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Coronavirus live: second pandemic year to be deadlier than first, warns WHO; Germany to mark UK as risk area Coronavirus live: second pandemic year to be deadlier than first, warns WHO; Germany to mark UK as risk area
(32 minutes later)
WHO chief asks countries to donate jabs instead of vaccinating children; India variant behind Germany decision; France adds more countries to high-risk listWHO chief asks countries to donate jabs instead of vaccinating children; India variant behind Germany decision; France adds more countries to high-risk list
Russia will restart regular air travel between Iceland, Malta, Mexico, Portugal and Saudi Arabia from May 25, the government’s coronavirus response headquarters said.
The decision was made with regard to the epidemiological situation in the countries, the government team said and added the decision was made on a mutual basis, Reuters reports.
The U.S.’s National Restaurant Association is to remove guidance that fully vaccinated people should wear masks indoors, following new advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Reuters reports.
The final stage of lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions across England could face “serious disruption” due to the India variant, Boris Johnson has warned, as he announced plans to accelerate the vaccine programme to curb its spread.The final stage of lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions across England could face “serious disruption” due to the India variant, Boris Johnson has warned, as he announced plans to accelerate the vaccine programme to curb its spread.
Johnson said the gap between the first and second Covid jab would be cut from 12 weeks to eight for all over 50s and the clinically vulnerable, admitting “the race between our vaccine programme and the virus may be about to become a great deal tighter”.Johnson said the gap between the first and second Covid jab would be cut from 12 weeks to eight for all over 50s and the clinically vulnerable, admitting “the race between our vaccine programme and the virus may be about to become a great deal tighter”.
He announced the army would be deployed to two variant hotspots – Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen – to help with vaccinations and urged residents in those areas to “think twice” before taking advantages of the freedoms allowed again from Monday.He announced the army would be deployed to two variant hotspots – Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen – to help with vaccinations and urged residents in those areas to “think twice” before taking advantages of the freedoms allowed again from Monday.
The US has administered 268,438,666 doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the country as of Friday morning and distributed 341,865,945 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.The US has administered 268,438,666 doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the country as of Friday morning and distributed 341,865,945 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Those figures are up from the 266,596,486 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by Thursday out of 339,165,445 doses delivered, Reuters reports.Those figures are up from the 266,596,486 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by Thursday out of 339,165,445 doses delivered, Reuters reports.
The agency said 155,251,852 people had received at least one dose, while 120,258,637 people are fully vaccinated.The agency said 155,251,852 people had received at least one dose, while 120,258,637 people are fully vaccinated.
Canada is planning a gradual return to indoor sports and family gatherings as more people get vaccinated, Reuters reports.Canada is planning a gradual return to indoor sports and family gatherings as more people get vaccinated, Reuters reports.
Canada has administered one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to just over half its adult population, and the country may be over the worst of its current third wave of infections, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said.Canada has administered one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to just over half its adult population, and the country may be over the worst of its current third wave of infections, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said.
The country’s public health agency offered guidelines to the 10 provinces, which are responsible for public health restrictions.The country’s public health agency offered guidelines to the 10 provinces, which are responsible for public health restrictions.
The agency says once 75% of Canadians have had a single dose and 20% are fully vaccinated, some restrictions can be relaxed to allow small, outdoor gatherings with family and friends, camping, and picnics.The agency says once 75% of Canadians have had a single dose and 20% are fully vaccinated, some restrictions can be relaxed to allow small, outdoor gatherings with family and friends, camping, and picnics.
Once 75% of those eligible are fully vaccinated in the fall, indoor sports and family gatherings can be allowed again.Once 75% of those eligible are fully vaccinated in the fall, indoor sports and family gatherings can be allowed again.
“I think masks might be the last layer of that multi-layer protection that we’ll advise people to remove,” Tam told reporters, noting that in Canada colder temperatures meant people would start spending more time indoors in the fall.“I think masks might be the last layer of that multi-layer protection that we’ll advise people to remove,” Tam told reporters, noting that in Canada colder temperatures meant people would start spending more time indoors in the fall.
“We are taking a bit of a different approach to the United States,” she added.“We are taking a bit of a different approach to the United States,” she added.
Here is a roundup of all the latest developments from across the world:Here is a roundup of all the latest developments from across the world:
France has added Bahrain, Colombia, Costa Rica and Uruguay to its list of countries deemed as high-risk zones. This will mean that people arriving from those countries will have to undergo quarantine measures on arrival.France has added Bahrain, Colombia, Costa Rica and Uruguay to its list of countries deemed as high-risk zones. This will mean that people arriving from those countries will have to undergo quarantine measures on arrival.
The Lithuanian government to donate 200,000 Covid-19 vaccine shots to its eastern European neighbours, including 100,000 to Ukraine, 15,000 going to Georgia and 11,000 to Moldova. The remaining 74,000 shots will be decided later.The Lithuanian government to donate 200,000 Covid-19 vaccine shots to its eastern European neighbours, including 100,000 to Ukraine, 15,000 going to Georgia and 11,000 to Moldova. The remaining 74,000 shots will be decided later.
Stocks fall as Singapore announced on Friday its strict guidelines on gatherings and public activities, amid a rise in infections and new clusters forming in recent weeks.Stocks fall as Singapore announced on Friday its strict guidelines on gatherings and public activities, amid a rise in infections and new clusters forming in recent weeks.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said it expects the second batch of its Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine will be delivered to India by the end of the week.The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said it expects the second batch of its Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine will be delivered to India by the end of the week.
Since the coronavirus outbreak began, at least 3,346,813 people have died due to a tally combined from official sources by AFP.Since the coronavirus outbreak began, at least 3,346,813 people have died due to a tally combined from official sources by AFP.
British holidaymakers will be allowed to enter Portugal as of midnight on May 17th. Travellers will need a negative PCR test 72hrs before their flight to gain entry into the country.British holidaymakers will be allowed to enter Portugal as of midnight on May 17th. Travellers will need a negative PCR test 72hrs before their flight to gain entry into the country.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he feels the pain of all Indians battling the pandemic after weeks of mainly avoiding public comment on the country’s fatal coronavirus wave.India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he feels the pain of all Indians battling the pandemic after weeks of mainly avoiding public comment on the country’s fatal coronavirus wave.
The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said that a state of emergency was being extended to a broader area due to a rapid rise of Covid-19 cases in those regions.The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said that a state of emergency was being extended to a broader area due to a rapid rise of Covid-19 cases in those regions.
An international cybercrime gang has been announced as being behind a significant ransomware attack on Ireland’s health service operator that halted diagnostic services on Friday and led to the cancellation of appointments.An international cybercrime gang has been announced as being behind a significant ransomware attack on Ireland’s health service operator that halted diagnostic services on Friday and led to the cancellation of appointments.
World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the second year of the pandemic was set to be more deadly than the first, with India a considerable concern.World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the second year of the pandemic was set to be more deadly than the first, with India a considerable concern.
Delta Air Lines will require all new hires in the United States to be vaccinated against Covid-19, becoming one of the first major companies to issue this requirement.Delta Air Lines will require all new hires in the United States to be vaccinated against Covid-19, becoming one of the first major companies to issue this requirement.
Italy has lifted quarantine rules for all travellers from the European Union, including the UK and Israel, upon their arrival, health authorities announced.Italy has lifted quarantine rules for all travellers from the European Union, including the UK and Israel, upon their arrival, health authorities announced.
Slovakia ends its state of emergency as the coronavirus pandemic has receded.Slovakia ends its state of emergency as the coronavirus pandemic has receded.
Dutch tourists who visit Spain’s Balearic and the Canary Islands will no longer have to take a coronavirus test on their way home.Dutch tourists who visit Spain’s Balearic and the Canary Islands will no longer have to take a coronavirus test on their way home.
Germany plans to classify Britain as a coronavirus risk region due to the emergence of the highly infectious variant first detected in India, government sources said on Friday.Germany plans to classify Britain as a coronavirus risk region due to the emergence of the highly infectious variant first detected in India, government sources said on Friday.
Turkey is to ease coronavirus restrictions, emerging out of a complete lockdown, President Erdogan has said today. The country has been in a lockdown for two weeks after daily new cases rocketed to above 60,000.Turkey is to ease coronavirus restrictions, emerging out of a complete lockdown, President Erdogan has said today. The country has been in a lockdown for two weeks after daily new cases rocketed to above 60,000.
France will have administered at least one Covid-19 vaccine injection to 20 million people by Saturday, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on his Twitter feed.France will have administered at least one Covid-19 vaccine injection to 20 million people by Saturday, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on his Twitter feed.
The B.1.617.2 variant first found in India will, over time, surpass the variant first discovered in Kent and become dominant in the UK, Britain’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty, said on Friday.The B.1.617.2 variant first found in India will, over time, surpass the variant first discovered in Kent and become dominant in the UK, Britain’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty, said on Friday.
That’s all from me today! My colleague Nadeem Badshah will be taking over the blog for the rest of the evening. Thank you for following along!That’s all from me today! My colleague Nadeem Badshah will be taking over the blog for the rest of the evening. Thank you for following along!
The B.1.617.2 variant first found in India will, over time, surpass the variant first discovered in Kent and become dominant in the UK, Britain’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty, said on Friday.The B.1.617.2 variant first found in India will, over time, surpass the variant first discovered in Kent and become dominant in the UK, Britain’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty, said on Friday.
“This is more transmissible than the B.1.1.7 (Kent variant), and we expect over time this variant will overtake and come to dominate in the UK, in the way that B.1.1.7 took over,” Prof Whitty told a news conference.“This is more transmissible than the B.1.1.7 (Kent variant), and we expect over time this variant will overtake and come to dominate in the UK, in the way that B.1.1.7 took over,” Prof Whitty told a news conference.
The Scientific Advisory Group for emergencies (SAGE) has also published their report on the Indian variant of the virus and said that there is a possibility that the variant is “50% more transmissible” than the current dominant Kent variant.The Scientific Advisory Group for emergencies (SAGE) has also published their report on the Indian variant of the virus and said that there is a possibility that the variant is “50% more transmissible” than the current dominant Kent variant.
From the BBC’s Health and science correspondent, James GallagherFrom the BBC’s Health and science correspondent, James Gallagher
My colleagues Tobi Thomas and Ashley Kirk have reported which countries have the highest infection rates from the variant discovered in India.My colleagues Tobi Thomas and Ashley Kirk have reported which countries have the highest infection rates from the variant discovered in India.
Outside India, the UK has recorded the highest number of cases of the Indian variant, at 1,587 cases to date. The US, Singapore and Germany are the only other countries to have sequenced more than 100 cases of the B.1.617+ variant, according to the Gisaid Initiative.Outside India, the UK has recorded the highest number of cases of the Indian variant, at 1,587 cases to date. The US, Singapore and Germany are the only other countries to have sequenced more than 100 cases of the B.1.617+ variant, according to the Gisaid Initiative.
The report in full can be found here:The report in full can be found here:
France will have administered at least one Covid-19 vaccine injection to 20 million people by Saturday, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on his Twitter feed.France will have administered at least one Covid-19 vaccine injection to 20 million people by Saturday, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on his Twitter feed.
The government had previously set itself a target to give one dose to 20 million people by mid-May and has stepped up its vaccination campaign in recent days to meet that goal.The government had previously set itself a target to give one dose to 20 million people by mid-May and has stepped up its vaccination campaign in recent days to meet that goal.
Veran added that on Friday nearly 600,000 vaccinations were administered.Veran added that on Friday nearly 600,000 vaccinations were administered.
Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) puts Great Britain and Northern Ireland back in the lowest-level risk category, nearly a month after they were taken off the list following a decline in new infections, thanks to widespread vaccinations.
In a statement, the RKI said, “The classification is due, despite (a low incidence rate), to the at least a limited occurrence of the B.1.617.2 variant in the United Kingdom.”
The variant, first detected in India, is believed to be more contagious than the original strain and classified by the WHO as a “variant of concern”.
On Friday, the British government said the variant was spreading “increasing rapidly” in parts of England, with identified cases doubling from 520 last week to 1,313 this week.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will shortly begin his Downing Street press conference alongside Professor Chris Whitty.
My colleague Nadeem Badshah will be liveblogging the event on the UK Covid news liveblog that you can follow along here:
France records 173 new coronavirus deaths in hospital and there were 4,352 people in intensive care units with Covid-19 on Friday, 90 fewer than on Thursday. Meaning that this is the 11th consecutive day that this key metric has fallen.
The French health ministry also reported that the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 fell by a further 250 to 23,406.
The Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, has not ruled out the possibility of banning people crossing the border from England if cases of the Covid variant first detected in India continue to rise there.
Drakeford announced on Friday a string of relaxations to Covid restrictions coming into force on Monday, including the reopening of indoor hospitality and the restart of foreign holidays.
But he also revealed the Welsh cabinet had discussed the possibility of allowing more people to mix and giving the go-ahead for some small public events such as food festivals – and decided against this because of the variant.
Drakeford said there were 26 cases of the variant in Wales but added that there was more concern about the “significant spread of that India variant across our border” in England, including a “significant cluster in the north-west of England”.
He said: “We know that the border between the north-east of Wales and the north-west of England is a porous one, so we’re keeping a particular watch on developments there. Should it be necessary to take action, we will do so.”
More on Wales possibly banning travel into England here:
Italy has reported 182 coronavirus deaths, and 7,567 new cases.
Mainland China has reported 12 new Covid-19 cases today, inluding its first local transmissions in more than three weeks.
Reuters reports:
The UK has reported a further 17 coronavirus deaths, and 2,193 new cases of the virus.
Government data also shows that 36.1 million people have received their first coronavirus vaccination dose.
Turkey is to ease coronavirus restrictions, emerging out of a full lockdown, president Erdogan has said today.
The country has been in a lockdown for two weeks after the number of daily new cases rocketed to above 60,000, the highest rate globally, and with deaths reaching almost 400 a day.
The number of daily new cases has fallen to 11,000, sharply down from last month but still above the target of 5,000 set at the start of the lockdown. Around 10.7 million people have been fully vaccinated, or 13% of the population.
Reuters reports:
Tobi here, taking over while my colleague Edna has a break. If you would like to get in touch please email tobi.thomas@theguardian.com. Thanks!
The World Health Organization (WHO) added that local conditions needed to be considered if a country is planning to allow vaccinated people not to wear masks in public.
WHO’s top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, told a virtual briefing in Geneva: “In the instance of a country that wishes to take away a mask mandate … that should only be done in the context of considering both the intensity of transmission in the area and the level of vaccine coverage.”
In the United StatesUS, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday advised that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks outdoors and could avoid wearing them indoors in most places.