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Coronavirus news update – UK cases plunge below 25 EU nations thanks to vaccine as Pfizer says EU has blood on its hands


BRITAIN’S Covid infection rate has plunged below 25 of the 27 EU countries after the success of the UK’s vaccine rollout.

Britain’s daily case numbers have slumped by 28 per cent in a week, official figures show.

The UK is now the best-placed major European nation as a third-wave wreaks havoc on the continent.

France has seen cases triple since early February to nearly 60,000 cases a day, with doctors in overwhelmed hospitals forced to choose which Covid patients get a ventilator.

Today Pfizer accused the EU of delaying the supply of its jabs to countries battling Covid which are in desperate need of vaccines.

The drug maker has slammed export controls which it says have become a “significant burden” for production at its plant in Belgium, which supplies the UK and 70 other countries.

Pfizer has accused the EU of delaying the supply of its jabs to countries battling Covid which are in desperate need of vaccines.

The drug maker has slammed export controls which it says have become a “significant burden” for production at its plant in Belgium, which supplies the UK and 70 other countries.

A staggering 99.25 per cent of Brits have turned up to their second jab appointments so far, The Sun can reveal.

Official figures reveal 270,526 vulnerable Brits got their second shots on Tuesday – taking the total number of fully immunised adults to 4.1million.

Ministers say April will be the “second dose month”, as the UK flew past the 30.9 million milestone of first doses – with millions needing their second jab after 12 weeks.

Despite a torrent of fake news about the jabs, Brits have voted with their feet, queuing up for their second doses with barely any cancellations in a major snub to loud mouthed EU chiefs.

The thumping endorsement for the Oxford AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines flies in the face of dangerous fake news pumped out by France’s reckless President Macron.

President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday ordered France into its third national lockdown to push back a third wave of Covid infections that threatens to overwhelm hospitals.

With the death toll nearing 100,000, intensive care units in the hardest-hit regions at breaking point and a slower-than-planned vaccine rollout, Macron was forced to abandon his goal of keeping the country open to protect the economy.

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

  • RETAILERS ALLOWED TO REOPEN FITTING ROOMS FROM APRIL 12

    Clothes shoppers will be able to use fitting rooms again after more than a year when non-essential shops reopen on April 12.

    The Government has released new guidance on fitting rooms after advising shops after the first lockdown to keep changing rooms closed “wherever possible” unless essential.

    Retailers have been calling for updated regulations in an effort to compete with online rivals, reduce return rates and restore faith in high street businesses.

    The new guidance published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) allows for fitting rooms to be reopened provided shops introduce measures to minimise transmission of the virus.

  • COUPLE FORCED TO LIVE IN SHED DURING PANDEMIC

    A couple have been forced to live in a shed after they struggled to find work during the Covid pandemic.

    Macaulay Johnson and his partner Shannon Cullen, both 21, left their Nottinghamshire home when they could no longer pay the rent.

    With a trolley full of clothes and their Playstation, they set up a tent in different spots of Gedling borough hoping the local authority would offer support.

    You can read more here

    Macaulay Johnson and his partner Shannon Cullen, both 21, were booted out of their home when they could no longer pay the rent
    Macaulay Johnson and his partner Shannon Cullen, both 21, were booted out of their home when they could no longer pay the rent
  • ALMOST ONE IN SEVEN PEOPLE SUFFER LONG COVID SYMPTOMS

    Almost one in seven people who test positive for Covid-19 are still suffering symptoms three months later, according to new UK figures.

    The largest study of its kind on long Covid from the Office for National Statistics, found that people with coronavirus are significantly more likely than the general population to report ongoing issues, which can include muscle pain and fatigue.

    Among a sample of more than 20,000 people who tested positive for Covid-19 between April last year and March this year, 13.7% continued to experience symptoms for at least 12 weeks.

  • ONE IN THREE HOSPITAL PATIENTS WITH COVID-19 NEED READMISSION

    Nearly a third of Covid-19 hospital patients need to be readmitted within a month of being sent home, a study suggests.

    More than one in 10 died after they had been discharged.

    Hospital patients with Covid-19 have “increased rates of multiorgan dysfunction” compared with the general population, researchers found.

    They said that people who have post-Covid syndrome need to get “integrated rather than organ or disease specific” care.

    The study, published in The BMJ, examined data on almost 48,000 patients who had been admitted to hospital with Covid-19 and were sent home before August 31 last year.

  • THOSE WHO CONTRACTED COVID ARE MORE LIKELY TO SUFFER PROLONGED SYMPTOMS

    People who tested positive for Covid-19 are around eight times more likely to suffer prolonged symptoms of long Covid than the general population, the ONS said.

    Among a sample of more than 20,000 people people who tested positive for Covid-19 between April 26 2020 and March 6 2021, 13.7% continued to experience symptoms for at least 12 weeks.

    This was eight times higher than in a control group of people who are unlikely to have had Covid-19.

  • SHIELDING PENSIONER BLASTS LARGE CROWDS AT PARK

    A pensioner who has been shielding for more than a year has blasted large crowds who gathered at a park just a mile from a hospital where Covid patients are treated.

    Connie Cluderay, 69, has been shielding at her home in Leeds, West Yorks, because she has a serious lung condition, bronchiectasis and rheumatoid arthritis.

    But after a rare visit to to see her daughter in Leeds General Infirmary on Tuesday, she said she was “disappointed” to see hundreds of revellers on Woodhouse Moor.

    The pensioner said: “I was disappointed. The restrictions have literally only just been lifted – It was the sheer numbers of them.”

  • BRITS COULD GET EXTRA BANK HOLIDAY IN SEPTEMBER

    Britain could get an extra September bank holiday to give tourism a boost after Covid – if pleas from the industry are listened to.

    The sector has called for the extra break to make up for a “devastatingly hard year” which has seen visitor numbers plummet across leading tourist attractions.

    Bernard Donoghue, the director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, said it had been a “devastatingly hard year” for British tourism.

    And he suggested the government consider introducing a new bank holiday in September to “thank the NHS and key workers and help the tourism industry repair our balance sheets”.

    Mr Donoghue said tourism had been “hit first, hit hardest and will take longest to recover”.

  • SCOTTISH PUBS TO MISS OUT ON SELLING EIGHT MILLION PINTS THIS EASTER

    Scottish pubs will miss out on selling eight million pints this Easter as they remain closed due to coronavirus restrictions, according to a trade association.

    The Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) has also criticised the decision to stop licensed premises selling takeaway drinks over the bank holiday weekend, with venues closed over Easter for the second year in a row.

    It suggests the loss of beer sales over this Easter weekend alone will result in the sector missing out on £31 million of trade.

  • MARK DRAKEFORD SAYS PEOPLE SHOULD ‘THINK CAREFULLY’ AGAINST TRAVELLING TO ENGLAND

    First Minister Mark Drakeford said people in Wales should “think very carefully” against travelling to England to go to a pub next month because of higher rates of coronavirus across the border.

    English hospitality businesses are set to reopen for outdoor service from April 12, two weeks before Welsh businesses will be allowed to do the same.

    Mr Drakeford told the PA news agency: “Rates of coronavirus in Wales are the lowest in the United Kingdom. They are higher in England and the highest in the north-west of England.

    “You would definitely be visiting somewhere where the risks were higher. We know there is a variant of this virus in Bristol, which so far we’ve managed to keep out of Wales completely.”

    Mark Drakeford said rates of coronavirus in Wales are the lowest in the UK
    Mark Drakeford said rates of coronavirus in Wales are the lowest in the UKCredit: Getty
  • MORE THAN ONE MILLION PEOPLE REPORT LONG COVID SYMPTOMS

    An estimated 1.1 million people in private households in the UK reported experiencing “long Covid” in the four weeks to March 6, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    Of these people, an estimated 697,000 first had Covid-19 – or suspected they had Covid-19 – at least 12 weeks previously while 70,000 first had the virus or suspected they had the virus at least one year ago.

  • MAJORITY OF STUDENTS DO NOT EXPECT FURTHER IN-PERSON LESSONS THIS ACADEMIC YEAR

    The majority of university students are not expecting to receive any more face-to-face teaching this academic year, a survey suggests.

    But two in three students are living in their usual term-time accommodation amid pandemic restrictions, according to a poll by a think tank.

    The findings, published by the Higher Education Policy Institute, come as universities in England await details on when all students will be allowed to return to campus for in-person activities.

    Last week, Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, said institutions want students back on campus “as soon as possible after Easter” for face-to-face experiences and catch-up support.

    But more than half (56%) are not expecting to receive any more in-person teaching this academic year, according to the Hepi survey of 1,044 students.

  • FEW PEOPLE SELF-ISOLATE WITH COVID SYMPTOMS OR ORDER A TEST

    Fewer than one in five people request a Covid-19 test if they have symptoms, while adherence to self-isolation is low, according to a large study examining the Test and Trace system.

    Experts, including from the Public Health England (PHE) behavioural science team at Porton Down in Wiltshire, found that only half of people could identify the main coronavirus symptoms, which include a cough, high temperature and loss of taste or smell.

    Just 18% of those with symptoms said they had requested a test, while only 43% with symptoms in the previous seven days adhered to full self-isolation.

  • COVID DEATHS PLUNGE BY MORE THAN HALF IN A WEEK

    UK Covid deaths have plunged by more than half in a week – as the daily death toll increased by 43 yesterday.

    The latest data show 4,052 more positive cases of coronavirus were recorded – bringing the total number of people infected in the UK to 4,345,788.

    And yesterday’s coronavirus deaths bring the total grim figure to 126,713.

     

  • ASTRAZENECA VACCINE IS SAFE FOR EVERYONE, EU REGULATOR SAYS

    The AstraZeneca vaccine has been once again ruled totally safe by the EU regulator yesterday.

    The declaration comes after Germany banned the jab for under-60s due to fears it causes blood clots.

    European Medicines Agency executive director Emer Cooke said there was “no evidence” that the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine should be restricted.

    The EMA said that the benefits of the jab outweigh the risks.

    The agency said: “A casual link [of blood clots] with the vaccine is not proven, but is possible and further analysis is continuing.”

  • PEOPLE IN WALES ENCOURAGED TO SPEND SUMMER ‘DOMESTICALLY’

    First Minister Mark Drakeford said he would encourage people in Wales to holiday domestically over the summer in place of a trip abroad.

    Asked what he would say to people wanting a foreign break, he told Good Morning Britain: “I’d say that this is the year to have your holiday in Wales. There are so many fantastic opportunities here.

    “If ever there was a year to enjoy what we have domestically, and to find those spots in Wales that you haven’t visited before, this is the year to do it.”

  • DR JENNY HARRIES SAYS UK WAS NOT READY FOR COVID PANDEMIC

    Dr Jenny Harries said the UK was “not fully prepared” for the Covid-19 pandemic.

    She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We were not fully prepared for this pandemic and, as I’ve said, I’m very happy to accept there is an awful lot to learn.

    “I think we share some of those failings with many other countries.”

  • IMMUNE NATION

    A staggering 99.25 per cent of Brits have turned up to their second jab appointments so far, The Sun can reveal.

    Official figures reveal 270,526 vulnerable Brits got their second shots on Tuesday – taking the total number of fully immunised adults to 4.1million.

    Ministers say April will be the “second dose month”, as the UK flew past the 30.9 million milestone of first doses – with millions needing their second jab after 12 weeks.

    You can read more here

    A health worker administers a dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine at a vaccination clinic set up inside the Derby Arena
    A health worker administers a dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine at a vaccination clinic set up inside the Derby ArenaCredit: AFP
  • MAN GIVEN £200 COVID FINE FOR DELIVERING GIFT DURING WALK

    A man who dropped off a gift during his daily exercise has received a £200 fine for breaking lockdown rules.

    John Bradshaw, 59, was on his regular walk from his home in Leek, Saffs, to nearby Endon when he delivered a book and DVD to a house.

    He also hand-delivered a small number of letters through the letter-boxes of other homes.

    But the following day he was visited by police who had received a complaint that Mr Bradshaw had breached Covid-19 regulations – and was issued with a £200 fixed penalty notice.

    Mr Bradshaw said: “I didn’t think that giving a gift was breaching the rules.”

  • NHS TEST AND TRACE ‘NOT A PERFECT SYSTEM’

    Skills minister Gillian Keegan has said that NHS Test and Trace was “not a perfect system” as it relied on people “doing the right thing”.

    She told Sky News: “9.6 million people have actually been traced. We’re doing millions and millions of tests a day, we’re collecting a lot of data from those tests as well, 6.4 million people have been contact-traced as well.

    “Is the system perfect? No, it’s not, because it relies, obviously, on people doing the right thing.

    “It relies on people getting a test and it relies on people obviously isolating if they are positive.

    “So, it’s not a perfect system, but it’s certainly a very effective system.”

  • ‘NO PROBLEMS’ ON VACCINE TRIALS ON TEENS

    Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol and a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said there had been “no problems so far” in the trial on teenagers using the AstraZeneca vaccine.

    He said permission was expected to be granted shortly to recruit younger children from the age of five.

    He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Also, (we are) looking forward to studies in teenagers and also younger children with the Janssen vaccine, which we’ve been hearing about as another vaccine coming through for use, so quite a lot going on now in children.”

    He said decisions on vaccinating children “will come later in the summer”.

    He added: “I think what we’ll be seeing really is the impact of the vaccine programme so far as we move down through the adult population, and forming an opinion as to whether it’s going to be necessary to immunise children as well in order to keep the virus under control.”

  • CHANGE OF PLANS?

    Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford said he hopes Boris Johnson will push back the potential May 17 date for the UK resuming international travel by the time he addresses the nation next week.

    He told Good Morning Britain: “I’ve long argued that it is over-optimistic, that it doesn’t reflect the risk of reimporting coronavirus from other parts of the world where there are new variants in circulation.”

    Mr Drakeford said the newest lockdown in France in response to rising cases of Covid-19 there was evidence of “how close to this country some of those risks are currently being experienced”.

    “When the Prime Minister speaks next week I hope that he will say that date is having to be pushed back further into the future in order to go on protecting the United Kingdom against the developments we see elsewhere in the world”, he said.

  • SHOT AHEAD

    The UK’S Covid infection rate is lower than 25 of 27 EU countries after the success of Britain’s vaccine rollout.

    Britain’s daily case numbers have slumped by 28 per cent in a week, official figures show.

    The UK is now the best-placed major European nation as a third-wave wreaks havoc on the continent.

    More on the story here

  • FACTORY MIX-UP

    JOHNSON & Johnson is halting Covid-19 vaccine shipments to  from one plant in the US after 15million doses were ruined in a disastrous factory mix-up.

    Workers at a Baltimore plant that manufactures both the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines accidentally combined ingredients of the two shots several weeks ago, according to reports.

    Despite the massive development error, the doses of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine already being delivered and administered in the US have not been affected.

  • COVIDIOTS’ CLIFFTOP PERCH

    COVIDIOT campers pitch their tents just a few feet from the edge of a crumbling 150ft cliff-top.

    The group set up near an unstable sandstone ledge from which 600 tons of rock slid in January.

    Immediately below them were the remnants of the huge rockfall which saw boulders the size of cars slip from the top of the delicate sandstone cliff.

    They ignored signs warning visitors to keep to the South West Coast Path at Burton Bradstock in Dorset.

  • BUSKER FINED

    A BUSKER was fined £200 for breaking Covid rules by playing his piano in the street.

    Alistair Lawrence was accused of creating a crowd despite busking being lawful.

    Covid marshals alerted police to the pianist on Saturday in York city centre, where he has played for 20 years.

    Musician Alistair insisted it was his business — providing documents including tax returns to prove it — and that he could not work from home.





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