Coronavirus latest news: Just 25 children died in one year from Covid in England, study reveals

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Doctor taking pcr swab from nose of little girl using cotton swab at clinic. Diagnosis of covid in children concept
Doctor taking pcr swab from nose of little girl using cotton swab at clinic. Diagnosis of covid in children concept
  • Rishi Sunak tells workers to get back to the office

  • Delta variant reinfects people who have had Covid

  • Backlash over mandatory tests for five year olds

  • Euro 2020: Italy fans don’t have to self-isolate

  • Fifth of Britons want pandemic curfew to continue

The risk of severe illness or death from Covid-19 is “extremely low” in children and young people, as new research reveals that just 25 under-18s in England have died from the virus in a one year period.

This means that vaccines would need to be proven to be “very low risk” before children were given jabs, according to child health experts.

One of the pre-print studies, led by paediatric registrar at the University of Bristol, Dr Clare Smith, found that 61 children and young people had died with a positive Covid-19 test from March 2020 through to February 2021.

Of these, some 40 per cent died of Covid-19, meaning that 25 children and young people actually died from the virus out of an estimated 469,000 infections.

Dr Smith told reporters at a briefing that this meant that “99.995 per cent of children and young people who were infected with Covid-19 in England survived”.

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the Department of Health and Social Care have been sent the preliminary findings, which were submitted to inform vaccine and shielding policy for those under-18.

The JCVI is reviewing data from vaccine trials on children and young people to decide whether to extend the rollout, after the UK’s health regulator authorised use of the Pfizer vaccine in 12 to 15-year-olds in June.

​​Follow the latest updates below.

11:33 AM

Latest regional Covid positivity rates

The percentage of people in private households testing positive for Covid-19 is estimated to have increased in all regions of England, the Office for National Statistics has said.

North-east England and north-west England had the highest proportion of people of any region likely to test positive for coronavirus in the week to July 3: around one in 80.

Eastern England had the lowest estimate: around one in 350.

Around one in 160 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to July 3 – up from one in 260 in the previous week, according to the ONS national estimates, the highest level since the week to February 19.

In Scotland, around one in 100 people are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to July 3 – up from one in 150 in the previous week, and the highest level since the week to January 16.

11:12 AM

US donation of 1.4m Covid vaccine doses arrives in Afghanistan

US donations of more than 1.4 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Afghanistan on Friday, the first of two shipments this month, the UN children’s agency UNICEF said in a statement.

A second shipment of vaccines donated by the United States through the COVAX global sharing program will bring the total to 3.3 million doses, UNICEF said. The US vaccine donations come as US military forces withdraw from Afghanistan, ending a 20-year war in the country.

The deliveries are part of President Joe Biden’s pledge to share 80 million vaccine doses globally, most through COVAX, which is run by the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

“These vaccines arrive at a critical time for Afghanistan as the country faces a difficult surge in Covid-19 infections,” said UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan, Hervé Ludovic De Lys.

Less than four percent of the Afghan population is vaccinated, UNICEF said.

10:50 AM

Rishi Sunak tells workers to get back to the office

The Chancellor is rallying Britons to return to the office as soon as the Government’s “work from home” guidance lifts, declaring it “really important” for younger staff.

Rishi Sunak conceded that operating remotely via Zoom during the pandemic had been “not great” for workers at the beginning of their careers, who find face-to-face interaction particularly “valuable”.

Signalling his strong support for workers to return to the office at step four of the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of restrictions, scheduled for July 19, he said: “I think for young people, especially, that ability to be in your office, be in your workplace and learn from others more directly, is something that’s really important and I look forward to us slowly getting back to that.”

  • Lucy Fisher has the full story

10:33 AM

Delta variant is reinfecting people who have already had Covid-19

People who have previously caught Covid are now more likely to be reinfected because of the delta variant, a study has found.

Laboratory analysis revealed that the mutation that originated in India is four times more able to overcome protective antibodies from a previous infection compared to the UK’s alpha variant.

The study also found that a single dose of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines provided just 10 per cent protection against the delta variant.

The variant was already thought to be up to 60 per cent more infectious than the version which swept the UK last winter.

  • Henry Bodkin has more on these findings

10:20 AM

Almost all Delta variant hospitalisations under 50 were not fully vaccinated

Just 4 per cent of the 1,283 people under 50 who have been admitted to hospital in England with the Delta variant of Covid-19 were fully vaccinated, Public Health England has said.

Of those hospitalisations up to June 21, 987 (77 per cent) were unvaccinated, 106 (8 per cent) were less than 21 days after their first dose of vaccine, 118 (9 per cent) 21 or more days after their first dose of vaccine and 48 (4 per cent) were fully vaccinated.

There were a total of 1,904 hospitalisations with the variant, 1,283 of whom were under the age of 50 and 615 were 50 or over.

Of the 615 aged 50 or over, 195 (32 per cent) were unvaccinated, 11 (2 per cent) less than 21 days after their first dose of vaccine, 140 (23 per cent) 21 or more days after their first dose of vaccine and 265 (43 per cent) were fully vaccinated.

10:01 AM

Public warned not to ignore NHS Covid app as virus cases continue to rise

People have been urged not to ignore the NHS Covid app if they are advised to self-isolate, after cases of the dominant Delta variant rose by a third in the past week.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it is important that people continue to use the app, amid concerns about the increasing numbers being “pinged” as restrictions are rolled back.

Rules governing travel for people in England are due to be eased on July 19 but measures on self-isolation for the fully vaccinated will remain in place until August 16, raising fears that people will delete the app rather than risk having to cancel a holiday.

Mr Shapps told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “You shouldn’t ignore this (the app) because it is vital information. People should want to know if they have been in contact with somebody with coronavirus.

“You don’t want to be spreading it around. It can still harm people.”

09:11 AM

Pictured: Coronavirus around the world

Chemical troops disinfect public areas and transport in the capital Taipei City, Taiwan, as the government is extending the Covid alert level 3 to July 26 - Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto
Chemical troops disinfect public areas and transport in the capital Taipei City, Taiwan, as the government is extending the Covid alert level 3 to July 26 – Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto
US First Lady Jill Biden looks on as Alfred Lee Smith is vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccination at a vaccination facility at Alfred E. Beach High School in Savannah, Georgia - Jim Watson/Pool/REUTERS
US First Lady Jill Biden looks on as Alfred Lee Smith is vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccination at a vaccination facility at Alfred E. Beach High School in Savannah, Georgia – Jim Watson/Pool/REUTERS
Municipal workers wearing protective gear disinfect the streets after a spike in the number of positive coronavirus cases in Guatemala City - Johan ORDONEZ/AFP
Municipal workers wearing protective gear disinfect the streets after a spike in the number of positive coronavirus cases in Guatemala City – Johan ORDONEZ/AFP

08:53 AM

Delta variant cases in UK rise by 34pc in a week

A total of 216,249 confirmed and probable cases of the Covid-19 delta variant have now been identified in the UK, according to the latest figures from Public Health England – up by 54,268 from 161,981 cases in the previous week, a rise of 34pc.

Of the 216,249 cases, 180,643 have been in England, 28,559 in Scotland, 3,666 in Wales and 3,381 in Northern Ireland.

The delta variant currently accounts for approximately 99pc of confirmed cases of coronavirus across the UK.

08:36 AM

Delta variant is reinfecting people who have already had Covid-19

People who have previously caught Covid are now more likely to be reinfected because of the delta variant, a study has found.

Laboratory analysis revealed that the mutation that originated in India is four times more able to overcome protective antibodies from a previous infection compared to the UK’s alpha variant.

The study also found that a single dose of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines provided just 10 per cent protection against the delta variant.

The variant was already thought to be up to 60 per cent more infectious than the version which swept the UK last winter.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, help explain why the virus is spreading so quickly, particularly among younger adults, fewer of whom are double-vaccinated.

  • Read the full story from Henry Bodkin

08:21 AM

Delta variant to account for most new Covid cases in France from this weekend, says health minister

The highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 will probably account for most of the new coronavirus cases in France from this weekend, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Friday.

The Delta variant now represents nearly 50pc of new Covid-19 infections, Veran told France Inter radio station.

08:07 AM

Grant Shapps urges people not to ignore NHS Covid app if they get ‘pinged’

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps urged people not to ignore the NHS Covid app if they are “pinged” and advised to self-isolate.

Travel restrictions for people in England are due to be eased on July 19 but rules on self-isolation for people who are fully vaccinated will remain in place until August 16, raising fears that people will delete the app rather than risk having to cancel a holiday.

However, Mr Shapps said it is important that people continue to use the app.

“You shouldn’t ignore this because it is vital information. People should want to know if they have been in contact with somebody with coronavirus. You don’t want to be spreading it around. It can still harm people,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

07:53 AM

Spain is safe despite rising cases, insists Spanish minister

Spain is a safe destination for tourists even though Covid-19 cases are rising, Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said on Friday, citing its vaccination programme and the number of hospitalised patients being kept under control.

“Governments must not raise alarms,” she said in an interview with RNE radio station. “We cannot measure the epidemiological situation only based on cumulated incidence,” she said.

Maroto’s comments come after French Junior European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune advised French people on Thursday to avoid Spain and Portugal for their summer holidays.

Beachgoers enjoy a sunny day on Malvarrosa Beach in Valencia, eastern Spain - KAI FOERSTERLING/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Beachgoers enjoy a sunny day on Malvarrosa Beach in Valencia, eastern Spain – KAI FOERSTERLING/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

07:44 AM

Holidaymakers warned of additional queues before entering back into UK

The Transport Secretary has warned that holidaymakers should expect additional queues when they check in for their flights home due to the need for coronavirus checks.

Mr Shapps told BBC Breakfast: “Before you board a plane you would need to show you have completed your passenger locator form, that you have carried out a pre-departure test, that you have got your test booked for day two and all of that needs to be checked by the carrier – the airline usually – before you travel.

“So the place to expect queues is the airport you are coming from. Once you get back to the UK all of that is starting to be automated.

“People should expect more disruption than usual but I know that everyone is working very hard to minimise those queues.”

07:24 AM

Government ‘actively working’ on plans to accept vaccine certificates from other countries

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the Government is “actively working” on plans to accept vaccination certificates from travellers who receive a coronavirus jab in other countries.

On Thursday Mr Shapps announced that travellers from amber list countries who were fully vaccinated in the UK would no longer have to self-isolate from July 19.

Speaking on Sky News, he said he expected to be able to make an announcement “in the next couple of weeks” on extending it to people who receive a World Health Organisation-approved vaccine in other countries.

“The next thing is to be able to recognise apps from other countries or certification from other countries,” he said.

eu covid scheme - OLIVIER MORIN/AFP
eu covid scheme – OLIVIER MORIN/AFP

07:05 AM

‘Sensitivity’ of NHS Covid app is being kept under review, says Transport Secretary

Grant Shapps has said the “sensitivity” of the NHS Covid app is being kept under constant review.

Mr Shapps said it was important that it remained a “useful tool” in the fight against the disease amid concerns about the increasing numbers of people being “pinged” as restrictions are eased.

“As the overall nationwide levels for things like the amount of social distancing and other rules are looked at so we will look at the way that app performs with regard to the new standards being in place,” he told Sky News.

“We keep a very close eye on those things. I did speak to the Health Secretary about it yesterday. He is very aware of this and we will keep it under constant review because we want the app to be a useful tool in our armoury.

“We will keep the sensitivity of it under review with the new guidelines that come in on July 19.”

06:37 AM

Pfizer wants third shot approved in US to boost immunity

Pfizer is about to seek authorisation in the United States for a third dose of its Covid-19 vaccine, saying that another shot within 12 months could dramatically boost immunity and maybe help ward off the latest worrisome mutant.

Research from multiple countries shows the Pfizer shot and other widely used Covid-19 vaccines offer strong protection against the highly contagious delta variant, which is spreading rapidly around the world and now accounts for most new US infections.

Two doses of most vaccines are critical to develop high levels of virus-fighting antibodies against all versions of the coronavirus, not just the delta variant – and most of the world is still desperate to get those initial protective doses as the pandemic continues to rage.

But antibodies naturally wane over time, so studies are also underway to tell if and when boosters might be needed.

pfizer vax - JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP
pfizer vax – JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP

06:35 AM

UK economy rebounds in May following the easing of restrictions

The UK economy rebounded further in May following the latest easing of lockdown restrictions but recorded a slow-down in growth, according to official statistics.

The Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product – a measure of economic growth – grew by 0.8pc in May, as it slowed from a 2.3pc rise in April.

Analysts had predicted that the economy would report a 1.5pc increase for the month.

06:19 AM

Charities call for more support for 500,000 immunocompromised

Sixteen health charities have joined forces to urge the Government to support around 500,000 people for whom the Covid-19 vaccines may give less protection.

With most of England’s Covid rules due to be scrapped on July 19, including the wearing of masks, charities such as Versus Arthritis, Anthony Nolan, Blood Cancer UK and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust said more needs to be done for those who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed.

The charities want better communication from the Government and the NHS to inform patients, the wider public and employers about the potentially higher and continued risks that Covid-19 poses to immunocompromised people.

They also want employment protection and access to workplace adjustments for immunocompromised people, including the duty to consider working from home wherever possible and flexibility in start and finish times so as to avoid peak-time travel.

06:06 AM

Today’s front page

Here is your Daily Telegraph for Friday, July 9.

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05:56 AM

Japanese cabinet ‘in chaos’, says shocked restaurateur

The operator of the “Kill Bill” restaurant in Tokyo said on Friday he was shocked by comments from a government minister that he would ask banks to pressure eateries that don’t comply with stricter coronavirus measures.

Kozo Hasegawa, the president of Global-Dining Inc that runs 43 restaurants including one that inspired the movie “Kill Bill: Volume I”, said that “the cabinet seems to be in chaos” and that it seemed the minister “doesn’t know much about our constitution”.

Mr Hasegawa was responding to comments from economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura who on Thursday said he would ask banks to share information on restaurants that refuse to respond to requests to follow anti-Covid-19 curbs.

Mr Nishimura said on Friday he did not mean to imply that loans should be limited for restaurants that do not abide by new state-of-emergency curbs in Tokyo.

Customers eat sushi off a conveyor belt at a Kura Sushi restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, - Reuters
Customers eat sushi off a conveyor belt at a Kura Sushi restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, – Reuters

05:44 AM

Sri Lanka batting coach tests positive ahead of India series

Sri Lanka batting coach Grant Flower is in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 ahead of a home series against India, the cricket board in Colombo said Friday.

Flower, 50, had returned from England where Sri Lanka played a one-day and Twenty20 international series and was preparing for next week’s India games when he showed coronavirus symptoms.

“Immediately upon identification, Flower was isolated from the rest of the team members who are undergoing quarantine following their return from England,” the board said.

It said Flower showed “mild symptoms”, prompting a Covid-19 test. Soon after the Sri Lanka team’s return, three players and four support staff members of the England team tested positive for Covid-19.

Bristol County Ground Original description: Sri Lanka's Dasun Shanaka bats during the third one day international match at the Bristol County Ground, Bristol. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 4, 2021. See PA story CRICKET England. - PA
Bristol County Ground Original description: Sri Lanka’s Dasun Shanaka bats during the third one day international match at the Bristol County Ground, Bristol. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 4, 2021. See PA story CRICKET England. – PA

05:08 AM

All children to be offered flu jabs this winter

All children will be offered flu jabs this autumn – amid fears Britain could be facing one of the worst seasons on record.

The rollout will be extended to everyone under the age of 16, as well as all over 50s, and millions of others with common health conditions, The Telegraph can reveal.

It means the programme will be the biggest in history, covering more than half the population.

Sources close to the programme said it would be expanded this year, to cover all pupils at secondary school.

Read the full story

Hispanic boy getting a shot at doctor's office
Hispanic boy getting a shot at doctor’s office

04:30 AM

Restrictions tighten as Southeast Asia battles records rises

Having escaped the worst when the pandemic erupted last year, Southeast Asia is now suffering record rises in deaths and cases, while vaccination shortfalls and highly contagious variants have derailed containment efforts.

As countries like Britain, Germany and France prepare to remove most remaining restrictions after devastating outbreaks, governments in Southeast Asia have been tightening measures, hoping targeted lockdowns will act as circuit-breakers in arresting dramatic spikes after cases started rising in May.

Indonesia, the region’s hardest hit and most populous country, recorded 38,391 cases on Thursday, six times the number a month earlier, in a week when its daily death toll as much as doubled from the start of July.

Hospitals on the most populous island Java are being pushed to the limit, oxygen supplies are low, and four of five designated Covid-19 burial grounds in the capital Jakarta are close to full.

 mother mourns with her son during her mother's funeral at the Mulyaharja cemetery for Covid-19 coronavirus victims, in Bogor, West Java - AFP
mother mourns with her son during her mother’s funeral at the Mulyaharja cemetery for Covid-19 coronavirus victims, in Bogor, West Java – AFP

03:57 AM

Seoul faces toughest restrictions in ‘maximum crisis’

South Korea will raise coronavirus curbs to their highest level in the Seoul metropolitan area, the country’s prime minister said on Friday, warning a record spike in new cases had reached “maximum crisis level”.

The country had previously been held up as a model of how to combat the pandemic, with the public largely following social distancing and other rules, but it was slow to start its vaccine rollout due to supply shortages.

On Friday it recorded 1,316 cases, its highest daily rise since the pandemic began, with most new infections in the capital Seoul and its surrounding areas, home to almost half the South Korean population.

Cluster infections have surfaced in areas including schools, offices and shopping malls, with people in their 20s and 30s – most of whom are not yet eligible for vaccinations – driving up the numbers, according to health authorities.

People wait in line for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test at a testing site, temporarily set up at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2021. - Reuters
People wait in line for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test at a testing site, temporarily set up at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2021. – Reuters

03:25 AM

PM declares ‘no jab, no job’ as Fiji battles Delta outbreak

Fiji has announced plans to make the coronavirus vaccine compulsory for all workers as it battles a runaway outbreak of the Delta variant, with the prime minister issuing a blunt message: “no jabs, no job”.

Frank Bainimarama said all public servants in the South Pacific nation of 930,000 must go on leave if they have not had their first injection by August 15 and would be dismissed if they did not receive their second by November 1.

Private sector employees must have their first jab by August 1, with individuals facing hefty fines if they fail to comply and companies threatened with being shut down.

“No jabs, no job – that is what the science tells us is safest and that is now the policy of the government and enforced through law,” Mr Bainimarama said in a national address late on Thursday.

Residents look on as police check people are wearing face masks in Suva on July 3, 2021, as a worsening outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus Delta variant has overwhelmed the South Pacific nation's largest hospital - AFP
Residents look on as police check people are wearing face masks in Suva on July 3, 2021, as a worsening outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus Delta variant has overwhelmed the South Pacific nation’s largest hospital – AFP

02:51 AM

Pandemic one of ‘three lethal Cs’ in world hunger spike

World hunger rose steeply in 2020, with six times more people living in “famine-like conditions” than in 2019, rights group Oxfam said Friday.

The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated existing crises sparked by conflict and climate change – the “three lethal Cs” – according to the group.

“Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, vulnerable communities around the world have been sending a clear, urgent and repeated message: ‘Hunger may kill us before coronavirus’. Today, deaths from hunger are outpacing the virus,” it said in a statement.

Oxfam calculates that 11 people a minute are likely dying from acute hunger, compared to seven people a minute from Covid-19.

Read more: Millions across the globe are ‘one step away from starvation’

In this file photo taken on September 23, 2020, displaced Yemeni Samar Ali Ahmed, 8-year-old weighing nine and a half kilogrammes suffering from acute malnutrition, is carried by her father in Hajjah Governorate, in northern Yemen. - Nearly 200 charities on November 20, 2020, urged Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson to abandon plans to cut Britain's international development budget as it grapples with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. - AFP
In this file photo taken on September 23, 2020, displaced Yemeni Samar Ali Ahmed, 8-year-old weighing nine and a half kilogrammes suffering from acute malnutrition, is carried by her father in Hajjah Governorate, in northern Yemen. – Nearly 200 charities on November 20, 2020, urged Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson to abandon plans to cut Britain’s international development budget as it grapples with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. – AFP

02:15 AM

Sydneysiders told to stay home or risk even longer lockdown

Australian authorities on Friday pleaded with Sydney residents to stay at home, warning a three week lockdown may be extended as they struggle to control a Covid-19 outbreak, with the city reporting its the biggest rise in local cases for the year.

Hundreds of extra police patrolled parts of Sydney to enforce the city’s lockdown orders imposed to stamp out an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant, which has increased to more than 400 cases.

“New South Wales is facing the biggest challenge we have faced since the pandemic started,” state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. “At the moment the numbers are not heading in the right direction.”

“Please do not leave your house. Do not leave your home, unless you absolutely have to.”

A woman wearing a protective face mask walks along a waterfront path during a lockdown to curb the spread of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sydney, Australia, J - Reuters
A woman wearing a protective face mask walks along a waterfront path during a lockdown to curb the spread of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sydney, Australia, J – Reuters

01:49 AM

Civic rewards urged to ward off ‘epidemic of loneliness’

The Government should create a National Civic Service for young people to help ward off an “epidemic of loneliness” exacerbated by the pandemic, a new report recommends.

Adults up to age 35 should be encouraged to participate in the community through “civic rewards” that could be redeemed against student loan costs or go towards training courses, the Onward think tank said.

The centre-right group said the Government should introduce the voluntary expectation that young adults volunteer for 10 days each year or for one paid year of service between the ages of 18 and 35.

It is also calling for a Social Spaces Act so underused community assets, such as town halls and sports pitches, can be automatically opened up for community use and empty high street shops can be temporarily used for young people.

Silhouette of sad teenage girl looking out the window on a cold autumn day
Silhouette of sad teenage girl looking out the window on a cold autumn day

01:21 AM

Australian PM promises earlier delivery of Pfizer shots

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Pfizer will increase Covid-19 vaccine delivery to about one million doses a week from July 19, more than tripling shipments, as Sydney battles its worst outbreak of this year.

As many as 4.5 million Pfizer doses expected to arrive in September will become available next month, Mr Morrison said on Friday.

“So that’s ramping up … and so we are really hitting our marks now. I know we’ve had challenges over the course of the last four months but we’re hitting those marks now,” he said.

Mr Morrison said Australia should vaccinate all its eligible residents by the end of the year, if medical advice on Pfizer’s vaccine is not changed and supply remains uninterrupted.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference following a national cabinet meeting, at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, 02 July 2021. - Shutterstock
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference following a national cabinet meeting, at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, 02 July 2021. – Shutterstock

01:03 AM

Health charities urge better support for vulnerable

Sixteen health charities have joined forces to urge the Government to support around 500,000 people for whom the Covid-19 vaccines may give less protection.

With most of England’s Covid rules due to be scrapped on July 19, including the wearing of masks, charities such as Versus Arthritis, Anthony Nolan, Blood Cancer UK and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust said more needs to be done for those who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed.

The charities want better communication from the Government and the NHS to inform patients, the wider public and employers about the potentially higher and continued risks that Covid-19 poses to immunocompromised people.

They also want employment protection and access to workplace adjustments for immunocompromised people, including the duty to consider working from home wherever possible and flexibility in start and finish times to avoid peak-time travel.

Commuters travel on the underground network during rush hour on July 06, 2021 in London, England. The UK government will no longer compel mask-wearing in enclosed spaces after Covid-19 rules end in England on July 19, but it has left the door open for individual transport providers to require them.  - Getty Images
Commuters travel on the underground network during rush hour on July 06, 2021 in London, England. The UK government will no longer compel mask-wearing in enclosed spaces after Covid-19 rules end in England on July 19, but it has left the door open for individual transport providers to require them. – Getty Images

12:07 AM

Portugal holidaymakers faces stricter rules as cases surge

Scrambling to bring under control a worrying Covid-19 surge, tourism-dependent Portugal imposed stricter rules on Thursday, requiring holidaymakers to show a negative test, a vaccination certificate or proof of recovery to stay in hotels.

Portugal’s new daily case numbers have been rising steadily in recent weeks, returning to levels last seen in February when the country was under a strict lockdown to tackle what then was the world’s worst coronavirus surge.

Almost 90 percent of cases are of the more infectious Delta variant and, as it quickly spreads, the country is left in a tight spot, finding it tough to salvage the usually busy summer season.

Negative tests, vaccination certificates or proof of recovery will also be required to eat indoors at restaurants in 60 high-risk municipalities, including Lisbon and the city of Porto, on Friday evenings and at the weekend.

A view of Lisbon downtown amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Lisbon, Portugal, July 8, 2021. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes - Reuters
A view of Lisbon downtown amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Lisbon, Portugal, July 8, 2021. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes – Reuters

11:35 PM

Today’s top stories

  • The Chancellor is rallying Britons to return to the office as soon as the Government’s “work from home” guidance lifts, declaring it “really important” for younger staff.

  • People who have previously caught Covid are now more likely to be reinfected because of the delta variant, a study has found.

  • Grant Shapps is facing a backlash over mandatory PCR tests for children as young as five as part of plans to scrap quarantine for fully vaccinated holidaymakers visiting amber countries from July 19.

  • As many as 1,000 fans from Italy will descend on Wembley on Sunday despite the fact that English supporters were effectively banned from Rome for their Euro 2020 quarter final.

  • A fifth of Britons believe a 10pm curfew should be enforced even after the Covid pandemic is over, according to a new poll.

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