Coronavirus UK news – Asda becomes first SUPERMARKET to give vaccines as study show covid infections are coming down

ASDA has become the first UK supermarket to offer coronavirus jabs in store.

The first patient was a 78-year-old woman was given the jab by in-store pharmacy staff.

Vaccinations with the Pfizer/BioNTech injection were being rolled out from the superstore in Cape Hill, Smethwick, in the West Midlands, on Thursday, with up to 240 jabs a day set to be given.

The news comes as scientists from Imperial College London updated a study to reveal that covid infections are falling and the country's R-rate is now below one after earlier claiming they weren't.

The updated findings reveal the success of the latest lockdown and may even show the first impact of the vaccines taking hold.

Follow the live blog below for the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis…

  • Patrick Knox

    GERMANY PLANS TRAVEL HALT FROM VIRUS VARIANT COUNTRIES

    Interior minister Horst Seehofer said: "At the moment within the government, we are coordinating towards the aim of refusing inbound travel from mutation areas.

    "We are concentrating these travel restrictions on mutation areas, that are at the moment Britain, Portugal, South Africa and Brazil."

    The emergence of new virus variants in Britain, Brazil and South Africa, deemed more infectious than the original strain, has fuelled concern at a time when many nations are struggling to rein in the pandemic.

  • Patrick Knox

    VACCINE-AVERSE TANZANIA TOLD TO FOLLOW SCIENCE

    The World Health Organization (WHO) urged Tanzania to follow science, a day after its president said COVID-19 vaccines were dangerous and unnecessary if people trusted God and used alternative remedies such as inhaling steam.

    President John Magufuli's contradiction of the global medical consensus and his government's failure to publish national coronavirus data since mid-2020 has exasperated health experts.

    "Urging #Tanzania to ramp up public health measures such as wearing masks to fight #COVID19," tweeted Matshidiso Moeti, Africa director for the WHO.

    "Science shows that #VaccinesWork and I encourage the government to prepare for a COVID vaccination campaign."

  • John Hall

    ONE IN EIGHT MAJOR HOSPITALS IN ENGLAND NO SPARE CRITICAL CARE BEDS

    NHS England figures show some 18 out of 140 acute trusts reported 100 per cent occupancy of all "open" beds each day from January 18 to 24.

    These included University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest trusts in England, along with Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, also in the West Midlands.

    The figure is up slightly on 15 out of 140 acute trusts that reported 100 per cent occupancy of critical care beds each day from January 11 to 17.

  • John Hall

    NORTHERN IRELAND  MINISTERS EXPECTED TO APPROVE SCHOOL CLOSURE EXTENSION

    A proposal to extend the substantive closure of schools in Northern Ireland is expected to be signed off by the Stormont executive later.

    Education Minister Peter Weir has tabled a paper for executive colleagues recommending that the current arrangements, which only allow vulnerable children and those of key workers to attend class, are extended to Friday, March 5.

    That would see a potential return to school on Monday, March 8.

  • John Hall

    COVID KILLS ‘KIND AND GENEROUS TEACHER’

    Victor Browne was co-head of Year 10 at a state secondary school, where his “larger than life character” and “selfless generosity” made him much-loved by colleagues and students alike.

    Victor worked at the school for eight years, before the local authority confirmed he “sadly lost his courageous battle against Covid-19” last Thursday.

    His tragic death prompted an outpouring of grief from pupils, teachers and the wider community.

    Amanda Woodfin – headteacher at The Bulmershe School in Woodley, near Reading, Berks – said : “Vic browne was a larger than life character, a very bright and colourful light in our school community.

    “If I were to ask any of our students or staff to describe Vic in one world they would all say in unison, legend.

  • John Hall

    ASDA BECOMES FIRST SUPERMARKET TO PROVIDE IN-STORE JABS

    The first patient was a 78-year-old woman was given the jab by in-store pharmacy staff.

    Vaccinations with the Pfizer/BioNTech injection were being rolled out from the superstore in Cape Hill, Smethwick, in the West Midlands, on Thursday, with up to 240 jabs a day set to be given.

    First to receive the vaccine was local resident Harbans Kaur, Asda said.

  • John Hall

    PORTUGAL IN 'TERRIBLE' PHASE OF PANDEMIC, PM COSTA SAYS

    Prime Minister Antonio Costa said it would be some weeks before things might start to improve and only limited help could be expected from abroad.

    With a total of 668,951 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 11,305 deaths, including a record 293 dead on Wednesday, Portugal has the world's highest seven-day average of new daily cases and deaths per million inhabitants.

    The situation was not "bad", it was "terrible", Costa told the TVI broadcaster overnight.

    "There is no point in feeding the illusion that we are not facing the worst moment," he said. "And we'll face this worst moment for a few more weeks, that is for sure."

  • John Hall

    POLLS SHOWS HONG KONG RESIDENTS' DISTRUST OF CHINESE VACCINES

    Hong Kong people are less trusting of Chinese novel coronavirus vaccines than those made in Europe and the United States, with fewer than 30 per cent of people questioned in a survey finding Chinas Sinovac vaccine acceptable.

    The survey by the University of Hong Kong, in which up to 1,000 people were polled this month, showed that general acceptance of vaccines in the Chinese special administrative region was low, with only 46 per cent likely to take a Covid-19 vaccine.

    Trust was significantly lower in the Sinovac vaccine, with 29.5 per cent of respondents accepting it compared with 56 per cent of people who would take one produced by Germany's BioNTech and 35 per cent who would take one produced by AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University

  • John Hall

    CORONA  INFECTIONS AT HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE MAY, STUDY WARNS

    The number of people infected with coronavirus is at the highest level recorded in England since May, according to a study.

    The research, which saw more than 167,600 volunteers tested in England between January 6 and 22, showed that Covid-19 infections remained very high throughout this time, with one in 64 people infected.

    It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced lockdown measures will remain in place in England until at least March 8, and said travellers returning to the UK from "red list" countries will be sent to quarantine hotels for 10 days.

    The findings from Imperial College London's React study show infections in England have flattened but are at the highest level recorded by the researchers, with the indication of a decline in the last week of the survey.

  • John Hall

    EASYJET REVENUES PLUNGES BY 88% 

    The low-cost airline said turnover slumped to £165 million as it flew just 18 per cent of its programme in its first quarter to the end of December, which saw the second English lockdown and tighter measures on travel towards the end of the year.

    It confirmed that 1,400 UK jobs were cut amid a previously-announced programme to slash its group-wide workforce by up to 30 per cent as it looks to cut costs to weather the crisis.

    But the group said it was planning for a surge in "pent-up demand" for travel once restrictions begin to lift and as the vaccination programme rolls out.

  • John Hall

    JANUARY DEADLIEST MONTH OF COVID PANDEMIC IN US

    More than 79,200 Americans dead with still four days left until February.

    This comes as the White House projects that as many as 90,000 more people in the US will die from the coronavirus in the next three weeks.

  • John Hall

    'NO INTERRUPTION TO JAB SUPPLIES' – DESPITE EU DEMANDING DOSES

    Senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove has said there "will be no interruption" to vaccine supplies from AstraZeneca after the EU demanded to receive doses from UK plants.

    He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "First thing, we must make sure that we continue with the effective acceleration of our vaccination programme. 

    “That relies on the supply schedule that has been agreed to be honoured. 

    “That's the first and most important thing.

    "But secondarily I'm sure we all want to do everything possible to make sure that as many people in countries which our are friends and neighbours are vaccinated and I think we best achieve that through dialogue and co-operation and friendship

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