Covid news UK latest – Freedom Day 'sooner than later' on July 5 due to vaccines as NHS races to beat Delta variant

FREEDOM from lockdown could come "sooner rather than later" on July 5 thanks to the Covid vaccine push, an expert has revealed.

Brendan Wren, professor of vaccinology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that having 81 per cent of adults vaccinated was "very encouraging."

Asked whether the success of the vaccine programme means England could open earlier than July 19, he told Sky News: "We'd still need to be vigilant – but vigilance and vaccination are the two words.

"So, I think if the numbers continue to be promising then I think there's great hope we could open up on 5 July."

But he added that a "pretty miserable winter" is ahead – with lockdowns on the cards in order to battle the virus later in the year.

Meanwhile, Dominic Cummings has once again lashed out at Boris and his Government saying "the horrific decision-making" of those in power amounted to "the blind leading the blind".

This attack follows last weeks outbursts, in which Cummings called out Boris Johnson, revealing that he had called Matt Hancock "totally f***ing hopeless".

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

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    GOVERNMENT MOVES TO SCRAP 10-DAY QUARANTINE FOR COVID CONTACTS

    Matt Hancock has said he plans to scrap the requirement for people who have had two Covid-19 jabs and come into contact with an infected person to isolate for 10 days.

    The Health Secretary said the approach is currently being piloted but will be introduced as soon as possible once clinicians have looked at the data.

    It came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the July 19 date for easing the final restrictions in England is “looking good”, when asked if he would rule out further lockdowns this winter.

    “You can never exclude that there will be some new disease, some new horror that we simply haven’t budgeted for, or accounted for,” he told reporters during a visit to a laboratory in Hertfordshire.

    “But looking at where we are, looking at the efficacy of the vaccines against all variants that we can currently see… I think it’s looking good for July 19 to be that terminus point.”

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    VACC IN TIME

    Brits are to be freed from lockdown on July 19 as the vaccine defeats the Indian variant – but restrictions could return during a "challenging winter".

    Matt Hancock announced the particularly "encouraging" data over the past week means the country is now "on track" for the great reopening next month.

    He said hospitalisations are "barely rising" despite the spiralling number of cases while deaths remain "very, very low".

    But he warned the NHS faces an onslaught this winter because the flu will be back with a vengeance and the public's immunity to it is now low.

    Asked whether there could be a return to lockdown in just a few months' time, Mr Hancock replied: "I hope we don't have to do that."

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    PERIOD PAINS

    Alterations to usual period patterns among some women after they received a Covid-19 jab could have occurred “by chance”, leading gynaecologists have said.

    Experts at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said that many women experience a temporary change to their periods in their lifetime, so for some women the change may occur around the time they receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

    But RCOG said that anecdotally some women had reported heavier periods after receiving the vaccine and it said it would support “more data collection in this area to understand why this might be the case”.

    It comes after data suggested that almost 4,000 women had reported changes after they received a vaccine.

    The Sunday Times reported that the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had 2,734 reports after women had received the AstraZeneca vaccine, 1,158 related to the Pfizer jab, and 66 linked to the Moderna vaccine up to May 17.

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    DOUBLE JABBY

    Brits will have flu and Covid booster jabs given together as part of a drive to beat viruses this winter, Matt Hancock has said.

    The Health Secretary said he was "worried" about the impact flu will have after a year of minimal cases.

    He said this winter to be "challenging", adding that he hoped further lockdown restrictions would not be needed.

    "We are worried about flu this winter because people's natural immunity will be lower because we haven't had any serious flu for 18 months now," he told Times Radio.

    "We had a difficult winter in 2019, we didn't have flu at all really this last winter because of the restrictions that were in place for Covid, so it is something we are worried about.

    "We are going to have a very significant flu vaccination drive this autumn – potentially at the same time, you might get your Covid booster jab and your flu jab at the same time, we are testing whether that can be done."

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    WATCH: MATT HANCOCK STRUGGLES TO EXPLAIN WHY SCOTTISH PLAYERS ARE SELF-ISOLATING

    Euros 2020: Matt Hancock struggles to explain why Scotland players aren’t isolating as GMB viewers say ‘he knows nothing about football’

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    SNAPCHAT, TIKTOK, REDDIT AND YOUTUBE ENCOURAGE YOUNG PEOPLE TO GET VACCINATED

    Snapchat, Reddit, TikTok, and YouTube have partnered with the Government and NHS in a bid to encourage more young people to get vaccinated.

    It comes as all adults aged over 18 are invited to receive the vaccine in England.

    Dr Karan Rangarajan, an NHS surgeon and influencer who uses social media to tackle the spread of misinformation, told the PA news agency: “If you really want to get on top of the misinformation, and get ahead of the game, you need to go to the source of where it is coming from. And most of it is coming from social media.”

    The 31-year-old, who has 3.9 million followers on TikTok, said it was crucial these platforms were used to target younger people who might be “historically or traditionally more averse to getting their vaccine”.

    “Misinformation affects all groups equally and there is a large user base that is in their late teens or early 20s,” he said.

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    JAB HOPE

    Boris Johnson has declared he’s “looking at” plans to let double-jabbed Brits ditch quarantine, raising hopes for summer holidays.

    The PM confirmed ministers are mulling an Israeli-style blueprint that would replace the need for self-isolation with daily testing.

    Such a system is also being considered for domestic use when fully vaccinated people come into contact with someone who’s tested positive.

    But even has he offered a ray of hope to sun starved families, Boris also warned this will be “a difficult year for travel”.

    And he all but strongly hinted that no new countries will be added to the green list when it’s reviewed at the end of the week.

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    FILIPINO PRESIDENT THREATENS TO ARREST ANYONE WHO DOES NOT GET THE VACCINE

    The Philippine president has threatened to order the arrest of Filipinos who refuse Covid-19 vaccination and told them to leave the country if they would not cooperate with the efforts to contain the pandemic.

    President Rodrigo Duterte, who is known for his public outbursts and brash rhetoric, said in televised remarks Monday night that he has become exasperated with people who refuse to get immunized then help spread the coronavirus.

    "Don't get me wrong. There is a crisis being faced in this country. There is a national emergency. If you don't want to get vaccinated, I'll have you arrested and I'll inject the vaccine in your butt," Duterte said.

    "If you will not agree to be vaccinated, leave the Philippines. Go to India if you want or somewhere, to America," he said, adding he would order village leaders to compile a list of defiant residents.

    A human rights lawyer, Edre Olalia, raised concerns over Duterte's threat, saying the president could not order the arrest of anybody who has not clearly committed any crime.

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    WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO CATCH THE DELTA VARIANT?

    Cases are predominantly in younger people who are unvaccinated.

    People being hospitalised are also younger than previous waves, meaning they are "less in need of critical care".

    It's reassuring, however makes the case for jabbing all those under 30 before the lockdown lifts stronger.

    Prof Andrew Pollard, of the Oxford Vaccine Group who led trials of the AstraZeneca vaccine, told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "If you’re unvaccinated, then the virus will eventually find those individuals in the population who are unvaccinated.

    "And of course if you’re over 50 and unvaccinated, you’re at much greater risk of severe disease.”

    Experts have said "deprived, ethnic, urban communities may suffer disproportionately" from the Delta.

    Uptake of the jab has been lowest among those of ethnic minority, and the coronavirus spreads faster in poorer and more crowded areas. 

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    SUPERMARKET SALES FALL FROM PEAK A YEAR AGO

    Supermarket sales have fallen from the peak highs seen a year ago when stores were stripped bare in panic buying as the Covid-19 pandemic first descended on the UK, new data shows.

    Take-home grocery sales fell 1.6% during the 12 weeks to June 13 compared with 2020, according to Kantar, although they remain £3.3 billion higher than the same period two years ago.

    The number of shoppers heading to supermarkets also fell in the four weeks to June 13 by five million trips compared with May as customers took advantage of the reopening of indoor hospitality, spending their cash in restaurants and cafes instead.

    Average basket sizes also fell – down 13.6% – although on a 12-week measure, the number of trips to supermarkets increased as shoppers preferred to go more often, rather than big weekly shops.

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    WATCH: TOKYO OLYMPICS WILL ALLOW IN 10,000 SPECTATORS PER DAY – BUT NO FOREIGNERS ALLOWED

    Tokyo Olympics confirm 10,000 spectators allowed in every day despite Covid chaos but nobody from overseas

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    THE KIDS ARE NOT ALRIGHT

    Children as young as five years old are suffering panic attacks about meeting their friends, experts claim.

    NHS bosses have said that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused children across the country to become anxious with some even fearing leaving their homes.

    An investigation by the Telegraph has found that a growing number of concerned parents have reached out to private psychologists as there are waits of up to four years on the NHS.

    Many were left disappointed as private therapists are oversubscribed and unable to take on more patients.

    Private therapists claim that they are taking twice the amount of calls by worried parents and have been forced to turn away patients, the outlet reports.

    Experts have noted that repeated lockdowns, social distancing and the fear of getting infected have had a great impact on children, with many developing behavioural problems.

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    GRAPHIC: COVID VACCINATIONS IN THE UK

     

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    MATT HANCOCK: GOVERNMENT WORKING ON BOOSTER JAB PROGRAMME

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government is working on the booster jab programme and should have clinical data in the next few weeks.

    He told BBC Breakfast that second jabs offer very strong protection “but there is more protection still that we think that you can get from a booster jab and we’re currently trialling which combinations of jabs are the most effective”.

    “When we know the results of that, then we will set out the full plans for the booster programme over the autumn,” he said.

    “We’ve got to make sure we get the logistics right; for instance, GPs have been so heavily involved in this vaccination effort, but GPs have also got to do their day job, so that’s something we’re working hard on now, and, in the next few weeks, when we get the clinical data through on what’s the most effective combinations to have… then we’ll set out all the details of the booster programme for the autumn.”

    On NHS waiting times, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there is a “big and challenging backlog that has been caused by the pandemic” and suggested it could take up to a few years to clear.

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    WATCH: THOUSANDS QUEUE FOR JABS OUTSIDE TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM

    Huge queues form outside Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in Covid vaccination push as more than 700,000 jabs booked in 1 day

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    WHEN IS THE NEXT ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT HOLIDAYS?

    The Government has suggested it will announce its latest review of its ‘traffic light’ system on June 28.

    Currently people can visit countries on the Green list and return without needing to quarantine. For countries on the Amber list you must self-isolate for 10 days and travel to countries on the Red list is actively discouraged.

    Hopes that the Balearic Islands would be added to the list during the last review were dashed when instead the Government made few alterations except to move Portugal to the amber list – throwing thousands of people’s holidays into turmoil.

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    MINISTERS EYE TECHNOLOGY TO SAVE THOUSANDS OF NHS STAFFING HOURS

    New technology could save the NHS an estimated half a million hours a year in staff time by the middle of the decade, under plans to automate some behind-the-scenes tasks.

    The Government will publish a new draft data strategy this week, aimed at saving lives by sharing more patient information to give them better access to healthcare.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the changes were being made after the coronavirus pandemic demonstrated the need for more effective use of data.

    As well as using artificial intelligence (AI), the strategy will promote “robotic process automation”, which uses software to automate back office processes

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    STURGEON RECEIVES SECOND CORONAVIRUS VACCINE DOSE

    Scotland’s First Minister has received her second dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

    Nicola Sturgeon became one of the more than two million Scots to have two doses, on being vaccinated at the NHS Louisa Jordan vaccination centre at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on Monday.

    Following staff nurse Susan Inglis inoculating her with her second dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, she celebrated being double vaccinated and urged people ensure they attend their appointments for second doses.

    She tweeted: “Double vaccinated! Thank you @NHSLouisaJordan.

    “Please roll up your sleeve for both doses as soon as you are invited for an appointment – every single one of us who gets fully vaccinated is a step back to normality for all of us.”

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    GOVERNMENT MOVES TO SCRAP 10-DAY QUARANTINE FOR COVID CONTACTS

    Matt Hancock has said he plans to scrap the requirement for people who have had two Covid-19 jabs and come into contact with an infected person to isolate for 10 days.

    The Health Secretary said the approach is currently being piloted but will be introduced as soon as possible once clinicians have looked at the data.

    It came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the July 19 date for easing the final restrictions in England is “looking good”, when asked if he would rule out further lockdowns this winter.

    “You can never exclude that there will be some new disease, some new horror that we simply haven’t budgeted for, or accounted for,” he told reporters during a visit to a laboratory in Hertfordshire.

    “But looking at where we are, looking at the efficacy of the vaccines against all variants that we can currently see… I think it’s looking good for July 19 to be that terminus point.”

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    MANCHESTER MAYOR ANDY BURNHAM HITS BACK AT STURGEON OVER SCOTLAND TRAVEL BAN

    Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, responding to Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s comments, said: “I find that insulting, not for me, but for people here who are directly affected by what she announced. It’s not just the direct impact on Greater Manchester, it’s on our reputation as a city.

    “If the First Minister of a country stands up at a press conference and announces that the UK’s second city is going under a travel ban, it has an impact. People elsewhere in Europe, around the world, hear that. So it’s not like it’s just a sort of more localised thing between us and Scotland, it has an impact on our city region.

    “I don’t think we’ve been treated with the respect we deserve and I’m talking mainly there of the people of Greater Manchester, not myself. It’s had a real impact. It’s had an impact with people with holiday cottages booked, people who are having to go for work reasons.

    “So to suggest, as the First Minister has done today, ‘Oh, this is all about politics and posturing’, well say that to them, say that to those people.

    “Why is Bolton under a travel ban today, when it has a case rate that is quite a lot lower than Dundee? How is that fair?”

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    "PLEASE DO HAVE THE JAB," SAYS WOMAN WHO RECEIVED WORLD’S FIRST COVID VACCINE

    The woman who received the world’s first Covid jab outside trial conditions has urged other people to get vaccinated.

    Margaret Keenan was given the dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at Coventry’s University Hospital on December 8 2020.

    The 91-year-old told BBC Breakfast: “Whatever you thought before, please do have the jab.
    “There is nothing to it. Don’t be afraid of a needle. It is just to save your life and to save other lives.”

    She added that it “did feel very important to have it done” and she had hoped at the time that it would get “the ball rolling” in kickstarting the vaccination programme.

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    DEEP BREATHS

    Using an asthma inhaler could speed up Covid-19 recovery by three days, experts have claimed.

    It has raised hopes the extended lockdown could end sooner, as the NHS would have another tool to manage any surge in hospitalisations and cases.

    The average stay for a patient admitted to hospital with coronavirus is eight days, with inhalers able to reduce this by three days.

    In the UK there are 1,316 patients in hospital with the virus with 226 being admitted each day, government data states.

    Ministers told MPs last week doctors have been prescribing inhalers to patients on a “case-by-case” basis, The Telegraph reported.

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    PERIOD PAINS

    Alterations to usual period patterns among some women after they received a Covid-19 jab could have occurred “by chance”, leading gynaecologists have said.

    Experts at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said that many women experience a temporary change to their periods in their lifetime, so for some women the change may occur around the time they receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

    But RCOG said that anecdotally some women had reported heavier periods after receiving the vaccine and it said it would support “more data collection in this area to understand why this might be the case”.

    It comes after data suggested that almost 4,000 women had reported changes after they received a vaccine.

    The Sunday Times reported that the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had 2,734 reports after women had received the AstraZeneca vaccine, 1,158 related to the Pfizer jab, and 66 linked to the Moderna vaccine up to May 17.

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    FREEDOM COULD COME ‘SOONER RATHER THAN LATER’ ON JULY 5 THANKS TO COVID VACCINE PUSH, EXPERT REVEALS

    Freedom could come ‘sooner rather than later’ on July 5 thanks to Covid vaccine push, expert reveals

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    SNAPCHAT, TIKTOK, REDDIT AND YOUTUBE ENCOURAGE YOUNG PEOPLE TO GET VACCINATED

    Snapchat, Reddit, TikTok, and YouTube have partnered with the Government and NHS in a bid to encourage more young people to get vaccinated.

    It comes as all adults aged over 18 are invited to receive the vaccine in England.

    Dr Karan Rangarajan, an NHS surgeon and influencer who uses social media to tackle the spread of misinformation, told the PA news agency: “If you really want to get on top of the misinformation, and get ahead of the game, you need to go to the source of where it is coming from. And most of it is coming from social media.”

    The 31-year-old, who has 3.9 million followers on TikTok, said it was crucial these platforms were used to target younger people who might be “historically or traditionally more averse to getting their vaccine”.

    “Misinformation affects all groups equally and there is a large user base that is in their late teens or early 20s,” he said.

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