Coronavirus UK news – Pandemic declared OVER if vaccines stopped hospital admissions rising, top Oxford jab doc claims

THE coronavirus pandemic will be declared OVER if it's proven vaccines have stopped hospital admissions rising, a top Oxford jab doctor has claimed.

Professor Andrew Pollard, from the University of Oxford, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If the current generation of vaccines are able to stop people going into hospital, whilst there is still mild infections, people are getting the common cold with the virus, then the pandemic is over.”

It comes as experts said England's lockdown could end on June 21 after all as tests proved UK vaccines are effective against the Indian Covid variant.

The prospects for ending all coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England on the fourth and final stage of the PM's roadmap are “looking good” said Jenny Harries – as long as people are careful.

According to Public Health England, the Pfizer vaccine is 88% effective against the symptoms of the variant after the second dose, while the AstraZeneca proved 60 per cent effective.

Both vaccines were 33% effective against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose, compared with about 50% against the Kent strain.

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

  • John Hall

    PILOT SCHEME TO FOR SELF-ISOLATING IN OVERCROWDED AREAS

    New pilot schemes are being launched across England in a bid to encourage people to get tested for Covid-19 and follow self-isolation rules.

    The pilots will involve increased social care support for vulnerable adults, "buddying" services for people needing mental health support and translation assistance for non-English speakers.

    People isolating in overcrowded houses in the trial areas will also be offered alternative accommodation.

    The Government has allocated £11.9 million towards the pilots, split between local authorities in nine areas with high infection rates.

    The local authority areas including Newham and Hackney in London, Yorkshire and the Humber, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside, Peterborough and Somerset.

  • John Hall

    MORE THAN 1M SIGN UP FOR NHS APP ‘VACCINE PASSPORT’

    More than 1.3 million people have registered with the NHS app since it was announced users will be able to show if they have received the Covid-19 vaccine.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised the “unparalleled pace” in which the vaccine status function was added to the app, since its announcement on May 7.

    The app enables users to show proof they have received the vaccine, should it be required for international travel.

    It has more than 4.8 million registered users and also enables people to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions and view GP and hospital records, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

    Since May 17 – when the vaccine status function was added – people have logged into the app more than four million times.

  • John Hall

    BRITS WARNED TO STAY AWAY FROM SPAIN

    Britons have been urged not to travel to Spain after Madrid opened the doors to tourists from the UK.

    The country remains on the Government's "amber list", meaning people returning will need 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 been clear that, for now, amber means 'please don't go unless there is an urgent family reason and so on' because we are still trying to slowly move through our road map to being able to open up on June 21 and we want to do that in a steady and careful way."

    She added that "we hope very much that, obviously, the amber numbers will become more green in due course" but "at the moment, today, that means amber countries really aren't safe to go to".

  • John Hall

    LOCKDOWN LIFT ‘BACK ON’ AFTER TESTS PROVE VACCINE WORKS

    The UK’s June 21 lockdown lift is “back on” – after “astounding” tests proved vaccines DO work against the Indian variant.

    After weeks of worry, the country looks to be back on track as findings showed Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines both give a high level of protection after two doses.

    Pfizer was 88 per cent ­effective after two jabs while AstraZeneca proved 60 per cent effective.

    Both vaccines were 33 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose, compared with about 50 per cent against the Kent strain.

    Professor Susan Hopkins, PHE’s Covid-19 strategic response director, said the data trend was “quite clear” and heading in the “right direction”.

  • John Hall

    RECORD DAILY NUMBER OF SECOND DOSES ADMINISTERED IN UK

    The number of Covid-19 vaccine second doses administered in the UK hit a record daily high on Saturday, new Government figures show.

    Some 556,951 jabs containing people's second dose were given on May 22, surpassing April 24 when 547,636 were administered.

    The increase comes as the Government continues to urge people to get their second dose in order to stay protected from new coronavirus variants.

    Around 60.6 million first and second vaccine doses have now been administered since December 8, according to figures published on Sunday by the Department of Health and Social Care.

    It includes 37.9 million people who have received their first dose, 72% of the UK population, and 22.6 million who have had both (43%).

  • John Hall

    HANCOCK HAILS HUGE DAY AS VACCINE TOTAL HITS 60 MILLION

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock described yesterday as a "huge day" for the vaccine effort as the total number of jabs given out hit 60,587,098.

    He tweeted: "This is a fantastic milestone in our fight against this virus.

    "Thank you to everyone involved in our national effort. When you get the call, get the jab."

    He also said in a statement: "Our trailblazing vaccination programme – the biggest and most successful in NHS history – is another great British success story and a testament to what can be achieved when all four corners of country comes together to defeat this virus.

    "Our country has one of the highest uptake rates in the world and I'm delighted that so many have answered our call to arms. If you have not yet come forward, and you are eligible, I urge you to take up the offer – it could save your life and protect your loved ones."

  • John Hall

    ORDERING DRINKS AT THE BAR COULD RETURN AS BORIS CONSIDERS ENDING TABLE SERVICE RULE

    ORDERING drinks at the bar could make a return as Prime Minister Boris Johnson considers ending the table service rule and social distancing when lockdown ends on June 21.

    Ministers are reportedly discussing making the changes as Britain continues on the path towards freedom from Covid lockdowns next month.

    Nightclubs are expected to reopen in June while large events will be able to go ahead.

    Results from the Cabinet Office's review into social distancing measures as lockdown easing continues could be revealed this week, the Telegraph reported.

    Boris Johnson reportedly told Conservative MPs that he is "hopeful" that the "one metre plus" social distancing rule will be dropped.

    Read more here.

  • John Hall

    HMRC TO ALLOW STAFF TO WORK FROM HOME AT LEAST TWO DAYS A WEEK

    Nearly 64,000 staff at HM Revenue and Customs will be able to work from home at least two days a week permanently from next month – despite Government aims to get workers back into offices.

    The tax authority confirmed its new flexible working policy will come into effect on June 1, allowing its 63,570 staff to work remotely for part of the week after pandemic restrictions lift.

    The changes are being made as part of a wider overhaul at HMRC to address what boss Jim Harra described as a "crisis" of pay and working conditions.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted earlier this month that the Government's work from home advice is set to be dropped on June 21, telling MPs that UK cities depend on "people having the confidence of going to work".

    But HMRC said it wanted to "recognise the benefits of smarter ways of working" in its new pay and working reforms.

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