Coronavirus LIVE UK – Vaccine rollout extends to Brits over 25 as Government faces 'difficult' choice to open June 21

THREE million people in their 20s will be able to book their vaccine tomorrow, it was announced today.

The booking site will open to Brits in England aged 25 and 29.

It comes as Downing Street said the coming week will be "critical" for determining whether the Government will open up the UK on June 21.

Mr Hancock admitted the emergence of the Indian variant had made the "calculation" on whether to proceed with unlocking this month "more difficult".

He also revealed the latest scientific advice is that the mutation – also known as the Delta variant – is 40% more transmissible than the Kent strain and implied that social distancing could continue beyond the final stage of the Prime Minister's road map

It comes as recent 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…

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    'FAIRLY GRIM'

    The last step for easing lockdown on June 21 could be delayed a fortnight after cabinet ministers were increasingly pessimistic in the latest "downbeat" briefing.

    Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, and Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, gave a briefing to ministers on the latest data that was described as “fairly grim”, The Times reports.

    The delay would enable all over-50s to be fully vaccinated and leave sufficient time for jabs to take effect before restrictions are lifted. 

    They emphasised concerns about the rate of transmission of new strains of coronavirus, such as the Indian variant, and that vaccinations did not provide 100 per cent protection.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    TOUCHDOWN

    Holidaymakers have arrived back home from soon-to-be amber-listed Portugal with hours to spare – with some saying they're "ashamed to be British."

    Desperate Brits have rushed home in a mad dash to return before 4am – with countless tourists snapped looking fed-up as they hurry home after shelling out for pricey plane seats.

    Anyone landing after 4am today then will have to quarantine for ten days — and spend hundreds of pounds on more Covid testing.

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

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    THE SUN SAYS…

    Any case for not unlocking fully on June 21 has surely evaporated.

    The Health Secretary’s stats prove it. Yes, cases of the Indian variant, now dominant here, are rising. But so what, if hospitalisations remain as flat as they are?

    Deaths are still rock-bottom, with just one UK-wide today. And the vaccines provably conquer the Indian strain. As Matt Hancock said, of 12,000-plus cases only three people jabbed twice ended up in hospital. That is a negligible fraction.

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    THREEDOM

    Britain's path to freedom has entered the “home straight” — as the UK received another triple dose of Covid good news.

    Three million adults in their 20s are now set to get their jab in England as the immunisation blitz today reaches a “watershed moment”.

    And just two per cent of patients hospitalised with the Indian variant had received both jabs — proof the vaccines are protecting our most vulnerable despite soaring infections.

    In a third boost, NHS England recorded no daily Covid deaths in hospitals on Saturday or Sunday for the first time in 15 months. But officials warn that due to reporting delays, these upbeat ­figures could change over the next few days.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    THIRD SURGE UK

    UK Covid cases have soared by two thirds in just a week as 5,683 more people test positive in the last 24 hours.

    The latest number of cases brings the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 4,522,476.

    One further death has also been reported with the total now at 127,841.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHEN IS THE NEXT CORONAVIRUS ANNOUNCEMENT?

    Matt Hancock has announced Brits will find out on Monday, June 14, 2021, whether Freedom Day will be moved to July 5.

    The PM or senior members of the cabinet hold the press conference from No10 and are usually accompanied by two senior health or science experts.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    HOL NO

    Brits' holiday hopes have been dashed AGAIN as Matt Hancock warns that the new variants are the "biggest challenging" to our domestic freedom.

    The Health Secretary today told MPs that restoring international travel is an "important goal" – but is one that will be "challenging and hard."

    Health Secretary Mr Hancock said the return to domestic freedom must be "protected at all costs".

    It comes after he confirmed that over-25s in England will be invited to receive their Covid jabs from Tuesday as the Delta variant "made the race between the virus and this vaccination effort tighter".

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    GET HOME NOW!

    Desperate Brits have flooded airports as they race against the clock to get back to the UK before Portugal is slapped onto the amber travel list.

    Holidaymakers are in a final mad dash to return as the 4am deadline looms just hours away – with countless tourists snapped looking fed-up as they hurry home after shelling out for pricey plane seats.

    Anyone landing after then will have to quarantine for ten days — and spend hundreds of pounds on more Covid testing.

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

  • [email protected]

    MALTA RECORDS NO COVID CASES FOR FIRST TIME IN 11 MONTHS

    Malta registered no new Covid-19 cases for the first time in 11 months on Monday, but the Mediterranean island’s health minister urged people to remain careful to prevent any resurgence.

    “Today is the first day with zero cases since last summer,” minister Chris Fearne wrote on Twitter. “It is essential that we maintain discipline and responsibility.”

    The news came as Malta allowed bars, cinemas and theatres to reopen as part of a government timetable to progressively roll back restrictions that was announced months ago.

    Malta last registered zero cases on July 25, but cases then gradually rose, to spike at 510 in March before dropping again. They have been in single figures for weeks.

    The island leads the European Union in the vaccination programme, with more than half the adult population now fully vaccinated and 75% having had at least a first dose. 

  • [email protected]

    PEOPLE AGED BETWEEN 25 AND 29 TO BE INVITED TO GET JABS FROM TOMORROW

    Three million people in their 20s will be able to book their coronavirus vaccine from tomorrow, Matt Hancock has announced.

    The NHS England Covid vaccine booking site will open to those aged between 25 and 29 from 7am Tuesday.

  • [email protected]

    WATCH: LOCKDOWN LIFTING SHOULD BE DELAYED, SAYS EXPERT

    Rise in Covid case is evidence of the third wave and June 21 should be delayed, warns ex-Govt adviser

     

  • [email protected]

    JUNE 21 FREEDOM DAY COULD BE DELAYED TO JULY 5 ‘TO MAKE SURE ALL OVER 50S WILL RECEIVE SECOND VACCINE’

    ‘Freedom Day’ on June 21 could be delayed to July 5 in an effort to make sure all those aged over 50 receive a second vaccine.

    Sources told ITV News that plans are being made to push it back to July 5.

    Correspondent Richard Pallot said: “Government sources have again stressed that no decision has been made but I understand that in private other plans are being drawn up.

    “If there was a two-week delay then in theory all over 50s would get a chance of a second vaccine.”

    More than 40 million Brits have now had a first jab but the Indian variant is surging.

  • [email protected]

    MALTA RECORDS NO COVID CASES FOR FIRST TIME IN 11 MONTHS

    Malta registered no new Covid-19 cases for the first time in 11 months on Monday, but the Mediterranean island’s health minister urged people to remain careful to prevent any resurgence.

    “Today is the first day with zero cases since last summer,” minister Chris Fearne wrote on Twitter. “It is essential that we maintain discipline and responsibility.”

    The news came as Malta allowed bars, cinemas and theatres to reopen as part of a government timetable to progressively roll back restrictions that was announced months ago.

    Malta last registered zero cases on July 25, but cases then gradually rose, to spike at 510 in March before dropping again. They have been in single figures for weeks.

    The island leads the European Union in the vaccination programme, with more than half the adult population now fully vaccinated and 75% having had at least a first dose. 

  • [email protected]

    COVID-19 RATES UP IN MORE UK AREAS THAN ANY POINT SINCE EARLY JANUARY

    Covid-19 case rates are rising in more local areas of the UK than at any point since early January, with numbers increasing in almost all parts of north-west England, London and Scotland, new analysis shows.

    The figures come as Health Secretary Matt Hancock indicated ministers at Westminster were open to delaying the easing of restrictions in England scheduled for June 21, while the Scottish Government has paused a relaxing of rules in parts of central Scotland.

    The rise in rates has yet to be mirrored by a steady increase in Covid-19 hospital cases, however, with the latest data showing patient numbers have climbed slightly to levels last seen at the end of May.

    Nearly three-quarters of local areas of the UK (283 out of 380) recorded a week-on-week rise in Covid-19 case rates for the seven days to June 2.

    This is the highest proportion since January 6.

  • [email protected]

    PEOPLE AGED BETWEEN 25 AND 29 TO BE INVITED TO GET JABS FROM TOMORROW

    Three million people in their 20s will be able to book their coronavirus vaccine from tomorrow, Matt Hancock has announced.

    The NHS England Covid vaccine booking site will open to those aged between 25 and 29 from 7am Tuesday.

  • [email protected]

    TRUTH ABOUT COVID-19 ORIGINS ‘WOULD BRING ‘NATIONAL SHAME’ TO CHINA AND COULD TOPPLE THE COMMUNIST PARTY’

    THE truth Covid’s origins could bring national shame to China and topple the country’s Communist regime, a leading expert on the country has said.

    Suspicion is growing that the deadly virus may have leaked from a lab in Wuhan, where research was being carried out into coronaviruses in bats.

    What was initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory has gained traction to the extent that President Joe Biden has ordered US spies to investigate.

    British intelligence has also reportedly recently assessed the theory and upgraded its likeliness from “remote” to “feasible”.

    China’s refusal to allow a full investigation and increasingly shrill denials have fuelled suspicion that it is seeking to cover up culpability.

  • [email protected]

    AIRLINE BOSSES CALL FOR END TO UK & U.S. TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

    The bosses of all airlines flying passenger services between Britain and the United States called on Monday for the countries' governments to relax Covid-19 restrictions to reopen travel routes between the two countries.

    After more than a year of restrictions, the CEOs of American Airlines, IAG unit British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp said high vaccination rates in both countries meant travel could restart safely.

    The push for reopening trans-Atlantic routes on Monday comes ahead of meetings between U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the G7 meeting of advanced economies later this week in Cornwall, southwest England, this week.

    The pair must use those meetings to agree to restart travel, British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle said in a statement ahead of an online press conference.

    "We urgently need them to look to the science and base their judgements on a proper risk analysis, allowing us all to benefit from the protection offered by our successful vaccine rollouts," Doyle said.

  • [email protected]

    VEGAN AND PESCATARIANS MAY BE LESS LIKELY TO GET SEVERE COVID-19, STUDY CLAIMS

    Vegans and pescatarians may be less likely to get severe Covid-19, a study suggests.

    People whose diets are plant-based and those who eat fish but not meat appear to have lower odds of getting a severe infection compared with others.

    Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets appeared to be linked to an increased chance of getting moderate to severe illness, though the findings were not statistically significant.

    The new study, published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health, examined data from healthcare workers across six countries including the UK.

    Patients completed a web-based survey about whether they had Covid and their diets.

  • [email protected]

    MORE THAN HALF OF PEOPLE ‘HOPING TO ATTEND LIVE EVENTS IN NEXT 12 MONTHS’

    More than half (59%) of people are hoping to attend big events such as a music concert, a festival, a comedy or theatre show, or live sports in the next 12 months, a survey has found.

    On average, they hope to attend two big events over the next year – one less than before the coronavirus pandemic, according to Nationwide Building Society.

    More than three-quarters (78%) of people who go to large events book their tickets online, the society found.

    On average, people expect to spend £168 attending a live event, including the cost of the ticket, plus additional expenses such as travel, food and accommodation.

    James Smith, Nationwide’s director of digital, said: “The nation is already eager to get back out there and see their favourite band, team or idol in the flesh.

    “That eagerness can bring with it a rush to book tickets, and sometimes at the expense of our own safety and security.”

  • [email protected]

    MORE THAN HALF OF PEOPLE ‘HOPING TO ATTEND LIVE EVENTS IN NEXT 12 MONTHS’

    More than half (59%) of people are hoping to attend big events such as a music concert, a festival, a comedy or theatre show, or live sports in the next 12 months, a survey has found.

    On average, they hope to attend two big events over the next year – one less than before the coronavirus pandemic, according to Nationwide Building Society.

    More than three-quarters (78%) of people who go to large events book their tickets online, the society found.

    On average, people expect to spend £168 attending a live event, including the cost of the ticket, plus additional expenses such as travel, food and accommodation.

    James Smith, Nationwide’s director of digital, said: “The nation is already eager to get back out there and see their favourite band, team or idol in the flesh.

    “That eagerness can bring with it a rush to book tickets, and sometimes at the expense of our own safety and security.”

  • [email protected]

    JUNE 21 FREEDOM DAY COULD BE DELAYED TO JULY 5 ‘TO MAKE SURE ALL OVER 50S WILL RECEIVE SECOND VACCINE’

    ‘Freedom Day’ on June 21 could be delayed to July 5 in an effort to make sure all those aged over 50 receive a second vaccine.

    Sources told ITV News that plans are being made to push it back to July 5.

    Correspondent Richard Pallot said: “Government sources have again stressed that no decision has been made but I understand that in private other plans are being drawn up.

    “If there was a two-week delay then in theory all over 50s would get a chance of a second vaccine.”

    More than 40 million Brits have now had a first jab but the Indian variant is surging.

  • [email protected]

    VENICE OPEN FOR BUSINESS ONCE COVID CURBS LIFTED

    Venetians breathed a sigh of relief on Monday as the lagoon city finally moved into a low-risk Covid-19 "white zone", meaning most pandemic restrictions were lifted and a nightly curfew scrapped.

    Face masks and social distancing rules remain in place, but bars and restaurants are allowed to stay open without any time limits – something locals hope will entice back visitors.

    "Work has started a little. I am hopeful," said resident Gino D'Ambrosio.

    Italy has registered more than 126,000 coronavirus deaths since the epidemic took hold last year, the second highest toll in Europe after Britain. But cases have fallen off significantly as a vaccination campaign gathers pace and restrictions are being eased across the country.

    Italy has established a four-tier, colour-coded system – white, yellow, orange and red – to calibrate curbs in its 20 regions. Veneto, which includes Venice, was one of four regions to shift into the white zone on Monday, joining three others which were already deemed low-risk. The rest are all yellow.

  • [email protected]

    YOUNG BRITS QUEUE FOR THREE HOURS FOR JAB

    Young Brits queues for three hours to get a jab yesterday.

    Crowds of people lined up along the seafront in South Ayrshire.

    The town’s drop-in centre offered under-30s vaccines until 6pm tonight in a bid to lower infections.

  • [email protected]

    NO FARO

    Flights from Portugal to the UK hit £784 today as 10,000 Brits race home to beat new quarantine rules that kick in at 4am Tuesday morning.

    The 13 one-way flights from Faro, Algarve, to London today averaged around six times more than the usual price.

    Brits face forking out for more expensive flights after Portugal was ditched from the Government's quarantine-free "green" list last Thursday.

    Holidaymakers can expect to pay around £250 for a last minute flight home on Monday compared to between £30 and £55 every day for the rest of the week.

    The 5.55pm BA flight to Heathrow only had only business-class seats costing £784 left. Other BA flights were much cheaper, but still far more expensive than average.

  • [email protected]

    DOWNING STREET WAITING ON THE DATA

    Downing Street has said the data emerging over the coming week will be "crucial" in deciding whether all legal coronavirus restrictions can end as hoped on June 21.

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "There still remains that there is nothing in the data currently to suggest Step 4 can't go ahead at the earliest date.

    "But we do need to look very closely at the data over this coming week, which will be crucial to decide and really to get a sense of the data, particularly on hospitalisations and whether or not the excellent vaccine rollout programme has sufficiently severed that link between the increase in cases, which we always expected to happen, particularly after Step 3, and that subsequently leading to hospitalisations and deaths."

    Asked if there is evidence of a third wave, the spokesman said: "We can see that the cases are rising in the UK, that is both due to the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant, and to a certain extent the opening up of measures taken in Step 3."

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