Coronavirus UK news – Pandemic declared OVER if vaccines stopped hospital admissions rising, top Oxford jab doc claims


THE coronavirus pandemic will be declared OVER if it’s proven vaccines have stopped hospital admissions rising, a top Oxford jab doctor has claimed.

Professor Andrew Pollard, from the University of Oxford, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If the current generation of vaccines are able to stop people going into hospital, whilst there is still mild infections, people are getting the common cold with the virus, then the pandemic is over.”

It comes as experts said England’s lockdown could end on June 21 after all as tests proved UK vaccines are effective against the Indian Covid variant.

The prospects for ending all coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England on the fourth and final stage of the PM’s roadmap are “looking good” said Jenny Harries – as long as people are careful.

According to Public Health England, the Pfizer vaccine is 88% effective against the symptoms of the variant after the second dose, while the AstraZeneca proved 60 per cent effective.

Both vaccines were 33% effective against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose, compared with about 50% against the Kent strain.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest news and updates…

  • GOVERNMENT MINISTER DENIES HERD IMMUNITY CLAIM

     Government minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan rejected Dominic Cummings’ claim that achieving herd immunity was the official plan drawn up to combat the pandemic.

    The energy minister told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “It was never the policy of this Government.

    “Boris Johnson was very clear that the only thing that mattered was that we make sure that we saved lives and we keep our NHS safe and able to function, not only to protect those who might get Covid but also everybody else.”

    She said the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance had talked about herd immunity being “one of the potential tools in the armoury” but it was not the policy goal.

    Ms Trevelyan, who was in the Cabinet at the time, said: “I’m very comfortable that the Prime Minister never had as his policy herd immunity.”

  • COMPULSORY STAFF VACCINATION COULD BACKFIRE ON CARE INDUSTRY, UNION WARNS

    Forcing care workers to have a coronavirus vaccine is likely to backfire because they could still turn down a jab if they have been threatened or not given advice by their employer, ?a leading union is warning.

    Unison said a survey of more than 4,000 staff in care homes and those working in the community suggested that plans for mandatory vaccinations would be counterproductive and could trigger employee shortages in a sector already in crisis.

    The union has detailed its concerns in evidence to a Government consultation on proposals to make the jab compulsory for workers in care homes for the elderly in England.

    Almost nine out of 10 respondents said they had been vaccinated so far.

    The most common response from non-vaccinated staff was they had ?turned down the offer. Other reasons given included pregnancy, they were waiting for more research before going ahead or because they were still waiting for an appointment.

  • TENTATIVE GREEN LIGHT FOR EURO 2020 IN GLASGOW

    Thousands of fans can watch European Championship matches this summer in Glasgow Green after a fan zone was provisionally approved.

    From Tuesday, up to 6,000 people per day can book free tickets for the outdoor space over the 31 days of the Uefa Euro 2020 tournament beginning on June 11.

    The Scottish Government has approved plans for the largely seated outdoor space “subject to the state of the pandemic nearer the time”.

    It comes after Uefa last month signed off plans allowing 12,000 spectators to attend Hampden Park for the four games it is hosting, meaning the national stadium will be operating at about 25% capacity.

  • MORE THAN 1M SIGN UP FOR NHS APP ‘VACCINE PASSPORT’

    More than 1.3 million people have registered with the NHS app since it was announced users will be able to show if they have received the Covid-19 vaccine.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised the “unparalleled pace” in which the vaccine status function was added to the app, since its announcement on May 7.

    The app enables users to show proof they have received the vaccine, should it be required for international travel.

    It has more than 4.8 million registered users and also enables people to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions and view GP and hospital records, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

    Since May 17 – when the vaccine status function was added – people have logged into the app more than four million times.

  • INDIAN DEATH PASSES 300,000 PEOPLE

    The number of people who have died with Covid-19 in India has passed over 300,000 people – making it the third highest death toll in the world.

    The milestone, as recorded by India’s Health Ministry, comes as slowed vaccine deliveries have marred the country’s fight against the pandemic, forcing many to miss their shots, and a rare but fatal fungal infection affecting Covid-19 patients has worried doctors.

    India’s death toll accounts for 8.6% of the nearly 3.5 million coronavirus fatalities globally, though the true numbers are thought to be significantly greater.

    The Health Ministry on Monday reported 4,454 new death in the last 24 hours, bringing India’s total fatalities to 303,720. It also reported 222,315 new infections, which raised the overall total to nearly 27 million since the pandemic began. Both are almost certainly undercounts.

  • BRITS WARNED TO STAY AWAY FROM SPAIN

    Britons have been urged not to travel to Spain after Madrid opened the doors to tourists from the UK.

    The country remains on the Government’s “amber list”, meaning people returning will need to take a series of Covid-19 tests and self-isolate at home.

    Business minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan told Sky News: “The Prime Minister has been clear that, for now, amber means ‘please don’t go unless there is an urgent family reason and so on’ because we are still trying to slowly move through our road map to being able to open up on June 21 and we want to do that in a steady and careful way.”

    She added that “we hope very much that, obviously, the amber numbers will become more green in due course” but “at the moment, today, that means amber countries really aren’t safe to go to”.

  • DR FAUCI ADMITS HE IS SKEPTICAL ABOUT COVID-19 ORIGIN STORY

    Dr Fauci admits he’s ‘not convinced’ COVID-19 developed naturally and wants an investigation into ‘what went on in China’
  • HANCOCK HAILS HUGE DAY AS VACCINE TOTAL HITS 60 MILLION

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock described yesterday as a “huge day” for the vaccine effort as the total number of jabs given out hit 60,587,098.

    He tweeted: “This is a fantastic milestone in our fight against this virus.

    “Thank you to everyone involved in our national effort. When you get the call, get the jab.”

    He also said in a statement: “Our trailblazing vaccination programme – the biggest and most successful in NHS history – is another great British success story and a testament to what can be achieved when all four corners of country comes together to defeat this virus.

    “Our country has one of the highest uptake rates in the world and I’m delighted that so many have answered our call to arms. If you have not yet come forward, and you are eligible, I urge you to take up the offer – it could save your life and protect your loved ones.”

  • TENTATIVE GREEN LIGHT FOR EURO 2020 IN GLASGOW

    Thousands of fans can watch European Championship matches this summer in Glasgow Green after a fan zone was provisionally approved.

    From Tuesday, up to 6,000 people per day can book free tickets for the outdoor space over the 31 days of the Uefa Euro 2020 tournament beginning on June 11.

    The Scottish Government has approved plans for the largely seated outdoor space “subject to the state of the pandemic nearer the time”.

    It comes after Uefa last month signed off plans allowing 12,000 spectators to attend Hampden Park for the four games it is hosting, meaning the national stadium will be operating at about 25% capacity.

  • HMRC TO ALLOW STAFF TO WORK FROM HOME AT LEAST TWO DAYS A WEEK

    Nearly 64,000 staff at HM Revenue and Customs will be able to work from home at least two days a week permanently from next month – despite Government aims to get workers back into offices.

    The tax authority confirmed its new flexible working policy will come into effect on June 1, allowing its 63,570 staff to work remotely for part of the week after pandemic restrictions lift.

    The changes are being made as part of a wider overhaul at HMRC to address what boss Jim Harra described as a “crisis” of pay and working conditions.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted earlier this month that the Government’s work from home advice is set to be dropped on June 21, telling MPs that UK cities depend on “people having the confidence of going to work”.

    But HMRC said it wanted to “recognise the benefits of smarter ways of working” in its new pay and working reforms.

  • AT LONG LAST

    THE coronavirus pandemic will be declared OVER if it’s proven vaccines have stopped hospital admissions rising, a top Oxford jab doctor has claimed.

    Professor Andrew Pollard, from the University of Oxford, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If the current generation of vaccines are able to stop people going into hospital, whilst there is still mild infections, people are getting the common cold with the virus, then the pandemic is over.”

    It comes as experts said England’s lockdown could end on June 21 after all as tests proved UK vaccines are effective against the Indian Covid variant.

    The prospects for ending all coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England on the fourth and final stage of the PM’s roadmap are “looking good” said Jenny Harries – as long as people are careful.

    According to Public Health England, the Pfizer vaccine is 88% effective against the symptoms of the variant after the second dose, while the AstraZeneca proved 60 per cent effective.

  • TRAINED DOGS CAN SNIFF OUT CORONAVIRUS WITH UP TO 94% ACCURACY – STUDY

    Covid-19 infection has a distinct smell that can be detected by specially trained dogs with up to 94% accuracy, UK research suggests.

    The findings, which have not yet been peer-reviewed, are based on six dogs who tested more than 3,500 odour samples donated by the public and NHS staff.

    The canines were able to sniff out samples from people who were infected with coronavirus but were asymptomatic, as well as those who had low viral loads. They were also able to identify infections caused by the coronavirus strain that was dominant in the UK last summer as well as the UK (Kent) version of the virus which appeared later in the year.

    Professor James Logan, head of the department of disease control at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), who led the project, said: “What was great was the dogs that have been trained on the original variant transferred to the new (Kent) variant.

    “They could detect the new variant without any additional training. So this gives us real hope and really suggests that dogs are able to detect different variants of Covid.”

  • PROFESSOR WARNS SINGLE DOSE LESS EFFECTIVE AGAINST INDIAN VARIANT

    Prof Ravi Gupta says one vaccine dose is not particularly protective” against the Indian variant
  • WUHAN SCIENTISTS HOSPITALISED JUST BEFORE COVID EPIDEMIC BEGAN IN CITY

    Three Wuhan lab researchers became sick and ended up needing hospital care weeks before China disclosed detecting a virus outbreak, a bombshell spy report reveals.

    It comes as US top virus expert Dr Anthony Fauci now says he’s “not convinced” Covid developed naturally and calls for a full investigation.

    Citing a previously undisclosed US intelligence report, the Wall Street Journal reported the dossier revealed fresh details on the number of researchers affected.

    It also shows the timing of their illnesses and their hospital visits in November 2019 which China officially detected the outbreak.

    This may add weight to calls for a broader probe of whether the Covid-19 virus could have escaped from a laboratory in the Chinese Hubei Province city of Wuhan where the pandemic is believed to have begun.

  • UNDER 30s COULD BE OFFERED VACCINE BY THE END OF THE WEEK

    Brits under 30 could be offered their Covid vaccine by the end of the week – as hopes for June 21’s unlocking rise.

    It comes after worries the Indian variant could delay “Freedom Day”, but as the speedy jabs rollout continues experts say the signs are now “looking good”.

    Last week the age eligibility for vaccines was lowered three times – with those aged 32 and 33 now able to book in.

    It is expected to be lowered further within days, with under 30s offered their slots at the end of the week.

    It brings fresh hope for the full unlocking next month, after the variant’s emergence cast doubt on the roadmap.

  • ORDERING DRINKS AT THE BAR COULD RETURN AS BORIS CONSIDERS ENDING TABLE SERVICE RULE

    Ordering drinks at the bar could make a return as Prime Minister Boris Johnson considers ending the table service rule and social distancing when lockdown ends on June 21.

    Ministers are reportedly discussing making the changes as Britain continues on the path towards freedom from Covid lockdowns next month.

    Nightclubs are expected to reopen in June while large events will be able to go ahead.

    Results from the Cabinet Office’s review into social distancing measures as lockdown easing continues could be revealed this week, the Telegraph reported.

    Read more here.

  • SPANISH HOTEL BOOKINGS JUMPED IN APRIL

    The number of nights booked by tourists in Spanish hotels surged to 4.05 million in April from zero a year earlier when a strict coronavirus lockdown paralysed the travel sector and forced most to stay at home, official data showed on Monday.

    But despite the jump, the bookings were still 85% below April 2019’s levels, the National Statistics Institute data showed, underscoring the scale of the blow dealt by the pandemic.

    Overall reservations for the first four months of the year were 71% below the equivalent period last year, as the first restrictions on travel were not introduced until mid-March 2020.

    Preliminary data from booking platforms suggest reservations gathered pace in May after a national state of emergency expired, allowing more Spaniards to travel domestically.

    According to the INE, local tourists accounted for nearly 70% of total bookings in April, while Germans, who are free to travel to destinations in the Balearic Islands, made up the largest group of foreign travellers.

  • ALMOST 200 CLIMBERS TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID ON MOUNT EVEREST

    Up to 200 people have tested positive for Covid on Mount Everest amid a shocking outbreak on the world’s highest peak, it’s claimed.

    An expert mountain climber says the killer virus has already infected swathes of intrepid adventurers and Sherpas at the South Base Camp.

    The claims come from Austrian Lukas Furtenbach, who last week became the only prominent guide to halt his latest expedition due to virus fears.

    However, Nepalese officials insist there has not been an outbreak at the site where some 1,500 people are currently located.

    They instead blamed any symptoms on other illnesses like altitude sickness.

  • HMRC TO ALLOW STAFF TO WORK FROM HOME AT LEAST TWO DAYS A WEEK

    Nearly 64,000 staff at HM Revenue and Customs will be able to work from home at least two days a week permanently from next month – despite Government aims to get workers back into offices.

    The tax authority confirmed its new flexible working policy will come into effect on June 1, allowing its 63,570 staff to work remotely for part of the week after pandemic restrictions lift.

    The changes are being made as part of a wider overhaul at HMRC to address what boss Jim Harra described as a “crisis” of pay and working conditions.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted earlier this month that the Government’s work from home advice is set to be dropped on June 21, telling MPs that UK cities depend on “people having the confidence of going to work”.

    But HMRC said it wanted to “recognise the benefits of smarter ways of working” in its new pay and working reforms.

  • COMPULSORY STAFF VACCINATION COULD BACKFIRE ON CARE INDUSTRY, UNION WARNS

    Forcing care workers to have a coronavirus vaccine is likely to backfire because they could still turn down a jab if they have been threatened or not given advice by their employer, ?a leading union is warning.

    Unison said a survey of more than 4,000 staff in care homes and those working in the community suggested that plans for mandatory vaccinations would be counterproductive and could trigger employee shortages in a sector already in crisis.

    The union has detailed its concerns in evidence to a Government consultation on proposals to make the jab compulsory for workers in care homes for the elderly in England.

    Almost nine out of 10 respondents said they had been vaccinated so far.

    The most common response from non-vaccinated staff was they had ?turned down the offer. Other reasons given included pregnancy, they were waiting for more research before going ahead or because they were still waiting for an appointment.

  • GOVERNMENT MINISTER DENIES HERD IMMUNITY CLAIM

     Government minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan rejected Dominic Cummings’ claim that achieving herd immunity was the official plan drawn up to combat the pandemic.

    The energy minister told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “It was never the policy of this Government.

    “Boris Johnson was very clear that the only thing that mattered was that we make sure that we saved lives and we keep our NHS safe and able to function, not only to protect those who might get Covid but also everybody else.”

    She said the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance had talked about herd immunity being “one of the potential tools in the armoury” but it was not the policy goal.

    Ms Trevelyan, who was in the Cabinet at the time, said: “I’m very comfortable that the Prime Minister never had as his policy herd immunity.”

  • TRAINED DOGS CAN SNIFF OUT CORONAVIRUS WITH UP TO 94% ACCURACY – STUDY

    Covid-19 infection has a distinct smell that can be detected by specially trained dogs with up to 94% accuracy, UK research suggests.

    The findings, which have not yet been peer-reviewed, are based on six dogs who tested more than 3,500 odour samples donated by the public and NHS staff.

    The canines were able to sniff out samples from people who were infected with coronavirus but were asymptomatic, as well as those who had low viral loads. They were also able to identify infections caused by the coronavirus strain that was dominant in the UK last summer as well as the UK (Kent) version of the virus which appeared later in the year.

    Professor James Logan, head of the department of disease control at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), who led the project, said: “What was great was the dogs that have been trained on the original variant transferred to the new (Kent) variant.

    “They could detect the new variant without any additional training. So this gives us real hope and really suggests that dogs are able to detect different variants of Covid.”

  • PILOT SCHEME TO FOR SELF-ISOLATING IN OVERCROWDED AREAS

    New pilot schemes are being launched across England in a bid to encourage people to get tested for Covid-19 and follow self-isolation rules.

    The pilots will involve increased social care support for vulnerable adults, “buddying” services for people needing mental health support and translation assistance for non-English speakers.

    People isolating in overcrowded houses in the trial areas will also be offered alternative accommodation.

    The Government has allocated £11.9 million towards the pilots, split between local authorities in nine areas with high infection rates.

    The local authority areas including Newham and Hackney in London, Yorkshire and the Humber, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside, Peterborough and Somerset.

  • MORE THAN 1M SIGN UP FOR NHS APP ‘VACCINE PASSPORT’

    More than 1.3 million people have registered with the NHS app since it was announced users will be able to show if they have received the Covid-19 vaccine.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised the “unparalleled pace” in which the vaccine status function was added to the app, since its announcement on May 7.

    The app enables users to show proof they have received the vaccine, should it be required for international travel.

    It has more than 4.8 million registered users and also enables people to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions and view GP and hospital records, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

    Since May 17 – when the vaccine status function was added – people have logged into the app more than four million times.

  • BRITS WARNED TO STAY AWAY FROM SPAIN

    Britons have been urged not to travel to Spain after Madrid opened the doors to tourists from the UK.

    The country remains on the Government’s “amber list”, meaning people returning will need to take a series of Covid-19 tests and self-isolate at home.

    Business minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan told Sky News: “The Prime Minister has been clear that, for now, amber means ‘please don’t go unless there is an urgent family reason and so on’ because we are still trying to slowly move through our road map to being able to open up on June 21 and we want to do that in a steady and careful way.”

    She added that “we hope very much that, obviously, the amber numbers will become more green in due course” but “at the moment, today, that means amber countries really aren’t safe to go to”.





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