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Coronavirus UK news update – Boris urged to totally lift lockdown NOW as vaccines give covid immunity to 54% of Brits


BORIS Johnson has been urged to lift lockdown right away as new data suggested more than half of Brits are now immune to coronavirus.

Thanks to the UK’s superspeed vaccine rollout and high jab uptake, a staggering 54.7% of the population is now believed to have Covid 19 antibodies, according to a major Office for National Statistics testing survey.

The figure is likely to be even higher now because millions more have been vaccinated since the testing took place two weeks ago, and it takes around a fortnight for immunity to kick in.

With such a high percentage at least somewhat immune thanks to the antibodies in their system – and with many of the UK’s most vulnerable people among that number – lockdown rules are now being questioned.

The Prime Minister is now facing nearly daily calls from those in his own party to speed up the lockdown roadmap that will still have us living under some form of coronavirus restriction until June 21 at the very earliest.

The calls come as experts warned that brand new coronavirus vaccines may be needed within a year as new mutations emerge.

The current crop of UK-approved vaccines – AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna – may become less effective as the year goes on as the virus mutates to get around the protection they afford.

The biggest risk is that an uneven vaccine supply will allow the mutations to emerge in poorer countries where very few people are vaccinated and the virus continues to run riot before spreading to the UK.

In a People’s Vaccine Alliance survey of 77 scientists from 28 countries, two-thirds said they believed the world had a year or less before first-generation vaccines were rendered ineffective.

That doesn’t mean the current crop of vaccines will be entirely useless, however, as tweaks to the current AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could once again increase the resistance.

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

  • EU SAYS AZ UNDER NO UK OBLIGATION THAT WOULD PREVENT EU VACCINE SUPPLY

    AstraZeneca has told the European Union that it has no legal obligations to UK or other buyers that would prevent the full supply of COVID-19 doses under its contract with the EU, a European Commission spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

    Her comments at a news conference contradict statements made by British Health Minister Matt Hancock, who has repeatedly said the Anglo-Swedish firm has an exclusive deal with Britain that would justify prioritisation of supplies to the United Kingdom.

    “AstraZeneca confirmed to us not being under any obligation to other parties that would impede to complete the fulfilment of its obligations” to the EU, the Commission spokeswoman said when asked about Hancock’s statements.

  • FOURTH COVID VACCINE COULD BE READY IN JUST FOUR WEEKS

    THE UK’s fourth Covid vaccine could be given the green light in just four weeks, an expert has revealed.

    The jab from Novavax could add to Britain’s armour against the disease with regulatory approval expected shortly.

    Professor Paul Heath, chief investigator for the Novavax jab trial in the UK, said it would help keep up the “momentum” of the vaccine programme.

    He told the Evening Standard: “The regulator will do a very detailed and thorough review and will decide in good time. 

    “I would hope it would be in the spring, possibly end of April.”

  • BOOZY STUDENTS BRAWLED ON FIRST DAY OF EASED RESTRICTION

    Large crowds of more than six gathered at the Arboretum in Nottingham yesterday, where revellers enjoyed beers and danced in yesterday’s warm weather.

    The boozy students could be seen starting a fight – as hundreds broke social distancing rules and gathered to see what the commotion was about.

    Revellers could then be seen spraying bottles of alcohol in the air – chanting and clapping as many joined in and danced in the centre of the madness.

    Pals hugged and cheered in the sunshine on the first day of England’s step out of lockdown – but seemingly failed to stick to the new Rule of Six.

    And after a day of drinking, some of the revellers were seen weeing in bushes while others spewed empty cans, bottles and boxes on the grass. 

  • SUMMER SURGE PREDICTED

    A summer Covid-19 surge could match numbers at the peak of the first wave, according to an NHS forecast.

    Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust fears the spike predicted for June could see us back where we started.

    The trust expects around 100 of their beds in its hospitals to be filled in two months time in a “best case” scenario.

    Around the same number were occupied by Covid patients during April of the first wave, with it feared the situation will be replicated nationwide.

    And in a “worst case” option – if the vaccine is just 10 per cent less effective – there could be up to 150 beds filled with Covid-19 cases.

  • WEEKLY COVID DEATHS BELOW 1,000 FOR FIRST TIME SINCE OCTOBER – ONS

    There were 963 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending March 19 where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    This is the lowest number since the week ending October 16 and the first time the weekly death toll has fallen below one thousand since the following week.

    The figure is down 36% on the previous week’s total, with about one in 11 (9.3%) of all deaths registered in the latest week mentioning coronavirus on the death certificate. Overall, 10,311 deaths were registered in the week to March 12, 8.0% below the average for the corresponding period in 2015-19.

    It is the second week in a row that the overall number of deaths has been below the five-year average. Prior to the two most recent weeks, the last time deaths had been below average was in the week to September 4.

  • COVID DEATH FIGURES UP FROM LAST WEEK

    Of those who were diagnosed with the disease, 0.13 per cent died, up from 0.04 per cent.

    The figures are still relatively small compared to the death rates of elderly people.

    Meanwhile, deaths doubled among those in their 30s, 40s and 50s, up to 0.32 per cent, 0.9 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively.

  • SCOTLAND RECORDS 12 DEATHS & 411 POSITIVE TESTS IN PAST 24 HOURS

    Scotland has recorded 12 deaths from coronavirus and 411 positive tests in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon said.

    It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 7,596.

    Giving a Covid-19 update, the First Minister said 217,890 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 217,479 the previous day.

    The daily test positivity rate is 2.8%, down from 3.2%.

  • WHEN WILL ORIS JOHNSON MAKE HIS INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL ANNOUNCEMENT?

    Speaking at his press conference on Tuesday, March 30, the PM confirmed that an update on holidays will be unveiled on April 5, Easter Monday.

    When asked about whether Brits would be able to travel abroad to see their families, Mr Johnson said the most important thing is to continue to vaccinate people in “great numbers”.

    He added he’ll soon reveal “what the global travel taskforce has come up with”. But sources told The Sun: “Don’t expect a firm date then.” 

    However, The Sun has revealed ministers will keep holidaymakers on tenterhooks for weeks to come over foreign jaunts.

    Next week’s review of international travel will likely conclude that it’s too soon to say when the borders can be reopened.

  • COUPLE, BOTH 21, FORCED TO LIVE IN SHED AFTER STRUGGLING TO FIND WORK 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.

    Mr Johnson, who is autistic and was a factory worker before losing his job, moved them both into a local hotel.

    But again they were struggling to pay the bill.

    Miss Cullen, who used to work in a call centre, had moved to Nottingham from Ireland to be closer to Macaulay after they met playing video game Grand Theft Auto online.

  • HALF OF PEOPLE IN MOST PARTS OF UK HAVE COVID-19 ANTIBODIES, FIGURES SUGGEST

    About one in two people in most parts of the UK now have Covid-19 antibodies, new figures suggest.

    Some 54.7% of people in private households in England are likely to have tested positive for the antibodies in the week to March 14, along with 50.5% in Wales and 49.3% in Northern Ireland, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    Regional estimates range from 60.0% for north-west England to 50.3% for south-east England.

    In Scotland, about two in five people (42.6%) are likely to have tested positive for antibodies in the week to March 14.

  • SCIENTISTS CLAIM THEY KNOW HOW AZ VACCINE CAN CAUSE RARE BLOOD CLOTS

    Scientists believe they have uncovered why people who have recently had the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine have suffered blood clots. A handful of the millions of people who have received the vaccine in Europe have experienced an extremely rare complication.

    While it is uncertain whether this was directly caused by the vaccine, scientists in Europe say they have an explanation. Two studies, in Germany and Norway, claim the shot may cause the body to activate its own platelets – blood cells that form clots to stop bleeding.

    This causes the blood to thicken, leading to potentially deadly clots. Norwegian professor Pål Andre Holme claimed this was the “most likely” cause. But independent scientists said the theory is based on the “weakest evidence”, and gave no further answers.  

  • BERLIN STATE HOSPITALS STOP ASTRAZENECA VACCINATIONS OF WOMEN UNDER 55 SAYS TAGESSPIEGEL

    Berlin’s state hospital groups Charite and Vivantes have stopped giving women under the age of 55 shots of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, German daily Tagesspiegel reported on its website, citing a spokeswoman for the hospitals.

    Some 19,000 people work at the Charite hospitals and 17,000 at Vivantes, which operates clinics as well as care homes.

    Tagesspiegel said that around two-thirds of staff at Charite have been vaccinated so far, and 70% of those workers have received one shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

  • MALI APPROVES RUSSIA’S SPUTNIK V VACCINE SAYS RUSSIAN SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND

    Mali has approved the use of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said on Tuesday.

    RDIF, which has actively promoted the vaccine abroad, said the shot had so far been approved for use in 58 countries

  • WEEKLY COVID DEATHS BELOW 1,000 FOR FIRST TIME SINCE OCTOBER – ONS

    There were 963 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending March 19 where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    This is the lowest number since the week ending October 16 and the first time the weekly death toll has fallen below one thousand since the following week.

    The figure is down 36% on the previous week’s total, with about one in 11 (9.3%) of all deaths registered in the latest week mentioning coronavirus on the death certificate. Overall, 10,311 deaths were registered in the week to March 12, 8.0% below the average for the corresponding period in 2015-19.

    It is the second week in a row that the overall number of deaths has been below the five-year average. Prior to the two most recent weeks, the last time deaths had been below average was in the week to September 4.

  • 195 CARE HOME DEATHS DOWN 35% FROM PREVIOUS WEEK

    Some 195 care home resident deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales were registered in the week to March 19, down more than a third (35%) on the previous week.

    A total of 41,953 care home residents in England and Wales have now had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began.

    The ONS figures cover deaths of care home residents in all settings, not just in care homes.

  • COVID DEATH FIGURES UP FROM LAST WEEK

    Of those who were diagnosed with the disease, 0.13 per cent died, up from 0.04 per cent.

    The figures are still relatively small compared to the death rates of elderly people.

    Meanwhile, deaths doubled among those in their 30s, 40s and 50s, up to 0.32 per cent, 0.9 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively.

  • COVID BRAZIL VARIANT TRIPLES RISK OF DEATH IN YOUNG PEOPLE, SCIENTISTS FEAR

    Brazil’s new Covid variant is proving to be more deadly in young people.

    Deaths tripled in people in their 20s in Brazil between January and February, when the variant began to take off in the country.

    Of those who were diagnosed with the disease, 0.13 per cent died, up from 0.04 per cent.

    The figures are still relatively small compared to the death rates of elderly people.

    Meanwhile, deaths doubled among those in their 30s, 40s and 50s, up to 0.32 per cent, 0.9 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively. 

  • PARK STRIFE

    This is the moment hundreds of boozy students brawled and were caught weeing in park bushes on the first day of lockdown easing.

    Large crowds of more than six gathered at the Arboretum in Nottingham – where revellers enjoyed beers and danced in yesterday’s warm weather.

    The boozy students could be seen starting a fight – as hundreds broke social distancing rules and gathered to see what the commotion was about.

    Revellers could then be seen spraying bottles of alcohol in the air – chanting and clapping as many joined in and danced in the centre of the madness.

    One party-seeker, pulling his shirt over his nose as a make-shift mask, said: “Everyone is feeling happy again, and that’s what’s important.”

  • BORIS, MERKEL & MACRON DECLARE PEACE AFTER VACCINE WAR AS WORLD LEADERS PUSH FOR ‘PANDEMIC TREATY’ TO FIGHT OUTBREAKS

    Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have declared peace after threats of a vaccine war as global leaders push for a “pandemic treaty” to address future health emergencies.

    The British Prime Minister, France’s President and Germany’s Chancellor are among the leaders demanding an “all-of-government and all-of-society” approach to prepare the world for future pandemics.

    The call has come in an opinion column, published in the Daily Telegraph today, saying: “We believe that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response.

    “Such a renewed collective commitment would be a milestone in stepping up pandemic preparedness at the highest political level.”

  • SWEDEN’S HEALTH AGENCY SEEKS DELAY IN EASING OF PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS

    Sweden’s health agency said on Tuesday it had asked the government to postpone a planned easing of some restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 by nearly a month as the country grappled with a third wave of the virus.

    The agency had previously proposed that some restrictions, such as a limit on the number of visitors to amusement parks, concerts and football matches of only eight people, be lifted from April 11.

    “The spread of COVID-19 is accelerating with an increased burden on healthcare as a result,” it said in a statement.

    “The Swedish Public Health Agency therefore proposes that the date for when certain activities should be able to open up be postponed until May 3, provided that the infection situation improves.”

  • PAIR ARRESTED OVER COVID CARE HOME DEATHS

    A police investigation into Covid-19 deaths at a care home is now focusing on infection control and management.

    A woman, 57, from Sidmouth, and a man, 30, from Exeter, Devon who were arrested last week by police on suspicion of wilful neglect have been released on bail.

    Both are members of staff at Holmesley Care Home in Sidmouth, Devon.

    Nine deaths have been reported at the home since 25 February.

    All are thought to be related to an outbreak of the virus, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

    “The police investigation is currently focusing on infection control and management within the home,” the force said in a statement.

    “It is not currently related in any way to the vaccination of residents,” it added.

    Holmesley Care Home said it is treating the allegations “with the utmost seriousness”.

  • EXPLAINER – WHEN WILL SHIELDING END?

    People shielding have been told to stay home until March 31. In an address to the nation, Health Secretary Matt Hancock was asked tonight by a nurse if she could return to work on April 1.

    Mr Hancock replied: “Yes, it will. I am delighted to say that shielding will be able to end on the 31 March, and absolutely delighted that we’ll be able to welcome you back into the NHS as a nurse.”

    The Health Secretary shared the good news today alongside Jonathan Van Tam – as he confirmed that more than 25million Brits had been vaccinated with their first dose.

    It comes after Boris Johnson revealed his roadmap out of lockdown last month. Nearly five million people were told to shield in the last few weeks.

    Those who were vulnerable to Covid were told to stay inside and limit their social activity. But all vulnerable Brits have now been offered the jab. All those over 50s are set to be jabbed by April.

  • 60M JABS TO BE MADE IN UK

    THE PM yesterday said Brits could boost resilience to Covid by getting fit in the sun — and revealed 60million new jabs will be made in the UK.

    Boris Johnson said he could not wait to play tennis again as lockdown is eased.

    He added: “We can take advantage of this beautiful weather to build national resilience.”

    The new Novavax jab is also being produced in the North East, he said.

    He hailed the “significant new weapon in the armoury” against the virus as we took a “small step to freedom” yesterday.

  • TRUMP BLASTS FAUCI AND BIRX

    DONALD Trump released a scathing statement slamming Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Deborah Birx on Monday.

    The former president called Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, the “king of flip-flops,” and slammed Birx, who served as his coronavirus response coordinator, as a “liar.”

    Trump‘s comments come after Birx spoke about missteps the Trump administration made while handling the Covid-19 pandemic.

    “Based on their interviews, I felt it was time to speak up about Dr Fauci and Dr Birx, two self-promoters trying to reinvent history to cover up their bad instincts and faulty recommendations, which I fortunately almost always overturned,” the statement begins.

  • MUTATIONS FEARS

    CORONAVIRUS mutations could render current vaccines redundant in less than one year, experts say.

    Jabs have been created to target the original strain of the coronavirus, and do not work as effectively against some new mutations.

    And with Covid evolving all the time, new variants will continue to emerge, some of which could dodge the power or vaccines.

    Two-thirds (66.2 per cent) of epidemiologists say this could happen in less than a year, from March 2021.





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