Great Britain

Coronavirus UK news – Covid vaccine to rolled out in Wales and Northern Ireland from TUESDAY as doses arrive in the UK

HOPES of normal life returning have been boosted as a Covid jab will be rolled out in Wales and Northern Ireland on Tuesday next week.

On Wednesday, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved by regulators and have already started to arrive in the UK.

Stocks of the jab arrived in Northern Ireland yesterday and the first recipient will be one of a team of 800 plus vaccinators.

They will be given the injections at 8am on Tuesday morning as part of the subsequent roll-out programme.

Further good news came with the suggestion that millions of grandparents will be vaccinated within weeks as the first Covid jabs arrived in Britain.

The “game-changing” jab from Pfizer/BioNTech will be distributed to 50 hospital hubs.

And officials are increasingly confident millions of elderly people — including those in care homes — will get it by Christmas.

Follow our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news, reaction and updates on the lockdown plans...

  • BRITS SPEND £1.5 BILLION TODAY TO KICK-START BATTERED ECONOMY

    A £1.5billion spending spree in hard-hit pubs and shops today will help to kick-start Britain’s battered economy.

    “Stupor Saturday” drinkers will raise a glass to the Covid jab, while Christmas shoppers enjoy price cuts of up to 80 per cent in stores.

    The boost comes on the first non-working day since lockdown ended.

    The Campaign for Real Ale’s Tom Stainer said: “The Great British pub needs the great British public in its hour of need.”

    High streets will be the busiest they have been all year — as the NHS prepares to take delivery of two million vaccine doses by the end of next week.

  • WELSH 'SHOULD NOT TRAVEL TO ENGLAND TO DO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING'

    People in Wales should not travel to England to do their Christmas shopping or for a drink in a pub, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.

    His plea came as tougher restrictions on the hospitality sector came in across Wales, with pubs, bars and restaurants unable to sell alcohol and forced to close at 6pm.

    But a relaxing of travel restrictions in Wales means people will be able to go between the country and areas of England under Tier 1 and Tier 2.

    The first minister urged the public not to use the new freedoms to travel across the border for Christmas shopping deals or in search of a drink in areas where pubs and restaurants can sell alcohol.

    Asked whether people can go Christmas shopping in border areas such as Hereford or Oswestry, which are in Tier 2, Mr Drakeford said: “The law in Wales will not prevent people from going there.

    “The advice from the Welsh Government is not to do it, because the further you travel and the more people you mix with elsewhere, the greater the risk you pose.”

  • DREAMING OF PANDEMIC'S END

    The UN health chief declared on that positive results from coronavirus vaccine trials mean the world “can begin to dream about the end of the pandemic".

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned that while the virus can be stopped, “the path ahead remains treacherous".

    The pandemic has shown humanity at “its best and worst,” he added.

    On vaccines, Tedros said, “the light at the end of the tunnel is growing steadily brighter."

  • NEW COVID CASES RISE TO HIGHEST SINCE NOV 26

    On Friday, the government reported the highest daily number of new Covid cases since November 26.

    The number of new positive test reports rose to 16,298 - up from 14,879 the day before.

  • 'STUPOR SATURDAY'

    A £1.5billion spending spree in hard-hit pubs and shops today will help to kick-start Britain’s battered economy.

    “Stupor Saturday” drinkers will raise a glass to the Covid jab, while Christmas shoppers enjoy price cuts of up to 80 per cent in stores.

    The boost comes on the first non-working day since lockdown ended.

    The Campaign for Real Ale’s Tom Stainer said: “The Great British pub needs the great British public in its hour of need.”

    High streets will be the busiest they have been all year — as the NHS prepares to take delivery of two million vaccine doses by the end of next week.

    Shoppers are expected back in huge numbers on the first weekend following a month of lockdown.

  • PRIMARK SLAMMED OVER OPENING HOURS

    Primark has been slammed over fears its 24/7 opening hours this week may cause a third spike in Covid-19 cases.

    Hungry shoppers flooded 11 stores around the UK for one day of round the clock hours on Wednesday - the same day coronavirus lockdown 2 was lifted in England.

    But critics on social media said the queues of bargain hunters taking advantage of the move could spark a third wave of the virus in England - with one saying it could cause cases to rise.

    Kim Leppington, wrote in response to pictures of hundreds of people crowding outside of the Fort Shopping Park in Birmingham this week.

    She told Birmingham Live: "Here comes another lockdown. Why can't everyone just stick together.

    "People are dying to see their loved ones people are struggling losing their jobs and so on."

  • COPS TO PATROL YORKSHIRE BORDER

    Tier 3 boozers crossing the border into Tier 2 North Yorkshire over the weekend face £100 fines.

    Cops have warned they are ready to be called into pubs and will patrol train stations to stop cheeky pub-goers travelling into the county.

    A statement from the force said: "North Yorkshire Police is carrying out high-visibility patrols along the force borders to discourage people from neighbouring Tier 3 locations from travelling into the area which increases the risk of infection.

    "In particular, they will be visiting licensed premises where the serving of alcohol is allowed for consumption on the premises as part of a table meal – one that is expected to be served as breakfast, the main midday or main evening meal, or as a main course."

  • INFECTIONS PASS 65 MILLION WORLDWIDE

    Global coronavirus infections surged past 65 million on Friday even as countries doubled down on restrictions and plans to roll out vaccines gathered pace.

    The World Health Organization warned against complacency and what it said was an erroneous belief that because vaccines are on the near-horizon, the Covid-19 crisis is over.

    "Vaccines do not equal zero Covid," WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told a virtual news conference, adding that not everyone will be able to receive it early next year.

    Britain on Wednesday became the first Western country to approve a vaccine for general use, piling pressure on other countries to follow suit swiftly.

    Other nations are also moving ahead with plans to roll out the vaccines. The United States is expected to give a green light later this month.

    Belgium, France and Spain have said jabs would begin in January for the most vulnerable.

  • COUPLE DIED AFTER DRINKING SANITISER

    Five kids have been left orphaned after both their parents died from drinking hand sanitiser when they ran out of booze at a party in Russia.

    The children's father died first from alcohol poisoning but the doctors battled for ten days to keep the mother alive.

    But their attempts proved futile as she had suffered appalling damage to her internal organs and did not regain consciousness, according to doctors. 

    Her death was subsequently announced by the regional health ministry.

    At this time, the mother hasn't been named and the children's ages haven't been released.

    She is the ninth victim to die after consuming an illegal antiseptic hand wash being supplied across the country.

  • FORMER COVID SUFFERERS COULD HAVE 'IMMUNITY CERTIFICATE'

    People are so unlikely to get Covid a second time that they could be given an "immunity certificate" if they get the bug or are vaccinated, SAGE has suggested.

    The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said it was "likely to be possible" that people wouldn't to socially distance if they were immune to the coronavirus.

    In a report presented to an infectious diseases expert group last month, scientists said that they had "high confidence" in immunity for those who had Covid or been vaccinated.

    They said it was rare of people to catch Covid-19 a second time.

    SAGE suggested a "short-term" solution, as they are concerned that immunity may disappear after six months.

    Cabinet Minister Michael Gove denied that Brits will need "immunity certificates" to go to the pub.

  • LONDON COULD BE PUT IN TIER 3 BEFORE CHRISTMAS

    Londoners could be plunged into Tier 3 before Christmas as the fall in infections stalls across the capital, an expert has warned.

    Professor Kevin Fenton, head of public health in the city, said the situation is "delicate" and urged people to remain vigilant to help keep transmission down.

    Ten of the 32 London boroughs have seen infections rise in recent days with areas including Camden and Barking witnessing an increase in cases.

    Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows that 266 areas of 315 in England have seen a drop in cases.

    This means that 49 areas have either seen an increase or have stayed the same - ten of which are in London:

  • UK CASES RISE BY 16,298

    Coronavirus cases have risen by 16,298, bringing the total in the UK to 1,690,432. 

    Deaths rose by 504 as a 15-year-old with no underlying health conditions was confirmed to have died from the bug.

    Today's rise in fatalities brings the total to 60,113. 

    The figure is higher than the 16,022 cases reported last Friday, but lower than the 20,252 recorded a fortnight ago. 

    Fatalities are slightly lower than the 521 deaths seen a week ago, and just below the 510 fatalities recorded on November 20.

    It comes after separate figures showed a further 274 fatalities were recorded in English hospitals, bringing the total to 41,879.

  • MASK UP

    London's taxi and private hire drivers are to receive an additional 1.5 million face masks and 30,000 bottles of hand sanitiser, Transport for London (TfL) has announced.

    The hygiene equipment will be distributed at car parks across the capital from Monday as part of a package to help drivers and passengers avoid being infected by coronavirus.

    Short education videos have been created to provide guidance on how to clean a vehicle after each drop-off.

    Drivers will receive a sticker to display on a car window to demonstrate they are "Covid prepared".

    Helen Chapman, TfL's director of licensing, regulation and charging, said: "We know that the pandemic has been tough for taxi and private hire drivers, which is why we want to do all we can to help them prosper as restrictions are eased.

    "We are providing this additional support to help boost the industry in the coming weeks, reassuring customers that vehicles are as safe and clean as they possibly can be."

  • COVID UPDATE

    Another 504 coronavirus deaths have been recorded in the past 24 hours as the country reports 16,298 new cases of the virus.

    This brings the UK's Covid-19 death toll to 60,617.

    Cases reported between November 28 and December 4 are down by 13.6 per cent compared to the previous week.

    Deaths reported in the last seven days are also down by 6.1 per cent, according to the Government's figures.

  • CAR DEMAND DOWN BY ALMOST 30 PER CENT IN NOVEMBER

    Demand for new cars fell by 27.4 per cent last month as showrooms were forced to close because of the national lockdown.

    The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said just 113,781 new registrations were recorded in the UK last month, nearly 43,000 fewer than during November 2019.

    Trade has not been this poor since the 2008 recession.

    James Fairclough, chief executive of AA Cars, said: "England's November lockdown unsurprisingly knocked new car sales into reverse, with sales across the UK sliding by 27.4% compared to the same time last year.

    "As England unlocks once again, the industry will be keen to reset and rebound in December, with dealers likely to fight hard for sales in the run-up to Christmas in an effort to recoup some of the earnings lost during 2020."

  • MORE RESTRICTIONS NEEDED IN NORTHERN IRELAND IF INFECTION RATES RISE

    More coronavirus restrictions will be needed "around Christmas" if cases in Northern Ireland rise due to a relaxation of some measures.

    This comes as non-essential retail and some parts of the hospitality sector prepare to reopen next Friday.

    Ministers were advised that relaxing some measures was "highly likely" to cause the R-rate to rise above one, BBC News NI reports.

    Advice from the chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride and the chief scientific adviser Professor Ian Young states to have a "reasonable chance" of keeping R below one, hospitality and close contact services - or non essential retail - would have stay closed beyond December 11.

    The scientists warned that if R rises to as high as 1.8 then "additional restrictions will be needed around Christmas".

  • WETHERSPOONS WILL KEEP SOME PUBS OPEN IN WALES TRADING AS CAFES

    Wetherspoon is to keep eight of its pubs open in Wales from Saturday, the company has announced.

    The move follows a meeting between Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin and members of the Welsh Parliament who are opposed to pub closures.

    Wetherspoon said pubs will effectively trade as cafes in Cardiff, Newport, Caernarfon, Cwmbran, Mold and Wrexham.

    Tim Martin said: " I met with Conservative leader of the opposition Paul Davies MS and Conservative chief whip Darren Millar MS at our pub, The Mount Stuart, in Cardiff earlier this week.

    "They are opposed to the Welsh pub closures and were keen for Wetherspoon to keep some of the company's pubs open."

    From 6pm on Friday, licensed pubs, cafes and restaurants in Wales cannot serve alcohol on their premises.

  • WELSH RESIDENTS URGED NOT TO TRAVEL TO ENGLAND TO SHOP OR DRINK

    People in Wales should not travel to England to do their Christmas shopping or for a drink in a pub, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.

    His plea came as tougher restrictions on the hospitality sector came in across Wales, with pubs, bars and restaurants unable to sell alcohol and forced to close at 6pm.

    But a relaxing of travel restrictions in Wales means people will be able to go between the country and areas of England under Tier 1 and Tier 2.

    The first minister urged the public not to use the new freedoms to travel across the border for Christmas shopping deals or in search of a drink in areas where pubs and restaurants can sell alcohol.

    Asked whether people can go Christmas shopping in border areas such as Hereford or Oswestry, which are in Tier 2, Mr Drakeford said: "The law in Wales will not prevent people from going there.

    "The advice from the Welsh Government is not to do it, because the further you travel and the more people you mix with elsewhere, the greater the risk you pose."

  • SLOWING THE SPREAD

    Coronavirus cases fell across England by a third in the week before the lockdown ended.

    And infections have almost halved since the "peak" of the second wave in October, data from studies tracking the size of the outbreak show.

    The Office for National Statistics said around 25,700 people were catching the coronavirus every day in the week to November 29, a few days before the lockdown ended on December 2.

    It means daily new cases dropped by a third (33 per cent) in a fortnight, from 38,900 in the week to November 14.

    Results from the ONS coronavirus infection survey show 521,300 people were infected with Covid-19 in the week to November 28, the equivalent of one in 105 people.

    It's 17 per cent lower than the previous week, when 633,000, or one in 85 people, were infected.

  • ONE CALL EVERY 12 SECONDS TO JERSEY'S CORONAVIRUS HELPLINE

    Jersey's coronavirus helpline has received more than 11,000 calls in a week.

    From 8am Monday until noon today, it had answered 11,242 calls - equating to one every 12 seconds, ITV reports.

    There are 378 active Covid-19 cases in Jersey.

    Officials say it takes less than two minutes to get through to the helpline, with most waiting less than five minutes.

    ITV received reports from some people who had been waiting an hour.

  • 'TWO CHIP RULE'

    Punters in Tier 2 have revealed a secret hack to carry on drinking while they have their "substantial meal".

    Drinkers have reported they were able to keep ordering pints in their locals, as long as they left a few chips on a plate.

    Some pub owners even told boozers the trick, to stop them having to move on once they have finished their meal.

    Anyone in Tier 2 must order a "substantial meal" to go with their alcoholic drink, under new Covid rules.

    And the rules say that once the food is finished, you must leave the venue and cannot order another drink.

  • 15-YEAR-OLD WITH NO UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS HAS DIED FROM COVID

    A 15-year-old with no known underlying health conditions has died from coronavirus.

    Another 274 Covid deaths in English hospitals have been recorded, bringing the toll to 41,879

    Patients were aged between 15 and 98 years old. All except seven (aged 15 to 78 years old) had known underlying health conditions.

    The number of deaths of patients with Covid-19 by region are as follows:

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