Covid UK news LIVE – New Brazil variant fears as Brits suffer worst coronavirus day EVER with 1,564 deaths


THE new Brazil strain of coronavirus is a “concern,” says the Prime Minister as the variant leaves many questions “still unanswered.”

It is the third new strain of Covid that has been identified, following the more contagious variant was first identified in the UK, followed by another from South Africa.

Meanwhile, First Minister Nicola Stugeon has cracked down on lockdown – with several new rules being introduced in Scotland including a ban on all outdoor boozing, click-and-collect on essential items only and a ban on people collecting takeaways indoors.

The move comes as the UK suffered its worst ever day for coronavirus with 1,564 more people dying within 28 days of a Covid diagnosis.

Positive cases also rose by 47,525 – bringing the total number of infections to 3,164,051 – as ministers debate whether lockdown rules should be tightened in England and Wales as well as Scotland.

With the latest coronavirus wave still surging across the UK, police have threatened to dish out heavy fines to anybody they see breaking the rules – and supermarkets have launched a crackdown on those not wearing masks.

Follow the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis in our live blog below.

WE CAN’T SAY HOW LONG VACCINE PROTECTION WILL LAST

Prof Van-Tam has said that we may have to reformulate vaccines if and when the virus continues to change and mutate.

He said: “I can’t tell you how long the vaccine protection is going to last for.  We are very hopeful it is going to be in the region of a very high number of months, possibly a small number of years. But we can’t say yet.

“If the virus is going to continue to change there will come a point where we will have to reformulate the vaccines.”

VIRUS WILL BE WITH US ‘FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE’

Prof Van-Tam told The Sun: “I don’t think we are ever going to take this virus away out of humankind.

“I think the virus is going to continue to change over time, as the disease has already shown signs of doing.

“And I think the virus is likely to be with us probably for the foreseeable future – probably in the same way that flu is.”

BRITS COULD WEAR FACE MASKS FOREVER

Brits could be wearing face masks forever as Covid-19 will “always be with us”, England’s deputy chief medical officer told The Sun today.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the pandemic has changed how Brits approach hygiene and that some habits that we have adopted still stay with us.

The top medic add that lockdown will probably be with us until “mid to late Spring”.

The professor also cautioned that the virus will be with us “for the foreseeable future”.

WAR VET CALLS SUPERMARKET DURING LOCKDOWN ‘A WAR ZONE’

A Gulf war veteran says working in a supermarket during lockdown is like being in “a war zone”. 

Harold, who works at a checkout, claimed Covid-denier customers were even licking banknotes before handing them over to staff.

The former medic, who served in a field hospital in Saudi Arabia in 1991, told the Daily Mirror that he feared contracting the virus in the store as Covidiots were continuing to flout the rules. 

He said: “The supermarket is like a warzone.There’s always this fear on checkouts of what the next customer might bring.

“Most people apologise when I mention (about social distancing) and move back when asked.But there are those who aren’t interested and insist the virus doesn’t exist. They say it’s all a lie.”

WOMAN FINED FOR DRIVING 100 MILES FOR MCDONALD’S

A Covidiot has been fined £200 after driving 100 miles across three counties to get a McDonald’s burger.

Police issued the motorist, in her 30s, with a fixed penalty notice after they discovered the remarkable distance she had travelled.

She drove from Lincolnshire for a McDonald’s meal with her sister in Scarborough on Saturday in a clear breach of the third Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

Chief Inspector Rachel Wood, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Driving through three counties to get a burger is not classed as essential travel.”

HOSPITALS OVERWHELMED WITH MOST COVID PATIENTS EVER

Hospitals have been overwhelmed with 36,489 patients admitted with Covid in a new record high – as critical care units are forced to operate at 152% of capacity to keep up with overwhelming demand.

Ambulances have again been stuck queueing to admit their patients as an NHS chief revealed hospitals are treating 50 per cent more Covid patients than at the peak of the first wave in April.

Photographs have revealed the pressure hospitals across the country are facing, with dozens seen waiting outside the Royal London Hospital.

And eight ambulances were seen parked up outside Barnet General Hospital – many of which have been drafted in from the East of England area to help with London’s surge in Covid cases.

PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS TO BE TESTED

The Government has announced that primary schools will begin receiving rapid Covid test kits for their staff from next week, according to Sky News.

ITALY EXTENDS COVID STATE EMERGENCY UNTIL APRIL

Italy is extending its Covid-19 state of emergency until the end of April as infections spike amid a “worsening of the epidemic” in the past week.

Travel is banned across the country, while even takeaways from cafes are prohibited under the strict rules that are now in place until April 30.

The state of emergency has been extended as Covid-19 infections are increasing fast – with current active cases up by more than six times since October, said Health Minister Roberto Speranza.

“A strong new storm is mounting in Europe. The virus will be curbed with vaccines but it will keep circulating with growing strength and can hit us once again very badly,” said Speranza.

TESCO BOSS EXPLAINS 5 RULES SHOPPERS MUST FOLLOW

Tesco has emailed customers to share five updated rules the supermarket has put in place in stores to toughen up on Covid.

In an email to shoppers, Tesco’s chief executive outlined the measures to help customers shop safely.

He said while the measures are “difficult for everyone”, he urged shoppers to be “kind patient and respectful” to staff in Tesco stores. 

It comes as many supermarkets are tightening up shopping rules in store.

Stores including Aldi, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s are banning people from entering shops if they are not wearing a face mask.

Read all the rules here.

PM ‘CONCERNED’ ABOUT NEW BRAZILIAN VARIANT

A third new strain of coronavirus has been identified after mutating in Brazil.

It comes after a more contagious variant was first identified in the UK, followed by another from South Africa.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told MPs today: “We are concerned about the new Brazilian variant.

“We already have tough measures… to protect this country from new infections coming in from abroad.

“We are taking steps to do that in respect of the Brazilian variant.”

ITALY DEATHS PASS 80,000

The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Italy since the start of the pandemic has passed 80,000.

Yesterday saw 616 deaths recorded, bringing the overall toll to 80,326.

The country has seen just over 2.3million cases of the virus so far, with around 17,000 people currently testing positive each day.

US STADIUMS TO SERVE AS VACCINE SUPER HUBS

Stadiums and sports venues across the US are to be repurposed as vaccination super centres, NBC News reports.

Sites including outdoor NFL football stadiums and Major League Baseball ballparks are to be used.

The rollout of the vaccine is now being extended from healthcare workers and nursing home residents to groups including elderly people, emergency workers, and key workers.

Among the venues being used is the New York Mets’ Citi Field ballpark in New York City.

It comes after seven vaccine super centres opened in cities around the UK.

‘VERY SUBSTANTIAL’ RISK OF ICUS BEING OVERWHELMED, SAYS PM

Boris Johnson has warned there is a “very substantial” risk of intensive care units being overwhelmed by the pandemic.

The prime minister was speaking before the Liaison Committee, a panel made up of the chairs of all of parliament’s other select committee’s.

Discussing the current strain on the NHS, he said: “If you ask me when do we think that the ICU capacity is likely to be overtopped, I can’t give you a prediction for that.

“But all I can say is that the risk is very substantial and we have to keep the pressure off the NHS and the only way to do that is to follow the current lockdown.”

He added that “the situation is very, very tough indeed in the NHS” and “the strain is colossal” on staff.

‘VERY SUBSTANTIAL’ RISK OF ICUS BEING OVERWHELMED, SAYS PM

Boris Johnson has warned there is a “very substantial” risk of intensive care units being overwhelmed by the pandemic.

The prime minister was speaking before the Liaison Committee, a panel made up of the chairs of all of parliament’s other select committee’s.

Discussing the current strain on the NHS, he said: “If you ask me when do we think that the ICU capacity is likely to be overtopped, I can’t give you a prediction for that.

“But all I can say is that the risk is very substantial and we have to keep the pressure off the NHS and the only way to do that is to follow the current lockdown.”

He added that “the situation is very, very tough indeed in the NHS” and “the strain is colossal” on staff.

HOSPITAL DEATH TOLL RISES BY 1,012

A further 1,012 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospitals in England, NHS England said on Wednesday.

It brings the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 57,828.

The patients were aged between 39 and 102. All but 46 of them, aged between 39 and 98, had known underlying health conditions.

The deaths were between May 8 and January 12, with the majority being on or after January 6.

England’s overall toll stands at 72,685, while the UK’s is 83,203.

SCHOOLS ‘COULD REMAIN SHUT BEYOND FEB HALF-TERM’

Some schools could remain shut beyond the February half-term, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said.

Williamson was being quizzed by MPs during an appearance before the Education Select Committee.

Asked by chair Robert Halfon whether current plans to reopen schools in February were “signed in blood”, he said: “The contingency framework would be there to continue if there are areas of particular need where school settings continue to remain closed.”

ARCHBISHOP OF GLASGOW DIES AFTER POSITIVE TEST

The Archbishop of Glasgow, the Most Reverend Philip Tartaglia, has died aged 70 after testing positive for the coronavirus.

No cause of death has yet been confirmed.

He had reportedly been self-isolating at his home having tested positive shortly after Christmas.

Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, confirmed the death, saying: “His loss to his family, his clergy and the people of the Archdiocese of Glasgow will be immeasurable, but for the entire Church in Scotland this is a day of immense loss and sadness.

“We will miss his wisdom, wit and robust Catholic spirit very much.”

FREE SCHOOL MEALS SUPPLIER BLASTED FOR FOOD PARCELS SERVES UP FANCY DISHES TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS

A free school meals supplier blasted for its meagre food parcels is serving up fancy dishes for children at top private schools.

Frantic parents say they’ve been handed tiny packages containing paltry supplies supposed to last hungry children a full week of lunches.

It’s now emerged that Chartwells, the company behind some of the parcels, also feeds youngsters from affluent families via its sister company, Chartwells Independent.

And photos on social media show the business supplies canapés, pâtisserie treats and gingerbread villages to private schools.

Images of the luxury meals were shared by Chartwells Independent before the public outpouring of fury at the taxpayer-funded packages, which are apparently worth £30 and meant to last for ten days.

GPS IN SOME AREAS FORCED TO SLOW DOWN VACCINE ROLL OUT

Doctors leading the Covid vaccine rollout have been forced to slow down.

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted there were not as many supplies of doses “as we’d like”.

GPs in some areas are ready to start inviting those in their 70s to receive their first dose, having already got through all the over 80s in their area.

But NHS leaders are holding back supplies so the parts that are running at a slower pace can catch up, The Telegraph reported.

NICOLA STURGEON ANNOUNCES TOUGHER LOCKDOWN RULES IN SCOTLAND

Nicola Sturgeon has announced six tougher rules for the lockdown in Scotland, including limiting click and collect services to essential shops and cracking down on take aways.

The First Minister announced tougher lockdown rules as the mutant strain of coronavirus, warning Scots the country faces a “very precarious and extremely serious” situation.

The First Minister said it gave her “no pleasure” to announce further restrictions on businesses trying to stay afloat, but warned: “This new variant is so widespread and so contagious, we need to be as effective as we can be to stop it spreading.

“That does mean taking further steps to stop people interacting indoors and also outdoors. Today’s measures will help us achieve that.”

 

WHO OFFICIALS WILL PROBE CHINA ON COVID ORIGINS – INCLUDING LAB LEAK THEORY

A WORLD Health Organisation team will finally be probing claims Covid may have come from a lab leak in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Professor Dominic Dwyer, a member of the ten person team visiting China for WHO, revealed they are not ruling out the bombshell allegations, reports The Australian.

Prof Dwyer, from the University of Sydney, said the delegation will examine early viruses cases and understand initial work done by Chinese scientists in Wuhan.

“This is really about looking at the kind of work that needs to be done to understand the origins of the virus,” he said.

IN PICTURES – VOLUNTEERS PACK FOOD FOR FAMILIES HIT BY THE PANDEMIC AT A CRAFT SHOP IN HERTFORD

LONDON’S NIGHTINGALE HOSPITAL TAKING PATIENTS

The Nightingale hospital at the Excel Centre in London is now taking patients to help ease the burden from coronavirus on hospitals.

The facility was placed on standby in May due to low patient numbers.

It is now being used to treat people hospitalised with conditions not related to coronavirus, the BBC reports.

Speaking yesterday at a Downing Street press conference, Dr Vin Diwakar, the capital’s regional medical director for NHS England, said: “This means that hospitals have more beds to care for Covid-19 patients and for our very sickest patients.

But he added: “We cannot do this indefinitely. There comes a point where if the infection gets further out of control, more and more patients from London will need to be transferred elsewhere.”

ASDA STORE TO BECOME FIRST TO OFFER VACCINATIONS

An Asda pharmacy in Birmingham will become the first supermarket to offer Covid-19 vaccinations, the retailer has said.

NHS England has reportedly approved the use of the store, and its George clothing section will be reconfigured to operate as a vaccination centre seven days a week between 8am to 8pm.

It will have the capacity to administer 250 jabs per day from the week beginning January 25.

Asda said it has also offered the government all 238 of its in-store pharmacies, as well as its qualified pharmacists, to help with the vaccine rollout.

Roger Burnley, Asda CEO and president, said: “We are incredibly proud to provide this service and are keen to do all we can to help the NHS and Government accelerate the rollout of the vaccination programme.”

WHO EXPERTS TO TRAVEL TO WUHAN FOR VIRUS PROBE

Scientists from the World Health Organisation are set to arrive in Wuhan tomorrow to investigate the origins of the coronavirus.

The coronavirus was first detected in the eastern Chinese city late last year, and has been traced to a market selling wild animals in the city.

It comes after WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week criticised China for taking to long to grant investigators entry to the country.

Load more entries…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function activate_plugin() in /var/www/vhosts/we-speak.uk/httpdocs/index.php:19 Stack trace: #0 {main} thrown in /var/www/vhosts/we-speak.uk/httpdocs/index.php on line 19