Coronavirus news – live: Javid says lockdown release date will remain but July 19 will be an ‘exciting new journey’
Sajid Javid says ‘don’t go back’ on lifting of lockdown
New Health Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed that the date for lifting the remaining Covid restrictions in England remains July 19.
Speaking to MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon, he resisted pressure from Conservative MPs to move the roadmap step 4 date forward, but said there was “no reason “so that the deadline of July 19 is not respected.
He said: “The more people who get vaccinated, we see clear evidence that we are breaking the link – and this is absolutely crucial – between people infected with Covid-19, therefore the number of cases, by compared to those who unfortunately end up in hospital or even in some cases lose their lives.
“The more evidence we see of this, the more confident we are that we will put this pandemic behind us.
“This is what gives me confidence about July 19 and all the data that I have seen – yesterday I sat down and discussed it with the experts, some of my colleagues – it is very clear that we are heading in the right direction and I am very confident about that date, July 19th.
Health bosses had previously urged Mr Javid to be a “voice of caution” in Cabinet in the face of pressure from the pandemic on the NHS.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson said it seemed “very likely” that July 19 was the date for the restrictions to be lifted, allowing the UK to return to relative normalcy.
Elsewhere, senior military leaders are self-isolating after Sir Nick Carter, the chief of the British military tested positive for the coronavirus. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace is among those affected.
NHS Test and Trace should be ‘wound up’ to use money to ease waiting list, ministers said
NHS Test and Trace should be ‘solved’ and funds diverted to ease the growing waiting list, peers have been told.
More than five million people are on the NHS waiting list, with former Health Secretary Matt Hancock warning last week that “millions” of people have yet to make their conditions known during the pandemic.
Speaking on an urgent question about the effectiveness of Covid-19 testing and tracing services, Tory Lord Balfe suggested: ‘Isn’t it time this program was stopped and the money was spent on the millions of delayed operations and procedures?
In response, Tory Whip Baroness Penn said “additional resources have already been allocated to the NHS to make up for these waiting lists, which have grown longer due to the pandemic.”
Leonie Chao-FongJune 28, 2021 8:55 PM
Cases caused by the Delta variant more than doubled in Germany
Covid-19 cases caused by the more infectious Delta variant more than doubled in Germany in a week, public health officials said.
Experts predict that the variant, first identified in India, is likely to gain popularity over other variants.
Whole genome sequencing analysis showed that the Delta variant accounted for 36% of infections during the week of June 14 to 20, the Robert Koch Institute public health agency said. This against 15% the previous week.
Earlier Monday, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soeder told reporters he expected the Delta variant to become the dominant viral strain in Germany by the summer.
In Germany, around 54% of the population has received a first vaccine and around 35% are fully vaccinated.
Leonie Chao-FongJune 28, 2021 8:40 PM
Javid vows to review Covid school rules as thousands of students self-isolate
New Health Secretary Sajid Javid has pledged to review coronavirus measures in schools after thousands of students have been asked to self-isolate, written Kate Devlin.
Working parents across the country struggle as whole class “bubbles” are sent home, often up to 10 days, after a contact tests positive for the virus.
Mr Javid made the promise as he came under pressure from Tory MPs who urged him to recognize that children had “suffered enough” during the pandemic.
He would study a trial currently underway in some schools, which attempts to use regular Covid tests, instead of sending young people home to self-isolate, in order to limit the spread of the disease.
Leonie Chao-FongJune 28, 2021 8:23 PM
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines produce immunity for years, study finds
The Covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna produce a strong immune response in the body that can protect against the virus for years, according to a new study.
The latest findings add to growing evidence suggesting that many people who have received a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine may not need a booster dose – as long as the virus and its variants do not evolve significantly. -beyond their current forms.
Researchers behind the peer-reviewed study, published in the scientific journal Nature, said the results were “a good sign of the durability of our immunity to this vaccine.”
Leonie Chao-FongJune 28, 2021 8:05 PM
NHS staff to get ‘fair pay settlement’, Javid says
NHS staff will receive a “fair” salary settlement, said new Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
Speaking to MPs in the House of Commons today, he said the government was spending “record amounts” of funding to tackle the backlog of appointments and that social care was a “top priority”.
Labor MP Richard Burgon claimed Mr Javid had ‘filled his pockets’ while he was away from government seat and argued that it would be hypocritical of the new health secretary not to approve a raise salary for NHS staff.
‘The new Health Secretary hasn’t been on the front bench for a year, but during that time he’s been very busy – very busy lining his own pockets by receiving £ 1,500 an hour for his second job, £ 1,500 for his third job as well, ”Mr Burgon told the Commons.
“All the while, NHS staff, at Seacroft Hospital and St James’s Hospital in my constituency, have been working harder than ever to help our communities get through this Covid crisis.
“Given that the Secretary of State did extremely well last year, pocketing hundreds of thousands of pounds during a national crisis, wouldn’t it be the height of hypocrisy if the new Secretary of Health refused to our NHS staff so clearly deserve the pay raise?
Mr Javid replied: “He’s going to have to try a lot harder than that.”
Leonie Chao-FongJune 28, 2021 7:47 PM
Six months after my family got stranded in the UK – the government still fails Kiwis abroad
There is no adequate support for people who find themselves stuck in some sort of political vacuum, with expiring visas, no way to work and no way to get home, written Molly Codyre.
Being an expat based abroad can be difficult at the best of times. Add in a global pandemic, a global lockdown and a complete failure of all flights, and suddenly living 24 hours from home feels suffocating.
This is something that myself and many other Kiwis discovered when the pandemic struck last year and it became almost impossible to come home.
Leonie Chao-FongJune 28, 2021 7:31 PM
Royal Ballet cancels performances after dancers told to isolate themselves
The Royal Ballet has canceled a number of upcoming performances in London “due to a number of dancers having to isolate themselves”.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the company said performances of Summer Draft Works at the Linbury Theater at the Royal Opera House would not take place next month.
Performances have been postponed and ticket holders will be refunded, they added.
Leonie Chao-FongJune 28, 2021 7:13 PM
Welsh schools to decide their own Covid safety measures under new plans
Schools in Wales will soon be able to decide on their Covid safety measures, including social distancing, face masks and self-isolation, the country’s Education Minister Jeremy Miles said.
A ‘national framework’ will be issued by the Welsh government to guide educational institutions in relaxing or escalating the rules based on a low, medium or high risk of harm to learners and staff upon return in September.
All Welsh schools, colleges and universities are currently following the nationally set guidelines, despite the number of Covid-19 cases in the country varying from region to region.
The new plans do not mean that the measures – which are currently imposed nationally – will be removed entirely.
Leonie Chao-FongJune 28, 2021 6:55 PM
Daily Covid cases reported at highest level since January, according to figures
The number of new Covid-19 cases reported every day in the UK has reached its highest level since the end of January, AP reports.
A total of 22,868 cases were reported on Monday – the largest daily increase since January 30, when 23,275 cases were reported.
On Monday, three more people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, the government said.
The seven-day moving average for reported cases currently stands at 16,612, up 70% from 9,778 a week ago and the highest since February 9.
Leonie Chao-FongJune 28, 2021 6:38 PM
‘You feel the pain’: amid war and geopolitical postures, Syrian doctors struggle to contain Covid
During a trip to Afrin and Tal Abyad, Borzou Daragahi makes rare visits to hospitals battling the pandemic.
A father and son arrived at the hospital, both sick and showing symptoms of Covid-19. Doctors took the elderly father, in his 60s, to the intensive care unit at the main hospital in the city of Afrin, northwestern Syria, and put him in under oxygen and in intensive care.
Hours later, the son also deteriorated and he was put on oxygen as well, with the two men lying side by side in the isolation room.
Quick action helped. The father survived. But her son succumbed to the disease, amid the tragedies of a pandemic that has not spared war-torn corners of the world already stricken with death and despair.
Leonie Chao-FongJune 28, 2021 6:19 PM