Coronavirus news LIVE – Travel chaos as UK’s Indian variant hotspots suddenly restricted to ‘essential visits only’


THERE is travel confusion across the UK today after several areas were quietly slapped with ‘essential travel only’ restrictions.

Eight Indian variant hotspots across Britain – including Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Leicester and the London borough of Hounslow – were added to a list of restricted areas on a government website last Friday.

But there was fury as local political leaders and residents weren’t even told about the new rules, leading to confusion over how many may have been infected as a result of people not being aware of the new rules in place.

The rules mean people living in those areas must only meet up outside, remain two metres apart and avoid leaving the area.

Yasmin Qureshi, Labour MP for Bolton South East, said she was “gobsmacked” to learn about the new rules, adding “I was not informed of this and I understand nor was anyone else in Bolton.

“They’re making such an important announcement and they don’t even have the decency to tell us or tell our constituents. This is typical of this government’s incompetence,” she added.

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

  • FLIGHTS TO SPAIN EXPECTED TO SOAR TO 80% A DAY

    Flights to Spain are now expected to soar to 80 per cent a day – meaning an estimated 16,000 passengers are set to fly to the popular holiday destination.

    Despite the surge in flights, the PM and government have warned Brits not to travel to Spain as it remains on the amber list.

    Return to the UK from amber-listed countries means travellers will need to self-isolate for ten days and will also have to take a PCR test on day two and day eight of self-isolation. 

    The advice remains for Spain, according to the Foreign Office website today: “We continue to advise against all but essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic Islands, but excluding the Canary Islands.”

  • OPPOSITION MPs CRITICISE GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT OF LOCAL LOCKDOWNS

    Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth and the SNP’s Health spokeswoman Phillipa Whitford have challenged the government over its decision to “sneak out” local lockdowns in areas heavily affected by the Indian variant.

    Ashworth challenged Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zawahi in the House of Commons, saying the government has let down people who had been planning for reopening. He asked why the Government did not do more to tell people about when the lockdown was imposed.

    Whitford accused the Government of updating the website during Eurovision on Saturday night to avoid heavy scruntiny and criticism.

  • VACC TO THE START

    Fully vaccinated Brits will reportedly still need to self-isolate if they come into contact with people infected with Covid – even after lockdown ends on June 21.

    Plans for 10-day quarantines for those who are exposed to the bug after getting both jabs will impact plans for a return to normality next month.

    Brits could be put off from going to crowded places if there’s a risk they will have to self-isolate.

    Employers may also be reluctant for vaccinated and unvaccinated workers to mix together for the same reason.

    Fully vaccinated people in the United States only need to quarantine if they show symptoms after coming into contact with someone who has Covid.

  • MODENRA VACCINE SAFE FOR KIDS

    Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine was shown to be effective in adolescents aged 12-17 and showed no new or major safety problems in a clinical trial, the developer said on Tuesday, potentially setting the stage for a second vaccine for school-aged children to be authorized in July.

    Moderna Inc, whose vaccine is authorized for adults 18 and older, said it will submit the findings of its adolescent study to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other regulators for emergency use authorization in early June.

    U.S. regulators took about a month to review a similar study from Pfizer/BioNtech, which was authorized for ages 12-15 on May 10. If Moderna gets the same treatment, its authorization would come in early July.

    Most children with Covid-19 develop only mild symptoms or no symptoms. Yet children remain at risk of becoming seriously ill, and they can spread the virus. Widely vaccinating 12- to 18-year olds could allow U.S. schools and summer camps to relax masking and social distancing measures suggested by the CDC.

  • COVID DEATHS UP BY 17% ON LAST WEEK

    A total of 151 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending May 14 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – up 17% on the previous week.

    The bank holiday on May 3 will have affected the number of deaths registered in the previous week, when registry offices were likely to be closed, the ONS said.

    Around one in 66 (1.5%) deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to May 14 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.

  • COMMONS CONTINUED

     Vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi told MPs that the Government was taking “rapid action” in areas with high case numbers of the Covid variant first identified in India.

    He told the Commons ministers are “staying alert to new variants that can jeopardise the advances we’ve made”.

    He added: “We’ve come down really hard on the variant first identified in India wherever we have found it, surging in testing capacity and vaccine for those who are eligible.

    “Over the past few days we’ve extended this rapid approach to even more areas. So as well as Bolton and Blackburn and Darwen which the Prime Minister spoke about in his press conference on the 14th of this month we are taking rapid action in Bedford, Hounslow, Burnley, Leicester, Kirklees and North Tyneside.

    “As the Prime Minister set out two weeks ago we’re urging people in these areas to take extra caution when meeting anyone outside their households or support bubble, including meeting outside rather than inside where possible, keeping two metres apart from people you don’t live with and that people should try to avoid travelling in and out of the affected areas unless it is essential.”

  • OPPOSITION MPs CRITICISE GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT OF LOCAL LOCKDOWNS

    Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth and the SNP’s Health spokeswoman Phillipa Whitford have challenged the government over its decision to “sneak out” local lockdowns in areas heavily affected by the Indian variant.

    Ashworth challenged Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zawahi in the House of Commons, saying the government has let down people who had been planning for reopening. He asked why the Government did not do more to tell people about when the lockdown was imposed.

    Whitford accused the Government of updating the website during Eurovision on Saturday night to avoid heavy scruntiny and criticism.

  • MINISTER SAYS NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN HOSPITAL WITH COVID FALLS BY 9%

    Addressing the House of Commons, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi says the number of people who are in hospital with Covid-19 has fallen by 9% with the number of daily deaths at its lowest point since March.

    He said approximately 72% of all adults in the UK Had received their first dose and 43% had received both.

     

  • SCOTLAND RECORDS TWO NEW DEATHS

    Scotland has recorded two coronavirus patient deaths and 318 new cases in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

    It means the death toll under this daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is 7,666.

    The First Minister told a Scottish Government coronavirus briefing the daily test positivity rate was 2%, down from 2.8% the previous day.

    She said 97 people are in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19, up three on the previous day. Of these, six were in intensive care, up one.

    More than five million vaccine doses have now been administered in Scotland, with 3,138,366 first doses and 1,881,214 second doses.

  • HALF OF WEEKEND VACCINE APPOINTMENTS MISSED AT GLASGOW’S SSE HYDRO

    Around half the coronavirus vaccine appointments at a major concert venue and vaccination centre this weekend were missed, it has emerged.

    The PA news agency understands there were many cancellations and non-attendances on Saturday and Sunday at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow amid rising case numbers in the city.

    The concert venue originally formed part of the NHS Louisa Jordan hospital, which closed at the end of March having opened in the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) last year, and has the capacity to administer up to 10,000 jabs per day.

    A statement from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) said: “We want to thank everyone who has come forward for a vaccine so far.

    “We’ve had incredible success to date and this is a testament to the hard work of all those staff from across NHSGGC who have been involved in the rollout of the programme.

    “We have now vaccinated over 98% of people over the age 50 with their first dose.

  • BRAZIL NEARS 450,000 COVID-19 DEATHS

    Brazil’s Healthy Ministry on Monday registered 790 new COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours and 37,498 new cases of coronavirus.

    The country has confirmed 449,858 deaths from the virus out of more than 16 million confirmed cases since the pandemic began, according to ministry data.

  • COVID DISRUPTION COULD INCREASE CANCER MORTALITY FOR ‘NEXT DECADE’, MEDIC WARNS

    Delays to cancer diagnosis and treatment caused by Covid-19 could increase cancer mortality for the “next decade”, a consultant medical oncologist has warned.

    Professor Seamus O’Reilly, of Cork University Hospital and the Mercy University Hospital, said the pandemic has “enormous implications” for time-dependent cancer care.

    He added that the health service will struggle to cope with the backlog of patients without hiring additional oncologists and other medical specialists.

    The professor made the remarks on behalf of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) during European Week Against Cancer.

    “The Covid pandemic has impacted cancer services. Patients were concerned about coming into hospital. Services had to be curtailed due to social distancing and redeployment of staff. Our health service still has not returned to normal. This has enormous implications, and our concern as oncologists is of delayed cancer diagnosis occurring as a result.”

  • ‘COVID WILL FIND US’

    Getting your second Covid jab is the best way to protect yourself against the Indian variant, experts have said.

    One dose may not be enough, the public have been warned.

    Professor Ravi Gupta, a member of the Nervtag group advising the Government, said “a single dose is not particularly protective” against the Indian variant.

    The University of Cambridge professor told BBC Breakfast this is “the situation that many adults find themselves in during a period of easing of restrictions”.

    It comes after data this weekend revealed how protective jabs were against the Indian variant.

  • VACC TO THE START

    Fully vaccinated Brits will reportedly still need to self-isolate if they come into contact with people infected with Covid – even after lockdown ends on June 21.

    Plans for 10-day quarantines for those who are exposed to the bug after getting both jabs will impact plans for a return to normality next month.

    Brits could be put off from going to crowded places if there’s a risk they will have to self-isolate.

    Employers may also be reluctant for vaccinated and unvaccinated workers to mix together for the same reason.

    Fully vaccinated people in the United States only need to quarantine if they show symptoms after coming into contact with someone who has Covid.

  • WHERE ARE THE INDIAN VARIANT HOTSPOTS?

  • COVID-19 DEATHS RISE SLIGHTLY AS BANK HOLIDAY SLOWS REGISTRATIONS

    Weekly registrations of deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales have risen slightly, new figures show – but the numbers are likely to have been affected by the early May bank holiday.

    A total of 151 deaths registered in the week ending May 14 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    This is up from 129 in the previous week – a rise of 17%.

    Many register offices will have been closed for the bank holiday on May 3, however.

    This is likely to have led to fewer deaths being registered in that week and slightly more deaths being registered in the following week.

  • STUDY COULD LEAD TO ‘NEW TREATMENTS FOR COVID-19 AND ANY FUTURE CORONAVIRUSES’

    A “pioneering” new study may pave the way for more treatments for Covid-19 variants and fresh coronaviruses in the future, scientist have suggested.

    Research has provided “crucial new insights” into the life cycle of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, “revealing new pathways to target the virus within host cells”.

    The team of scientists – led by the Universities of Glasgow and Oxford and the Rosalind Franklin Institute – studied the key viral RNA molecule which is “at the heart” of the life cycle of viruses like SARS-CoV-2.

    Researchers studied the SARS-CoV-2 RNA in lung epithelium cell lines using a “pioneering approach” to see how it interacted with different proteins.

    The findings, published in the journal Molecular Cell, showed that the viral RNA interacted with dozens of cellular proteins, many of which have “great potential for new therapeutic approaches against Covid-19”.

  • MINISTER ‘SURPRISED’ MPs DO NOT FEEL INFORMED ABOUT INDIAN VARIANT

    Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said she was “surprised” to hear that MPs in areas impacted by new guidance around the Indian variant did not feel properly informed.

    Speaking to Sky News, Ms Coffey said: “The Prime Minister set out that we need to take extra caution in certain areas regarding the Indian variant.

    “It is good practice to formally put that guidance on the record affecting those communities.

    “We have been working in close contact, so I’m surprised to hear that people think this has come out of the blue – it hasn’t.

    “It is about formalising on the record the guidance which we believe people can and should follow in order to make sure we tackle and don’t have more spread of the Indian variant.”

  • ANGER SIMMERS IN MALAYSIA AS COVID-19 SURGE STRAINS HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

    Five medical workers in white protective gear battle to resuscitate a coronavirus patient in a quarantine centre on the edge of the Malaysian capital, but eventually fail.

    The struggle, caught in a minute-long video clip on social media, exemplifies for many Malaysians their government’s latest misstep in its efforts to combat the pandemic, as daily infections and deaths hit a record high in the past week.

    “Our boat is sinking. The captain is out of touch,” one Twitter user commented on last weekend’s video that used the hashtag #KerajaanGagal, or ‘failed government’, which has been employed for weeks by Malaysians to voice their anger.

    Despite a state of emergency imposed in January, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government has been seen as struggling to rein in the infections, triggering public fury.

    The health ministry and Muhyiddin’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

  • HALF OF WEEKEND VACCINE APPOINTMENTS MISSED AT GLASGOW’S SSE HYDRO

    Around half the coronavirus vaccine appointments at a major concert venue and vaccination centre this weekend were missed, it has emerged.

    The PA news agency understands there were many cancellations and non-attendances on Saturday and Sunday at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow amid rising case numbers in the city.

    The concert venue originally formed part of the NHS Louisa Jordan hospital, which closed at the end of March having opened in the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) last year, and has the capacity to administer up to 10,000 jabs per day.

    A statement from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) said: “We want to thank everyone who has come forward for a vaccine so far.

    “We’ve had incredible success to date and this is a testament to the hard work of all those staff from across NHSGGC who have been involved in the rollout of the programme.

    “We have now vaccinated over 98% of people over the age 50 with their first dose.

  • WATCH: DAILY COVID DEATHS RISE BY 17% ON LAST WEEK

    Daily UK Covid deaths fall to three but cases up 17% in a week as 2,439 more test positive
  • 30 CARE HOME DEATHS IN THE PAST WEEK

    Some 30 care home resident deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales were registered in the week to May 14, double the number for the previous week.

    The week-on-week change will have been affected by the bank holiday on May 3, when registry offices were likely to be closed, the ONS said.

    In total, 42,461 care home residents in England and Wales have had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began.

    The ONS figures cover deaths of care home residents in all settings, not just in care homes.

  • COVID DEATHS UP BY 17% ON LAST WEEK

    A total of 151 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending May 14 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – up 17% on the previous week.

    The bank holiday on May 3 will have affected the number of deaths registered in the previous week, when registry offices were likely to be closed, the ONS said.

    Around one in 66 (1.5%) deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to May 14 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.

  • BRITS UNDER 30 COULD BE OFFERED COVID VACCINE WITHIN DAYS

    Brits under 30 could be offered their Covid vaccine by the end of the week – as hopes for June 21’s unlocking rise.

    It comes after worries the Indian variant could delay “Freedom Day”, but as the speedy jabs rollout continues experts say the signs are now “looking good”.

    Last week the age eligability for vaccines was lowered three times – with those aged 32 and 33 now able to book in.

    It is expected to be lowered further within days, with under 30s offered their slots at the end of the week.

    It brings fresh hope for the full unlocking next month, after the variant’s emergence cast doubt on the roadmap.

  • VACCINE HESITANCY RISES IN THAILAND

     Vaccine hesitancy has risen sharply in Thailand opinion polls show, just weeks away from the start of a mass inoculation programme and as the country fights its deadliest Covid-19 outbreak.

    Reasons for the rise in vaccine hesitancy were unclear in the polls, but there are widespread complaints at government disorganisation, delays in getting vaccines and reliance on Sinovac and locally made AstraZeneca doses.

    Thailand has reported 135,439 infections and 832 deaths since the pandemic began last year.

    In January, 83% of Thais surveyed by polling firm YouGov were willing to be vaccinated, but by May that dropped to 63% in the same poll, lower than Vietnam and the Philippines at 83% and 66% willingness, respectively.

    Thai-based Suan Dusit Poll on Sunday echoed the YouGov findings of rising vaccine hesitancy, with 64% of respondents willing to be vaccinated, compared with 66% in January.





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