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

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Newest coronavirus information as of 5pm on 23 February

Evaluate into “vaccine passports” launched in UK

The UK authorities has begun a assessment of whether or not to introduce certificates exhibiting somebody has had a covid-19 vaccine. So-called vaccine passports might be used for worldwide journey and for permitting individuals to enter locations like theatres or pubs, Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned right this moment. 

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

Iceland has mentioned they may, in future, let individuals with a certificates of covid-19 vaccination enter with out quarantining or taking a coronavirus check, and Greece, whose economic system depends on tourism, can be pushing the European Union to press forward with organising vaccine passports for this summer time. 

Inside the UK, some companies have mentioned they plan to insist on new staff having been vaccinated. However there are nonetheless many unknowns concerning 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 a Royal Society report that units out 12 standards that should 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 dying toll has fallen in 11 years. It was down by 0.7 per cent, based on preliminary information from the Japanese Ministry of Well being, Labour and Welfare. The autumn was in all probability resulting from a pointy decline in influenza circumstances because of an infection management measures towards covid-19, comparable to carrying face masks and handwashing. Japan has recorded solely 7529 deaths from the coronavirus to date. In England, no circumstances of flu have been detected within the first seven weeks of 2021, based on Public Well being England.

Scotland’s roadmap for exiting lockdown was introduced right this moment. From the 15 March, all major and extra secondary pupils will return to highschool, and 4 individuals from two households will probably be allowed to satisfy outdoors. Within the final week of April, non-essential outlets, bars, eating places, gyms and hairdressers can reopen. The plan is much like timings in England, the place all pupils will probably be allowed again to varsities on 8 March, two households or as much as six individuals can meet outdoors from 29 March, and non-essential outlets will reopen no sooner than 12 April.

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Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.47 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 111.8 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

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

Panorama: The Race for a Vaccine is a BBC documentary concerning the inside story of the event of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine towards covid-19.

Race Towards the Virus: Hunt for a Vaccine is a Channel 4 documentary which tells the story of the coronavirus pandemic via the eyes of the scientists on the frontline.

The New York Instances 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 challenge highlighting the experiences of key staff on the frontline within the struggle towards coronavirus within the UK, via social media.

Stomach Mujinga: Looking for the Fact is a BBC Panorama investigation of the dying of transport employee Stomach Mujinga from covid-19, following reviews she had been coughed and spat on by a buyer at London’s Victoria Station.

Coronavirus, Defined on Netflix is a brief documentary sequence 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 skilled journalists from the journal focus on the largest science tales to hit the headlines every week – from know-how and area, to well being and the atmosphere.

COVID-19: The Pandemic that By no means Ought to Have Occurred, and Tips on how 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 in a different way in future.

The Guidelines of Contagion is concerning the new science of contagion and the shocking methods it shapes our lives and behavior. The creator, Adam Kucharski, is an epidemiologist on the London Faculty of Hygiene and Tropical Medication, UK, and within the e-book 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 dying toll passes 500,000 and true determine might be 720,000

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

The US dying 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 properly over 100 years, for the reason that 1918 pandemic of influenza,” the US president’s chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci informed NBC. Brazil is second with practically 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 dying fee on the planet.

Case numbers within the US are actually declining quick. Nonetheless, 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 8 March within the first of a sequence of steps in direction of easing a lockdown imposed on 5 January. From 29 March out of doors sports activities and out of doors conferences of as much as six individuals, or two households, are resulting from 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 mentioned the easing ought to proceed slowly to keep away from the danger of a resurgence. “We aren’t beginning all this as of right this moment from a superb place. We aren’t now in a form of ‘let’s launch all the things’ [position]. We’re in a not excellent place that’s getting higher,” he mentioned at a press briefing right this moment. 

Whereas vaccines are anticipated to make an enormous distinction on curbing circumstances, Vallance mentioned it was vital to do not forget that as restrictions are relaxed, many individuals would nonetheless be unprotected. He identified that not all the inhabitants will probably be vaccinated, and the vaccines don’t provide a 100 per cent safety towards an infection.

Vallance mentioned it was vital to drive circumstances down low and area 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 can measure the impact of after 4 or 5 weeks,” he mentioned. 

Even a single vaccine dose tremendously reduces the danger of being hospitalised with covid-19, based on a preliminary research performed in Scotland. By the fifth week after receiving their first dose, those that had acquired the Oxford/AstraZeneac jab had decreased their danger of hospitalisation by as much as 94 per cent, and people who acquired the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by as much as 85 per cent, the research estimates.

A second “actual world” research by Public Well being England reveals 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 dying toll has handed 2.47 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 111.5 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

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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 through 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 no less than one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, based on a survey of 6000 individuals by the Workplace of Nationwide Statistics (ONS). A lot 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 mentioned they declined the provide of a vaccine. Total, 91 per cent of all adults surveyed mentioned they’d both been vaccinated already or would get vaccinated when provided it. These numbers are higher than anticipated. As an example, in a single UK survey performed in December earlier than vaccination started, simply 72 per cent mentioned they have been keen to get vaccinated. Nonetheless, the ONS survey didn’t embrace adults residing in care houses or different institutions, and due to small pattern sizes, the ONS says the proportion of individuals saying they’ve declined vaccination needs to be handled with warning.

Different coronavirus new

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doesn’t should be stored ultracold as was beforehand thought when the vaccine was accepted to be used. The businesses say it’s steady at between -25ºC and -15ºC, and have requested regulators to vary the phrases on which it was accepted. New Scientist reported in November that different mRNA vaccines utilizing the identical know-how have been steady 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 E484K mutation additionally discovered within the South African and Brazilian variants, which permits the virus to partially evade immunity from previous an infection or vaccination. Nonetheless, Japan has had decrease ranges of an infection than South Africa or Brazil, and simply 7000 deaths.

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

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.44 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 110.4 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

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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, based on figures from the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. The covid-19 pandemic is more likely to be a major contributor, consultants informed CNN. US life expectancy is now the bottom it has been since 2006. “Covid is on monitor 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 0.8 years. Life expectancy disparities between Black and white individuals within the US had been shrinking in recent times however the pandemic has reversed a few of that progress. Over the previous 40 years, life expectancy had been steadily 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 reveals “lockdown measures are successfully bringing infections down”, mentioned Paul Elliott at Imperial Faculty London in a press release. The figures come from one of many largest and most authoritative surveys of infections known as REACT. At the moment about one in 200 individuals are contaminated in England, the same degree to September. The nationwide R quantity – the common variety of individuals one individual will infect – is estimated to be between 0.69 and 0.76, that means that infections are falling. The findings are based mostly on greater than 85,000 swab assessments from randomly chosen individuals. 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 harder 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 towards covid-19, as soon as flights resume. The preliminary trial will probably be with guests from Israel, which has given the coronavirus vaccine to the next proportion of its inhabitants than another nation. Greece’s tourism minister, Haris Theoharis informed BBC Radio 4’s Right now programme that the nation is in talks with British officers about how the same scheme would possibly work with the UK.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.41 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 110 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

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A coronavirus lateral move gadget exhibiting a optimistic check outcome.

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17 February

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

Speedy coronavirus assessments will begin being despatched out by put up 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 move 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 move assessments are already getting used for screening individuals with out covid-19 signs in settings comparable to healthcare, care houses and in sure faculties and universities. The variety of these assessments carried out has elevated massively prior to now month. The most recent deliberate growth would contain finishing up greater than 400,000 assessments a day in houses and workplaces, based on paperwork seen by The Instances. The roll-out would start earlier than faculties open up face-to-face instructing – at the moment slated for 8 March in England – and the assessments can be despatched to schoolchildren, their households and academics, in addition to anybody who can’t work from home. It will be accompanied by a marketing campaign to encourage uptake provisionally known as “Are you prepared? Get testing. Go.”

Utilizing lateral move assessments for mass screening is controversial, as a result of they’ve a increased false-negative fee than PCR assessments. Proponents say lateral move 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 could behave extra riskily. A spokesperson for the UK’s Division of Well being and Social Care mentioned their plans for increasing testing haven’t but been finalised.

Different coronavirus information

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

The world’s first research that can intentionally infect wholesome volunteers with the coronavirus will start subsequent month. Initially, 90 individuals aged 18-30 may 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 research how efficient vaccines are towards present and novel variants of the virus, mentioned Chris Chiu at Imperial Faculty London.

South Africa will this week grow to be the primary nation on the planet to begin giving individuals 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 dying toll has handed 2.43 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 109.6 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

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

A lady in a retirement house seems out on the view from her balcony

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16 February

Almost two million extra individuals will probably be added to England’s shielding record

About 1.7 million individuals in England will probably be informed to protect and take further precautions from covid-19 after they have been discovered to be at severe danger of illness or dying. They may even be prioritised for covid-19 vaccination. The addition will convey the full quantity on the UK authorities’s shielding record to virtually 4 million, all of whom are being suggested to protect till 31 March. 

The individuals being added to the record have been recognized utilizing an algorithm to foretell whether or not an individual is susceptible to extreme illness or dying 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, one in every 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 strategy,” she mentioned. Harries mentioned will probably 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 individuals in England had antibodies towards the coronavirus within the 28 days as much as 1 February, suggesting they’d beforehand been contaminated or had acquired a covid-19 vaccine, based on 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 individuals. Folks have been examined for antibodies as a part of the COVID-19 An infection Survey within the UK. In England, individuals aged 80 and over have been more than likely to check optimistic for antibodies with 40.9 per cent testing optimistic, which might be as a result of excessive vaccination fee 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 parts of the immune system are required for immunity or how lengthy safety will final,” mentioned 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 research checked out 600,000 totally vaccinated individuals and the identical variety of unvaccinated individuals. It is a very related degree of effectiveness to that recorded in medical trials of the vaccine. Israel’s well being fund, Clalit, used coronavirus check outcomes extracted from individuals’s well being data to check numbers of infections between those that had acquired two doses of the vaccine and people who hadn’t acquired 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 acquired no less than one dose of covid-19 vaccine to date.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.41 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 109 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

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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

CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP through Getty Photographs

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 research, have gained a mutation on the identical location of their genome and seem to belong to the identical lineage as a virus first sequenced on 1 December, which subsequently turned extra widespread. “There’s clearly one thing happening with this mutation,” Jeremy Kamil at Louisiana State College and co-author of the research, informed the New York Instances. 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,” mentioned Kamil. The preliminary research 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 mentioned. Individually, a preliminary research discovered decrease covid-19 vaccine uptake amongst Black, Asian and minority ethnic employees 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 increased danger of an infection with [the coronavirus] and hostile end result from covid-19,” mentioned the report, which has not been peer-reviewed. Greater than 15 million individuals have acquired a dose of covid-19 vaccine within the UK to date, consistent with the federal government’s goal of providing a primary dose of vaccine to 4 precedence teams by mid-February.

“We’ll do all the things we are able to” to reopen faculties in England by 8 March, UK prime minister Boris Johnson has mentioned, including: “However we’ve obtained to maintain wanting on the information, we’ve obtained to maintain wanting on the charges of an infection, don’t overlook they’re nonetheless very excessive.” The UK authorities is predicted to set out plans for ending restrictions at a briefing on 22 February. Johnson mentioned the federal government’s plans will probably be “cautious however irreversible”.

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

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.4 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 108 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

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A lady receives the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid19 vaccine at an NHS vaccination heart 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 individuals aged between 65 and 69, so long as they’ve already provided jabs to older and clinically susceptible individuals within the prime precedence teams. “We’ve got been informed by NHS England that, in distinctive circumstances, the place we’ve 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 individuals had acquired a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 12 February – equal to about 20 per cent of the full inhabitants.

Infections fall throughout the UK

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

Neil Ferguson at Imperial Faculty London, who advises the UK authorities as a part of the New and Rising Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, mentioned lockdowns have helped drive down circumstances. “They’re mainly halving about each 17 days for the time being,” he informed Politico’s Westminster Insider podcast. Ferguson mentioned it may be doable to reopen no less than 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 points of society the next month,” he added. UK prime minister Boris Johnson has mentioned discussions on reopening faculties will occur within the week beginning 22 February, with faculties probably in a position to reopen from 8 March.

Different coronavirus information

Germany is imposing strict new border controls resulting from 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 will probably be exempt. 

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

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.37 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 107 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

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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

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11 February

Roche’s arthritis drug tocilizumab discovered to chop danger of dying amongst sufferers with extreme covid-19

The arthritis drug tocilizumab reduces the danger of dying amongst severely ailing covid-19 sufferers, based on findings from the RECOVERY trial, which has been testing a variety of potential remedies for the illness since March final 12 months. The research discovered that 29 per cent of covid-19 sufferers who acquired 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 identify 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 customary care and 2094 sufferers allotted to straightforward care solely, which for 82 per cent of all sufferers within the research included remedy with a steroid, comparable to dexamethasone. Final 12 months, dexamethasone turned the first drug discovered to cut back dying 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 influence is substantial,” mentioned 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,” mentioned 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 steering saying individuals who have been “totally vaccinated” towards covid-19 are 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 no less than two weeks in the past. Nonetheless, the CDC mentioned this doesn’t imply that totally vaccinated people ought to cease taking precautions and added that individuals who had their photographs three months in the past or extra ought to nonetheless quarantine if they’re uncovered, because it isn’t recognized how lengthy safety towards covid-19 lasts.

US well being officers are advising individuals within the nation to contemplate carrying two masks on prime of one another to higher defend themselves towards coronavirus an infection. A CDC report instructed carrying a fabric masks over a disposable surgical masks or bettering the match of a single surgical masks as methods to spice up safety.

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

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

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.35 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 107 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

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

A lady takes a coronavirus check at a short lived testing facility in London, UK

Hollie Adams/Getty Photographs

10 February

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

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 Faculty London’s REACT research. The 4 new signs have been recognized by researchers via random swab testing and questioning of greater than one million individuals 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, comparable to a persistent cough, fever or a loss or change in sense of style or odor. 

The extra signs individuals had, the extra possible they have been to check optimistic, though there was some variation in signs throughout completely 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 more likely to report experiencing fever, persistent cough and urge for food loss, compared with adults.

The REACT research additionally checked out whether or not reported signs modified earlier than and after the B.1.1.7 variant turned the dominant variant within the UK. It discovered that signs have been largely related, regardless of the elevated prevalence of B.1.1.7. Nonetheless, loss or change of sense of odor 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 individuals in order that testing programmes meet altering wants,” mentioned Joshua Elliott, one of many researchers behind the research at Imperial Faculty London, in a press release.

Different coronavirus information

Folks within the UK are going to should “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 verify 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 consider that they could assist us to develop vaccines that may reply at scale to new variants of the virus,” mentioned Johnson.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam mentioned he doesn’t suppose the B.1351 coronavirus variant first recognized in South Africa “goes to be a dominant problem within the subsequent few months”. Talking on BBC Information, Van-Tam mentioned 90 per cent of circumstances within the UK for the time being are attributable to 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, based on the nation’s well being minister. Plans to start out administering the jabs have been placed on maintain this week after a small, preliminary research indicated it might not defend towards delicate or reasonable covid-19 attributable to the B.1.351 variant.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.34 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 107 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

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

Looking for immunity: Not everybody may have negative effects comparable to a sore arm from a coronavirus vaccine, however that doesn’t imply it didn’t work. Antibody assessments can verify 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 research press convention in Wuhan, China on 9 February

Xinhua Information Company/PA Photographs

9 February

WHO staff in China is investigating idea that coronavirus was unfold via frozen meals

The World Well being Group (WHO) mission in Wuhan, China has dominated out the chance that the coronavirus originated in a laboratory, however the staff is investigating whether or not the virus got here from frozen meals, presumably from outdoors China. The investigation staff chief Peter Ben Embarek mentioned the virus appears to have originated in bats, as initially thought, however it was in all probability transmitted to people through an unknown intermediate species, presumably a lifeless or frozen animal meals product. Embarek mentioned 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 website 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 resorts will probably be charged a charge 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 “purple record” international locations resist 10 years in jail. Hancock mentioned 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 will probably 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 components of Better Manchester within the UK, following the invention of 4 individuals contaminated with a mutated model of the B.1.1.7 variant, first recognized in Kent. The 4 individuals, from two separate households in Better Manchester, have been discovered to be contaminated with a virus carrying the E484K mutation. The mutation is regarding, as there’s proof that some covid-19 vaccines could also be much less efficient towards 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 individuals 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 the moment actively utilizing its contact-tracing device, based on the BBC.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.32 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 106 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

South Africa variant: South Africa paused its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine because it may not be efficient towards the South African B.1.351 coronavirus variant – however it’s nonetheless more likely 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

8 February

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

UK ministers say work is underway to tweak current covid-19 vaccines to deal with 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 research was reported to indicate that the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine could not defend towards delicate or reasonable covid-19 attributable to B.1.351. A minimum of 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 towards 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 recent coronavirus circumstances – has put its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on maintain. Nonetheless, the research, which has not but been revealed or peer-reviewed, was comparatively small and didn’t have a look at the influence of the vaccine on extreme illness or dying.

Sarah Gilbert on the College of Oxford, one of many lead vaccine researchers on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, mentioned a modified model that’s efficient towards 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 towards a few 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 decreasing circumstances with new variants, they nonetheless seem like protecting towards dying, hospitalisation and extreme illness. Different covid-19 vaccine producers are additionally engaged on new variations of their vaccines to verify they continue to be efficient. “We’re very assured in all of the vaccines that we’re utilizing, and I feel it’s vital for individuals to keep in mind that every one of them, we expect, are efficient in delivering a excessive diploma of safety towards severe sickness and dying, which is an important factor,” mentioned UK prime minister Boris Johnson, in an interview with Sky Information on 8 February. “We will probably be persevering with to review the outcomes, the effectiveness, of the vaccine rollout.”

Different coronavirus information

All individuals residing within the UK will probably be eligible to obtain a covid-19 vaccine no matter whether or not they have the authorized proper to work and stay within the nation, the UK authorities mentioned on 8 February. “Coronavirus vaccines will probably be provided to everybody residing within the UK freed from cost, no matter immigration standing,” a authorities spokesperson informed Reuters. The federal government mentioned getting the vaccine wouldn’t set off immigration checks.

Eire mentioned it is going to crack down on travellers returning to the UK from the Center East through Eire to keep away from lately launched quarantine guidelines. The variety of individuals travelling to Dublin from Dubai has risen for the reason that UK added the United Arab Emirates to its journey ban record in January.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.31 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 106 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Pandemic burnout: The stress of the pandemic dangers constructing to burnout, however information that vaccines assist cease individuals 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 Photographs

5 February

Early outcomes recommend the Oxford covid-19 vaccine works towards 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 towards 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 contributors 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 towards 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 might 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 towards different new variants as properly. “We’re working with AstraZeneca to optimise the pipeline required for a pressure change ought to one grow to be obligatory,” mentioned Sarah Gilbert on the College of Oxford in a assertion. “This is identical problem that’s confronted by all the vaccine builders, and we’ll proceed to watch the emergence of recent variants that come up in readiness for a future pressure change,” she mentioned. “All viruses accumulate mutations over time, and for influenza vaccines there’s a well-known course of of world viral surveillance, and number of strains for an annual replace of the vaccines.”

Different coronavirus information

Coronavirus circumstances seem 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 an entire 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 common variety of individuals every coronavirus case infects – places it between 0.7 and 1.0. That is more than likely to characterize the state of affairs two to a few weeks in the past, resulting from a time lag within the information. The UK authorities mentioned it goals for all individuals 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 4 February mentioned 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 accepted, it might grow to be the third covid-19 vaccine authorised for emergency use within the US, after these developed by Pfizer and its companion 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. Nearly 80 per cent of individuals over 50 in Israel have acquired a covid-19 vaccine to date. The nation is vaccinating its 9 million residents at the next fee than another nation.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.28 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 105 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

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

4 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 analyze the influence of giving individuals two completely 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, mentioned England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam. He mentioned combining two completely different vaccines on this method may additionally increase immune responses, probably main to higher safety towards 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 fifty who haven’t but acquired a covid-19 vaccine. Members 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 photographs and of various time intervals between doses. 

UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi mentioned the nation is on monitor to satisfy its goal of vaccinating all individuals within the 4 precedence teams towards covid-19 by 15 February. He informed parliament it has been “an unimaginable effort” that has “drawn on the exhausting work of so many”. Final month, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned the UK authorities goals to have given a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine to all these over 70, essentially the most clinically susceptible individuals and frontline well being and social care staff by 15 February – equal to about 15 million individuals. Throughout the UK, greater than 10.4 million individuals had acquired a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 4 February.

Different coronavirus information

Worldwide journey was related to elevated dying charges within the worst-affected international locations through the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, based on a research revealed within the scientific journal BMJ Open. Tiberiu Pana on the College of Aberdeen, UK, and colleagues analysed the connection between country-level components – comparable to worldwide arrivals, inhabitants density and well being indicators – and the common enhance in day by day deaths recorded in early 2020 throughout the 37 international locations with the very best dying charges from covid-19. They discovered that the largest enhance in dying charges was related to worldwide arrivals. A rise of one million worldwide arrivals was related to a 3.4 per cent rise within the common day by day enhance in covid-19 deaths.

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

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.27 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 104 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

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 technique 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 Tub, UK

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP through Getty Photographs

3 February

Covid-19 vaccine towards 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 deal with the brand new, extremely transmissible coronavirus variants might be able to deploy in about 7 months within the UK, based on a researcher on the Oxford vaccine staff. “The precise work on designing a brand new vaccine could 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 research. So all of that may be accomplished in a really brief time period, and the autumn is admittedly the timing for having new vaccines accessible to be used,” he mentioned. Pollard mentioned work is already underway to replace the vaccine and enhance its efficacy towards lately recognized coronavirus mutations, comparable to these within the variants first sequenced within the UK and South Africa.

Preliminary outcomes recommend that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine could cut back coronavirus transmission, along with decreasing symptomatic covid-19 and extreme sickness. UK well being minister Matt Hancock praised the findings of the research led by researchers on the College of Oxford. The outcomes point out that two doses of the jab cut back coronavirus an infection with or with out signs by 67 per cent. Additionally 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 growing to 82 per cent after two doses. Hancock described the outcomes as “completely very good” and mentioned they present that “vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic”.

Different coronavirus information

A cellular 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 employees are additionally delivering 10,000 house testing kits to individuals residing within the space.

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

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

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.25 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 104 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Pandemic burnout: Because the coronavirus disaster goes on, an growing 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 accessible 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

Hollie Adams/Getty Photographs

2 February

UK science advisers really useful 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 lodge quarantine for travellers arriving into the UK two weeks in the past, based on minutes from a gathering on 21 January that have been leaked to the Instances. On Thursday 21 January, SAGE reportedly warned that “reactive, geographically focused” journey bans couldn’t be relied on to stop faster-spreading coronavirus variants, comparable to these recognized in South Africa and Brazil, from reaching the UK, including that: “no intervention, apart from a whole, pre-emptive closure of borders, or the necessary quarantine of all guests upon arrival in designated services, regardless of testing historical past, can get shut to totally stopping the importation of recent circumstances or new variants.” 

A Downing Road spokesperson mentioned SAGE didn’t instantly advise UK prime minister Boris Johnson to shut borders. Universities minister Michelle Donelan informed Sky Information that the federal government “all the time based mostly our choices on the perfect medical and scientific recommendation” and mentioned “the SAGE recommendation truly mentioned it might in all probability be ineffective, in truth, to shut the borders, which was the identical recommendation that we obtained on the time from the World Well being Group”. Johnson introduced geographically focused lodge quarantine measures for travellers coming back from 30 international locations, together with Brazil and South Africa, final week.

UK well being minister Matt Hancock urged individuals residing in postcodes in England singled out for enhanced coronavirus testing for the so-called South Africa variant to keep at house except “completely important”. Pressing door-to-door testing for the faster-spreading variant has been deployed after 11 circumstances with no hyperlink to overseas journey have been recognized in components 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, based on Kirill Dmitriev, director of the Russian Direct Funding Fund. The outcomes, based mostly on a section III trial together with 21,977 adults, three-quarters of whom acquired the Sputnik V vaccine, are revealed in scientific journal the Lancet. Different contributors acquired a placebo. 

Sweden introduced it might not advocate the covid-19 vaccine developed by the College of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca for individuals aged over 65, hours after Poland mentioned it might not provide the vaccine to over 60s. Final week, medical consultants in Germany and Austria made related suggestions, citing an absence of knowledge 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 mentioned: “Present proof doesn’t recommend any lack of safety towards covid-19 in individuals aged 65 or over. The information we’ve reveals that the vaccine produces a powerful immune response within the over-65s.”

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.24 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 103 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

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 4 February 2021

We corrected June Raine’s identify.

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 check in Goldsworth Park, because the South African variant of the novel coronavirus is reported in components of Surrey, in Woking, UK, 1 February 2021

REUTERS/Hannah McKay

1 February

All adults in components 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 components 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 are attempting 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 will probably be analysed to see if they’re attributable to 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, based on a briefing seen by the Guardian. “It is a precautionary measure,” mentioned Ruth Hutchinson, director of public well being for Surrey, in a press release. “The extra circumstances of the variant we discover, the higher probability we’ve at stopping it from spreading additional,” mentioned Hutchinson, including: “It’s actually vital to say that there’s at the moment 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 house in England, the NHS introduced, however vaccination charges of care house employees 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 house employees “has not been practically so efficient”. In January, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned the UK authorities goals to vaccinate all these over 70, essentially the most clinically susceptible individuals 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 individuals had acquired a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 30 January.

The European Union mentioned 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 full 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 broaden its manufacturing capability in Europe, and begin delivering doses per 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 provided by Pfizer and its companion BioNTech, and by Oxford/AstraZeneca. “Whatever the nation by which a vaccine is manufactured, if they’re protected and efficient, they can assist address the pandemic,” Spahn informed German media on Sunday, including that any vaccine will first should be accepted by the European Medicines Company.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.23 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 103 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Can vaccines cease transmission?: A number of research recommend that coronavirus vaccines can considerably cut back transmission of the virus, however not halt it utterly – so social distancing continues to be obligatory.

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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 medical trials. The trials included contributors within the UK and South Africa, and located the vaccine to be 86 per cent efficient towards the UK variant of the virus, however solely 60 per cent efficient towards the variant in South Africa. Novavax mentioned it is going to instantly start improvement 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 based mostly on a single dose of the vaccine, which makes it simpler to manage than the two-shot vaccines which have already been accepted. The corporate has mentioned 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 really useful the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for all adults, which is able to enable mass use of the vaccine within the European Union. Yesterday, a German committee really useful towards approving the vaccine for individuals over 65 due to inadequate information within the trials, however the EMA’s consultants mentioned 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. Right now, the European Fee revealed components 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 satisfy the EU demand, to not persist with a selected 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 exhibiting that it undercounted deaths from covid-19 in nursing house residents by greater than 3800. The state’s total dying toll has not elevated, however the increased tally in nursing houses 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 individuals from a fee of 35.64 within the week ending 24 January, figures from the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics present. One in 55 individuals in non-public households in England examined optimistic for covid-19 between 17 and 23 January, which has similarities to the earlier week. The an infection fee 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, based on the newest estimate by the federal government’s scientific advisory group. The R quantity is the variety of individuals every individual with covid-19 will go on to contaminate.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

International vaccine distribution: Whereas mass immunisation programmes are making fast 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 danger of mutations resulting in variants which might be extra transmissible,and will render vaccines much less efficient in future.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.19 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 101 million, based on Johns Hopkins College, although the true variety of circumstances will probably be a lot increased.

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