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Covid-19 information: UK critiques vaccine passports for journey and pubs


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Newest coronavirus information as of 5pm on 23 February

Evaluation into “vaccine passports” launched in UK

The UK authorities has begun a evaluate of whether or not to introduce certificates displaying somebody has had a covid-19 vaccine. So-calledvaccine passports might be used for worldwide journey and for permitting folks to enter locations like theatres or pubs, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated right now.

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“There are deep and complicated points that we have to discover, about what the function is for presidency in mandating folks to have such a factor or, certainly, banning folks from doing such a factor,” Johnson stated. “We are able to’t be discriminatory in opposition to individuals who, for no matter purpose, can’t have the vaccine.” Led by cupboard workplace minister Michael Gove, the evaluate’s findings are due earlier than England’s fourth stage of lockdown easing, on 21 June.

Iceland has stated they are going to, in future, let folks with a certificates of covid-19 vaccination enter with out quarantining or taking a coronavirus take a look at, andGreece, whose economic system depends on tourism, can also be pushing the European Union to press forward with organising vaccine passports for this summer time.

Throughout the UK, some companies have stated they plan to insist on new workers having been vaccinated. However there are nonetheless many unknowns in regards to the results of vaccination, together with how a lot it cuts transmission, and the way lengthy immunity lasts for.

Vaccine passports “are possible, however not all of the items are in place but,” says Melinda Mills on the College of Oxford, co-author of aRoyal Society report that units out 12 standards that have to be glad earlier than they can be utilized.

Different coronavirus information

Japan had barely fewer deaths in 2020 than the earlier 12 months, the primary time the annual loss of life toll has fallen in 11 years. It was down by 0.7 per cent, in line withpreliminary information from the Japanese Ministry of Well being, Labour and Welfare. The autumn was most likely attributable to a pointy decline in influenza circumstances because of an infection management measures in opposition to covid-19, similar to carrying face masks and handwashing. Japan has recorded solely 7529 deaths from the coronavirus to this point. In England, no circumstances of flu have been detected within the first seven weeks of 2021, in line withPublic Well being England.

Scotland’s roadmap for exiting lockdown wasintroduced right now. From the 15 March, all major and extra secondary pupils will return to high school, and 4 folks from two households shall be allowed to fulfill exterior. Within the final week of April, non-essential outlets, bars, eating places, gyms and hairdressers can reopen. The plan is just liketimings in England, the place all pupils shall be allowed again to colleges on Eight March, two households or as much as six folks can meet exterior from 29 March, and non-essential outlets will reopen no sooner than 12 April.

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Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.47 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 111.Eight million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

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The New York Occasions is monitoring hospital mattress occupancy in England in an interactive graphic.

Panorama: The Race for a Vaccine is a BBC documentary in regards to the inside story of the event of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in opposition to covid-19.

Race Towards the Virus: Hunt for a Vaccine is a Channel Four documentary which tells the story of the coronavirus pandemic by way of the eyes of the scientists on the frontline.

The New York Occasions is assessing the progress of various vaccine candidates and potential drug remedies for covid-19, and rating them for effectiveness and security.

People of COVID-19 is a undertaking highlighting the experiences of key staff on the frontline within the struggle in opposition to coronavirus within the UK, by way of social media.

Stomach Mujinga: Trying to find the Fact is a BBC Panorama investigation of the loss of life of transport employee Stomach Mujinga from covid-19, following studies she had been coughed and spat on by a buyer at London’s Victoria Station.

Coronavirus, Defined on Netflix is a brief documentary collection inspecting the on-going coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to struggle it and methods to handle its psychological well being toll.

New Scientist Weekly options updates and evaluation on the newest developments within the covid-19 pandemic. Our podcast sees professional journalists from the journal focus on the largest science tales to hit the headlines every week – from know-how and house, to well being and the setting.

COVID-19: The Pandemic that By no means Ought to Have Occurred, and The best way to Cease the Subsequent One by Debora Mackenzie is about how the pandemic occurred and why it is going to occur once more if we don’t do issues otherwise in future.

The Guidelines of Contagionis in regards to the new science of contagion and the stunning methods it shapes our lives and behavior. The writer, Adam Kucharski, is an epidemiologist on the London College of Hygiene and Tropical Drugs, UK, and within the guide he examines how ailments unfold and why they cease.

Earlier updates

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Lila Blanks holds the casket of her husband, Gregory Blanks, 50, who died of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19), forward of his funeral in San Felipe, Texas.

REUTERS/Callaghan O’Hare

22 February

Official US loss of life toll passes 500,000 and true determine might be 720,000

The official loss of life toll from covid-19 within the US has handed the 500,000 mark. Nevertheless, there’s substantial undercounting and the true loss of life toll might be round 720,000, Andrew Stokes at Boston College in Massachusetts informed New Scientist.

The US loss of life toll is the very best of any nation on the planet. “It’s horrible. It’s historic. We haven’t seen something even near this for effectively over 100 years, because the 1918 pandemic of influenza,” the US president’s chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci informed NBC. Brazil is second with almost 250,000 deaths, adopted by Mexico with 180,000, India with 156,000 and the UK with 121,000. Per capita, the UK additionally has the fourth highest covid-19 loss of life charge on the planet.

Case numbers within the US are actually declining quick. Nevertheless, the extra transmissible B.1.1.7 variant, first detected within the UK is now spreading, and there are fears it may result in yet one more wave of infections.

Different coronavirus information

Faculties in England will reopen on Eight March within the first of a collection of steps in direction of easing a lockdown imposed on 5 January. From 29 March outside sports activities and outside conferences of as much as six folks, or two households, are attributable to be allowed. If all goes to plan, all limits on social contact may finish by 21 June. The UK’s chief scientific advisor Patrick Vallance stated the easing ought to proceed slowly to keep away from the chance of a resurgence. “We’re not beginning all this as of right now from place. We’re not now in a form of ‘let’s launch every thing’ [position]. We’re in a not superb place that’s getting higher,” he stated at a press briefing right now.

Whereas vaccines are anticipated to make an enormous distinction on curbing circumstances, Vallance stated it was necessary to do not forget that as restrictions are relaxed, many individuals would nonetheless be unprotected. He identified that not the entire inhabitants shall be vaccinated, and the vaccines don’t supply a 100 per cent safety in opposition to an infection.

Vallance stated it was necessary to drive circumstances down low and house out relaxations so the impact might be monitored. “The message that comes out of all of the modelling is: begin from a low baseline, so attempt to get numbers down earlier than you begin releasing. Go slowly. Go in blocks [of relaxation] you could measure the impact of after Four or 5 weeks,” he stated.

Even a single vaccine dose significantly reduces the chance of being hospitalised with covid-19, in line with a preliminary examine completed in Scotland. By the fifth week after receiving their first dose, those that had obtained the Oxford/AstraZeneac jab had decreased their threat of hospitalisation by as much as 94 per cent, and people who obtained the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by as much as 85 per cent, the examine estimates.

A second “actual world” examine by Public Well being England exhibits that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine prevented 70 per cent of asymptomatic and symptomatic infections in well being staff in England underneath 65, simply 14 days after vaccination.

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Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.47 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 111.5 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

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Geoff Holland, 90, and Jenny Holland, 86, obtain their injections of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a former Wickes retailer in Mansfield, UK.

Joe Giddens/Pool by way of REUTERS

19 February

95 per cent of individuals over 70 in Nice Britain have had a vaccine dose

In Nice Britain, 95 per cent of individuals aged over 70 have had a minimum of one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, in line with a survey of 6000 folks by the Workplace of Nationwide Statistics (ONS). Many of the the rest have been provided a vaccine and are ready to obtain it. Lower than 1 per cent of individuals aged over 70 years stated they declined the supply of a vaccine. General, 91 per cent of all adults surveyed stated they’d both been vaccinated already or would get vaccinated when provided it. These numbers are higher than anticipated. For example, in a single UK survey completed in December earlier than vaccination started, simply 72 per cent stated they have been keen to get vaccinated. Nevertheless, the ONS survey didn’t embrace adults residing in care properties or different institutions, and due to small pattern sizes, the ONS says the share of individuals saying they’ve declined vaccination needs to be handled with warning.

Different coronavirus new

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doesn’t have to be saved ultracold as was beforehand thought when the vaccine was accredited to be used. The businesses say it’s secure at between -25ºC and -15ºC, and have requested regulators to vary the phrases on which it was accredited. New Scientist reported in November that different mRNA vaccines utilizing the identical know-how have been secure at fridge temperatures, and that the identical needs to be true of the Pfizer vaccine.

Japan has reported 91 circumstances of individuals contaminated with a brand new coronavirus variant known as B.1.1.316. It has the E484Ok mutation additionally discovered within the South African and Brazilian variants, which permits the virus to partially evade immunity from previous an infection or vaccination. Nevertheless, Japan has had decrease ranges of an infection than South Africa or Brazil, and simply 7000 deaths.

Brazil is vaccinating a whole city as an experiment to see what impact it has on coronavirus transmission. The complete grownup inhabitants of Serrana within the state of São Paulo, estimated to be 30,000, shall be provided the CoronaVac vaccine made by China-based firm Sinovac.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.44 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 110.Four million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

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A lady walks by a digital memorial to MTA staff known as “Travels Far: A Memorial Honoring Our Colleagues Misplaced To Covid-19” within the subway station at Union Sq. in New York Metropolis.

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18 February

Life expectancy fell by one 12 months in 2020, helped by the coronavirus

Life expectancy within the US fell by one 12 months on common within the first half of 2020, in line with figures from the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. The covid-19 pandemic is prone to be a major contributor, consultants informed CNN. US life expectancy is now the bottom it has been since 2006. “Covid is on observe to trigger extra deaths than most cancers or coronary heart illness,” Eileen Crimmins on the College of Southern California informed CNN.

The autumn was seen throughout ethnic teams however was most pronounced in minorities. Black People misplaced 2.7 years off their life expectancy, and Hispanics misplaced 1.9 years, whereas white People misplaced 0.Eight years. Life expectancy disparities between Black and white folks within the US had been shrinking lately however the pandemic has reversed a few of that progress. Over the previous 40 years, life expectancy had been progressively rising within the US, other than between 2014 and 2017, when it fell by one third of a 12 months. This has been attributed to the epidemic of opioid misuse within the nation, in addition to stagnating decline in deaths from coronary heart illness.

Different coronavirus information

New coronavirus infections in England fell by two-thirds between mid-January and the primary two weeks of February. The autumn exhibits “lockdown measures are successfully bringing infections down”, stated Paul Elliott at Imperial School London in a press release. The figures come from one of many largest and most authoritative surveys of infections known as REACT. At present about one in 200 individuals are contaminated in England, an analogous degree to September. The nationwide R quantity – the typical variety of folks one particular person will infect – is estimated to be between 0.69 and 0.76, which means that infections are falling. The findings are primarily based on greater than 85,000 swab assessments from randomly chosen folks. Whereas all areas of England confirmed declining infections, they fell most steeply in London, the South East and West Midlands, and fewer steeply within the North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber. This might be linked to more durable lockdown guidelines being launched earlier in London and the South East, the BBC reported.

Greece has agreed to a trial of permitting vacationers to enter the nation if they’ve been vaccinated in opposition to covid-19, as soon as flights resume. The preliminary trial shall be with guests from Israel, which has given the coronavirus vaccine to the next proportion of its inhabitants than every other nation. Greece’s tourism minister, Haris Theoharis informed BBC Radio 4’s At present programme that the nation is in talks with British officers about how an analogous scheme would possibly work with the UK.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.41 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 110 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

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A coronavirus lateral stream gadget displaying a optimistic take a look at consequence.

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17 February

UK authorities plans to ship 400,000 assessments a day to properties and workplaces

Fast coronavirus assessments will begin being despatched out by publish subsequent month to permit twice-weekly testing of individuals with out covid-19 signs for as much as two-thirds of England’s inhabitants. The pregnancy-test-style lateral stream assays, which search for viral proteins in a swab from the nostril or throat, produce outcomes inside half an hour, however they don’t seem to be as correct because the slower PCR assessments utilized in labs and clinics. The lateral stream assessments are already getting used for screening folks with out covid-19 signs in settings similar to healthcare, care properties and in sure faculties and universities. The variety of these assessments carried out has elevated massively prior to now month. The newest deliberate growth would contain finishing up greater than 400,000 assessments a day in properties and workplaces, in line with paperwork seen by The Occasions. The roll-out would start earlier than faculties open up face-to-face educating – at present slated for Eight March in England – and the assessments can be despatched to schoolchildren, their households and academics, in addition to anybody who can not work from home. It might be accompanied by a marketing campaign to encourage uptake provisionally known as “Are you prepared? Get testing. Go.”

Utilizing lateral stream assessments for mass screening is controversial, as a result of they’ve a larger false-negative charge than PCR assessments. Proponents say lateral stream assessments discover people who find themselves most infectious. Critics say they miss people who find themselves nonetheless able to transmitting the virus and who’re then falsely reassured they’re freed from the virus, so might behave extra riskily. A spokesperson for the UK’s Division of Well being and Social Care stated their plans for increasing testing haven’t but been finalised.

Different coronavirus information

4 extra signs needs to be added to the listing of indicators that folks want a coronavirus take a look at, researchers say. The brand new signs are fatigue, headache, sore throat and diarrhoea. The present signs that point out the necessity for a take a look at are cough, fever or lack of style or scent. The findings come from an evaluation of customers of an app known as the Zoe Covid Symptom Examine, which tracks covid-19 signs and circumstances. Utilizing these further indicators as a set off for testing would result in many extra folks being examined who don’t have the virus, however it will additionally choose up 40 per cent extra coronavirus circumstances, the researchers have calculated.

The world’s first examine that can intentionally infect wholesome volunteers with the coronavirus will start subsequent month. Initially, 90 folks aged 18-30 can have a small dose of the virus squirted up their nostril and can then be rigorously monitored to see how their immune system reacts and to search out the smallest dose wanted for a light an infection. In future the experimenters will examine how efficient vaccines are in opposition to present and novel variants of the virus, stated Chris Chiu at Imperial School London.

South Africa will this week turn into the primary nation on the planet to begin giving folks the Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine. This one-shot jab is efficient at stopping extreme illness from the coronavirus variant prevalent in that nation.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.43 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 109.6 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

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A woman wearing a face mask stands on a balcony in a retirement home

A lady in a retirement dwelling appears to be like out on the view from her balcony

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16 February

Almost two million extra folks shall be added to England’s shielding listing

About 1.7 million folks in England shall be informed to protect and take further precautions from covid-19 after they have been discovered to be at severe threat of illness or loss of life. They will even be prioritised for covid-19 vaccination. The addition will deliver the overall quantity on the UK authorities’s shielding listing to nearly Four million, all of whom are being suggested to protect till 31 March.

The folks being added to the listing have been recognized utilizing an algorithm to foretell whether or not an individual is prone to extreme illness or loss of life from covid-19. The algorithm incorporates data on age, ethnicity, physique mass index, different well being situations and postcode (which is indicative of the extent of deprivation). “As we be taught extra about covid-19, we’re repeatedly reviewing the proof,” Jenny Harries, certainly one of England’s deputy chief medical officers, informed a briefing on 16 February. “It was very clear that not all of these people who have been in danger have been recognized by the binary method,” she stated. Harries stated it is going to be as much as the people to determine whether or not to comply with the shielding recommendation or not.

Different coronavirus information

An estimated one in 5 folks in England had antibodies in opposition to the coronavirus within the 28 days as much as 1 February, suggesting they’d beforehand been contaminated or had obtained a covid-19 vaccine, in line with the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics. In Wales and Northern Eire the equal estimate was one in 7 and for Scotland it was one in 9 folks. Folks have been examined for antibodies as a part of the COVID-19 An infection Survey within the UK. In England, folks aged 80 and over have been probably to check optimistic for antibodies with 40.9 per cent testing optimistic, which might be because of the excessive vaccination charge on this group. “It might be tempting to imagine that quantifying antibody ranges like this tells us the extent and distribution of immunity to covid-19 within the inhabitants, however we have no idea what elements of the immune system are required for immunity or how lengthy safety will final,” stated Simon Clarke on the College of Studying in a assertion.

Early information from vaccinations in Israel point out that the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine prevents 94 per cent of symptomatic coronavirus infections. The examine checked out 600,000 absolutely vaccinated folks and the identical variety of unvaccinated folks. This can be a very related degree of effectiveness to that recorded in scientific trials of the vaccine. Israel’s well being fund, Clalit, used coronavirus take a look at outcomes extracted from folks’s well being information to check numbers of infections between those that had obtained two doses of the vaccine and people who hadn’t obtained any doses. There have been 94 per cent fewer infections amongst those that had been vaccinated. Almost half of Israel’s resident grownup inhabitants have obtained a minimum of one dose of covid-19 vaccine to this point.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.41 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 109 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

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A laboratory technician handles vials in a laboratory

Genome sequencing of the coronavirus and its variants on the Centre Nationwide de Reference in France

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15 February

Coronavirus variants carrying related mutations detected within the US

Seven coronavirus variants carrying related mutations have been detected within the US. All of the variants, reported in a preliminary examine, have gained a mutation on the similar location of their genome and seem to belong to the identical lineage as a virus first sequenced on 1 December, which subsequently grew to become extra frequent. “There’s clearly one thing happening with this mutation,” Jeremy Kamil at Louisiana State College and co-author of the examine, informed the New York Occasions. It isn’t clear if the mutation makes the variants extra transmissible, just like the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant first sequenced within the UK, however its location in a gene that influences how the virus enters human cells is regarding. “I feel there’s a transparent signature of an evolutionary profit,” stated Kamil. The preliminary examine was launched on a pre-print server and has not been peer-reviewed.

Different coronavirus information

UK well being minister Matt Hancock revealed that a 3rd of social care staff in England haven’t had a covid-19 vaccine but, regardless of being among the many first precedence teams. “We’ll preserve providing and preserve contacting individuals who work in social care,” Hancock informed the BBC’s Breakfast present. “Clearly the uptake there is essential,” he stated. Individually, a preliminary examine discovered decrease covid-19 vaccine uptake amongst Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers on the College Hospitals of Leicester NHS Belief in England. “These findings give vital trigger for concern, as ethnic minority teams (particularly these working in healthcare) are at larger threat of an infection with [the coronavirus] and hostile end result from covid-19,” stated the report, which has not been peer-reviewed. Greater than 15 million folks have obtained a dose of covid-19 vaccine within the UK to this point, in line with the federal government’s goal of providing a primary dose of vaccine to 4 precedence teams by mid-February.

“We’ll do every thing we are able to” to reopen faculties in England by Eight March, UK prime minister Boris Johnson has stated, including: “However we’ve bought to maintain wanting on the information, we’ve bought to maintain wanting on the charges of an infection, don’t neglect they’re nonetheless very excessive.” The UK authorities is predicted to set out plans for ending restrictions at a briefing on 22 February. Johnson stated the federal government’s plans shall be “cautious however irreversible”.

The first travellers required to remain at quarantine lodges in England arrived at London’s Heathrow airport on 15 February. Folks arriving within the UK from 33 “pink listing” international locations are actually required to enter necessary resort quarantine for 10 days on arrival, at their very own expense.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.Four million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 108 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

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A lady receives the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid19 vaccine at an NHS vaccination middle in Ealing, west London

NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

12 February

Vaccinations of individuals underneath 70 start in England subsequent week

Vaccinators in England can now begin giving covid-19 vaccines to folks aged between 65 and 69, so long as they’ve already provided jabs to older and clinically susceptible folks within the prime precedence teams. “Now we have been informed by NHS England that, in distinctive circumstances, the place now we have reached different teams, we are able to transfer on to cohort 5 [people aged 65 to 69],” an nameless physician informed the Guardian. Throughout the UK, 14 million folks had obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 12 February – equal to about 20 per cent of the overall inhabitants.

Infections fall throughout the UK

Coronavirus infections look like falling throughout the UK. The Workplace for Nationwide Statistics estimates that about one in 80 folks in England had covid-19 within the week as much as 6 February, down from one in 65 folks the earlier week. In Wales, Northern Eire and Scotland the equal figures for the latest week are roughly one in 85, one in 75 and one in 150 folks respectively, all down from the earlier week’s figures. The newest official estimate of the R quantity – the typical variety of folks every particular person with coronavirus infects – places it between 0.7 and 0.9 for the UK as a complete, indicating the nation’s epidemic is shrinking.

Neil Ferguson at Imperial School London, who advises the UK authorities as a part of the New and Rising Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, stated lockdowns have helped drive down circumstances. “They’re mainly halving about each 17 days in the meanwhile,” he informed Politico’s Westminster Insider podcast. Ferguson stated it could be doable to reopen a minimum of major faculties in a month’s time. “And if we proceed to see then a continued decline with out massive outbreaks, then maybe beginning to calm down different elements of society the next month,” he added. UK prime minister Boris Johnson has stated discussions on reopening faculties will occur within the week beginning 22 February, with faculties probably capable of reopen from Eight March.

Different coronavirus information

Germany is imposing strict new border controls attributable to concern over coronavirus variants, with a ban on journey into the nation from the Czech Republic and Austria the place the B.1351 and B.1.1.7 variants of the virus have been discovered to be prevalent. Returning residents and sure important staff shall be exempt.

French well being authority Haute Autorite de Sante advisable that individuals who have already had covid-19 and recovered ought to solely be provided a single shot of covid-19 vaccine. “The one dose of vaccine will act as a reminder,” it stated in a press release.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.37 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 107 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

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Photo of a person's hand holding a box of medication labelled tocilizumab

A pharmacist in France shows a field of tocilizumab, which is used within the remedy of rheumatoid arthritis

PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS/Alamy Inventory Photograph

11 February

Roche’s arthritis drug tocilizumab discovered to chop threat of loss of life amongst sufferers with extreme covid-19

The arthritis drug tocilizumab reduces the chance of loss of life amongst severely ailing covid-19 sufferers, in line with findings from the RECOVERY trial, which has been testing a spread of potential remedies for the illness since March final 12 months. The examine discovered that 29 per cent of covid-19 sufferers who obtained tocilizumab died inside 28 days, in comparison with 33 per cent of those that didn’t obtain the drug. Therapy with tocilizumab – offered underneath the model title Actemra by Swiss firm Roche – additionally shortened the time to restoration and decreased the requirement for mechanical air flow. The trial included 2022 covid-19 sufferers randomly allotted to obtain tocilizumab along with their normal care and 2094 sufferers allotted to straightforward care solely, which for 82 per cent of all sufferers within the examine included remedy with a steroid, similar to dexamethasone. Final 12 months, dexamethasone grew to become the first drug discovered to cut back loss of life charges in covid-19 sufferers. The latest outcomes point out that tocilizumab gives further advantages when used with steroids, like dexamethasone. “Utilized in mixture, the impression is substantial,” stated Martin Landray on the College of Oxford, one of many lead investigators on the trial. “After dexamethasone (steroids), that is essentially the most vital advance within the remedy of covid,” stated Athimalaipet Ramanan on the College of Bristol in a assertion.

Different coronavirus information

The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) issued up to date steerage saying individuals who have been “absolutely vaccinated” in opposition to covid-19 are now not suggested to quarantine if they’re uncovered to somebody who assessments optimistic for coronavirus. This is applicable to individuals who have had each doses of a covid-19 vaccine a minimum of two weeks in the past. Nevertheless, the CDC stated this doesn’t imply that absolutely vaccinated people ought to cease taking precautions and added that individuals who had their pictures three months in the past or extra ought to nonetheless quarantine if they’re uncovered, because it isn’t recognized how lengthy safety in opposition to covid-19 lasts.

US well being officers are advising folks within the nation to think about carrying two masks on prime of one another to raised shield themselves in opposition to coronavirus an infection. A CDC report steered carrying a fabric masks over a disposable surgical masks or enhancing the match of a single surgical masks as methods to spice up safety.

It may take six to 9 months to provide and deploy covid-19 vaccines that work in opposition to new variants of the coronavirus, in line with AstraZeneca. The UK-Swedish firm made this assertion after its present vaccine was discovered to be much less efficient in opposition to the coronavirus variant first recognized in South Africa.

The Guardian reported that greater than 40 per cent of workers on the UK’s largest care dwelling supplier haven’t obtained any doses of covid-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.35 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 107 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

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A woman is pictured sitting on a chair, holding a coronavirus test kit

A lady takes a coronavirus take a look at at a brief testing facility in London, UK

Hollie Adams/Getty Pictures

10 February

Chills, lack of urge for food, headache and muscle ache linked to covid-19 in new examine

New signs have been linked to covid-19 in sure age teams, together with chills, lack of urge for food, headache and muscle ache, in Imperial School London’s REACT examine. The 4 new signs have been recognized by researchers by way of random swab testing and questioning of greater than one million folks in England, performed between June 2020 and January 2021. The researchers discovered an affiliation between testing optimistic for the coronavirus and reporting any of those new signs or different signs beforehand linked to covid-19, similar to a persistent cough, fever or a loss or change in sense of style or scent.

The extra signs folks had, the extra possible they have been to check optimistic, though there was some variation in signs throughout totally different age teams. Chills have been linked with an infection throughout all age teams, whereas complications have been reported primarily in youngsters aged 5-17, urge for food loss in adults over 18 and muscle aches in these aged 18-54. Contaminated 5-17 12 months olds have been additionally much less prone to report experiencing fever, persistent cough and urge for food loss, compared with adults.

The REACT examine additionally checked out whether or not reported signs modified earlier than and after the B.1.1.7 variant grew to become the dominant variant within the UK. It discovered that signs have been largely related, regardless of the elevated prevalence of B.1.1.7. Nevertheless, loss or change of sense of scent was much less predictive of getting covid-19 in January when B.1.1.7 accounted for about 86 per cent of infections, in contrast with November to December when it was 16 per cent. “Because the epidemic progresses and new variants emerge, it’s important that we preserve monitoring how the virus impacts folks in order that testing programmes meet altering wants,” stated Joshua Elliott, one of many researchers behind the examine at Imperial School London, in a press release.

Different coronavirus information

Folks within the UK are going to need to “get used to the concept of vaccinating and revaccinating within the autumn as we face these new variants”, UK prime minister Boris Johnson informed parliament on 10 February. A number of vaccine producers have confirmed that they’re already engaged on new variations of their covid-19 vaccines to ensure they continue to be efficient. The UK authorities lately introduced a partnership with producer CureVac to quickly manufacture new vaccines in response to new coronavirus variants if wanted. “We imagine that they could assist us to develop vaccines that may reply at scale to new variants of the virus,” stated Johnson.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam stated he doesn’t suppose the B.1351 coronavirus variant first recognized in South Africa “goes to be a dominant difficulty within the subsequent few months”. Talking on BBC Information, Van-Tam stated 90 per cent of circumstances within the UK in the meanwhile are brought on by the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in Kent.

South Africa is contemplating promoting or exchanging its doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, in line with the nation’s well being minister. Plans to begin administering the jabs have been placed on maintain this week after a small, preliminary examine indicated it could not shield in opposition to gentle or reasonable covid-19 brought on by the B.1.351 variant.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.34 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 107 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Boosting vaccines: The coronavirus vaccines gained’t work for everybody, however there are many issues we all know may also help with vaccine success, from sleeping effectively earlier than a jab to avoiding doomscrolling afterwards and getting sufficient train.

Trying to find immunity: Not everybody can have unintended effects similar to a sore arm from a coronavirus vaccine, however that doesn’t imply it didn’t work. Antibody assessments can affirm your immunity, however they should be the correct.

Peter Ben Embarek, a member of the WHO-China joint study team, gestures with his hand as he answers a question during a press conference

Peter Ben Embarek solutions questions on the WHO-China joint examine press convention in Wuhan, China on 9 February

Xinhua Information Company/PA Pictures

9 February

WHO workforce in China is investigating principle that coronavirus was unfold by way of frozen meals

The World Well being Group (WHO) mission in Wuhan, China has dominated out the likelihood that the coronavirus originated in a laboratory, however the workforce is investigating whether or not the virus got here from frozen meals, probably from exterior China. The investigation workforce chief Peter Ben Embarek stated the virus appears to have originated in bats, as initially thought, nevertheless it was most likely transmitted to people by way of an unknown intermediate species, probably a useless or frozen animal meals product. Embarek stated it’s “extraordinarily unlikely” that the virus escaped from a lab. The WHO mission arrived in China in January and spent 4 weeks researching the origin of the coronavirus with web site visits to the Huanan seafood market, initially suspected because the supply of the virus, in addition to the laboratories on the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was additionally being investigated as a possible supply. It introduced its preliminary findings at a press briefing in Wuhan on 9 February.

Different coronavirus information

Folks arriving in England who’re required to quarantine in lodges shall be charged a payment of £1750 to cowl the price of their keep, transport and coronavirus assessments, UK well being minister Matt Hancock introduced. Individuals who fail to quarantine face fines of as much as £10,000, whereas those that lie on their passenger locator types about visiting any of 33 “pink listing” international locations withstand 10 years in jail. Hancock stated related measures are being checked out for the devolved nations. “Individuals who flout these guidelines are placing us all in danger,” he informed parliament on Tuesday. He additionally confirmed that an enhanced testing regime for all arrivals would begin on 15 February, from which level all arrivals shall be required to get examined for the coronavirus on the second and eighth days of their 10-day quarantine interval.

Additional covid-19 testing will start in elements of Higher Manchester within the UK, following the invention of 4 folks contaminated with a mutated model of the B.1.1.7 variant, first recognized in Kent. The 4 folks, from two separate households in Higher Manchester, have been discovered to be contaminated with a virus carrying the E484Ok mutation. The mutation is regarding, as there’s proof that some covid-19 vaccines could also be much less efficient in opposition to the B.1.351 variant, often known as the “South Africa variant”, which has the identical mutation.

The NHS covid-19 app has informed 1.7 million folks in England and Wales to self-isolate since its launch in September. A preliminary evaluation by researchers on the College of Oxford and the Alan Turing Institute signifies 594,000 coronavirus circumstances have been prevented by the app. The app has had about 21.7 million downloads, though inner information suggests about 16.5 million individuals are at present actively utilizing its contact-tracing device, in line with the BBC.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.32 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 106 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

South Africa variant: South Africa paused its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine because it won’t be efficient in opposition to the South African B.1.351 coronavirus variant – however it’s nonetheless prone to restrict the severity of covid-19.

A person wearing a face mask leans out of a car window to get vaccinated

An individual receives a covid-19 vaccine at a drive-through vaccination centre in St Albans, UK

REUTERS/Paul Childs

Eight February

Researchers are investigating methods to switch covid-19 vaccines to sort out the South Africa variant and others that emerge

UK ministers say work is underway to tweak current covid-19 vaccines to sort out new variants of the coronavirus together with the B.1.351 coronavirus variant, generally known as the “South Africa variant”. On 6 February, a small, preliminary examine was reported to point out that the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine might not shield in opposition to gentle or reasonable covid-19 brought on by B.1.351. No less than 147 circumstances of this variant have now been detected within the UK. “Our good scientists and medical advisers are actually engaged on the potential for brand new variations of current vaccines to supply additional protections in opposition to covid variants,” Nadhim Zahawi, minister for covid-19 vaccine deployment, wrote within the Telegraph. As a precaution, South Africa – the place the variant accounts for about 90 per cent of latest coronavirus circumstances – has put its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on maintain. Nevertheless, the examine, which has not but been printed or peer-reviewed, was comparatively small and didn’t have a look at the impression of the vaccine on extreme illness or loss of life.

Sarah Gilbert on the College of Oxford, one of many lead vaccine researchers on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, stated a modified model that’s efficient in opposition to the South Africa variant might be able to deploy within the autumn. “What we’re seeing from different vaccine builders is that they’ve a discount in efficacy in opposition to a number of the variant viruses,” Gilbert informed the BBC’s Andrew Marr Present on 7 February, including that though vaccines could also be much less efficient at lowering circumstances with new variants, they nonetheless look like protecting in opposition to loss of life, hospitalisation and extreme illness. Different covid-19 vaccine producers are additionally engaged on new variations of their vaccines to ensure they continue to be efficient. “We’re very assured in all of the vaccines that we’re utilizing, and I feel it’s necessary for folks to keep in mind that every one of them, we expect, are efficient in delivering a excessive diploma of safety in opposition to severe sickness and loss of life, which is an important factor,” stated UK prime minister Boris Johnson, in an interview with Sky Information on Eight February. “We shall be persevering with to review the outcomes, the effectiveness, of the vaccine rollout.”

Different coronavirus information

All folks residing within the UK shall be eligible to obtain a covid-19 vaccine no matter whether or not they have the authorized proper to work and reside within the nation, the UK authorities stated on Eight February. “Coronavirus vaccines shall be provided to everybody residing within the UK freed from cost, no matter immigration standing,” a authorities spokesperson informed Reuters. The federal government stated getting the vaccine wouldn’t set off immigration checks.

Eire stated it is going to crack down on travellers returning to the UK from the Center East by way of Eire to keep away from lately launched quarantine guidelines. The variety of folks travelling to Dublin from Dubai has risen because the UK added the United Arab Emirates to its journey ban listing in January.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.31 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 106 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Pandemic burnout: The strain of the pandemic dangers constructing to burnout, however information that vaccines assist cease folks catching and spreading the coronavirus gives hope of launch.

Three people wearing face coverings sit on chairs in a waiting area

Folks wait to obtain the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine at Copes pharmacy in Streatham, England

Dan Kitwood/Getty Pictures

5 February

Early outcomes recommend the Oxford covid-19 vaccine works in opposition to B.1.1.7 virus variant

Preliminary outcomes point out that the covid-19 vaccine developed by the College of Oxford and AstraZeneca is efficient in opposition to the extremely transmissible coronavirus variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected within the UK. Researchers on the College of Oxford analysed swabs from vaccine trial individuals who had examined optimistic for the coronavirus between 1 October 2020 and 14 January 2021, to find out the variant of the virus with which they’d been contaminated. They discovered related efficacy charges of the vaccine in opposition to the B.1.1.7 variant (74.6 per cent efficient) and the unique virus (84 per cent efficient). That is even though these contaminated with the B.1.1.7 variant produced fewer antibodies that would neutralise the virus. The outcomes have been launched on-line as a pre-print and haven’t been peer-reviewed.

Vaccine researchers are investigating methods to switch current covid-19 vaccines quickly to make sure continued safety in opposition to different new variants as effectively. “We’re working with AstraZeneca to optimise the pipeline required for a pressure change ought to one turn into crucial,” stated Sarah Gilbert on the College of Oxford in a assertion. “This is identical difficulty that’s confronted by the entire vaccine builders, and we are going to proceed to observe the emergence of latest variants that come up in readiness for a future pressure change,” she stated. “All viruses accumulate mutations over time, and for influenza vaccines there’s a well-known course of of world viral surveillance, and choice of strains for an annual replace of the vaccines.”

Different coronavirus information

Coronavirus circumstances look like falling in many of the UK. The latest outcomes from a random swab testing survey by the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics point out optimistic assessments have been falling in England, Scotland and Northern Eire within the week as much as 30 January. New infections throughout the UK as a complete are estimated to be falling by between 2 and 5 per cent every day, and the newest official estimate for the UK’s R quantity – the typical variety of folks every coronavirus case infects – places it between 0.7 and 1.0. That is probably to symbolize the scenario two to a few weeks in the past, attributable to a time lag within the information. The UK authorities stated it goals for all folks aged 50 and above to have been provided a covid-19 vaccine by Could, clarifying earlier feedback by a spokesperson for UK prime minister Boris Johnson who on Four February stated the federal government’s goal was “spring”.

Johnson & Johnson utilized for an emergency use authorisation from the US Meals and Drug Administration for its covid-19 vaccine. The corporate introduced final week that the single-dose vaccine had an efficacy of about 66 per cent in section III trials. If accredited, it will turn into the third covid-19 vaccine authorised for emergency use within the US, after these developed by Pfizer and its associate BioNTech and by Moderna.

Israel introduced it will ease lockdown restrictions from 7 am native time on 7 February however will preserve its borders closed, after a slight discount in coronavirus circumstances. Virtually 80 per cent of individuals over 50 in Israel have obtained a covid-19 vaccine to this point. The nation is vaccinating its 9 million residents at the next charge than every other nation.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.28 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 105 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

A person wearing personal protective equipment holds a vaccine vial and syringe between their fingers

A health care provider prepares to manage the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, UK

NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Four February

UK plans to check impact of giving one dose every of the Pfizer and Astrazeneca covid-19 vaccines

A UK trial is aiming to research the impression of giving folks two totally different covid-19 vaccines for his or her first and second doses. With the ability to use both vaccine will create extra flexibility within the supply of doses, and assist take care of disruption in provides, stated England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam. He stated combining two totally different vaccines on this approach may additionally increase immune responses, probably main to raised safety in opposition to covid-19. The trial, which is being led by researchers on the College of Oxford and funded by the UK authorities’s vaccine taskforce, will recruit 820 volunteers over the age of 50 who haven’t but obtained a covid-19 vaccine. Individuals will then obtain a primary dose of both the vaccine developed by the College of Oxford and AstraZeneca or the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. A few of them will get the identical vaccine once more for his or her second dose 4 or 12 weeks later and others will get a second dose of the opposite vaccine, to check the impact of mixing the 2 pictures and of various time intervals between doses.

UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi stated the nation is on observe to fulfill its goal of vaccinating all folks within the 4 precedence teams in opposition to covid-19 by 15 February. He informed parliament it has been “an unbelievable effort” that has “drawn on the exhausting work of so many”. Final month, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated the UK authorities goals to have given a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine to all these over 70, essentially the most clinically susceptible folks and frontline well being and social care staff by 15 February – equal to about 15 million folks. Throughout the UK, greater than 10.Four million folks had obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of Four February.

Different coronavirus information

Worldwide journey was related to elevated loss of life charges within the worst-affected international locations in the course of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, in line with a examine printed within the scientific journal BMJ Open. Tiberiu Pana on the College of Aberdeen, UK, and colleagues analysed the connection between country-level components – similar to worldwide arrivals, inhabitants density and well being indicators – and the typical enhance in every day deaths recorded in early 2020 throughout the 37 international locations with the very best loss of life charges from covid-19. They discovered that the largest enhance in loss of life charges was related to worldwide arrivals. A rise of one million worldwide arrivals was related to a 3.Four per cent rise within the common every day enhance in covid-19 deaths.

A World Well being Group scientist has stated society is unlikely to return to “regular” till 2022. “I feel we’re going to be effectively into subsequent 12 months earlier than we see a change – that change is prone to be brought on by excessive protection of the vaccines,” stated Helen Rees, who sits on the WHO’s committee for covid-19. “I feel this new regular all of us speak about is with us for a really very long time,” Rees informed BBC Wales Stay.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.27 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 104 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Tweaking vaccines: The coronavirus is evolving to evade the safety from vaccines and pure immunity – what can we do to struggle again?

Vaccine nationalism: The quickest strategy to finish the covid-19 disaster is for international locations to place the pursuits of the world forward of their very own, says Seth Berkley.

Royal Navy medics prepare syringes of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre

Royal Navy medics put together syringes of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Bathtub, UK

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP by way of Getty Pictures

Three February

Covid-19 vaccine in opposition to new variants might be deployed quickly, says Oxford vaccine researcher

A model of the covid-19 vaccine developed by the College of Oxford and AstraZeneca that may sort out the brand new, extremely transmissible coronavirus variants might be able to deploy in about 7 months within the UK, in line with a researcher on the Oxford vaccine workforce. “The precise work on designing a brand new vaccine may be very, very fast as a result of it’s basically simply switching out the genetic sequence for the spike protein,” Andrew Pollard on the College of Oxford informed the BBC. “After which there’s manufacturing to do after which a small scale examine. So all of that may be accomplished in a really quick time frame, and the autumn is absolutely the timing for having new vaccines obtainable to be used,” he stated. Pollard stated work is already underway to replace the vaccine and enhance its efficacy in opposition to lately recognized coronavirus mutations, similar to these within the variants first sequenced within the UK and South Africa.

Preliminary outcomes recommend that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine might scale back coronavirus transmission, along with lowering symptomatic covid-19 and extreme sickness. UK well being minister Matt Hancock praised the findings of the examine led by researchers on the College of Oxford. The outcomes point out that two doses of the jab scale back coronavirus an infection with or with out signs by 67 per cent. In addition they recommend {that a} single dose of the vaccine is 76 per cent efficient at stopping symptomatic covid-19 for 3 months, with this determine rising to 82 per cent after two doses. Hancock described the outcomes as “completely excellent” and stated they present that “vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic”.

Different coronavirus information

A cell coronavirus testing unit has been arrange within the city of Southport in England to check residents for the coronavirus and determine if they’ve the variant first recognized in South Africa. Firefighters and council workers are additionally delivering 10,000 dwelling testing kits to folks residing within the space.

Denmark introduced plans to introduce a digital “Corona-Go”, which might enable Danish residents to show they’ve been vaccinated in opposition to covid-19 for the needs of enterprise and leisure journey, in line with the nation’s finance ministry.

Israel will begin increasing its covid-19 vaccination programme to everybody over the age of 16, in line with its well being ministry.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.25 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 104 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Pandemic burnout: Because the coronavirus disaster goes on, an rising variety of us are feeling worn out and unable to manage. Right here’s how one can inform if that is burnout, and what you are able to do to guard your self.

Vaccine throughout being pregnant: With little security information obtainable on covid-19 vaccines throughout being pregnant, people who’re pregnant should weigh up the dangers and advantages for themselves, whereas proof for many who are breastfeeding is extra clear.

Passengers push luggage on trolleys through a terminal at London's Heathrow airport

Travellers arrive at London’s Heathrow airport

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2 February

UK science advisers advisable introduction of journey restrictions two weeks in the past

The UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) suggested the federal government to introduce necessary resort quarantine for travellers arriving into the UK two weeks in the past, in line with minutes from a gathering on 21 January that have been leaked to the Occasions. On Thursday 21 January, SAGE reportedly warned that “reactive, geographically focused” journey bans couldn’t be relied on to forestall faster-spreading coronavirus variants, similar to these recognized in South Africa and Brazil, from reaching the UK, including that: “no intervention, aside from a whole, pre-emptive closure of borders, or the necessary quarantine of all guests upon arrival in designated amenities, no matter testing historical past, can get shut to totally stopping the importation of latest circumstances or new variants.”

A Downing Road spokesperson stated SAGE didn’t immediately advise UK prime minister Boris Johnson to shut borders. Universities minister Michelle Donelan informed Sky Information that the federal government “at all times primarily based our selections on the most effective medical and scientific recommendation” and stated “the SAGE recommendation truly stated it will most likely be ineffective, actually, to shut the borders, which was the identical recommendation that we bought on the time from the World Well being Group”. Johnson introduced geographically focused resort quarantine measures for travellers getting back from 30 international locations, together with Brazil and South Africa, final week.

UK well being minister Matt Hancock urged folks residing in postcodes in England singled out for enhanced coronavirus testing for the so-called South Africa variant to keep at dwelling except “completely important”. Pressing door-to-door testing for the faster-spreading variant has been deployed after 11 circumstances with no hyperlink to international journey have been recognized in elements of England.

Different coronavirus information

Interim outcomes from section III trials recommend Russia’s covid-19 vaccine is 91.6 per cent efficient, and information on the vaccine is being submitted to the European Medicines Company, in line with Kirill Dmitriev, director of the Russian Direct Funding Fund. The outcomes, primarily based on a section III trial together with 21,977 adults, three-quarters of whom obtained the Sputnik V vaccine, are printed in scientific journal the Lancet. Different individuals obtained a placebo.

Sweden introduced it will not suggest the covid-19 vaccine developed by the College of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca for folks aged over 65, hours after Poland stated it will not supply the vaccine to over 60s. Final week, medical consultants in Germany and Austria made related suggestions, citing an absence of information on this age group. The European Medicines Company authorised the vaccine to be used in all grownup age teams throughout the European Union and June Raine, chief govt of the UK Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Company, final week stated: “Present proof doesn’t recommend any lack of safety in opposition to covid-19 in folks aged 65 or over. The info now we have exhibits that the vaccine produces a powerful immune response within the over-65s.”

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.24 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 103 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Quicker-spreading variants: The faster-spreading UK coronavirus variant has acquired a mutation that can assist it evade immune safety – the identical mutation already discovered within the South African variant.

Article amended on Four February 2021

We corrected June Raine’s title.

A health worker talks with a man taking a swab test in a park

A well being employee talks with a person taking a swab take a look at in Goldsworth Park, because the South African variant of the novel coronavirus is reported in elements of Surrey, in Woking, UK, 1 February 2021

REUTERS/Hannah McKay

1 February

All adults in elements of England to be examined for South Africa variant after 11 new circumstances recognized

Door-to-door testing for the so-called South Africa coronavirus variant will start in elements of England this week, after 11 circumstances with no recognized hyperlinks to journey or to earlier circumstances have been recognized in eight areas of the nation. Pressing testing of adults, no matter signs, will happen in some postcodes in Hertfordshire, Surrey, Kent, Walsall, Sefton and within the London boroughs of Merton, Haringey and Ealing. “We try to comprise this so it doesn’t unfold,” Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at Public Well being England informed the BBC. Any newly recognized infections shall be analysed to see if they’re brought on by the extremely transmissible coronavirus variant first sequenced in South Africa.

UK well being minister Matt Hancock “has ordered an try at eradication of the brand new variant if in any respect doable”, with public well being officers beginning to go door-to-door in affected areas this week, in line with a briefing seen by the Guardian. “This can be a precautionary measure,” stated Ruth Hutchinson, director of public well being for Surrey, in a press release. “The extra circumstances of the variant we discover, the higher probability now we have at stopping it from spreading additional,” stated Hutchinson, including: “It’s actually necessary to say that there’s at present no proof that this variant causes extra extreme sickness, so that you don’t want to fret.”

Different coronavirus information

A covid-19 vaccine has now been provided to older residents at each eligible care dwelling in England, the NHS introduced, however vaccination charges of care dwelling workers are lagging behind residents. Fiona Carragher, director of analysis and influencing at Alzheimer’s Society informed the BBC she remained involved that the vaccination rollout for care dwelling workers “has not been almost so efficient”. In January, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated the UK authorities goals to vaccinate all these over 70, essentially the most clinically susceptible folks and frontline well being and social care staff by 15 February – equal to about 15 million vaccinations. Throughout the UK, greater than 8.9 million folks had obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 30 January.

The European Union stated AstraZeneca has agreed to produce it with 9 million further doses of its covid-19 vaccine, developed in partnership with the College of Oxford. This brings the overall variety of anticipated doses for the primary quarter of this 12 months to 40 million, which is about half of what the EU was initially anticipating. European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted saying the corporate would develop its manufacturing capability in Europe, and begin delivering doses every week sooner than scheduled.

Germany’s well being minister Jens Spahn hinted that covid-19 vaccines from China and Russia might be utilized in Europe to compensate for the shortfall of doses equipped by Pfizer and its associate BioNTech, and by Oxford/AstraZeneca. “Whatever the nation wherein a vaccine is manufactured, if they’re protected and efficient, they may also help address the pandemic,” Spahn informed German media on Sunday, including that any vaccine will first have to be accredited by the European Medicines Company.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.23 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 103 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Can vaccines cease transmission?: A number of research recommend that coronavirus vaccines can considerably scale back transmission of the virus, however not halt it fully – so social distancing remains to be crucial.

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A lab technician working at Janssen Pharmaceutical in Beerse, Belgium

Virginia Mayo/AP/Shutterstock

29 January

Vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and Novavax report optimistic trial outcomes

A coronavirus vaccine developed by the US agency Novavax has been proven to be 89 per cent efficient in stopping covid-19 in scientific trials. The trials included individuals within the UK and South Africa, and located the vaccine to be 86 per cent efficient in opposition to the UK variant of the virus, however solely 60 per cent efficient in opposition to the variant in South Africa. Novavax stated it is going to instantly start growth on a vaccine particularly focused to the South African variant.

Janssen, a subsidiary of US agency Johnson & Johnson, introduced that its covid-19 vaccine confirmed 66 per cent efficacy in a world trial. These outcomes are primarily based on a single dose of the vaccine, which makes it simpler to manage than the two-shot vaccines which have already been accredited. The corporate has stated it is going to promote its vaccine on a not-for-profit foundation.

The UK has already ordered 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine and the European Union has ordered 400 million. The UK has additionally ordered 60 million doses of the Novavax jab.

Different coronavirus information

The European Medicines Company has advisable the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for all adults, which can enable mass use of the vaccine within the European Union. Yesterday, a German committee advisable in opposition to approving the vaccine for folks over 65 due to inadequate information within the trials, however the EMA’s consultants stated safety might be anticipated on this group and there’s dependable data on security. The vaccine is already the topic of a dispute between AstraZeneca and the EU over the agency’s choice to produce fewer doses to the EU this 12 months than initially agreed. At present, the European Fee printed elements of its contract with AstraZeneca, which it says obliges the corporate to produce the agreed volumes. The drug-maker says the contract solely obliges it to make its “greatest effort” to fulfill the EU demand, to not follow a particular timetable. The EU additionally introduced export restrictions on vaccines made throughout the bloc in response to the deliberate minimize in deliveries.

The coronavirus variant from South Africa – which is extra infectiousness than the unique variant has been detected within the US for the primary time, with two circumstances confirmed in South Carolina.

The New York state authorities has launched new figures displaying that it undercounted deaths from covid-19 in nursing dwelling residents by greater than 3800. The state’s total loss of life toll has not elevated, however the larger tally in nursing properties has fuelled criticism that governor Andrew Cuomo didn’t do sufficient to guard these residents.

Within the UK, covid-19 hospital admissions fell to 33.51 per 100,000 folks from a charge of 35.64 within the week ending 24 January, figures from the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics present. One in 55 folks in non-public households in England examined optimistic for covid-19 between 17 and 23 January, which is analogous to the earlier week. The an infection charge was roughly one in 70 in Wales, one in 50 in Northern Eire and one in 110 in Scotland. The R quantity for the UK is between 0.7 and 1.1, in line with the newest estimate by the federal government’s scientific advisory group. The R quantity is the variety of folks every particular person with covid-19 will go on to contaminate.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

International vaccine distribution: Whereas mass immunisation programmes are making speedy progress in wealthy nations, many middle-income international locations have solely simply begun roll-outs and most low-income ones will take months to get began. These delays enhance the chance of mutations resulting in variants which are extra transmissible,and should render vaccines much less efficient in future.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.19 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 101 million, in line with Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot larger.

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