic in Brazil has become a public health disaster.
video
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 20:29

'So little margin for error' with London variant outbreak

As we've reported, health authorities in the London boroughs of Wandsworth and Lambeth are urging people to get tested, even if they have no symptoms, after cases of the South African variant were found in the area.
Experts are concerned that this variant - along with a few others - may be able to get round some of the protection given by vaccines.
Danny Altmann, a professor of Immunology at Imperial College London, said he was worried by the news of the outbreak.
"It was always one of my nightmare scenarios, that just as we were being kind of coaxed to put a toe in the water of unlocking, something like this would come along," Prof Altmann told BBC Radio 4's PM programme.
"That really can scupper our plans if we let it get out of control."
Prof Altmann said he thought the response had been good - but "there's so, so little margin for error".
"You only have to miss a handful of cases and have them run riot through London, and then you're back where we were back in January, February 2020 with a whole new outbreak".
Asked whether he thought the UK's borders were too relaxed, the professor said we need to "be a bit more like the countries like Vietnam and South Korea" who have very tight border restrictions.
And questioned on whether he thought it seemed strange that people in areas such as Lambeth were still going to the pub, he said: "It does in a way."

Breaking News 

UK records 23 coronavirus deaths

There have been a further 23 coronavirus-related deaths in the UK, according to government data.
It means a total of 127,123 people have now died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.
A total of 2,472 new cases were detected.

All university students in England to return from 17 May 'at the earliest'


Coronavirus - 13th April 2021 3f8ae410
About half of students have been studying off campus - and all students will now return to a mix of face-to-face and online classes

Students on all university courses in England will be able to return from 17 May at the earliest, the government has announced.
It means a return to campuses for about a million students, who have only been able to study online since the Christmas holidays.
Since the start of the year, only students on practical, hands-on courses have been allowed in-person teaching.
Students will be offered Covid tests when they return for face-to-face classes, "no earlier than 17 May".
University leaders had been lobbying for an earlier return - saying it was unfair to keep restrictions on campuses when shops were open.
Read the latest here.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 20:37

Mick Jagger and Dave Grohl release a song about lockdown

One of the biggest names in rock music, Sir Mick Jagger, has just released a song about the lockdown.
The track, Eazy Sleazy, was written by Rolling Stones singer Sir Mick, and recorded in collaboration with another rock giant, Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters.
The song begins with the lines: "We took it on the chin, the numbers were so grim" and the record label says Sir Mick goes on to reflect on Zoom calls, "home in these prison walls" and too much TV.
Sir Mick said: "It’s a song that I wrote about coming out of lockdown, with some much needed optimism.
"Thanks to Dave Grohl for jumping on drums, bass and guitar, it was a lot of fun working with him. Hope you all enjoy Eazy Sleazy.”
Grohl added: It’s hard to put into words what recording this song with Sir Mick means to me. It’s beyond a dream come true.
"Just when I thought life couldn’t get any crazier... and it’s the song of the summer, without a doubt!!”

UK sees 150,000 deaths involving Covid

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
The UK has seen 150,000 deaths involving coronavirus, according to figures released today by the Office for National Statistics.
These are different to the deaths we hear about every day.
The government daily figure only counts deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
This misses deaths that happen, say, 30 days after a positive test or where there was no test.
So the ONS figures are more comprehensive: they look at death certificates that mention coronavirus as a factor.
But they take longer to arrive – today’s figures only include deaths registered up to the week of 2 April.
It has taken two and a half months to go from 100,000 deaths to 150,000.
But things look very different compared to mid-January.
Back then, things were getting worse quickly. We went from 100,000 to 125,000 in three short weeks.
With the decreases we have seen since then, we can hope to see hundreds, rather than thousands of deaths in the coming weeks.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Apr 13 2021, 20:41

UK's quarantine rules 'not adequate' - Labour

A cluster of cases of the South African variant in south London is a result of the government failing to protect the UK’s borders against Covid variants, according to Labour.
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds told Radio 4’s PM programme: “There should have been a comprehensive hotel quarantining system introduced some months ago – which is what I’ve been calling for.”
The UK has a "red list" of countries - from which entry to the UK is banned – but the new outbreak appears to have been triggered by an individual arriving from a country which wasn’t on that list.
Thomas-Symonds said it was “precisely for this reason that the so-called red list is not adequate to protect our borders”.
He said he wanted the government to change course and “put it in place now”, although he added whether it would remain in place after 17 May – the earliest date international travel could start under England’s roadmap - would depend on the data at the time.
He said the worst scenario was a variant entering the country that badly affected the efficacy of the UK’s vaccines, adding that this was why it was “so vital” that the government acted now.

What's been happening around the world?

Here's a reminder of the stories we've been covering from around the world:


And what's been happening in the UK?

There have been plenty of coronavirus developments to tell you about today and we are going to be bringing our live page to a close shortly. Here's a recap of what's been going on in the UK:


Goodbye - and thanks for joining us

That's it for our live coverage for today. It was edited by James Clarke and Holly Wallis, and written by Jennifer Meierhans, Ella Wills, Lauren Turner and Ashitha Nagesh.

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 14:50