Great Britain

Coronavirus UK news – 4 arrested outside AstraZeneca HQ after police & protesters clash as PM promises NHS recovery plan

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FOUR people were arrested outside the AstraZeneca headquarters in Cambridge yesterday after police clashed with protesters.

Demonstrators blocked the entrance to the building accusing the pharma giant of profiting during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Protesters were filmed chanting and beating drums with a banner reading: "We demand a people's vaccine".

Meanwhile, the Queen's Speech saw Boris Johnson put a "catch-up and recovery plan" for the NHS with the PM vowing to tackle the huge backlog in patients.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest updates...

  • PICK N MIX

    Mixing doses of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines appears safe, but may trigger more side effects.

    According to the first study of its kind, taking a dose of both vaccines may make people feel more unwell than if they had just been given one type.

    But the effects are short-lived and last no more than 48 hours, the scientists at University of Oxford reassured.

    Most Covid jabs require two doses at least 21 days apart, the first being called the “primer” and the second the “booster”.

    The Com-COV study aimed to see whether two vaccines that work in very different ways can work in tandem.

  • BRAZIL SUSPENDS USE OF ASTRAZENECA COVID-19 VACCINE IN PREGNANT WOMEN

    Brazil's health regulator Anvisa said on Tuesday that it had suspended the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant women after learning that a woman had died from a stroke in an incident seen as possibly related to the immunisation.

    The 35-year-old woman, who died on May 10, was 23 weeks pregnant, Anvisa said, adding that it had not been informed of any other adverse events involving pregnant women.

  • PFIZER ASKS UK REGULATOR TO APPROVE VACCINE FOR TEENS

     Pfizer Inc has formally asked the UK medical regulator for permission to use its COVID-19 vaccine for 12-to 15-year olds in Britain, the Telegraph reported today.

    "We can confirm that the companies have submitted a request to the MHRA to expand the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine in the UK to adolescents, the report said, citing a Pfizer spokesman.

    Pfizer and the MHRA did not immediately response to Reuters requests for comment.

    The move comes as U.S. regulators on Monday authorised Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12, widening the country's inoculation program as vaccination rates have slowed significantly.

  • LITTLE FIGHTER

    A boy of five who overcame Covid while being treated for a rare cancer spends his first day at school with his twin brother.

    Archie Wilks, fighting neuroblastoma, beat the virus in a month last year.

    Parents Simon and Harriet say Archie is still getting cancer treatment but is now strong enough to join Henry in reception.

    Mr Wilks, of Saffron Walden, Essex, said: “It was quite overwhelming seeing them both go to school together.”

    More on the story here.

  • BAHRAIN AUTHORISES EMERGENCY USE OF ONE-SHOT SPUTNIK-LIGHT COVID-19 VACCINE

    Bahrain authorised on Tuesday the emergency use of Russia's one-shot Sputnik-Light COVID-19 vaccine, state news agency (BNA) said.

    It is the sixth vaccine Bahrain has authorised.

    It has previously authorised China's Sinopharm, Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine, AstraZeneca's COVISHIELD, the J&J vaccine, and Sputnik.

  • EU HAS EXPORTED ABOUT 200 MILLION DOSES OF COVID-19 VACCINES, SEFCOVIC SAYS

    The European Union has exported about 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said in a tweet.

    "While we're open to discussing new solidarity proposals, our priority is to ramp up the EU vaccine production + to see others unblocking exports of vaccines and their components,"he added in the tweet

    In April, Reuters reported that the European Union has exported about 37 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines than it has shared out among its own 27 countries, according to two sources that cited figures from the bloc's data.

  • JAB ROLLOUT

    Government data up to May 10 shows that of the 53,675,733 jabs given in the UK so far, 35,587,348 were first doses - a rise of 115,053 on the previous day.

    Some 18,088,385 were second doses, an increase of 231,835.

  • IRELAND - NINE FURTHER DEATHS FROM COVID IN LAST 24 HOURS

    There have been nine further deaths linked to Covid-19 in Ireland, the Department of Health said.

    An additional 379 cases of the virus were also confirmed.

    On Tuesday morning there were 117 people with Covid-19 in hospital including 34 in ICU.

    As of Sunday, a total of 1,848,747 doses of coronavirus vaccines had been administered in Ireland.

    These include 1,347,561 first doses and 501,186 second doses.

  • GREECE TO VACCINATE ISLANDS BY END OF JUNE TO BOOST TOURISM

    Greece has committed to fully vaccinating all residents on nearly 100 of its islands by the end of June in a bid to attract tourists this summer.

    This is a change to its national jab programme which prioritises people based on their age and medical vulnerability to coronavirus.

    Among the Greek islands which will be vaccinated by the end of June are Rhodes, Corfu, Zante, Kefalonia, Santorini and Mykonos.

    Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: "This initiative aims to support local communities, as well as their economies. My message is clear. We are open again.

    "I am delighted that later this week Greece will begin to reopen its tourism industry.

    "We are taking every precaution to ensure the safety and security of our visitors and our residents."

  • WATCH: NEW COVID VARIANT POSES ‘BIGGEST THREAT’ TO LOCKDOWN EASING, HANCOCK WARNS

    New Covid variant poses ‘biggest threat’ to lockdown easing, Hancock warns
  • TRIPLE SHOT

    The UK will be back to normal by the end of 2021, but booster jabs are a must, a Sage expert has suggested.

    Vaccines have been deployed at an astonishing speed, with all adults expected to have their first dose by July.

    But it is not known how long they will give people protection, with the first people being jabbed in December 2020.

    Prof Graham Medley, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, suggested if immunity wanes and there are no extra jabs, it could derail the path back to normality. 

    Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme how normal life could be at the end of the year, he said: “I don’t think anyone can give you the complete answer…”

  • VACCINATION PROGRESS 'COULD BE REVERSED UNLESS UK SHARES SURPLUS VACCINES'

    The UK could face a fresh wave of Covid-19 infections from mutations of the virus which causes the disease unless more is done to get vaccines shared out across the globe, a charity has warned.

    Unicef UK estimated that Britain could give away 20% of its projected available stock and still meet its target to give all adults their first dose of vaccine by the end of July.

    The charity warned that the success of the vaccination programme in the UK could be "reversed" if supply is not shared.

    Concerns have been raised that while the virus rages in other parts of the world there is more chance for new variants to emerge.

    And experts have suggested that new variants could potentially escape the protection afforded by the vaccines.

  • BORIS JOHNSON COMMITS TO SETTING UP PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO GOVERNMENT HANDLING OF COVID PANDEMIC

    Boris Johnson has committed to set up a public inquiry into the Government's handling of coronavirus during the current session of Parliament.

    "I can certainly say that we will do that within this session," the Prime Minister said.

    "I have made that clear before... I do believe it's essential we have a full, proper public inquiry into the Covid pandemic."

    There is no fixed length for a parliamentary session, although they typically last for around a year.

  • BRAZIL: RIO DE JANEIRO AND SAO PAULO BAN AZ VACCINE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN

    Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian states on Tuesday suspended immunization of pregnant women with the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on the advice of the national health regulator after a reported death.

    The daily newspaper Folha de S.Paulo said the health ministry was investigating the death of a woman in Rio de Janeiro who had received the vaccine.

    The ministry did not confirm the report, but the Anvisa regulator late Monday recommended the "immediate suspension" of AstraZeneca vaccines for pregnant women in line with its "constant monitoring of adverse events with anti-Covid vaccines used in the country."

    The health secretary of Rio said in a statement it had been decided to suspend application of the vaccine to pregnant women and new mothers in the state capital "until the investigation of the case of an adverse event in a pregnant woman is completed by the Ministry of Health."

  • MATT HANCOCK: INDIA VARIANT IS WORRYING, SAYS HEATH SECRETARY

    Speaking to Times Radio, the health secretary said: "We are worried about the Indian variant.

    "You'll have seen the very stringent measures taken at the border, and we've got enhanced tracking and tracing of all those Indian variants we see.

    "The evidence is it's much easier to transmit than original strain and easier to transmit even than the so-called Kent variant, which is the predominant type in UK.

    "Just shows we've got to be vigilant."

  • PROTESTERS CALL FOR ASTRAZENECA TO SHARE COVID-19 VACCINE TECHONOLOGY

    Protesters are to gather outside AstraZeneca’s Cambridge headquarters to demand the pharmaceutical firm shares its Covid-19 vaccine technology.

    The demonstration, organised by Global Justice Now, is calling for the British-Swedish company to openly licence its jab and commit to sharing the technology with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    Protests are also planned at the firm’s Macclesfield site and at the University of Oxford, which worked with AstraZeneca to develop the vaccine.

    Global Justice Now said the action, which coincides with AstraZeneca’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, also seeks to persuade Oxford University to make all of its future medical innovations open-licenced.

    Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said: “Scientists at Oxford University, a publicly-funded institution, developed this lifesaving vaccine through a research and development process that was 97% publicly funded.

  • SPAIN, GREECE AND FRANCE UNLIKELY ON NEXT GREEN LIST

    European holiday hotspots Spain, Greece and France are likely to miss out on the next green list update, despite hopes they would be added in time for the summer season.

    It comes after Transport Secretary Grant Schapps announced that Brits can FINALLY get their foreign getaways booked in - but the list of green list areas is very short.

    They include Israel, Singapore, Portugal, the Falkland Islands, Ascension, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha, Gibraltar, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Brunei.

    And New Zealand and Australia are also on the list - but they have their own entry requirements and are unlikely to let in tourists at the moment.

    With France, Greece and Spain not yet on the green list, it was hoped that they could be added from June 7 but are likely be missed out until July or even August due to their own Covid and vaccine situation.

  • CONTINUED

    “If vaccines continue to work, and we don’t have some nasty variants, then potentially we could be completely back to normal by the end of the year.

    “But, on the other hand, if there are variants, if the vaccines wane, so the impact wanes and we aren’t able to get boosters, then we could have been in a very different position.”

    Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said earlier this month that scientists are looking at a range of options for an autumn booster vaccination campaign.

    This could include new jabs to protect against variants or mixing the types of injections given.

  • TRIPLE SHOT

    The UK will be back to normal by the end of 2021, but booster jabs are a must, a Sage expert has suggested.

    Vaccines have been deployed at an astonishing speed, with all adults expected to have their first dose by July.

    But it is not known how long they will give people protection, with the first people being jabbed in December 2020.

    Prof Graham Medley, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, suggested if immunity wanes and there are no extra jabs, it could derail the path back to normality. 

    Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme how normal life could be at the end of the year, he said: “I don’t think anyone can give you the complete answer…"

  • BORIS UNSHACKLES BRITAIN FROM GRIPS OF COVID

    Boris Johnson today vowed to unshackle Brexit Britain from the grips of Covid with a bonfire of Brussels red tape - and billions in extra funding to level up the country.

    Vowing things can never be the same again after the pandemic, the PM revealed his fresh policy blitzkrieg today as Her Majesty the Queen gave her historic speech to open Parliament.

    This morning he vowed his plans will "harness the ingenuity and resolve" of Britain's barnstorming vaccine roll-out to heal other ills such the housing crisis, regional inequality and educational unfairness.

    Boris inisisted: "As the UK gets back on its feet, we will turbo charge our economic recover in every part of the country, increasing and spreading opportunity.

    And he claims "we will make the most of our new found Brexit freedoms" to do so, vowing: "our mission must be to build back better than before".

    More on this, here.

  • UK PASSES FOUR COVID TESTS TO EASE LOCKDOWN AND WILL AVOID THIRD WAVE, SAYS WHITTY

    UK passes four Covid tests to ease lockdown and will AVOID third wave, says Whitty
  • THIRD COVID WAVE COULD START NEXT WEEK BUT WON’T BE AS BAD AS JANUARY, SAY SAGE

    THE THIRD Covid wave could start next week when restrictions are eased again.

    But new modelling by scientists shows it won’t be anywhere near as bad as the January peak due to vaccines. Infections will inevitably rise following the May 17 unlocking, which will see indoor hospitality open, social mixing indoors and hugging allowed.

    Scientists advising the Government (Sage) said the R number will probably rise above 1 following this step.

    But it is “highly unlikely to put unsustainable pressure” on the NHS, the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) group, a sub-group of Sage, said.

    Central estimates reveal that in the worst case scenario, there could be an absolute maximum of 54,900 hospital admissions in one year once all restrictions are lifted as planned in June.

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