Study mixing Covid vaccines launched, minister announces
All over-50s in the UK are to be offered coronavirus vaccinations by May, Matt Hancock has confirmed.
The health secretary confirmed he plans for all those in the top nine priority groups to have been offered a first vaccination dose by this month.
Including all those aged 50 and over as well as health and care workers and adults with certain underlying health conditions, the nine groups comprise around 32m of the UK’s 52.7m over-18s.
Meanwhile, the reproduction number, or R value, of coronavirus transmission across the UK has fallen to between 0.7 and 1, according to the latest government figures.
The value, which last week was between 0.7 and 1.1 represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.
“These estimates mean we are now confident the epidemic is shrinking across England, though it remains important that everyone continues to stay at home in order to keep the R value down,” the government said.
‘We are not going to open pubs that can’t sell booze’
A senior government source has cast doubt on the idea of pubs opening without alcohol, following a report in the Daily Telegraph (which refers to a senior government source).
“We are not going to open pubs that can’t sell booze,” the source tells Sky News. “What would be the point of that?”
Peter Stubley5 February 2021 22:38
Sunak gives firms ‘breathing space’ to pay back government loans
Businesses will have more time to make the first repayment on government “bounce back” loans, chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced.
Firms will now have 18 months before having to start paying back what they borrowed, including an initial 12-month interest-free period.
Mr Sunak said: “Businesses are continuing to feel the impact of extended disruption from Covid-19, and we’re determined to give them the backing and confidence they need to get through the pandemic.
“That’s why we’re giving bounce back loan borrowers breathing space to get back on their feet, through greater flexibility and time to repay their loans on their terms.”
Around 1.4 million firms took out £45bn worth of “bounce back” loans, which can be paid back over ten years.
Peter Stubley5 February 2021 22:22
Pubs to reopen… with no alcohol?
The Telegraph is also reporting that ministers are considering a reopening of pubs in April or May – but only if they don’t sell alcohol.
It is part of a supposed ‘three-phase roadmap’ which would see schools and outdoor socialising return in March, followed by the reopening of hospitality venues.
Peter Stubley5 February 2021 22:09
Police criticised over arrest at wreath-laying ceremony in Belfast
An apparent attempt to enforce coronavirus regulations in Northern Ireland has prompted a public outcry after a man was arrested at an event commemorating the victims of a loyalist shooting in 1992.
Deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Fein said the incident was “a shameful display of policing” which had “caused unprecedented anger and distress across the community.”
She added: “Deeply concerned at the footage showing PSNI officers arrive at the scene of the Sean Graham bookies massacre.
“Unjustified heavy handed tactics have been used towards relatives laying flowers including the arrest of one of the survivors.”
Peter Stubley5 February 2021 21:53
Pubs to fully reopen in May?
The Sun is reporting that the 10pm curfew and the ‘Scotch Egg’ rule are set to be scrapped when pubs reopen.
Ministers are said to be considering allowing takeaway pints to be served from April, with a full reopening a month later.
Is this realistic? Only time will tell…
Peter Stubley5 February 2021 21:22
Vaccine rollout ‘proceeding at huge rate of knots’ – Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson has urged the public to continue following the rules despite successes with the vaccine rollout.
In a video posted to Twitter, the prime minister said the vaccine rollout is “proceeding at a huge rate of knots”, with 10.9 million jabs delivered.
He told people to remember “how tough it still is” and “how high that rate of infection is”, as he urged the public to “stay home, protect the NHS and save lives”.
Zoe Tidman5 February 2021 20:57
Downing Street said Boris Johnson and French president Emmanuel Macron agreed there needs to be “a collaborative effort between governments” on the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
A No 10 spokeswoman said: “The prime minister emphasised the important role world leaders will play in ensuring that vaccines are rolled out effectively so that we can defeat the pandemic.
“The leaders agreed that a successful global vaccination programme will require a collaborative effort between governments.”
Zoe Tidman5 February 2021 20:30
‘Deadly illness is thriving’
Demand for the UK’s leading eating disorder charity has tripled during the pandemic with the service experiencing record levels of people coming forward to seek help.
Read the exclusive report from Maya Oppenheim, our women’s correspondent:
Zoe Tidman5 February 2021 20:18
Ministers to use Covid as justification in NHS England move
Ministers are planning to use the coronavirus pandemic as a reason to erode the independence of NHS England including plans that would allow the health secretary to intervene in local reconfigurations of NHS services.
Zoe Tidman5 February 2021 20:00
Matt Hancock has tweeted about the goal to offer everyone in the top nine priority groups a vaccine by May, as announced today.
“It’s an ambitious target but I know we can hit it,” he says.
Zoe Tidman5 February 2021 19:46