UK Covid-19 vaccinations: Latest figures
The Government is set to reveal on Friday its “green list” of quarantine-free travel destinations starting 17 May.
The highly anticipated list, which is part of the UK’s “traffic light” travel system, is expected to be revealed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Ministers were expected to meet on Thursday to determine which countries will make the list, which is expected to be relatively short.
It comes as senior travel industry figures have called on the Foreign Office to provide “clarity” and “consistency” in its travel advice.
Chief executives of Airlines UK and travel association Abta wrote to the Foreign Office demanding that its advice be “used for its intended purpose, to assess the risk to individuals travelling to a particular destination”.
Tim Alderslade of Airlines UK, which represents leading carriers, said the office’s advice must be “consistent and coordinated with the traffic light system – providing clarity for the industry and travellers.”.
Travel industry leaders have also struck out at the UK over its “cautious” approach to easing holiday restrictions as the Government prepares to release its “green list” of countries travelers can visit without having to quarantine after.
In a joint article in The Daily Telegraph, leaders of British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Heathrow Airport and the Manchester Airport Group took aim at the British government’s “overabundance of caution”.
In particular, the group hit out at the government’s plan to require fully vaccinated holidaymakers to take a PCR test when returning home from a country on the green list.
“Instead of taking advantage of the success of the vaccine programme the Government risks closing the UK off from the rest of the world,” they said.
Obese men at greater risk of Covid death than obese women, study suggests
Obese men are at greater risk of suffering severe health consequences, including death, from Covid-19 than obese women, a new study has suggested.
In a study analysing data from 3,530 patients in hospital with Covid 19, researchers found that obese men with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or over had a “significant association with higher in-hospital mortality”, while women with a BMI of 40 or over had the same link, PA has reported.
In the study, a BMI of 35 to 39.9 was considered class II obesity, while 40 and over was seen as class III.
The researchers found that patients with class II and class III obesity had a higher chance of dying in hospital, especially when compared with patients of “normal” weight.
The study, which was published in the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, concluded that “obesity classes II and III in men and obesity class III in women were independently associated with higher in-hospital mortality in patients with Covid-19”.
Additional reporting by PA
Chantal Da Silva6 May 2021 16:05
Vaccine booking site flaw allows people to work out others’ status
An apparent flaw been uncovered on the coronavirus vaccine booking website that lets users figure out another person’s vaccination status using their basic information.
The service asks for an individual’s NHS number or simply their name, date of birth and postcode to arrange an appointment.
Using those details, however, users can easily deduce whether others have been vaccinated as those who have not had a jab are taken to a standard page, while those who have had a first jab are asked to book a second.
Those who have had both doses are taken to a page asserting that they have had both appointments already.
The apparent flaw has prompted concerns from privacy campaigners, with Silkie Carlo, director of privacy campaigners Big Brother Watch, telling PA: “This is a seriously shocking failure to protect patients’ medical confidentiality at a time when it could not be more important.”
“This online system has left the population’s Covid vaccine statuses exposed to absolutely anyone to pry into,” Carlo said.
“Date of birth and postcode are fields of data that can be easily found or bought, even on the electoral roll.
“This is personal health information that could easily be exploited by companies, insurers, employers or scammers.”
An NHS Digital spokesman told the agency the messaging on the website is being looked into.
Additional reporting from PA
Chantal Da Silva6 May 2021 15:51
UK holidaymakers ‘will be left behind’ in race to the sun, says EasyJet boss
The head of the UK’s biggest budget airline has warned that British travellers are going to be “left behind” in the race to the sun due to the Government’s cautious approach.
In an interview withThe Independent, Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said he believes “most of the European countries” should be on the UK’s no-quarantine “green list”, which is expected to be revealed tomorrow.
Travel correspondent Simon Calder has more:
Chantal Da Silva6 May 2021 15:35
Travel industry chiefs demand better Foreign Office advice
Travel industry leaders are calling on the Foreign Office to provide advice in line with its “intended purpose” and provide clear and consistent advice for travelers.
As the Government prepared to announce its “green list” of quarantine-free holiday destinations, the chief executives of Airlines UK and travel association Abta wrote a letter to the Foreign Office, urging “clarity” and “consistency”.
Read more from our travel correspondent Simon Calder:
Chantal Da Silva6 May 2021 15:25
Three quarters of people aged 45 to 49 likely to have had first vaccine dose, NHS England says
Roughly three quarters of people in England aged 45 to 49 have likely had their first dose of coronavirus vaccine, NHS England has said.
According to the NHS, 74.7% of people in the age group are estimated to have gotten the jab as of 2 May.
The data also suggests that 89.5% of people aged 50 to 54 have also had their first dose, while 95.3% of those aged 55 to 59 are believed to have had their first jab.
Among 60 to 64-year-olds, 98% are believed to have had their first dose while 94.4% of those ages 65 to 69 are estimated to have received theirs.
Meanwhile, some 97.7% of people aged 70 and over are estimated to have had their first dose.
Chantal Da Silva6 May 2021 15:05
Holly Willoughby describes ‘amazing’ and ‘emotional’ vaccination experience
Holly Willoughby has described her experience getting the coronavirus jab as an “emotional” after receiving the jab.
The star, 40, said she had received her first dose on Wednesday.
She said she was prepared for the potential side effects of the jab, but said she ended up feeling “left out” after experiencing no changes.
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, she said: “I went for my vaccine, and I stood in the queue and I went in, totally seamless, all fine.
“It’s quite an emotional experience, isn’t it? I think you’ve been talking about it for so long and then you go in there and it’s everybody around you.
“There’s sort of a real atmosphere that we’re all finally getting that vaccination that we’ve wanted,” she said.
“So it was, it was amazing. That’s the first one, I’ve got to wait a while now,” she added.
Her co-host Phillip Schofield said he had also been vaccinated, calling the process “unbelievably efficient”.
“You’re sort of in and you’re out, shake it all about. I was so thrilled I did actually, as a matter of fact,” he said.
Schofield said he had felt fine after receiving his jab other than a “slightly bruised arm”.
He also expressed disappointment that he did not receive a badge after getting the jab, jokingly branding the incident “badge-gate”.
Chantal Da Silva6 May 2021 14:51
Opinion: The pandemic has made life more difficult for disabled Britons
The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly been a challenging time for most across Britain.
However, for disabled Britons, the pandemic has also further exacerbated problems that existed before the pandemic.
In an opinion piece for The Independent, James Moore paints a picture of what it has been like for disabled residents in the UK.
“It’s almost as if the virus has delivered a time machine and taken the entire country back fifty years,” he writes.
Chantal Da Silva6 May 2021 14:45
UK set for best growth since Second World War amid vaccine rollout, Bank of England says
The Bank of England has forecast that the economy will grow at its fastest pace since the Second World War amid the rollout of Britain’s vaccination programme.
The Bank has predicted that gross domestic product (GDP) will rebound by 7.25% in 2021, representing a rise from its previous prediction of 5%, according to PA.
It would also be the best growth since official records began in 1948.
The forecast comes after the UK saw its biggest decline in output for 300 years in 2020 at a 9.8% drop.
It also comes after the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to hold interest rates at 0.1%.
Chantal Da Silva6 May 2021 14:27
Duchess of Cambridge has call with youngster separated from father during lockdown
The Duchess of Cambridge reportedly chatted with a child whose separation from her father during lockdown shone a light on the difficult isolation many have suffered during the pandemic.
Kate called four-year-old Mila Sneddon, a youngster who had to shield during lockdown while undergoing chemotherapy for leukaemia, preventing her from being able to spend time with her father, who had to go into work and could not risk bringing coronavirus into the family home.
Mila was featured in the duchess’s “Hold Still” photography project, with an image showing her kissing the kitchen window as her father, Scott, stands outside.
Her call with Kate took place last autumn, but was posted as part of a video on the Cambridges’ new YouTube channel on Thursday to mark the publication of Kate’s lockdown photography book Friday.
Mila started off the call by saying “Good morning your royal highness”.
“Good morning. Goodness me, you’re so polite Mila,” Kate replied.
The duchess thanked Mila and her mother, who took the image for the photo series, for sending in the “fantastic” picture.
“We love your photograph,” she said.
The two also discussed how difficult it was for Mila to not be able to spend time with her father.
They also talked about Mila’s favourite colour – pink – and her love of dressing up in fun costumes.
Chantal Da Silva6 May 2021 13:45
Covid vaccine patent waiver: Who it impacts and what happens next
The European Union has said it will consider a proposal recently backed by the US to temporarily waive intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines.
The call to waive protections comes as parts of the world see a surge in cases, including India, where the current crisis is taking a devastating toll.
Danielle Zoellner breaks down who a Covid vaccine patent waiver would effect and how:
Chantal Da Silva6 May 2021 13:20