Here are the coronavirus morning headlines for Monday, December 7, as it is warned that the vast majority of people over 80 will have to wait to the new year to receive the the Covid-19 vaccine.
Vaccinations will be administered at dozens of hospital hubs across the UK from Tuesday – reportedly dubbed “V-Day” by UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock – with people aged 80 and older, care home workers and NHS workers who are at higher risk at the front of the queue.
Croydon University Hospital in south London was one of the first hospitals to take delivery of the vaccine over the weekend, with similar scenes unfolding around the country ahead of the rollout.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said the distribution of the vaccine would be a “marathon not a sprint”, while Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said people need to “hang fire” and be assured they have not been forgotten if they have not received a letter or a phone call about the jab.
Mr Hopson told the PA news agency: “I don’t think people should expect anything over the next few days because the reality is, as I said, that for the vast, vast, vast majority of people this will be done in January, February, March.
“And the one thing that we don’t want people to get anxious about or concerned about is ‘Where’s my letter?’ in December.”
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, enough to vaccinate 20 million people, as people need to receive two doses.
There are 800,000 doses in the first tranche, meaning 400,000 people will be vaccinated initially.
There are challenges to overcome with vaccinating care home residents despite them being at the top of the priority list, but Mr Hopson said this would begin in around a week’s time and would be led by primary care networks.
Logistical issues mean there are difficulties in delivering the Pfizer jab to residents, as it needs to be stored at -70°C before being thawed out and can only be moved up to four times within that cold chain before being used.
The vaccine boxes containing 975 doses will need to be split so they can be taken to care homes.
The distribution of the vaccine across the UK is being undertaken by Public Health England and the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland through systems specially adapted from those used for the national immunisation programmes.
Mass testing in second area gets underway
All residents and workers without symptoms will be offered repeat coronavirus testing until Sunday, December 20, to help find more positive cases and break the chains of transmission.
The testing started on Saturday and the latest figures show that 1,044 were tested, with nine testing positive.
The two main test centre locations are Cynon Valley Indoor Bowls Centre in Mountain Ash and Abercynon Sports Centre. More details on the testing here.
Latest cases for Wales
Another 14 people have died with coronavirus in Wales and more than 1,900 positive cases have been confirmed.
The latest statistics released by Public Health Wales (PHW) on Sunday, December 6 show 1,916 people have tested positive for the virus in Wales in the last reporting period. The communities in Wales with the most coronavirus cases
It brings the number of positive tests since the outbreak began to 88,992 while 2,709 people have died with lab-confirmed coronavirus in Wales.
The infection rate across Wales now stands at 279.5 per 100,000 people based on the seven days up to December 3. This is an increase from 262.3 on Saturday. Find the cases for your area here.
Wales health minister Vaughan Gething will be giving the latest coronavirus briefing at 12.15pm on Monday.
Wales’ health and care workers who died after having coronavirus
Since the coronavirus pandemic took hold earlier this year, health and care workers have continuously put their lives on the line for our safety.
More than 60,000 people have now died in the UK with coronavirus. Across the UK, 206 NHS workers have died since March 11 after contracting the virus.
In Wales, this included at least 16 frontline health and care workers.
Their names have been confirmed by their employers and through tributes issued by family members and colleagues.
The figure is likely to be lower than the true number of staff who have died as some names have not yet been released.
The stark differences between day and night under new coronavirus rules
Crowds of Christmas shoppers descended on Wales’ major cities on the first weekend of December.
Swansea and Cardiff were busy on Saturday and Sunday as the shopping season ramped up with less than three weeks until Christmas Day.
The scenes drew a stark contrast with Friday and Saturday evenings, which saw streets almost deserted as pubs and restaurants begin to deal with the impact of the Welsh Government’s ban on the sale of alcohol on premises. More pictures here.
From 6pm on Friday, licensed pubs, cafes and restaurants in Wales have had to stop serving alcohol on their premises but those with an off-licence are permitted to sell alcoholic drinks for takeaway.
All pubs and restaurants are required to close at 6pm every day until further notice, and are allowed to operate as a takeaway service from 6pm.
The Welsh Government said the measures are designed to limit the spread of coronavirus as case numbers rose dramatically a month after the country’s two-week fire-break lockdown. First Minister Mark Drakeford said the new rules were being introduced in response to rising coronavirus cases and the promise of more social gatherings over Christmas.
Trump’s lawyer tests positive for coronavirus
President Donald Trump has said that his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has tested positive for coronavirus.
The president confirmed in a Sunday afternoon tweet that the former New York mayor had tested positive.
The 76-year-old was was exhibiting some symptoms and was admitted to Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington, sources said.
Mr Giuliani has travelled extensively to battleground states in recent weeks in an effort to help Mr Trump challenge his election defeat.
Mr Trump wished him a speedy recovery.
“Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!!!” Mr Trump wrote in his tweet.
Mr Giuliani attended a hearing at the Georgia Capitol on Thursday where he went without a mask for several hours. Several state senators also did not wear masks at the hearing.
Shakin’ Stevens performs festive hit as royal couple set off on tour
And finally, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge received a rock and roll send-off for their country-wide tour by royal train when Shakin’ Stevens performed.
Before William and Kate boarded the service, the Cardiff-born singer, known for a string of hits in the 1980s, sang his festive smash-hit single Merry Christmas Everyone for the couple and a group of transport workers.
The track topped the charts during Christmas 1985 and was picked by the royal couple as the song they wanted to hear and during the performance the duchess tapped her foot and swayed to the music.
The duke and duchess, who wore face masks, set off on Sunday evening from London’s Euston station on a 1,250-mile, three-day tour, which will see them thank communities in Wales, England, Scotland, outstanding individuals and key workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
During the event, William told Orson Parris, a network traffic controller for Transport for London: “Fingers crossed 2021 gets things back to normal.”
The first stop for the duke and duchess – who wore an Alexander McQueen coat and tartan scarf – has not been disclosed, but Stevens, whose real name is Michael Barratt, said his performance had been his first for royalty.
The 72-year-old performer said: “I’m loving it, it was lovely to be invited.”
Commenting on William and Kate’s decision to travel around the country thanking those who have made sacrifices this year, the singer said: “It’s lovely to give back isn’t it? It’s nice to give back and they are leading the way.”
Before climbing on board the service, the duke and duchess spent time chatting to staff from Transport for London (TfL), Network Rail and train operating companies about their experiences of working throughout the pandemic.
On behalf of the nation, they passed on their thanks for everything they have done to keep trains in London running and the measures taken to ensure passengers could travel safely with confidence.
Network Rail staff altered the departure boards for the occasion, changing Wolverhampton to Warmerhampton, Coventry to Coventry Carol and Northampton to Northpolehamton.
Along the way, William and Kate will highlight the impact of extraordinary public generosity during the coronavirus pandemic, showcasing charities such as NHS Together and meeting frontline workers, teachers, mental health professionals, care workers and schoolchildren.
They will also celebrate examples of community spirit by showcasing the arts, heritage and the live performance sector.
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk