Covid vaccine UK news: Nadhim Zahawi press conference at 5pm today as US, Malta, Croatia tipped for green list

Nadhim Zahawi will give a press conference at 5pm today to update Brits on the jab rollout that will help secure Freedom Day next month

The vaccines minister will address how the Government is working to increase vaccine uptake across the country at tonight's Downing Street briefing.

So far 31 million Britons have been fully vaccinated while more than 43 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of a Covid jab.

And Brits will find out crucial updates to the green and amber travel lists on THURSDAY – and quarantine-free holidays to Spain, Greece and Italy could be back on.

Pressure is mounting on the government to ease strict Covid travel curbs as soon as possible and give a huge boost to hopes for much-needed summer breaks in the sun.

Ministers will also decide if any new countries should be added to the short list of destinations where unrestricted holidays are currently allowed. And it’s been reported scientists have already told ministers that the Balearic Islands are now safe to be moved onto the green list.

Malta is also being tipped to be given key green status, reports the Mail.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest news and updates…

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    UK COVID CASES SURGE TO 16,135 IN HIGHEST RISE IN ALMOST 5 MONTHS

    Covid cases in the UK today jumped by 16,135 – the highest number of new infections in almost five months.

    The total number of cases since the pandemic began now stands at 4,667,870.

    Today's rise in infections is the highest number of daily cases since February 6 when 18,262 were reported.

    It is also higher than yesterday's figure of 11,625 as the Delta variant continues to grip the UK.

    Deaths also rose by 19 – bringing the total to 128,027 – which is lower than yesterday's 27 fatalities.

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    VACCINE SIDE EFFECTS

    Covid vaccines are essential to beat the virus, but it is within your best interests to monitor any possible side effects.

    These side effects are mostly nothing to worry about but can cause discomfort.

    Experts have found that rashes and itching in another spot other than the injection site was the most common side effect.

    Read more here

  • Harvey Lindsay

    COVID VACCINES LINKED TO UNCOMFORTABLE SKIN REACTIONS

    Covid vaccines are essential to beat the virus – but reports show they also come with side effects.

    These are mostly nothing to be concerned about, but can cause discomfort.

    A study by allergists at Massachusetts General Hospital found almost two per cent of 49,197 who were jabbed reported skin reactions.

    Others suffered from swelling or angioedema, which is the swelling of areas of tissue under the skin, sometimes affecting the face and throat.

    Kimberly G. Blumenthal, MD, MSc, co-director of the Clinical Epidemiology Program, said: "This is the first information we have on risk of recurrence of skin reactions after dose 2 when there is a dose 1 reaction. 

    "Our findings could provide critical reassurance to people with rashes, hives and swelling after dose 1 of their mRNA vaccines."

  • Harvey Lindsay

    SCHOOL SPORTS DAY GETS GOVERNMENT GREEN LIGHT AFTER FOOTBALL BACKLASH

    Downing Street have said school sports days are allowed to go ahead, after backlash over plans to allow more than 60,000 fans into Wembley Stadium for the European Championship at the same time as lockdown restrictions continue for the public.

    Reports suggested that some schools had cancelled sports days and children who are at very low risk of Covid-19 are still being sent home as pandemic restrictions continued.

    And the Government was accused of allowing one rule for one and one rule for another, by allowing more fans into Wembley.

    But the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "Outdoor events like sports days can go ahead in line with existing restrictions, such as maintaining class or year group bubbles, and regular cleaning of sports equipment.

    "It's also worth saying that it's up to schools to risk assess their sports day plans and decide if it's appropriate to invite spectators. It would be possible for spectators in groups of 30 to attend. So depending on the size of the area, multiple groups of 30 could attend events, as long as there's no mixing between those groups."

  • Harvey Lindsay

    41 CASES OF NEW 'DELTA PLUS' VARIANT FOUND IN BRITAIN

    The latest coronavirus “delta plus” variant has already infected at least 41 people in the UK, according to Public Health England figures.

    Indian authorities today said the new variant, formally known as AY.1, was of concern and sweeping across the country.

    It remains unknown if it is more dangerous than the original strain.

    The Government said PHE had already put extra measures in place where the variant had been detected including "enhanced contact tracing, testing, and isolation".

  • Harvey Lindsay

    SCIENTISTS SAY TOO EARLY TO TELL TRUE RISK OF DELTA PLUS VARIANT

    India calls the new variant a "variant of concern", however it's too early to tell whether it poses enough threat.

    India's health ministry says studies showed that the so-called Delta plus variant – also known as AY.1 – spreads more easily, binds more easily to lung cells and is potentially resistant to monoclonal antibody therapy, a potent intravenous infusion of antibodies to neutralise the virus.

    "There is no data yet to support the variant of concern claim," said Dr Gagandeep Kang, a virologist and the first Indian woman to be elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London.

    "You need biological and clinical information in order to consider whether it is truly a variant of concern."

  • Harvey Lindsay

    DEPUTY CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, JONATHAN VAN-TAM IS ACCUSED OF GENOCIDE BY ANTIVAXXER

    This is the appalling moment an antivaxxer abuses Jonathan Van-Tam and accuses him of genocide.

    Geza Tarjanyi, 60, filmed himself hurling abuse at Van-Tam in Westminster yesterday, before sharing the shocking footage on Facebook.

    Tarjanyi asked: "What was really in that needle you put into Matt Hancock?", referring to the Health Secretary's vaccination in April.

    Tarjanyi films Professor Van-Tam as he approaches him before saying: "Are you Van-Tam, aren't ya?

    "This country's supposed to be in the worst pandemic of all time."

    Professor Van-Tam then calmly replied: "It is."

    Read the full story here

  • Harvey Lindsay

    JOIN THE MILLIONS ALREADY VACCINATED, NHS PLEADS

    The Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective and will give you the best protection against the coronavirus and the Delta variant.

  • Harvey Lindsay

    SHOCKING STUDY CLAIMS CHINA DELETED COVID DATA TO COVER UP 'PATIENT ZERO' DUE LAB LEAK PRESSURE

    Appalling new claims have emerged that China deleted information about the origins of the virus that could have provided vital clues.

    The data set containing SARS-CoV-2 sequences from early in the Wuhan epidemic was deleted from the National Institute of Health‘s Sequence Read Archive, according to the papers that came out today.

    “I recover the deleted files from the Google Cloud, and reconstruct partial sequences of 13 early epidemic viruses,” Prof Boom writes in the abstract of the report.

    Boom concluded that there is no plausible reason for the missing files that were deleted and the most likely explanation is that China deleted the material to “obscure their existence”.

    “The fact that such an informative data set was deleted has implications beyond those gleaned directly from the recovered sequences. Samples from early outpatients in Wuhan are a gold mine for anyone seeking to understand the spread of the virus,” he wrote.

    Read the full story here

  • Harvey Lindsay

    LOCKDOWN LIFT WILL DEPEND ON FOUR KEY FACTORS

    There are four key numbers behind the wait to unlock Britain – with experts and ministers convinced it could be scheduled for July 5.

    Vaccine reach, hospitalisations, new variant and rising cases are what everyone is keeping their eyes on.

    Professor Neil Ferguson, nicknamed Professor Lockdown, thinks the data looks "encouraging".

    Asked whether restrictions should end on July 5, he said: "I’m busy analysing the data to provide a more conclusive picture to government to make that decision, but the overall picture is encouraging."

    He added: "As we expected, we are seeing rises in case numbers across the country, but they have slowed slightly compared with a couple of weeks ago.

    "We’re also seeing rises in hospitalisations and deaths but again they’re at a much lower level than previously, demonstrating the high effectiveness of vaccines."

  • Harvey Lindsay

    ALL THE RULES THAT COULD CHANGE ON FREEDOM DAY, JULY 19 – FROM FACE MASKS TO NIGHTCLUBS

    From face masks and social distancing to nightclubs and the Rule of Six, the Covid rules are set to change on July 19.

    The UK is said to be on track to lift all current restrictions for Freedom Day as ministers are encouraged by "very, very" low death numbers and a slowdown in infections.

    A senior Government source told the newspaper that ministers want to "get as close to normal as possible" on July 19.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously hoped to lift all the Covid restrictions on June 21.

    The wearing of face masks is no longer expected to be compulsory in certain spaces, and laws will be replaced with advice for wearing them.

  • Harvey Lindsay

    GREEN AND AMBER TRAVEL LISTS UPDATED ON THURSDAY AS BRITS GET READY TO JET OFF – AND QUARANTINE-FREE HOLIDAYS TO SPAIN, GREECE AND ITALY COULD BE BACK ON

    Pressure is mounting on the government to ease strict Covid travel curbs as soon as possible and give a huge boostto hopes for much-needed summer breaks in the sun.

    Tory MP James Cartlidge, the Chancellor’s right hand man and aide in Parliament, wrote to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to demand double jabbed Brits be given freedom next month.

    He said: “The proposal to restart international travel by allowing fully vaccinated people to go on holiday would be an absolute lifeline for this industry.”

    He added: “I believe that allowing fully vaccinated people to travel is reasonable, and an important step we can take to support our fantastic travel business.”

  • Harvey Lindsay

    DOUBLE-JABBED BRITS LOOKING AT WEEKS UNTIL THEY CAN TAKE CHILDREN ABROAD

    Double-jabbed parents could take unvaccinated kids abroad in a matter of weeks in a huge boost for summer holidays.

    Plans to allow adults with two doses to travel in August to amber list countries are due to be announced by the Prime Minister within days.

    However, ministers are under growing pressure to bring forward the plans to next month to save school holidays on the continent.

    Some MPs are even said to be pressing Boris Johnson to sanction a "big bang" reopening with travel curbs eased at the same time as restrictions are lifted at home – on July 19.

  • Harvey Lindsay

    NEW ‘DELTA PLUS’ VARIANT THREATENS BRITS

    A new "Delta Plus" Covid-19 variant that is "more transmissible" than the original has been reported in India.

    Sixteen cases of the variant that is a mutation of the Delta variant, have been recorded in the state of Maharashtra, health officials said.

    The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday described Delta Plus as "currently a variant of concern," in a statement.

    The new mutation was detected earlier this month but was not considered concerning reports India Today.

  • Harvey Lindsay

    BORIS JOHNSON TO ANNOUNCE TODAY IF LOCKDOWN CAN LIFT EARLY

    Boris Johnson's decision about whether to unlock early on July 5 will be announced on today, Downing Street have confirmed.

    The PM is today poring over crucial data ahead of giving his crunch verdict next week.

    He is likely to crush hopes of bringing forward Freedom Day and stick with his "terminus date" of July 19.

    When Mr Johnson announced his four-week delay to the roadmap last week he wrote in a two-week break point to allow wriggle room from an early release.

    No10 said today a decision on whether to pull this trigger will be made on Monday.

  • Harvey Lindsay

    BRITAIN ‘ON TRACK’ FOR FREEDOM DAY

    Six in 10 adults have now had both doses of Covid vaccine – as Britain races towards Freedom Day.

    NHS heroes have delivered more than 31.5million second doses of Covid vaccine, just five million short of the goal before re-opening on July 19.

    Top government health advisor Dr Susan Hopkins has previously said seven in 10 Brits need to be fully protected before restrictions are fully lifted.

    New data from the Office for National Statistics yesterday showed nearly nine in 10 (86.6 per cent) of adults in England now have antibodies, either from vaccines or Covid infection.

  • Harvey Lindsay

    ‘POSITIVE’ TALKS OVER REACHING DEAL TO SAVE EURO 2020 FINAL AT WEMBLEY

    A deal to ensure the final stages of Euro 2020 are held at Wembley is on the brink of being struck between the UK Government and Uefa.

    A UK Government source said there had been “positive” talks with European football’s ruling body to address the issues around coronavirus restrictions.

    Uefa is thought to be pushing for 2,500 VIPs to attend the final on July 11 without being subjected to the quarantine requirements that apply to other international travellers.

    A UK source said “final details are being worked through” but ministers have indicated that some restrictions would remain in place.

    Reports had suggested the final could be moved to Budapest if a deal cannot be reached and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has also said that Rome could provide an alternative venue.

    But in a statement, Uefa said: “Uefa, the English FA and the English authorities are working closely together successfully to stage the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 in Wembley and there are no plans to change the venue for those games.”

  • Harvey Lindsay

    EXPERTS TOLD PM 'DON'T BE FEARFUL' AS BRITAIN COULD ONLOCK SOONER

    Boris Johnson is being "overcautious" and could end lockdown early, on July 5, top scientists and MPs have said.

    Experts insisted the PM could safely ditch the final set of lockdown restrictions and free the country in just two weeks' time.

    Brendan Wren, a professor of vaccinology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the Government has been gripped by "coronamania".

    He said: "I think the Government has been a bit overcautious, there's a certain amount of coronamania going on.

    "We are in a third wave but it's not as bad. It's more like a bump rather than a huge increase.

    "We have a different population to what we had in the first or second wave so we shouldn't be so fearful."

  • Harvey Lindsay

    EXPERT WARNS YOUNG MEN COULD POTENTIALLY BE SPREADING COVID WHILST WATCHING FOOTBALL WITH THEIR MATES

    Young men watching the football at home with their mates could be spreading Covid, an expert has warned.

    Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of the Sage subcommittee advising on behavioural science, said "people at home not taking precautions" are the main concern, rather than fans at the matches.

    The University of St Andrews professor said new data from Scotland shows the infection rate is now three times higher for young men.

    "I saw data yesterday from Scotland showing that whereas two or three weeks ago, the ratio of males and females, men and women, who get infections is roughly the same, now it's about three times higher for younger men, and the obvious explanation for that is people meeting up at home, forgetting restrictions," he said.

    Coronavirus is known to spread more easily inside with limited ventilation, with people more likely to be sharing snacks and drinks, adding to the possibility of transmission.

  • Harvey Lindsay

    LATEST FIGURES FROM PHE SHOWS 11,625 NEW COVID-19 CASES

    The latest figures shown by Public Health England show 11,625 positive cases of Covid-19 and 27 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

    Today's figures will be published this evening.

  • Harvey Lindsay

    'HOPE AND EXPECTATIONS' THAT JULY 19 WILL FINALLY SEE COVID RESTRICTIONS END IN ENGLAND SAYS RISHI SUNAK

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said it is his "hope and expectation" that July 19 will be the end of coronavirus restrictions in England.

    Rishi was responding to a question in the Commons from Conservative Greg Smith (Buckingham) about businesses being "desperate" to return staff from furlough.

    Mr Smith said: "Will (Mr Sunak) agree with me that the way to get the economy moving and to get those employees back to work is for restrictions to absolutely be lifted by July 19?"

    Responding, Mr Sunak said: "(Mr Smith) is absolutely right, and my hope and expectation is we do lift those restrictions on July 19 because by that point we will have done what we set out to do, which is to get extra jabs in more people's arms to provide us with that extra level of protection we were seeking."

    Mr Sunak added: "The only sustainable way to protect those jobs is to get the economy reopened so those people can return to work and provide for their families."

  • Harvey Lindsay

    BRITS TO GET GREEN LIGHT: ALL THE COUNTRIES THAT COULD OPEN FOR HOLIDAYS AS THE GOVERNMENT REVEAL GREEN AND AMBER LIST TOMORROW

    The government is set to tell Brits tomorrow where they can travel this summer.

    Boris Johnson is set to announce the countries moving to green, amber and red on the list – with hopes that the Balearics and Malta could get the green light.

    But in an even bigger game-changer, the government will also reportedly announce that quarantine rules for double-jabbed holidaymakers heading to amber nations will be ditched. 

    And unjabbed family members aged under 18 will be able to fly too as they have not been offered the vaccine.

    That would open up unrestricted holidays to countries currently on the medium-risk list – like Spain, France, Italy Greece and the US.

  • Harvey Lindsay

    GOVERNMENT 'WORKING ON PLANS' FOR QUARANTINE-FREE TRAVEL, MATT HANCOCK REVEALS

    The health secretary has announced the Government is "working on" plans for quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated Britons – but international travel remains a "difficult" area, Matt Hancock has said.

    Matt Hancock confirmed that ministers are looking at how to scrap the requirement for people to isolate for 10 days on return from an amber list country.

    Mr Hancock said he is "in favour of moving forward in this area" and replacing quarantine with daily testing.

    "This hasn't been clinically advised yet – we're working on it," he told Sky News.

    He added: "We're working on plans to essentially allow the vaccine to bring back some of the freedoms that have had to be restricted to keep people safe. After all, that's the whole purpose of the vaccination programme, that's why it's so important that every adult goes out and gets the jab."

  • Harvey Lindsay

    NEW 'DELTA PLUS' COVID VARIANT THAT'S 'MORE TRANSMISSIBLE' DETECTED IN UK

    A new "Delta Plus" Covid variant "more transmissible" than the original has been detected in the UK, sources have confirmed.

    Around 41 cases of the mutated variant have been found in the country, after first being reported in India.

    Dr Andrew Lee, Covid Incident Director at Public Health England, said: "PHE has put in place additional control measures where cases of Delta variant with K417N (AY.1) are detected including enhanced contact tracing, rapid testing and isolation. 

    "41 cases in total have been identified in England. Active investigation of cases and clusters will ensure our public health response remains fast and proportionate. 

    "We are continuing investigations to better understand the significance of K417N in addition to Delta. 

    "PHE will continue to closely monitor and assess all changes in the virus as they naturally emerge, given the overall large number of COVID cases globally."

  • Harvey Lindsay

    FLIGHT OPERATORS TUI, VIRGIN ATLANTIC AND IAG JOIN MOUNTING LEGAL ACTION AGAINST GOVERNMENT TRAVEL RULES

    Tui has announced it has joined Virgin Atlantic and British Airways' parent company IAG in supporting legal action against the Government's coronavirus travel restrictions.

    The UK's largest tour operator said the three firms have become interested parties in a challenge that was first launched by Ryanair and Manchester Airports Group last week.

    The legal bid is an attempt to get the Government to be more transparent in relation to how it determines which countries are on the green, amber and red lists under the traffic light system for international travel.

    There are currently no major viable tourist destinations on the quarantine-free green list.

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