Coronavirus UK news – India red list decision 'too late to stop terrifying double mutant covid strain surging here'

INDIA'S terrifying "double mutant" strain of coronavirus is causing "increased concern" around the world.

Boris Johnson yesterday cancelled a scheduled visit to New Delhi as the virus there increasingly rages out of control.

Although it is not yet classified a variant of concern like Brazil or SOuth African strains , the fact it contains multiple mutations from the original SARS CoV-2 makes it much less easy to predict.

Two of the mutations seen in the India strain could make dodge vaccines much easier than earlier variants, while a third mutation could make it much easier to transmit.

That could explain why India is currently experiencing its worst outbreak of coronavirus since the pandemic began – something that has got increasingly concerned about the Indian strain becoming dominant.

So far there are at least 73 documented cases of the Indian strain in the UK.

There have also been multiple community transmissions, raising the prospect that not all incoming travellers with the virus were identified during their isolation period.

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for NHS Test and Trace, told the Andrew Marr Show: "We have seen a couple of cases (of the Indian variant) that haven't arisen from travel but we're still trying to undergo the investigations to look in great detail at where they might have acquired it from.

"To escalate it up the ranking we need to know that it is increased transmissibility, increased severity or vaccine evading, and we just don't have that yet."

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

  • Patrick Knox

    DAILY COVID DEATHS NOW LOWER THAN ROAD CRASHES

    Yesterday saw just four Brits die within 28 days of a positive test – the lowest daily figure since September 7.

    In a shocking comparison, figures from the Department of Transport show there are roughly five deaths from road accidents every day. 

    This means daily Covid deaths are now lower than road crash deaths – as the tide begins to turn against the bug.

    Cases and deaths continue to fall and the huge milestone brings more good news for the already record-breaking vaccine rollout.

  • Patrick Knox

    WHY IS TRAVEL BANNED WITH INDIA?

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the decision to add India to the travel ban list was backed by the latest data and is necessary to ensure "we don't lose our hard-won progress on the vaccine rollout," in a tweet.

    Boris Johnson said "everybody’s got a massive amount of sympathy with India" due to "the shape of the pandemic there" – as cases continue to climb.

    The country is now recording more than 200,000 confirmed infections per day.

  • Patrick Knox

    EU TO RULE ON J&J SHOT SAFETY AS VIRUS WAVE GRIPS INDIA

    Europe's drug regulator was expected to rule today on the safety of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine after fears it could be linked to extremely rare blood clots.

    But India said it will make shots available to all adults as it battles a terrifying wave of infections.

    The United States is also expected to announce its decision on the single-shot J&J vaccine by Friday, as nations around the world try to accelerate their rollouts and revive their pandemic-ravaged economies.

    The European Medicines Agency was due to hold a press conference from Amsterdam on Tuesday, after reviewing four cases — one fatal — of rare blood clots reported among people who got the J&J shot.

  • Patrick Knox

    MORE THAN 1,500 A DAY POURING INTO UK FROM INDIA

    Over 1,500 people PER DAY are expected to arrive before the travel ban comes into force at 4am at the end of the week, after Matt Hancock announced the "difficult but vital decision" to add India to the red list on Monday.

    The usual £400 rate for an economy flight back to the UK now costs five times as much, due to most planes being on the brink of capacity.

    Tickets are now going for £2,000, travel agents managing the madness told the Telegraph.

    Chairman of Indra Travel Suresh Kumar said: "There was concern India was going to be added but it was still quite a shock. People are concerned and desperate to get back and in a frenzy.”

  • Patrick Knox

    PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY AMID CONCERNS OVER INDIAN VARIANT

    The PM is expected to appear in Downing St at 5pm to update the nation on the latest about the jabs drive and the fight against the pandemic.

    His speech will come after ministers slapped India on the travel red list over concerns about the spread of a "double mutant" variant.

    The UK has now fully vaccinated more than 10m people, but there are concerns the new strain could be resistant to the current set of jabs.

    And ahead of the press conference, Boris urged Brits to stick with the Covid rules so the planned reopening of pubs indoors on May 17 can go ahead.

  • Patrick Knox

    US ISSUES ‘DO NOT TRAVEL’ WARNINGS TO 80% OF COUNTRIES

    An official statement stated the Covid-19 pandemic "continues to pose unprecedented risks to travelers" and urged citizens to reconsider international traveling.

    "This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80 per cent of countries worldwide," the statement reads.

    "This does not imply a reassessment of the current health situation in a given country, but rather reflects an adjustment in the State Department's Travel Advisory system to rely more on CDC's existing epidemiological assessments," it continued.

    The State Department has already listed 34 countries as "Level 4: Do Not Travel (Credit: The U.S. Department of State)
  • Joseph Gamp

    MPS ‘TO BE BARRED’ FROM STATE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT TO PROTECT THE QUEEN

    PATRIOTIC politicians must take Covid tests and may have to self-isolate to protect the Queen at next month’s State Opening of Parliament.

    The Sun can reveal parliamentary bosses have been working on a battle plan to overhaul the 500 year-old tradition because of the pandemic.

    Insiders said that, like Prince Philip’s funeral, the event will be “pared back” to comply with restrictions.

    Most MPs and peers are expected to be barred from the ceremony on May 17 so strict social distancing rules can be stuck to.

    Those who do get a much-coveted invite – including Boris Johnson and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle – will need a negative lateral flow test to attend.

    Read more here.

  • Alex Winter

    COST OF FLIGHTS HOME SKY-ROCKET AS INDIA GOES ON 'RED LIST'

    More on that last blog post.

    A one-way flight in economy from India to the UK is usually £400.

    But travel companies are now charging five times as much as planes reach capacity, with tickets going for £2,000.

    Many travellers had gone out on emergency visas to attend family funerals, weddings, or business trips, while students are also struggling to get back to their studies in the UK.

    Here's what you need to know.

  • Joseph Gamp

    WATCH: BRITAIN PASSES 10MILLION SECOND COVID VACCINES IN HUGE MILESTONE

    Britain passes 10MILLION second Covid vaccines in huge milestone as almost one in five adults now fully protected

     

  • Alex Winter

    1,500 A DAY FLYING HOME TO UK FROM INDIA

    More than 1,500 people are expected to arrive from India to the UK every day until the new hotel quarantine requirements begin on Friday.

    The country was put on Britain's travel 'red list' yesterday after cases surged.

    And the cost of a plane ticket has skyrocketed as people try to get home.

    More on this next.

  • Joseph Gamp

    JASON MANFORD’S NEW BBC GAMESHOW UNBEATABLE THROWN INTO CHAOS BY COVID TRACK AND TRACE ALERT

    Sun Exclusive by Andy Hall

    TELLY producers have been doing their utmost to keep shows on air during the pandemic, trying to keep outbreaks contained and to a minimum without halting production.

    But it’s a bit trickier if it’s the programme’s host who gets the dreaded alert from the NHS.

    Funnyman Jason Manford has revealed how his new BBC gameshow Unbeatable was thrown into chaos by an isolation order.

    He said: “I got track and traced. I’m one of the few people in the country who’ve downloaded the ‘grass yourself up’ app, and it’s somebody that I’ve been in contact with the weekend before last.

    “In the middle of the week I get a phonecall. I’m already in the make-up chair. I’m just about to go and record four episodes of this new show Unbeatable. We’re 20 episodes in of 50. There’s 60 people on set waiting – contestants have flown up from all over the country.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    OUTDOOR HOSPITALITY TO REOPEN IN WALES NEXT WEEK

    Six people from different households will be able to meet outdoors in Wales from Saturday and outdoor hospitality can reopen from the following Monday, the First Minister has announced.

    Mark Drakeford said cases of new coronavirus infections continued to fall, but people making use of the eased restrictions would still need to socially distance from those from other households or support bubbles.

    A number of other measures are also expected to be announced by Mr Drakeford on Friday. Current rules allow up to six people – excluding children under 11 – to meet outside but only from a maximum of two different households.

    From Saturday any six people can meet up outdoors, but meeting people from other households indoors is still not allowed unless in a limited number of circumstances.

    Then from Monday April 26, pubs, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality businesses will be allowed to offer outdoor service once again.

  • Joseph Gamp

    TEN MILLION GET SECOND JAB

    MORE than 10 million Brits have now received their second Covid vaccine, it was revealed yesterday.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the milestone ahead of his 3.30pm Commons statement.

    Mr Hancock said: “Over 10 million second vaccine doses have been administered across the UK.

    “This milestone shows how far we’ve come in our fight against this virus & I want to pay tribute to the whole team involved.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    UNIVERSAL CREDIT LOOPHOLE MEANS THOUSANDS OF KEY WORKERS COULD LOSE £500 BONUS

    THOUSANDS of key workers in Wales could lose out on a £500 Covid bonus if they are claiming Universal Credit.

    Frontline healthcare workers in the country have been promised a one of payment from the Government to thank them for their hardwork throughout the pandemic.

    The bonus is worth £735 but most people will receive £500 after national insurance and tax deductions, the Welsh Government said.

    But now officials have admitted those who claim Universal Credit might not benefit from the boost by as much as they should.

    This is because the welfare payments are means tested, so the amount you receive every month is based on your income.

    Read more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    ISRAEL DITCHES MASKS

    ISRAEL has ditched its mask mandate after 81 per cent of adults have received both coronavirus jabs.

    The country has become the envy of the world thanks to its trail-blazing Pfizer-BioNTech powered vaccine rollout.

    Approximately 81 per cent of over 16’s have received both vaccine doses, which has brought a sharp decrease in hospitalisations and outbreaks.

    The results offer a boost to Brits as the UK enjoys similar success with the vaccine rollout.

    In Britain, almost 10 million second doses have been administered.

  • Joseph Gamp

    BRAZIL SEES MORE THAN 30,000 COVID CASES AND 1.347 DEATHS IN 24 HOURS

    Brazil recorded 30,624 new coronavirus cases on Monday according to data released by the country's health ministry.

    The South American nation, which is clocking high numbers of incidents and fatalities also confirmed a further 1,347 deaths yesterday.

  • Joseph Gamp

    CALL FOR MORE STUDIES ON WHETHER VITAMIN D CAN PROTECT AGAINST COVID-19

    More must be done to establish whether vitamin D supplements can help protect against Covid-19, experts have said.

    The call comes after a new study found that people taking certain vitamins were less likely to test positive for the virus which causes Covid-19.

    Health officials in England have said that there is "not enough evidence" to recommend vitamin D supplements solely for preventing Covid-19.

    Experts at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) have said previously low levels of vitamin D have been associated with more severe Covid-19 – but it is difficult to know if low vitamin D levels cause poorer outcomes or vice versa.

    There is already guidance which recommends that anyone over the age of four should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D between October and early March to maintain bone and muscle health.

  • Joseph Gamp

    EXPERTS MEET TO CUT VACCINE DEVELOPMENT TIME IN FACE OF NEW PANDEMICS

    A panel of international experts is meeting to consider how the development of vaccines can be accelerated in response to any new pandemic.

    The pandemic preparedness partnership (PPP) will draw up advice on how Boris Johnson's target of cutting the development of new vaccines to as little as 100 days can be met. The inaugural two-day virtual conference, chaired by the Government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, brings together representatives of industry and international organisations with leading scientific experts.

    The aim is to produce an "actionable road map" in time for the meeting of G7 leaders taking place under the UK presidency in Cornwall in June.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who will open the conference, said: "The Covid pandemic has shaken the world but united us in our determination to ensure no disease has such an impact in the future.

    "As G7 president, the UK is determined to work with our partners to build back better from coronavirus and strengthen global preparedness for future pandemics. This new expert group will drive our efforts in the years ahead to protect people everywhere from new diseases and to save lives."

  • Joseph Gamp

    GRAPHIC: UK COVID-19 CASES AND DEATHS PER DAY

  • Joseph Gamp

    WALES (CONTINUED…)

    "Because meeting outdoors continues to be lower risk than meeting indoors, we are able to bring forward changes to allow any six people to meet outdoors.

    "This will provide more opportunities for people, especially young people, to meet outdoors with their friends. This will undoubtedly have a significant positive impact on people's wellbeing.

    "I'm also pleased to confirm outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday April 26.

    "These changes will help the hospitality sector recover after a difficult 12 months.

    "It is thanks to the continuing efforts of people across Wales we are able to introduce this change. Together, we will continue to keep Wales safe."

  • Joseph Gamp

    OUTDOOR HOSPITALITY TO REOPEN IN WALES NEXT WEEK

    Six people from different households will be able to meet outdoors in Wales from Saturday and outdoor hospitality can reopen from the following Monday, the First Minister has announced.

    Mark Drakeford said cases of new coronavirus infections continued to fall, but people making use of the eased restrictions would still need to socially distance from those from other households or support bubbles.

    A number of other measures are also expected to be announced by Mr Drakeford on Friday. Current rules allow up to six people – excluding children under 11 – to meet outside but only from a maximum of two different households.

    From Saturday any six people can meet up outdoors, but meeting people from other households indoors is still not allowed unless in a limited number of circumstances.

    Then from Monday April 26, pubs, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality businesses will be allowed to offer outdoor service once again.

  • Joseph Gamp

    JASON MANIFORD TRACK & TRACE ALERT (CONTINUED…)

    Funnyman Jason told the Sun's Bizarre TV columnist Andy Hall: “There’s this phonecall, ‘You’ve been track and traced, you need to isolate for the next ten days’. I was like ‘what, can I just do a test?’ It was ‘no’.

    “There was a second where I just thought ‘should I just keep my mouth shut’. Then I thought ‘what a hypocrite Jason you would be if you did that’.

    “I’ve been giving it out for the last year about people not being responsible.

    “I felt an incredible amount of pressure on my shoulders about telling this multi-million pound production ‘you can’t film for ten days’.”

    He added: “I went into isolation in a flat in Glasgow we were renting. I’ve quite enjoyed it. I’ve never had time like this to myself. I’ve been tested every day and I’m fine. My wife said, ‘Only one more day until freedom’ and I thought, ‘This is my last day of freedom’.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    JASON MANFORD’S NEW BBC GAMESHOW UNBEATABLE THROWN INTO CHAOS BY COVID TRACK AND TRACE ALERT

    Sun Exclusive by Andy Hall

    TELLY producers have been doing their utmost to keep shows on air during the pandemic, trying to keep outbreaks contained and to a minimum without halting production.

    But it’s a bit trickier if it’s the programme’s host who gets the dreaded alert from the NHS.

    Funnyman Jason Manford has revealed how his new BBC gameshow Unbeatable was thrown into chaos by an isolation order.

    He said: “I got track and traced. I’m one of the few people in the country who’ve downloaded the ‘grass yourself up’ app, and it’s somebody that I’ve been in contact with the weekend before last.

    “In the middle of the week I get a phonecall. I’m already in the make-up chair. I’m just about to go and record four episodes of this new show Unbeatable. We’re 20 episodes in of 50. There’s 60 people on set waiting – contestants have flown up from all over the country."

  • Joseph Gamp

    UNIVERSAL CREDIT LOOPHOLE MEANS THOUSANDS OF KEY WORKERS COULD LOSE £500 BONUS

    THOUSANDS of key workers in Wales could lose out on a £500 Covid bonus if they are claiming Universal Credit.

    Frontline healthcare workers in the country have been promised a one of payment from the Government to thank them for their hardwork throughout the pandemic.

    The bonus is worth £735 but most people will receive £500 after national insurance and tax deductions, the Welsh Government said.

    But now officials have admitted those who claim Universal Credit might not benefit from the boost by as much as they should.

    This is because the welfare payments are means tested, so the amount you receive every month is based on your income.

    Read more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    SOUTH AFRICAN AND KENT COVID VARIANTS ALREADY RECORDED IN PATIENTS WHO HAVE ALREADY BEEN VACCINATED, TOP MEDIC WARNS

    South African and Kent Covid variants already recorded in patients who have already been vaccinated, top medic warns  

    Source: Read Full Article