Covid UK news LIVE: Coronavirus deaths hit lowest since lockdown amid fears over vaccine protection against SA strain

THE UK has recorded it lowest number of daily deaths since lockdown began, as the UK continues to roll out its vaccines at record rates.

Meanwhile reports claim the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab is less effective against the highly infectious South African variant, early data showed.

A small trial of just 2,026 people found the vaccine had "limited efficacy" in protecting against mild and moderate disease caused by the mutant Covid.

But AstraZeneca has vowed its scientists will now start adapting the vaccine to kill the new variant.

It is hoped this will be achieved by the Autumn.

Follow the live blog below for the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis…

  • Joseph Gamp

    FRANCE REPORTS 19,175 DAILY COVID INFECTIONS

    France recorded 19,175 new confirmed COVID-19 infections on Sunday compared with 20,586 the previous day and marking a fourth daily fall, health ministry data showed.

    However, the number of patients treated in hospital for the disease rose to 27,694 from 27,369 the previous day, breaking a four-day decline, the data showed.

    The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care also rose, to 3,272 from 3,225 the day before.

    France's cumulative death toll in hospitals and nursing homes had reached 78,965, compared with 78,794 a day earlier.

  • Joseph Gamp

    IRELAND: 12 NEW DEATHS AND 1,204 NEW CASES OF CORONAVIRUS

    A further 12 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported in Ireland, the National Public Health Emergency Team has said.

    There have also been 1,024 new confirmed cases of the virus.

    As of 2pm on Sunday, 1,204 patients with Covid-19 were being treated in hospital, 178 of whom were in ICU.

  • Joseph Gamp

    WATCH: UK RECORDS LOWEST DAILY COVID DEATHS SINCE LOCKDOWN BEGAN

    Lowest UK Covid deaths since before lockdown as 373 die and cases drop by a quarter in a week to 15,845

  • Joseph Gamp

    COVID VACCINE CENTRES IN ENGLAND CLOSING DUE TO HEAVY SNOW

    Heavy snow has forced Covid vaccination centres to close as Storm Darcy continues to batter the country.

    It comes as up to a foot of the white stuff is expected in places, with icy conditions wreaking havoc on the roads as temperatures plummet below freezing.

    The severe weather prompted a coronavirus jab site in Colchester to shut its door early today.

    The vaccine hub at Jobserve Community Centre closed at 1.30pm because of the persistent snowfall.

    Clacton Hospital’s vaccination centre was also forced to shut because of heavy snow from Storm Darcy.

  • Joseph Gamp

    OXFORD JAB PREVENTS SEVERE ILLNESS AND DEATHS AMID SA VARIANT – LEAD RESEARCHER

    The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine may not significantly reduce the number of cases but will protect against deaths and severe disease amid the spread of the South African variant, the lead researcher behind the jab has said.

    Preliminary research has suggested the vaccine offers minimal protection against mild disease caused by the variant.

    But AstraZeneca said it believes the jab will still protect against severe disease caused by the mutation.

    The study, first reported by the Financial Times, involved some 2,000 people, most of whom were young and healthy.

    On Sunday, lead researcher in the Oxford team Professor Sarah Gilbert said the current vaccines "have a reduction in efficacy against some of the variant viruses".

  • Joseph Gamp

    NORTHERN IRELAND CONFIRMS FURTHER NINE COVID DEATHS

    A further nine people with Covid-19 have died in Northern Ireland.

    Another 334 positive cases of the virus were also notified by the Department of Health on Sunday.

    There are 585 Covid-positive inpatients in hospital, 66 of whom are in intensive care.

  • Debbie White

    OXFORD JAB PREVENTS SEVERE ILLNESS AND DEATHS AMID SA VARIANT – LEAD RESEARCHER

    The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine may not significantly reduce the number of cases, but it will protect against deaths and severe disease amid the spread of the South African variant, the lead researcher behind the jab has said.

    Preliminary research has suggested the vaccine offers minimal protection against mild disease caused by the variant.

    But AstraZeneca said it believes the jab will still protect against severe disease caused by the mutation.

    The study, first reported by the Financial Times, involved some 2,000 people, most of whom were young and healthy.

    On Sunday, lead researcher in the Oxford team Professor Sarah Gilbert said the current vaccines "have a reduction in efficacy against some of the variant viruses".

    However, she added: "What that is looking like is that we may not be reducing the total number of cases but there's still protection in that case against deaths, hospitalisations and severe disease."

  • Joseph Gamp

    UK COVID-19 CASES AND DEATHS PER DAY

     

  • Debbie White

    'RELIEF' FOR WELSH FIRST MINISTER AFTER WIFE AND MOTHER-IN-LAW GIVEN COVID JABS

    First Minister Mark Drakeford has spoken of his "relief" after both his wife and mother-in-law were given coronavirus jabs.

    The Welsh Labour leader said he was now the only one in his household who was yet to receive the jab, and he was "hugely grateful" that both women had received their first doses of the vaccine.

    His wife, Clare Drakeford, 66, and her 94-year-old mum, had both shielded from the pandemic due to their health conditions, forcing Mr Drakeford to live for a period of time alone in an outbuilding at the bottom of his garden.

    Both women contracted the virus and fell ill earlier last year, before recovering.

    Mr Drakeford told the PA news agency: "Due to their conditions they are both in the top four priority groups."

  • Debbie White

    OVER 12.5MILLION CORONAVIRUS JABS GIVEN IN UK

    Government data up to February 6 shows of the 12,525,735 jabs given in the UK so far, 12,014,288 were first doses – a rise of 549,078 on the previous day's figures.

    Some 511,447 were second doses, an increase of 1,390 on figures released the previous day.

    Based on the latest figures, an average of 373,214 first doses of vaccine would be needed each day in order to meet the Government's target of 15million first doses by February 15.

  • Debbie White

    GIBRALTAR ROCKS WITH JAB PUSH TO 40% OF RESIDENT

    Medics in Gibraltar have now given Covid vaccines to nearly 40 per cent of residents – compared to just four per cent in neighbouring Spain.

    The 'Rock' has been able to inoculate more than 13,000 of its 33,700 population after much-needed jab supplies were flown in last week.

    Gibraltar is now being supplied with Covid vaccines transported by air out of the UK on RAF aircraft.

  • Debbie White

    'WELCOME HOME BIG POPS': RAK-SU SINGER

    Myles Stephenson has paid tribute to his “hero” dad after he miraculously battled back to win his fight for life with Covid.

    The Rak-su singer shared a picture of his dad, Terry, leaving hospital – where’s he’s been battling the virus for weeks.

    "22 days in HDU he is now coming home!" Myles posted on Instagram.

    "He refused a induced coma and ventilator which he didn’t tell us because he knew we would follow the doctors' requests.

    "Doctors also told step mum he had a near heart attack! Nevertheless he is coming home."

    A thumbs-up for Ward 4 of Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury
  • Debbie White

    LONG COVID KIDS BATTLING CRIPPLING PAIN

    Tens of thousands of kids struck down with Covid are still suffering shocking health problems months after first being infected.

    Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal up to one in 10 coronavirus sufferers develops Long Covid and still feels ill after 12 weeks.

    The worrying symptoms include fatigue, headaches, heart pain, muscle pain, ­seizures and, in extreme cases, even paralysis.

    However, parents say the condition is not being taken seriously by some GPs.

    In the most serious cases, six months after getting ill with Covid, some youngsters are still complaining of dizziness, heart palpitations, seizures and rashes. 

  • Debbie White

    KATIE PRICE RELIEVED AFTER SON RETURNS HOME AFTER COVID SCARE

    Katie Price has revealed her son Harvey is now home and safe after he was rushed to hospital with an apparent reaction to the Covid vaccine.

    Harvey's temperature shot up to 39.9C and he was left "shaking uncontrollably" after receiving his first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab on Friday.

    Relieved Katie says Harvey was asking for "chicken kiev and chips" at 4am this morning as a sure sign he was on the mend.

    "Harvey is all good," she told fans.

    "Thank you for all your kind messages and best wishes for Harvey he is home, safe and well."

  • Debbie White

    SHAKIN' STEVENS HAILS 'FIRST STEP TO HOPE' AFTER CORONAVIRUS JAB

    Shakin' Stevens has spoken of his relief after getting the coronavirus vaccine – despite having a fear of needles.

    The Welsh rock 'n' roll star, 72, said staff at Adams Park Stadium in High Wycombe, Bucks, had been "absolutely brilliant" and that he had felt "totally relaxed" upon arrival.

    Stevens – known to fans as "Shaky" – and his partner/manager Sue both received their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday morning.

    Asked how he felt following the jab, he told the PA news agency: "Relieved. It is the first step to hope and it had to be done to help get life back to normal.

    "They were brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I was nervous before I got there but I was very impressed."

    Shakin' Stevens getting the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at Adams Park Stadium in High Wycombe todayCredit: PA:Press Association
  • Debbie White

    NO PLAN FOR COMPULSORY VACCINE PASSPORT IN UK

    Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the government isn't pushing for compulsory Covid vaccine passports.

    He warned they could be ''discriminatory'' against those not having the jab.

  • Katie Davis

    LABOUR'S SHADOW ATTORNEY 'VERY SORRY'

    A labour grandee has apologised after he was reportedly caught on tape saying Covid is "a gift that keeps on giving" for rich City lawyers.

    Shadow attorney general Lord Falconer – a key ally of leader Sir Keir Starmer – made the vile claim during a briefing for a top London firm staffed by millionaire top dogs, it was reported today.

    The remarks were reported in the Mail On Sunday, which published a recording of Lord Falconer's speech.

    He can be heard introducing a talk on how the pandemic has affected the law, and says: "This is a gift that keeps on giving.

    "The law keeps on changing, keeps on getting more complicated, and is always interesting."

  • Katie Davis

    GIBRALTAR GIVES JABS TO 40% OF RESIDENTS

    Medics in Gibraltar have now given Covid vaccines to nearly 40 per cent of residents – compared to just four per cent in neighbouring Spain.

    The 'Rock' has been able to inoculate more than 13,000 of its 33,700 population after much-needed jab supplies were flown in by the RAF over the last week.

    Meanwhile, over the border in Spain only a tiny fraction of people had been given their first jab by Friday.

    The vaccination rate there has been hampered by the chaos engulfing the decision by Brussels to order supplies for all 27 member states and delays in vaccines being delivered. 

    As a result, among those now protected by UK-supplied jabs in Gibraltar are those who travel from Spain to work in the outpost's care sector.

  • Katie Davis

    RAPID WORKPLACE TESTING TO BE ROLLED OUT

    Rapid-result workplace testing will be made more widely available to weed out staff not showing Covid symptoms.

    Quick turnaround kits that produce results within 30 minutes will be given to firms with more than fifty employees.

    Companies with more than 250-staff previously qualified for the regime but will now apply to small and medium-sized businesses.

    The move will help ensure the safety of those who can’t work from home but may be carrying Covid-19.

    One in three people show no symptoms but are unknowingly carrying the virus.

  • Katie Davis

    'BRAVE BRITAIN' PRAISED AS DELAYING SECOND JAB 'DOES WORK'

    A top expert has hailed 'brave' Britain for its pioneering vaccine work – as medics say delaying the second Covid vaccine results in stronger protection.

    World Health Organisation special envoy Dr David Nabarro called the result a "great lesson for the rest of the world".

    He also thanked scientists at the forefront of the fight back against coronavirus.

    Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky this morning, Dr Nabarro hailed the good news that a later second jab results in higher levels of antibodies.

    "Isn't it wonderful that it has turned out, as result of the UK's bravery, frankly, that this extended interval seems to be associated with even greater protection," he said.

    "We are benefitting from the willingness of UK scientists and leaders to tell us very precisely what they're doing differently and why they're doing it differently, and then we add it up and we learn from it."

  • Katie Davis

    WORLD COULD FACE DEADLIER PANDEMIC THAN COVID

    Deadly microbes which have jumped from animals into humans could “kill tens of millions of people”, warn experts.

    Environmental writer John Vidal, who is working on a book revealing the links between nature and disease, has published his dire prediction in the Daily Mail.

    He says that governments must face up to “the nightmare scenario” of new diseases – or a new, more lethal strain of an older one – emerging “which is as contagious as measles, and as deadly as Ebola“.

    Given the popularity of air travel and global trade, a virus could rampage across the world, unknowingly spread by asymptomatic carriers, “in a few weeks, killing tens of millions of people before borders could be closed”, he adds.

  • Katie Davis

    LONG COVID KIDS LEFT IN CRIPPLING LONG-TERM PAIN

    Tens of thousands of kids struck down with Covid-19 are still suffering shocking health problems months after first being infected.

    Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal up to one in 10 coronavirus sufferers develops Long Covid and still feels ill after 12 weeks.

    In England alone, more than 74,000 children are now thought to be suffering from the chronic condition with some saying they can no longer eat or walk.

    The ONS found 15 per cent of 12 to 16-year-olds and 13 per cent of those aged two to 11 still have symptoms five weeks after a positive test.

    Around 500,000 UK children are known to have had coronavirus – suggesting around 74,000 have had Long Covid, reports the Mirror.

  • Debbie White

    NO PLANS FOR BRIT COVID JAB PASSPORTS

    A politician has scotched claims Brits will be handed 'vaccination passports' before they travel.

    Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi suggested those given vaccines could write to surgeries for written proof if needed for holidaying abroad.

    Asked about the government issuing immunity passports by Sky News' Sophy Ridge, Mr Zahawi replied: "We are not planning to have a passport in the UK… we don't know the impact of the vaccines on transmission.

    "The right thing to do is to make sure that people come forward to be vaccinated because they want to, rather than it be made in some way mandatory through a passport.

    "If other countries require some form of proof, then you can ask your GP because your GP will hold your records and that will then be able to be used as your proof you've had the vaccine."

  • Debbie White

    UK URGED TO SHARE COVID JABS WITH IRELAND

    The UK has been urged to share Covid jabs with Ireland.

    Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald told Sky News the UK should do so in a spirit of "generosity and solidarity".

    "Certainly if there is an excess of supply in Britain and if there is a capacity for that to be shared with Ireland at some point, well, yes, of course, absolutely, the project here is to get people vaccinated," she said today.

  • Debbie White

    WHEN CAN BRITS HOLIDAY ABROAD AGAIN?

    Many families have been unable to go on holiday for nearly a year since the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

    Under the current UK lockdown rules, Brits are not allowed to go on holiday either in the country or abroad.

    Holidays abroad may not restart before May, according to some experts.

    PC Agency's Paul Charles tweeted: "I was asked when I thought holidays would be 'on' again? I’d book for 1st May onwards with certainty.

    "Staycations will return from March onwards. Short-haul from late April; long-haul from September."

    Pedro Homar, director of the Palma Tourist Board, also said that Brits could be the first to return to Spain by May, thanks to the UK's vaccination programme.

     

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