Coronavirus vaccinations to be available 24-7, Boris Johnson says in major U-turn

Travel from Brazil to the UK could be banned on Thursday in response to a new variant of coronavirus in the South American country.

The measure is expected to be considered at an afternoon meeting of the government’s key “Covid-O” committee which oversees restrictions.

It has been reported that flights from Brazil’s 10 neighbouring countries – including Argentina and Peru – could also be halted.

Meanwhile, transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced new rules requiring travellers arriving in England to have a negative coronavirus test have been delayed “to give international arrivals time to prepare”.

High street pharmacies have begun rolling out Covid-19 vaccines as the UK’s virus death toll has now climbed above 100,000.

Boots and Superdrug branches will be among the six stores across England which will be able to administer the jabs from Thursday while the government aims to hit its target of vaccinating all people in the four most vulnerable groups by the middle of next month.

Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, north London, Woodside Pharmacy in Telford and Appleton Village pharmacy in Widnes will be in the first group to hand out the injections, alongside Boots in Halifax, and Superdrug in Guildford.

Boris Johnson also told MPs that distribution “will be going to 24/7 as soon as we can” but said supply of doses remained the main barrier.

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London mayor claims capital not getting fair share of vaccines

London mayor Sadiq Khan has claimed the capital is not getting its fair share of vaccine doses.

The Labour mayor said: “I am hugely concerned that Londoners have received only a tenth of the vaccines that have been given across the country.

“The situation in London is critical with rates of the virus extremely high, which is why it’s so important that vulnerable Londoners are given access to the vaccine as soon as possible.”

He said he would hold talks with vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi “to ensure that we urgently receive an amount of the vaccine that reflects our size, density and the level of need in our city”.

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 11:47

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Slight decrease in number of people receiving result of in-person test within 24 hours

Just 31.5 per cent of people who were tested for Covid-19 in England in the week ending 6 January at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit – a so-called “in-person” test – received their result within 24 hours.

This is down slightly from 33.0 per cent in the previous week, and below the recent peak of 64.9 per cent in the week to 2 December.

Prime minister Boris Johnson had pledged that, by the end of June 2020, the results of all in-person tests would be back within 24 hours.

He told the House of Commons on 3 June that he would get “all tests turned around within 24 hours by the end of June, except for difficulties with postal tests or insuperable problems like that”.

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 11:39

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Construction staff call for pause in work as Covid cases soar

Construction workers being forced to commute during soaring coronavirus cases have called for a pause in non-essential work due to safety fears.

Despite concerns over the current surge in the virus, work in the construction and manufacturing industries has continued during recent months in all four nations of the UK.

The UK government, responsible for the rules in England, encourages staff to travel in to sites if they cannot work at home, saying on its website that “this is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers”.

However, Will, a supervisor for a number of sites across the south east of England, said many staff he works with do not feel safe, and called for a pause on non-essential construction while cases of the virus were rocketing.

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 11:25

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Action should be taken against food provider Chartwells, says Priti Patel

Home secretary Priti Patel has said action should be taken against food provider Chartwells after images of poor-quality free school meal parcels sent to families were widely shared on social media.

She told ITV’s This Morning: “Those were just appalling in every way. The voucher scheme is coming back in place on January 18, so that scheme is coming. Quite frankly that scheme is just so, so important

“I do think the company that were involved with that appalling display of food parcels should be ashamed of themselves quite frankly – it was thoroughly unacceptable and it is right that the government are investigating them.

“I personally think some action should be taken against that company.”

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 10:53

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Body temperature scanners unreliable for detecting Covid, study suggests

Body temperature scanners provide a large number of false negative results, allowing people with Covid-19 to pass through undetected, according to a new study.

Scientists from the University of Portsmouth have found that readings from a person’s fingertip and eye provide a more reliable reading to help identify those with a fever.

Body scanners are widely used at airports, hospitals and other locations in a bid to identify those with a high temperature, a key symptom of coronavirus.

The study, published in Experimental Physiology, found temperature alone is not a good indicator of the virus as not everyone has a fever and many people only develop one after admission to hospital.

It also found that a high temperature does not necessarily indicate Covid-19 infection and measuring skin temperature does not give an accurate reading of deep body temperature which becomes raised in a fever.

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 10:32

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Derbyshire Police chiefs back calls to bring forward vaccinations for frontline police

Derbyshire Police’s chief constable and police and crime commissioner have written to the prime minister, home secretary and health secretary backing the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW)’s calls to bring forward vaccinations for frontline police staff.

Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: “The vaccine offers additional protection and reassurance for them, not only preventing them from catching the virus but thereby preventing passing it on to others, including their families, colleagues and the public.

“My officers and staff are very aware of what they need to do should they experience symptoms, however for many people they are asymptomatic. Our frontline roles mean we could be unknowingly passing it on to others. Vaccination and regular testing are vital to prevent this.

“We are backing calls from the PFEW to bring forward vaccinations in policing, once those at greatest risk and NHS staff have been protected.

“I am asking the Government to bring forward the vaccination plans for frontline policing to allow us to keep our people virus-free, in order to continue to keep the public safe.”

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 10:23

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Can I get an NHS coronavirus test if I don’t have symptoms?

The current NHS-provided tests are only available to those with symptoms (a high temperature, new and persistent cough or a change in your sense of taste and smell) but it is well-recorded that one in three people have the virus without any signs.

In a bid to address this source of spread that goes undetected, the department of health and social care (DHSC) has encouraged local authorities to use asymptomatic testing from now onwards.

But what does it mean and how do you know if you’re eligible?  

Sophie Gallagher takes a look in this article:

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 10:15

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Commuters seen piling on to tube trains in London

Video footage from Canning Town London underground station shows crowds of people piling onto a tube train this morning.

The BBC’s transport correspondent Tom Edwards, who shared the footage on Twitter, said tube drivers were “getting increasingly concerned” about the number of travellers.

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 10:07

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‘I think it’s wonderful actually,’ says first vaccine recipient at Macclesfield pharmacy

Robert Salt, 82, was the first person to receive the vaccine at Andrew’s Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cheshire, this morning.

He said: “I think it’s wonderful actually. There was a little trepidation but it’s good, everything has gone fine today, apart from the weather.”

He said his wife was still waiting to get a vaccine appointment as she was under 80.

Pharmacist Andrew Hodgson administers a dose of the coronavirus vaccine to Robert Salt, 82, at Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cheshire

(Peter Byrne/PA)

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 10:00

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Timeframe for 24/7 vaccinations unclear

Safeguarding minister Victoria Atkins said she could not give a timeframe for when vaccinations will begin to be provided 24/7, adding: “It’s not just the availability of the vaccine, it’s having the people to do it.

“I would not want to give you a timeframe because I am not involved in those discussions.

“It does take time, and we have to do it carefully and we have to do it with safety absolutely paramount in our minds.”

Chiara Giordano14 January 2021 09:53



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