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Coronavirus latest news – Lockdown roadmap delay fears as thirsty Brits enjoy freedom with 14million pub bookings


THIRSTY Brits have made 14million pub bookings in a stampede to secure beer garden tables.

A million of the outdoor reservations are for July, and many venues in England are booked up until May.

But the surge to enjoy newfound freedoms has added to fears that Johnson’s lockdown roadmap could be delayed.

Dr Peter Drobac, a former assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, warned there will be a spike in cases as Brits flock to shops and recently reopened pub gardens.

And he said that unless we take it slow and steady, Britain could face a similar future to Chile – which has just gone back into a strict lockdown, despite one of the world’s best vaccination programmes.

Speaking on Sky News, Dr Drobac called the South American country a “real Covid vaccination success story. Some 40 per cent of people have received one dose, and 25 per cent have received two doses – and at the same time, they’ve got a surge that is the worst they’ve experienced throughout the pandemic,” he said.

Chile has, however, largely been using a Chinese made vaccine that is understood to be less effective than the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines currently being rolled out in the UK.

His warning comes as it was revealed that surge testing has begun in parts of south London after 44 cases of the South African Covid-19 variant were found.

People living and working in Wandsworth and Lambeth are being urged to get tested after “significant” reports of the mutated virus, in the largest surge testing operation to date.

Additional testing and genomic sequencing will take place predominantly in these boroughs, where 44 confirmed cases and 30 probable cases of the variant first identified in South Africa were found.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic

  • CAMPUS WAITS

    A full return to campus by all university students in England will not be until mid-May at the earliest.

    College leaders had urged Gavin Williamson’s Department for Education for an earlier return date for the half who have been away all year.

    But the Government said it must review the impact of other lockdown restrictions being eased.

    Universities minister Michelle Donelan said all remaining students will be told not to return to face-to-face lessons on campus until at least May 17.

    Read more here.

  • NOT COVID

    Almost a quarter of registered Covid deaths were not caused by the virus, new official figures reveal.

    Data from the Office for National Statistics shows 23 per cent of coronavirus fatalities are now people who have died “with” the virus rather than from an infection.

    This means the disease was not the primary cause of death recorded on death certificates, despite the person who died testing positive for Covid.

    You can read more here.

  • IS IT POSSIBLE TO GO ON A HOLIDAY DURING THE PANDEMIC?

    Holidays abroad are not allowed under the current coronavirus lockdown restrictions, even as they were eased this week.

    In the latest stage of the roadmap out of lockdown, high street shops are now allowed to open and pubs and restaurants can serve guests outside.

    For Brits wanting a break, there’s good new as self-catering stays in holiday lets and caravans are now allowed, though limited to one household, and some campsites have opened where there are no shared facilities.

    Hotels and B&Bs remain closed and these are expected to open from May 17 under the current roadmap for leaving lockdown.

  • UK ‘HALF WAY UP THE HILL’ TOWARDS NORMALITY

    Prof Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, is thrilled that the Government has met its target of offering a jab to all those at highest risk of Covid-19.

    “I think it’s an enormously significant milestone because this really represents the culmination of phase one, which was really aimed at trying to rescue the NHS from the enormous surge of cases that we had at the beginning of the year,” he told Sky News.

    “Of course the lockdown has contributed very significantly to that success as well.

    “We’re half way up the hill if you like, we can look back and be pleased with what we’ve achieved, but we need to look forward to get to the summit, and really finish this off.

    “We need to get to a point where so many people are immune to it that the virus is left with nowhere to go and that means that younger people do need to come forward in large numbers, as older people have done, in order to achieve that goal,” he added.

  • FANS’ GROUPS UNITE IN CRITICISM OF CARABAO CUP FINAL TICKET ARRANGEMENTS

    Tottenham and Manchester City fans have dismissed a move to allow 2,000 supporters from each club to attend the Carabao Cup final as “political grandstanding”.

    A limited number of spectators will be able to attend the game at Wembley on April 25 under the Government-led Events Research Programme (ERP), a pilot scheme looking at how to get spectators safely into venues amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    But a joint statement released by the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust and the Manchester City Official Supporters Club has condemned the lack of fan involvement in the decision-making process and questioned the validity of what it calls “a clinical trial” after the clinically extremely vulnerable were barred from applying for tickets.

    It said: “The Carabao Cup Final is now not a sporting event, and headlines that it represents ‘the return of fans’ are misleading. The event is a football match played as the centrepiece of a scientific experiment in front of some spectators, a small proportion of whom may be fans of the clubs involved.

    “Given the mix of spectators, the crowd will not behave as a normal football crowd behaves, and so researching its movement and behaviour is of limited value.”

  • SWEDEN’S KING SLAMS ‘TERRIBLE COVID FAILURE’

    Sweden, a country that shunned lockdown, now has the highest number of Covid cases in Europe and has more patients in intensive care than during the first wave.

    The Scandinavian country has a seven-day average of 625 new infections per million people, according to new data.

    The information comes after the king of Sweden blasted the country’s anti-lockdown strategy.

    King Carl XVI Gustaf told the state broadcaster SVT in an end-of-year-interview that the number of deaths in Sweden is “terrible”.

    The 74-year-old said: “The people of Sweden have suffered tremendously in difficult conditions. I think we have failed. We have a large number who have died, and that is terrible.”

  • COVID CRISIS IN EUROPE AS DEATHS SOAR PAST ONE MILLION

    Europe’s total Covid deaths have soared past one million, as the World Health Organization warns the pandemic is spreading “exponentially”.

    The death toll across all 52 countries in Europe hit 1,000,288 by 6.30pm on Tuesday.

    Europe’s botched vaccination roll-out has contributed to the rise in Covid cases.

    Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel declared the country was in a “new pandemic”.

    She blamed an “exponential” rise in coronavirus cases as the reason for the restrictions, saying the UK’s Kent Covid strain had caused the increase.

  • MODERNA COVID JAB ’90 PER CENT EFFECTIVE’

    US biotech company Moderna says its Covid vaccine is 90 per cent effective against all forms of the disease, and 95 per cent effective against severe disease.

    The new results come from its ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial involving more 30,000 people across the US.

    The headline efficacy figure is a slight decrease from an earlier figure of 94.1 percent published in the New England Journal of Medicine in December.

    The new number is based on 900 adjudicated cases of Covid from the study as of April 9, while the previous was based on 185 cases.

    A company press release did not indicate why efficacy has fallen, but one reason might be the emergence of new variants of concern which are not as susceptible to antibodies evoked to the vaccine.

     

  • THIRSTY BRITS MAKE 14MILLION PUB BOOKINGS AS COVID RESTRICTIONS EASE

    Thirsty Brits have made 14million pub bookings in a stampede to secure beer garden tables.

    A million of the outdoor reservations are for July, and many venues in England are booked up until May.

    Those who fail to make reservations may have to wait weeks before they can sip a pint at a boozer.

    Cocktail bar One Eight Six in Manchester is fully booked for ten consecutive weekends from May.

    In Birmingham, Craft bar and restaurant, said its outdoor pods were booked for six weeks and most tables have been snapped up until July.

  • PUBS COULD BE FINED UP TO 10K FOR FAILING TO ENFORCE COVID REGULATIONS

    British pubs face being shut or fined up to £10,000 if they fail to enforce coronavirus regulations. 

    Officials have warned that venues must obey the rules after huge queues were spotted outside boozers yesterday.

    Huge queues were seen outside pubs such as Manchester’s Friendship Inn, as thirsty punters aimed for a spot to enjoy a pint.

  • COVID LOCKDOWN ROADMAP COULD BE DELAYED, WARNS PROF…MORE

    Dr Peter Drobac, also said the surge in Chile can be attributed to Chileans ‘letting down their guard’.

    “Social distancing restrictions were relaxed, summer holidays were allowed to happen, border restrictions were eased,” he said.

    “What happened was infections began to rise well before any protective effect happened, and they’re paying the price.”

    Dr Drobac said it’s a warning that vaccinations won’t be enough to stop cases rising in the future.

    He said: “Vaccinations are so important, but they alone won’t be enough. Here in the UK we still face a risk of another surge if we’re not very careful about how we open up.”

  • COVID LOCKDOWN ROADMAP COULD BE DELAYED, WARNS PROF

    Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown could be delayed – because the UK faces a fresh Covid surge as restrictions ease, an Oxford academic has warned.

    Dr Peter Drobac, a former assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, warned there will be a spike in cases as Brits enjoy their new-found freedoms.

    And he said that unless we take it slow and steady, Britain could face a similar future to Chile – which has just gone back into a strict lockdown, despite one of the world’s best vaccination programmes.

    Speaking on Sky News, Dr Drobac hailed the South American country as a “Covid vaccination success story”.

    “Some 40 per cent of people have received one dose, and 25 per cent have received two doses – and at the same time, they’ve got a surge that is the worst they’ve experienced throughout the pandemic,” he added.

    Brits can now enjoy a pint outside pubs
    Brits can now enjoy a pint outside pubs
  • GRAN, 82, FINED £60 FOR ENJOYING PAL’S 70TH BIRTHDAY

    A Scots gran has been fined after being nabbed attending an illegal gathering for her mate’s 70th birthday party.

    Maureen Hogg, 82, from Eaglesham, East Renfrewshire, was handed a penalty notice by cops after they broke up the celebrations in Eaglesham.

    Maureen was given a £60 fine by cops over the weekend due to the party being in breach of current coronavirus restrictions.

    Her granddaughter Daisy, 17, tweeted: “Howling that my 82-year-old Gran got a covid fine cause she got caught at a gaff for someone’s 70th.

    Alongside her tweet, Daisy attached a picture of her family group chat which shows a message from her Mum, saying: “Gran’s been charged with antisocial behaviour by Police Scotland.”

  • SURGE TESTING FOR SOUTH AFRICAN COVID VARIANT IN LONDON

    Surge testing has begun in the boroughs of Lambeth and Wandsworth in south London.

    This follows the identification of a number of cases of a variant of the virus first found in South Africa.

    Surge testing was started after a “significant” cluster of South African variant was detected.

    The government said it is the “largest surge testing operation to date” aimed at suppressing any possible new cases of the mutant bug.

    People aged 11 or over who live, work or travel through Wandsworth and Lambeth are being urged to get a PCR test at a number of centres. They have also been told to do two lateral flow tests a week. But there will not be door-to-door testing, as there has been in the past.

    Surge testing is being deployed in parts of south London
    Surge testing is being deployed in parts of south London
  • ‘MUST JAB LAST FEW PER CENT IN PRIORITY GROUPS’ – EXPERT

    Around 1.3 million Brits in England’s top nine priority groups appear to not have had the Covid jab.

    One vaccination expert said that it was “vitally important” to vaccinate “the last few per cent”, or they could get infected and end up in hospital.

    Prof Jeremy Brown, a member of the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told the Today programme: “The problem here is that 5-10% have not been vaccinated.

    “When the virus re-circulates through the community they could get infected and end up in hospital.

    “So it’s vitally important that we get that last few per cent.”

  • 30MILLION JOHNSON & JOHNSON COVID JABS ON THE WAY

    The UK has 30 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson product on order.

    But it has yet to be authorised for use by the independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

    Speaking in Downing Street, Boris Johnson said: “It’s great that we have managed to achieve the target of getting everyone in the one to nine (priority) groups vaccinated by the deadline, by the timetable – a little bit ahead actually, 32 million people now have got their first dose, which is terrific.

    “We are going now to the 45-49 group; they are being asked to come forward.”

  • ENGLAND’S CORONAVIRUS ROAD MAP CONTINUES – PM

    Boris Johnson said there were no plans at present to change the road map out of lockdown.

    The next “waymarks” on England’s plan to ease restrictions are due on May 17 and June 21.

    “But it is very, very important that, if we are to get there in the way that we all want, people continue to be cautious and they continue to exercise restraint.

    “And just do the basic things to stop the spread of the virus – washing your hands, giving people plenty of space, doing things in fresh air,” he added.

    Mr Johnson urged the eligible people to come forward and get their jab when offered, adding that he remains “very confident” about vaccine supplies despite previous concerns over constraints.

  • EASING LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS WILL INEVITABLY LEAD TO MORE DEATHS – PM

    Boris Johnson has warned that the easing of lockdown restrictions will “inevitably” lead to more infections and deaths.

    The PM urged people to continue to “exercise restraint” as beer gardens were packed and shoppers flocked to high streets after the latest round of the Government’s coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England on Monday.

    Mr Johnson said that while jabs have helped, lockdown restrictions had done “the bulk of the work” in reducing Covid infections.

    He added: “Of course the vaccination programme has helped, but the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown.

    “So, as we unlock, the result will inevitably be that we will see more infection, sadly we will see more hospitalisation and deaths. People have just got to understand that.”

    The PM continues his fitness regime
    The PM continues his fitness regimeCredit: The Sun
  • LATEST ON EURO 2020

    A Euro 2020 fan park for up to 12,500 England fans to watch the Three Lions in this summer’s tournament is being planned for Trafalgar Square.

    Giant TV screens will be erected to broadcast the tournament in June and July to allow the huge crowd to watch the action outdoors.

    Crowds are limited to a maximum of 10,000 with social distancing before lockdown restrictions are lifted on June 21.

    England will play Croatia on June 13 and Scotland on June 20 – both in advance of the final step of Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown.

    It’s likely fans will have to provide proof of a negative test or vaccination in advances.

    Some 12,500 England fans could watch the team play in the Euros from Trafalgar Square
    Some 12,500 England fans could watch the team play in the Euros from Trafalgar Square
  • SCOTLAND’S LATEST COVID STATS

    Scotland has recorded three deaths from coronavirus and 221 positive tests in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon said.

    It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 7,633.

    Giving a Covid-19 update, the First Minister said 222,382 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 222,161 the previous day.

    There are 133 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, down 21 in 24 hours, and 20 patients are in intensive care, down one.

    Ms Sturgeon said 2,682,706 people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, up 13,983 from yesterday, and 605,126 have received their second dose.

  • CORONAVIRUS DEATHS PLUNGE IN THE UK

    UK Covid deaths have more than halved in a fortnight, with 23 fatalities and 2,472 cases reported today.

    Last Tuesday, which fell after the Easter Bank Holiday, saw 2,374 new infections and 20 deaths, with 4,033 coronavirus cases and 50 deaths recorded on the previous Tuesday.

    The latest data brings the total number of UK cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,375,814.

    The UK death toll now stands at 127,123.

    A whopping 40,107,877 doses of the Covid vaccine have now been administered in the UK. This includes 32,250,481 first doses and 7,857,396 second doses.

  • QUEEN & ROYALS TO WEAR FACE MASKS TO PRINCE PHILIP’S FUNERAL

    The Queen will wear a face mask at Prince Philip’s funeral on Saturday.

    Her Majesty, 94, and other royals will not be exempt from Covid rules as her beloved husband is buried on Saturday with just 30 mourners present.

    Just 30 guests will be in attendance and the Queen will not take part in the procession from Windsor Castle.

    Prince William and Harry, who arrived back in the UK two days ago for the funeral, and other senior royals will follow the Land Rover on foot.

    A minute’s silence will be held across the nation at 3pm to remember Philip’s 70-plus years of service.

  • OVER 4 MILLION COVID JABS GIVEN IN ENGLAND

    NHS England data shows a total of 4,095,213 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and April 12, including 3,307,580 first doses and 787,633 second doses.

    This compares with 5,277,988 first doses and 1,139,586 second doses given to people in the Midlands, a total of 6,417,574.

    The breakdown for the other regions is:

    • East of England: 3,242,129 first doses and 806,217 second doses, making 4,048,346 in total
    • North East and Yorkshire: 4,296,573 first and 1,108,087 second doses (5,404,660)
    • North West: 3,458,612 first and 887,155 second doses (4,345,767)
    • South East: 4,414,751 first and 1,046,476 second doses (5,461,227)
    • South West: 2,991,359 first and 705,198 second doses (3,696,557)
  • JOHNSON & JOHNSON JAB LATEST

    The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) insists that Johnson & Johnson’s decision to delay the rollout of its vaccine in Europe will not derail the UK’s programme to offer a jab to all adults by the end of July.

    The UK has 30million doses of the J & J product on order, but it has yet to be authorised for use by the independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

    A DHSC spokesman said: “We have hit our target to offer a vaccine to everyone in phase one of the vaccination programme and we are on track to offer a jab to all adults by the end of July.”

    The 30 million doses are expected to arrive in the second half of 2021 if approved by the MHRA.

    The regulator’s director of licensing Dr Siu Ping Lam said: “No vaccine would be authorised for use in the UK unless the expected high standards of safety, quality and effectiveness have been met.”

  • JAB HAPPY

    NHS patients are set to receive the Moderna vaccine today as the Government begins its next phase of the jab rollout.

    The vaccine will be the third Covid jab to be dished out in Britain and will be available at 21 sites in England, officials confirmed.

    Along with the Pfizer jab, Moderna offers an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for under-30s, after concerns about a possible link to very rare blood clots.

    More than 20 sites, including Reading’s Madejski Stadium and the Sheffield Arena, will initially use the newest jab – which Wales and Scotland began administering last week. Read more here.



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