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Covid-19 news: Italy, Spain, Belgium limit use of AstraZeneca vaccine

Covid 19 vaccination

A well being employee checks the sufferers queue through the COVID-19 vaccination marketing campaign with AstraZeneca vaccine in Santander, Spain.

Celestino Arce/NurPhoto through Getty Images

Latest coronavirus news as of 5pm on 8 April

Several European nations have now restricted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in youthful individuals

Italy, Spain and Belgium have adopted different European nations, together with Germany and France, in limiting use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in youthful age teams. A assessment by the European Union’s medicines regulator concluded on 7 April that uncommon blood clotting occasions ought to be listed as “very rare side effects” of the vaccine. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) mentioned it was as much as particular person member states to determine who to vaccinate, however that there was no obtainable proof to this point of particular threat components similar to age or gender. In response, Belgium introduced it might prohibit the vaccine to individuals over the age of 55 for a month, whereas Italy’s well being minister, Roberto Speranza, mentioned the vaccine would solely be provided to individuals older than 60. Spain’s well being minister, Carolina Darias, additionally mentioned the vaccine can be quickly restricted to individuals older than 60 in Spain. 

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Brussels is urging the EU’s 27 member states to provide you with a unified response to the EMA’s findings concerning the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. In a press release on 7 April, Stella Kyriakides, the EU’s well being commissioner, mentioned it was important {that a} widespread coverage was shaped to enhance public confidence within the vaccine inside the bloc.

In the UK, the nation’s vaccines advisory physique has advisable that individuals below the age of 30 be provided another vaccine to the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot the place potential.

Other coronavirus news

The quantity of weekly deaths from covid-19 throughout England and Wales has fallen by about 90 per cent from the height of the UK’s second wave, in accordance with figures from the Office for National Statistics. There have been 719 deaths involving covid-19 within the week as much as 26 March, down from 8422 within the week as much as 22 January.

Some states in India, together with Maharashtra and Odisha, are reporting shortages of covid-19 vaccines simply because the nation is within the midst of a second wave of infections, Reuters has reported. On 7 April, India reported a document 115,736 new COVID-19 circumstances.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.89 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 133.3 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased. According to Our World In Data, greater than 397.8 million individuals globally have acquired a minimum of one dose of a covid-19 vaccine.

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New Scientist Weekly options updates and evaluation on the newest developments within the covid-19 pandemic. Our podcast sees knowledgeable journalists from the journal talk about the largest science tales to hit the headlines every week – from know-how and house, to well being and the atmosphere.

The Jump is a BBC radio 4 collection exploring how viruses can cross from animals into people to trigger pandemics. The first episode examines the origins of the covid-19 pandemic.

Why Is Covid Killing People of Colour? is a BBC documentary, which investigates what the excessive covid-19 demise charges in ethnic minority sufferers reveal about well being inequality within the UK.

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 Against 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 Times is assessing the progress in improvement of potential drug therapies for covid-19, and rating them for effectiveness and security.

Humans of COVID-19 is a mission highlighting the experiences of key staff on the frontline within the struggle towards coronavirus within the UK, via social media.

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

Coronavirus, Explained on Netflix is a brief documentary collection analyzing the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to struggle it and methods to handle its psychological well being toll.

COVID-19: The Pandemic that Never Should Have Happened, and How to Stop the Next One by Debora Mackenzie is about how the pandemic occurred and why it’ll occur once more if we don’t do issues otherwise in future.

The Rules 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 School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and within the guide he examines how ailments unfold and why they cease.

Previous updates

AstraZeneca vaccine vial

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine, contained in the vaccine preparation room of the vaccination heart within the pheasant room of the Capodimonte Museum.

Marco Cantile/LightRocket through Getty Images

7 April

UK committee advises under-30s be provided various to AstraZeneca jab, whereas EU assessment finds no proof age or gender are threat components for unintended effects

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has suggested that individuals below the age of 30 with no underlying well being circumstances ought to be provided another covid-19 vaccine as an alternative of the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot the place potential, as a result of proof linking the vaccine to uncommon blood clots. A assessment by the UK’s medicines regulator discovered that by the top of March, 79 individuals within the UK had skilled uncommon blood clots following vaccination with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – 19 of whom had died. The UK Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Agency (MHRA) mentioned this was not definitive proof that the vaccine prompted the clots however mentioned the hyperlink was turning into firmer. However, each the MHRA within the UK and the EU’s medicines regulator, which has additionally been reviewing reviews of uncommon blood clots, emphasised that the advantages of the vaccine in stopping covid-19 proceed to outweigh the danger of unintended effects. “The balance of benefits and risks is still very favourable for the majority of people,” mentioned June Raine, chief government of the MHRA, at a press convention on 7 April.

The European Medicine Agency’s security committee reviewed 86 reviews of uncommon blood clotting occasions amongst 25 million individuals who had acquired the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine within the European Economic Area and the UK as of 22 March, 18 of which have been deadly. There have been 62 circumstances of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a uncommon blood clot within the mind, and 24 circumstances of splanchnic vein thrombosis (SVT), a uncommon sort of clot affecting stomach veins, in that point interval. The committee concluded that these uncommon blood clotting occasions ought to be listed as very uncommon unintended effects of the vaccine. During a press briefing on 7 April, Sabine Straus of the EMA’s security committee mentioned that in whole there have now been 169 recorded circumstances of CVST and 53 of SVT out of 34 million individuals vaccinated throughout the area, however mentioned the newest figures didn’t change the committee’s conclusion.

Several European nations, together with Germany, France and the Netherlands, had already suspended use of the vaccine in youthful individuals over the uncommon blood clot considerations. The EMA mentioned it was as much as particular person member states to determine who to vaccinate, however mentioned there was presently no obtainable proof of particular threat components similar to age, gender or earlier medical historical past of clotting problems.

Other coronavirus news

Brazil reported greater than 4000 every day deaths on 7 April, a brand new document  for the nation.  Hospitals stay below extreme pressure. According to Brazilian well being institute Fiocruz, Brazil is going through the largest well being system collapse in its historical past

The UK’s rollout of the Moderna covid-19 vaccine started in Wales on 7 April. The Moderna shot is the third vaccine given authorisation for use within the UK.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.87 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 132.6 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased. According to Our World In Data, greater than 387.4 million individuals globally have acquired a minimum of one dose of a covid-19 vaccine.

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AstraZeneca vaccine

A well being employee holds containers with AstraZeneca’s vaccines towards the coronavirus.

JOE KLAMAR/AFP through Getty Images

6 April

The EU’s medication regulator has been investigating reviews of uncommon blood clots in a small quantity of individuals who acquired the vaccine

The European Union’s medicines regulator has denied that it has established an affiliation between the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine and uncommon blood clots, after an official from the company claimed it had. Marco Cavaleri, chair of the vaccine analysis crew on the European Medicines Agency (EMA), advised Italian newspaper Il Messaggero that there’s a “clear” hyperlink between the vaccine and a particularly uncommon blood clot within the mind, however didn’t present any proof to help his declare. In a press release on 6 April, the EMA mentioned it had “not yet reached a conclusion and the review is currently ongoing”, including that it anticipated to announce findings from the assessment on 7 or 8 April. It’s security committee is investigating 44 reviews of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, a particularly uncommon blood clot within the mind, out of 9.2 million individuals within the European Economic Area who acquired the vaccine. Both the EMA and the World Health Organization have constantly emphasised that the advantages of the vaccine in stopping covid-19 outweigh its dangers. 

In the UK, the nation’s medicines regulator has mentioned no resolution has been made concerning rules on the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, following reviews that it was contemplating limiting the vaccine’s use in individuals beneath the age of 30. “Our thorough and detailed review is ongoing into reports of very rare and specific types of blood clots with low platelets following the Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca,” mentioned June Raine, chief government of the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Agency. “No decision has yet been made on any regulatory action,” she added.

Other coronavirus news

Coronavirus figures launched by well being authorities in a number of nations in South America point out circumstances and deaths are persevering with to surge throughout the continent. Brazil reported greater than 28,000 new coronavirus circumstances in a single day on 5 April, as each Uruguay and Paraguay reported document will increase in every day covid-19 deaths on the identical day. Officials have linked the present surge to the P.1 coronavirus variant, initially from Brazil, which seems to be extra transmissible than the unique virus and could have mutations that allow it to evade antibodies from earlier an infection or from vaccination. On 25 March, Peru’s well being minister mentioned that 40 per cent of circumstances within the capital, Lima, have been attributable to P.1 and on 5 April he mentioned circumstances had been detected “almost everywhere in Peru”, the BBC reported. Chile recorded 6196 every day new coronavirus circumstances on 25 March in comparison with 4770 every day circumstances two weeks earlier on 11 March, even if it had already rolled out 50.46 doses of vaccine per 100 individuals. Cases of the variant have additionally been detected in Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina.

UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has emphasised that no resolution has been made concerning the use of vaccine passports or certificates within the UK. But he mentioned it might be “remiss” of the federal government to not think about covid-19 certification as a manner of totally reopening the financial system. “It’s only right that we look at all these options that are available to us to take our lives back,” Zahawi advised the BBC’s Breakfast present. Boris Johnson mentioned the federal government was wanting on the risk of vaccination passports for abroad journey. “I think that is going to be a fact of life probably,” he advised reporters.

Residents of Australia and New Zealand will be capable of journey between the 2 nations with out being required to quarantine ranging from 19 April, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern introduced.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.86 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 131.9 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

Long covid

People start coronavirus testing at in Moss Side as surge testing for the Kent coronavirus variant.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

1 April

Long-lasting signs after covid-19 reported by 13.7 per cent of individuals in UK research

An estimated 1.1 million individuals within the UK skilled lengthy covid signs within the 4 weeks as much as 6 March, in accordance with a survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Of individuals with self-reported lengthy covid, the ONS estimates that about 697,000 first had covid-19 a minimum of 12 weeks earlier and roughly 70,000 first had the illness a minimum of one yr earlier. The survey discovered charges have been highest amongst well being and social care staff at 3.6 per cent and three.1 per cent respectively, adopted by individuals aged 35 to 49 or 50 to 69 and folks with a pre-existing, activity-limiting well being situation . It additionally discovered that prevalence was barely increased amongst females in comparison with males.

“Given community testing was suspended for most of last year we can’t just ignore a million people, so self-reporting is the only option,” mentioned Elaine Maxwell, medical adviser on the National Institute for Health Research within the UK, in a assertion

Among a smaller pattern of greater than 20,000 research individuals who had examined constructive for covid-19 within the 11 months since April 2020, the ONS discovered that 13.7 per cent continued to expertise signs for a minimum of 12 weeks. This was eight occasions increased than the background prevalence of these varieties of signs in a management group of individuals who’re unlikely to have had covid-19, suggesting that ongoing signs are extra prevalent amongst individuals who have had covid-19 in comparison with the broader inhabitants. “[This] shows there is something happening even if the precise prevalence is unclear,” mentioned Maxwell.

Other coronavirus news

The World Health Organization has described Europe’s vaccination marketing campaign as “unacceptably slow”. During a press briefing on 1 April, WHO Europe director Hans Kluge warned that Europe’s coronavirus scenario is “more worrying than we have seen in several months” with circumstances surging in lots of nations. “[Vaccines] present our best way out of this pandemic,” he mentioned. “Not only do they work, they are highly effective in preventing infection.” According to Our World In Data, simply 11.4 per cent of individuals within the European Union had acquired a minimum of one dose of a covid-19 vaccine as of 30 March, in comparison with 28.7 per cent within the US, 45.5 per cent within the UK and 60.5 per cent in Israel.

French president Emmanuel Macron introduced new restrictions geared toward combating a 3rd wave of coronavirus infections within the nation. During a televised deal with on 31 March, Macron mentioned colleges would transfer to distant studying from subsequent week and that lockdown measures, launched in some elements of France earlier in March, can be prolonged to different districts. “Everywhere this virus is spreading faster and faster, and we see patients coming into hospital,” he mentioned, interesting to individuals to “limit their contacts with other people”.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.81 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 129.1 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

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Pfizer BioNtech

Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine await use.

Prentice C. James/CSM/Sipa USA/PA Images

31 March

Children “well protected” by Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine in preliminary trial

Pfizer introduced that trials of its covid-19 vaccine in youngsters point out 100 per cent efficacy in these aged 12 to fifteen. The firm mentioned that every one 18 circumstances of covid-19 among the many 2260 trial individuals have been within the placebo group, with no circumstances amongst those that had acquired the vaccine. “The initial results we have seen in the adolescent studies suggest that children are particularly well protected by vaccination, which is very encouraging,” mentioned Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of Pfizer’s accomplice BioNTech, in a press release. “It is very important to enable them to get back to everyday school life and to meet friends and family while protecting them and their loved ones,” mentioned Sahin. Results from the trials haven’t but been peer-reviewed or revealed.

“When the full, peer-reviewed papers appear – or when regulators receive the data directly from the companies – it will open up the way to extending vaccination to this age group,” mentioned Peter English, former chair of the British Medical Association public well being medication committee, in a assertion. “It will be important to do this to achieve herd immunity,” he mentioned. English mentioned key questions concerning the Pfizer outcomes stay, similar to whether or not the vaccine additionally protected youngsters towards asymptomatic an infection and the way efficient it was at defending towards variants of the coronavirus.

Pfizer and BioNTech plan to submit the info to the US Food and Drug Administration as a proposed modification to the vaccine’s present emergency use authorisation, which is presently for use in individuals over the age of 16 solely. Trials of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine are additionally below manner and Moderna has mentioned it plans to check its covid-19 vaccine in youngsters aged 12 to 17.

Other coronavirus news

People recognized as being clinically extraordinarily susceptible in England and Wales will not be suggested by the UK authorities to defend at dwelling, ranging from 1 April. People affected by the change have been despatched letters with the up to date info and are nonetheless being suggested to maintain social contacts at low ranges, do business from home the place potential and stay socially distanced from different individuals.

Poland reported its highest every day improve in covid-19 deaths to this point this yr on 31 March. There have been 32,874 new coronavirus circumstances and 653 deaths from covid-19 inside a single 24-hour interval, in accordance with information from Poland’s well being ministry.

Russia registered the world’s first covid-19 vaccine candidate for animals. Trials of the vaccine concerned canines, cats, foxes, mink and different animals, mentioned Konstantin Savenkov, head of Russia’s agriculture security watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, on 31 March.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.80 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 128.3 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

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Covid memorial

Volunteers work on a memorial for the victims of Covid-19 by portray pink hearts on a wall exterior St Thomas’ Hospital.

WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

30 March

Weekly covid-19 deaths in England and Wales fall to lowest degree since October

Weekly deaths from covid-19 in England and Wales fell beneath 1000 for the primary time since October, the newest figures from the Office for National Statistics present. There have been 963 deaths the place covid-19 was talked about on the demise certificates within the week as much as 19 March, down from 1501 the earlier week. It is the bottom weekly demise toll in England and Wales because the week as much as 16 October final yr, when 670 covid-19 deaths have been recorded. This can be the primary time weekly deaths have fallen beneath 1000 because the week as much as 23 October when there have been 978 deaths involving covid-19 in England and Wales. The newest figures carry the whole quantity of covid-19 deaths within the UK to 150,116.

About half of individuals within the UK have antibodies towards the coronavirus, via both an infection or vaccination, in accordance with the latest estimate from a covid-19 an infection survey by the ONS. An estimated 54.7 per cent of individuals in England had antibodies within the week ending 14 March, adopted by 50.5 per cent in Wales, 49.3 per cent in Northern Ireland and 42.6 per cent in Scotland. More than 30.4 million individuals throughout the UK had acquired a minimum of one dose of a covid-19 vaccine as of 28 March, with greater than 3.6 million individuals having acquired two doses. Antibody positivity is rising throughout all age teams, with ranges rising quickest amongst older individuals, who’ve been prioritised for vaccines. 

Other coronavirus news

New or modified covid-19 vaccines to deal with coronavirus variants might turn into essential inside a yr or much less, a survey of 77 epidemiologists, virologists and infectious illness specialists throughout 28 nations has urged. Two-thirds of respondents to the survey, performed by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, mentioned that first-generation covid-19 vaccines may very well be rendered ineffective by variants of the coronavirus inside a yr or much less whereas 88 per cent mentioned persistent low vaccine protection in lots of nations would improve the prospect of vaccine-resistance mutations showing.

Authorities in Berlin and Munich in Germany introduced on 30 March that they’re quickly suspending use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine in individuals below the age of 60 over considerations about uncommon blood clots in some individuals who acquired it. Germany’s medical regulator has recorded 31 circumstances of a uncommon blood clot within the mind in individuals who had acquired the vaccine. On 29 March, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization advisable that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine shouldn’t be utilized in adults below the age of 55, whereas circumstances of uncommon blood clots are being investigated. France and Spain have additionally restricted use of the vaccine to older individuals.

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, has issued a warning about rising coronavirus circumstances within the nation. Walensky mentioned she didn’t need to see the US face one other wave in circumstances and deaths as is presently being seen in many European nations. “I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” she advised a White House briefing on 29 March, including “we have so much reason for hope, but right now I’m scared”. The US recorded a mean of 56,995 new coronavirus circumstances a day within the week as much as 26 March, a rise of 6.7 per cent in comparison with the earlier week, in accordance with the CDC.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.79 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 127.8 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

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Vaccination centre inside a cathedral is shown with people standing at various covid-19 vaccination stations

Members of the general public obtain covid-19 vaccines at Lichfield Cathedral in Staffordshire, England

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

29 March

Covid-19 vaccine uptake amongst over-70s lowest in Black ethnic teams in England

Analysis by the Office for National Statistics signifies decrease covid-19 vaccine uptake amongst minority ethnic teams in England in comparison with white British individuals. People from Black African backgrounds over the age of 70 in England have been 5.5 occasions extra possible to not have acquired a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine between 8 December 2020 and 11 March 2021 in comparison with individuals figuring out as white British, after adjusting for age, intercourse, socio-demographic traits and underlying well being circumstances. People from Black Caribbean backgrounds in the identical age group have been virtually 4 occasions extra possible to not have acquired a primary dose of vaccine in comparison with these within the white British group, and the equal determine for Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic teams was greater than 3 occasions. 

The evaluation discovered general uptake of the vaccine inside this age group to be excessive – 90.2 per cent of all over-70s resident in England had acquired a minimum of one dose of covid-19 vaccine in that point interval. But the proportion was decrease amongst all ethnic minority teams in contrast with the white British inhabitants. The charge was lowest amongst Black African individuals at 58.8 per cent, adopted by individuals figuring out as Black Caribbean (68.7 per cent), Bangladeshi (72.7 per cent) and Pakistani (74 per cent). Among the white British group, the speed was 91.3 per cent.

Habib Naqvi, director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory advised the Guardian: “The observatory remains concerned that vaccine uptake for covid-19 is potentially lower amongst some minority ethnic and religious groups, and is continuing to urgently explore practical solutions to help support the NHS and its ongoing response to this challenge.” Low uptake of covid-19 vaccines amongst ethnic minority teams is especially regarding given that individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds are at an elevated threat of dying from covid-19

The NHS Race and Health Observatory not too long ago urged that the elevated covid-19 mortality amongst ethnic minority sufferers within the UK could also be linked to blood oxygen measuring gadgets known as pulse oximeters working much less nicely in darker skinned individuals. It has known as for an pressing assessment of pulse oximetry merchandise used within the UK.

Other coronavirus news

A joint World Health Organization-China investigation into the origins of covid-19 suggests transmission of the virus from bats to people via one other animal is the most definitely origin of the pandemic and that this can be very unlikely that the virus was leaked from a laboratory, in accordance with a draft copy of their report seen by the Associated Press. US secretary of state Anthony Blinken has expressed considerations concerning the report. “The government in Beijing apparently helped to write it,” Blinken advised CNN. A spokesperson from China’s international ministry rejected this declare.

The quantity of covid-19 sufferers in intensive care items and hospital surveillance items in France reached 4872 on 28 March, approaching the 4919 such sufferers on 16 November throughout France’s second wave. Doctors are warning that they could quickly have to start out turning sufferers away for ICU care, significantly in Paris and the encircling space, in accordance with the Associated Press.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.78 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 127.3 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

Pupils return to school

Pupils participate in classes on their first day again from lockdown at Chertsey High School.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

26 March

Recent figures point out circumstances are rising amongst secondary college pupils in England

Independent SAGE – a gaggle of scientists publishing recommendation for the UK authorities – has warned about rising circumstances of covid-19 amongst youngsters in England, because the reopening of colleges on 8 March. The newest outcomes from a random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) present that coronavirus an infection ranges amongst youngsters aged 11 to 16 have risen barely in England, with 0.43 per cent of secondary college age youngsters testing constructive within the week ending 20 March in comparison with 0.31 per cent the earlier week.  “What has to be understood is that the new variants are harder to control and it seems likely that the limited reopening of schools has started to show up in the data,” mentioned James Naismith on the University of Oxford in a assertion.

Overall, the proportion of individuals testing constructive for the virus seems to have levelled off in England, the ONS evaluation discovered. But there are indicators {that a} decline in new covid-19 circumstances throughout the UK as a complete is slowing. The newest official estimate for the UK’s R quantity the typical quantity of individuals every coronavirus case infects places it between 0.7 and 0.9, up barely from between 0.6 and 0.9 the earlier week and from between 0.6 and 0.8 two weeks earlier. 

Other coronavirus news

European Union leaders have backed a tightening of vaccine exports from the bloc, following a digital summit on 25 March. Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte mentioned EU leaders had discovered the European Commission’s new vaccine export restrictions “acceptable”, however added that he hoped they’d by no means be used. The new export controls allow the EU to dam covid-19 shipments to nations with higher vaccination protection. Former European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker had criticised the EU’s dealing with of vaccine exports forward of the summit.

Health officers in Germany have warned that the third wave of coronavirus infections within the nation might be “harder to curb” than the earlier two. Lothar Wieler, head of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, warned that Germany might see as many as 100,000 new infections a day with none intervention. Wieler was talking at a press convention on 26 March, alongside Germany’s well being minister Jens Spahn. “At the moment, the figures are rising too fast and the variants are making the situation especially dangerous,” mentioned Spahn. “If this continues unchecked, we run the risk [that] our health system could reach its breaking point in April,” he added.

US president Joe Biden introduced on 25 March that he had doubled his administration’s vaccine supply purpose to 200 million doses throughout his first 100 days as president. The US has administered greater than 133 million doses of covid-19 vaccine to this point.

A third wave of coronavirus infections in Africa might threaten fragile healthcare techniques in some nations, the World Health Organization has warned.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.75 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 125.6 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

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Vaccine passports

Workers cross London Bridge through the morning rush hour, on the anniversary of Britain’s first coronavirus illness.

REUTERS/Toby Melville

25 March

Vaccine passports could solely be potential as soon as all UK adults are vaccinated, says UK prime minister

It could solely be potential to introduce covid-19 vaccine passports within the UK as soon as all adults have been provided a vaccine, UK prime minister Boris Johnson has mentioned. Vaccine passports have been urged to supply proof that an individual has been vaccinated towards covid-19 or present destructive coronavirus check outcomes for individuals who haven’t been vaccinated. Johnson advised the BBC “no decisions have been taken at all” with reference to the use of vaccination certificates within the UK, however added: “I do think there is going to be a role for certificates”. A UK authorities assessment into the potential use of vaccination certificates is presently underway with a choice anticipated by 12 April, when a deliberate easing of coronavirus restrictions in England is ready to start.

The European Union has additionally been wanting into the risk of a covid-19 vaccine passport, known as the “digital green pass”. But the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned towards nations growing vaccine passports, saying it might create inequities. “Certification of vaccination as a requirement for international travel is not justified, as vaccination is not widely enough available and is inequitably distributed throughout the world,” mentioned Mike Ryan, director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, throughout a digital press convention on 15 March.

Other coronavirus news

Former European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has criticised the EU over its dealing with of covid-19 vaccine exports. Juncker advised the BBC’s Hardtalk radio programme the bloc ought to step again from waging a “stupid vaccine war” with the UK and as an alternative concentrate on dashing up efforts to supply vaccines for residents of its member states. According to Our World In Data, the EU had administered round 13 doses of a covid-19 vaccine per 100 individuals as of 22 March, in contrast with 38 within the US, 45 within the UK and 113 in Israel. EU leaders are anticipated to push again towards the bloc’s proposal to use new powers to dam covid-19 vaccine shipments to nations with higher vaccination protection, in accordance with a draft assertion earlier than a digital assembly on 25 March.

AstraZeneca has launched further information from a US trial of its covid-19 vaccine. The further outcomes point out the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was 76 per cent efficient at stopping symptomatic covid-19 and 100 per cent efficient at stopping extreme or crucial illness and hospitalisation. Interim outcomes revealed by the corporate on 22 March urged the vaccine was 79 per cent efficient at stopping symptomatic covid-19. However, shortly after the outcomes have been launched, the US Data and Safety Monitoring Board advised the National Institutes of Health it was involved AstraZeneca could have supplied “outdated information” from the trial in its press launch, giving an “incomplete view” of the outcomes. In response, AstraZeneca launched the extra information on 25 March.

Sweden is resuming its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine for individuals over the age of 65, whereas Denmark is extending its suspension of the pictures for 3 weeks. The EU’s medicines regulator has mentioned the vaccine is secure and never related to an general improve within the threat of blood clots, however some nations are conducting their very own opinions. 

The WHO-led COVAX scheme, which is working to produce low and center earnings nations with covid-19 vaccines, is going through delays as a result of technical points at a producing plant in South Korea, in addition to as a result of a setback in securing export licenses for additional doses of vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.74 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 125 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

A well-known well being risk: Understanding how covid-19 has been perceived in West African nations similar to Ghana is essential to tackling it, says Ama de-Graft Aikins.

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Astrazeneca Vaccine on the Museum of Science and Technology, Milan, Italy.

Marco Passaro/Shutterstock

24 March

Vaccine shipments can be assessed primarily based on vacation spot nation’s charge of vaccinations and exports, below proposed new EU controls

The European Commission has proposed stricter controls on covid-19 vaccine exports. Under the proposed new measures, to be mentioned by EU leaders on 25 March, any cargo can be assessed primarily based on the vacation spot nation’s charge of vaccinations and vaccine exports. The controls would most definitely have an effect on vaccine-exporting nations which have increased vaccination charges than the EU, together with the UK and US. “If the country of destination, which has a large production capacity, restricts its own exports of vaccines or substances – either by law or other means – it may be appropriate to consider whether exports to this country are justified,” mentioned Valdis Dombrovskis, vice-president of the European Commission, on 24 March. Dombrovskis mentioned member states and the fee would additionally take note of a rustic’s epidemiological scenario, its vaccination charge and the prevailing availability of covid-19 vaccines. 

Separately, India has quickly suspended exports of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India as a way to meet home demand as coronavirus circumstances rise, Reuters reported. The resolution will have an effect on provides to the World Health Organization-led COVAX scheme, which is supplying covid-19 vaccine doses to low and center earnings nations.

Other coronavirus news

Children within the UK might start receiving covid-19 vaccines in August below provisional authorities plans, the Telegraph reported on 23 March. UK authorities officers are ready for outcomes from a trial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine in youngsters earlier than making a ultimate resolution on the rollout. Conclusions from the trial, which includes 300 individuals aged between 6 and 17, are anticipated in June or July. “The [UK’s medicines regulator] will not yet have enough data on teenagers and children to give approval for any one vaccine, and it’s likely more than one trial will be needed before approval for use in under 18s is given,” mentioned Saul Faust on the University of Southampton, UK, in a assertion.

Coronavirus circumstances, hospitalisations and deaths are persevering with to surge in Brazil. According to a coalition of Brazilian news teams, a every day document improve of 3158 deaths from covid-19 have been reported on 23 March, in addition to 84,996 new circumstances. Brazil is seeing widespread protests after the nation’s president Jair Bolsonaro claimed in a televised deal with on 23 March that individuals would quickly be capable of resume their “normal lives”, regardless of the rising demise toll and strain on hospitals. Out of the nation’s 26 states, 24 have a covid-19 intensive care mattress occupancy of 80 per cent or extra, in accordance with a bulletin revealed by Brazilian well being institute Fiocruz on 17 March.

A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in 206 samples within the western state of Maharashtra in India, in accordance with a authorities official. The new variant was additionally detected in 9 samples within the capital New Dehli, Sujeet Kumar Singh, director of India’s National Centre for Disease Control, advised a news convention.

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel reversed a choice to place the nation below a strict lockdown over Easter, calling the choice to shut outlets and church buildings between 1 and 5 April a mistake.

The UK Health Security Agency, a brand new organisation being arrange with the purpose of stopping and responding to future pandemics, will launch on 1 April, UK well being minister Matt Hancock introduced.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.73 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 124.3 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Vaccine doubts: Poor communication and lack of transparency from the Colombian authorities are fuelling vaccine hesitancy amongst many Indigenous communities who’re already among the many most susceptible to covid-19.

Declining vaccine hesitancy: People in lots of wealthy nations have gotten extra prepared to have a covid-19 vaccine, matching attitudes in poorer nations the place most individuals say they’d settle for a jab when obtainable.

UK Border

UK Border Terminal 3 Heathrow Airport, England, United Kingdom, UK

Jeff Gilbert / Alamy

23 March

People in England who journey exterior the UK with out an exemption face £5000 fantastic

New UK laws will imply individuals in England will face a £5000 fantastic in the event that they journey exterior the UK or the widespread journey space with no affordable excuse. Exemptions to the ban embrace journey for work, research or to go to a dying relative. The new legislation is because of come into impact on 29 March, topic to a vote by MPs on 25 March. While the brand new legislation is not going to expire till 30 June, UK well being minister Matt Hancock advised Sky News {that a} authorities assessment of worldwide journey – the outcomes of that are due on 12 April – would determine whether or not to permit individuals within the UK to take holidays overseas from 17 May. “The earliest date by which we will allow for international travel – without one of the clear reasons you need now – is 17 May,” mentioned Hancock. “The reason for that is we are seeing this third wave rising in some parts of Europe and we’re also seeing new variants,” he added.

“I think conservatively, and being risk averse at the moment, I think we should be planning on summer holidays in the UK not overseas,” mentioned Neil Ferguson at Imperial College London. Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Ferguson urged everyone ought to be topic to necessary testing when arriving into the UK.

Other coronavirus news

Information launched by AstraZeneca concerning outcomes from the US trial of its covid-19 vaccine could have included outdated info, in accordance with a US well being company. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases mentioned the trial’s information and security monitoring board had “expressed concern that AstraZeneca may have included outdated information from that trial, which may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data”. On 22 March, AstraZeneca introduced that its covid-19 vaccine was discovered to be 79 per cent efficient at stopping symptomatic covid-19 in a big trial performed within the US, Chile and Peru. In a press release on 23 March, AstraZeneca mentioned: “The numbers published yesterday were based on a pre-specified interim analysis with a data cut-off of 17 February,” including: “We will immediately engage with the independent data safety monitoring board (DSMB) to share our primary analysis with the most up to date efficacy data. We intend to issue results of the primary analysis within 48 hours.” Speaking on ABC News, US well being adviser Anthony Fauci mentioned: “This is likely a very good vaccine,” including: “If you look at it, the data really are quite good but when they put it into the press release it wasn’t completely accurate.”

Regeneron and Roche’s antibody cocktail towards covid-19 lowered the danger of hospitalisation or demise by 70 per cent in non-hospitalised covid-19 sufferers in comparison with a placebo in a trial. The cocktail consists of two antibodies – casirivimab and imdevimab.

Germany’s coronavirus lockdown might be prolonged till 18 April, German chancellor Angela Merkel introduced right this moment. The nation will enter a fair stricter lockdown from 1 to five April, over the Easter interval, when outlets, together with supermarkets, will largely be required to shut.

India introduced it’ll open its vaccination drive to individuals over the age of 45 from 1 April. Almost 50 million individuals in India have acquired a dose of covid-19 vaccine, with frontline staff, individuals over 60 and folks over 45 with comorbidities prioritised to this point.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.72 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 123.8 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Vaccine hesitancy in Europe: More than half of individuals in France, Germany and Spain consider that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is unsafe, in accordance with a YouGov ballot, as a 3rd wave of infections hits Europe.

Pandemic affect: The social, cultural and financial harm attributable to the coronavirus pandemic will trigger a decade-long shadow throughout training, psychological well being and public belief within the UK, in accordance with a landmark report.

Covid third wave

Pedestrians cross Tower Bridge within the City of London, U.Okay., on Monday, March 22, 2021. Lockdown In The City Of London At The One-Year Anniversary

Jason Alden/Bloomberg through Getty Images

22 March

The UK might quickly be hit by a 3rd wave of infections, says Boris Johnson

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has warned that the UK might quickly be hit by a 3rd wave of coronavirus infections just like that presently being skilled by different European nations, together with France, Italy and Germany. France reported greater than 35,000 new coronavirus circumstances on 18 March, in comparison with simply 6303 reported within the UK on the identical day. “Previous experience has taught us that when a wave hits our friends, it, I’m afraid, washes up on our shores as well and I expect that we will feel those effects in due course,” Johnson advised reporters on 22 March. The most up-to-date official estimate of the UK’s R quantity – the typical quantity of individuals every coronavirus case infects – places it between 0.6 and 0.9. An R quantity beneath 1.0 signifies the epidemic is shrinking. But evaluation of the newest outcomes from a random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) point out “there may be early signs of an increase [in infections] for the East Midlands” in England within the week ending 13 March, the ONS mentioned in its report.

“A further wave of [covid-19] in the UK is inevitable. Though whether this is in the next few months or later in autumn is not certain,” mentioned Paul Hunter on the University of East Anglia in a press release. “How the current surge in cases across several European nations will impact on the UK is also not certain at present,” mentioned Hunter. How a lot vaccines stop transmission of the virus is one key issue, he mentioned: “although none of the current vaccines can really prevent transmission, they certainly suppress transmission and will go a long way towards reducing the impact of any future wave.”

Other coronavirus news

Boris Johnson is assembly European Union leaders this week, urging them to veto a suggestion from the European Commission that will block Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine exports to the UK. EU leaders are making ready to decide at a summit on 25 March on whether or not to maneuver ahead with a risk to cease exports of the vaccine to the UK from a manufacturing unit within the Netherlands. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen warned final week that the fee could prohibit exports of covid-19 vaccines to the UK until the UK exhibits extra “reciprocity” in vaccine exports. She mentioned the EU continues to be ready for Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the UK, whereas 10 million vaccine doses, together with from Pfizer/BioNTech, had been delivered to the UK from EU manufacturing crops.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine was discovered to be 79 per cent efficient at stopping symptomatic covid-19 in a big trial performed within the US, Chile and Peru, AstraZeneca introduced on 22 March. The vaccine was 100 per cent efficient at stopping extreme illness and hospitalisation. The trial concerned greater than 32,000 volunteers throughout all age teams. AstraZeneca mentioned an unbiased security committee, which performed a selected assessment of blood clots within the US trial, discovered “no increased risk of thrombosis or events characterised by thrombosis among the 21,583 participants receiving at least one dose of the vaccine” and located “no events” of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) – a uncommon sort of blood clot in a significant mind vessel. Data from the trial might be reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration, which is anticipated to take just a few weeks to determine whether or not to present emergency use authorisation to the vaccine.

Coronavirus circumstances are persevering with to surge in Brazil, with the nation’s well being techniques turning into more and more overwhelmed. CNN reported on 22 March that in practically each state in Brazil, occupancy charges in intensive care items are at or above 80 per cent. A couple of have exceeded 100 per cent, leading to sufferers being turned away. On 20 March, Felipe Augusto, mayor of the coastal city of Sao Sebastiao advised CNN affiliate CNN Brasil that provides of essential medication required for intubating sufferers have been as a result of run out within the city after 22 March.

India recorded greater than 260,000 new coronavirus circumstances final week, one of the nation’s largest weekly will increase because the pandemic started.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.71 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 123.3 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Hybrid viruses: Recombinant viruses made up of two coronavirus variants mashed collectively at the moment are circulating broadly amongst individuals, though for now they don’t appear to hold mutations that make them extra harmful.

Intensive care unit

Doctor Widad Abdi works within the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) the place sufferers affected by the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) are handled on the Clinique de l’Estree – ELSAN non-public hospital in Stains, close to Paris, France.

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

19 March

Germany, France and Italy are amongst European nations seeing rising infections

Coronavirus circumstances have been rising in a lot of Europe in a 3rd wave of infections, with 20 nations within the European Union reporting rising check positivity and 15 nations reporting rising hospital or ICU admissions as a result of covid-19 as of 14 March, in accordance with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. “We have now seen 3 consecutive weeks of growth in covid-19 cases with over 1.2 million new cases reported last week across Europe,” mentioned World Health Organization (WHO) Europe director, Hans Kluge, at a press convention on 18 March. Kluge mentioned the faster-spreading B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant, which was first detected within the UK, is turning into predominant within the area, with circumstances reported in a minimum of 48 out of 53 European territories to this point. “The number of people dying from covid-19 in Europe is higher now than it was this time last year, reflecting the widespread hold this virus has,” Kluge added.

Germany started easing some coronavirus restrictions on 8 March however could quickly must return to stricter guidelines as a result of rising circumstances, the nation’s well being minister Jens Spahn advised a news convention on 19 March. “The rising case numbers may mean that we cannot take further reopening steps in the weeks to come,” he mentioned. “On the contrary, we may even have to take steps backwards.” France, which recorded 35,000 new circumstances on 18 March and reached document numbers of covid-19 sufferers in intensive care in Paris, is introducing a month-long lockdown in its capital and elements of the north of the nation. Italy has additionally seen rising circumstances not too long ago and because of this, Italian authorities reimposed restrictions throughout most of the nation on 15 March.

Other coronavirus news

Several European nations, together with Germany, France, Italy and Spain, are resuming their rollouts of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, after an investigation by the EU’s medicines regulator concluded its advantages outweigh its dangers. A separate investigation by the WHO world advisory committee on vaccine security got here to the identical conclusion. More than 20 nations had suspended use of the vaccine following reviews of blood clots in some individuals who had acquired it. But inside hours of the European Medicine Agency’s assertion on 18 March, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and a minimum of seven different nations mentioned they’d resume vaccinations as early as 19 March. France, nevertheless, has mentioned that solely individuals aged 55 and over ought to obtain the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, whereas Norway, Sweden and Denmark haven’t but lifted their suspensions of the shot. 

The UK’s R quantity – the typical quantity of individuals every coronavirus case infects could have risen barely. The most up-to-date official estimate places it between 0.6 and 0.9, in comparison with the earlier week when it was estimated to be between 0.6 and 0.8. Infections are nonetheless shrinking general at a charge of between 3 and 6 per cent per day, however the charge at which they’re falling has slowed from between 4 and seven per cent per day the earlier week. The findings are in keeping with the newest outcomes from a random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics, which discovered that circumstances are not falling in some elements of the UK and will even be rising in some areas.

School pupils within the US can now sit a few metre aside within the classroom so long as they put on face coverings, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mentioned on 19 March. Under the up to date steering, pupils are nonetheless suggested to maintain a distance of 2 metres other than each other throughout lunch breaks and at sporting occasions or assemblies.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.69 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 121.9 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

AstraZeneca vaccine

Vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, exterior Paris.

Christophe Ena/AP/Shutterstock

18 March

European Medicines Agency concludes AstraZeneca vaccine advantages outweigh dangers

The security committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which regulates medication for the European Union, has concluded that the advantages of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine proceed to outweigh the danger of unintended effects. Following an investigation into reviews of blood clots in some individuals who acquired the vaccine, the committee has concluded that the shot shouldn’t be related to a rise within the general threat of blood clots in those that obtain it, and it’s a secure and efficient technique to stop covid-19, which is itself related to an elevated threat of blood clots. But the committee continues to be investigating whether or not the vaccine could also be linked to very uncommon circumstances of blood clots related to low ranges of platelets within the blood, together with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) – a blood clot in a significant mind vessel. The EMA mentioned the general quantity of blood clots reported after vaccination was decrease than that anticipated within the wider inhabitants.

The EMA mentioned about 20 million individuals within the UK and Europe had acquired the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine as of 16 March, and its committee had reviewed 18 circumstances of CVST and 7 circumstances of disseminated intravascular coagulation – blood clots in a number of blood vessels. It shouldn’t be but clear if the vaccine prompted these uncommon occasions however the committee mentioned this can be a risk, which will probably be investigating additional. Most of the uncommon occasions occurred in individuals below the age of 55 and the bulk have been girls. The committee mentioned it’s investigating whether or not there could have been a hyperlink with the oral contraceptive capsule in these circumstances.

A quantity of European nations, together with Germany, France, Italy and Sweden, suspended use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine earlier this week as a precautionary measure. It is as much as particular person nations to determine whether or not to renew administering of the vaccine. “The pandemic is costing lives,” mentioned Emer Cooke, director of the EMA, throughout a press briefing on 18 March. “We have vaccines that are safe and effective, that can help prevent death and hospitalization. We need to use those vaccines,” she mentioned.

Other coronavirus news

A delay in a supply of 5 million Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine doses to the UK from India might end in a discount within the UK’s covid-19 vaccine provide in April. The cargo, produced by the Serum Institute of India, has been delayed by 4 weeks, the BBC reported. The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care has mentioned the UK stays on monitor to supply a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine to all adults by the top of July. More than 25.2 million individuals within the UK have acquired a first dose of covid-19 vaccine to this point and greater than 1.7 million have acquired a second shot. But Adam Finn on the University of Bristol, who’s a member of the UK Department of Health Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, advised BBC Radio 4 that the supply problem was more likely to end in a slight delay in vaccinations for individuals of their 40s and youthful, which might end in an increase in infections. 

The UK has warned that there might be penalties if the EU breaks the legislation on covid-19 vaccine contracts. “We fully expect those contracts to be delivered on, because there are very significant consequences to breaking contract law,” UK well being minister Matt Hancock advised parliament. On 17 March, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen mentioned the fee could prohibit exports of covid-19 vaccines to the UK until the UK exhibits extra “reciprocity” in vaccine exports. She mentioned the EU continues to be ready for Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the UK, whereas 10 million vaccine doses, together with from Pfizer/BioNTech, had been delivered to the UK from EU crops.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.68 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 121.3 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Hybrid viruses: Recombinant viruses made up of two coronavirus variants mashed collectively at the moment are circulating broadly amongst individuals, though for now they don’t appear to hold mutations that make them extra harmful.

Ursula von der Leyen

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

JOHN THYS/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

17 March

UK international minister says EU threats “cut across previous assurances”

The European Commission could prohibit exports of covid-19 vaccines to the UK to safe extra doses for its personal residents until the UK exhibits extra “reciprocity” in vaccine exports, the fee’s president Ursula von der Leyen mentioned on 17 March. “With the US reciprocity is given […] there is a seamless flow back and forth of pre-products and raw materials and drug substance,” von der Leyen advised a press convention. But she mentioned the EU continues to be ready for Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the UK, even if 10 million vaccine doses had been delivered to the UK from EU crops. “We are still waiting for doses to come from the UK, so this is an invitation to show us that there are also doses from the UK coming to the European Union so that we have reciprocity,” she mentioned. UK international minister Dominic Raab advised Reuters the risk to ban exports “cuts across the direct assurances that we had from the commission”, including: “We expect those assurances and legal contracted supply to be respected.”

More than 25 million individuals within the UK have now acquired a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine, in accordance with the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care. “This latest milestone is an incredible achievement,” UK prime minister Boris Johnson mentioned in a press release. “We’re ahead of schedule to offer a first dose to all in these groups by the 15 April and I urge everybody eligible to come forward,” mentioned UK well being minister Matt Hancock.

Other coronavirus news

UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s former adviser Dominic Cummings has known as for an investigation into the federal government’s dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to MPs, Cummings described the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care as a “smoking ruin” on the time the coronavirus disaster hit, highlighting points with the procurement of private protecting gear through the early levels of the UK’s epidemic in 2020. In response to rising requires an inquiry, UK enterprise minister Kwasi Kwarteng advised Sky News it can be “premature” to launch one “when the pandemic is still all around us”.

Poland is ready to enter a brand new nationwide lockdown from 20 March, the nation’s well being minister mentioned. Poland reported 25,052 new coronavirus circumstances on 17 March in its highest every day toll in 2021 to this point. Several European nations are seeing rising circumstances, together with Germany, France and Italy.

China is resuming processing of visas for foreigners from a number of nations, however solely for individuals who have been vaccinated with a Chinese-made covid-19 vaccine, the Guardian has reported.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.67 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 120.9 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Vaccine hesitancy: The overwhelming majority of individuals surveyed in 10 low and center earnings nations mentioned they’d take a covid-19 vaccine, within the first research to have a look at the query.

Dose delay: The UK’s technique of rising the time between covid-19 vaccine doses seems to be working. Canada and Germany have adopted the same strategy, however the US has dominated out altering its coverage.

UK variant: Globally, since late February, coronavirus infections have began to rise once more, primarily linked to the B.1.1.7 variant. The massive query is what occurs subsequent.

Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for the House of Commons.

WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/PA Images

16 March

Growing strain for UK to launch inquiry into dealing with of pandemic

There is rising strain for UK prime minister Boris Johnson to launch an inquiry into the UK’s dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic, together with from authorities scientific advisers and well being leaders, the Guardian has reported. Andrew Hayward, a member of the federal government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, advised the Guardian in a private capability that the federal government’s decision-making processes “need to be scrutinised”, with an emphasis on “learning from the future rather than culpability”. Others calling for an inquiry embrace Donna Kinnair, common secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, and Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association council. A authorities spokesperson mentioned: “We are focused on protecting the NHS and saving lives and now is not the right time to devote huge amounts of official time to an inquiry.”

Other coronavirus news

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has reiterated that there’s “no indication” that the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine has prompted blood clot incidents. “The number of thromboembolic events overall in vaccinated people seems not to be higher than that seen in the general population,” EMA chief, Emer Cooke, advised a digital press convention on 16 March. Cooke added that there have been related reviews about blood clots associated to different coronavirus vaccines accepted for use in Europe, together with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. On 16 March, Sweden adopted Germany, France, Italy and different European nations in suspending use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Both the EMA and the World Health Organization (WHO) are investigating reviews of blood clots in a small quantity of individuals who had the vaccine. The EMA is anticipated to launch outcomes from its investigation on 18 March.

A member of the World Health Organization (WHO) crew investigating the origins of the covid-19 pandemic has mentioned wildlife farms in southern China are the most definitely supply. An earlier speculation proposed by the crew was that the virus was first transmitted through frozen meals. But Peter Daszak, a member of the investigative crew, advised NPR that the choice by China to close down wildlife farms in February 2020 is a powerful sign that the Chinese authorities thought the farms have been essentially the most possible pathway for a coronavirus in bats in southern China to spillover into individuals. The WHO is anticipated to launch official findings from the crew’s investigation in two weeks. 

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon mentioned she would set out dates for the easing of restrictions in Scotland. She mentioned issues have been set to “get a fair bit better in the weeks and months ahead”. Some measures have already been eased in Scotland, with individuals allowed to fulfill in bigger teams open air and pupils in a position to return to high school.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.66 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 120.3 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

AstraZeneca vaccine: The quantity of blood clotting incidents in vaccinated individuals “seems not to be higher than that seen in the general population”, the European Medicines Agency says. 

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A navy physician holds an Astrazeneca Vaccine vial at a mass coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination drive-through clinic.

Piero Cruciatti/Anadolu Agency through Getty Images

15 March

Germany, France and Italy amongst newest nations to pause AstraZeneca vaccine

Germany, France and Italy are among the many newest nations to pause their rollouts of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, following reviews of blood clots in a small quantity of individuals who acquired the vaccine. The World Health Organization, the European Medicines Agency and the UK’s medicines regulator have all mentioned there may be no indication that the vaccine causes blood clots. “We are closely reviewing reports but given the large number of doses administered, and the frequency at which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause,” mentioned Phil Bryan, vaccines security lead on the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Agency in a assertion. “People should still go and get their covid-19 vaccine when asked to do so,” he mentioned. Approximately 17 million individuals within the EU and UK have acquired a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to this point, with simply 37 circumstances of blood clots reported as of final week, AstraZeneca mentioned.

“It is most regrettable that countries have stopped vaccination,” mentioned Peter English, former chair of the British Medical Association public well being medication committee, in a assertion. “It risks doing real harm to the goal of vaccinating enough people to slow the spread of the virus, and to end the pandemic,” mentioned English.

The UK will not comply with different nations in suspending use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, a spokesperson for UK prime minister Boris Johnson mentioned on 15 March. Johnson is assured that each the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines towards covid-19 are “safe and effective”, mentioned the spokesperson, including: “There is no evidence of any causal link between blood clots, and the [Oxford/AstraZeneca] vaccine.”

Thailand delayed its deliberate rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine final week however right this moment introduced that rollout of the pictures will resume.

Other coronavirus news

The White House is anticipated to unveil a public relations marketing campaign geared toward boosting covid-19 vaccine confidence and uptake throughout the US. Separately, US well being adviser Anthony Fauci has urged former US president Donald Trump to encourage his supporters to get vaccinated towards covid-19. “It would make all the difference in the world,” Fauci advised Fox News on 14 March.

Germany’s affiliation of intensive care docs is looking for a return to stricter lockdown restrictions, following an increase in coronavirus circumstances. 

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.65 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 120 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Vaccination effort: Even in nations the place vaccines can be found and uptake is excessive, rising points threaten the success of complete vaccination programmes. 

The story of a pandemic: A yr after the World Health Organization first declared the coronavirus a pandemic, we put collectively a video timeline of covid-19, from the primary circumstances in China in December 2019 to 300 million vaccine doses delivered (and counting).

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Medical employee prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to a affected person within the capital Sarajevo, Bosnia.

Kemal Softic/AP/Shutterstock

12 March

Countries ought to proceed utilizing Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, says WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has mentioned there may be no proof that the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine causes blood clots and is urging nations to proceed utilizing it. “It’s very important to understand that, yes, we should continue to be using the AstraZeneca vaccine,” mentioned Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson, at a briefing on 12 March. The WHO’s world advisory committee on vaccine security is reviewing reviews of blood clots in some individuals who acquired the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. A quantity of nations, together with Denmark, Norway and Iceland, have suspended its use as a precautionary measure, whereas Thailand has delayed its rollout of the vaccine, initially scheduled to start on 12 March. There have been 30 circumstances of blood clots among the many 5 million individuals within the European Union who’ve acquired the vaccine as of 11 March, in accordance with the European Medicines Agency (EMA). 

More than 11 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine have been administered within the UK to this point, mentioned Phil Bryan, MHRA vaccines security lead, in a press release, including: “Reports of blood clots received so far are not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in then population.” The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Agency (MHRA) mentioned individuals within the UK ought to nonetheless go and get their covid-19 vaccine when requested to take action. “There is currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions,” the EMA mentioned.

Harris mentioned WHO information exhibits that greater than 268 million doses of covid-19 vaccines have been administered worldwide and no deaths have been discovered to have been attributable to them. 

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Preliminary outcomes from a survey of individuals who had covid-19 within the UK discovered 93 per cent of respondents reported on-going signs, with fatigue being the commonest symptom, reported by 77 per cent of these individuals. The subsequent mostly reported symptom was shortness of breath, skilled by 54 per cent of individuals with on-going signs. The survey additionally discovered that in individuals below the age of 50 outcomes have been worse for girls than males, with the ladies surveyed greater than 5 occasions extra more likely to report lingering signs in comparison with the boys. The preliminary outcomes are primarily based on 325 individuals who had been admitted to 1 of 31 UK hospitals with covid-19 between 5 February and 4 October 2020. The research is being performed by ISARIC4C, a UK-wide consortium of docs and researchers finding out covid-19.

A covid-19 vaccine developed by Novavax has been discovered to be 89 per cent efficient at stopping covid-19 circumstances in a trial involving greater than 15,000 individuals within the UK. The effectiveness of the vaccine was 96 per cent for prevention of circumstances attributable to the unique coronavirus variant and 86 per cent for circumstances attributable to the B.1.1.7 variant first recognized within the UK. In a smaller trial performed in South Africa, the place the B.1.351 variant is extremely prevalent, the vaccine was discovered to be 60 per cent efficient among the many 94 per cent of trial individuals who have been HIV-negative, and 49 per cent efficient general.

The UK’s R quantity – the typical quantity of individuals every coronavirus case infects – has fallen to between 0.6 and 0.8, it’s lowest degree since September, in accordance with the newest official estimate.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.63 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 118.6 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

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Company brand of pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline is seen at their Stevenage facility.

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11 March

GSK antibody remedy lowered hospitalisation or demise by 85 per cent in preliminary trial

An antibody remedy developed by UK agency GlaxoSmithKline and US-based Vir Biotechnology lowered hospitalisation or demise by 85 per cent in contrast with a placebo, in accordance with interim information from 583 trial individuals. The corporations mentioned they plan to use for emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration after an unbiased monitoring committee advisable shortening a trial of the experimental remedy early as a result of proof of “profound efficacy”. The individuals included within the trial will proceed to be adopted for one more six months. GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnologies additionally mentioned {that a} new laboratory research indicated that the remedy, known as VIR-7831, was equally efficient towards coronavirus variants first recognized within the UK, South Africa and in travellers from Brazil. Other antibody therapies, together with these developed by Eli Lilly and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, acquired suggestions from US and European medicines regulators earlier this yr. 

“This class of drug could be especially important for those people who are less protected by vaccines, for example if their immune system is weakened,” mentioned Alexander Edwards on the University of Reading in a assertion. But Edwards mentioned will probably be essential to attend for a whole set of outcomes from the trial to grasp how nicely VIR-7831 works and unpick the findings. “For example, who can it treat, when must they be given the drug, how does it prevent the worst outcomes?” 

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Denmark is pausing its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine for a minimum of two weeks after reviews of blood clots in an undisclosed quantity of individuals who had the vaccine, together with one one that has reportedly died. “This is a super-cautious approach,” mentioned Stephen Evans on the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in a assertion. “The problem with spontaneous reports of suspected adverse reactions to a vaccine are the enormous difficulty of distinguishing a causal effect from a coincidence,” he added. Separately, Austria suspended use of a batch of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on 7 March to research a demise from blood clotting problems and a case of pulmonary embolism. Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg have reportedly additionally halted use of the batch. The European Medicines Agency mentioned there was no proof to this point linking the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to the 2 Austrian circumstances, including that the quantity of individuals reporting blood clots after receiving the vaccine was no increased than among the many common inhabitants, with simply 22 circumstances among the many 3 million individuals who had acquired it as of 9 March.

Moderna has begun trialling a coronavirus vaccine booster shot focused on the B.1.351 coronavirus variant first recognized in South Africa. Earlier findings indicated the corporate’s present two-dose routine generates a weaker antibody response towards the B.1.351 variant, in comparison with the unique virus. The first individuals have now acquired the modified vaccine in an modification to an on-going medical trial, Moderna introduced on 10 March. The research includes 60 individuals beforehand vaccinated with the corporate’s unique pictures, who will obtain a 3rd shot of both one other dose of the unique vaccine or the booster shot at a low or excessive dose.

People experiencing homelessness, together with these sleeping tough, might be prioritised for covid-19 vaccines in England in accordance with recommendation from the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). “People experiencing homelessness are likely to have health conditions that put them at higher risk of death from covid-19,” Wei Shen Lim, covid-19 chair for the JCVI, mentioned in a press release. “The advice will help us to protect more people who are at greater risk, ensuring that fewer people become seriously ill or die from the virus.”

Coronavirus deaths
The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.62 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 118.2 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

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A person carrying a protecting swimsuit works at a cemetery in Chislehurst, because the unfold of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) continues

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10 March

Study signifies B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant recognized within the UK is extra lethal

The B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant first recognized within the UK is between 32 and 104 per cent extra lethal than earlier dominant variants, in accordance with a research revealed within the BMJ. The research in contrast demise charges amongst individuals within the UK contaminated with B.1.1.7 or different variants of the coronavirus. Earlier analysis has indicated the variant can be extra transmissible. “The precise mechanisms responsible for increased mortality associated with the variant remain uncertain but could be related to higher levels of virus replication as well as increased transmissibility,” mentioned Lawrence Young on the University of Warwick in a assertion.

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The UK hasn’t imposed a ban on the export of covid-19 vaccines, UK prime minister Boris Johnson advised parliament on 10 March. Johnson’s feedback are available in response to claims made by European Council president Charles Michel a day earlier that the UK and US have imposed “an outright ban on the export of vaccines or vaccine components produced on their territory”. Johnson advised MPs: “Let me be clear, we have not blocked the export of a single covid-19 vaccine or vaccine components.” Michel has since tweeted that there are “different ways of imposing bans or restrictions on vaccines/medicines”. European Commission spokesperson Eric Mamer declined to remark particularly on Michel’s statements throughout a press briefing in Brussels. The EU has confronted provide points with a number of covid-19 vaccines and in January launched a system of controls on exports of vaccines manufactured within the bloc.

Health techniques in most of Brazil’s largest cities are approaching collapse as a result of covid-19 circumstances, its main well being institute, Fiocruz, has warned. More than 80 per cent of intensive care unit (ICU) beds are occupied within the capitals of 25 of Brazil’s 27 states and 15 state capitals have ICUs which can be at greater than 90 per cent capability, Fiocruz has mentioned. The cities of Porto Alegre and Campo Grande have exceeded their ICU capability. Last week, Fiocruz mentioned that the P.1 coronavirus variant was one of a number of “variants of concern” which have turn into dominant in six of eight states it had studied.

Doctors and public well being researchers have warned that “the UK’s colour-blind vaccination model disregards the unequal impact of the pandemic on minority ethnic groups”. In an article, revealed within the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, they argue “the invisibility of these vulnerable groups from the priority list and the worsening healthcare inequities and inequalities are putting ethnic minorities at a significantly higher risk of covid-19 illness and death”. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson advised Sky News: “The independent JCVI’s [Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation] advice on covid-19 vaccine prioritisation was developed with the aim of preventing as many deaths as possible, with older age being the single greatest risk of death. We are following the JCVI recommendations so that we save lives.”

UK chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak has defended his position within the UK’s covid-19 response after extracts from Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott’s new guide Failures of State have been revealed within the Times. The extracts embrace point out of a authorities science adviser blaming Sunak for his “one-eyed approach in putting the nation’s finances first”. When requested concerning the problem in parliament on 9 March, Sunak mentioned: “At all steps in this crisis we have indeed taken the advice of our scientific advisers.” 

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.61 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 117.7 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

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Vaccine dosing: Small research exhibits individuals who have beforehand been contaminated with the coronavirus make related ranges of antibodies after one dose of covid-19 vaccine as individuals usually have after two pictures.

Chris Whitty

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty throughout a media briefing in Downing Street, London.

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9 March

UK science and medical advisers urge warning on easing of restrictions in England

England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty cautioned MPs towards lifting coronavirus restrictions in England sooner than deliberate, saying this might improve the dimensions and severity of future surges in infections. “It’s very easy to forget quite how quickly things can go bad if you don’t keep a very close eye on them,” mentioned Whitty. “What we don’t want to do is to accelerate into trouble and then have to reverse straight back out again, open things up and immediately close them down,” he mentioned. “All the modelling suggests there is going to be a further surge.” Whitty was giving proof to MPs on the commons science and know-how committee alongside the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance. Asked why encouraging information couldn’t result in an accelerated easing of restrictions, Vallance mentioned that three to 4 weeks have been wanted to generate and analyse information, which exceeds the one-week discover that the federal government needs to present of adjustments to guidelines. “I think if you truncate that you are essentially flying blind,” Vallance advised the committee. 

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Greece’s tourism minister Harry Theocharis has mentioned people who find themselves vaccinated towards covid-19, have antibodies or check destructive for the coronavirus can journey to Greece through the summer time of 2021. “All tourists will be subject to random testing,” Theocharis advised the ITB Berlin commerce present on 9 March. It has been reported that the UK authorities is contemplating the likelihood of the NHS coronavirus app that includes a digital well being passport, which might carry info on vaccinations and check outcomes. UK prime minister Boris Johnson mentioned on 8 March that vaccine passports for worldwide journey might be “a feature of our life in the future”. 

Johnson & Johnson advised the European Union it’s going through provide points that might disrupt plans to ship 55 million doses of its covid-19 vaccine to the bloc within the second quarter of 2021, Reuters reviews. The EU has already confronted points associated to the provision of different covid-19 vaccines, together with these made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which consists of a single shot, is anticipated to be accepted by the European Medicines Agency on 11 March and the corporate has dedicated to ship 200 million doses to the EU in 2021.

Temporary Nightingale hospitals in-built England through the first wave of covid-19 might be closed in April, the NHS introduced. From April, the websites will transition again into places for native NHS providers, with some for use as testing centres or covid-19 vaccination websites.

Coronavirus deaths
The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.6 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 117.2 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Mixing indoors: Vaccination means freedom to combine in non-public properties with out social distancing or carrying masks, US authorities have mentioned, however the steering is deemed too dangerous for the UK.

Children return to school

Year 9 college students put on protecting face masks as they participate in classes on the primary day again at college.

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8 March

Return of pupils is first step in England’s ‘roadmap’ for alleviating lockdown

Pupils in England started to return to high school right this moment for the primary time since a nationwide lockdown started in January. Primary colleges reopened totally however pupils can return to secondary colleges provided that they check destructive for coronavirus. Most secondary colleges are phasing reopening to permit this testing to be carried out. Since January, most pupils in England have been doing classes on-line, with solely the youngsters of key staff allowed to bodily attend colleges. 

The testing of secondary college pupils is being carried out with the speedy exams often known as lateral stream gadgets. Their use is controversial as a result of they’re much less correct than customary PCR exams, and there’s a increased threat of false positives and false negatives. Initially, authorities ministers mentioned pupils who examined constructive with a lateral stream check wouldn’t be allowed to return to high school even when a subsequent PCR check got here again destructive. Today a spokesperson for the prime minister mentioned pupils might return if a PCR check got here again destructive. A modelling research launched right this moment means that the use of lateral stream exams in colleges might be helpful if mixed with different measures similar to isolating contacts.

The reopening of colleges is step one within the “roadmap” for alleviating the lockdown in England. On 29 March the federal government plans to ease restrictions on outside conferences and sports activities, with many companies being allowed to reopen from 12 April.

Other coronavirus news

New Zealand has elevated its order of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to 10 million doses, sufficient to vaccine your entire inhabitants of practically 5 million individuals. However, the total order is not going to arrive till the second half of the yr. New Zealand has managed to get rid of the coronavirus however has had occasional outbreaks, together with a latest cluster attributable to the extra transmissible B.1.1.7 variant from the UK. No new circumstances have been reported since a week-long lockdown in Auckland ended. In February, the nation started vaccinating border and quarantine staff.

People within the US who’ve been vaccinated might be allowed to fulfill others indoors with out carrying masks, and also will not be required to isolate if they’re uncovered to recognized covid-19 circumstances, in accordance with new steering issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” mentioned CDC director Rochelle Walensky. The steering applies to people who find themselves two weeks previous the top of their vaccine routine – which suggests two doses of the Pfizer/Biontech or Moderna vaccines, or one Johsnon & Johnson shot. However, provided that we don’t but understand how a lot vaccines stop individuals from catching and transmitting the virus, it’s nonetheless potential that vaccinated individuals could infect others. Nearly 10 per cent of the US inhabitants has now been vaccinated.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.59 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 116.9 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

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World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press convention

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5 March

Covid-19 vaccine patents ought to be waived, says WHO chief

World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has mentioned he helps the momentary waiving of covid-19 vaccine patents to allow nations to fabricate and promote vaccine copies at lowered value. “I don’t believe that globally we’re exercising our full manufacturing muscle at present. For example, some manufacturers have not been able to produce successful vaccine candidates, which is to be expected, but their production facilities could be repurposed for those vaccines that have been proven to work,” he wrote within the Guardian. “Waiving patents temporarily won’t mean innovators miss out. Like during the HIV crisis or in a war, companies will be paid royalties for the products they manufacture.” 

World Trade Organization member states are set to debate a proposal by India and South Africa subsequent week to waive guidelines on mental property for covid-19 medication and vaccines. Worldwide, 265 million doses of covid-19 vaccines have been administered, with 80 per cent in simply 10 nations, mentioned Mike Ryan, government director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, throughout a social media Q&A on 3 March.

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Australia has requested the European Commission to assessment its resolution to approve Italy’s blocking of a cargo of covid-19 vaccine doses to the nation. In January, the European Commission launched a mechanism to permit monitoring the export of covid-19 vaccines produced within the European Union, and on 4 March Italy blocked a cargo of 250,000 doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine being despatched to Australia. “Australia has raised the issue with the European Commission through multiple channels,” Greg Hunt, Australia’s well being minister, advised journalists on 5 March. Japan can be involved concerning the export ban. The nation’s vaccine minister advised Reuters: “We want to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to secure the vaccines bound for Japan.” Germany’s well being minister expressed concern concerning the export ban, saying it might disrupt world covid-19 vaccine provide chains.

Willingness to obtain a covid-19 vaccine has risen within the UK and globally in latest months, in accordance with a survey on attitudes in direction of vaccination in 15 nations, performed by researchers at Imperial College London. In February, 77 per cent of individuals surveyed within the UK mentioned they’d settle for a covid-19 vaccine if one was obtainable to them, up from 55 per cent in November. Other nations included within the ballot have been Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and Sweden. Scepticism concerning the vaccine was highest in France, with solely 40 per cent of respondents in February saying they’d settle for a covid-19 vaccine, though this nonetheless represents a rise from 25 per cent in November. 

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.57 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 115.7 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

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Long covid vaccine: People with lasting signs after a covid-19 an infection, often known as lengthy covid, usually tend to get well than worsen after receiving a vaccine, in accordance with a web based survey

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Vaccine fast track

LICHFIELD, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 26: A nurse attracts up a vaccine as members of the general public obtain their Covid-19 vaccinations.

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4 March

Approval of covid-19 vaccines modified to work towards virus variants may very well be accelerated within the UK

Covid-19 vaccines which were modified to enhance their effectiveness towards new coronavirus variants may very well be fast-tracked for approval in the same technique to annual flu vaccines, in accordance with new steering from the UK’s medicines regulator. Vaccine producers would wish to supply sturdy proof that the modified vaccine produces a ample immune response, for instance launch of antibodies into the blood, however wouldn’t must conduct prolonged medical trials that don’t add to understanding of the vaccine’s security and effectiveness. “Our priority is to get effective vaccines to the public in as short a time as possible, without compromising on safety,” mentioned Christian Schneider, chief scientific officer on the UK company overseeing medication, in a assertion. “The public should be confident that no vaccine would be approved unless the expected high standards of safety, quality and effectiveness are met,” he added. Several producers of covid-19 vaccines are already engaged on tweaking them to deal with coronavirus variants.

The B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant first recognized within the UK is between 43 and 90 per cent extra transmissible than the unique virus, a research revealed within the scientific journal Science has estimated. “Without stringent control measures, including limited closure of educational institutions and a greatly accelerated vaccine roll-out, covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths across England in 2021 will exceed those in 2020,” the authors of the research write of their paper, including that the unfold of the variant at related charges in different nations, together with Denmark, Switzerland and the US, is “concerning”.

Other coronavirus news

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has introduced a rolling assessment of the Sputnik V covid-19 vaccine developed in Russia. The Sputnik V vaccine prompted concern amongst immunologists final yr after it was accepted in Russia in August earlier than any detailed outcomes from superior medical trials have been launched. But in early February, interim outcomes from a section III trial indicated the vaccine is 91.6 per cent efficient at stopping symptomatic covid-19. World Health Organization Europe director Hans Kluge advised a press briefing on 4 March that the EMA’s announcement was a “welcome development”, including that: “[in Europe] we desperately need to enlarge our portfolio of vaccines”. 

Italy has blocked a cargo of 250,000 Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine doses to Australia. In January, the European Commission launched a mechanism to allow monitoring of covid-19 vaccines produced in Europe and being exported out of the European Union. 

The charge of covid-19 Infections in England is shrinking much less shortly than it was earlier in 2021, in accordance with latest outcomes from the REACT research by researchers at Imperial College London. The research signifies one in 204 individuals have been contaminated between 4 and 23 February, down solely barely from one in 196 through the interval between 4 and 13 February, suggesting the autumn in infections seen since January has slowed.

Germany is anticipated to approve the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine for use in individuals over the age of 65.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.56 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 115.3 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

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Children in lockdown: The covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions have impacted youngsters’s psychological well being – which has already been declining for years within the UK and US.

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Susan Walls of Martinsburg receives her increase dose at a coronavirus illness (COVID-19) neighborhood vaccination occasion.

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3 March

US to have sufficient covid-19 vaccines for all adults by finish of May

US president Joe Biden introduced the US is on monitor to have sufficient covid-19 vaccine doses to vaccinate its complete grownup inhabitants by the top of May. “Great news, but stay vigilant,” mentioned Biden. “It’s not over yet,” he added. More than 76 million individuals within the US have acquired a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine to this point equal to about 23 per cent of the inhabitants. Not all adults might be vaccinated by the top of May, because the vaccines will take time to manage, however the nation is on monitor to fulfill Biden’s goal of delivering 100 million doses in his first 100 days in workplace. 

The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, introduced that the state will carry its requirement for individuals to put on face coverings and can permit companies to reopen at full capability subsequent week. This is in distinction to recommendation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which on 1 March warned of a possible fourth surge of circumstances earlier than the bulk of individuals within the nation are vaccinated.

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A preliminary research led by researchers on the University of Bristol, UK, signifies {that a} single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine reduces the danger of hospitalisation with covid-19 by about 80 per cent amongst individuals aged 80 and over. The outcomes add to earlier findings from an evaluation by Public Health England, which discovered {that a} single dose of both vaccine is 80 per cent efficient at stopping hospitalisation amongst individuals over 80. “This adds to growing evidence showing that the vaccines are working to reduce infections and save lives,” Mary Ramsay, Public Health England’s head of immunisation, advised the BMJ

Austria will obtain an further 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine to manage to all adults within the Schwaz district of the Tyrol province, the place there are presently 66 lively circumstances of individuals contaminated with the B.1351 coronavirus variant first recognized in South Africa.

UK chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak introduced an extra £1.65 billion to help the UK’s covid-19 vaccine rollout within the newest funds.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.55 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 114.8 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

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Fighting Ebola alongside covid-19: Guinea has vaccinated over 1000 individuals within the two weeks since its newest Ebola outbreak was declared, together with shut contacts of these contaminated.

Vaccinations cut death rate in over 80s

An aged affected person receiving the COVID-19 vaccination

Andrew Aitchison / In Pictures v

2 March

Deaths from covid-19 in England and Wales are falling quickest amongst individuals over 80

Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales are falling quickest amongst individuals aged 80 and over, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) counsel, indicating that the vaccination programme has had an affect on deaths from the illness. People aged 80 and over have been included within the prime 4 precedence teams for covid-19 vaccination. According to evaluation of ONS information by the Guardian, 1622 individuals aged 80 and above have been reported to have died from covid-19 within the week as much as 19 February, down from 5300 4 weeks earlier and equal to a discount of 69 per cent. Among individuals aged between 70 and 79, there was a discount in covid-19 deaths of 65 per cent over the identical interval, and the equal determine was 55 per cent for individuals aged 0 to 69. 

“Together with the evidence for reduction of hospitalisations after both the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, the message is clear: vaccines work for those 80+ and 70+ and they are saving lives,” mentioned Zania Stamataki on the University of Birmingham in a assertion

More than 20.2 million individuals within the UK as a complete had acquired a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 1 March.

Other coronavirus news

The seek for an individual who examined constructive for the P.1 variant of coronavirus in England has been narrowed right down to 379 households within the south-east of the nation, UK well being minister Matt Hancock advised parliament on 2 March. Six circumstances of the P.1 coronavirus variant, first detected in individuals travelling from Brazil to Japan, have been recognized within the UK. “We’re grateful that a number of potential cases have come forward,” mentioned Hancock.

Germany is anticipated to begin easing some coronavirus restrictions from 8 March. Under new draft guidelines, a most of 5 individuals from two households can be allowed to fulfill. Currently, conferences are restricted to a most of two individuals. Some outlets and salons would even be allowed to reopen. The draft plans for alleviating measures might be mentioned by nationwide and state authorities leaders on 3 March.

A World Health Organization (WHO) panel is advising towards the use of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to deal with covid-19 sufferers. In a assertion, the panel mentioned hydroxychloroquine is “no longer a research priority” and that “resources should be used to evaluate other more promising drugs to prevent covid-19”.

The WHO has mentioned it’s “unrealistic” to count on the coronavirus pandemic might be over by the top of 2021. “I think it will be very premature, and I think unrealistic, to think that we’re going to finish with this virus by the end of the year,” Michael Ryan, government director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, advised a press convention on 1 March.

Coronavirus deaths

Covid deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.54 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 114.5 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

Brazil coronavirus variant

BRISTOL, ENGLAND – MARCH 1: A employee takes a coronavirus check via the window of a automotive.

Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

1 March

Health officers in England try to hint particular person contaminated with P.1 virus variant

Efforts are underway in England to hint an individual contaminated with the P.1 coronavirus variant, after they used a house testing equipment however didn’t full a registration type. The P.1 variant was first recognized in individuals who have been travelling from Brazil to Japan on 10 January, and the contaminated particular person is one of six circumstances of the P.1 variant detected within the UK in February. Three of the six circumstances have been detected in England and the remaining three in Scotland. Public well being officers are interesting for anybody who hasn’t but acquired a end result from a check on 12 or 13 February to come back ahead by calling 119. Since 15 February, travellers arriving in England from 33 nations – together with Brazil – have been required to quarantine in a resort for 10 days. In Scotland, the resort quarantine rule applies to all worldwide arrivals.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson mentioned the federal government has no intention to reverse its plans to ease coronavirus restrictions in England. “Our whole strategy is to go forward in a way that is cautious but irreversible. And we don’t think that there’s any reason on this basis to change that now,” he advised journalists on 1 March. Under the federal government’s present plans, colleges in England are anticipated to reopen on 8 March. To help this deliberate reopening of colleges, the federal government has mentioned that households with youngsters in class will be capable of check themselves for coronavirus twice every week from dwelling, free of cost.

Across the UK, greater than 20 million individuals have acquired a primary dose of a covid-19 vaccine.

Other coronavirus news

The first covid-19 vaccinations via the World Health Organization’s COVAX scheme have been administered in Ghana and Ivory Coast on 1 March. “This is a day many of us have been dreaming of,” mentioned WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a press release. “I am sure that through COVAX and international solidarity we will be able to reach the most at-risk everywhere. Global equitable access to life-saving vaccines is the surest way to save lives and rebuild economies,” he mentioned. Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire acquired 600,000 and 504,000 doses respectively of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine licensed and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

The European Commission plans to current a proposal on creating an EU-wide digital covid-19 passport, which might permit EU residents to journey extra freely inside the bloc through the summer time. The “digital green pass” would offer proof that an individual has been vaccinated towards covid-19 or coronavirus check outcomes for individuals who haven’t been vaccinated. “The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad – for work or tourism,” mentioned European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. 

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorised Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. The first doses of the vaccine might be transported to US states on 1 March.

Coronavirus deaths

Covid deaths

The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.53 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 114.2 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

Coronavirus vaccine

A healthcare skilled attracts up a dose of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

OLI SCARFF/AFP through Getty Images

26 February

One dose of Pfizer vaccine exhibits 75 per cent discount in asymptomatic infections

There is but extra good news on vaccine effectiveness. A research primarily based on practically 9000 coronavirus exams carried out on healthcare staff in Cambridge, UK, has discovered that asymptomatic infections fell by 75 per cent 12 days after they acquired one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. There was the same discount in symptomatic infections.

The discovering is important as a result of it exhibits the vaccine will drastically scale back the unfold of the virus. It was already clear from medical trials and former research that the Pfizer vaccine is extremely efficient at stopping symptomatic infections however we didn’t know what number of vaccinated individuals may nonetheless get contaminated with out signs and doubtlessly go the illness on to others.

“This will mean a substantial reduction in transmission of the virus as more and more people are vaccinated, which is really great news,” research chief Mike Weekes on the University of Cambridge, advised the Guardian.

Other coronavirus news

Fifty million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been given to individuals within the US since President Joe Biden took workplace 37 days in the past, taking the whole to round 67 million. Biden had promised to ship 100 million doses in his first 100 days, so his administration is heading in the right direction to comfortably beat this goal. But he warned that issues is not going to return to regular quickly. “This is not a victory lap. Everything is not fixed. We have a long way to go. And that day when everything is back to normal depends on all of us,” Biden mentioned.

New Zealand has reported yet one more domestically acquired case of coronavirus. The contaminated particular person went to work at a quick meals restaurant on Monday regardless of being advised to isolate at dwelling. But officers say the small cluster of circumstances in Auckland is below management, and haven’t imposed one other lockdown on town. “This is a situation where we know the source of the cases [and] we know where there may have been contact with others,” mentioned Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide covid-19 demise toll has handed 2.5 million. The quantity of confirmed circumstances is greater than 113 million, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University, although the true quantity of circumstances might be a lot increased.

See earlier updates from February 2021, January 2021, November/December 2020, and March to November 2020.

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Updated on April 21, 2021 9:55 pm

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