Coronavirus UK news – Hopes covid vaccine could be ready in WEEKS helping to end 2nd lockdown and saving Christmas

PFIZER'S new coronavirus vaccine could be in public use within weeks, helping to end the second lockdown and saving Christmas, it is hoped.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News he hoped to begin deploying the vaccine at the start of December, although elderly patients and those most at risk of catching coronavirus would get it first.

Hancock described the news as "promising" but warned Brits to continue to abide by the second lockdown and follow coronavirus protocols in the short terms as the vaccine was not yet ready for mass roll out.

Yesterday Boris Johnson has hailed news of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine proving more than 90 per cent effective in human trials.

He told Monday's Downing Street press conference the Government has ordered 40 million doses of the jab – enough to inoculate about a third of the UK population.

The vaccine -jointly developed by US company Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech – has been effective in preventing infections during ongoing Phase 3 trials, the companies announced.

Follow our coronavirus updates below...

  • Joseph Gamp

    DENMARK'S PLAN TO CULL 17 MILLION MINK FACES LEGAL OBSTACLES

    Denmark's plans to cull all 17 million mink in the country following the finding of a mutated coronavirus strain among them, are facing legal obstacles after the government admitted it did not have legal basis for the order.

    Authorities initiated the cull last week, saying the new strain could move to humans and evade future COVID-19 vaccines so the mink herd, one of the world's biggest, needs to be eliminated.

    On Tuesday the minority Social Democratic government will put forward hastily-drawn up legislation to back the cull but the opposition has said it would not allow the draft to bypass the usual 30 day legislative process.

    Opposition parties say the cull of healthy mink should not have been initiated before plans were in place to compensate the owners and workers at some 1,100 mink farms.

    Asked for comment, Environment and Food Minister Mogens Jensen said the government regretted the lack of clarity.

  • Joseph Gamp

    LOCKDOWN: WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN'T DO

  • Joseph Gamp

    UKRAINE: 10,179 NEW COVID CASES IN PAST 24 HOURS

    Ukraine registered 10,179 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, its health ministry said on Tuesday.

    It comes after the ministry wrongly recorded a figure of 10,842 earlier on Tuesday.

    Health minister Maksym Stepanov said a total of 479,197 cases had been registered in Ukraine as of Nov. 10, with 8,756 deaths

  • Joseph Gamp

    HEALTH SECRETARY AVOIDS SETTING A DATE FOR WHEN LIFE 'WILL GET BACK TO NORMAL'

    Matt Hancock refused to set a date on when life will get back to normal.

    When asked on Sky News about Professor Sir John Bell's comments that things could be back to normal by spring 2021, Mr Hancock said: “We want to get life back to normal as quickly as possible.

    “I am not going to put a date on it because there are so many steps we need to go through.”

    Matt Hancock said the 40 million doses of the vaccine the Government had secured from Pfizer will be enough to roll it out to 20 million people.

    He told Sky News that the Government had invested in six different vaccines to make sure there will be enough for everyone who needs it.

  • Joseph Gamp

    NHS TOLD TO ROLL OUT VACCINE IN DECEMBER – BUT GOV MUST BE 'CONFIDENT' OF SAFETY

    Matt Hancock said he had told the NHS to be ready to begin vaccinating people from the start of December.

    The Health Secretary told Sky News that no vaccine will be deployed until the Government is “confident” of its safety.

    He added: “I have asked them [the NHS] to be ready from the start of December.

    “Of course, there are many hurdles that still need to be gone over and we haven't seen the full safety data, and obviously that is critical.

    “We won't deploy a vaccine unless we can be confident in its clinical safety, but we also do need to be ready should a vaccine be licensed and get through all those hurdles and be ready to roll it out.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    MASS TESTING WILL BE ROLLED OUT ACROSS 66 LOCAL AUTHORITIES

    Matt Hancock said that mass testing would be rolled out across 66 local authorities.

    Speaking on Sky News on Tuesday, he added: “I can confirm that we are rolling out the sort of mass testing we are seeing in Liverpool, and indeed we earlier piloted in Stoke-on-Trent, across 66 local authorities.

    “Last night I wrote to the directors of public health of all local authorities in England saying we can make available these brilliant new lateral flow tests that give results in 15 minutes, and we can make them available to directors of public health right across the country.

    “Sixty-six expressed an interest in the first instance, I'm now expecting a whole load more.

    “And, of course, across the devolved nations.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    HANCOCK: VACCINE WILL BE ROLLED OUT 'FAIRLY' ACROSS THE UK

    Matt Hancock said the vaccine will be rolled out “fairly” across the whole of the UK.

    He told Sky News: “The UK Government has bought the vaccine for the whole of the UK and it will be rolled out fairly across the whole of the UK with the same prioritisation no matter where you live in this country.

    “The same goes for mass testing, making sure we roll that out across the whole UK.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    ONLY THREE EUROPEAN COUNTRIES OK FOR TRAVEL

    Just three countries in Europe are deemed to be “not high-risk” when it comes to the coronavirus, according to disease experts.

    The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's (ECDC) latest map shows just Norway, Finland, and parts of Germany are OK for holidaymakers – for Brits, though, holidays abroad are banned until next month.

    The map combines the current 14-day coronavirus rate, as well as testing rate and positive test rate, and puts nearly all of Europe in the high-risk zone. Only Greenland is in the safe green zone.

    Northern Ireland and Slovakia are not included in the list due to insufficient testing data.

  • Abe Hawken

    TEST EM ALL

    Boris Johnson has announced that thousands of rapid covid tests are now being rolled out across the UK and ministers are working on plans for mass testing students to get them home for Christmas.

    NHS staff will be also tested for Covid twice a week — with patient-facing health workers given £5 DIY rapid tests to swab themselves.

    The new pregnancy test-style kits give a result within an hour as they do not need to be sent away to a lab.

    NHS workers will take the tests even if they are not showing symptoms — in a move designed to pick up on those who may be spreading the virus without knowing they have it.

  • Abe Hawken

    XMAS MIRACLE?

    A coronavirus vaccine could start being distributed by Christmas after a jab developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer cleared a “significant hurdle”.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson said initial results suggested the vaccine was 90% effective at protecting people from Covid-19 but warned these were “very, very early days”.

    The announcement from Pfizer and its vaccine partner BioNTech was hailed by scientists as a significant breakthrough in the fight against coronavirus, while stock markets rallied on the news with the FTSE 100 jumping more than 5.5%.

    It came with England less than a week into Lockdown 2.0, while Wales eased up from a firebreak lockdown on Monday.

  • Debbie White

    RETURN TO TIERS AFTER DECEMBER 2

    The PM says: “I know it has been a hard first week of the autumn restrictions.”

    But he urged England to push through the lockdown measures for another few weeks.

    Boris Johnson told a media conference on Monday that the country had to just get through till December 2 – when the second shut-down ends – and “we plan to move forward with a tiered approach”.

  • Debbie White

    HEADING TOWARDS PREVIOUS COVID PEAK – PM

    PM Boris Johnson warned reporters that hospitals are treating more Covid patients.

    The number of people hospitalised with coronavirus has jumped to 13,000 as of 5 November, he said on Monday.

    Addressing the nation from No10, the PM added: “We are heading towards the levels of the previous peak”.

  • Debbie White

    NEW VACCINE REVOLUTIONARY

    Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, said the Pfizer vaccine is revolutionary because it attacks Covid-19 directly.

    Previous vaccines have worked by prompting the body to generate antibodies which then attack the infection.

    Mr Van-Tam said at a No10 press conference on Monday: “The vaccine targets the S-protein of the coronavirus. “Before this, all we knew was that vaccines could give us antibodies – we didn’t know vaccines could prevent infection.

    “It is good news for many other vaccines to come because many others also target the S-protein.

    “This is like getting to the end of the play-off final, it’s gone to penalties, the first player goes up and scores the goal. You haven’t won the cup yet, but it tells you the goalkeeper can be beaten.”

  • Debbie White

    PM URGES PEOPLE IN LIVERPOOL TO TAKE PART IN MASS CORONAVIRUS TESTING PILOT

    Boris Johnson has urged people in Liverpool to take part in a pilot scheme of mass coronavirus testing in the city.

    Lateral flow tests, with a turnaround time of under an hour, have been available since Friday for people who live and work in the city and do not have symptoms.

    Johnson told a No10 press conference on Monday: “Our first pilot began in Liverpool on Friday in partnership with Liverpool City Council.

    “We've tested thousands of people there, but there's still a lot more to do.

    “So please, if you are in Liverpool, get yourself along to a testing centre – there are 19 at the moment with more still to come and the more people get tested, the better we can protect that great city and drive the disease down in Liverpool.

    “So, do it for your friends, for your relatives, for your community.”

  • Debbie White

    PFIZER TO APPLY TO US MEDICINES REGULATOR

    Pfizer and BioNTech plan to apply to the US Food and Drug Administration – the US medicines regulator – by the end of this month for emergency approval to use their coronavirus vaccine.

    The jab has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised.

    About a dozen Covid-19 vaccines around the world are currently in the final stages of testing, but Pfizer's is the first to report any results.

  • Debbie White

    FRENCH COVID CASES PLUMMET

    France's public health bosses on Monday reported 20,155 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, sharply down from Saturday's record of 86,852 and Sunday's 38,619.

    The Monday figure tends to dip as there are fewer tests conducted on Sundays.

    The number of people in France who have died from Covid-19 infections rose by 551 to 40,987, versus 270 on Sunday.

    The cumulative number of cases now totals 1,807,479, the fourth-highest tally in the world.

  • Debbie White

    WORK NEEDED TO CHECK NEW JAB'S ABILITY TO STOP CORONA SPREADING

    England's deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam told a No10 press conference it was not as yet known whether Pfizer's new vaccine would prevent transmission of coronavirus.

    He said, “the one thing we know about these vaccines at the moment is that they will prevent illness” from Covid-19 as diagnosed by a PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) test.

    “We do not know yet if these vaccines will prevent asymptomatic infection.

    “And therefore we do not know if these vaccines will prevent virus shedding, and therefore have an effect on community transmission.”

    He said that more work was needed to know whether vaccines only “modify disease” or whether they can also prevent transmission.

  • Debbie White

    MICHELLE KEEGAN FORCED TO SELF-ISOLATE

    Michelle Keegan has been forced to self-isolate for two weeks after coming into contact with the coronavirus.

    The former Coronation Street actress, 33, had to stay home after she was exposed to the bug on a photo shoot in Manchester last month.

    While she has not tested positive for Covid, she's had to miss filming for her Sky TV series Brassic which is in the middle of shooting its third season.

    “Michelle had to take time away from the Brassic set once again and has been laying low in Essex with her husband Mark Wright,” a source told the Daily Mail.

    “She only missed one day of filming. But she needed to isolate after she came into contact with someone in Manchester who had it.”

    See our full story HERE.

  • Debbie White

    PREMIER LEAGUE CHIEF CALLS FOR MORE HELP AHEAD OF FACING MPS

    Premier League boss Richard Masters says there are “scarce resources” within football for a coronavirus rescue package as he and EFL chairman Rick Parry prepare to face MPs on Tuesday.

    The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee will seek answers from Masters, Parry and Football Association chairman Greg Clarke over the continued absence of an agreement over a bailout for the EFL.

    Masters has previously said the pandemic cost the league's clubs £700m last season.

    The EFL says it needs £250million to cover the shortfall it faces as a consequence of games being played behind closed doors, and has asked for Government help.

    The Premier League has so far offered £50million in grants and loans, with EFL board member Steve Curwood saying last week that a further £30million emergency loan facility had been offered to Championship clubs.

    Curwood said that a £80m package “barely touched the sides” of what was needed.

  • Debbie White

    STOCKS RALLY WORLDWIDE ON COVID-19 VACCINE DATA

    Stocks soared worldwide on Monday, and Wall Street catapulted back to record heights on a burst of hope that the economy can get back to normal following encouraging data about a potential coronavirus vaccine.

    Pfizer said an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90 per cent effective at preventing Covid-19.

    Hopes that people will again return to office buildings, shopping centres and normal life sent markets rallying, following news of the encouraging data.

  • Debbie White

    'GREAT DAY FOR HUMANITY'

    Pfizer revealed earlier today that its jab was proven to be 90 per cent effective at preventing Covid – on what experts hailed a “great day for humanity”.

    It took just ten months for the Pfizer vaccine to be developed.

    In contrast, a traditional jab would take between ten to 15 years to develop.

    Drug regulators must now wait for safety data out later this month before they can grant emergency approval for widespread use.

    GPs and hospitals have been told to prepare for roll-out within three weeks, with the over 85s and NHS staff expected to be first in line.

  • Debbie White

    COVID WINTER HITTING WINE SECTOR

    The European Union's wine sector needs more support to survive renewed coronavirus measures that are slashing out-of-home demand, says farming lobby Copa-Cogeca.

    Europe's wine sector has lost some 10-15 per cent of demand volumes this year due to restrictions affecting bars, restaurants, events and travel.

    “We want to extend market support measures because we anticipate that Covid could last all winter,” Thierry Coste, a French wine producer told a press conference today.

    Crisis measures in the EU have included giving subsidies to distil wine into industrial alcohol.

  • Debbie White

    VACCINE READY BY CHRISTMAS

    Deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam praised the Pfizer Covid jab test findings as “a huge milestone” – but said it would be a colossal mistake to relax too soon.

    Speaking at the No10 briefing, he said: “I'm hopeful… that we could begin to see some vaccine by Christmas.

    “We might be able to look towards the end of spring for a much better horizon than we have in front of us right now.”

    Prof Van-Tam added it is also suggests other potential jabs will work.

    He said: “More importantly, it is good news for many of the vaccines to come.”

  • Debbie White

    VIRUS TOLL CLIMBS

    Coronavirus deaths have today risen by 194 in the UK– taking the total number of Covid-related fatalities to 49,063.

    Infections increased by 21,350, bringing the total number of infections in Britain to 1,213,363.

    A further 167 deaths were reported in English hospitals, bringing the total to 34,663.

    Of those, 12 occurred in the east of England, eight in London, 45 in the midlands, 47 in the north east and Yorkshire, 36 in the north west, 15 in the south east, and four in the south west.

    Meanwhile, Scotland recorded one death from coronavirus and 912 positive tests in the past 24 hours.

  • Debbie White

    R RATE FEARS

    The Prime Minister said the reproductive rate of the virus – the R value – was still above one and deaths were rising.

    “Irrespective of whether there is a vaccine on the way or not we must continue to do everything possible right now to bring the R down,” he told tonight's Downing Street press conference.

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