Coronavirus latest news: Nicola Sturgeon bans travel to further Delta variant hotspots in England

0

Pedestrians walk along the River Thames in view of The Houses of Parliament in London - Jason Alden/Bloomberg
Pedestrians walk along the River Thames in view of The Houses of Parliament in London – Jason Alden/Bloomberg
  • Scrap Covid tests in schools, says Oxford vaccine pioneer

  • Boris Johnson ‘wants people back in offices as soon as possible’

  • NHS backlog twice as big as we thought, admits Matt Hancock

  • Latest wave is already flattening and likely to peak soon

  • All over-18s in England can book vaccine, NHS announces

Scots will be banned from travelling to more English Covid hotspots, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The Scottish First Minister said this lunchtime that “non-essential” travel to Manchester and Salford is not allowed from Monday onwards.

She cited “very high” Covid rates in English council areas to justify the action, which adds to a non-essential travel ban between Scotland, Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen already in place.

Around one in 520 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to June 12 – up from one in 560 in the previous week – according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is the highest level since April 10, with 99 per cent of confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus across the country now of the Indian/Delta variant.

But with hospitalisations and deaths remaining low, and 18-year-olds now being called up for their jabs, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “very confident” the July 19 unlocking would go ahead as planned.

​​Follow the latest updates below.

11:49 AM

New: Sturgeon announces travel ban on Manchester and Salford for Scots

The Sun’s Scottish political editor has more from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement this lunchtime:

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.

Update your settings here to see it.

11:47 AM

PM backs Matt Hancock after ‘hopeless’ text

Boris Johnson backed Health Secretary Matt Hancock despite criticising him as “hopeless” in messages revealed earlier this week by Dominic Cummings.

Speaking in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, Mr Johnson said: “I have complete confidence in Matt and indeed all of the Government who have been dealing with Covid-19 throughout the pandemic.”

He cited the “absolutely outstanding” vaccine rollout from the NHS which is making “huge, huge progress”.

18-year-olds are from today being called for their jabs, and 80 per cent of all adults in the UK have now had one dose.

  • Recap: Cummings embarrasses Boris Johnson by revealing text tirade

11:36 AM

New Zealand PM Ardern gets ‘pain-free’ Covid vaccine

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern received her first shot of the Pfizer Covid vaccine on Friday, as the country ramps up efforts to inoculate its population.

The Pacific island nation shut its borders and used tough lockdown measures to become one of the few countries to have virtually eliminated Covid-19 in the community, but the government is facing criticism for a slow rollout of vaccines.

“I’m smiling under the mask,” Ardern said as she sat down to receive the shot at a vaccination centre in Auckland. “It’s really true when they say it’s actually pretty pain-free.”

'It's really true when they say it's actually pretty pain-free', said Jacinda Ardern - Hannah Peters/Getty Images
‘It’s really true when they say it’s actually pretty pain-free’, said Jacinda Ardern – Hannah Peters/Getty Images

11:28 AM

ONS: Coronavirus case trend in Scotland and Northern Ireland ‘uncertain’

Around one in 520 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to June 12 – up from one in 560 in the previous week, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is the highest level since the week to April 10.

While the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus in England has continued to increase, the trend is “uncertain” in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the ONS added.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.

Update your settings here to see it.

In Northern Ireland around one in 610 people are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to June 12, up slightly from one in 700 in the previous week, while for Scotland the estimate is one in 600, down slightly from one in 540.

In Wales the latest estimate is one in 1,500 people – down from one in 1,300 in the previous week. All figures are for people in private households.

11:02 AM

Coronavirus around the world, in pictures

Here are some of the latest Covid-related pictures coming in from around the world.

In Surabaya, Indonesia, health workers collect swab samples from shoppers to test for Covid-19 before they are allowed to enter a shopping mall - Juni Kriswanto / AFP
In Surabaya, Indonesia, health workers collect swab samples from shoppers to test for Covid-19 before they are allowed to enter a shopping mall – Juni Kriswanto / AFP
In Lisbon, Portugal, mask-clad departing travellers use the self check-in machines and queue - Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images
In Lisbon, Portugal, mask-clad departing travellers use the self check-in machines and queue – Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images
A Covid-19 vaccination centre in Bogota, Colombia, works flat out - JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty Images
A Covid-19 vaccination centre in Bogota, Colombia, works flat out – JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty Images

10:47 AM

Watch: NHS chief squirms when asked about ‘hopeless’ Hancock remarks

Boris Johnson condemned Matt Hancock as “totally f—— hopeless” in an expletive-laden text last year and considered handing some of his responsibilities for the pandemic to Michael Gove.

The Prime Minister’s frustration with the Health Secretary during the early stages of the coronavirus crisis was laid bare in embarrassing personal text exchanges published by the former No 10 chief aide Dominic Cummings on Wednesday.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens was asked about the remarks in a television interview on Thursday and declined to give an answer either way.

The clip has been doing the rounds on Twitter, so ICYMI here’s how he awkwardly reacted:

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.

Update your settings here to see it.

10:33 AM

Keep taking those tests, says minister despite criticism

The Education Secretary has urged pupils and their families to continue taking regular coronavirus tests.

Gavin Williamson is encouraging secondary school children and parents to carry on testing at home, twice a week, to help “break chains of transmission” and prevent outbreaks.

It comes after academics called in The Telegraph this morning for the suspension of Covid testing in schools, as it emerged that up to 60 per cent of “positive” tests a week are coming back negative when checked.

In an open letter to secondary school and college parents in England, Mr Williamson said: “With the increase in cases with variants of concern, it is important to continue regular testing in order to detect cases of coronavirus, stay ahead of the virus and keep Covid out of the classroom.

“This means that regular asymptomatic testing for all will continue, and we need you and your children who are in secondary school or college to carry on testing at home, twice a week.”

  • Read more: Scrap Covid tests in schools, says Oxford vaccine pioneer

10:19 AM

‘Virtue-signalling over Covid has become the way to show you’re moral’

On our comment pages, Pravina Rudra discusses the hypocrisies of Covid rule policing.

I’d say I’m more Covid-cautious than your average person. I practically created a spreadsheet of which face masks were best, entombed myself away during the third lockdown as others reached breaking point and went round each other’s houses. Yet I’m increasingly infuriated by the nonsensical things people are doing to “fight Covid” – not only because they don’t help – but because I think they make catching Covid more likely.

  • ‘Why’s it selfish to go abroad, yet virtuous to staycation in Europe’s hotspot?’

09:56 AM

Another Welsh lockdown this year ‘not inconceivable’, says First Minister

First Minister Mark Drakeford said another lockdown in Wales this year was “highly unlikely” though not “inconceivable” due to the possibility of new coronavirus variants developing or spreading into the country.

Mr Drakeford told the PA news agency: “I’m not willing to say that it is completely inconceivable. I think it is highly unlikely.

“Can I say it’s absolutely impossible, given the changes that we see, given the risk that another new variant could arise at any time, anywhere in the world that might be even less amenable to the current vaccination?

“It simply doesn’t make sense to be as definitive as that.”

09:44 AM

Wales restrictions could be eased after pause if vaccines break link between infections and hospitalisations

First Minister Mark Drakeford said coronavirus restrictions in Wales could be eased following a four-week pause even if there is not conclusive evidence that vaccinations have broken the link between rising infections and hospital admissions.

He told the PA news agency: “I agree that you cannot, in the end, delay everything in the search for perfection in terms of data.

“But what we are quite clearly told by our scientific advisers as well as others is that this four weeks will allow us to get a sufficiently good handle on the extent to which a relationship between falling ill and needing hospitalisation has been modified by the vaccine.

“Then we will make a calculation about how much headroom we have, as we always do, to take further steps.”

09:25 AM

Working from home set to stay as Government has ‘no intention’ of forcing people back to offices

Working from home is set to stay in the UK after a minister said the Government did not have any intention to make it compulsory to return to the office.

Policing minister Kit Malthouse said there will be a consultation on more flexible working going forward, adding: “This is a situation for employers and employees to discuss and negotiate themselves.

“I know there has been some media about this over the last two or three days, we don’t have any intention to make it compulsory to return to the office.

“Our manifesto at the last election did contain a pledge to consult on more flexible working to allow people to work from home should they wish to, and we will be doing that later on this year.”

09:12 AM

Cases of Delta-Indian variant up by 79pc week-on-week

A total of 75,953 confirmed and probable cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant have now been identified in the UK, Public Health England said – up by 33,630, or 79%, on the previous week.

Of the 75,953, 70,856 have been in England, 4,659 in Scotland, 254 in Northern Ireland and 184 in Wales.

The most recent data shows 99% of confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus across the country are the Delta variant.

09:11 AM

Notting Hill Carnival cancelled for second year running

Here is an update from the organisers:

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.

Update your settings here to see it.

09:05 AM

Hospitalisations up, Public Health England figures show

A total of 806 people in England have been admitted to hospital with the Delta variant of Covid-19 as of June 14, a rise of 423 on the previous week, according to new figures from Public Health England.

Of the 806, 527 (65%) were unvaccinated, 135 (17%) were more than 21 days after their first dose of vaccine, and 84 (10%) were more than 14 days after their second dose.

As of June 14, there have been 73 deaths in England of people who were confirmed as having the Delta variant and who died within 28 days of a positive test.

Of this number, 34 (47%) were unvaccinated, 10 (14%) were more than 21 days after their first dose of vaccine and 26 (36%) were more than 14 days after their second dose.

08:43 AM

UN was wrong to oppose banning China flights last year, says WHO boss

The head of a World Health Organisation expert panel investigating the pandemic has said the UN body was wrong to oppose bans on flights from China last year, writes Ben Farmer, South Asia Correspondent.

Helen Clark, the former prime minister of New Zealand and a former top United Nations official, said her country and neighbouring Australia had been right to block travel soon after the Wuhan outbreak became known.

“We did that even though it was against the advice of the WHO and the international health regulations, which discourage constraints on travel,” she said according to the Washington Post.

She said the UN’s health body’s rules were outdated and “written in 2005 before anything like the level of global connection via travel”.

“And it’s not appropriate when there’s a dangerous respiratory pathogen on the loose, as with this one, to say you don’t have to do anything about travel — of course you do.”

08:19 AM

Indian Delta variant only accounts for 6pc of cases in Germany

Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute in Germany said the Delta variant first identified in India makes up around 6 percent of the infection cases in the country.

In the UK, this figure is around 90 percent.

07:48 AM

Scotland fans defy pandemic warning

On Thursday, football fans who do not have tickets for Friday’s England v Scotland game were urged to stay away amid the pandemic by Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor.

It appears that this advice has not been heeded.

Scotland fans arrive at King's Cross Station - Rob Pinney/Getty
Scotland fans arrive at King’s Cross Station – Rob Pinney/Getty
A de-kilted man is led away by police officers - Martyn Wheatley/i-Images
A de-kilted man is led away by police officers – Martyn Wheatley/i-Images
Scotland fans from Prestwick pose outside Buckingham Palace - Jamie Lorriman
Scotland fans from Prestwick pose outside Buckingham Palace – Jamie Lorriman

07:32 AM

Wales will not follow suit on compulsory vaccines for care staff

The Welsh Government will not make it compulsory for care staff to have a Covid-19 vaccination, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.

Mr Drakeford told Sky News: “We already have very high levels of take-up of the vaccination amongst care home staff and we’ve done that by persuasion and by conversation and voluntarily.

“Well over 90% of our care home staff have had a first dose and nearly 90% have had a second dose.

“So we’re pressing ahead to try to make sure we have those remaining staff members offered the vaccine, taking up the vaccine, but if you can do it voluntarily then I think that is a much stronger basis from which to go on persuading people to do the right thing.

“I certainly think that they ought to, that’s definitely our position here, but there is a very big step taken when you move into compulsion.

“Our belief is that actually it would undermine our programme in Wales, which has been the most successful in the United Kingdom, and has been done on the basis of people knowing that when they come forward for vaccination, they are helping themselves of course but they are helping everybody else as well.

“That sense of voluntary participation in the programme is very important to us and has been part of our success.”

07:31 AM

All adults can book a vaccine from today

Here’s an update from the Health Secretary:

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.

Update your settings here to see it.

07:20 AM

Drakeford stays on message – variant spread is ‘concerning’

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has described the spread of the Delta variant, which accounts for more than four out of five new cases in Wales, as “concerning”.

Mr Drakeford announced on Thursday evening that further easing of coronavirus restrictions in Wales would be delayed for four weeks due to the variant.

He told Sky News on Friday: “We now believe the new Delta variant is in every part of Wales and numbers are rising in the community, not just in specific settings.

“All of that means that we need to pause, to collect more data on the extent to which the new variant will lead to hospitalisations in Wales and to give us the opportunity to vaccinate over half a million more people in Wales, particularly with second doses, and that will rise the level of defence we have against this latest coronavirus threat.”

07:16 AM

Drakeford refuses to commit to easing all restrictions in Wales on July 15

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the delay of the further easing of coronavirus restrictions in Wales would allow it to gather data on whether the spread of the Delta variant risked putting “unsustainable pressure” on the health service.

Asked why the decision had been made by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “Because the Delta variant is now in every part of Wales and because it is being transmitted at a community level, we need to pause the changes we had hoped to make in order for us to get better data on whether the number of people falling ill, and we know that number’s going to go up in Wales, does that translate into additional and unsustainable pressure on the health service?”

He added: “Our scientists tell us another couple of weeks will give us that data and in the meantime we will be pressing ahead, vaccinating over half a million more people in these four weeks, building up our defences in that way.”

Mr Drakeford was asked if he could commit to easing restrictions completely after July 15.

He replied: “I can’t say that because I do not know and nobody else knows what the impact of the Delta variant will be by then.”

Mr Drakeford said people in Wales are “absolutely not in lockdown” and “the vast bulk of freedoms are already restored”.

07:03 AM

Almost 30,000 surgical patients caught Covid in hospital, with one in five dying

Nearly 30,000 surgical patients caught Covid in hospital, with one in five dying – a death rate 25 times higher than usual, new figures show.

Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London and Swansea University found that among 2.6 million patients who underwent surgery last year, 28,777 were diagnosed with the virus during or immediately after their hospital stay, with 6,153 dying within 90 days.

The study found that 21.4 per cent of those who caught Covid died, compared to just 0.8 per cent of surgical patients who were not infected.

Patients undergoing elective surgery for conditions such as a knee replacement or a hernia who became infected were 25 times more likely to die.

06:57 AM

Working from home set to stay as government has ‘no intention’ of forcing return to offices

Policing minister Kit Malthouse said the Government did not have any intention to make it compulsory to return to the office, while there will be a consultation on more flexible working going forward.

“This is a situation for employers and employees to discuss and negotiate themselves,” he told Sky News.

“I know there has been some media about this over the last two or three days, we don’t have any intention to make it compulsory to return to the office.

“Our manifesto at the last election did contain a pledge to consult on more flexible working to allow people to work from home should they wish to, and we will be doing that later on this year.”

06:51 AM

Academics call to end Covid testing in schools

Academics have called for the suspension of daily Covid-19 testing trials in schools amid a range of concerns including their effectiveness in picking up the virus.

In an open letter to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson they criticised the approach, branding it “deeply concerning” that daily testing trials are “being presented as a solution for educational disruption”.

Currently around 200 schools and colleges across England are participating in a trial, with one group following the national guidance of quarantining contacts of positive cases, and the other allowing daily testing of contacts for a week instead of isolation.

As part of the trial rapid lateral flow tests are to be used each day, with participants also offered a PCR test – which involves sending results to a lab – on day two and seven.

But the letter, backed by 14 experts, lists ethical and scientific concerns, worries about the risks due to missed infections, and what they describe as a lack of robust mitigations in schools.

They voiced their concern that results from the trial in schools would be used as a basis for public health policy “given the assessment of risk of increased transmission arising from these trials is inadequate”.

06:44 AM

Boris Johnson: ‘Let’s finish the job. Please get your jabs’

The Prime Minister has issued a plea to the nation on vaccines.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.

Update your settings here to see it.

06:41 AM

Drakeford: ‘We are once again facing a serious public health situation’

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “In the space of just a few short weeks, the Delta variant has entered Wales and quickly spread throughout the country. There is sustained and accelerating transmission, not just in north and south-east Wales but in all parts of Wales.

“It is now the most dominant variant in new cases in Wales. We are once again facing a serious public health situation.

“We have the lowest coronavirus rates in the UK and the highest vaccination rates for first doses. A four-week delay in relaxing restrictions could help to reduce the peak number of daily hospital admissions by up to half, at a time when the NHS is very busy supporting all our healthcare needs – not just treating coronavirus.”

06:40 AM

Wales follows England by delaying easing lockdown restrictions

Wales is delaying further easing of coronavirus restrictions for four weeks after seeing a spike in cases of the Delta variant of the disease first identified in India.

First Minister for Wales Mark Drakeford will make the announcement on Friday and is expected to encourage people to go for their second doses of the vaccine.

The nation is aiming to roll out more than half a million doses over the next four weeks.

The change comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that the final stage of England’s lockdown road map – which would have seen all restrictions lift and international travel resume on June 21 – would be delayed until July 19 due to a spike in cases.

Latest figures show there are nearly 490 cases of the Delta variant in Wales, while more than four out five new Covid-19 cases are the Delta variant, according to the Welsh Government.

Two-thirds of these are not linked to travel or contact with another case, it added.

06:27 AM

Fall in sales in May despite lockdown easing

Retailers saw a surprise fall in sales in May despite lockdowns easing, new data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

Retail sales dipped 0.8% by value, the data shows, driven by a 5.7% drop in food sales volumes.

It was a slowdown from the 9.2% jump between April and March which came as non-essential shops reopened in England and Wales on April 12 after months of closure. Scottish shops opened on April 28.

Analysts had expected a rise of 1.5%, according to a consensus compiled by Pantheon Macroeconomics.

06:21 AM

Today’s front page

Here is your Daily Telegraph on Friday, Jun 18.

dt
dt

05:48 AM

Pandemic fails to halt march of desperate millions

Despite the pandemic, the number of people fleeing war and persecution continued to rise last year, with global displacement climbing to more than 82 million – double the figure a decade ago, the UN said Friday.

A fresh report from the UN refugee agency showed global displacement figures swelled by around three million in 2020 after an already record-breaking year in 2019, leaving a full one percent of humanity uprooted and displaced.

The report highlighted how drawn-out crises like those in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen were continuing to force people to flee, while eruptions of violence in places like Ethiopia and Mozambique were causing surging displacement.

The fact that the numbers rose for the ninth straight year was all the more devastating because Covid-19 restrictions had been expected to limit displacement.

Read more: One in 95 people across the globe forced to flee their homes, say UN

Ethiopian migrants who fled intense fighting in their homeland of Tigray, gather at the border reception center of Hamdiyet, in the eastern Sudanese state of Kasala, on November 14, 2020. - Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of last year's Nobel Peace Prize, ordered military operations in Tigray last week, shocking the international community which fears the start of a long and bloody civil war.  - AFP
Ethiopian migrants who fled intense fighting in their homeland of Tigray, gather at the border reception center of Hamdiyet, in the eastern Sudanese state of Kasala, on November 14, 2020. – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, ordered military operations in Tigray last week, shocking the international community which fears the start of a long and bloody civil war. – AFP

05:27 AM

One in eight over-50s had operations cancelled last year

One in eight of all adults over 50 had an operation or hospital treatment cancelled last year, with cancer procedures among the most affected, a study has found.

For those suffering from two or more existing medical conditions, the rate rose to one in five.

Researchers at University College London (UCL) also found that diagnoses for arthritis, chronic lung disease, diabetes and hypertension increased in the second half of 2020. They said this could be a consequence of inactivity caused by lockdown.

Of the 623 adults in the survey who had had operations or treatments cancelled between March and December last year, nearly half were still waiting for their hospital appointment to be rescheduled in November and December.

Read the full story

04:51 AM

Corporate giants join vaccine drive ahead of Olympics

Japanese corporate giants are joining the nation’s Covid-19 vaccination effort ahead of the Olympic Games as the government struggles to meet its inoculation targets amid fears of a resurgence of infections.

Thousands of corporations from Toyota Motor Corp to telecom and investing outfit SoftBank Group Corp are setting up clinics in a massive private-sector vaccination drive which will begin in earnest on Monday.

The campaign, launched with the government’s backing, takes added urgency with the start of the Tokyo Olympics just over a month away and fears that the influx of visitors could cause a resurgence in infections.

So far, more than 2,300 companies have applied to open vaccination centres that will give shots to about 11 million people, mainly their employees, family members and nearby residents.

Covid 19 Vaccine Minister Taro Kono, center left, and Masayoshi Son, chief executive of technology company SoftBank Group Corp., center right, visit an inoculation site set up by Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp. at a WeWork office Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Tokyo. - AP
Covid 19 Vaccine Minister Taro Kono, center left, and Masayoshi Son, chief executive of technology company SoftBank Group Corp., center right, visit an inoculation site set up by Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp. at a WeWork office Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Tokyo. – AP

03:54 AM

US delivers million shots to Canada as part of global shipment

The White House will finish allocating 80 million American-made Covid-19 shots that it has pledged to ship abroad in the coming days, with shipments going out as soon as the countries are ready to receive them, a top US official said on Thursday.

The United States has already begun shipping doses, said White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken later confirming that the US had delivered a million doses of Moderna to Canada.

The Biden administration earlier this month announced plans for how it will allocate 25 million shots and said it would allocate the remaining 55 million shots by the end of June.

The US has been increasing shipments abroad as it progresses quickly in its vaccination campaign for its own residents.

A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 to inoculate a woman in Bogota, on June 16, 2021. - Colombia has officially recorded more than 90,000 Covid-19 deaths. - AFP
A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 to inoculate a woman in Bogota, on June 16, 2021. – Colombia has officially recorded more than 90,000 Covid-19 deaths. – AFP

03:11 AM

Sydney told to mask up again in bid to contain cluster

Australia’s New South Wales has made the wearing of masks mandatory on public transport in Sydney, as a cluster of the highly-infectious Delta variant expanded to a fourth person.

Authorities said all planned outdoor events with good Covid-19 safety plans can proceed in the country’s largest city.

The latest cluster, the first in the state in more than a month, was traced back to a driver who occasionally used to transport overseas airline crew.

Health officials said the latest case likely picked up the virus through minimal contact with an infected person in a Sydney shopping centre.

A commuter is handed a face mask by a worker in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 03 January 2021. Mandatory mask restrictions are in place for many venues across greater Sydney as New South Wales works to contain COVID-19 outbreaks while avoiding harsh lockdown measures. Coronavirus pandemic in New South Wales, Australia,  - Shutterstock
A commuter is handed a face mask by a worker in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 03 January 2021. Mandatory mask restrictions are in place for many venues across greater Sydney as New South Wales works to contain COVID-19 outbreaks while avoiding harsh lockdown measures. Coronavirus pandemic in New South Wales, Australia, – Shutterstock

02:47 AM

Taiwan billionaire to negotiate with China for vaccines

Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of Taiwan’s Foxconn, asked for government permission on Friday to negotiate with a Chinese company for the purchase of BioNTech SE Covid-19 vaccines to help address the island’s shortage of shots.

The Taiwanese government’s own deal with BioNTech fell through earlier this year, a problem Taiwan has blamed on pressure from Beijing.

China has denied the accusation, saying Taiwan is free to obtain the vaccines via Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd, which has a contract with BioNTech to sell the vaccines in Greater China, including Taiwan.

Taiwan’s government says it has and will only deal with BioNTech in Germany and that it does not trust vaccines from China, but that it is also happy to facilitate Mr Gou’s proposed purchase provided he can prove BioNTech has vaccines it is willing to sell to Taiwan.

Elderly Taiwanese people wait to receive shots of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, June 16, 2021.  - AP
Elderly Taiwanese people wait to receive shots of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. – AP

01:53 AM

Boxing legends come together to promote ‘best jab’

Some of the biggest names in boxing have come together to urge fans to get the Covid-19 vaccine, backing the biggest vaccination programme in our history.

In a new short film, Eddie Hearn, Ricky Hatton, Conor Benn, Terri Harper and Campbell Hatton reveal which current and former boxers have the best jab.

As everyone aged over 18 is invited for vaccines in England, stars encourage all eligible people to book their jab as soon as they can

Boxing legends Eddie Hearn, Ricky Hatton, Conor Benn, Terri Harper and Campbell Hatton have weighed in to encourage their fans to get Covid-19 vaccines, hailing them “the best jab” of 2021.

** FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE *** Matchroom Fight Camp 2021 Launch Event 14 June 2021 Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing Eddie Hearn Chairman of the Matchroom Sport Group and Conor Benn
** FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE *** Matchroom Fight Camp 2021 Launch Event 14 June 2021 Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing Eddie Hearn Chairman of the Matchroom Sport Group and Conor Benn

01:20 AM

World death toll tops four million amid vaccine shortage

Coronavirus-related deaths worldwide passed a grim milestone of four million on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, as many countries struggle to procure enough vaccines to inoculate their populations.

While the number of new cases and deaths have abated in countries like the United States and Britain, several nations have vaccine shortages as the Delta variant becomes the dominant strain around the world.

It took over a year for the Covid-19 death toll to hit two million, while the next two million were recorded in just 166 days, according to a Reuters analysis.

The top five countries by total number of deaths – the United States, Brazil, India, Russia and Mexico – represent about 50 percent of all deaths in the world, while Peru, Hungary, Bosnia, the Czech Republic and Gibraltar have the highest death rates when adjusted for population.

12:50 AM

US invests billions to accelerate antiviral pill program

The United States is devoting $3.2 billion to speed development of antiviral pills to treat Covid-19 and other dangerous viruses that could turn into pandemics.

The new program will invest in “accelerating things that are already in progress” for Covid-19 but also would work to come up with treatments for other viruses, said Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. He announced the investment on Thursday at a White House briefing.

“There are few treatments that exist for many of the viruses that have pandemic potential,” he said, including Ebola, dengue, West Nile and Middle East respiratory syndrome.

But he added, “vaccines clearly remain the centrepiece of our arsenal”.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The United States is devoting more than $3 billion to advance development of antiviral pills for COVID-19, according to an official briefed on the matter. 
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The United States is devoting more than $3 billion to advance development of antiviral pills for COVID-19, according to an official briefed on the matter.

12:12 AM

Wales delays easing of restrictions for four weeks

A person walks down an empty St. Mary Street on January 8, 2021 in Cardiff, Wales. Wales entered a Level 4 lockdown on December 19 - Getty Images
A person walks down an empty St. Mary Street on January 8, 2021 in Cardiff, Wales. Wales entered a Level 4 lockdown on December 19 – Getty Images

Wales is delaying further easing of coronavirus restrictions for four weeks after seeing a spike in cases of the Delta variant of the disease first identified in India.

First Minister for Wales Mark Drakeford will make the announcement on Friday and is expected to encourage people to go for their second doses of the vaccine.

The nation is aiming to roll out more than half a million doses over the next four weeks.

The change comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that the final stage of England’s lockdown road map – which would have seen all restrictions lift and international travel resume on June 21 – would be delayed until July 19 due to a spike in cases.

11:14 PM

Today’s top stories

  • Covid testing in schools is hugely disruptive and should be suspended, experts have said, as it emerged that up to 60 per cent of “positive” tests a week are coming back negative when checked.

  • Boris Johnson is opposed to the scale of working from home seen during the pandemic becoming permanent, according to government sources.

  • The NHS is facing the “biggest pressure in its history” from a backlog potentially twice as big as previously feared, Matt Hancock has warned.

  • The recent Covid spike is already beginning to flatten, latest data show, as experts said Britain was experiencing a “mini wave” which was likely to peak within two weeks.

  • Everyone aged over 18 in the UK can now book in to get a Covid-19 vaccine, the NHS has announced as it races to boost uptake during the lockdown extension.

  • Covid-19 has reinfected nearly 16,000 people, Public Health England figures have shown for the first time.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

All the data shown above will be stored by www.rajpostexam.com on https://www.rajpostexam.com/. At any point of time, you can contact us and select the data you wish to anonymise or delete so it cannot be linked to your email address any longer. When your data is anonymised or deleted, you will receive an email confirmation. We also use cookies and/or similar technologies to analyse customer behaviour, administer the website, track users' movements, and to collect information about users. This is done in order to personalise and enhance your experience with us. Click here to read our Cookie Policy.