Boris Johnson says lockdown will be eased in ‘stages’ – but refuses to give more details

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed that he will take a “cautious and prudent approach” to easing lockdown restructions, suggesting that pubs and restaurants would be among the last to leave lockdown this time.

This comes at Boris Johnson is being urged to focus on “data, not just dates” and not relax restrictions “prematurely.”

The head of the vaccine taskforce has also said that every UK adult should have recieved both doses of the Covid-19 jab by August.

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Biden vows to get America vaccinated by end of July

Biden vows to get America vaccinated by end of July

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 15:18

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GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology Inc have announced they will expand their existing partnership developing antibody therapies for Covid to other diseases.

The companies announce a partnership in 2020 to help research coronavirus antibody treatments. These are given to people who have been diagnosed with the illness with the aim of making the infection less severe.

One of the companies’ trial therapies for coronavirus is currently in the final stage of two global trials with results expected in the first quarter of this year.

Reuters reported that the Covid pandemic has made large pharma companies more interested in researching new ways to treat infectious pathogens, including influenza.

GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology Inc said they go on to try and further develop Vir’s experimental treatment for influenza A, a viruses that causes flu.

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 14:47

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Slavery reparations could have reduced Covid infections and deaths, Harvard study says

A Harvard study has claimed that slavery reparations could have reduced the Covid-19 death toll of Black Americans, who have been disproportionally affected by the virus.

The study, a collaboration between researchers from Harvard Medical School and the Lancet Commission on Reparations and Redistributive Justice, looked at how reparation payments would have affected coronavirus transmission in Louisiana.

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 14:15

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that discussions are ongoing with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford and other devolved nations over whether the whole of the UK will leave lockdown simultaneously.

Speaking from a mass coronavirus vaccination centre in Cwmbran Stadium in Cwmbran, south Wales, the prime minster, called the falling rates of Covid infection “encouraging.”

When asked whether he would like all nations of the UK to leave lockdown at the same time he responded: “We have continuous conversations with Mark Drakeford, with other representatives of the devolved administrations, about how to do it, just as we work on the vaccination programme together.”

He added: “We try and make sure we concert our approach and our general messages.”

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 13:55

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A leading scientist is warning that the public won’t accept further coronavirus restrictions post-vaccination.

A leading scientist, from Oxford University, is warning that the public won’t accept further coronavirus restrictions once they’ve been vaccinated.

Professor Sir John Bell, Oxford University’s regius professor of medicine, said that it is “not plausible” to expect that people will continue to follow major restrictions after they have received two doses of the vaccine.

He told the Commons Science and Technology Committee that steps need to be taken to allow people to back to a “relatively normal way of life,” adding: “It’s not plausible to imagine a world where we vaccinate the whole country and everybody believes they are still in a place that we were in six months ago, it’s just not reasonable.”

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 13:34

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Unwinding lockdown ‘too fast’ risks ‘disaster’, warns government scientific adviser

Unwinding the national lockdown “too fast” would risk a “disaster”, a government scientist has warned as she urged caution with many yet to receive Covid vaccines, political correspondent Ashley Cowburn reports.

Dame Angela McLean — a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) — said the country “got into real trouble” in 2020 for not being cautious enough.

Appearing at the Commons Science and Technology Committee, she told MPs that while cases were falling alongside hospitalisations and deaths, “we still stand with a high number of infections”.

Samuel Osborne17 February 2021 13:09

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Scotland’s coronavirus death toll rises above 9,000

Scotland has now recorded more than 9,000 deaths related to coronavirus.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) data shows 9,053 deaths have been registered where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, as of Sunday.

The NRS statistics also show that in the most recent week, 8 to 14 February, deaths of those aged 85 and over were lower than those aged 75 to 84 for the first time since November.

Samuel Osborne17 February 2021 13:01

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Captain Tom Moore would have been heartbroken over online abuse, daughter says

Captain Sir Tom Moore’s heart would have been “broken” if he had known about the online abuse the family have received, his daughter has said.

Hannah Ingram-Moore said she could not tell her 100-year-old father “people are hating us” after his mammoth fundraising efforts for the NHS.

Samuel Osborne17 February 2021 12:48

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Scientists ‘crying out’ for someone in power to decide what level of infections are ‘acceptable’

Scientists have been “crying out” for someone in a position of political power to decide what level of Covid-19 infections are “acceptable”, MPs heard.

“I think it’s reasonable to say let’s not have Covid winters that are any worse than bad flu winters. But, actually, bad flu winters could be quite bad,” Professor Dame Angela McLean, chief scientific adviser at the Ministry of Defence, told the Science and Technology Committee.

“It’s one of the things we’ve cried out for again and again – could somebody in a position of political power tell us what is an acceptable number of infections.

“Maybe this past year, maybe a 2020 where the number of infections and deaths was so high, perhaps nobody would say that.

“But we do need to decide what level is acceptable and then we can manage lives with that in mind.”

She added: “We do need to decide what level is acceptable and then we can manage our lives with that in mind.”

Professor Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, added: “The answer is not zero. If you take the view that no Covid death is acceptable or something of that order, you are writing a blank cheque to do any amount of harm by the measures you have implemented to try and control it.”

Samuel Osborne17 February 2021 12:28

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Expect coronavirus to mutate in response to vaccines, professor says

Professor Sir John Bell, Oxford’s regius professor of medicine, said coronavirus mutations in response to vaccines should be expected this year.

So far most of the variants had been due to the vaccine evolving to be more effective in humans, having only recently crossed species, he told the Commons Science and Technology Committee.

“Most of the variants we have seen so far represent that kind of adaptation to a new species – it’s a bit like moving into a new apartment, you are shuffling the sofa around and making sure the TV is in the right place.

“That’s what the virus is doing with most of these mutations.

“What we will see between now and the end of the year is a number of variants which are driven by immunological selection, largely by the vaccines, and that will add another layer of complexity.”

He said that while some variants had “quite profound resistance” to existing immunity, it did appear the existing vaccines were able to prevent severe disease.

“We need to be conscious of the new variants, we need to be ready to make new vaccines if we need them, but I am pretty clear our existing vaccines are going to work to some extent,” he said.

Samuel Osborne17 February 2021 12:14

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