UK Covid-19 vaccinations- latest figures

NHS chief executive Chris Hopson has said that the number of Covid-19 infections need to “come down to around 50,000” before lockdown easing begins.

Mr Hopson encouraged UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to focus on “data, not just dates” and emphasised how restrictions should not be relaxed “prematurely.”

Meanwhile, head of the vaccine taskforce has said also that every UK adult should receive both doses of the Covid-19 jab by August.

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The EU has reached a deal for 200 million more doses of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine.

The US and German companies released a statement confirming that the doses would be additional to the 300 million already ordered for member states.

The EU’s executive Commission also has the option to request 100 million more doses on top of this.

These 200 million vaccines should be delivered this year and it is estimated that 75 million of them will arrive in the second quarter.

This news comes following a slow start to the EU’s vaccination campaign.

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 11:13

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Boris Johnson to resurrect mass testing plans after ‘moonshot’ fails to materialise

Boris Johnson is expected to re-announce plans for mass coronavirus testing when he sets out a blueprint for lifting lockdown next week.

The NHS test and trace scheme is reportedly preparing for a nation-wide “surge” that would see 400,000 lateral flow tests sent out by post every day.

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 10:55

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An NHS leader has warned that the number of Covid-19 infections needs to drop below 50,000 before lockdown is eased.

The most recent infection figures suggested that 695,400 people in England had coronavirus in the week ending 6 February.

Chris Hopson, the NHS Providers chief executive said there was a “pretty clear view” that “that number needs to come down to around 50,000.”

Mr Hopson is urging UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to focus on “data, not just dates.”

Mr Hopson’s organisation has suggested four “tests” to help guide lockdown easing. These are: getting case numbers down, reducing pressure on the NHS, continuing to move forward with the vaccination programme and having an effective plan to help control future outbreaks.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the NHS Providers chief executive said:”If you look at where we are against those four tests, each one of them tells you that we’re still some way away from being able to start relaxing restrictions.”

He went on to emphasise how care needed to be taken before restrictions were relaxed and that this should not happen “prematurely.”

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 10:38

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UK approves world-first study to infect young people with Covid

The UK has approved a world-first study that will expose young and healthy volunteers to Covid-19 as part of efforts to further understand the virus, the government has announced.

Due to begin in the next few weeks, the trial will recruit 90 carefully-selected participants aged between 18 and 30, and expose them to the pathogen in a safe and controlled environment.

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 10:14

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Croatia may avoid wait for EU and buy Russian Covid-19 vaccine 

Croatia is in the process of discussing with Moscow the possibility of importing its Covid-19 vaccine, therefore bypassing the wait for vaccines distributed by the EU.

The southern European country’s government has asked the drugs regulator to consider approving the Sputnik V vaccine, said Health Minister Vili Beros on Wednesday.

So far, the EU’s vaccine rollout has been much slower than that of Britain and the United States and several EU member states are now taking matters into their own hands.

In an interview with state radio, Mr Beros said that although Russia was planning to seek approval for its vaccine from the EU medicines regulator, Croatia would not necessarily wait until this had happened.

He added: “We are thinking about securing that vaccine earlier for us. Now it is up to (our) experts to acquire information on the efficiency and safety of the vaccine and on necessary regulatory requirements.”

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 09:58

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England’s children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, has called on Boris Johnson to put children at “centre stage” of his plans to “build back better” after the pandemic. 

After six years in the role, Ms Longfield will use her departing address to hold the UK government to account over how it has considered children’s needs in its Covid response.

Her final words in the role will highlight how she feels that an entire generation may forever be defined by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Longfield will add: “I have to force officials and ministers to the table, to watch them sit through a presentation, maybe ask a question, and then vacantly walk away. I do not believe this truly reflects the extent of Government and the public’s commitment to helping children succeed.” 

The children’s commissioner has also accused the Treasury of having a bias against children.

A Government spokesperson said: “Protecting vulnerable children has been at the heart of our response to the pandemic, driven by our commitment to level up opportunities and outcomes.

“That’s why we have enabled the most vulnerable children to continue attending school in person, while providing laptops, devices and data packages to those learning at home and ensuring the most disadvantaged children are fed and warm.”

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 09:34

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Think tank claims NHS waiting list could reach 10 million by April

Waiting lists for NHS surgery in England could hit 10 million by April, a think tank has claimed while calling for NHS hospitals to use more private sector capacity to reduce delays for patients.

In a new report the right-wing think tank Reform said the worst case scenario for patient waits could see one in six people in England waiting for treatment by April. It said the impact of coronavirus had turned the NHS into a “national Covid service” with six million fewer referrals for treatment in 2020.

Health Correspondent Shaun Lintern explains:

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 09:14

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Coronavirus: Every UK adult could have both jabs by August, head of vaccine taskforce says

Every adult in the United Kingdom could receive both doses of a Covid-19 jab by August or September, the head of the UK’s vaccine taskforce has said. Clive Dix, who runs the unit tasked with developing and buying vaccines for the government, said the UK population could be fully vaccinated within the next six to seven months and that new jabs will be approved in the “very near future.”

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 08:51

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Lockdown ‘won’t be eased until cases drop below 1,000-a-day’, report claims

Lockdown restrictions will not be eased until daily coronavirus cases are below 1,000, while leisure and UK tourism could be “broadly normal” by July, according to reports.

The prime minister is expected to reveal his roadmap out of England’s third national lockdown on Monday, including details of how social-distancing measures will gradually be eased.

Chiara Giordano has more here:

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 08:30

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Good morning

Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 08:08

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