Home UK News Coronavirus UK news update - June 21 lockdown lift could be DELAYED...

Coronavirus UK news update – June 21 lockdown lift could be DELAYED as covid cases surge and South Africa strain found


BORIS Johnson’s lockdown roadmap could be delayed – because the UK faces a fresh Covid surge as restrictions ease, an expert 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 – including pubs reopening yesterday.

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.

Last night it was revealed that surge testing is to begin 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.

The variant is deemed to be more transmissible – potentially up to 50 per cent more infectious.

All identified cases are isolating or have completed their isolation, and their contacts have been traced and asked to isolate.

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

  • RANDOX TO REDUCE PRICES OF PCR TESTS

    Major coronavirus testing firm Randox has announced it will reduce the price of PCR tests to £60 for travellers returning to the UK from overseas.

    This is around half the typical cost.

    The discounted tests will be available for people flying with partner airlines, who have not been announced.

  • SWEDEN REPORTS 19,105 NEW CASES, 39 DEATHS SINCE FRIDAY

    Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, has registered 19,105 new coronavirus cases since Friday, health agency statistics showed on Tuesday.

    The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 39 new deaths, taking the total to 13,660. The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.

    Sweden’s death rate per capita is many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours’ but lower than in most European countries that opted for lockdowns.

  • NICOLA STURGEON CONFIRMS SCOTTISH PUBS WILL OPEN INDOORS 3 WEEKS AHEAD OF ENGLAND

    Nicola Sturgeon today announced Scottish pubs will open up indoors three weeks ahead of those in England as she accelerated her plans to ease the country’s lockdown.

    The First Minister said bars and restaurants will be able to welcome customers back inside from April 16 “on a restricted basis” – while English boozers have to wait until at least May 17.

    She said: “It’s worth noting the restricted indoor opening of hospitality on the 26th will be actually three weeks ahead of any indoor opening of hospitality in England.”

    Ms Sturgeon announced she’s bringing forward several dates for the easing of lockdown rules, with a heavy focus on allowing families and friends to meet up again.

  • BE CAREFUL

    Boris Johnson warned today that Britain’s lockdown has led to lower Covid deaths NOT the vaccine – as he admitted numbers would rise again as England unlocks.

    The PM claimed today that “the bulk of the work” was done by people staying inside and not Britain’s world leading jab rollout.

    Speaking to reporters this morning, Boris warned that cases would go up and urged the nation to continue to be cautious as the head back to the pub.

    The PM said today: “Clearly everybody was able yesterday to go to the pub, to go shopping, get a haircut and so on, that’s great.

    “The numbers are down, infections, hospitalisations and deaths.”

  • FDA TO ‘PAUSE USE OF JOHNSON AND JOHNSON’ VACCINE WHILE RARE CASES OF BLOOD CLOTS ARE INVESTIGATED

    The US could be about to halt the use of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose Covid vaccine over blood clot concerns.

    Federal health agencies have called for use of the vaccine to be paused immediately today so that rare cases of blood clots can be investigated.

    The FDA this morning tweeted: “Today FDA and @CDCgov issued a statement regarding the Johnson & Johnson #COVID19 vaccine. We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution.

    “As of 4/12, 6.8m+ doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC & FDA are reviewing data involving 6 reported U.S. cases of a rare & severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine. Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.

    “Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered.”

  • COVID PANDEMIC IS AT A ‘CRITICAL POINT’ AS WHO WARNS CASES ARE SPIRALLING AGAIN

    The COVID pandemic is at a “critical point” and people need a “reality check” as lockdown restrictions are relaxed, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

    Restrictions were eased yesterday in England in line with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown – as infections have plummeted in the UK.

    It was yesterday reported that cases in the UK have dropped by 23 per cent in a fortnight to 3,568 infections compared to 4,645 on March 29.

    Deaths have also halved in the last week as the spread continues to slow.

    Many experts have hailed the vaccine rollout for the fall in fatalities and infections and so far in the UK, over 32 million people have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine with 7.6 million now having had both doses.

  • PM REMAINS ‘CONFIDENT’ ABOUT VACCINE SUPPLIES

    Boris Johnson insisted he remains “very confident” about vaccine supplies.

    The Prime Minister told reporters in Downing Street: “This always was going to be the ‘second dose’ month and people should come forward for their second doses and people who are called from the 45-49 (age) group should come forward and get theirs.”

  • DUTCH FACE PROSPECT OF EXTENDED LOCKDOWN AMIDST RISING INFECTIONS

    The Dutch government is expected to delay the long-awaited easing of lockdown restrictions including a nighttime curfew in an announcement later on Tuesday, due to stubbornly high COVID-19 infection rates that are putting pressure on hospitals.

    The office of Prime Minister Mark Rutte office said on Sunday “it is still too early” to allow more people to gather in public places.

    Authorities had hoped to reopen outdoor cafes and restaurants next week, but roughly six months after they shut, infection rates remain high and intensive care admissions are on the rise.

    Current measures in the Netherlands, which has seen 1.3 million coronavirus cases and more than 16,700 deaths, include the first nighttime curfew since World War Two and a ban on public gatherings of more than two people.

  • LOCKDOWN EASING COULD BE DELAYED IF SOUTH AFRICAN VARIANT SPREADS, EXPERT WARNS

    Lockdown easing could be delayed if the South African variant spreads, an expert has warned.

    A “significant” cluster of cases have been detected in south London, leading to the largest testing drive so far. James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute and professor at the University of Oxford, said we will know in “two to three weeks” how much it has spread once people in Wandsworth and Lambeth have been swabbed.

    Prof Naismith told BBC Radio 4: “I am supportive of the Government unlocking, I think people need some way out of this. But I think we have to be driven by what happens with the variants, what happens with the vaccination campaign. We might have to slow it, we might have to reverse it. We might be able to continue as we are. But the important thing is we need to watch if the South African variant has really taken off, and we’ll probably know in 2-3 weeks, then we may need to pause reopening.”

  • GOVERNMENT WILL MISS GOAL OF ADMINISTERING 180,000 JABS THIS WEEK

    The Government’s goal of administering 180,000 jabs this week will be missed following the change in advice on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

    Thousands of vaccine appointments this week will be rescheduled by the HSE after the the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) said that the vaccine should not be administered to people under the age of 60 in Ireland.

    The decision came after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) warned that rare blood clots have been associated with the jab.

    The HSE is examining the effect of the change in advice on the Government’s vaccine rollout programme.

    Some 813,000 AstraZeneca vaccines are due to be delivered over the next three months, including 224,000 in April.

  • WHEN WILL OVER 45S GET THE VACCINE?

    Brits aged over 45 have been invited to book their Covid vaccine.

    The NHS booking website now tells people they can make an appointment if they are aged 45 or over.

    Slots were available for as early as tomorrow through the online system.

    The rush caused the website has already crashed for many eager to get their shot of either the Pfizer, Oxford/AstraZeneca or Moderna jab.

  • BREAKING – UK COVID DEATHS PASS TRAGIC 150,000 MILESTONE, OFFICIAL DATA REVEALS

    The coronavirus death toll in the UK has now passed 150,000, official data states.

    Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that as of April 2, 150,418 deaths had been recorded with Covid-19 on the death certificate.

    As it stands there are only four other countries that have recorded a higher fatality rate than the UK.

    The US, India, Brazil and Mexico have all recorded high death tolls.

    Data from the ONS states that the updated figure released today includes 450 deaths recorded in the seven days to April 2.

  • BREAKING – WHO CHIEFS FINALLY CALL FOR A BAN ON WET MARKETS OVER COVID OUTBREAK

    The World Health Organization today called for a halt to the sale of live wild mammals in food markets to prevent the spread of disease and any future pandemics.

    They have called on countries to abandon the traditional trade of “live caught wild animals of mammalian species” in a bid to curb public health risks.

    It is a dramatic U-turn from the WHO’s original decision to back the re-opening of the controversial wet markets last May. Health experts around the world condemned the decision to support the trade, which restarted at the original virus epicentre in China.

    A dual WHO-Chinese study published last month that investigated the origins of coronavirus suggested the markets selling both live and dead animals were a likely source.

  • PUBS FACE BEING SHUT OR FINED UP TO £10K AS HUGE QUEUES THREATEN TO BREAK COVID RULES

    Pubs face being shut or fined up to £10,000 for failing to enforce coronavirus regulations. 

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

    The easing of restrictions prompted huge queues outside boozers yesterday, with Soho in Central London packed with punters spilling out onto the street. 

    Pictures also show hundreds of Brits queueing outside pubs in Manchester, Sunderland, Burnley and Birmingham. Councils have since pledged to set up enforcement squads to patrol queues and look for rule-breakers.

  • NHS WEBSITE CRASHES AFTER OVER-45S THEY CAN BOOK COVID VACCINES

    An NHS website that allows over-45s to book their vaccine appointment crashed shortly after opening.

    The online booking system had been open for Covid vaccine jab bookings just minutes before it went down. This week’s rollout to under-50s marks the start of ‘Phase 2’ of the government’s vaccination programme.

    The government reached its target of offering a first dose to priority groups in the over-50s three days earlier.

    But the NHS booking system ran into problems this morning as over-45s piled in to secure their slot.

  • ROADMAP COULD BE DELAYED AS BRITS FACE SURGE BY EASING RESTRICTIONS

    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 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.

  • UK ECONOMY GREW .4% IN FEBRUARY BUT REMAINED ALMOST 8% BELOW ITS PRE-PANDEMIC PEAK

    The UK economy grew 0.4% in February as lockdown restrictions remained – but it was still almost 8% below its pre-pandemic peak.

    Gross domestic product (GDP) rebounded slightly from January’s fall of 2.2%, according to revised figures by the Office for National Statistics.

  • PITCHER WORTH 1,000 WORDS

    Thirsty Brits have danced into the night after piling into pub gardens for their first post-work pints in months as lockdown eased yesterday.

    Huge queues were seen outside boozers across the country with revellers partying in the street despite the chilly weather.

    People dance in the street in the Soho area of London
    People dance in the street in the Soho area of London
    Drinkers have a street-side party in central London
    Drinkers have a street-side party in central London
    Crowds packed the streets with plastic cups for their first night of freedom
    Crowds packed the streets with plastic cups for their first night of freedom
  • 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.

  • TESTING TIMES

    Surge testing is to begin 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.

    The variant is deemed to be more transmissible – potentially up to 50 per cent more infectious.

    All identified cases are isolating or have completed their isolation, and their contacts have been traced and asked to isolate.

  • BORIS JOHNSON HAILS ‘SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE’ AS ALL OVER 50S OFFERED COVID JAB

    All adults in the UK aged over 50 have now been offered a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for the next phase of the rollout, the Government has said.

    Boris Johnson hailed another “hugely significant milestone” in the programme to protect the country against the disease.

    It means the Government has met its target of offering the jab to all of its top nine priority groups, including the clinically vulnerable and health and social care workers, three days ahead of its target date of April 15.

    The Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation will shortly set out its final advice for the completion of the programme, expected to begin this week with those in their late 40s.

    The announcement comes after Ireland became the latest country to restrict the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying it should not be given to people under the age of 60, amid concerns over possible links to rare blood clotting events.

  • ‘LIKE VE DAY’ – REVELLERS GATHER IN LONDON’S SOHO TO CELEBRATE PUBS REOPENING

    Revellers have tasted the first signs of freedom with a pint in London’s Soho, as crowds of people gathered in the heart of the West End – but some warned of “very little” social distancing.

    Police officers patrolled busy areas in London on Monday night as hordes of people flocked to Old Compton Street and neighbouring areas to enjoy al-fresco dining and drinks after coronavirus restrictions eased in England.

    Several West End streets were closed to traffic between 5pm-11pm to create outdoor seating areas as part of measures implemented by Westminster City Council to support hospitality businesses.

    Pictures and videos being shared online show people packed onto tables laden with food and drinks, while several dozen more stood on the streets cheering the first night of pubs and bars reopening.

  • SHOPPERS AND DRINKERS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NEW FREEDOMS AS LOCKDOWN EASES

    Shoppers flocked to high streets and drinkers downed pints as coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the nation to “behave responsibly” as life took another step back towards normality, with indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail salons and zoos also welcoming customers back.

    People in Wales were also enjoying renewed freedoms from Monday, with non-essential retail reopened and border restrictions eased to permit travel again with the rest of the UK and Ireland.

    Remaining school pupils returned to face-to-face teaching in Wales and Northern Ireland, in moves being echoed in Scotland as some pupils return from their Easter breaks.

    The “stay at home” order in Northern Ireland also ended as the number of people permitted to meet outdoors increased from six to 10.

  • BORIS JOHNSON HAILS ‘SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE’ AS ALL OVER 50S OFFERED COVID JAB

    All adults in the UK aged over 50 have now been offered a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for the next phase of the rollout, the Government has said.

    Boris Johnson hailed another “hugely significant milestone” in the programme to protect the country against the disease.

    It means the Government has met its target of offering the jab to all of its top nine priority groups, including the clinically vulnerable and health and social care workers, three days ahead of its target date of April 15.

    The Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation will shortly set out its final advice for the completion of the programme, expected to begin this week with those in their late 40s.

    The announcement comes after Ireland became the latest country to restrict the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying it should not be given to people under the age of 60, amid concerns over possible links to rare blood clotting events.

  • IRELAND: ASTRAZENECA VACCINE SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN TO PEOPLE UNDER 60, SAYS NIAC

    The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine should not be administered to people under the age of 60 in Ireland, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has said.

    The advisory body has recommended restrictions of its use after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) warned that rare blood clots have been associated with Astra Zeneca’s coronavirus vaccine.

    In a statement, NIAC said the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine “is not recommended for those aged under 60 years including those with medical conditions with very high or high risk of severe Covid-19 disease”.

    The advisory body added that the AstraZeneca vaccine should be limited to those “aged 60 years and older”.

    NIAC said anyone under the age of 60 who has had their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine with a “very high-risk or high-risk medical condition” should receive their second dose 12 weeks later as scheduled.



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