Great Britain

Coronavirus UK news – Brits make most of freedom during first full weekend out of lockdown as Covid cases fall by 60%

NEW Covid variants could "scupper" the UK's roadmap out of lockdown, an expert has warned.

Imperial College's Danny Altmann said "we should be terribly concerned" after 77 cases of a potentially vaccine-busting Covid mutation first discovered in India were identified in Britain.

Health authorities have detected 77 cases of the strain in the UK.

Seventy-three cases are in England and four are in Wales.

Meanwhile, the global death toll from Covid-19 has topped three million as cases continue to spiral in countries across the world.

The number of lives lost - as compiled by Johns Hopkins University - is almost equal to the population of Kyiv, Ukraine; Caracas, Venezuela; or metropolitan Lisbon, Portugal.

It is bigger than Chicago (2.7million) and equivalent to Philadelphia and Dallas combined.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic...

  • ST GEORGE'S CHAPEL: THE SETTING FOR A COVID-SECURE ROYAL FUNERAL LIKE NO OTHER

    The Queen has bid a final farewell to her beloved husband in an intimate Covid-secure funeral like no other at St George's Chapel.

    The scene was set for the Duke of Edinburgh's nearest and dearest to gather together - in a socially distanced manner and wearing face masks - for what was a unique royal occasion.

    As well as the traditional dressing of floral arrangements and family wreaths, bottles of hand sanitiser - a familiar mark of the coronavirus pandemic - sat next to a door in the vast nave area of the church.

    The nave, which was packed with family and friends at three royal weddings in recent years, was an empty space filled only with the sunlight streaming in through the magnificent stained glass windows, four singers, a conductor, Royal Marine buglers and state trumpeters.

    There were no rows of pews packed with mourners, but instead the sparse floor lay bare, allowing for the handful of singers and musicians to carry out their roles in a socially distanced manner.

  • ITALY REPORTS 310 CORONAVIRUS DEATHS ON SATURDAY, 15,370 NEW CASES

    Italy reported 310 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday against 429 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections edged down to 15,370 from 15,943.

    Italy has registered 116,676 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world.

    The country has reported 3.857 million cases to date.

    Patients in hospital with COVID-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 24,100 on Saturday, down from 24,743 a day earlier.

  • MORE THAN 42 MILLION COVID VACCINES NOW ADMINISTERED IN THE UK SO FAR

    Government data up to April 16 shows that of the 42,110,495 jabs given in the UK so far, 32,693,527 were first doses - a rise of 119,306 on the previous day.

    Some 9,416,968 were second doses - an increase of 485,421.

  • PRIME MINISTER PAYS TRIBUTE TO PHILIP AS HE OBSERVES MINUTES SILENCE AT CHEQUERS

    The Prime Minister has appeared with his head bowed and dressed in black on the steps outside his country home in Chequers on the day of the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral.

    Boris Johnson tweeted the photograph, saying: "In Memoriam HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021."

    Mr Johnson observed the minute's silence at 3pm from Chequers ahead of the funeral service, after being unable to attend due to coronavirus restrictions.

  • ANOTHER 35 UK COVID DEATHS RECORDED

    The Government said a further 35 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday, bringing the UK total to 127,260.

    Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have now been 151,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

    The Government also said that, as of 9am on Saturday, there had been a further 2,206 lab-confirmed cases in the UK.

    It brings the total to 4,385,938.

  • GERMANY'S CONFIRMED CORONAVIRUS CASES RISE BY 23,804

    The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 23,804 to 3,123,077, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday.

    The reported death toll rose by 219 to 79,847, the tally showed

  • FEARS INDIAN COVID VARIANT COULD 'SCUPPER' ROAD MAP AS UK CASES DWINDLE

    The Indian coronavirus mutation could "scupper" the UK's march to freedom, a leading scientist has warned, despite the lockdown and vaccine programme leading to cases falling to a seven-month low.

    Covid-19 infections across the UK dropped to the lowest level since the autumn, according to the latest figures.

    But a professor of immunology has called for Britain to be on its guard against a third wave after 77 cases of another possible vaccine-busting mutation was recorded domestically.

    Public Health England (PHE) reported that 73 cases of the B.1.617 variant, which was first discovered in India, had been found, while a further four cases were identified in Scotland.

  • RUSSIA REPORTS 9,321 NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES, 398 DEATHS

    Russia on Saturday reported 9,321 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, including 2,822 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 4,693,469.

    The country also reported another 398 deaths, raising the official toll to 105,193. 

  • VACCINE IMMUNITY 'WON'T JUST DISAPPEAR' IN FACE OF COVID VARIANTS - JCVI EXPERT

    Imported coronavirus variants are unlikely to set lockdown easing back to "square one" because immunity from vaccines "won't just disappear", according to a key figure on the UK's immunisation committee.

    Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said he expected a "gradual erosion" of vaccine protection as the virus evolves but not enough to "scupper" the Prime Minister's road map, as one leading scientist had predicted. On Friday, Imperial College's Danny Altmann said "we should be terribly concerned" after 77 cases of a potentially vaccine-busting Covid-19 mutation first discovered in India were identified in Britain.

    "They (variants of concern) are things that can most scupper our escape plan at the moment and give us a third wave. They are a worry," Professor Altmann told the BBC.

    Prof Finn said he thought the immunology expert had been "a bit pessimistic" with his assessment.

    "We've all expected evolution of this virus to occur from the start," he told Times Radio.

    "I also think that we know from other viruses and previous experience that the immunity that vaccines give won't just disappear. It will be a gradual erosion. It won't be back to square one. I would be really surprised if that happened.

  • SPORT WELCOMES BACK SPECTATORS AS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BEGINS AT THE CRUCIBLE

    Spectators returned to sport on Saturday morning as Ronnie O'Sullivan started the defence of his World Championship crown at the Crucible.

    As one of the Government's pilot events, which are being used to help England and sport out of lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, the venue in Sheffield opened its doors to fans again.

    Six-time world champion O'Sullivan was taking on Mark Joyce in the first session of the tournament, with Martin Gould playing Yan Bingtao on the other table.

    All four players walked to the table to applause from the crowd, which was set to be at 33 per cent capacity for the first round.

    With sanitiser stations provided around the venue, fans had their tickets scanned before sitting in designated seats socially distanced.

  • INDIAN COVID VARIANT ‘MAY BE RESISTANT’ TO VACCINE AS EXPERT WARNS IT MIGHT ‘SCUPPER UK’S ESCAPE PLAN’ OUT OF LOCKDOWN

    Indian Covid variant ‘may be resistant’ to vaccine as expert warns it might ‘scupper UK’s escape plan’ out of lockdown
  • PM NOT ATTENDING PHILIP’S FUNERAL BECAUSE OF CORONAVIRUS GUEST LIMITS

    Boris Johnson is not in attendance at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral to allow for the attendance of as many family members as possible during coronavirus restrictions, No 10 has said.

    The Prime Minister was understood to have been expected to attend the ceremony for Philip by the royals, but offered to step aside with the number of guests allowed limited to 30.

    The duke’s funeral will take place in Windsor Castle on April 17, but it will be unlike typical royal send-offs, with the public being told to stay away because of the pandemic.

    A No 10 spokesman said: “As a result of the Coronavirus regulations, only 30 people can attend the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

    “The Prime Minister has throughout wanted to act in accordance with what is best for the royal household, and so to allow for as many family members as possible will not be attending the funeral on Saturday.”

  • THAILAND REPORTS RISE IN CASES

    Thailand has reported 1,547 new coronavirus cases and two additional deaths today, amid a third wave of infections in the Southeast Asian country.

    The new cases took the total number of confirmed infections to 40,585, with 99 fatalities.

  • DUBAI EXPANDS VACCINE ELIGIBILITY

    The Dubai Health Authority today said it was allowing women who are breastfeeding and those planning on conceiving to take the Pfizer vaccine, according to the Dubai Media Office.

    In a Twitter post, the media office said this was in line with the latest international studies and guidelines on coronavirus vaccines.

  • FIRST WEEKEND OF FREEDOM

    Boozy Brits danced in the streets overnight as scuffles broke out on the first weekend of freedom since beer gardens reopened.

    Millions flocked to newly-reopened bars after lockdown restrictions were eased in England this week - with scenes quickly descending into chaos.

    Across England, revellers showed their joy at being able to enjoy a night out as they took to the streets.

    In Manchester, pub-goers danced and threw their hands up in the air to celebrate the reopening of beer gardens on April 12.

    And in Liverpool, boozers posed in the streets - with one even attempting a handstand after the night out.

  • THAILAND REPORTS RISE IN CASES

    Thailand has reported 1,547 new coronavirus cases and two additional deaths today, amid a third wave of infections in the Southeast Asian country.

    The new cases took the total number of confirmed infections to 40,585, with 99 fatalities.

  • SOUTH AFRICAN CASES DOUBLE IN A MONTH

    Cases of the South African variant have doubled in a month - sparking fears Covid mutations able to escape vaccines could delay Britain's roadmap.

    There are now 600 known infections, a rise on from 300 last month, according to Public Health England data.

    London has seen a rise in cases, with tests deployed in Southwark as well as Wandsworth and Lambeth.

    The government said the testing in South London is the "largest surge testing operation to date" aimed at suppressing any possible new cases of the variant.

  • AUSTRALIA TO CONTINUE JAB REVIEW

    Australia will continue its review of coronavirus vaccines after a 48-year-old woman's death was likely linked to the jab, Health Minister Greg Hunt has said.

    Yesterday, Australia reported its first fatality from blood clots in a recipient of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot - the third case of rare blood clots in someone who had the jab.

    "The government will ask ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) to ensure continuous review of all of the vaccines in terms of their safety and their efficacy," Hunt said at a televised briefing.

    He said there will be no immediate change to further limit the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine and reiterated that the Pfizer vaccine remains the preferred option for people under the age of 50.

  • GLOBAL DEATH TOLL TOPS 3 MILLION

    The global death toll from the coronavirus has topped a staggering 3 million people, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

    The number of lives lost is about equal to the population of Kyiv, Ukraine or Caracas, Venezuela.

    Worldwide, deaths are running at over 12,000 per day on average and new cases at more than 700,000 a day.

  • RESTRICTIONS ON TRAVEL TO STAY 'FOR SOME TIME'

    Professor Adam Finn, asked whether India should be placed on the "red list" following the discovery of a new variant there, said there needed to be caution about international travel still.

    He added: "I think we're going to go on seeing restrictions on travel for some time to come, with the pandemic raging in so many countries around the world.

    "We've got very big epidemics going on in India, in Brazil and in other countries that have previously been less affected. This is going to be a problem.

    "We're going to need to continue to be really quite careful to avoid moving the virus around, so I think travel won't go back to normal yet."

  • IMMUNITY FROM JABS 'WON'T DISAPPEAR'

    Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said immunity from vaccines "won't just disappear" despite warnings that new variants could "scupper" the route out of lockdown.

    He told Times Radio: "We've all expected evolution of this virus to occur from the start.

    "The changes that we saw at the end of the year were not really vaccine-related, it was just the virus learning to be more infectious which, of course, gives it an advantage.

    "As we see more and more immunity from the infection and vaccination occurring, then mutations in the virus that favour the virus and enable it to escape that type of immunity will inevitably occur.

    "We always knew this was going to happen. I also think that we know from other viruses and previous experience that the immunity that vaccines give won't just disappear."

Football news:

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Aubameyang to the Arsenal fans: We wanted to give you something good. I am sorry that we could not
Atletico did not lose at the Camp Nou. Busquets' injury is the turning point of the match (and the championship race?)
Verratti injured his knee ligaments in PSG training. Participation in the Euro is still in question
Neymar's contract in one picture. Mbappe wants the same one
Manchester United would like to sign Bellingham in the summer, not Sancho. Borussia do not intend to sell Jude