The government has pledged £ 500million to support trials of a 20-minute Covid-19 test in hopes of helping Britain ‘get back to a more normal way of life’.
The money will be used to launch a new community-wide repeat population screening trial in Salford, Greater Manchester, while existing trials in Southampton and Hampshire, using a non-saliva test swab and a 20-minute rapid test, will also be extended thanks to the new funding.
It comes as scientists and health activists have condemned the US government for refusing to join the World Health Organization’s global initiative to provide countries with access to safe and effective vaccines.
UK records highest number of new cases since June 4
The UK has recorded 1,735 daily confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to government data released Thursday, up from 1,508 a day earlier and the highest since June 4.
The daily number of deaths within 28 days of testing positive for the virus was 13, the government said.
Samuel OsborneSeptember 3, 2020 4:43 PM
Foreign Ministry travel advice “totally irrelevant” due to coronavirus obsession
The Foreign Office’s travel warnings have become “totally irrelevant,” according to leading adventure travel specialists, travel correspondent Simon Calder reports.
Jonny Bealby, founder of Wild Frontiers, told The Independent: “The Foreign Office was renowned for its nuanced approach to its travel advice.
“Although we had disagreements over their advice to parts of the countries we visit regularly, we were at least confident that their advice had been considered.
“But now, with this almost blanket ban completely unnecessary, on entire continents, it has become totally irrelevant.”
The FCDO – as it is now called – warns that the vast majority of overseas countries pose an ‘unacceptable risk’ to UK travelers due to current levels of Covid-19.
Samuel OsborneSeptember 3, 2020 4:24 PM
The reproduction rate of the coronavirus in Scotland could reach 1.4, according to Nicola Sturgeon.
The Scottish Prime Minister has issued a warning that “the virus is spreading again”.
The R rate – which represents the number of people infected on average by a positive case – is “probably greater than one,” she said.
Chiara GiordanoSeptember 3, 2020 4:07 PM
A school in Buckinghamshire has been forced to ‘postpone’ its reopening after a group of grade 13 students contracted coronavirus while on vacation in Greece.
A group of around 20 students from Sir William Borlase High School in Marlow reportedly brought Covid-19 back after a trip to Zante Island.
Students and several family members are now isolating themselves after testing positive, Principal Kay Mountfield told parents in a letter published in the Maidenhead Advertiser.
Chiara GiordanoSeptember 3, 2020 3:57 PM
WHO aims for 20% of Africa to get the first Covid jabs of the access plan
The World Health Organization (WHO) wants to get 230 million initial doses of any Covid-19 vaccine for Africa, officials said while stressing that any vaccine in development should also be tested on the continent.
The global vaccine allocation plan, called COVAX, aims to help buy and equitably distribute 2 billion doses of approved vaccines by the end of 2021.
“This… (initial batch) will cover 20% of the African population, initially prioritizing those on the front line, health workers, then expanding to cover vulnerable groups”, Richard Mihigo, zone director program for WHO Africa, said at an online press conference.
The program includes nine Covid-19 vaccine candidates covering a range of technologies and scientific approaches. Some are in advanced clinical trials and may have data available by the end of the year.
Only two of the potential Covid-19 vaccines are currently being tested in Africa, said Richard Hatchett, executive director of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which co-leads the COVAX project with the WHO and the Gavi vaccine alliance.
Chiara GiordanoSeptember 3, 2020 3:51 PM
Pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi Pasteur have recruited more than 400 people for a clinical trial of their Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
The government has already signed an agreement with companies for 60 million doses of a potential vaccine against the coronavirus.
A total of 440 healthy adults are enrolled in the trial at 11 sites in the United States, and the companies anticipate the first results in early December.
Chiara GiordanoSeptember 3, 2020 3:35 PM
Sturgeon dismisses ‘ridiculous’ claims Glasgow received preferential treatment
Nicola Sturgeon has dismissed ‘ridiculous’ claims that Glasgow received preferential treatment in Aberdeen over coronavirus restrictions for political reasons.
She was responding to comments from Aberdeen Council co-chief Douglas Lumsden, who tweeted that Glasgow had escaped full lockdown because it was a ‘yes’ city – referring to the 2014 independence referendum.
The Prime Minister was asked about his suggestion that the rules were politically motivated during the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing today.
She said, “It actually depresses me for two reasons. “
Transmission of the virus was based around pubs in Aberdeen and households in Glasgow, she said.
The Prime Minister continued, “I think if there are still people who are willing to think that I am making these decisions from a mad party political point of view, then they will always believe the worst of me and there a I probably can’t do anything to convince them.
“But I hope this kind of point of view is in the minority and I hope that the majority of reasonable people, whether you agree with my policy or not and whether you agree with the decisions we come to or no, will feel like trying to take them for the right reasons. ”
Chiara GiordanoSeptember 3, 2020 3:20 PM
Millions of Britons who have never checked the hygiene ratings of their favorite takeout – as long as the food tasted good – are now more vigilant about cleanliness, according to a survey.
A study of 2,000 adults found that eight in ten were previously happy to take a chance, often buying take-out without looking into the cleanliness of the store.
Instead, three-quarters admitted that the quality of the food was their top priority.
Chiara GiordanoSeptember 3, 2020 3:07 PM
More than 260 cases of people failing to respond to quarantine orders after returning to the UK have been recorded in Greater Manchester alone, police said.
Officers said they were forced to visit 263 residents who ignored communications from border forces telling them they had to self-isolate for 14 days, since July 22.
Two were fined for “repeated” quarantine breaches, police said.
Chiara GiordanoSeptember 3, 2020 2:57 PM
76 rich countries pledge to join the Covid-19 global vaccination plan
Seventy-six rich countries have now pledged to join a global Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to help buy and distribute vaccines equitably, according to the co-leader of the project, Reuters reports.
Seth Berkley, chief executive of the GAVI vaccine alliance, said the plan, known as COVAX, has now signed off on Japan, Germany, Norway and more than 70 other “upper middle income and high income ”, agreeing in principle to procure Covid-19 vaccines through the establishment for their populations.
COVAX is designed to discourage national governments from stockpiling Covid-19 vaccines and from focusing on vaccinating those most at risk in each country.
Its supporters believe that this strategy should lead to lower costs of vaccines for all and an earlier end to the pandemic that has claimed the lives of some 860,000 people worldwide.
Rich countries joining COVAX will fund vaccine purchases from their national budgets and partner with 92 poorer countries supported by voluntary donations in the plan to ensure vaccines are delivered fairly, Dr Berkley said.
Chiara GiordanoSeptember 3, 2020 2:47 PM