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UK ‘will suffer third wave of Covid this summer’ – follow live

UK Covid-19 vaccinations: Latest figures

Britain will experience a third wave of Covid this summer as lockdown is relaxed, a leading scientist advising the government has warned.

Adam Finn, a paediatrician and vaccines expert from the University of Bristol, said Boris Johnson was right to warn yesterday the country must be ready for another rise in cases of coronavirus.

“The models that we’ve seen on JCVI clearly point to a summer surge in cases as the lockdown is relaxed, because there are still many people in the adult population who’ve not been immunised and who will therefore start to transmit the infection between each other,” he told BBC Breakfast.

There remained lots of uncertainty over what kind of spike would occur, because it was unclear how many people would be vaccinated by that point, but it was wrong to believe the pandemic was drawing to a close, he said.

In Germany, MPs are voting on Angela Merkel’s proposed ‘emergency brake’ law which would create a nationwide lockdown protocol for the first time.

Protesters have gathered outside Germany’s parliament building in Berlin to oppose the law, with thousands of demonstrators facing off against a heavy police presence.

Currently, Germany’s 16 states have each handled restrictions independently and some have refused to impose tougher lockdowns even as cases soared.

In response, Angela Merkel has proposed creating a nationwide federal law which would kick in when a region tops 100 new cases per 100,000 residents. the restrictions would include a nighttime curfew, limiting personal contact, and closing some kinds of businesses and venues.

Earlier, Air India announced it was cancelling all its flights between the UK and India as the country battles a devastating spike in Covid cases. On Wednesday, India reported more than 295,000 new Covid-19 cases as its daily death toll climbed over 2,000 for the first time since the pandemic began.

Follow the latest updates below

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Influenza drug ‘good contender’ for at-home treatment against Covid-19

An antiviral typically used to treat influenza is a “good contender” for a drug that could be taken at home by people infected with Covid-19, according to a scientist who is trialling the medicine.

Favipiravir, licensed as a flu treatment in Japan since 2014, has already shown potential in reducing lung damage in hospitalised Covid patients and speeding up the time taken to clear the virus from the body, writes The Independent’s science correspondent Samuel Lovett

Joe Middleton21 April 2021 18:04

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France reports 5,959 people in intensive care units with Covid

France today reported 34,968 new coronavirus cases, down from 43,098 a day earlier.

Data from the health ministry also showed that 5,959 people were in intensive care units with Covid-19, down by 25 from Tuesday.

The ministry reported 313 new coronavirus deaths in hospitals. The country is currently battling a third wave of the virus and after a sluggish start, has ramped up its vaccination roll-out in recent weeks.

Joe Middleton21 April 2021 17:45

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UAE likely to remain on ‘red list’ – Shapps

The UAE is set to remain on the red list indefinitely because Dubai and Abu Dhabi are key hubs, the transport secretary has indicated.

Grant Shapps told an online ConservativeHome event that the Gulf State’s status as a global hub meant UK health authorities could not be certain about travellers’ origins.

The Independent’s travel correspondent Simon Calder reports

Joe Middleton21 April 2021 17:28

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Further surge testing to be deployed in Birmingham after SA variant found

Surge testing will take place in a number of wards in Birmingham after a confirmed case of the South Africa variant has been detected.

Additional testing will take place in Alum Rock and Glebe Farm and Tile Cross wards in Birmingham, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said this afternoon.

The confirmed case has self-isolated and their contacts have been identified. Everyone over the age of 16 in the area is being urged to get a Covid-19 PCR test, even if they do not have symptoms.

It is not thought to be linked to the case previously identified in the Birmingham and Sandwell areas earlier this week.

Joe Middleton21 April 2021 17:10

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France set to become first EU state to contribute to COVAX

France will soon become the first European Union member to send some of its own Covid vaccine supplies to developing countries via the international COVAX scheme.

The French donation of an initial 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine this month, announced on Wednesday, is a boost for COVAX, which is backed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The COVAX facility aims to secure 2 billion vaccine doses for lower-income countries by the end of 2021 and had received billions of dollars in support but not a single donated dose.

“France will inaugurate the European vaccine sharing mechanism with COVAX,” an adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron said. “We very much hope that other countries will commit to physically sharing vaccines with COVAX.”

Macron has urged EU countries to send 5% of their own vaccine supplies to developing countries to help the bloc regain the initiative from Russia and China in vaccine diplomacy.

Joe Middleton21 April 2021 16:50

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UK ‘will suffer new Covid wave this summer,’ expert warns

Britain is likely to see a “summer surge” in Covid cases as lockdown restrictions are eased, a top scientist has warned.

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said modelling showed an increase in cases because a number of adults have still not been vaccinated.

Joe Middleton21 April 2021 16:15

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‘Green list’ islands could hold hope for UK holidaymakers

Individual islands in Spain, Portugal, Greece and elsewhere could earn “green list” status when the government reveals its “traffic light” categories next month.

At present arrivals to the UK from all overseas countries except Ireland must take a pre-departure test and self-isolate for 10 days with two post-arrival PCR tests.

But the government says that from 17 May at the earliest it will given destinations green, amber or red status depending on the perceived risk of importation of coronavirus.

The Independent’s travel correspondent Simon Calder reports

Joe Middleton21 April 2021 15:50

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Poland set to ease some Covid restrictions later this month

Poland will lift restrictions in some regions from April 26, the health minister said on Wednesday, as daily coronavirus case numbers start to fall.

Children in the first three years of primary school will return to school for some lessons in regions with lower rates of infection, minister of health Adam Niedzielski told a news conference.

Hair and beauty salons will also reopen.

Joe Middleton21 April 2021 15:27

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Passenger numbers collapse at major UK airports

The aviation industry has been hit hard by the Covid pandemic as countries set harsh travel restrictions limiting the places people could fly to.

Today, the owner of three of Britain’s top airports has revealed the extent of the plunge in March – with East Midlands handling so few people that they could all fit into one double-deck bus.

Manchester airport, handled just 3,090 passengers per day during March 2021. That is a drop of 95 per cent compared with 66,500 daily travellers in 2019 – the last “normal” year before the coronavirus pandemic.

The Independent’s travel correspondent Simon Calder has the details

Joe Middleton21 April 2021 15:14

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One in five UK adults fully vaccinated against Covid-19, figures show

One in five UK adults are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with more than two-and-a-half million second doses delivered in the past seven days, latest figures show.

A total of 10.8 million people have now received both jabs – the equivalent of 20.5 per cent of the adult population.

Wales is estimated to have given two doses to just under a quarter of adults (24.7 per cent), ahead of Northern Ireland (20.5 per cent), England (20.3 per cent) and Scotland (19.1 per cent).

The figures are for vaccinations reported by the UK’s health agencies up to and including April 20, and reflect the pace at which second doses have been ramped up across the country during the past month.

Some 2.6 million second doses were recorded in the seven days to April 20, with 6.3 million since April 1. This compares with 3.7 million second doses in March and just 322,000 in February.

Joe Middleton21 April 2021 14:48

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