Great Britain

Covid news – live: UK ‘not out of woods’, PM says as daily case numbers fall for sixth day in row

Related video: Sajid Javid apologises for suggesting people must not ‘cower’ from Covid-19

Boris Johnson has cautioned against claims that the UK may have passed the peak of its third wave of Covid-19, warning that “we’re not out of the woods yet”.

The prime minister’s warning came before the daily statistics revealed another drop in daily case numbers, for the sixth day in a row.

While the drop in daily cases from almost 55,000 on 17 July to just 24,000 today was “encouraging”, Downing Street said the prime minister believes that the impact of relaxations introduced a week ago could soon start driving numbers back up again.

Meanwhile, the government has refused to rule out the idea of making full Covid vaccination mandatory for students if they want to return to college and university campuses this autumn.

Boris Johnson is said to be “raging” about a low vaccine uptake among young people, according to The Times.

The prime minister proposed making the vaccine compulsory for students in higher and further education during virtual meetings he held at Chequers last week, the newspaper reported.

Education minister Vicky Ford on Monday said ministers had to “consider everything”.

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Stay tuned for rolling updates on the latest news and statistics throughout the day.

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Minister warns against complacency as cases fall

Education minister Vicky Ford said that while the sustained drop in coronavirus cases was "very good news", she warned against complacency.

She told Sky News: "We all know how quickly it can go back up again.

"I think it does show how important it is that we continue to take issues like self-isolation really seriously as well and continue to encourage people to get that vaccine, and the double vaccine indeed, because that's going to be the way that we get out of this longer term."

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Boris Johnson ‘raging’ over low vaccine uptake among young

Boris Johnson is said to be “raging” about a low vaccine uptake among young people, according to The Times.

The prime minister could be considering whether to bring in rules requiring students to be fully vaccinated to attend university lectures or halls of residence, the newspaper reported.

However education minister Vicky Ford said students would not need to be double-jabbed to attend lectures – although she said it was “really important” to get both doses to avoid having to self-isolate without a positive test or symptoms if “pinged” by the NHS Covid app after 16 August.

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School summer holidays could be behind dip in cases, says scientist

Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of Spi-M, from the University of Warwick, has said it always takes a couple of weeks for dropping case numbers to be reflected in hospital admissions.

"I would say the fact the cases have gone down for the last five days or so ... I'm cautiously optimistic about that,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“But I think we're going to have to wait another couple of weeks before we see, firstly, the effect of the 19 July relaxation and, second, whether hospital admissions will start to go down.

"I think if they do then at that point we can be much more confident that we're starting to see hopefully this wave turning round."

He added: “We need to monitor this over the next few days to see if this is consistently going down or whether we are sort of seeing a dip because schools are closed and then maybe things might level off again, so I think it remains to be seen exactly what's going to happen.”

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Border Force staff ‘want to come into work’, says Heathrow boss

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye was asked on Times Radio about suggestions some Border Force workers do not want to be added to the list of critical workers who are exempt from isolation to tackle the coronavirus "pingdemic".

He replied: "We've been part of the pilot scheme since January and my experience talking to colleagues is they want to come into work.

"They've been working in a business which has been devastated by the pandemic. They're worried about their jobs and their future.

"If there's a chance of serving passengers, they want to be here doing that. That's what's key to them.

"We can't force people to come into work if they've been pinged, but this is a really good scheme that allows those people who want to work to come in and serve passengers and get Britain back travelling again."

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Government refuses to rule out ban on unvaccinated students returning to university

The government has refused to rule out the idea of making full Covid vaccination mandatory for students if they want to return to college and university campuses this autumn.

Education minister Vicky Ford said ministers had to “consider everything”.

My colleague Adam Forrest has more on this story:

Boris Johnson said to be ‘raging’ about low rates of vaccination among young people

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Vaccinated Americans could be forced to wear masks again, says Fauci

Vaccinated Americans might have to start wearing masks again, given the rise in the country of the Delta coronavirus variant, according to Dr Anthony Fauci.

Maroosha Muzaffar has more details:

Dr Fauci blamed unvaccinated Americans for taking the country in the ‘wrong direction’ on Covid-19

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Travel rules to be relaxed for UK expats, report says

Ministers are preparing to ease travel rules for expats returning to the UK from Sunday, it has been reported.

UK nationals living overseas who have had both doses of a coronavirus jab will no longer need to self-isolate for 10 days when they arrive from an amber list country, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The exemption from quarantine currently only applies to people who were vaccinated under the UK programme, but the newspaper stated that the government plans to recognise foreign jabs.

The Department for Transport has committed to holding a formal review of the rules for arriving travellers this week.

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Labour ready to back vaccine passports for sports events, says Keir Starmer

Labour could back the use of Covid passports for mass-attendance events like sports fixtures.

Leader Sir Keir Starmer today said he was ready to support “passports plus testing” to enable mass-attendance events to admit large audiences, but said he would rule out checks to access healthcare or food shops.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has the full story below:

Party’s backing could save Boris Johnson from humiliating defeat in Commons

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UK economy ‘falling behind’ due to NHS-only vaccine policy, says Heathrow boss

The government’s refusal to allow passengers vaccinated against Covid abroad to avoid self-isolation on arrival is nonsensical, the chief executive of Heathrow has said.

At present travellers fully jabbed by the NHS need not quarantine on arrival in the UK from more than 150 “amber list” countries. But all other passengers from those nations must self-isolate, regardless of their vaccination status.

Our travel correspondent Simon Calder has this exclusive report:

Exclusive: ‘This is like coming first, and not finishing in the medals’ – Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye

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