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Coronavirus UK latest – Brits enjoy summer holiday boost but cases surge could delay lockdown, expert warns


SUMMER holidays in Europe are back on the cards for Brits due to the success of the vaccine rollout, reports have claimed.

Countries with a strong jabs rollout are set to be exempt from the EU’s blanket entry ban – bringing hope to millions of Brit sunseekers this summer.

A senior EU official said the UK will “certainly” be one of the first foreign nations allowed back in under its vaccine passport scheme, possibly from June.

Boris Johnson is poised to lift the ban on people leaving the country for hols from May 17 – but there are fears they could still be barred from the continent.

Meanwhile, an expert has warned that a surge in coronavirus cases could delay Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown.

Professor Adam Finn, from the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), today warned that as lockdown is relaxed, cases would naturally rise.

His comments come after Mr Johnson last night addressed the nation at a Downing Street press conference.

He warned that it was likely the UK would experience a third wave, possibly in the winter months.

Prof Finn agreed with the PM’s point regarding a third wave in the UK and said the models point to a “summer surge in cases”.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning he said: “The models that we’ve seen on JCVI clearly point to a summer surge in cases as the lockdown is relaxed, because there are still many people in the adult population who’ve not been immunised and who will therefore start to transmit the infection between each other.”

It comes as:

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest news and updates…

  • ‘DIRTY DEALS’

    Nearly £4 billion worth of Covid PPE contracts appear to be corrupt, a bombshell report reveals.

    A staggering one in five of all contracts doled out in the pandemic “raise one or more red flags” for being dodgy, a major new study found.

    The Transparency International report slammed the VIP lane which gave high priority to companies referred by MPs, peers and top mandarins.

    There appears to be “systemic bias towards those with connections to the party of government in Westminster”, the study found.

    And it lashed Whitehall for failing to keep a proper paper trail of why contracts were dished out to certain firms.

  • FUNERAL MISERY

    Brits are being forced to endure “extended grief” as tens of thousands of cremations and burials get set to fall under Covid funeral curbs in the months ahead, it has been reported.

    Funeral directors expect another 80,000 services to fall under the restrictions between now and June 21 – the earliest date measures will be lifted.

    As Covid rules stand, only 30 mourners are allowed to attend any funeral taking place in England over the next two months.

    And charities have backed calls to review the limit.

    Dr Shelley Gilbert, founder of the charity Grief Encounter, estimated that 750,000 Brits have been “deeply impacted” by grief following the death of a loved one in the past year.

  • BRAZIL REGISTERS 3,742 NEW CASES

    Brazil recorded 79,719 new cases of coronavirus and 3,472 new COVID-19 deaths, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

    That takes Brazil’s death toll to 381,475 and the total confirmed cases to 14.1 million.

  • INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL RESTART AT RISK DUE TO ‘VAGUE AND COSTLY’ PLANS, MPS WARN

    The planned restart of international travel next month is in jeopardy with “vague and costly” proposals not enough to reboot the aviation and tourism sectors, a committee of MPs has warned.

    The Transport Select Committee said that international travel has had its “wings clipped” by the “cautious” Government Global Travel Taskforce report.

    The committee said the report gave “insufficient” detail to allow businesses and travellers to prepare for the safe resumption of international travel as planned on May 17.

    It also said that, where detail was provided, the costs could be “disproportionate to the risk” and could add £500 for a family of four travelling to the “safest” parts of the globe where vaccine rollout is comparable to the UK.

  • IRELAND – PFIZER TO OFFER COVID VACCINE TO EMPLOYEES’ RELATIVES

    Thousands of family members of Pfizer Ireland employees will be offered the Covid-19 vaccine by the company in the coming months, it has been confirmed. The vaccine manufacturer said the family of Pfizer staff will be offered the vaccine over the coming months in line with the Government’s age-based approach.

    Pfizer’s more than 4,000 staff across its five locations in Ireland were informed of the company’s offer on Wednesday. The company said its decision will not affect the supplies set to be delivered by the manufacturer to the State’s vaccination programme in the coming months.

    The latest figures from the HSE show that Pfizer provided more than 1 million of the almost 1.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine supplied to Ireland up to April 16. The rollout is set to begin with “immediate family/household members” over the age of 60 from next month.

  • JAB JOY

    A single Covid jab slashes hospitalisation risk in elderly Brits by as much as 98 per cent, real-world data suggests.

    Analysis of NHS pandemic admissions shows vaccinations may be more effective at preventing serious illness than previously thought.

    Public Health England last month revealed the risk of hospital admission dropped by at least 80 per cent for the over-80s, three weeks after their first shot.

    But Government scientific adviser Professor Calum Semple said the real-world data shows vaccines are even better.

    The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies member said the early findings were “very good news”.

  • COSTA BRAVO

    Brits will be welcomed with open arms to European hotspots this summer thanks to our stonking jabs success.

    Spain, Portugal and Greece are leading the push as EU chiefs meet to discuss reopening borders to sunseekers.

    A senior EU official said the UK will “certainly” be one of the first foreign nations allowed back in under its vaccine passport scheme, possibly from June.

    Boris Johnson is poised to lift the ban on people leaving the country for hols from May 17 – but there are fears they could still be barred from the continent.

    It currently bans non-essential travel from the UK, threatening summer getaway hopes.

  • HEATHROW REJECTS REQUESTS FOR EXTRA FLIGHTS FROM INDIA BEFORE ‘RED LIST’ MOVE

    Heathrow Airport has refused requests for extra flights from India before the country is added to the UK’s coronavirus “red list”.

    Four airlines asked for a total of eight extra flights to arrive at the west London airport before 4am on Friday.

    Britons returning after that point will be forced to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.

    Anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident or a British citizen will be banned from entering the country if they have been in India in the previous 10 days.

    It is understood Heathrow declined the airlines’ requests to ensure existing pressures at the border are not exacerbated.

  • SPAIN LIKELY TO START J&J COVID VACCINATIONS ON THURSDAY, MINISTER SAYS

    Spanish regions are likely to begin using Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine to inoculate 70-79 year olds on Thursday, Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Wednesday.

    Spain has already distributed the first batch of vials to regional health authorities, which are in charge of administering the injections.

    “Regions will surely start tomorrow because they want to increase the pace of vaccination,” Darias told a news briefing.

    An initial shipment of 146,000 doses of the single-shot drug landed in Spain last week but they were impounded in a warehouse on arrival over concerns the vaccines cause a rare type of clotting disorder.

  • WATCH – ‘BRUTAL’

    A woman screamed at police “you’re breaking my arm” as she was arrested for putting anti-lockdown stickers around a town centre.

    And a police watchdog will now probe the incident after video of the arrest went viral on social media.

    Police to review ‘brutal’ arrest of 69-year-old woman over anti-lockdown stickers
  • TURKEY TO RESUME FLIGHTS FROM UK, DENMARK

    Turkey will resume flights from the United Kingdom and Denmark, Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Eksi said on Wednesday.

    Eksi said on Twitter passengers will need to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the flight, citing a decision by authorities.

    Turkey had temporarily suspended flights from the two countries in December due to the new strains of the coronavirus.

  • SPAIN TO DONATE 5%-10% OF ITS SHARE OF COVID-19 SHOTS TO LATIN AMERICA

    Spain will offer between 5% and 10% of its COVID-19 vaccine shots to Latin American and Caribbean countries this year, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday.

    “Spain will launch this commitment as soon as it reaches the mark of 50% of the Spanish population vaccinated,” Sanchez told the Ibero-American summit in Andorra, adding that he expected Latin American nations to receive 7.5 million doses by the end of the year.

    The Iberian country aims to have half its population of 47 million fully inoculated by the end of July.

    So far around 7.6% have received a full course while nearly 21% have received at least one dose.

  • GONE VIRAL

    Scientists have detected what is believed to be the world’s most mutated Covid strain as fears grow new super variants may prolong the pandemic.

    The team of experts revealed their findings in a pre-print research paper which reports the coronavirus variant carries 34 mutations.

    And amongst those changes are 14 within the spike protein – the part of the virus which it uses to get inside human cells and make people sick.

    The Brazilian variant has 18 mutations total, with 10 mutations in the spike, while the UK strain has 17 mutations, including eight in key protein.

    The apparent new variant also contains the worrying E484K change – referred to as an “escape mutation” – which helps the virus beat antibodies and is coming in other worrying strains.

  • NEW COVID CASES IN FRANCE INCREASE MORE SLOWLY

    France on Wednesday reported 34,968 new coronavirus cases, up 4.36% compared to last Wednesday, in the lowest week-on-week increase since mid-March as a third nationwide lockdown started to show some effect.

    This year, week-on-week increases have only briefly dipped below the 4% level, in mid-February, and rose to more than 6% in late March-early April, before the government ordered the third lockdown just over two weeks ago.

    The new cases took the total to 5.37 million.

    The government also reported 313 new deaths in hospitals, taking the cumulative toll to 101,881, health ministry data showed.

  • THIRD WAVE FEAR

    A surge in coronavirus cases could delay Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown, one expert has warned.

    Under the PM’s plan, the next set of restrictions will be lifted on May 17.

    Professor Adam Finn, from the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), today warned that as lockdown is relaxed, cases would naturally rise.

    His comments come after Mr Johnson last night addressed the nation at a Downing Street press conference.

    He warned that it was likely the UK would experience a third wave, possibly in the winter months.

  • IN CREDIT

    Face-to-face meetings at Jobcentres for Universal Credit and other benefit claimants are returning in Scotland on Monday, April 26.

    It comes after they restarted in England and Wales on April 12.

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said priority will be given to new customers and young people at risk of long-term unemployment.

    Face-to-face services were axed due to pandemic, and since March 2020, assessments have taken place via phone and written forms.

    However, appointments are now returning and these will be followed by assessments for certain benefits in May.

  • LATEST COVID FIGURES

  • BREAKING

    Covid surge testing is to begin in Birmingham to try to stop the spread of the South African variant.

    The Department of Health and Social Care said the confirmed case had “self-isolated and their contacts have been identified”.

    Health officials said: “Initial investigations indicate that this case is not linked to a case previously identified in the Birmingham and Sandwell areas.”

    The testing will be targeted at households in the city’s Alum Rock, Glebe Farm and Tile Cross areas.

  • DEATHS PLUNGE

    UK Covid deaths have plunged by 42 per cent in a week, with 22 more fatalities reported today.

    The total number of infections in the UK now stands at 4,395,703 after 2,396 more cases were recorded in the last 24 hours.

    And with today’s figures, the grim Covid death toll is now at 127,327.

    The daily coronavirus case rise today is lower than yesterday – when 2,524 infections were reported.

  • ROADMAP DELAY

    A surge in coronavirus cases could delay Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown, one expert has warned.

    Under the PM’s plan, the next set of restrictions will be lifted on May 17.

    Professor Adam Finn, from the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), today warned that as lockdown is relaxed, cases would naturally rise.

    His comments come after Mr Johnson last night addressed the nation at a Downing Street press conference.

    He warned that it was likely the UK would experience a third wave, possibly in the winter months.

  •  BREAKING

    Covid surge testing is to begin in Birmingham to try to stop the spread of the South African variant.

    The Department of Health and Social Care said the confirmed case had “self-isolated and their contacts have been identified”

    Health officials said: “Initial investigations indicate that this case is not linked to a case previously identified in the Birmingham and Sandwell areas.”

    The testing will be targeted at households in the city’s Alum Rock, Glebe Farm and Tile Cross areas.

  • ROADMAP DELAY WARNING

    A surge in coronavirus cases could delay Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown, one expert has warned.

    Under the PM’s plan, the next set of restrictions will be lifted on May 17.

    Professor Adam Finn, from the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), warned that as lockdown is relaxed, cases would naturally rise.

    His comments come after Mr Johnson last night addressed the nation at a Downing Street press conference.

  •  EU ‘TO LAUNCH COURT BID AGAINST ASTRAZENECA’

    The European Commission is getting ready to launch legal proceedings against vaccine producer AstraZeneca, five EU diplomats told Politico.

    The Commission raised the matter at a meeting of ambassadors yesterday.

    And during that gathering, the majority of EU countries said they would support suing the company over complaints it massively failed to deliver pledged doses to the bloc. 

    More on this next.

  •  BREAKING

    Covid surge testing is to begin in Birmingham to try to stop the spread of the South African variant.

    The Department of Health and Social Care said the confirmed case had “self-isolated and their contacts have been identified”.

    Health officials said: “Initial investigations indicate that this case is not linked to a case previously identified in the Birmingham and Sandwell areas.”

    The testing will be targeted at households in the city’s Alum Rock, Glebe Farm and Tile Cross areas.

  • NO BONUS

    The Government is facing a fresh attack after confirming it will not pay a bonus to NHS and social care workers in England.

    A petition signed by thousands of people called for a one-off bonus of £500 for health staff in England in recognition of their “extraordinary service” during the pandemic.

    A similar bonus has been announced in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    In response to the petition, the Government said: “We are immensely grateful to our health and social care workforce. We are not currently planning to pay £500 bonuses but are exploring ways to improve recognition of health and social care staff.



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