Coronavirus vaccine news: Covid rules ‘need clarification’ as cops halt Sarah Everard vigil over social distancing fears

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COVID RULES

Live Blog

13 Mar 2021, 23:45Updated: 13 Mar 2021, 23:45

THE Government has been urged to clarify Covid social distancing rules after a vigil for Sarah Everard in south London was cancelled.

Labour's Harriet Harman, who chairs the Joint Committee on Human Rights, led the calls after Reclaim These Streets said they felt the event could not go ahead despite attempts to work with the police to ensure it could proceed safely.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We have said previously that the law on this should be made clearer."

Meanwhile, every adult in the UK could have had a coronavirus vaccine by early June as Boris Johnson faces continued pressure to lift lockdown early.

Writing in The Telegraph the PM said: “I know there are plenty of people who think we should be going faster out of lockdown. But we must recognise that the rate of infection is still high – much higher than last summer."

Follow our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic

ISSUE OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN 'MORE IMPORTANT THAN COVID RESTRICTIONS'

Demonstrators who defied police requests to gather on Clapham Common on Saturday night have said raising the issue of violence against women is "way more important" than coronavirus restrictions.

There were tense exchanges at times at the large gathering, which police had urged people not to attend amid the pandemic lockdown.

An official event by Reclaim These Streets was cancelled on Saturday morning and an alternative vigil held online.

But crowds of people made their way to Clapham Common's bandstand at around 6pm on Saturday, with many laying flowers in what has become a growing floral tribute.

Some held placards reading "we will not be silenced" and "she was just walking home", while the crowd chanted: "Sisters united will never be defeated."

There were boos, jeers and shouts of "shame on you" from the crowd as Metropolitan Police officers walked on to the bandstand where some demonstrators were chanting.

BRAZIL REGISTERS 1,997 NEW COVID-19 DEATHS - HEALTH MINISTRY

Brazil registered 76,178 new cases of coronavirus and 1,997 new COVID-19 deaths, the Health ministry said on Saturday.

The country has recorded a total of 277,102 deaths and 11,439,558 cases.

MAPPED: GLOBAL THREAT OF THE BRAZILIAN P1 COVID STRAIN

UK COVID DEATHS FALL BY 46% IN TWO WEEKS AS 121 FATALITIES RECORDED IN LOWEST SATURDAY RISE SINCE OCTOBER

UK Covid deaths have fallen by 46% in two weeks after the lowest Saturday rise since October.

121 Brits have died in the past 24 hours, the lowest daily figure in six months, bringing the UK death toll to 125,464.

It means coronavirus deaths have plummeted by nearly half in just 14 days, with 226 deaths reported on this day two weeks ago.

And it is the lowest daily rise in deaths since October 12 2020 when 131 were reported.

Latest data shows 5,534 new coronavirus cases have been recorded - down nine per cent in a week with 6,040 cases reported last Saturday, March 6. Meanwhile a total of 25,216,857 Covid-19 jabs have taken place in England between December 8 and March 12, according to provisional NHS England data.

BRAZILIAN DOCTOR COMPARES FIGHTING COVID EXPLOSION TO ‘FLOGGING A DEAD HORSE’ AS AMAZON VARIANT KILLS 100 PEOPLE AN HOUR

A BRAZILIAN doctor has compared fighting the country's Covid explosion to "flogging a dead horse".

The Amazon variant of the virus is killing 100 people an hour as infections skyrocket and hospitals face collapse.

Read more here.

HUNGARY REPORTS RECORD BREAKING NUMBER OF DAILY COVID CASES with nearly 10,000 CONFIRMED CASES

Hungary reported a record-breaking day of new coronavirus cases on Saturday, and the number of patients being treated in the country's hospitals also reached a new high.

Health authorities announced 9,444 new confirmed cases, more than 1,000 more than the previous record set on Friday. The jump came amid a rapid spread of a coronavirus variant first discovered in the United Kingdom.

The outbreak has put a strain on Hungarys health care system. Officials reported the hospitalization of 179 more COVID-19 patients, bringing the national total to a record high of 8,897

Hungary has the second-highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the 27-nation European Union, underpinned by the acquisition of vaccines from Russia and China as well as the EU. The number of people who have received at least one dose of a vaccine climbed to nearly 1.3 million in the country of fewer than 10 million.

Officials say they plan to have all people over age 60 vaccinated by Easter. As of Saturday, Hungary reported 16,790 virus-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

WATCH: UK RECORDS 175 CORONAVIRUS DEATHS AND 6,609 CASES WITH FATALITIES DOWN BY 35% IN A WEEK

UK records 175 coronavirus deaths and 6,609 cases with fatalities down by 35% in a week

ITALY ANNOUNCES PLAN TO VACCINATE AT LEAST 80% OF POPULATION BY SEPTEMBER

Italy said on Saturday it aims to vaccinate at least 80% of its population by September through ramping up the daily vaccination campaign.

Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, the new special commissioner for coronavirus, released a national plan to issue 500,000 vaccine doses a day, according to a statement released by the cabinet office.

Italy has registered 101,881 deaths since the outbreak emerged in the country in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world.

The country has reported 3.2 million cases of infection to date.

RISHI SUNAK SAYS OFFICE WORKERS UNLIKELY TO RETURN IN FULL AFTER COVID PANDEMIC

RISHI Sunak has said office workers are unlikely to return in full after the pandemic.

The Chancellor thinks packed offices will be a thing of the past - with fears of fallout for thousands of businesses.

Read more here.

ELDERLY BRITS ‘TO GET COVID BOOSTER JABS BY AUTUMN’ TO FIGHT OFF MUTANT-FUELLED WINTER SURGE

MILLIONS of Brits could get Covid booster vaccines this autumn to help fight off a mutant-fuelled winter surge.

A top government vaccination adviser has said a top-up jab is likely, with the elderly and vulnerable given priority.

Read more here.

FRENCH CORONAVIRUS CASES RISE BY 29,759

France reported on Saturday 29,759 new COVID-19 cases, up from 25,229 the previous day, the latest data from the health ministry showed.

The number of people to have died from the virus in hospitals rose by 169 to a total 64,978 while the number of people in intensive care units edged higher by 37 to 4,070, as pressure grows on French hospitals.

France has the world's sixth-highest total of COVID-19 cases, just behind Britain, which has had more than 4.24 million infections.

IRELAND RECORDS A FURTHER 16 CORONAVIRUS DEATHS

Another 16 people have died with Covid-19 in Ireland, while a further 543 infections were recorded.

As of 8am on Saturday, 340 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, of which 85 are in ICU.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid has said the supply of vaccines "will improve".

He added: "For now, 600,000 of the most vulnerable have been protected & prioritised. The oldest, in nursing homes & community, now at less risk.

"Our healthcare workers can look after our sickest, feeling safer. The right approach for now."

MORE THAN 2.6 MILLION COVID VACCINES GIVEN IN LONDON, NHS ENGLAND DATA REVEALS

NHS England data shows a total of 2,600,603 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and March 12, including 2,457,466 first doses and 143,137 second doses.

This compares with 3,939,000 first doses and 182,890 second doses given to people in the Midlands, a total of 4,121,890.

The breakdown for the other regions is:

East of England - 2,361,846 first doses and 121,022 second doses, making 2,482,868 in total North East and Yorkshire - 3,095,706 first and 182,606 second doses (3,278,312) North West - 2,630,192 first and 130,547 second doses (2,760,739) South East - 3,243,675 first and 186,467 second doses (3,430,142) South West - 2,282,458 first and 124,433 second doses (2,406,891)

HANCOCK (CONTINUED)

Mr Hancock said: "We have built a huge asymptomatic testing system from scratch, which is an essential part of our plan to reopen cautiously.

"Rapid testing has been rolled out at a vast scale across a range of sectors, and it is fantastic that now over 48,000 businesses have signed up to offer rapid testing to employees.

"This is a huge step forward in getting businesses back on their feet and helping to keep people safe.

"With around one in three people with the virus not having symptoms, regular testing is essential to bearing down on the virus and identify new variants of concern as we work towards restoring normal life.

"I strongly encourage all businesses to register their interest before the 31 March deadline."

TENS OF THOUSANDS OF BUSINESSES SIGN UP FOR RAPID COVID-19 TESTING - HANCOCK

More than 48,000 businesses have signed up to offer rapid coronavirus testing for their employees, Matt Hancock has announced.

The Health Secretary said it was a "huge step forward" in getting businesses "back on their feet" and keeping people safe.

Regular, rapid coronavirus testing is seen as key to preventing outbreaks in the workplace, and tests are now available to all businesses.

Tests can give a result within 30 minutes and NHS Test and Trace analysis suggests they have a specificity of at least 99.9%.

PM SUPPORTS NATIONAL DAY OF REFLECTION ON ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST LOCKDOWN

The Prime Minister and other political leaders have backed plans to hold a national day of reflection marking the anniversary of the first coronavirus lockdown.

The end of life charity Marie Curie is planning a day of reflection to remember those who have died for March 23 - exactly a year since the UK was first told to stay at home.

It will include a minute's silence at 12pm followed by a bell toll, and people are being encouraged to stand on their doorsteps at 8pm with phones, candles and torches to signify a "beacon of remembrance".

Prominent buildings and landmarks will also be lit up across the UK.

More than 100 care organisations, charities, businesses, emergency services, public sector bodies and community groups support the idea.

GRAPHIC: UK COVID-19 CASES AND DEATHS PER DAY

COVID DEATH TOLL

A further 118 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 85,185, NHS England said on Saturday.

Patients were aged between 37 and 99 and all except eight, aged between 55 and 96, had known underlying health conditions.

The deaths were between December 17 and March 12, with the majority being on or after March 6.

There were 35 other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

CAR CRASH COVID FINES

Two people were hit with Covid fines - after being involved in a car crash.

As they emerged from the wreckage, shocked but unhurt, they were handed £200 tickets by traffic cops called to the smash on the A27 in Sussex.

Now they have to pay the fines plus the cost of the crash damage, or higher insurance premiums if they lodge a successful claim to cover the repair bill.

Police and ambulance crews were called to the collision near Lewes.

When the two occupants of one of the cars involved were asked why they were so far from their home in London, they said they had "just popped out for a drive".

EIGHT MORE CORONAVIRUS DEATHS IN SCOTLAND

Scotland has recorded another eight deaths from coronavirus and 639 positive tests in the past 24 hours, according to the latest figures.

It brings the death toll under this measure - of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days - to 7,508.

The test positivity rate stood at 3.4%, and 479 people are in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19.

A total of 1,867,123 people have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine - an increase of 22,487 from the previous day - while 156,250 have received their second dose.

The latest figures come exactly one year after the first coronavirus death in Scotland was recorded.

DOUBLE PRISON DEATH

Two people have died in a Covid outbreak at Erlestoke prison in Wiltshire amid claims by staff that it is a "breeding ground" for the virus.

A prison source said staff are "spat at" by sick and ailing prisoners, and wardens sometimes have to remain handcuffed to prisoners who are taken to hospital.

The two who have died were a prison facilities maintenance contractor who was close to retirement, who hasn't been named, and a prisoner, Christopher McDonagh, 56, who passed away in hospital on February 25th.

The source said the jail has seen more than 100 cases among its 500-plus prisoners and staff since the New Year.

NO FULL RETURN TO THE OFFICE, SAYS RISHI

Rishi Sunak has said office workers are unlikely to return in full after the pandemic.

The Chancellor thinks packed offices will be a thing of the past - with fears of fallout for thousands of businesses.

He said working from home was the "big unknown" to have come out of the past year which has had "big implications" on the economy.

He said: "Is it going to come back in exactly the same way? Probably not."

GRAPHIC: COVID VACCINATIONS ACROSS THE UK

MEXICO GETS SHIPMENT OF MILLION VACCINE DOSES FROM CHINA'S SINOVAC

Mexico received a shipment of a million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd, the foreign ministry said on Twitter on Saturday.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said earlier in the week that Mexico was upping its orders from China to make up for a vaccine shortfall and would request 22 million more doses.

Mexico ordered an additional 10 million doses of Sinovac, in addition to the previously ordered 10 million doses, which are due to arrive between March and May.

The new order will get to Mexico between May and July, Ebrard said.

Mexico will also order 12 million vaccine doses made by the state-backed China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) once it has been approved by its health regulator, Ebrard said

ASTRAZENECA'S LOWER EU VACCINE SUPPLY TARGET HINGES ON FACTORY APPROVAL

AstraZeneca's new aim of supplying 30 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union by the end March hinges on the bloc's drug regulator approving supplies from a factory in the Netherlands, an internal document showed.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said on Friday it would try to deliver 30 million doses to the EU by the end of March, down from a contractual obligation of 90 million and a previous pledge made last month to deliver 40 million doses.

The new lower target for March deliveries, which confirmed an earlier report from Reuters, depends on the regulatory approval of a vaccine factory in Leiden run by subcontractor Halix, the internal document dated March 10 showed.

EU leaders have come under fire for rolling out vaccines at a far slower pace than neighbouring Britain due to a longer approval and purchasing process as well as repeated delays in supplies from AstraZeneca and other drugmakers.

AstraZeneca said in the document seen by Reuters that it is assuming the Halix factory will get the green light on March 25 and has pencilled in deliveries of nearly 10 million doses for the following week.

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