Coronavirus UK news update – Brits told NOT to travel to Spain unless 'urgent reason' after border reopens to tourists

BRIT tourists have been urged NOT to jet off to amber list countries, including Spain, after the nation today opened its borders to visitors.

And as tourists flocked to Spain today, business minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said scientists still think there is "too great a risk" in travelling to amber list countries for non-urgent reasons such as holidays.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that people should not travel to amber countries except for essential reasons – but Spain's tourism minister said the country was in a "good place".

Meanwhile, 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.”

Meanwhile, Dr Jenny Harries yesterday said the prospects for ending all coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England on June 21 are “looking good”. 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.

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

  • Joseph Gamp

    DAILY UK COVID DEATHS FALL TO THREE BUT CASES UP 17% IN A WEEK

    UK Covid deaths have fallen with three deaths reported today – almost half the grim number a week ago.

    But new cases have risen 17 per cent since last Monday, with 2,439 new infections in the last 24 hours.

    The Indian variant has created hotspots of outbreaks around the country, with numbers rising swiftly in the past few weeks.

    But the vaccine rollout is continuing at pace to tackle the rise of the variant.

    Jabs are stopping people getting seriously ill or dying – with Pfizer and AstraZeneca’s vaccines proven to be effective against it with two doses.

  • Joseph Gamp

    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”.

  • Joseph Gamp

    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.

    Read more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    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.

  • Joseph Gamp

    BRITS UNDER 30 COULD BE OFFERED COVID VACCINE WITHIN DAYS

    Brits under 30 could be offered their Covid vaccine by the end of the week – as hopes for June 21's unlocking rise.

    It comes after worries the Indian variant could delay "Freedom Day", but as the speedy jabs rollout continues experts say the signs are now "looking good".

    Last week the age eligability for vaccines was lowered three times – with those aged 32 and 33 now able to book in.

    It is expected to be lowered further within days, with under 30s offered their slots at the end of the week.

    It brings fresh hope for the full unlocking next month, after the variant's emergence cast doubt on the roadmap.

  • Joseph Gamp

    MAPPED: ALL THE PLACES WITH SURGE TESTING IN THE UK

     

  • Joseph Gamp

    CHART: COVID-19 JABS GIVEN SO FAR

  • Joseph Gamp

    COVID SURGE TESTS ROLLED OUT IN PARTS OF HAMPSHIRE TO CATCH CASES OF INDIAN VARIANT

    SURGE Covid tests have been rolled out in parts of Hampshire in a bid to catch cases of the Indian variant.

    NHS Test and Trace – in partnership with the local authority – is launching new additional testing and genomic sequencing targeting north east Hampshire – including the Hart District, Rushmoor Borough and the Surrey border.

    This surge testing is being deployed following the identification of a small number of confirmed cases of the variant first identified in India, B1.617.2. All the confirmed cases have been instructed to self-isolate and their contacts have been identified.

    Everyone aged 12 and over who lives or works in these postcodes is strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 PCR test from Wednesday 26 May, whether they are showing symptoms or not.

    Further targeted testing is also being deployed at a school in the area, which starts today. The local authority is endeavouring to reach out to anyone who should be tested.

    Read more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    COVID CASES

    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."

    Yesterday Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, confirmed it's "looking good" for the final stage.

    It comes after a study found Pfizer's vaccine is 88 per cent ­effective against the Indian variant 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.

  • Joseph Gamp

    BRITS UNDER 30 COULD BE OFFERED COVID VACCINE BY END OF THIS WEEK

    Brits under 30 could be offered their Covid vaccine by the end of the week – as hopes for June 21's unlocking rise.

    It comes after worries the Indian variant could delay "Freedom Day", but as the speedy jabs rollout continues experts say the signs are now "looking good".

    Last week the age eligability for vaccines was lowered three times – with those aged 32 and 33 now able to book in.

    It is expected to be lowered further within days, with under 30s offered their slots at the end of the week.

    It brings fresh hope for the full unlocking next month, after the variant's emergence cast doubt on the roadmap.

  • Joseph Gamp

    DAILY UK COVID DEATHS FALL TO THREE BUT CASES UP 17% IN A WEEK

    UK Covid deaths have fallen with three deaths reported today – almost half the grim number a week ago.

    But new cases have risen 17 per cent since last Monday, with 2,439 new infections in the last 24 hours.

    The Indian variant has created hotspots of outbreaks around the country, with numbers rising swiftly in the past few weeks.

    But the vaccine rollout is continuing at pace to tackle the rise of the variant.

    Jabs are stopping people getting seriously ill or dying – with Pfizer and AstraZeneca's vaccines proven to be effective against it with two doses.

  • Joseph Gamp

    HOLIDAYMAKERS URGED NOT TO JET OFF TO SPAIN

    Holidaymakers are being urged not to jet off to amber list countries, including Spain.

    Business minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said scientists still think there is "too great a risk" in travelling to amber list countries for non-urgent reasons such as holidays.

    However, Spain's tourism minister said the country was in a good place and he was sure it would make the UK's green list when a review is carried out in the first week of June.

    Spain has officially lifted restrictions for UK travellers from Monday, with visitors no longer needing to take a PCR Covid-19 test. vTourists going to Spain will still have to quarantine on their return under UK rules.

    Mrs Trevelyan told Times Radio: "The reality is, at the moment, amber countries are still not meeting the criteria for our scientists to say that they should be green. So the recommendation remains don't go unless you have to, and remember that, if you do go, you will have to quarantine for 10 days and that will be monitored. The reason we ask people still not to go is because there is still too great a risk as far as our scientists are concerned."

  • Joseph Gamp

    GRAPH: UK COVID-19 CASES AND DEATHS PER DAY

  • Joseph Gamp

    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.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    NORTHERN IRISH PUB LANDLORDS HAIL RETURN OF CUSTOMERS

    Pub bosses have hailed a “fantastic day” as customers were allowed to return indoors for the first time this year.

    Restaurants, cafes, bars and other hospitality venues in Northern Ireland can operate indoors from Monday in another sign of a return to normality as Covid-19 restrictions ease further.

    The historic Hillside Bar in Hillsborough, Co Down, has been trading since 1752, but was forced to close its doors due to lockdown restrictions imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    In recent weeks the pub has been permitted to serve food in its outdoor area, but the venue was finally able to open its doors to allow customers indoors on Monday.

    Assistant manager Dale Johnston told PA Media: “It’s a big day for us, to have the buzz and the atmosphere of people being allowed inside again means a lot to us. We’re all very excited.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    WATCH: JAPANESE HOSPITALS CLOSE TO 'COLLAPSING'

    Japanese hospitals on brink of ‘collapse’ with beds and ventilators running out just eight weeks before Olympics

     

  • Caroline Mortimer

    TRAINED DOGS CAN SNIFF OUT CORONAVIRUS WITH UP TO 94% ACCURACY – STUDY

    Covid-19 infection has a distinct smell that can be detected by specially trained dogs with up to 94% accuracy, UK research suggests.

    The findings, which have not yet been peer-reviewed, are based on six dogs who tested more than 3,500 odour samples donated by the public and NHS staff.

    The canines were able to sniff out samples from people who were infected with coronavirus but were asymptomatic, as well as those who had low viral loads. They were also able to identify infections caused by the coronavirus strain that was dominant in the UK last summer as well as the UK (Kent) version of the virus which appeared later in the year.

    Professor James Logan, head of the department of disease control at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), who led the project, said: “What was great was the dogs that have been trained on the original variant transferred to the new (Kent) variant.

    “They could detect the new variant without any additional training. So this gives us real hope and really suggests that dogs are able to detect different variants of Covid.”

  • Caroline Mortimer

    GOVERNMENT MINISTER DENIES HERD IMMUNITY CLAIM

     Government minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan rejected Dominic Cummings’ claim that achieving herd immunity was the official plan drawn up to combat the pandemic.

    The energy minister told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “It was never the policy of this Government.

    “Boris Johnson was very clear that the only thing that mattered was that we make sure that we saved lives and we keep our NHS safe and able to function, not only to protect those who might get Covid but also everybody else.”

    She said the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance had talked about herd immunity being “one of the potential tools in the armoury” but it was not the policy goal.

    Ms Trevelyan, who was in the Cabinet at the time, said: “I’m very comfortable that the Prime Minister never had as his policy herd immunity.”

  • Caroline Mortimer

    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.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    INDIAN DEATH TOLL PASSES 300,000 PEOPLE

    The number of people who have died with Covid-19 in India has passed over 300,000 people – making it the third highest death toll in the world.

    The milestone, as recorded by India's Health Ministry, comes as slowed vaccine deliveries have marred the country's fight against the pandemic, forcing many to miss their shots, and a rare but fatal fungal infection affecting Covid-19 patients has worried doctors.

    India's death toll accounts for 8.6% of the nearly 3.5 million coronavirus fatalities globally, though the true numbers are thought to be significantly greater.

    The Health Ministry on Monday reported 4,454 new death in the last 24 hours, bringing India's total fatalities to 303,720. It also reported 222,315 new infections, which raised the overall total to nearly 27 million since the pandemic began. Both are almost certainly undercounts.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    TENTATIVE GREEN LIGHT FOR EURO 2020 IN GLASGOW

    Thousands of fans can watch European Championship matches this summer in Glasgow Green after a fan zone was provisionally approved.

    From Tuesday, up to 6,000 people per day can book free tickets for the outdoor space over the 31 days of the Uefa Euro 2020 tournament beginning on June 11.

    The Scottish Government has approved plans for the largely seated outdoor space “subject to the state of the pandemic nearer the time”.

    It comes after Uefa last month signed off plans allowing 12,000 spectators to attend Hampden Park for the four games it is hosting, meaning the national stadium will be operating at about 25% capacity.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    MALTA FIRST EUROPEAN COUNTRY TO 'ACHIEVE HERD IMMUNITY'

    Malta has vaccinated 70% of its adult population with at least one Covid-19 shot, becoming the first European Union country to achieve so-called herd immunity, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Monday.

    The tiny Mediterranean island has had an average of three new virus cases each day in the past week, with the test positivity rate at a low of 0.2%. Two new cases were reported on Monday.

    "Vaccines are being administered at a rate of one every five seconds," Fearne told a news conference. "Forty-two percent of the adult population has received two doses."

    Vaccination is currently open to all residents of Malta over the age of 16 and Fearne said children aged 12 and over would also be inoculated once European medical authorities give the go-ahead.

    He also announced that mandatory wearing of masks outdoors would be lifted on July 1 for vaccinated people as long as virus cases remain low.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    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”.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    KATE MIDDLETON HAILS 'HUGE SACRIFICES' OF NURSES DURING PANDEMIC

    Kate Middleton hails ‘huge sacrifices’ made by nurses during Covid pandemic in new video message

  • Caroline Mortimer

    THAILAND TO EXTEND ASTRAZENECA DOSAGE GAP TO 16 WEEKS

    Thailand will extend the gap between the first and second doses of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine to 16 weeks, in an effort to inoculate more people faster, a senior health official said on Monday.

    The plan follows a similar decision by Spain to stretch the gap between two AstraZeneca doses to 16 weeks, which is beyond the 12 weeks maximum interval approved by the European Medicines Agency. A 16-week interval has not been tested in human trials.

    Thailand's change, from a 10-week gap previously, comes ahead of the planned start of a mass immunisation campaign from June, for which AstraZeneca's vaccine will be the main one used.

    "This is to increase the number of people who get vaccinated," Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary of the health ministry, told Reuters, adding it would help create herd immunity faster.

    Thailand has since the start of April been grappling to contain a third wave of coronavirus infections, with its latest outbreak accounting for about 80% of its total 132,213 cases and 806 deaths.

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