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

Coronavirus - 2nd May 2021

Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sun May 02 2021, 15:19

Summary for Sunday, 2nd May

  • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says the UK is working closely with India as it grapples with soaring cases, and shortages of oxygen and vaccines
  • He says the UK will "look very carefully" at any request for vaccines from the nation, stressing the "relationship is very important to us"
  • India has reported its highest number of deaths in a 24-hour period since the start of the pandemic
  • Meanwhile, the UK's aim is still for Covid restrictions to end from 21 June, but there'll "need to be some safeguards in place", Raab says
  • Such measures could include some "around distancing" and maybe around masks, he adds
  • In England, self-isolation rules for those who come into contact with a Covid-positive person could be relaxed, as a result of a major new study
  • From next week, 40,000 people contacted by NHS Test and Trace will be asked to take a rapid test every morning for a week, instead of isolating
  • Large crowds are being allowed into more events today as studies continue into the spread of coronavirus
  • Some 5,000 people will attend a music festival at Sefton Park in Liverpool, and a capacity crowd will watch the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield


Welcome to today’s coronavirus live page. Here are the main headlines this morning.


What the papers say


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  • The Mail’s front page claims to have more details of what we can expect from the next steps of our return to normality , as Covid measures are lifted.  It says that the government's list of so-called "green" countries – which holidaymakers can visit without having to quarantine - will be announced this week.  It also suggests the 30-person limit for funerals will be abolished from 17 May and the one-metre social-distancing rule will be scrapped from 21 June.
  • The Sunday Express reports the UK economy is on course for "lift off" after months of lockdown restrictions.  It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock backs a plan to replace the self-isolation requirements with home testing, to get people “going to work and living their lives”.
  • Health officials are drawing up plans to offer the Pfizer vaccine to secondary school pupils from September, according to the Sunday Times.  It says documents compiled by NHS officials include the offer of a single dose to children aged 12 and over when the new school year starts. However, the go-ahead will depend on the assessment of the government's scientific advisers, which is due later this summer.


Quarantine for Covid contacts could be scrapped

Those found to have been in close contact with someone with Covid may not have to self-isolate for 10 days, if a new trial is successful.
The trial will ask close contacts to take rapid lateral flow tests for seven consecutive mornings, with no requirement to quarantine providing the tests are negative and they do not show any symptoms of Covid.
About 40,000 people in England will be invited to take part in the trial from next week.
A study of the NHS Test and Trace system published last month revealed many people do not fully self-isolate when asked to do so.
Men, younger people and parents with young children were less likely to self-isolate - as were those from more working-class backgrounds, people in financial hardship and key workers.
It is hoped the trial could provide evidence to reduce the length of time contacts of positive cases need to isolate.
"This study will help to determine whether we can deploy daily testing for contacts to potentially reduce the need for self-isolation, while still ensuring that chains of transmission are stopped,” said Professor Isabel Oliver, Public Health England's national infection service director.
"Contacts of cases are at higher risk of infection so testing them is a very effective way of preventing further spread."
Read more.

Police officer assaulted during Covid inspection at bar in Northern Ireland

A police officer was punched and knocked unconscious as he responded to a report of underage drinking and Covid rule breaches at a County Tyrone bar.
A second officer was then punched when he tried to detain the suspect at the premises in Fintona on Friday evening.
Police said there were about 150 people present when they entered the premises at about 18:35 BST.
A 17-year-old boy was arrested for assaulting a police officer and disorderly behaviour.
The bar was issued with a warning and £1,000 fine.
"It is completely unacceptable that two of our colleagues were carrying out their duties when they were assaulted in such a nasty way," said Ch Insp Johnston McDowell.
The officer who was knocked unconscious was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Northern Ireland's Covid-19 lockdown rules were relaxed on Friday, allowing hospitality businesses to operate outdoors, with limited numbers and table service only.
Read more.
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Post by Kitkat Sun May 02 2021, 15:23

India facing acute shortages of oxygen, hospital beds and vaccines

India continues to face acute shortages of medical oxygen and hospital beds, as a devastating second wave of Covid-19 batters its health system.
Some 3,523 deaths were officially recorded in the past 24 hours - but the real figure is thought to be far higher as many fatalities go unreported.
The nationwide vaccine drive is also struggling with supplies.
All adults in India are now eligible to be vaccinated, but despite being the world's biggest producer of vaccines, the country is suffering an internal shortage.
More than 13 million people aged 18-45 have registered for the jab, but states including central Madhya Pradesh and hard-hit Maharashtra have said they will not be able to start vaccinating this age group over the weekend as planned.
India has placed a temporary hold on all exports of AstraZeneca to meet domestic demand.
On Saturday, it became the first country to report more than 400,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day - and many believe the second wave has still not reached its peak.
"What is worrying is the infection is now spreading to rural parts of the country where over 60% of the population lives without basic minimum healthcare," said BBC correspondent Devina Gupta speaking from Delhi.
Read more.

India needs a 15-day lockdown, government adviser says

India needs a 15-day lockdown to break the chain of transmission, a doctor advising the government in Delhi says.
Dr Ranjeev Ranjan, chief advisor to the All Indian Institute of Medical Science, tells the BBC's Andrew Marr that "every family" has someone who is affected by Covid.
"You get the news of a very high profile personality dying of Covid every day so it's very, very painful," he told Marr.
He says he believes India will reach the peak in coronavirus cases "in a week or so".
The country needs a complete lockdown for 15 days to break the transmission chain and he hopes the government will do this soon, he says.
He says the main focus is to get "the maximum number of people vaccinated as soon as possible".
"We are the largest vaccine-producing country in the world but we are a population of on 1.4bn," he says.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sun May 02 2021, 15:31

People are thinking about hugging loved ones when lockdown lifts

The aim of lifting all lockdown restrictions by 21 June has got people thinking about hugging their loved ones again, the foreign secretary says.
Earlier, Dominic Raab told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday: "I know that people are hankering to go a bit faster but actually we feel vindicated that taking steady steps out of the lockdown is the smart way to go."
He said: "By the time we get to 21 June, almost all social restrictions will be lifted so there's only a little bit more time to go, but it's right to make sure we do that in a careful way.
Raab added that there were only two more steps to take in the road map out of lockdown, and given the successful rollout of the vaccine, "that's exciting".
"It's got people thinking about not just social interaction but of course things like hugging your loved ones that you haven't been able to do for a while."

'Mass events could feed spread of the virus', expert cautions

A government adviser has warned the public not to rely solely on the vaccine as a means of bringing an end to the pandemic.
Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, described the vaccine as "one of the tools in our toolbox".
But he told the Andrew Marr show: "It is absolutely vital that we don't think there's just one thing that's going to save us all.
"We really do know that lockdown works - and that public events, mass events, will feed the spread of the virus."
He added: "We mustn't take our concentration off that and think that just by vaccinating we are going to be out of the situation."

'There's no better place to be in isolation'

Just as lockdown restrictions began to ease, Conor McKinney, who is working as a conservationist, travelled to one of the most remote places in the UK.
The island of St Kilda - one of just 39 Unesco-designated World Heritage Sites - is located 110 miles (177km) off the west coast of Scotland.
"I haven't seen some of my family in over a year - and I've got another six months here," says McKinney, who is from Northern Ireland.
Since he's been away he's become an uncle for the first time, after his sister had a baby.
"I guess there's an increased anxiety being all the way out here... you can't be there to help out if needs be," he told BBC News.
But he adds: "I'm so lucky to have the opportunity to live in such an important place."

Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sun May 02 2021, 15:36

Summer holidays can go ahead 'within limits'

People will be able to go on holidays "within limits" this summer, a government scientific advisor has said.
Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, also says it is vital people do not drop their guard as there are likely to be further outbreaks of coronavirus.
Openshaw, who is also a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nertag), told the Andrew Marr show the UK needed to be cautious and prepare.
When asked whether people would be able to start going on holiday, he said: "Yes, within limits.
"It's so important that we do not drop our guard completely.
"We know it's perfectly likely there will be further outbreaks unless we use this time to be very cautious and prepare sensibly."

When and where can I go abroad?

Speaking to Andrew Marr this morning, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the hotly anticipated traffic-light categorisation of overseas destinations would be "coming shortly".
Full details of which countries will feature on the red, amber and green lists is expected to be confirmed next week.
The current ban on foreign holidays is set to be lifted for people in England from 17 May at the earliest, as part of the next step in easing coronavirus restrictions.
On Saturday, the Department for Transport (DfT) denied missing a deadline of 1 May for publishing more details, saying the lists would be made public in "early May".
Last week, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said holidaymakers in England would be able to use the NHS app to prove their coronavirus status to destination countries, telling Sky News he was working "with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognised".
So how could Covid passports work, what are likely to be the rules around red, amber and green destinations, and what do some of our most popular holiday spots say about welcoming Brits?
It's all here.

Ramadan event moved online due to Covid


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The 2019 event saw a section of St Mark's Road in Easton, Bristol, closed to allow the crowds to fill the streets

Bristol's Grand Iftar will take place virtually this year, because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
Iftar is the breaking of fast each evening at sunset, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The last time the community event was held in person was in 2019, when thousands of people lined the streets of Easton, in Bristol, to break their fast.
This year, volunteers will be distributing food around the city on Sunday and the occasion will be marked by a special online event , featuring video messages from local imams, scholars and religious leaders.
"It's what we can do during these difficult and testing times," said Arif Khan, the chair of the Council of Bristol Mosques, but added he "cannot wait" for the Grand Iftar event to return to normal next year:
"We would like to see thousands of people, people of different faiths, no faith, and the Muslim community all getting together and breaking the fast together, there's no better feeling."
Kitkat
Kitkat

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Post by Kitkat Sun May 02 2021, 15:45

What's happening in coronavirus news?

If you're just joining us or need a quick recap here are the main coronavirus stories so far:

  • The UK government is still aiming to lift all Covid restrictions from 21 June, but safeguards such as social distancing and masks may need to stay in place, the foreign secretary says
  • Dominic Raab says a foreign travel traffic light system will be "coming shortly" as changes to holiday rules are expected from 17 May at the earliest
  • He also says the UK is working closely with India as it grapples with soaring cases, and shortages of oxygen, medicines and vaccines
  • India has reported its highest number of Covid deaths in one day since the start of the pandemic
  • It comes a day after it became the first country to register more than 400,000 new cases
  • In England, 40,000 people contacted by NHS Test and Trace will be asked to take a rapid test every morning for a week, instead of self-isolating, as part of a new study

Nigerial to ban travellers coming from India, Brazil and Turkey

Nigeria will ban travellers coming from India, Brazil and Turkey over concerns about high coronavirus infection rates, a presidential committee said on Sunday.
Reuters reports:
in a statement, Boss Mustapha, chairman of the presidential steering committee on COVID-19, said:
:Left Quotes:  Non-Nigerian passport holders and non-residents who visited Brazil, India or Turkey within Fourteen (14) days preceding travel to Nigeria, shall be denied entry into Nigeria.
The ban will take effect from May 4, the statement said.
Nigeria announced 43 confirmed new coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing its total to 165,153, with 2,063 deaths.
Indian hospitals, morgues and crematoriums have been overwhelmed as the country has reported more than 300,000 daily cases for more than 10 days straight. Many families have been left on their own to find medicines and oxygen.
In Brazil, new coronavirus cases have fallen off a late-March peak, but remain high by historical standards. Total deaths in the country are second only to the United States.
Turkey imposed a nationwide “full lockdown” on Thursday, lasting until May 17, to curb a surge in coronavirus infections and deaths, with the world’s fourth highest number of cases and the worst on a per-capita basis among major nations.
(From The Guardian:
Reporting by Felix Onuah in Abuja; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Catherine Evans)
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Post by Kitkat Sun May 02 2021, 15:56

Russia reports 8,697 new cases

Russia reported 8,697 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including 2,699 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 4,823,255.
Reuters reports:
The government coronavirus task force said 342 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing Russia’s death toll to 110,862.
The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and reported a toll of more than 225,000 from April 2020 to February.
According to Reuters calculations based on data from the state statistics agency published on Friday, Russia recorded more than 400,000 excess deaths from April 2020 to March 2021.

China records 270,41 million doses of vaccination administered to date

China has administered 270.41 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Saturday, the National Health Commission said on Sunday.
China is accelerating the pace at which it carries out vaccinations, seeing a 5.34 million uptick since Friday when 265.06 million doses had been distributed.

Cambodia reports a daily record of 730 new cases

Cambodia reported a daily record of 730 new coronavirus cases, the health ministry said in a statement on Sunday, as the country struggles to contain a wave of infections that emerged about two months ago.
Reuters reports:
The Southeast Asian nation has recorded one of the world’s smallest COVID-19 caseloads, but the recent outbreak that was first detected in late February has caused infections to climb to 14,520, with 103 deaths.
On Sunday Cambodia’s Communicable Disease Control Department posted a statement on Facebook:
Covid 19 continues to threaten us. Please continue to be vigilant by practicing hygiene, keep social distancing and don’t leave your house as it is spreading severely in the community in our country, our neighbours and the world.
The capital Phnom Penh, which has the most COVID-19 cases in the country, is under lockdown until May 5 and has declared some districts “red zones”, banning people from leaving their homes except for medical reasons.

India sees record number of deaths

India’s new coronavirus cases fell slightly on Sunday but deaths due to the infection jumped by a record 3,689, with one more state going into lockdown as the nation’s healthcare system struggles to cope with a massive caseload.
Reuters reports:
Authorities reported 392,488 new cases in the previous 24 hours to push total cases to 19.56 million. So far, the virus has killed 215,542 people.
Indian hospitals, morgues and crematoriums have been overwhelmed as the country has reported more than 300,000 daily cases for more than 10 days straight. Many families have been left on their own to scramble for medicines and oxygen.
Nearly 10 Indian states and union territories have imposed some form of restrictions, even as the federal government remains reluctant to impose a national lockdown.
The eastern state of Odisha became the latest to announce a two-week lockdown, joining Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal. Other states, including Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, have either imposed night curfews or weekend lockdowns.
The Indian Express newspaper reported on Sunday that the country’s COVID-19 taskforce has advised the federal government to impose a national lockdown.
Last month Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said all efforts should be made be avoid a lockdown.
The federal government fears another lockdown will have a devastating impact on the economy. The lockdown imposed last year after the first COVID-19 outbreak led to job losses as economic output fell a record 24% in April-June 2020 compared with the same period a year earlier.
Modi’s government has been criticised for letting millions of largely unmasked people attend religious festivals and crowded political rallies in five states through March and April. Daily cases in these states have spiked since then.
Reuters reported on Saturday that the federal government has been accused of failing to respond to a warning in early March from its own scientific advisers that a new and more contagious variant was taking hold in the country. (Reporting by Aftab Ahmed; Editing by Sam Holmes and Tom Hogue)
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sun May 02 2021, 16:09

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters march on Dublin

Irish Post
Hundreds of anti-lockdown protestors descended on Dublin as part of a demonstration against Ireland’s ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. 
Demonstrators gathered at Custom House Quay just after 2pm on Saturday for the “Time for Change” protest before marching through the centre of the Irish capital. 
Protesters carried placards bearing slogans like “prison for the healthy” and “jab of death” with some of those present evidently opposed to the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine. 
Gardaí confirmed no arrests were made however two individuals were taken into a Garda van after ignoring an instruction to move on. 
Eager to avoid a repeat of the violent scenes witnessed during a previous anti-lockdown rally on Grafton Street back in February, Garda officers were out in force. 
Both sides of the Liffey were cordoned off while several Garda vehicles were present outside Custom House. Demonstrators were moved on towards O’Connell Bride before heading to Westmoreland Street. 
Protesters marched past Government buildings before taking to Nassau Street at the area around the bottom of Grafton Street. 
The march concluded around the Garden of Remembrance having travelled past the GPO on O’Connell Street. A similar, smaller, protest march also took place in Cork. 
A garda spokesperson said: "Gardaí in Dublin and Cork implemented policing plans around events that took place in both cities today. Gardaí were aware of events organised on social media by disparate groups.
“The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) Regulations2021, as amended are currently in force.
“This places certain restrictions on individuals organising relevant events outdoors and attending relevant events.
“An Garda Síochána will carry out an investigation into the organisers of these events."
Kitkat
Kitkat

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Post by Kitkat Sun May 02 2021, 17:05

When can I meet friends indoors?

In England, up to six people can now meet outdoors - or two households of any size.
Children under 11 are included in the count, but those working as professional carers are not - while in Wales, children under 11 are not included in any count.
The rules change again in Wales on Monday - with people there permitted to form extended households - and have contact indoors.
In Scotland, children under 12 are not counted outdoors, but they are counted indoors - and six people from six different households are permitted to meet, providing they are outside.
In Northern Ireland, up to 15 people (including children) from three households can now meet up outdoors in a private garden .
But you must not socialise indoors with anyone you don't live with.
Read our explainer to get the full details.

UK records 14 coronavirus deaths

There have been a further 14 coronavirus-related deaths in the UK, according to the government's daily figures.
The total number of people to die within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test in the UK is now 127,538.
There were also 1,671 new infections recorded today.

How many Covid vaccinations have been given in the UK?

A total of 49,834,997 vaccinations have been given in the UK, according to daily government figures.
That's 34,505,380 first doses and 15,329,617 second doses.
You can find out when you'll get your jabs here.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sun May 02 2021, 17:13

Sri Lanka cricket match cancelled after player tests positive

A charity cricket match in Sri Lanka aimed at raising money to help fight the coronavirus pandemic has been cancelled today as a former Test captain tested positive, the country's governing body for the sport says.
The T20 match was due to be played on Tuesday at Pallekele, a day after the final day of the second Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
"The Charity Match... between the Sri Lanka Greats XI and Team Sri Lanka will not go ahead as planned due to the prevailing health situation in the country," Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a statement.
Officials told AFP the decision was taken after Upul Tharanga, 36, tested positive for the virus.
Sri Lanka is going ahead with the two-match Test series against Bangladesh without spectators as the country faces a third wave of infections.
The sharp rise in cases has prompted the authorities to ban public gatherings and lock down several areas from today.
The number of daily infections, which remained at a couple of hundred just before the traditional new year on April 14, has shot up to a record 1,699 as of Saturday.
Since the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Sri Lanka has reported 89 virus deaths, bringing the country's toll to 687.

Snooker World Championship final crowd down due to hesitancy

The first session of the Snooker World Championship final has not attracted a capacity crowd, despite being part of a Covid events pilot.
The return of fans to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield was staggered from 33% capacity for the first round to 100% for the final games on today and tomorrow.
But instead of a capacity crowd of 980, there were around 600 fans present for the afternoon session.
Organisers put it down to the hesitation of some to return to an indoor event, plus limitations around travel and accommodation.
In contrast to the surreal atmosphere that accompanied the rearranged 2020 World Championship, both players were greeted to huge roars of approval as they entered the auditorium.
The tournament is part of the government's pilot scheme to ensure fans can safely return to sporting and cultural venues.
Fans have to take a Covid-19 test before arriving and another five days afterwards.
The best-of-35 final continues at 19:00 BST and Monday's final sessions are expected to sell out.
Kitkat
Kitkat

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Post by Kitkat Sun May 02 2021, 17:48

France reports a further 113 coronavirus deaths on Sunday

France reports 113 more COVID-19 deaths and 5,581 patients in intensive care. The number of patients in intensive care units rose by 4 to 5,581 on Sunday, halting five consecutive days of decline, health ministry data showed. However, deaths were down from yesterdays figure of 195.

Italy reports 144 coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday

Italy recorded 144 coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday, down from yesterday’s figure of 226, the health ministry reports. New infections have also fallen to 9,148 compared to 12,965 the day before.
Since the outbreak first began in February last year, Italy has registered 121,177 deaths linked to Covid-19, the second-highest toll in Europe after the UK and the seventh-highest in the world.

Saudi Arabia to open travel borders on 17 May

Reuters reports:
Saudi Arabia to open land, sea, and air borders as of May 17, the interior minister announces on Twitter.
Saudi citizens who have been vaccinated, those who have recovered from Covid-19 and those under 18 are allowed to travel.
Saudi citizens have largely been barred from travel since March 2020, when the kingdom first banned all travel in and out of the country as COVID-19 began spreading worldwide.
Its borders reopened in July 2020 but citizens were still not allowed to travel. In January, authorities postponed the end of the travel ban for the public and the full reopening of entry points to May 17.
In February, it suspended entry for non-citizens from 20 states with the exception of diplomats and medical practitioners.
Kitkat
Kitkat

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Post by Kitkat Sun May 02 2021, 17:54

Summary for today

The Guardian

  • India recorded a number of deaths on Sunday. New coronavirus cases fell slightly on Sunday but deaths due to the infection jumped by a record 3,689, with one more state going into lockdown as the nation’s healthcare system struggles to cope with a massive caseload.
  • Secondary school pupils in England will be offered Covid-19 vaccinations from September under plans being developed by the NHS, according to The Sunday Times.It reports that “core planning scenario” documents compiled by NHS officials include the offer of a single dose of the Pfizer jab to children aged 12 and over when the new school year starts.
  • A major new pilot scheme could see the end of people in England having to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone who has Covid. The government-backed research will trial giving people daily lateral flow tests for seven days instead of asking people quarantine for 10 days.
  • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has urged the British public to keep their resolve for the “last lap” of the fight against coronavirus, saying there is only “a little bit more time” until all legal restrictions on social interaction are removed.
  • Campaigners call for urgent action to prevent oxygen shortage in Covid-hit countries. They warn that scenes in India of families desperately searching for oxygen for critically ill Covid patients will be repeated in Bangladesh , Ethiopia and other countries in Africa and around the world unless a significant international effort is made to ensure all countries have good oxygen supplies.
  • A total of 41,730,517 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and May 1, according to NHS England data, including first and second doses, which is a rise of 452,789 on the previous day.


What's been happening in the UK and beyond?

We are going to be bringing our rolling updates on coronavirus to a close soon so here's a reminder of the stories we've been talking about today:

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson has thanked those who have made the vaccination rollout possible as the UK reaches the milestone of 15 million fully vaccinated people
  • Some Covid-19 safeguards will need to remain in place beyond 21 June when the road map out of lockdown is due to end, the foreign secretary has suggested
  • Dominic Raab says a foreign travel traffic light system will be announced "shortly" as changes to holiday rules are expected from 17 May at the earliest
  • He also says the UK is working closely with India as it grapples with soaring cases, and shortages of oxygen, medicines and vaccines
  • India has reported its highest number of Covid deaths in one day since the start of the pandemic
  • It comes a day after it became the first country to register more than 400,000 new cases
  • In England, 40,000 people contacted by NHS Test and Trace will be asked to take a rapid test every morning for a week, instead of self-isolating, as part of a new study
  • And 5,000 music fans are arriving at a park in Liverpool for the first live gig without social distancing for over a year, as part of research into reopening large events


Goodbye for now

Thank you for joining us for live coronavirus news - that's all for today.

Your updates were brought to you by Chris Clayton, Holly Wallis, Jennifer Meierhans and Victoria Lindrea.

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 14:40