Coronavirus news UK latest: Boris Johnson 'draws up other options' amid warning June 21 lockdown lift is 'foolish'

THE Government is "drawing up other options" before deciding on whether a June 21 end to Covid restrictions will still go ahead.

The UK recorded another 5,765 coronavirus cases and 13 further deathstoday – a figure slightly down from yesterday's two-month high.

Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) Government advisory panel, said the Government has a “difficult call” to make about easing restrictions on June 21.

He told Times Radio: “It’s a hard one. I’m going to be annoying and sit a little bit on the fence on this, as I don’t think it’s our role as epidemiologists to call that. I think the difficult thing that we have, the difficult situation the government have is of course if you delay that then of course you’ll get a smaller subsequent wave.

Number 10 is still planning to go ahead with the final step in the roadmap, but is waiting for more data before taking any decisions, a Government source has said.

It comes as new data suggests the mutation is twice as likely to cause hospitalisation, as June 21's "Freedom Day" hangs in the balance.

A Public Health England report showed that people who tested positive for the Indian coronavirus variant were at 161% higher risk of needing hospital treatment within 14 days.

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

  • Joseph Gamp

    EXPERT SAYS DECISION OVER JUNE 21 LOCKDOWN LIFT ‘A DIFFICULT CALL’

    Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) Government advisory panel, said the Government has a “difficult call” to make about easing restrictions on June 21.

    He told Times Radio: “It’s a hard one. I’m going to be annoying and sit a little bit on the fence on this, as I don’t think it’s our role as epidemiologists to call that.

    “I think the difficult thing that we have, the difficult situation the government have is of course if you delay that then of course you’ll get a smaller subsequent wave.

    “I mean that’s the case with any control policy – if you leave them in for a longer period of time then it’s going to reduce cases. But of course, if you delay that we know that negatively impacts businesses, people’s livelihoods, and so forth.

    “So this is the difficult call that they have to make, and all we can do is put together as much evidence as possible and say this is what we expect to happen if you relax on June 21, this is what we may expect if you delay that by two weeks for example or four weeks and so on, so they have all the evidence they can to make the decision.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    COVID CASES RISE 50% IN A WEEK AMID FEARS JUNE 21 EASING WILL BE DELAYED AS 6,238 TEST POSITIVE AND 11 PEOPLE DIE

    Covid cases rise 50% in a WEEK amid fears June 21 easing will be delayed as 6,238 test positive and 11 people die

  • Joseph Gamp

    SO CALLED 'NEPAL VARIANT' SPARKS CONCERN

    It comes after a Public Health England report showed people who tested positive for the Indian variant – also known as the Delta variant – were at 161 per cent more risk of needing hospital treatment within 14 days.

    Experts warned the Indian Covid mutation could be 100 per cent more infectious than the Kent variant, which caused the country to lockdown in January.

    The "Nepal variant" found in Britain – a mutated version of the Indian variant ripping through the country – has also sparked concern.

    And the crucial R rate is also as high as 1.2 according to Sage — meaning the virus is up again.

  • Joseph Gamp

    COVID LOCKDOWN WAS ‘STAGGERINGLY DIFFICULT’ FOR QUEEN

    The coronavirus pandemic was “staggeringly difficult” for the Queen and Prince Philip during lockdown in Windsor Castle, Prince Edward has revealed.

    The Earl of Wessex, 57, and his wife Sophie, 56, opened up about how the Covid crisis impacted his parents when the world shut down and they were forced to isolate.

    “For them, life is so much about contact, it’s so much about people and then suddenly that all stops,” Edward told The Telegraph Magazine.

    Although the Queen’s engagements keep her busy and it “doesn’t really give her very much time to dwell on anything for too long”, he said the pandemic was “staggeringly difficult” for his parents.

    The Queen, 95, was locked down at Windsor Castle with 22 members of staff in what a top aide dubbed “HMS Bubble”, The Sun on Sunday revealed in April last year.

    Credit: AFP

     

  • Joseph Gamp

    MAPPED: COVID-19 SURGE TESTING AREAS

  • Joseph Gamp

    COVID SCIENTIST IN HIDING IN BELGIUM (CONTINUED…)

    He revealed that shortly before he was forced into hiding, he actually spotted the "heavily armed" Conings outside his home.

    The sniper was seemingly lying in wait for him to return from work, but thankfully van Ranst – along with his wife and son – were already home.

    Urged to stay away from the windows, not to go outside and to stay at the secret location, van Ranst described the situation as "surreal".

    "We’re not scared, we’re just being careful. It is pretty surreal, but knowing is better than not knowing, because at least I can take these precautions," the professor said.

    He added: "“If you’re on television a couple of times every day for months on end, people get sick and tired of you. That’s unavoidable. There are a group of people that hate science and hate scientists. Very often they are scared and uncertain."

  • Joseph Gamp

    COVID SCIENTIST IN HIDING AS ANTI-LOCKDOWN SNIPER ‘BELGIAN RAMBO’ ARMED WITH ROCKET LAUNCHER AND HIT LIST STILL AT LARGE

    A COVID scientist has been forcing into hiding as anti-lockdown sniper known as the "Belgian Rambo" remains at large.

    Neo-nazi soldier Jurgen Conings is on the run reportedly armed with a rocket launcher, a machine gun and a ten man "hit list". Conings, 46, disappeared from his barracks three weeks ago and declared a twisted personal war on virologists and the "political elite" over lockdowns.

    Belgium's most senior expert Professor Marc van Ranst is feared to be one of his number one targets and so has been placed in a police safe house.

    The prof is the European nation's answer to Britain's Professor Chris Whitty, or the US's Dr Anthony Fauci – a senior medical figure who has been thrust into the spotlight by the pandemic.

    "Unfortunately, he’s a trained sniper with heavy armour, military-grade material and weapons," he told the BBC. "So, these are the kind of people that you would prefer not to have hunting you."

  • Joseph Gamp

    TONY BLAIR CONTINUED…

    Mr Blair said: "It is time to distinguish for the purposes of freedom from restriction between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, both for citizens here for domestic purposes; but also for our citizens and those from other countries in respect of travel on the basis that being vaccinated substantially reduces risk.

    "It therefore makes no sense at all to treat those who have had vaccination as the same as those who haven't."

    He pointed to the report which says "why the current NHS app for proving vaccination is inadequate and should be changed to be simpler and more effective" and later went on: "Of course we are discriminating between vaccinated and unvaccinated. But the whole of risk management is based on discriminating between different types and levels of risk.

    "Nothing matters more to risk than vaccination, which is precisely why we're doing it," Mr Blair said.

    "Yes by allowing greater freedom and fewer restrictions to the vaccinated we're providing a powerful incentive to take up vaccination, but this is a perfectly valid public policy objective. Other than for medical reasons, people should be vaccinated."

  • Joseph Gamp

    'TIME TO DISTINGUISH' BETWEEN VACCINATED AND UNVACCINATED, SAYS TONY BLAIR

    Former prime minister Tony Blair has said it is "time to distinguish for the purposes of freedom" between people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated when it comes to travel and domestically.

    Mr Blair also described the NHS app that proves vaccination as "inadequate" as he said it makes "no sense at all to treat those who have had vaccination as the same as those who haven't".

    The former Labour leader was reacting to a report published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change which says "vaccine status matters" and champions the idea of health passes "to allow citizens to prove their status in a secure, privacy-preserving way".

    Proposing the health pass system be used both at home and abroad, the report said: "With this ability to securely prove vaccination status, we can move beyond blunt, catch-all tools and align with other countries by removing certain restrictions for the fully vaccinated, thereby enabling us to sustainably reopen the economy."

    It went on: "For as long as the world goes largely unvaccinated and the risk of a new variant remains significant, it's vital that we have an alternative to the blunt tool of lockdowns to enable the country to live freely and safely."

  • Joseph Gamp

    IRELAND: 14 ARRESTED AFTER CROWDS GATHER IN DUBLIN CITY CENTRE

    Fourteen people have been arrested after missiles were thrown at gardai during disturbances in Dublin on Friday night.

    Gardai were called into the city centre after large crowds had gathered on various streets. Access to South William Street was blocked by officers.

    Videos and images on social media show gardai charging crowds down the street.

    Uniformed gardai and "soft cap" public order gardai dispersed that particular group from the area. Objects, including glass bottles, were thrown at gardai on South William Street.

    One garda member sustained a leg injury and received hospital treatment. One garda patrol vehicle was damaged. Gardai said that a large number of "organised groups" congregated at a number of other locations in the city, including St Stephen's Green and Temple Bar Square

  • Joseph Gamp

    WATCH: COVID VACCINES HAVE 'BROKEN THE CHAIN' BETWEEN CATCHING BUG AND BECOMING ILL, NHS EXPERT SAYS WITH ALL EYES ON JUNE 21

    Covid vaccines have ‘broken the chain’ between catching bug and becoming ill, NHS expert says with all eyes on June 21

  • Joseph Gamp

    INDIAN VARIANT HOSPITAL NUMBERS NOT INCREASING ‘SIGNIFICANTLY’

    The Covid-19 vaccine appears to have “broken the chain” between catching coronavirus and becoming seriously ill, the chief executive of NHS Providers has said.

    Chris Hopson said the number of people in hospital with the Covid-19 variant first detected in India, also known as the Delta variant, was not increasing “very significantly”.

    He told BBC Breakfast that many of those in hospital in Bolton – which has the highest number of cases of the Indian variant in England – were younger than in previous waves of the pandemic.

    Mr Hopson said on Saturday: “The people who came in this time round were actually a lot younger and were a lot less at risk of very serious complication, less at risk of death, and what that means is that they were less demand on critical care.

    “What we think we can start to say now, based on that experience, is that it does look as though the vaccines have broken the chain between catching Covid-19 and potentially being very, very seriously ill and potentially dying. There were very, very few people who have had those double jabs and had been able to have that build-up of protection after those jabs.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    GRAPH: UK COVID-19 CASES AND DEATHS PER DAY

  • Joseph Gamp

    UK RECORDS 13 NEW COVID DEATHS AND 5,765 CASES

    Britain reported 5,765 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 13 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

    Government data also showed 40,124,229 had now received their first vaccination shot and 27,160,635 had received two doses. 

  • Joseph Gamp

    MATT HANCOCK HAILS 'ASTONISHING ACHIEVEMENT' OF 40 MILLION FIRST JABS IN UNDER SIX MONTHS

    In a statement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "It is an astonishing achievement to deliver over 40 million first doses in under six months. In all corners of the UK, people are rolling up their sleeves when their time comes to protect themselves and the people around them.

    "It seems with every day we pass another major vaccination milestone on the road back to recovery. Over three quarters of adults have received a first dose and over half of adults have now been vaccinated with the life-saving second dose.

    "I pay tribute to the tireless work of the NHS, volunteers and armed forces in building this momentum – but our work is not yet done. I encourage everyone who is eligible to join the millions who have the fullest possible protection from this virus by getting their jab when the time comes."

  • Imogen Braddick

    'GET THE JAB'

    Matt Hancock has hailed the "massive national effort" to deliver 40 million Covid jabs.

  • Imogen Braddick

    UK HITS 40 MILLION FIRST VACCINE DOSES

    Responding to the milestone, NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis thanked staff for "working flat out to deliver the biggest vaccination programme in our history".

    "This latest milestone in our ongoing fight against coronavirus gives us another welcome opportunity to thank everyone in the NHS working flat out to deliver the biggest vaccination programme in our history –  they are protecting millions of people at speed and saving thousands of lives," he said.

    "There has never been a more important time to get protected so when it’s your turn and you’re contacted by the NHS, book your jab or bring forward your second dose."

  • Imogen Braddick

    COVID LOCKDOWN WAS ‘STAGGERINGLY DIFFICULT’ FOR QUEEN

    The coronavirus pandemic was “staggeringly difficult” for the Queen and Prince Philip during lockdown in Windsor Castle, Prince Edward has revealed.

    The Earl of Wessex, 57, and his wife Sophie, 56, opened up about how the Covid crisis impacted his parents when the world shut down and they were forced to isolate.

    “For them, life is so much about contact, it’s so much about people and then suddenly that all stops,” Edward told The Telegraph Magazine.

    Although the Queen’s engagements keep her busy and it “doesn’t really give her very much time to dwell on anything for too long”, he said the pandemic was “staggeringly difficult” for his parents.

    The Queen, 95, was locked down at Windsor Castle with 22 members of staff in what a top aide dubbed “HMS Bubble”, The Sun on Sunday revealed in April last year.

  • Imogen Braddick

    COVID CASES RISE BY 70% IN A WEEK

    Covid cases in the UK have rocketed by 70% in just one week amid fears the June 21 lockdown easing may be delayed.

    Another 5,765 new infections have been recorded in the latest 24-hour period, with another 13 coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total fatalities since the pandemic began to 127,836.

    Today's cases are up from last Saturday, when 3,398 cases were confirmed and seven deaths were recorded.

    And yesterday saw 11 new deaths and 6,238 cases recorded, compared with ten deaths and 4,182 cases the previous Friday.

    Read the full story here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    BRITS CRAM INTO FARO AIRPORT TO RETURN TO THE UK TO AVOID QUARANTINE BEFORE PORTUGAL IS SLAPPED ONTO AMBER LIST

    BRITS have flooded Faro airport as they rush to get back to the UK before Portugal is plunged onto the amber travel list from Tuesday.

    Hundreds of holidaymakers have been crammed into the airport today as they desperately try to catch flights back to Britain to avoid needing to quarantine.

    Long, snaking queues of tourists – who don't appear to be social distancing – have been snapped looking fed up as they wait to board planes in scorching 22C heat.

    Brits are scrambling to get back to the UK before the Portugal moves to the UK's amber list from 4am on Tuesday.

    The sunny European country was on the green travel list – meaning holidaymakers could freely fly for a holiday there without any need to quarantine.

    Read more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    EXPERT SAYS DECISION OVER JUNE 21 LOCKDOWN LIFT ‘A DIFFICULT CALL’

    Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) Government advisory panel, said the Government has a “difficult call” to make about easing restrictions on June 21.

    He told Times Radio: “It’s a hard one. I’m going to be annoying and sit a little bit on the fence on this, as I don’t think it’s our role as epidemiologists to call that.

    “I think the difficult thing that we have, the difficult situation the government have is of course if you delay that then of course you’ll get a smaller subsequent wave.

    “I mean that’s the case with any control policy – if you leave them in for a longer period of time then it’s going to reduce cases. But of course, if you delay that we know that negatively impacts businesses, people’s livelihoods, and so forth.

    “So this is the difficult call that they have to make, and all we can do is put together as much evidence as possible and say this is what we expect to happen if you relax on June 21, this is what we may expect if you delay that by two weeks for example or four weeks and so on, so they have all the evidence they can to make the decision.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    INDIAN VARIANT HOSPITAL NUMBERS NOT INCREASING ‘SIGNIFICANTLY’

    The Covid-19 vaccine appears to have “broken the chain” between catching coronavirus and becoming seriously ill, the chief executive of NHS Providers has said.

    Chris Hopson said the number of people in hospital with the Covid-19 variant first detected in India, also known as the Delta variant, was not increasing “very significantly”.

    He told BBC Breakfast that many of those in hospital in Bolton – which has the highest number of cases of the Indian variant in England – were younger than in previous waves of the pandemic.

    Mr Hopson said on Saturday: “The people who came in this time round were actually a lot younger and were a lot less at risk of very serious complication, less at risk of death, and what that means is that they were less demand on critical care.

    “What we think we can start to say now, based on that experience, is that it does look as though the vaccines have broken the chain between catching Covid-19 and potentially being very, very seriously ill and potentially dying. There were very, very few people who have had those double jabs and had been able to have that build-up of protection after those jabs.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    TEENS LINE THE STREET SO THEY CAN GET A COVID VACCINE 'SO THEY CAN GO CLUBBING' IN WEEKS

    HOPEFUL teens today queued for hours to get a first Covid vaccine so they can go out partying in nightclubs when lockdown lifts. Belmont Health Centre is handing out Pfizer jabs to walk-ins in Harrow, North West London.

    And keen over-18s who live in the area and are still waiting for a first vaccine have been lining the streets to get protected.

    Pictures show the teens forming a huge queue around the health centre – including through the car park and along the street.

    Some are hoping to get the vaccine ahead of "Freedom Day" on June 21 when lockdown lifts and clubs re-open.

    Jamie Lesser, 20, said: "If all plans go ahead, clubs are going to open in three weeks’ time and we both have plans to go out.”

    Read more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    EXIT FROM LOCKDOWN TO BE DELAYED BY TWO WEEKS AS COVID CASES SURGE – REPORTS

    A two-week delay to the planned easing of restrictions in England on June 21 is reportedly being considered after the number of people in the country with Covid-19 rose by 75%.

    Multiple reports have also suggested plans to lift restrictions could be scaled down, with social distancing and the wearing of face coverings set to continue amid concerns the Indian variant is fuelling a surge in cases. The UK on Friday recorded its highest number of new confirmed coronavirus cases – 6,238 – since late March, according to official figures.

    Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also suggested the number of people who had the virus in England has increased by around three quarters in a week, taking it to its highest tally since mid-April, with the R value between 1 and 1.2.

    According to the Telegraph, a two-week delay to the final stage of Boris Johnson’s road map will be used to accelerate second jabs for over-40s, moving from a 12 to eight-week gap between doses, echoing the practise that is already in place for over-50s.

    Those aged over 25 will also be offered their first doses from next week, the newspaper said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    GRAPH: COVID-19 VACCINATIONS IN THE UK

     

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