Boris Johnson says all travel testing will be scrapped for vaccinated UK arrivals
A major trust has warned of a decline in Covid booster jab demand and said that the rates of young having the third injection have dropped.
Leeds Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust said that the decline in uptake may be due to messages about the “less serious” nature of Omicron.
It comes as the number of deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales has climbed to its highest level for 10 months.
A total of 1,382 deaths registered in the week ending January 14 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is up 50% on the previous seven days and is the highest number since 1,501 deaths were registered in the week to March 12 2021.
Meanwhile, experts at Israel’s health ministry have recommended a fourth vaccine dose for all adults who received their first booster at least five months ago.
The recommendation, which will expand Israel’s limited fourth vaccine rollout for Israelis above 60 and at-risk adults, still awaits approval.
Students to continue wearing face coverings in school until at least February half-term
Students will continue to wear face coverings at schools in Wales until at least the February half-term, the Welsh Government has announced.
If Covid-19 transmission rates continue to remain low then after the half-term break schools and councils will decide locally what measures will remain in place.
The proposed changes have been made as Wales completes the move to alert level zero from Friday.
Education minister Jeremy Miles said a final decision would be announced at the next review of the regulations, which is due to take place on February 10.
In England, schools are scrapping restrictions in the classroom, including a need to wear masks.
Mr Miles, who was speaking at a Welsh Government briefing, said this summer’s exams would also go ahead as planned.
“The wearing of face coverings in schools has been an important contribution to being able to ensure that we make sure schools remain safe places to learn and that we limit transmission of Covid-19 in schools,” he said.
Joe Middleton25 January 2022 14:08
Boris Johnson will ‘cooperate fully’ with police investigation into parties, says No 10
Boris Johnson will “fully co-operate” with any requests from the Metropolitan Police inquiry into alleged Downing Street parties, including by being interviewed by officers or handing over documents, No 10 has said.
Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said he “welcomed” the Met police investigation, and claimed it would help to “draw a line” under the issue.
He said: “I welcome the Met’s decision to conduct its own investigation, because I believe this will help to give the public the clarity it needs and help to draw a line under matters.”
Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has the latest.
Joe Middleton25 January 2022 13:53
Pfizer and BioNTech launch clinical trial of Omicron-targeted Covid-19 vaccine
Pfizer and BioNTech said today that they have started a clinical trial to test a new version of their vaccine specifically designed to target the Covid-19 Omicron variant.
The companies plan to test the immune response generated by the Omicron-based vaccine both as a three-shot regimen in unvaccinated people and as a booster shot for people who already received two doses of their original vaccine.
They are also testing a fourth dose of the current vaccine against a fourth dose of the Omicron-based vaccine in people who received their third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine three to six months earlier.
The companies plan to study the safety and tolerability of the shots in the more than 1,400 people who will be enrolled in the trial.
“While current research and real-world data show that boosters continue to provide a high level of protection against severe disease and hospitalisation with Omicron, we recognise the need to be prepared in the event this protection wanes over time and to potentially help address Omicron and new variants in the future,” Pfizer’s head of vaccine research and development, Kathrin Jansen, said in a statement.
Joe Middleton25 January 2022 13:32
Cressida Dick confirms ‘Met is now investigating’ Downing Street partygate allegations
Joe Middleton25 January 2022 13:13
Most parents say pandemic had negative impact on child’s behaviour and well-being, new survey suggests
Most parents of young children feel the pandemic has had a negative impact on their child’s wellbeing and behaviour, a survey has suggested.
Public Health Scotland has released the results of the third round of its Covid-19 Early Years Resilience and Impact Survey (Ceyris), which monitors the impact of the pandemic on children.
A total of 5,895 responses were received from people who were parents or carers for children aged from 0 to 11, though the open nature of the survey meant participants were not representative of the overall population.
For 59% of children aged between three and 11, parents or carers reported the pandemic had negatively impacted their behaviour. This rose to 67% for families on low incomes.
Meanwhile, 47% reported that the pandemic had a negative impact on their levels of physical activity, while 22% said it had a positive impact.
In the same age group, 76% said the pandemic had a negative impact on how much time their child spent with friends.
Public Health Scotland said: “Overall, the findings suggest that for a substantial proportion of children in our sample, parents and carers perceive the pandemic to have had a negative impact on child and family health, wellbeing and development.
“The impacts generally appear to be felt to a greater extent in families from low income households, who may have already been struggling before the pandemic.”
Joe Middleton25 January 2022 13:03
Concern over ‘substantial and consistent’ decline in demand for Covid vaccines
A major trust has warned it has seen a “substantial and consistent” decline in booster vaccination demand as daily jab levels decline.
Demand for booster vaccines has taken a hit following Christmas and New Year Holiday as rates in younger people having a booster have dropped.
Leeds Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust warned about the decline in board papers this week noting the decline may be linked to messages about the “less serious” nature of Omicron.
Our health correspondent Rebecca Thomas has the details.
Joe Middleton25 January 2022 12:42
Covid outbreak on crucial Australian aid ship bound for tsunami-battered Tonga
At least 23 crew members onboard a crucial Australian aid ship which was bound to Tsunami-battered Tonga have tested positive for Covid-19.
The Covid outbreak on the HMAS Adelaide has raised fears of outbreak of coronavirus to already marooned Tonga island that has so far managed to avoid any outbreaks, writes Shweta Sharma.
The Australian military ship left from Bribane on Friday to deliver the Australian government-promised relief material to Tonga after the South Pacific island nation was hit by tsunami following a devastating underwater volcanic eruption about two weeks ago.
Joe Middleton25 January 2022 12:25
Denmark to announce removal of all Covid curbs – Jyllands-Posten
Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is expected to announce the removal of all Covid-19 restrictions by the end of this month, daily Jyllands-Posten reported on Tuesday citing several sources.
The country relaxed restrictions two weeks ago after a month-long lockdown, allowing cinemas and music venues to reopen, but some rules remain, including limited opening hours for restaurants and mandatory face masks.
JP reported that the shift is based on recommendations from an expert panel that also recommends removing the classification of Covid-19 as a disease that is a critical threat to society, which has allowed the current restrictions.
The newspaper said prime minister Mette Frederiksen was due to give a media briefing on Wednesday evening to make the announcement. Her office declined to comment on the report.
The Nordic country registered 40,348 new cases on Monday, down from a peak of 47,831 on Friday. The number of coronavirus-related hospitalisations rose to 894, the highest in a year.
Stuti Mishra25 January 2022 12:10
Weekly deaths in England and Wales hit 10-month high
The number of Covid-19 deaths registered each week in England and Wales has climbed to its highest level for 10 months.
A total of 1,382 deaths registered in the week ending 14 January mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is up 50 per cent on the previous seven days and is the highest number since 1,501 deaths were registered in the week to 12 March 2021.
Read the full story here:
Stuti Mishra25 January 2022 11:50
PM’s tweet praising girl who cancelled birthday party resurfaces after claims of No 10 bash
A Boris Johnson tweet praising a seven-year-old girl for cancelling her birthday party during the first lockdown has resurfaced, following claims the prime minister celebrated his 56th birthday with an illegal gathering just weeks later.
The girl wrote to Mr Johnson, saying: “I think mummy and daddy might have to cancel my party but I don’t mind because I want everybody to be OK”.
The PM replied on twitter: “We have all got to do our bit to protect the NHS and save lives, and that is exactly what you are doing, so well done!”
Mr Johnson is alleged to have been given a birthday cake during the gathering of a group of around 30 people in the Cabinet Room on the afternoon of 19 June. Indoor gatherings were banned in England at the time, meaning that such an event would have breached the government’s own coronavirus restrictions.
Rory Sullivan has the full story below.
Stuti Mishra25 January 2022 11:30