Covid news live: Latest updates as plan to offer 16-17-year-olds vaccine next week

Johnson says transport, food, utility grid, and pharmaceutical workers could be exempt from self-isolation

According to the latest government data, an additional 28,348 Covid cases and 26 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were reported today.

The number of infections is up from the 26,750 new cases reported yesterday, and represents an increase of 4.8 per cent above last week’s figures.

Meanwhile, all 16- and 17-year-olds in England will be offered their first Covid vaccination by August 23, the Government announced.

Around 1.4 million 16- and 17-year-olds across the UK are eligible to receive a first jab, after the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) shifted its advice this month. Pfizer jabs will be offered to this age group amid concerns about the higher risk of blood clots among younger people. No decisions have been made yet about a second dose.

The speedy deadline to get 16- and 17-year-olds jabbed comes as the return to classrooms in September is looming.

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American mothers with young kids consumed 300 per cent more alcohol during pandemic, study reveals

American mothers with young children increased their drinking by more than 300 per cent during the pandemic, a study has found.

The study, conducted by RTI International for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, spanned from the beginning of the pandemic to the end of 2020.

While it found that Americans overall drank 39 per cent more in November 2020 compared with the same month in 2019, women with children under the age of five were found to have increased their drinking by 323 per cent.

Celine Wadhera16 August 2021 18:18


Number of coronavirus patients in hospital in England reaches highest level in five months

The number of coronavirus patients in hospital in England has risen to its highest level in five months, new data shows.

Figures from NHS England shows that as of 8am today, there were 5,429 coronavirus patients in hospital, up 6.5 per cent from the 5,098 coronavirus patients in hospital on Monday 9 August.

Today’s figures represent the highest number of hospital beds occupied by Covid patients since 16 March, when there were 5,664 patients hospitalised with the virus in England.

The number of hospital admissions is also on the rise, with 689 people admitted with Covid-19 on 14 August, up 9.4 per cent from the 630 admitted on 7 August.

Celine Wadhera16 August 2021 18:00


Covid public inquiry will be pushed back beyond spring 2022, families fear

Campaigners who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus pandemic fear that the start of the public inquiry into the government’s handling of the crisis will be pushed back beyond the promised date of spring 2022.

Lawyers who represent the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group met with the cabinet office last month to discuss the inquiry’s potential scope, but were told that work has not yet begun on the basic terms of reference.

Lobby Akinnola, a 30-year-old campaigner who lost his father to Covid last year said: “The news that the cabinet office hasn’t even begun deciding the terms of reference alongside their refusal to engage with us makes us think the government is trying to kick the inquiry into the long grass”.

Celine Wadhera16 August 2021 17:41


Scotland Covid cases

Scotland has recorded 1,567 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. No new deaths were reported, and the total number of people who tested positive for the virus and died in the following 28 days remains at 8,032.

In terms of hospitalisations, 337 people were in hospital on Sunday with a recently confirmed Covid infection, 39 of whom were in intensive care.

The latest figures also show that 21,566 doses of coronavirus vaccine were administered on Sunday.

Celine Wadhera16 August 2021 17:22


New York mandates vaccines for all museums

New York City plans to issue a mandate that will require all those who wish to visit its museums and cultural institutions to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Celine Wadhera16 August 2021 17:03


Government must invest more in RNA vaccine technology, says scientist behind UK’s second Covid vaccine

The scientist behind a Covid vaccine designed at Imperial College London has called on the government to invest more money in the ground-breaking technology used in his jab.

While the Oxford jab was approved and has been administered throughout the UK, the ICL jab has not yet progressed past stage two clinical testing.

The ICL vaccine uses a similar RNA technology to the Pfizer and Moderna jabs, but it is unique in that it uses self-amplifying RNA which encodes the Sars-CoV-2 spike protein which then replicates once injected into humans. In theory, this means that smaller doses of vaccine would be needed , which would reduce costs and allow manufacturers to make more supplies.

Researchers also believe that the jab could potentially be used to treat cancer.

Vaccine designer Professor Robin Shattock told The Independent: “We’re focusing really on making what we think is the future of RNA vaccines, which is to very much focus on low dose and stable approaches.

“We now need to spend the time and effort, and raise the cash to do that in a very systematic, robust way.”

Prof Shattock said that he was optimistic that more funding would come. He said that if his team receives the necessary funding, the vaccine would be available for use against new Covid variants within the next two years.

Science correspondent Samuel Lovett reports.

Celine Wadhera16 August 2021 17:01


Thai protesters angry about the handling of the pandemic clash with police

Anti-government protesters in Thailand, demonstrating over the government’s handling of the pandemic, clashed with police in Bangkok for a second straight day.

Water cannons were fired at around 200 protesters as they approached a government building, where prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has an office.

The demonstrators are calling for Mr Prayuth’s resignation over his perceived bungling of the government’s coronavirus vaccination programme.

Infections have surged in the past few weeks while vaccination rates remain low.

The protests are also part of a wider push for sweeping political change that includes the resignation of the government, a new constitution and, most contentious of all, fundamental reform of the powerful but opaque monarchy.

Celine Wadhera16 August 2021 16:42


Latest Covid figures

Today, Public Health England reported 28,348 new Covid cases and 26 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

In terms of vaccination, 89.5 per cent of adults across the UK, or 47,333,702 people, have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and 77 per cent, or 40,703,581 people, are fully vaccinated.

Celine Wadhera16 August 2021 16:13


Arthritis drug used to treat severe Covid-19 may become available in Europe

The European Medicines Agency has started an accelerated review process to determine if a common arthritis drug might help people hospitalised with severe Covid-19.

The anti-inflammatory drug, Tocilizumab, was granted an emergency use authorisation months ago in the US. The World Health Organisation recommended its use last month.

The EMA said it expected to make a decision by mid-October based on the outcome of four large studies.

Ella Glover16 August 2021 15:57


No link between vaccines and miscarriage or stillbirths, MHRA says

No link between Covid-19 vaccines and miscarriage or stillbirth, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has found.

It also said there is no link between the vaccines and menstrual periods, despite reports.

A statement from the MHRA said: “There is no pattern from the reports to suggest that any of the Covid-19 vaccines used in the UK, or any reactions to these vaccines, increase the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.”

The MHRA’s findings are in line with a similar review from Europe earlier this month, which showed no causal link between the vaccines and menstrual disorders.

Ella Glover16 August 2021 15:40

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