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UK coronavirus LIVE: Covid vaccines ‘likely to cut transmission’ as India travel ban begins

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ovid-19 vaccines are likely to be reducing the spread of the disease in the UK, experts have said, raising hopes that the pandemic can be brought under control without the need for further lockdowns.

Just one dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccines leads to a two-thirds drop in coronavirus cases and is 74 per cent effective against symptomatic infection.

It comes as India was added to the UK travel “red list” at 4am on Friday in response to mounting concern about the number of cases there and the emergence of a new variant.

Britons returning from the country will be forced to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.

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Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have revealed they have been given the coronavirus jab.

A picture shared on the pair’s joint Instagram account showed McPartlin, 45, being injected with the vaccine.

Donnelly, 45, was also shown wearing a sticker indicating he had been given the jab.

A post on their account said: “We’re jabbin’ #vaccinated.”

People aged over 45 were offered jabs earlier this month.

The latest series of ITV’s Ant And Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway finished earlier this month.

Famous faces including naturalist Sir David Attenborough, actor Sir Ian McKellen and Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith have previously shared their experiences of getting vaccinated.

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No blood clots found among more than 2,000 participants in AstraZeneca vaccine trial in Chile

Dr Maria Elena Santolaya, from the University of Chile that led the trial, said the vaccine was safe.

She also said the vaccine was found to be 76% effective against symptomatic coronavirus 15 days after the second dose was administered, 100% effective against serious or critical COVID-19, and 85% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 among people over 65 years old.

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UK plans support for India as Covid-striken nation added to travel red list

The UK is looking at sending drugs and equipment to India as the country struggles to contain a growing wave of coronavirus cases.

India was added to the UK’s travel red list at 4am on Friday, meaning arrivals from the country must now enter quarantine in a Government-approved hotel for 10 days.

Anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident or a British citizen will be banned from entering the country if they have been in India in the previous 10 days.

On Thursday, India reported more than 314,000 new infections – the worst daily sum of the pandemic anywhere in the world.

The Prime Minister was forced to cancel a trip to India on Monday as the country struggles to cope with a dramatic surge in cases.

Understaffed hospitals there are struggling with the number of patients and there are concerns about the supply of oxygen.

Speaking during a visit to Hartlepool on Friday, Boris Johnson said: “We’re looking at what we can do to help and support the people of India, possibly with ventilators.”

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Dominic Cummings says he will ‘cooperate fully’ with inquiry into Covid crisis

Boris Johnson’s ex-aide Dominic Cummings said he is ready to “cooperate fully” with any inquiry into the Government’s conduct during the coronavirus crisis.

The controversial former adviser, who left his post at the heart of Government late last year, said he is “happy” to give evidence under oath and for No 10 to publish emails he sent and received.

In a blog post responding to suggestions about being involved in leaks to the media, he said the “proper way” for such issues to be dealt with is through an “urgent Parliamentary inquiry”.

He said he has already offered to hand over private texts “because of the seriousness of the claims being made officially by No 10 today”.

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N Ireland reports 1 death from Covid-19

There has been one further death of a patient who previously tested positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

Another 88 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24-hour reporting period.

On Friday morning, there were 64 confirmed Covid-19 inpatients in hospital, seven of whom were in ICU.

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Turkey lifts flight restrictions

Turkey has boosted the prospect of UK holidaymakers being able to visit this summer by lifting flight restrictions.

The popular tourist destination announced it has ended its ban on direct flights from the UK.

Authorities also confirmed they will not require international tourists to have received a coronavirus vaccine but they will need to show evidence of a recent negative PCR test.

British nationals made more than 2.5 million visits to Turkey in 2019, according to Government figures.

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Popular areas include Istanbul, Bodrum, Dalaman and Izmir.

Turkey is offering an insurance package costing from 15 euros (£12) to international visitors this summer, covering coronavirus-related expenses such as treatment, medication and emergency care costs if they are taken to hospital during their stay.

It also covers additional accommodation costs if someone is told to quarantine in their hotel.

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Mask wearing to be ditched in Summer - scientists say

The public should be able to ditch face masks over the summer as vaccines do the heavy lifting in controlling Covid-19, Government scientific advisers believe.

Step four of the Government’s road map for England currently states that all legal limits on social contact will be removed by June 21 at the earliest, when restrictions on large events such as festivals are also expected to ease.

Scientists advising the Government say there is nothing currently in the data to suggest that people will not be able to enjoy a relatively normal summer, though coronavirus cases may well rise as the autumn approaches.

Asked about mask-wearing in the coming months, one source said that vaccines are working so well, and there is such good vaccine uptake among members of the public, that things will return to much more like normal life over the summer months, with cases dropping very low in May.

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UK ‘no longer facing Covid pandemic'

The United Kingdom’s coronavirus pandemic is over for now but there is no guarantee the situation will not worsen again, according to Wales’ First Minister.

Mark Drakeford said he agreed with reported comments from the Covid Infection Survey’s chief investigator, who said the UK had moved to an “endemic” situation thanks to the success of the vaccination programme.

Asked if he agreed the pandemic was over at the Welsh Government’s press briefing on Friday, Mr Drakeford said: “By its definition we’re no longer at this moment in a pandemic.

“I continue, as I feel I must, just sound a warning sign that this is not a one-way street. The fact that things aren’t getting better does not mean that it inevitably goes on getting better.

“We’ve just seen in recent weeks how fast things went from being in a good position to a very difficult position in France, in Italy, in Germany.

“Of course we are working very hard to make sure that the current progress is not reversed in Wales.

“But there’s no guarantee that unless we carry on doing things carefully, cautiously, step by step, and with the help of the whole Welsh population, that that is bound to be the position.”

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London continues to lag behind Midlands in vaccine rollout

NHS England data shows a total of 4,663,807 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and April 22, including 3,467,368 first doses and 1,196,439 second doses.

This compares with 5,414,712 first doses and 1,755,771 second doses given to people in the Midlands, a total of 7,170,483.

The breakdown for the other regions is:

– East of England: 3,338,442 first doses and 1,177,452 second doses, making 4,515,894 in total – North East and Yorkshire: 4,431,426 first and 1,581,490 second doses (6,012,916) – North West: 3,555,687 first and 1,324,477 second doses (4,880,164) – South East: 4,569,505 first and 1,535,334 second doses (6,104,839) – South West: 3,058,274 first and 1,088,516 second doses (4,146,790)

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Three times more second doses than first doses in one day

A total of 37,687,736 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and April 22, according to NHS England data, including first and second doses, which is a rise of 449,663 on the previous day.

NHS England said 27,995,196 were the first dose of a vaccine, a rise of 103,988 on the previous day, while 9,692,540 were a second dose, an increase of 345,675.

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