Coronavirus UK news – Brit jabs confirmed as 'highly effective' against Indian variant as England hits 50m jab milestone

BOTH British vaccines are highly effective against the Indian variant of coronavirus, scientists have revealed.

According to Public Health England, the Pfizer vaccine is 88% effective against the symptoms of the variant after the second dose while AstraZeneca proved 60 per cent effective.

Some 22 million Brits have had both jabs and the study reveals both are effective against symptoms such as a continuous cough, a loss or change to sense of smell and taste or a high temperature.

Both vaccines were 33% effective against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose, compared with about 50% against the Kent strain.

Meanwhile, more than 50 million jabs have been doled out in England in a major milestone for the vaccination programme.

More than 70 per cent of the UK's adult population – 31,546,846 – have now received at least one dose of a Covid jab, while 40 per cent – 18,699,556 – have received two, officials said earlier this week.

A total of 50,246,402 Covid-19 first or second doses of vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and May 21.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest news and updates…

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    PINT-SIZED PUB

    A seaside pub in Lincolnshire is so small that it will not be able to welcome drinkers indoors until social distancing is axed.

    The Signal Box Inn, which prides itself on being the "smallest pub on the planet", could accommodate up to six people inside – but there would not be much space left.

    At just 2.4 metres by 2.4 metres, the Cleethorpes pub – located at Lakeside Station, Kings Road – cannot seat customers inside until the one-metre-plus rule is scrapped.

    Due to social distancing and table service rules, punters now have to order, drink and eat while seated.

    This means that even if there is only one customer in the pub with a staff member, they would break the one-metre-plus rule.

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    TOUGH TEST

    Coronavirus surge testing has been deployed in West London to stop the spread of the Indian variant.

    Residents in parts of Harrow, Ealing, Hillingdon and Brent will be advised to take a PCR test even if they do not have any Covid-19 symptoms.

    Local authorities will "shortly confirm" the areas where additional testing will be offered within those boroughs, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

    NHS Test and Trace is increasing testing in the four boroughs, following the identification of the B1617.2 strain – which has been categorised as a "variant of concern".

    Those who tested positive for the variant have been told to self-isolate and their contacts are being identified.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    IT'S BACK!

    Glastonbury festival's Live At Worthy Farm livestreamed event is kicking off tonight on Saturday, May 22.

    The festival was cancelled for the second year running earlier in 2021 because of the coronavirus, but now people across the world can watch huge acts performing virtually, from their homes this evening.

    More on the acts here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    DOM & BLAST

    Boris Johnson’s former senior aide yesterday blamed incompetent leadership for a year of “lockdown confusion”.

    In a brutal attack on his ex-boss, Dominic Cummings said thousands of lives were needlessly lost to Covid by “awful decisions” and delays.

    He said the “shocking truth” was that at the outbreak of the pandemic the PM planned to let the nation build up herd immunity.

    And he accused Health Secretary Matt Hancock of talking “bulls**t” by suggesting otherwise.

    Mr Cummings tore into the Government days before he is due to appear before a committee of MPs to give evidence about the Government’s handling of the pandemic.

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    TAKE JAB 

    The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines both give a high level of protection against the Indian variant after two doses, a new study shows.

    Some 22 million Brits have had both jabs and the study reveals both are effective against symptoms such as a continuous cough, a loss or change to sense of smell and taste or a high temperature.

    Pfizer was 88 per cent ­effective while AstraZeneca proved 60 per cent effective.

    The vaccines are also likely to be much more effective when it comes to stopping hospitalisations and deaths.

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    JOBS JOBS JOBS

    Thousands of jobless youngsters are now in work — thanks to the help of a Sun on Sunday- backed campaign.

    We launched a drive two weeks ago to help the half-a-million 16-24 year-olds unemployed due to Covid-19.

    Since then, Kickstart, one of the schemes we have partnered, has employed 400 youngsters a day up and down the UK.

    Among those back in a job is Forester Hirst, 24, who was a hotel entertainer.

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    VACCINATIONS IN THE UK OVER TIME

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHAT COUNTRIES ARE ON THE AMBER LIST?

    Brits can finally go on holiday again this week – but only to destinations on the green list.

    Most countries, including most of Europe, are still on the UK's amber list – and are currently not advised for travelling to on holiday.

    For the full list click here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    FRANCE'S COVID-19 FIGURES SHOW STEADY IMPROVEMENT

    France's seven-day moving average for new COVID-19 cases held below the 14,000 marks for a fourth day running on Saturday, down from a peak of more than 42,000 in mid-April when the country was in the midst of its third lockdown.

    The number of people treated in intensive care units for the disease dropped by another 87 to 3,544, down from more than 6,000 at the of last month, health ministry data showed on Saturday.

    France has been gradually loosening its lockdown since the start of May and hopes to lift all major restrictions by the end of June.

    Since Wednesday, cafes and restaurants have been able to serve customers in outside areas, and the nightly curfew has been pushed back by two hours.

    The total number of people hospitalised for the disease decreased by 444, to 19,765, dropping below the 20,000 marks for the first time since Oct 27.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    ITALY PASSES 30MILLION VACCINE DOSE MILESTONE

    Italy on Saturday passed the milestone of 30 million doses injected in its Covid-19 vaccination effort, with nearly 10 million people in the country now fully vaccinated.

    More than 9.85 million people in Italy have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, according to government figures, representing 16.6 percent of the 60 million-strong population.

    Two thirds of the doses administered so far in Italy have gone to those aged over 60.

    Hit hard by the pandemic in early 2020, Italy has suffered 125,153 Covid-19 deaths — the highest official toll in Europe after Britain, with 128,000 deaths.

    Since April 26 Italy has been cautiously relaxing months-long coronavirus restrictions, with bars and restaurants now serving customers outdoors.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    FREEDOM!

    Piers Morgan has celebrated getting his second vaccination just days after slamming anti-vaxxers.

    The 56-year-old uploaded a snap of him donning a black face mask with a huge thumbs up as he got the jab.

    Piers captioned the post: "BREAKING: Double-jabbed & fully vaccinated… 💪👍. In and out of the Violet Melchett Centre in Chelsea in 5 minutes. Amazing! Thanks to all the medics & volunteers there, such an efficient operation, and such a vital one. Your nation is very grateful. 👏👏."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    COVID PEAKS

    Up to 200 people have tested positive for Covid on Mount Everest amid a shocking outbreak on the world's highest peak, it's claimed.

    An expert mountain climber says the killer virus has already infected swathes of intrepid adventurers and Sherpas at the South Base Camp.

    The claims come from Austrian Lukas Furtenbach, who last week became the only prominent guide to halt his latest expedition due to virus fears.

    However, Nepalese officials insist there has not been an outbreak at the site where some 1,500 people are currently located.

    They instead blamed any symptoms on other illnesses like altitude sickness.

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    JAB JOY 

    More than 50million jabs have now been handed out in England in a major milestone for the vaccination programme.

    The achievement was announced by Matt Hancock on the same day as anyone over the age of 32 was invited in for an inoculation.

    More than 70 per cent of the UK's adult population – 31,546,846 – have now received at least one dose of a Covid jab, while 40 per cent – 18,699,556 – have received two, officials said earlier this week.

    A total of 50,246,402 Covid-19 first or second doses of vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and May 21.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    TESTING TIME

    Martin Lewis has urged holidaymakers to save money by shopping around for covid tests and comparing prices before they travel abroad.

    Brits heading on holiday must take a coronavirus test to enter some countries, including popular summer spot Portugal, and when they return to the UK.

    Mr Lewis, who founded the Money Saving Expert website, said: “Don’t think tests are a fixed price, certainly not for those travellers from England.”

    He added that there was far less choice for those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    He said: "When it's the UK test you need when you return from overseas, those in England can access a competitive market

    "We see prices out there of £100 and £200 for an individual for the tests so do a comparison and go around and try a few [different places]."

  • Katie Davis

    LATEST COVID FIGURES

    Britain reported 2,694 new cases of Covid on Saturday, government data showed, meaning there were 17,410 new cases between May 16 and May 22, a rise of 10.5 per cent compared with the previous seven days.

    A further six people were reported as having died within 28 days of a positive test for COVID-19, taking the seven-day decrease to 43.1 per cent.

    A total of 37.73 million people had received a first dose of a vaccine against coronavirus by May 21 and 22.07 million people had received a second dose

  • Katie Davis

    PIERS MORGAN CELEBRATES AS HE GETS HIS SECOND JAB

    Piers Morgan has celebrated getting his second vaccination just days after slamming anti-vaxxers.

    The former GMB presenter took to Instagram to share the news with his 1.7m followers. The 56-year-old uploaded a snap of him donning a black face mask with a huge thumbs up as he got the jab.

    He made sure to thank all the amazing NHS staff who have helped Brits up and down the country throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

    Piers captioned the post: "BREAKING: Double-jabbed & fully vaccinated… 💪👍.In and out of the Violet Melchett Centre in Chelsea in 5 minutes. Amazing!

    "Thanks to all the medics & volunteers there, such an efficient operation, and such a vital one. Your nation is very grateful. 👏👏."

    Piers Morgan has celebrated getting his second coronavirus vaccineCredit: Instagram
  • Katie Davis

    MATT HANCOCK PRAISES VACCINE MILESTONE

    The Health Secretary said: "Today over 50 million Covid-19 vaccines have been delivered in England.

    "One of the biggest and most important national efforts in our history.

    "Thank you to the whole team who have made this happen."

    NHS England's lead for the Covid vaccination programme, Dr Emily Lawson, said the rollout was "continuing at pace".

    "This success is the result of the tireless efforts of NHS teams, alongside local partners and volunteers, who are determined to protect their patients, families and communities," she said.

  • Katie Davis

    MORE THAN 50M JABS GIVEN IN ENGLAND

    More than 50million jabs have now been handed out in England in a major milestone for the vaccination programme.

    The achievement was announced by Matt Hancock on the same day as anyone over the age of 32 was invited in for an inoculation.

    More than 70 per cent of the UK's adult population – 31,546,846 – have now received at least one dose of a Covid jab, while 40 per cent – 18,699,556 – have received two, officials said earlier this week.

    A total of 50,246,402 Covid-19 first or second doses of vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and May 21.

  • Katie Davis

    WAITING FOR THE CHAPEL

    Couples looking to get hitched may face another heartbreaking delay as the Indian Covid strain puts the UK’s reopening date in doubt, say reports.

    Boris Johnson suggested he would need to give four weeks notice ahead of June 21 – the date which he has said he wants to relax all rules and restrictions if virus stats are looking good.

    The PM wants to give a heads up on changes to wedding rules so loved-up couples can have their banns read out in time ahead of their big day.

    He had earlier told the House of Commons he would be making an announcement within 28 days of June 21 – meaning a statement is expected around May 24.

    However, government sources have now told the Telegraph it is “very unlikely” that announcements would be made then because of the worrying surge in the Indian variant.

  • Katie Davis

    BAR OWNERS IN SPAIN CELEBRATE BRITS RETURNING WITH CHEAP PINTS

    Thrilled bar owners are celebrating Brit holidaymakers returning to Spain with £1.20 pints from MONDAY as businesses are set to boom.

    Thousands of lockdown-weary Brits are expected to fly next week to Spain, despite it being on the government’s amber travel list.

    Costa Del Sol bar owner Toni Smith told Sun readers today, after Spain announced it was lifting its UK tourist ban: “We’ve got the best beer in town at the cheapest price so come and join us.”

    The expat, 61, from Rochdale, Lancs, who owns a bar called Ibensa with husband Brian in Benalmadena, is selling pints of lager for just £1.20.

    She said: “The fact Spain is letting British tourists back in again from Monday is fantastic news. It’s brilliant for us. We’ll be open for business as always and very happy to see anyone who wants to come in for a drink.”

  • Katie Davis

    COVID TEST SUPPLIER IN £150M CONTRACT DISPUTE WITH GOVERNMENT

    A major supplier of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 testing kits is in dispute with the Government over a £150 million contract.

    Novacyt developed one of the UK’s first coronavirus testing kits in partnership with AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and the University of Cambridge in April 2020.

    It led to the signing of a multimillion-pound contract with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) later that month to supply 288,000 tests per week for NHS staff.

    A second contract signed in September last year is now in dispute, the company has revealed, relating to 300 PCR testing machines, test kits and support services.

    Novacyt said in a statement to the stock market: “The company has taken legal advice in relation to the dispute and believes it has strong grounds to assert its contractual rights.”

  • Katie Davis

    NORWAY TO FURTHER EASE COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS FROM MAY 27, PM SAYS

    Norway will take the next major step in unwinding restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic on May 27, allowing larger groups of people to meet and the public serving of alcohol until midnight, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said today.

    “This means that we can advance the work of getting Norway back up to speed,” Solberg told a news conference.

    The government last month said the second phase of a four-step plan to unwind the lockdown would likely begin in late May.

    Local restrictions will however in some places remain tougher than the national rules to prevent regional flare-ups of the virus.

  • Katie Davis

    INSIDE UK'S SMALLEST PUB TOO TIGHT TO REOPEN UNTIL SOCIAL DISTANCING AXED

    A seaside pub in Lincolnshire is so small that it will not be able to welcome drinkers indoors until social distancing is axed.

    The Signal Box Inn, which prides itself on being the "smallest pub on the planet", could accommodate up to six people inside – but there would not be much space left.

    At just 2.4 metres by 2.4 metres, the Cleethorpes pub – located at Lakeside Station, Kings Road – cannot seat customers inside until the one-metre-plus rule is scrapped.

    Due to social distancing and table service rules, punters now have to order, drink and eat while seated.

    This means that even if there is only one customer in the pub with a staff member, they would break the one-metre-plus rule.

    Pub landlord Alan Cowood pictured in the entrance of The Signal Box InnCredit:©Stephen Daniels
  • Katie Davis

    LATEST FIGURES FROM SCOTLAND

    Scotland has recorded 370 new cases of coronavirus but no further deaths in the last 24 hours, according to latest figures.

    It means the death toll under this daily measure – of people who first tested

    positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – remains at 7,664.

    Figures published by the Scottish Government on Saturday showed the daily test positivity rate was 1.8 per cent, down from 1.9 per cent the previous day.

    So far 3,096,341 people have received the first dose of a Covid vaccination and 1,799,956 have received their second dose.

  • Katie Davis

    ONE IN SEVEN SUFFER WITH LONG COVID

    One in seven people who have coronavirus infection have “long Covid”, research suggests.

    The debilitating set of symptoms don’t just affect those who are old or have been severely ill.

    Young and once fit and healthy people are also struck with persistent symptoms or health problems that force them to take time off work.

    US researchers looked at almost 267,000 adults who had Covid between January and October 2020.

    They recorded if any had been diagnosed with one of 50 conditions six months after testing positive. These included chronic respiratory failure, heart rhythm problems, diabetes, anxiety, fatigue and memory loss. 

    Source: Read Full Article