UK Covid-19 vaccinations: Latest figures

The government would be “reckless” to allow all school pupils back to school on 8 March, a group of education unions has said.

The coalition said they were “increasingly concerned” by this option, suggesting it could risk a spike in Covid-19 infections and cause longer-term disruption for students.

This comes as the government admitted there is no guarantee that the third national lockdown will be the last. 

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told Sky News on Friday that the vaccine rollout was going well but added that no one knows how the virus might evolve. “We can’t give complete 100 per cent certainty because viruses don’t work like that,” he said. 

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson expressed his hope that the lifting of lockdown would be “irreversible” but confessed he could not give an “absolute cast iron guarantee”.

Meanwhile, experts have concluded that Covid-19 vaccine passports are “feasible”, adding that the government must address ethical and privacy concerns before they are introduced.


‘Reckless’ to send all pupils back to school on 8 March, unions warn

The government would be “reckless” to allow all school pupils back to school on 8 March, a group of education unions has said.

The coalition said it was “increasingly concerned” by this possibility, which could lead to another spike in coronavirus cases.

Rory Sullivan19 February 2021 15:13


EU contributes extra 500 million euros to Covax

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has announced that the bloc will give an extra 500 million euros to Covax, the WHO-run scheme to distribute coronavirus vaccines more evenly around the world.

The initiative hopes to deliver 1.3 billion doses to 92 middle- and low-income countries by the end of the year.

The EU’s announcement comes as a report suggested that rich nations were in the process of stockpiling more than 1 billion surplus doses.

Rory Sullivan19 February 2021 14:58


PM calls for worldwide vaccine drive

Boris Johnson has urged world leaders to make sure the whole world is vaccinated against coronavirus, telling them that “it’s no use one country being far ahead of another”.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of G7 leaders, the prime minister said that science was “finally getting the upper hand on Covid”.

“But there is no point in us vaccinating our individual populations – we’ve got to make sure the whole world is vaccinated because this is a global pandemic,” he added.

Rory Sullivan19 February 2021 14:38


Spain close to vaccinating all care home residents

Spain has fully vaccinated 97 per cent of all nursing-home residents, the FED care-home association has said.

A total of 2.8 million jabs have been administered in Spain, with 1.14 million people receiving both vaccine doses, according to prime minister Pedro Sanchez.

In the country’s devastating first wave between March and May last year, almost 43,000 care-home residents died.

Rory Sullivan19 February 2021 14:23


Hancock acted unlawfully over Covid contract details, High Court judge rules

Health secretary Matt Hancock acted unlawfully by not publishing details of government-awarded coronavirus contracts on time, a High Court judge has ruled.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has more on this breaking story:

Rory Sullivan19 February 2021 14:05


Scotland thought to have lowest Covid infection rate in UK

Scotland currently has the lowest coronavirus infection rate in the UK, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has indicated.

Between 6 and 12 February, roughly one in 180 people in private households in Scotland had Covid-19.

Over the same period, Wales’ rate was one in 125, England’s was one in 115 and Northern Ireland’s was the highest, with one in 105 people infected.

John Swinney, Scotland’s deputy first minister, said these figures show that lockdown restrictions “are having the desired effect”.

Rory Sullivan19 February 2021 13:52


Drop in virus cases in Germany flattens as variant surges

The head of Germany’s disease control agency warned Friday that a decline in new coronavirus infections has levelled off, while the share of cases involving more contagious variants is rising.

Rory Sullivan19 February 2021 13:35


Shops and hairdresser reopenings will be reviewed in Wales

The next review of regulations in Wales in three weeks’ time will consider reopening non-essential retail and close contact services such as hair salons, said first minister Mark Drakeford.

Levels of Covid-19 in Wales are now at their lowest since the end of September last year, with the country’s seven-day case rate on Thursday now at 84 per 100,000 people, while one in three adults have received a vaccine.

Shops and hairdressers could open from mid-March, Drakeford says

Jane Dalton19 February 2021 13:12


Wales considers allowing tourism to reopen and primary pupils could return next month

Wales will consider allowing its tourism industry to partially reopen in time for Easter if the country’s coronavirus situation continues to improve, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.

Self-contained accommodation including hotels and bed & breakfasts with room service, as well as caravans and lodges, will be considered for reopening following the next review of restrictions.

On Friday, Wales’ lockdown rules were extended for another three weeks to allow a safe return to school for the country’s youngest pupils from Monday, but Mr Drakeford said further easing of restrictions were under consideration in time for Easter, including welcoming back tourism.

Cases of coronavirus in Wales are at the lowest level since the end of September, he said.

Some “very modest changes” will be made to lockdown restrictions in Wales.

From Saturday, four people from two different households will be allowed to exercise outdoors together to help those struggling with lockdown.

“This does not mean that it is permissible for people to drive somewhere to exercise and it does mean exercise, not socialising,” Mr Drakeford told a press conference.

“Next week, we will change the law to allow licensed wedding venues, such as visitor attractions and hotels to reopen, but only for the purpose of performing weddings and civil partnerships.”

From Monday, foundation phase children below the age of seven will resume face-to-face learning in class, having been prioritised due to being least likely to transmit coronavirus and having greater difficulties with remote learning.

But all primary school pupils as well as older age groups in years 11 and 13, who have exams, could return from 15 March if the country’s public health situation continues to improve.

The return for older primary and secondary schools is expected to use blended learning, with pupils only in school “some of the time” by mixing face-to-face teaching with online lessons.

Mark Drakeford confirms primary school pupils in Wales will return to classrooms by March 15

Jane Dalton19 February 2021 13:07


Vaccine passports ‘feasible’ but ethical concerns remain, say experts

Experts have concluded coronavirus vaccine passports are “feasible” but governments must address a series of “demanding” criteria before they are introduced, including ethical concerns. Ashley Cowburn reports:

Rory Sullivan19 February 2021 13:00



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