The pandemic can effectively be declared “over” if vaccines continue to keep the number of people in need of hospital treatment low, a leading expert has said.
Oxford University professor Andrew Pollard told BBC Radio 4 Today program: “If the current generation of vaccines can prevent people from going to the hospital, while there are still mild infections, people catch colds with the virus, then the pandemic is over.”
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is expected to signal that Britain is on track to lift all lockdown restrictions on June 21.
The Prime Minister will brief the public on the latest data on the Indian coronavirus variant and outline the impact it could have on his roadmap outside of the lockdown.
It comes as the number of vaccine doses administered in the UK has reached 60 million, with more than 70% of the population having received at least one dose.
60 million jabs administered
More than 60 million first and second doses of the vaccine have been administered since December 8, according to the latest figures.
This includes 37.9 million people who received a first dose, 72% of the UK population and 22.6 million have had both (43%).
The number of second doses administered in the UK hit a daily record high on Saturday, with 556,951.
The government continues to urge people to receive a second dose to stay protected against newer variants of the coronavirus.
Some 762,361 first and second doses were given on Saturday, the highest daily combined total since March 20.
Tom BatchelorMay 24, 2021 8:48 AM
Government launches pilot program to encourage self-isolation
More than a year after the start of the pandemic, new pilot programs are being launched across England with the aim of encouraging people to get tested for Covid-19 and follow self-isolation rules.
The pilot projects will involve increased social assistance for vulnerable adults, “buddy” services for people in need of mental health support and translation assistance for non-English speakers.
People isolated in overcrowded houses in the test areas will also be offered alternative accommodation.
The government has allocated £ 11.9million for the pilot projects, split among local authorities in nine areas with high infection rates.
Local authority areas including Newham and Hackney in London, Yorkshire and Humber, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside, Peterborough and Somerset.
Health experts have long argued that there should be more support to encourage those who cannot afford self-isolation to do so.
Tom BatchelorMay 24, 2021 8:34 AM
Pandemic is “over” if vaccines keep hospital admissions low, professor says
The pandemic can effectively be declared “over” if vaccines continue to keep the number of people in need of hospital treatment low, a leading health expert has said.
Oxford University professor Andrew Pollard told BBC Radio 4 Today program: “If the current generation of vaccines can keep people from going to the hospital, while there are still mild infections, people catch colds with the virus, then the pandemic is over.
“Because we can live with the virus, actually we’re going to have to live with the virus somehow, but it doesn’t matter if most people are kept away from the hospital because then the NHS can continue to function and life will return to normal. We just need a little more time to be sure about this. “
On whether booster vaccines will be needed, he said work was underway to make new vaccines in case they were needed, but it was uncertain whether they would be.
He urged people to have their second vaccine and said the coronavirus would find the unvaccinated, adding that the Indian variant was able to spread “slightly better” whether people were vaccinated or not.
“Of course, this is the variant that exists right now, but future variants are going to get even better in this area,” he said.
“This is the evolution of this virus, that it will find ways to bypass the immune responses to be able to spread a little better, and that gives a very important public health message, namely that if you are not not vaccinated, the virus will eventually find those individuals in the population who are not vaccinated, and of course if you are over 50 and not vaccinated you are at a much greater risk of serious illness. “
Tom BatchelorMay 24, 2021 8:25 AM
Register for our free virtual event on life after the Covid crisis
What’s next for the UK after the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown? Will the virus continue to decline or will the risk of variants derail us?
Rejoin The independentShaun Lintern Health Correspondent and Science Correspondent Sam Lovett, as they discuss these big questions with two special guests during an exclusive webinar on May 26 at 6:30 p.m.
Tom BatchelorMay 24, 2021 8:14 AM
Britons urged not to visit Spain after opening its doors to British tourists
The British have been urged not to travel to Spain after Madrid opened the doors to British tourists.
The country remains on the government’s ‘orange list’, which means returning people will have to take a series of Covid-19 tests and self-isolate at home.
Business Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan told Sky News: “The Prime Minister has made it clear that, for now, amber means’ please don’t go unless there is a urgent family reason and so on ‘because we are always trying to slowly go through our roadmap to be able to open on June 21 and we want to do it on a regular and careful basis. ”
She added that “we very much hope that obviously the orange numbers will turn greener in due course” but “for now, today, that means the orange countries are really not sure to go”.
Samuel OsborneMay 24, 2021 7:49 AM
Indian state braces for cyclone amid pandemic
Preparing for a cyclone, the Indian state of Odisha is preparing its Covid-19 hospitals for alternative relief systems.
The state chief minister has ordered officials to ensure hospitals have an adequate supply of medical oxygen and drugs.
India’s meteorological department said the cyclone would likely cross the Odisha-West Bengal coast around May 26 as a very severe cyclonic storm.
Akshita jainMay 24, 2021 7:08 AM
India lagging behind in vaccine purchase, virologist says
India has delayed the process of purchasing bulk Covid-19 vaccines and may now have few options available, top virologist Dr Gagandeep Kang says NDTV in an interview.
Indian states have reported vaccine shortages and some have been forced to suspend vaccinations. India has only fully vaccinated 3.8% of its population.
Dr Kang said a better option would be to approach Indian manufacturers. “Many manufacturers are ready to make vaccines in clinical trials. We don’t have the results of their studies, but why don’t we make risky investments in these manufacturers? ” she asked.
Akshita jainMay 24, 2021 6:41 AM
Passengers skip Covid-19 test at train station in India
Passengers who arrived in the Indian state of Assam rushed out of a train station in an attempt to avoid mandatory Covid-19 testing.
The incident took place at Jagiroad station in Assam. Rail officials said the crowds were larger than expected and are now looking for people to get tested.
Akshita jainMay 24, 2021 6:26 AM
India looks into WHO recognition of local vaccine
The Indian government is reportedly working to get Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin clearance from the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency.
It comes amid reports that Indians vaccinated with Covaxin may not be allowed to travel overseas because the vaccine is not yet on the WHO’s list of emergency uses.
The Hindu reported that the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has been tasked to look into the matter.
Akshita jainMay 24, 2021 6:02 AM
Indian state says unable to obtain Covid-19 vaccines directly from Moderna
The Indian state of Punjab has said that the US pharmaceutical company Moderna has refused to send supplies of its Covid-19 vaccines and said it can only deal with the federal government.
The Punjab, like several other states in the country, has reported a dose shortage in recent days. He was forced to stop vaccination of certain categories of adults due to the shortage.
Punjab official Vikas Garg said the state government had also approached vaccine makers Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Sputnik, according to Reuters.