Coronavirus vaccinations to be available 24-7, Boris Johnson says in major U-turn
Travel from Brazil to the UK could be banned in response to a new variant of coronavirus in the South American country.
The measure, potentially also covering Brazil’s 10 neighbouring countries, is expected to be considered at an afternoon meeting of the government’s key “Covid-O” committee, which oversees restrictions.
Meanwhile, transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced new rules requiring travellers arriving in England to have a negative coronavirus test have been delayed “to give international arrivals time to prepare”.
High-street pharmacies have begun rolling out Covid-19 vaccines as the UK’s virus death toll has now climbed above 100,000.
Boots and Superdrug branches will be among six stores across England able to administer the jabs, while the government aims to hit its target of vaccinating everyone in the four most vulnerable groups by the middle of next month.
Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, north London, Woodside Pharmacy in Telford and Appleton Village pharmacy in Widnes will be in the first group to give the injections, alongside Boots in Halifax and Superdrug in Guildford.
Boris Johnson told MPs that distribution “will be going to 24/7 as soon as we can” but said supply of doses remained the main barrier.
Rail worker feels London Underground staff are ‘unsafe’
A rail worker and trade union activist has said they feel they and their colleagues working from London Underground stations currently are “unsafe” and that the number of commuters is “worse now than it was the first time around”.
The worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the PA news agency: “If you’re on the Underground system… people are touching the seats, the handrails. The majority of people who are travelling are wearing masks, over their nose and mouth, but a train is not a big place on the Tube!
“There’s too many people who shouldn’t be travelling, (who) are still travelling. Look at the roads, where’s everyone going? There’s traffic everywhere.
“What we should have done, especially the first time around… is man the (station) gates from outside. Close the gates and man them from outside. If their idea is to stop people from travelling who are non-essential workers or whatever, then that’s the only way to do it. How else can you do it?”
Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 15:17
Construction workers call for pause in non-essential work
People working in the construction industry who are encouraged to continue going to work have called for a pause in non-essential work over safety fears.
Many workers in the industry feel “let down and forgotten” as the second wave of coronavirus infections rips through the country, and are calling for sites to be closed to stop the virus from spreading further.
Kate Ng has more on this below:
Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 14:52
Covid case rates fall in most parts of England
Covid-19 case rates have fallen in most regions of England, according to the latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England.
London’s rate of new cases stood at 864.9 per 100,000 people in the seven days to January 10, down from 1,043.9 in the previous week. London continues to have the highest rate of any region.
The other regions recording a week-on-week fall are the East Midlands, eastern England, northeast England, southeast England and Yorkshire & the Humber.
Three regions recorded a week-on-week increase: north-west England, south-west England and the West Midlands.
Yorkshire & the Humber continues to have the lowest rate: 297.2, down from 309.9.
Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 14:31
Committee considering who should be prioritised for second phase of vaccines
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is considering who should be covered in the second phase of the vaccine rollout, Downing Street has said.
The committee is reportedly meeting on Thursday to decide who should be prioritised – such as certain professions – after the most vulnerable have received their jabs.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The JCVI are now looking at what phase two should look like.
“The JCVI have been asked to look at the next priority group of people… in terms of who should be next after (phase one) has concluded.”
Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 14:22
Ministers discuss ‘urgent measures’ to stop spread of Brazil variant
Ministers have met to discuss “urgent measures” to restrict any spread of the Brazilian coronavirus variant to the UK, Downing Street has said.
An announcement is expected to follow.
Political editor Andrew Woodcock has more on this below:
Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 14:07
New social distancing rules could be rolled out next week
New social distancing regulations could be rolled out next week amid concerns that the current lockdown may not be enough to bring the coronavirus outbreak under control.
Asked whether restrictions could be beefed-up, Home Secretary Priti Patel only said there would be no new measures “today or tomorrow”, fuelling speculations that they would come after the weekend.
Policy correspondent Jon Stone has more details:
Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 14:00
Downing Street refuses to reveal size of UK’s coronavirus vaccine supply
Downing Street has refused to reveal the size of the UK’s coronavirus vaccine supply, despite Boris Johnson pledging that the Government would be “transparent as we possibly can” on rollout data.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “Vaccines are obviously in high demand across the world and it has been the case throughout that we haven’t provided a commentary on the size of our supplies, or the detailed logistics around them. That will remain the case.”
Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 13:52
Ministers looking at ‘possible options’ to deliver vaccines 24/7 but no date yet
Downing Street has said ministers are looking at the “possible options” to deliver coronavirus vaccines around the clock, but was unable to put a date on the rollout.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “We’re looking at the possible options to deliver vaccines 24/7.
“Some people who may benefit from being able to receive a vaccine at different hours to others, so we’re open to the options and we are looking at how we can deliver it.”
Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 13:45
A year ago today, the World Health Organisation tweeted about how preliminary investigations by Chinese authorities “found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus identified in Wuhan”.
Today, an international team of 13 scientists examining the origins of the virus that causes Covid-19 has arrived in Wuhan.
Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 13:34
NHS insists London is getting its ‘fair share’ of vaccine supply
The NHS has insisted London is getting its “fair share” of vaccine supply after mayor Sadiq Khan claimed the opposite.
A spokesman for the NHS in London said: “The NHS coronavirus vaccination programme, the biggest in the health service’s history, has got off to a strong start with a quarter of a million Londoners receiving their first vaccination against Covid, giving significant protection to those most at risk from the virus.
“We have more than 100 vaccination sites up and running across London, including the NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre in the ExCeL London, and more are opening all the time.
“London is getting its fair share of vaccine supply for the priority groups we have to vaccinate by mid-February.”
Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 13:23