Coronavirus UK news – Last India flight arrives in UK before 'red list' travel ban after surge in variant cases

THE LAST flight from India landed in the UK tonight before the Covid-ravaged country is put on the UK's travel 'red list' tomorrow morning.

Families have been rushing to grab a seat on UK-bound flights to dodge the new hotel quarantine rules that come into force at 4am.

The last scheduled commercial flight ahead of the rule change – Vistara flight VTI017 – landed at London's Heathrow Airport at 6.48pm, according to FlightRadar24.

India has recorded the world's highest number of daily Covid cases – and another 55 cases of the Indian variant have been confirmed in the UK in the last week, bringing the total to 132.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government was banning almost all travel from the country to protect the vaccine rollout here in Britain.

Hancock said "the vast majority have links to international travel and have been picked up by our testing at the border".

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest news and updates…

  • Imogen Braddick

    HIGH UPTAKE

    The percentage of over-50s jabbed against Covid has hit 95 percent in England, according to new NHS data.

    The take-up among those aged 45-49 is at 59 percent after being offered the jab earlier this month.

    Uptake among care home staff is still only around 80 percent despite attempts to get more to come forward.

  • Imogen Braddick

    'EXTENDED GRIEF'

    Brits are being forced to endure "extended grief" as tens of thousands of cremations and burials get set to fall under Covid funeral curbs in the months ahead, according to reports.

    Funeral directors expect another 80,000 services to fall under the restrictions between now and June 21.

    Dr Shelley Gilbert, founder of the charity Grief Encounter, estimated that 750,000 Brits have been "deeply impacted" by grief following the death of a loved one in the past year.

    She told the Mail Online: "That's three quarters of a million people who have not been able to host a funeral for someone close in the way they, or the deceased, would have wanted.

    "If we continue to impose restrictions on mourners, we expect another 80,000 families to experience even more pain, distress and extended grief. Not being able to hold a funeral halts the grieving process for many, as funerals can give a sense of acceptance and finality. "

  • Imogen Braddick

    SURGE TESTING

    Covid surge testing is taking place in Birmingham to try to stop the spread of the South African variant.

    The testing is targeting households in the city's Alum Rock, Glebe Farm and Tile Cross areas of the city.

    The Department of Health and Social Care said a confirmed case had "self-isolated and their contacts have been identified".

    Health officials said: "Initial investigations indicate that this case is not linked to a case previously identified in the Birmingham and Sandwell areas."

  • Imogen Braddick

    'BEYOND OUR EXPECTATIONS'

    Coronavirus vaccine data on hospitalisations is beyond scientists wildest expectations, Dr Hilary Jones said today.

    Real-world data suggests that a single Covid jab slashes hospitalisation risk in elderly Brits by as much as 98 percent.

    Analysis of NHS pandemic admissions shows vaccinations may be more effective at preventing serious illness than previously thought.

    Speaking on Good Morning Britain this morning, Dr Hilary said: "Scientists are saying that according to this latest study – it’s beyond their wildest expectations for this vaccine in terms of success.

    "What they did is they looked at 74,000 people who had been admitted to hospital between September and March."

    Credit: Alamy
  • Imogen Braddick

    LOCKDOWN WOES

    Susanna Reid said she "can't fit into her old dress" due to lockdown weight gain after being nominated at the Reality TV Awards.

    The Good Morning Britain presenter, 50, has been nominated for several awards for entertaining the nation during lockdown.

    But while Susanna says she "loves" the Reality TV Awards, the star said she wouldn't be able to wear the same dress she did last time.

    Speaking as footage of her 2019 wins at the awards played, Susanna said: "This is the old hair. And I would like to point out that was pre-lockdown weight."

  • Imogen Braddick

    NEW TRAVEL GUIDANCE

    The United States has added the UK to it's 'Do Not Travel' list – putting it at the highest risk level.

    Britain is now at Level Four, which is the highest rating due to "very high levels of Covid".

    Since March 16, 2020, Brits have not been allowed to travel to the US from the UK, unless they are are US citizens, permanent residents or specified close family members.

    But this new guidance from the US State Department is for Americans who want to travel out of their country.

    The department added 130 countries to its 'do not travel' list earlier this week, and has now reclassified 116 countries to increase the warning.

  • Imogen Braddick

    MORE CASES OF INDIA VARIANT

    The UK has found 55 more cases of the B.1.617 Covid variant first detected in India, Public Health England said today.

    India is set to be added on the travel red list from Friday morning, meaning arrivals will have to quarantine in hotels.

    A total of 132 confirmed and probable cases of the B.1.617 variant have now been found in the UK.

  • Imogen Braddick

    LATEST FIGURES

    Coronavirus deaths have almost halved in a week in a 40 per cent drop – with 18 fatalities reported today.

    There have been 2,729 new cases logged in the UK in the last 24 hours, with the total now at 4,395,703.

  • Imogen Braddick

    WELCOMED WITH OPEN ARMS

    Brits will be welcomed with open arms to European hotspots this summer thanks to our stonking jabs success.

    Spain, Portugal and Greece are leading the push as EU chiefs meet to discuss reopening borders to sunseekers.

    Countries with a strong jabs rollout are set to be exempt from the EU’s blanket entry ban – bringing hope to millions of Brit sunseekers this summer.

    A senior EU official said the UK will “certainly” be one of the first foreign nations allowed back in under its vaccine passport scheme, possibly from June.

    Read our exclusive story here.

    Credit: Getty – Contributor
  • Imogen Braddick

    HUGS?

    Vaccinated people should be allowed to hug, ditch face masks, and be exempt from strict travel rules, EU medical chiefs have said.

    Europe's health agency said those who have had both jabs should be exempt from some social distancing and testing requirements.

    The new research, by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, provides hope life can swiftly go back to normal.

    It says the risk of a young or middle-aged unvaccinated person catching Covid from someone who has been jabbed is "very low to low".

    And that likelihood only rises to "moderate" for the elderly or those with underlying conditions.

  • Imogen Braddick

    LEGAL ACTION

    Europe has launched a legal case against AstraZeneca over its "complete failure" to meet delivery and contractual agreements – despite months of its own indecision over vaccine rollout.

    Brussels claims AstraZeneca has contributed to major delays in Europe's bungled vaccine rollout, although the bloc has been dogged by u-turns and has 6.8 million doses sitting unused.

    Speaking to the Irish parliament, Stephen Donnelly said on Thursday: "With regard to AstraZeneca, a legal case has been initiated by the Commission.

    "Earlier this week I have joined Ireland as one of the parties to that legal case, specifically around AstraZeneca's complete failure to meet its delivery and contractual agreements for April, May and June."

    Read the full story here.

  • Imogen Braddick

    NORTHERN IRELAND'S LOCKDOWN EXIT… MORE

    Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill emphasised the need to be careful and for steady progress.

    "We've always said that we'll keep things under review, as soon as we can lift things we will and that remains the case," she said.

  • Imogen Braddick

    NORTHERN IRELAND'S LOCKDOWN EXIT

    Asked about the possibility of accelerating Northern Ireland's exit from lockdown, First Minister Arlene Foster said that would depend on the impact of relaxations.

    "Last year we were able to bring some dates forward… across the UK, Scotland has been able to bring some dates forward," she said.

    "We have to see what the impact is of relaxations and then make an assessment as to whether we can move dates forward.

    "But I have to say people have reacted very well to the announcement last Thursday and I hope that we can step through this, yes in a careful way, but in a way that brings back joy to people because I think people have been very much looking forward to getting out to do the things that they want to do, particularly around sport, meeting their friends and we're very much pleased that that is happening tomorrow."

  • Alice Fuller

    GRADUATE TOOK OWN LIFE AFTER 'LOSING PURPOSE' IN LOCKDOWN

    A graduate took her own life after "losing her purpose" and having job offers withdrawn during the Covid lockdowns.

    Jodi Walsham, 23, found herself "in a very bad place" in January after losing two offers of work as her mental health deteriorated.

    The 23-year-old from Humshaugh, Northumberland, had suffered anxiety since childhood – but the lack of structure in her life caused by the lockdown took its toll, her mum said.

    She studied drama and applied theatre at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, which fostered her love for helping people – but Covid restrictions stopped her from pursuing her passion.

    Her heartbroken mum Jayne told Chronicle Live: "If she was helping people she had a purpose in life, and Covid took that away. If it wasn’t for Covid-19 I’m convinced she would still be with us – it just took everything away and she couldn’t see the end of it."

  • Alice Fuller

    'TWO THIRDS OF OVER-70S IN ENGLAND FULLY VACCINATED'

    Around two thirds of people in England aged 70 and over are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, figures suggest.

    An estimated 67.1% of people in this age group had received both doses of the vaccine as of April 18.

    For people aged 80 and over the figure is 83.3%, while for 75 to 79-year-olds the estimate is 78.3%.

    Some 42.7% of 70 to 74-year-olds are also likely to have had both doses.

    The figures for vaccinations were published by NHS England, and have been combined with population estimates from the Office for National Statistics.

  • Alice Fuller

    'STEP BY STEP' OUT OF LOCKDOWN

    Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster has said the region is moving "step by step" out of lockdown restrictions on the eve of the next relaxations which will see close-contact services reopening.

    Speaking in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, she said next week will see the reopening of non-essential retail as another step towards "allowing people's lives to get back to normal again".

    Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said it is very heartening to see young people outdoors again.

    "These are the days we have been looking forward to. There are better days ahead but we just need people to still be careful," she said.

  • Alice Fuller

    THREE IN FOUR BRITS PROUD OF UK VACCINE ROLLOUT

    More than three quarters of Brits are proud of the UK's Covid vaccine rollout, new research reveals.

    This rises to nine in 10 for those over the age of 65, according to the study by Norstat.

    Some 38% of people say the programme has improved their perceptions of the government’s handling of the pandemic, while half say it has remained unchanged.

    Rob Agnew, managing director of Norstat UK, said: “The vaccine rollout has been viewed as a huge success by overwhelming majority of people in the UK, which is leading to a shift in public perception of the Government’s handling of the pandemic."

  • Alice Fuller

    CHANCE OF DYING FROM BLOOD CLOT AFTER AZ JAB 0.00015%

    The chance of developing a deadly blood clot from the AstraZeneca Covid jab is just 0.00015 per cent, new figures reveal.

    While 21.2million Brits have had the Oxford vaccine, 168 rare blood clots have been recorded – and of those, 32 people have died, UK regulators said.

    The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) published their latest findings today, noting there is a 19 per cent fatality rate in those who develop blood clots with low platelet counts, after the jab.

    It comes after a review recommended under-30s be offered different shots as a "course correction" after the MHRA found a "reasonably plausible link".

    But with just over 33.1million people already having their first Covid vaccine, and 10.7million their second, the risks are very small.

  • Alice Fuller

    44.4MILLION JABS ADMINISTERED IN UK

    A whopping 44,450,252 jabs have been given in the UK, according to the latest figures.

    Of these, 33,257,651 were first doses – a rise of 117,909 on the previous day.

    Some 11,192,601 were second doses, an increase of 416,784.

  • Alice Fuller

    PFIZER CONFIRMS FAKE VERSIONS OF COVID VACCINE

    Pfizer has confirmed there are fake versions of its Covid vaccine in Poland and Mexico.

    The doses were seized by authorities in both countries and confirmed by tests to be counterfeit, the BBC reports.

    The versions in Mexico had false labels while the substance in Poland was believed to be an anti-wrinkle treatment, Pfizer said.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that fake vaccines "pose a serious risk to global public health".

    The Wall Street Journal reported 80 people at a clinic in Mexico received the fake version of the vaccine. Officials in Poland said the false drug there had not been given to anybody.

  • Alice Fuller

    COVID DEATHS HALVE IN A WEEK

    Covid deaths have almost halved in a week in a 40 per cent drop – with 18 fatalities reported today.

    There have been 2,729 new cases logged in the UK in the last 24 hours, with the total now at 4,395,703.

    Last week there were 30 new deaths and 2,672 more cases reported.

    Yesterday 22 deaths were reported, with 2,396 more cases added to the infection total since the pandemic began.

  • Alice Fuller

    SOCIAL MEDIA USE LINKED TO LOWER RISK OF DEPRESSION IN OLDER PEOPLE

    Frequent use of social media has been linked to mental health benefits for older people in a new study.

    The research, by the University of Surrey, found that among people aged 55 to 75, those who used the internet more often – particularly for staying in touch with friends and family – were at lower risk of depression and reported a higher quality of life.

    And participants who mostly used the internet to search for health-related information reported higher levels of depression symptoms.

  • Alice Fuller

    COVID TESTING COULD BE HERE TO STAY

    A study of "breakthrough" cases suggests that Covid testing could be here to stay.

    This is due to the fact that even those who are fully vaccinated against the virus can develop it.

    New research by The Rockefeller University in New York suggests these kinds of cases may be driven by rapid evolution of the virus, therefore indicating that widespread and ongoing testing, even of immunised people, will be critical in preventing future outbreaks.

    The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, studied those who were fully vaccinated with either the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine.

  • Alice Fuller

    JOINT VOTE OF VACCINE PASSPORTS COULD 'FRACTURE' TRUST

    The Government could "fracture" MPs' trust beyond repair if members are given just one vote on the combined use of vaccine passports domestically and internationally, a senior Conservative has warned.

    Chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of backbench Tory MPs Mark Harper urged ministers to denounce reports that MPs will receive one vote on whether to approve the use of jab certification for both foreign travel and social activities within the UK.

    He added that such "shenanigans" would "fracture the trust that many members have in the Government".

    But Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt told MPs she was "fairly confident" that suggestions of a joint vote on both domestic and international passports could be ruled out as they are "very distinct issues".

  • Alice Fuller

    THREE COVID DEATHS IN SCOTLAND IN LAST 24 HOURS

    Three coronavirus deaths have been recorded in Scotland in the last 24 hours, according to the latest statistics.

    It means the death toll under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 7,646.

    The statistics show 231 people tested positive for coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases in Scotland since the start of the pandemic to 224,596.

    A total of 1.1% of tests for Covid-19 came back as positive.

    There are 93 people in hospital with Covid-19 and 12 people are in intensive care.

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