Oxford vaccine director on jab’s impact on transmission
About 20,000 people per day are not self-isolating when ordered to do so, according to the head of NHS Test and Trace.
Baroness Dido Harding told the Science and Technology Committee “circa 20,000 a day” are failing to stay at home when told to by a contact tracer.
She also said her “biggest concern” was not the people who are not following the instruction, but those who “feel ill but do not come forward for testing”.
New analysis suggests the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine may reduce transmission of the virus by 67 per cent.
Researchers at the University of Oxford found the vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 rises to 82.4 per cent once a second dose is administered after three months, according to a pre-print paper.
The study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, also found it appears to offer 76 per cent protection for up to 12 weeks after the first dose.
Stamp duty holiday: Will it be extended beyond 31 March and how will it affect you?
A stamp duty holiday for home buyers is set to end on 31 March unless Rishi Sunak changes his mind and extends the tax break at his upcoming Budget.
That would mean a tax bill for anyone buying a home for between £125,000 and £500,000 from 1 April – purchases which are currently exempt from paying stamp duty.
Read our guide by business correspondent Ben Chapman to find out how this could affect you:
Chiara Giordano3 February 2021 13:44
‘Too uncertain’ to tell whether people can enjoy summer holidays abroad, says Welsh health minister
Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething has said it is “too uncertain” to say people will be able to enjoy a summer holiday abroad this year.
“I’m optimistic that people will be able to have a holiday break of some kind over the summer, I wouldn’t want to forecast where that would be though,” he said.
“We know many people are opting to stay within Wales or the UK but the challenge is that we know that from this summer, international travel to mainland Europe caused lots of mixing and a reintroduction of coronavirus into the UK.
“It helped to promote the growth of the virus through the autumn. So we’re all still going to need to make responsible choices.”
Chiara Giordano3 February 2021 13:30
What is the roadmap out of lockdown?
Promising data from Oxford University showing the Astrazeneca vaccine may cut Covid transmission has raised hopes that the UK may in the near future be able to find a sustainable path out of lockdown.
Results showed the jab offers 76 per cent protection up to three months after the first dose and could reduce transmission by 67 per cent.
That is key because cutting transmission means infection levels could come down faster than they would otherwise, suggesting the most severe restrictions could be brought to an end more quickly.
Tom Batchelor has the full details:
Eleanor Sly3 February 2021 13:16
World Health Organisation team visits Wuhan Institute of Virology
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) team of scientists, currently investigating the origins of the coronavirus in China, were today given access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The visit has been highly anticipated as the lab has been the centre of conspiracy theories about coronavirus, for which there is currently no evidence.
Scientists have stored bat viruses at the facility for years, looking at their potential for making the leap to humans.
China has faced criticism regarding its lack of transparency at the start of the pandemic. The WHO investigation got off to a shaky start when the team was refused entry into the country in a series of events that China have called a misunderstanding.
Eleanor Sly3 February 2021 13:04
Boris Johnson accused of putting ‘politics above public health’ after visiting vaccine plant during staff Covid outbreak
Boris Johnson visited a vaccine plant despite No 10 being warned of a Covid outbreak, triggering condemnation in the Commons.
The prime minister was accused of a “reckless PR stunt” – after it emerged that the boss of the plant in Scotland had alerted his team to the outbreak.
“The prime minister and his advisers knew there was a serious Covid-19 outbreak at this plant – they knew the visit posed a risk,” SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said.
Eleanor Sly3 February 2021 12:48
Hundreds of Australian Open players, officials and staff to isolate after single positive Covid test
Over 500 Australian Open players, officials and support staff are to go into isolation after a man who works at one of the event’s quarantine hotels tested positive for Covid-19.
Players will be free to return to competing after a negative test with Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews insisting: “At this stage there is no impact on the tournament proper.”
Tom Kershaw has more here:
Eleanor Sly3 February 2021 12:40
Covid: 20,000 people a day ignoring instructions to self-isolate, MPs told
An estimated 20,000 people a day – possibly more – are not isolating when contacted by Test and Trace, MPs have been told.
Baroness Dido Harding, interim head of the National Institute for Health Protection, insisted there were “a lot of caveats” to this figure but said internal research has shown that between 40 per cent and 20 per cent of close contacts were failing to self-isolate.
Said told the Commons Science and Technology Committee there were a number of reasons as to why members of the public weren’t following orders to self-isolate.
Samuel Lovett has more on this in the following article:
Eleanor Sly3 February 2021 12:32
Captain Tom Moore: National clap to be held at 6pm
Boris Johnson has urged people across the country to join in a national clap for Captain Sir Tom Moore at 6pm this evening.
The prime minister said: “We all now have the opportunity to show our appreciation for him and all that he stood for and believed in.
“That is why I encourage everyone to join in a national clap for Captain Tom and all those health workers for whom he raised money at 6pm this evening.”
Liam James explains more here:
Eleanor Sly3 February 2021 12:25
Health secretary says Contagion inspired him to order 100m jab doses instead of 30m
Matt Hancock told LBC Contagion inspired him to order 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine rather than 30 million because he knew there would be a scramble for the jab.
Matt Hancock admits Contagion movie shaped vaccine response
Eleanor Sly3 February 2021 12:02
Matt Hancock admits film Contagion inspired vaccine strategy
Matt Hancock has admitted the film Contagion helped demonstrate to him the importance of securing enough vaccines once they had been approved.
The health secretary told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I think the safest thing to say is (the film) wasn’t my only source of advice on this issue but I did watch the film – it is actually based on the advice of very serious epidemiologists.
“The insight that was so necessary at the start was that the big pressure on vaccines internationally would not be before they were approved – of course, there was a huge amount of work then – but it was after they are approved.
“So, one of the things I did early (on), was insist that when we had the Oxford vaccine, and we backed it from the start and that was great, I insisted that UK production protects people in the UK in the first instance. And, as the UK health secretary, that is my duty.
“At the same time we are making it available at cost to the rest of the world – not enough people give AstraZeneca credit for that, other vaccine companies are making tens of billions of pounds from their vaccines.”
Chiara Giordano3 February 2021 11:56