Covid latest news – Another 50k Brits could die of coronavirus by March, top expert warns, but vaccine targets being hit

ANOTHER 50,000 Brits could die of coronavirus before March, a top SAGE expert warned.

As the UK passed the grim milestone of 100,000 covid deaths, Professor Calum Semple told BBC’s Newsnight: “It would really not surprise me if we’re looking at another 40-50,000 deaths before this burns out."

There was some brighter news, however, with AstraZeneca chief Pascal Soriot saying the UK is "comfortably" on course to have all over 50s vaccinated by the middle of March.

He told Italian newspaper La Repubblica. “The Prime Minister has a goal to vaccinate 15 million people by mid-February and they’re already at 6.5 million, so they will get there.”

Follow the live blog below for the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis…

  • Chris Bradford


    German politicians were branded “vaccine snails” today as public outrage builds over the country’s slow jab roll-out.

    Health ministers have been told to shape up by local media over the "embarrassingly slow" vaccination process which has seen just 1.8million people receive the jab so far.

    In a searing article in Bild, the newspaper told politicians they “can and must do better" to get the public vaccinated safely.

    Germany now trails behind the UK and US in the jab effort with only 1.8million Germans vaccinated to date, compared to the UK’s 6.8million. 

    Once praised for its rapid response to coronavirus, Germany is now struggling with high case numbers, a mounting death rate, and a vaccine roll-out that has seen the country jab just 2 in 100 people over the course of a month. 

    Read more HERE.

  • Chris Bradford


    The Archbishop of Canterbury said "the best way" to mourn the more than 100,000 coronavirus victims includes "following the lockdown rules and, when we're offered them, taking the vaccinations".

    In an open letter, the Most Rev Justin Welby urged Brits to take a moment each day to pause in remembrance.

    Asked where he finds "hope", Mr Welby told BBC Breakfast: "Where I see it is in the love that we pass on… I see it in hospitals, I see it in neighbours caring for each other – this wonderful outflowing in community support that we've seen over the last 10 months.

    "I see hope in this growing determination to build better in the future, to come back and say we don't want to live in a country where there's inequalities in health, where there's inequalities and injustices – we are going to do things that work better for all of us.

    "I think there are many signs of hope that these deaths were not in vain and will lead to a better country."

  • Chris Bradford


    Robert Jenrick said the Prime Minister would set out a "road map" out of the lockdown, with reopening schools a priority.

    The Communities Secretary said: "You'll have to wait for the Prime Minister to announce that – he has said that he wants to set out in the coming days and weeks a road map out of the present lockdown to give people greater confidence and certainty."

    He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that "education will continue to be our priority".

    He said: "Throughout the pandemic we've done everything we can to keep schools open, I continue to think that was the right call."

    A return to tiered arrangements would help address the variation in cases across the country as "it's sensible that we target restrictions on those places where the virus is most prevalent".

  • Chris Bradford


    Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid pay emotional tribute to coronavirus victims on Good Morning Britain


  • Chris Bradford


    Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick defended the Government's handling of the pandemic despite the grim death toll.

    He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the Government had sought to do "all we possibly could to shield people and to help the country through this period".

    Asked whether some of the deaths were avoidable, Mr Jenrick said: "I'm sure that we could or would have done some things differently with the benefit of hindsight, almost certainly.

    "But there wasn't a textbook. I was in many of those meetings with the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary and members of the Cabinet and I can give you this assurance, that on each occasion they took the best possible scientific and medical advice, they took their responsibilities extremely seriously.

    "We tried to marshal all the resources of the country, the magnificent effort of the NHS, those working in social care, local councils – which are my responsibility – the armed forces and, of course, British science and ingenuity which has come to the rescue so incredibly in the last few weeks and months with the vaccine programme."

  • Chris Bradford


    Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick admitted that "when we look back" on the coronavirus pandemic he is "sure" there are "lessons to be learned" – adding he regrets the early restrictions on people attending funerals.

    He told BBC Breakfast: "What I can assure you, because I've been in those meetings with the Prime Minister, is that he's always taken great pains to listen to scientific opinion, all sides of the debate."

    Mr Jenrick added: "I think one of the things that most affected me were the restrictions on people being able to go to funerals very early on in the pandemic.

    "It was partly the responsibility of my department and we acted to change that so we can show greater care and compassion to people who are bereaved, we have to learn lessons, both within the response, and afterwards."

    He added he is "proud" of how the Government has "looked after the most vulnerable in society like the homeless and the shielded".

  • Chris Bradford


    Brits overwhelmingly back using smart phone technology to track people breaching quarantine, according to a new poll.

    Two thirds of the public (64 per cent) think the Government should use smart devices to check up on people who are supposed to be self-isolating at home or in a hotel.

    The survey of over 2000 adults by pollsters JL Partners comes as ministers are set to unveil a new quarantine policy, which will see arrivals into the UK pay to stay in special isolation hotels for ten days.

    Ministers have also been mulling over systems to encourage people who are self-isolating.

    Smartphone tracking is used in Poland, which makes users take a selfie at the address where they are supposed to be self-isolating.

    Read our exclusive report HERE.

  • Chris Bradford


    Piers Morgan furiously lashed out at "dithering" Boris Johnson over the Covid pandemic after the Prime Minister insisted he'd done "everything he could".

    The 55-year-old star slammed the politician's comments as he kicked off Good Morning Britain, insisting that he "needs to admit" that he handled things badly.

    The host's epic rant was triggered after it was announced yesterday that the UK's coronavirus death toll had passed 100,000.

    Piers told viewers: "What a grim milestone, this is just the official figure – this is just the one the government is prepared to admit to – the actual number of excess deaths connected to Covid are significantly higher.

    "Boris Johnson is 'really sorry' that 100,000 people have died – worst death toll in the world over the seven day average and fifth highest in the world, bearing in mind the countries ahead of us are massively bigger."

    He added: "It's shameful, and the PM is 'really sorry', he bowed his head and said all the right things and empathy is fine, but what is he sorry for? Is he sorry for any of the actions he did? Because judging by what he said, no he's not."

  • Chris Bradford


    Priti Patel will set out further steps to the Commons today to ensure there is "less flow of individuals" into England to control new strains of coronavirus, Housing secretary Robert Jenrick confirmed.

    He told Sky News: "The Prime Minister has said we do want to go further and the Home Secretary will be making a statement in Parliament later today about further steps we are going to take in this country to ensure that there is less flow of individuals in."

  • Chris Bradford


    Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said a "litany of errors" by the Government led to the UK reaching 100,000 coronavirus deaths, adding he would support a "national memorial" for the "shattered families left behind".

    Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said: "I'm sorry to say it, I really am, but I just don't believe that the Government did do everything we could."

    Mr Ashworth accepted "this is a completely difficult, extraordinary situation" but added "other countries are not dealing with these huge levels of deaths that we are" and that a lack of financial support has meant people are not able to quarantine when they have coronavirus.

    He blamed the Prime Minister for being too lenient with coronavirus measures, adding: "He likes to deliver good news, he doesn't like to disappoint people… but the reality is that a lot of the time you should just be straight with people."

  • Chris Bradford


    Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said there will always be the possibility of new Covid-19 variants in the UK despite stricter measures at the border.

    He told Times Radio: "We're not a country which you can hermetically seal, we may be an island but we rely on imports and exports, freight and hauliers crossing the border every day so there will always be the ability for new variants to enter the country.

    "And although we don't know what the origins of the Kent variant, the so-called Kent variant are, we're also capable of creating our own variants in this country so you can't shield yourself entirely from these situations but we have had strict measures at the border and we're going to have even stricter measures very soon."

    Asked why the Government was not implementing a blanket policy at the border, Mr Jenrick said: "We will need to continue having the flow of goods across the border, we can't cut ourselves off from the rest of the world but people should not be travelling to go on holiday, they shouldn't be travelling on business travel unless it is of the absolutely most essential nature.

    "The sorts of key reasons why people should be crossing the border should be very rare health emergencies, for diplomatic travel, for health or government, the vast, vast majority of the country should not be making trips overseas.

    "I think people understand that but if the rules need to be clarified, confirmed and stepped up then we will be doing that and the Home Secretary will make a statement later."

  • Abe Hawken


    The disadvantage gap among secondary school pupils had become wider even before the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report.

    The Northern Powerhouse Partnership compared numbers of secondary schools with a high level of long-term disadvantaged high impact pupils between 2017 and 2019, as well as analysing attainment at GCSE level.

    The coalition of business and city leaders said “bold, swift action” is now needed from the Government.

    The analysis covers 3,199 secondary schools across England, though some may have had cohort sizes too small to be included in every calculated variable.

    It found that 537 schools had at least 10% of their cohort in the long term disadvantaged high impact group at the end of the 2018/19 academic year, an increase of 74 schools (or 16%) since the previous year when 463 schools were included in the analysis group.

  • Abe Hawken


    The UK could see another 50,000 deaths from coronavirus, a scientist advising the Government has warned, as the Prime Minister said he was “deeply sorry” for every life lost.

    Boris Johnson insisted he takes “full responsibility” for the response to the pandemic and said “we did everything we could” to minimise suffering as the Government’s figure for coronavirus deaths passed 100,000. Separate data published by statistics agencies places the toll at 115,000.

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the milestone was a “national tragedy” and accused the Government of being “behind the curve at every stage” in its response to the pandemic, ahead of grilling Mr Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

  • Abe Hawken


    The British public have been praised for adapting to life in a pandemic, showing “heroic” levels of compliance with strict lockdown measures over the last few months.

    Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) which advises the Government, said that “covidiots” breaking rules and partying have very much been in the minority.

    He said he has been struck by the “ongoing resilience” of the public and described stories of people’s everyday adherence to the rules as “moving” and “inspiring”.

  • Hana Carter


    There is still no decision yet made over when physical classrooms will be able to reopen, as fears have started to grow that schools won't be reopened any time soon in another blow to parents.

    Whitehall insiders had previously insisted schools will be “the first” thing to get back to normal when lockdown is eased – with one option to reopen schools for primary kids first as it is harder for them to work from home using Zoom.

    Boris Johnson said yesterday he hopes to be able to relax some lockdown restrictions in three weeks as ministers mull over reopening schools.

  • Hana Carter


    A recently-qualified teacher died with Covid-19 on her 25th birthday.

    Claudia Marsh was described as a "beautiful soul" and her devastated family and friends called the tragedy "unexpected and sudden".

    Leigh Best, family friend and founder of Teds which helped Ms Marsh when she had an eating disorder, told the PA news agency: "She had collapsed and was rushed to hospital, and then she deteriorated very quickly, so it was very sudden and unexpected.

    Well wishers have donated £15,000 in her memory for charity.

  • Hana Carter


    There is a "real danger" schools could remain closed until the summer over a "lack of planning", the Children's Commissioner has warned.

    Anne Longfield said ministers now need to "think creatively" about how to get youngsters back in class and must "make something happen" soon.

    School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said parents would be given two weeks' notice over the reopening of schools.

    However, in a new policy briefing, Ms Longfield warned: "Everyone recognises the necessity of reopening schools as soon as possible, but hope alone will not make it happen.

    "What is lacking is a clear roadmap towards this. There is a real danger that schools will remain closed until Easter at the earliest, or even into the summer."

    She then added: "Not because the virus makes this inevitable, but because of a lack of planning."

  • Hana Carter


    Priti Patel is expected to announce tougher measures tomorrow.

    Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, the Home Secretary said the Government "will not hesitate" to toughen up border control to protect the UK from new strains.

    This came as the vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said this morning there would be an announcement on quarantine arrangements.

    He told Sky News: "There will be an announcement on this issue later on today.

    "It is the right thing to do that as we vaccinate more of the adult population, and if more of those variants such as those from South African and Brazil, we need to be very careful and we need to act on those quickly."

  • Hana Carter


  • Hana Carter


    Boris Johnson apologised today for the staggering death toll the country reached today.

    He said the huge death toll "exhausts the thesaurus of misery" and represents "an appalling and tragic loss of life".

    The PM announced: "I'm sorry to have to tell you that today the number of deaths recorded from Covid in the UK has surpassed 100,000.

    "It's hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic – the years of life lost, the family gatherings not attended, and for so many relatives the missed chance even to say goodbye."

  • Jon Lockett


    Rafael Nadal says players preparing for the Australian Open under restrictions "can't complain" and has stressed the importance of a "wider perspective" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Players who arrived in Australia earlier this month ahead of the tournament have been undergoing a strict quarantine process which means they can only leave their hotel rooms for several hours a day to practice.

    And 72 are having to spend 14 days confined to rooms in Melbourne following positive Covid-19 cases on flights that had taken them to the country.

    World number two Nadal told CNN: "Of course it is a different situation than usual, but at least we're here. We're going to have the chance to play here, and the world is suffering in general. So we can't complain. "


  • Hana Carter


    Travellers are likely to be taken by bus along with the other passengers on the plane to the hotel, where they will remain until they stay out their quarantine.

    Chief executive of Best Western hotels group Rob Paterson said that hotels would see guests confined to their rooms, with no visitors and with three meals delivered every day to the doors.

    He said: "From the hotels' perspective, we would have to treat each of these customers as Covid-positive, so we would have to have strong infection control and protocols around security in the hotel to ensure we can deliver safely.

    "We deliver three meals per day to the door which the occupant comes out and collects those meals and then cleaning is clean sheets and towels waiting outside the room for the person to safely dispose of their previous sheets and change their own to keep the safety and infection protocols high."

  • Hana Carter


    Arrivals to the UK could be forced to quarantine at a hotel for 14 days.

    The hotels would require all passengers to isolate at a designated hotel at their own cost, expected to be as much as £1,600 per person.

    Australia and New Zealand already have hotel quarantine restrictions in place, with travellers forced to isolate for two weeks before being allowed to leave.

    Images of the food served to 'guests' have been shared, leaving Brits not feeling too confident over their potential stays.

  • Hana Carter


  • Hana Carter


    The sombre Downing Street press conference today gave the following information:

    • The UK death toll has passed 100,000, according to government figures.
    • The Prime Minister said that he was "deeply sorry for every life that has been lost."
    • He said that he is "full of responsibility" for what has been done
    • The EU warns it will tighten exports of vaccines produced in in the bloc, amid a row with AstraZeneca over a cut in planned supplies

    Source: Read Full Article