Home Science Covid-19 information: UK evaluations vaccine passports for journey and pubs

Covid-19 information: UK evaluations vaccine passports for journey and pubs

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Newest coronavirus information as of 5pm on 23 February

Assessment into “vaccine passports” launched in UK

The UK authorities has begun a overview of whether or not to introduce certificates exhibiting somebody has had a covid-19 vaccine. So-called vaccine passports could possibly be used for worldwide journey and for permitting individuals to enter locations like theatres or pubs, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated immediately. 

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“There are deep and complicated points that we have to discover, about what the position is for presidency in mandating individuals to have such a factor or, certainly, banning individuals from doing such a factor,” Johnson stated. “We are able to’t be discriminatory in opposition to individuals who, for no matter motive, can’t have the vaccine.” Led by cupboard workplace minister Michael Gove, the overview’s findings are due earlier than England’s fourth stage of lockdown easing, on 21 June.

Iceland has stated they’ll, in future, let individuals with a certificates of covid-19 vaccination enter with out quarantining or taking a coronavirus check, and Greece, whose economic system relies on tourism, can be pushing the European Union to press forward with organising vaccine passports for this summer time. 

Throughout the UK, some corporations have stated they plan to insist on new workers having been vaccinated. However there are nonetheless many unknowns concerning the results of vaccination, together with how a lot it cuts transmission, and the way lengthy immunity lasts for. 

Vaccine passports “are possible, however not all of the items are in place but,” says Melinda Mills on the College of Oxford, co-author of a Royal Society report that units out 12 standards that must be happy earlier than they can be utilized.

Different coronavirus information

Japan had barely fewer deaths in 2020 than the earlier yr, the primary time the annual loss of life toll has fallen in 11 years. It was down by 0.7 per cent, based on preliminary data from the Japanese Ministry of Well being, Labour and Welfare. The autumn was most likely on account of a pointy decline in influenza instances because of an infection management measures in opposition to covid-19, comparable to sporting face masks and handwashing. Japan has recorded solely 7529 deaths from the coronavirus up to now. In England, no instances of flu have been detected within the first seven weeks of 2021, based on Public Health England.

Scotland’s roadmap for exiting lockdown was announced today. From the 15 March, all main and extra secondary pupils will return to high school, and 4 individuals from two households might be allowed to fulfill outdoors. Within the final week of April, non-essential outlets, bars, eating places, gyms and hairdressers can reopen. The plan is much like timings in England, the place all pupils might be allowed again to varsities on 8 March, two households or as much as six individuals can meet outdoors from 29 March, and non-essential outlets will reopen no sooner than 12 April.

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Mutation test can quickly reveal which coronavirus variant you have: The check might additionally dramatically enhance surveillance efforts around the globe, boosting the possibilities of containing new variants earlier than they unfold extensively.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.47 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 111.8 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

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The New York Times is monitoring hospital mattress occupancy in England in an interactive graphic.

Panorama: The Race for a Vaccine is a BBC documentary concerning the inside story of the event of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in opposition to covid-19.

Race Against the Virus: Hunt for a Vaccine is a Channel 4 documentary which tells the story of the coronavirus pandemic via the eyes of the scientists on the frontline.

The New York Times is assessing the progress of various vaccine candidates and potential drug remedies for covid-19, and rating them for effectiveness and security.

Humans of COVID-19 is a venture highlighting the experiences of key employees on the frontline within the combat in opposition to coronavirus within the UK, via social media.

Belly Mujinga: Searching for the Truth is a BBC Panorama investigation of the loss of life of transport employee Stomach Mujinga from covid-19, following studies she had been coughed and spat on by a buyer at London’s Victoria Station.

Coronavirus, Explained on Netflix is a brief documentary collection analyzing the on-going coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to combat it and methods to handle its psychological well being toll.

New Scientist Weekly options updates and evaluation on the newest developments within the covid-19 pandemic. Our podcast sees skilled journalists from the journal talk about the largest science tales to hit the headlines every week – from know-how and area, to well being and the atmosphere.

COVID-19: The Pandemic that Never Should Have Happened, and How to Stop the Next One by Debora Mackenzie is about how the pandemic occurred and why it’s going to occur once more if we don’t do issues in a different way in future.

The Rules of Contagion is concerning the new science of contagion and the stunning methods it shapes our lives and behavior. The creator, Adam Kucharski, is an epidemiologist on the London Faculty of Hygiene and Tropical Drugs, UK, and within the e-book he examines how illnesses unfold and why they cease.

Earlier updates

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Lila Blanks holds the casket of her husband, Gregory Blanks, 50, who died of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19), forward of his funeral in San Felipe, Texas.

REUTERS/Callaghan O’Hare

22 February

Official US loss of life toll passes 500,000 and true determine could possibly be 720,000

The official loss of life toll from covid-19 within the US has handed the five hundred,000 mark. Nonetheless, there is substantial undercounting and the true loss of life toll could possibly be round 720,000, Andrew Stokes at Boston College in Massachusetts advised New Scientist

The US loss of life toll is the highest of any nation on the planet. “It’s horrible. It’s historic. We haven’t seen something even near this for effectively over 100 years, because the 1918 pandemic of influenza,” the US president’s chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci told NBC. Brazil is second with practically 250,000 deaths, adopted by Mexico with 180,000, India with 156,000 and the UK with 121,000. Per capita, the UK also has the fourth highest covid-19 death rate on the planet.

Case numbers within the US at the moment are declining quick. Nonetheless, the extra transmissible B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the UK is now spreading, and there are fears it might result in yet one more wave of infections.

Different coronavirus information

Faculties in England will reopen on 8 March within the first of a collection of steps in the direction of easing a lockdown imposed on 5 January. From 29 March outside sports activities and outside conferences of as much as six individuals, or two households, are on account of be allowed. If all goes to plan, all limits on social contact might finish by 21 June. The UK’s chief scientific advisor Patrick Vallance stated the easing ought to proceed slowly to keep away from the chance of a resurgence. “We’re not beginning all this as of immediately from a very good place. We’re not now in a type of ‘let’s launch all the things’ [position]. We’re in a not superb place that’s getting higher,” he stated at a press briefing immediately. 

Whereas vaccines are anticipated to make a giant distinction on curbing instances, Vallance stated it was vital to keep in mind that as restrictions are relaxed, many individuals would nonetheless be unprotected. He identified that not the entire inhabitants might be vaccinated, and the vaccines don’t supply a 100 per cent safety in opposition to an infection.

Vallance stated it was vital to drive instances down low and area out relaxations so the impact could possibly be monitored. “The message that comes out of all of the modelling is: begin from a low baseline, so attempt to get numbers down earlier than you begin releasing. Go slowly. Go in blocks [of relaxation] you could measure the impact of after 4 or 5 weeks,” he stated. 

Even a single vaccine dose drastically reduces the chance of being hospitalised with covid-19, based on a preliminary study done in Scotland. By the fifth week after receiving their first dose, those that had obtained the Oxford/AstraZeneac jab had lowered their danger of hospitalisation by as much as 94 per cent, and those that obtained the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by as much as 85 per cent, the examine estimates.

A second “actual world” study by Public Health England exhibits that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine prevented 70 per cent of asymptomatic and symptomatic infections in well being employees in England underneath 65, simply 14 days after vaccination.

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Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.47 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 111.5 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

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Geoff Holland, 90, and Jenny Holland, 86, obtain their injections of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a former Wickes retailer in Mansfield, UK.

Joe Giddens/Pool by way of REUTERS

19 February

95 per cent of individuals over 70 in Nice Britain have had a vaccine dose

In Nice Britain, 95 per cent of individuals aged over 70 have had a minimum of one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, based on a survey of 6000 people by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Many of the the rest have been supplied a vaccine and are ready to obtain it. Lower than 1 per cent of individuals aged over 70 years stated they declined the supply of a vaccine. General, 91 per cent of all adults surveyed stated that they had both been vaccinated already or would get vaccinated when supplied it. These numbers are higher than anticipated. For example, in a single UK survey carried out in December earlier than vaccination started, simply 72 per cent said they were willing to get vaccinated. Nonetheless, the ONS survey didn’t embody adults dwelling in care properties or different institutions, and due to small pattern sizes, the ONS says the share of individuals saying they’ve declined vaccination needs to be handled with warning.

Different coronavirus new

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doesn’t must be stored ultracold as was beforehand thought when the vaccine was authorised to be used. The businesses say it’s secure at between -25ºC and -15ºC, and have requested regulators to change the terms on which it was approved. New Scientist reported in November that different mRNA vaccines utilizing the identical know-how have been secure at fridge temperatures, and that the same should be true of the Pfizer vaccine.

Japan has reported 91 instances of individuals contaminated with a new coronavirus variant called B.1.1.316. It has the E484K mutation additionally discovered within the South African and Brazilian variants, which permits the virus to partially evade immunity from previous an infection or vaccination. Nonetheless, Japan has had decrease ranges of an infection than South Africa or Brazil, and simply 7000 deaths.

Brazil is vaccinating an entire town as an experiment to see what impact it has on coronavirus transmission. Your entire grownup inhabitants of Serrana within the state of São Paulo, estimated to be 30,000, might be supplied the CoronaVac vaccine made by China-based firm Sinovac.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.44 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 110.4 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

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A lady walks by a digital memorial to MTA employees referred to as “Travels Far: A Memorial Honoring Our Colleagues Misplaced To Covid-19” within the subway station at Union Sq. in New York Metropolis.

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18 February

Life expectancy fell by one yr in 2020, helped by the coronavirus

Life expectancy within the US fell by one yr on common within the first half of 2020, based on figures from the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. The covid-19 pandemic is more likely to be a big contributor, experts told CNN. US life expectancy is now the bottom it has been since 2006. “Covid is on observe to trigger extra deaths than most cancers or coronary heart illness,” Eileen Crimmins on the College of Southern California advised CNN.

The autumn was seen throughout ethnic teams however was most pronounced in minorities. Black People misplaced 2.7 years off their life expectancy, and Hispanics misplaced 1.9 years, whereas white People misplaced 0.8 years. Life expectancy disparities between Black and white individuals within the US had been shrinking lately however the pandemic has reversed a few of that progress. Over the previous 40 years, life expectancy had been regularly rising within the US, aside from between 2014 and 2017, when it fell by one third of a yr. This has been attributed to the epidemic of opioid misuse within the nation, in addition to stagnating decline in deaths from coronary heart illness.

Different coronavirus information

New coronavirus infections in England fell by two-thirds between mid-January and the primary two weeks of February. The autumn exhibits “lockdown measures are successfully bringing infections down”, stated Paul Elliott at Imperial Faculty London in a press release. The figures come from one of many largest and most authoritative surveys of infections referred to as REACT. At the moment about one in 200 persons are contaminated in England, the same stage to September. The nationwide R quantity – the common variety of individuals one individual will infect – is estimated to be between 0.69 and 0.76, that means that infections are falling. The findings are primarily based on greater than 85,000 swab exams from randomly chosen individuals. Whereas all areas of England confirmed declining infections, they fell most steeply in London, the South East and West Midlands, and fewer steeply within the North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber. This could possibly be linked to harder lockdown guidelines being launched earlier in London and the South East, the BBC reported.

Greece has agreed to a trial of permitting vacationers to enter the nation if they’ve been vaccinated in opposition to covid-19, as soon as flights resume. The preliminary trial might be with guests from Israel, which has given the coronavirus vaccine to a better proportion of its inhabitants than some other nation. Greece’s tourism minister, Haris Theoharis advised BBC Radio 4’s At present programme that the nation is in talks with British officers about how the same scheme would possibly work with the UK.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.41 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 110 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

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A coronavirus lateral circulation system exhibiting a constructive check outcome.

Thrive Photos/Alamy

17 February

UK authorities plans to ship 400,000 exams a day to properties and workplaces

Speedy coronavirus exams will begin being despatched out by submit subsequent month to permit twice-weekly testing of individuals with out covid-19 signs for as much as two-thirds of England’s inhabitants. The pregnancy-test-style lateral circulation assays, which search for viral proteins in a swab from the nostril or throat, produce outcomes inside half an hour, however they don’t seem to be as correct because the slower PCR exams utilized in labs and clinics. The lateral circulation exams are already getting used for screening individuals with out covid-19 signs in settings comparable to healthcare, care properties and in sure faculties and universities. The variety of these exams carried out has elevated massively up to now month. The newest deliberate enlargement would contain finishing up greater than 400,000 exams a day in properties and workplaces, based on documents seen by The Times. The roll-out would start earlier than faculties open up face-to-face educating – presently slated for 8 March in England – and the exams could be despatched to schoolchildren, their households and lecturers, in addition to anybody who can not work from home. It could be accompanied by a marketing campaign to encourage uptake provisionally referred to as “Are you prepared? Get testing. Go.”

Utilizing lateral circulation exams for mass screening is controversial, as a result of they’ve a higher false-negative rate than PCR exams. Proponents say lateral circulation exams discover people who find themselves most infectious. Critics say they miss people who find themselves nonetheless able to transmitting the virus and who’re then falsely reassured they’re freed from the virus, so could behave extra riskily. A spokesperson for the UK’s Division of Well being and Social Care stated their plans for increasing testing haven’t but been finalised.

Different coronavirus information

4 extra signs needs to be added to the record of indicators that folks want a coronavirus test, researchers say. The brand new signs are fatigue, headache, sore throat and diarrhoea. The present signs that point out the necessity for a check are cough, fever or lack of style or odor. The findings come from an evaluation of customers of an app referred to as the Zoe Covid Symptom Study, which tracks covid-19 signs and instances. Utilizing these further indicators as a set off for testing would result in many extra individuals being examined who don’t have the virus, however it might additionally decide up 40 per cent extra coronavirus instances, the researchers have calculated. 

The world’s first examine that may intentionally infect wholesome volunteers with the coronavirus will begin next month. Initially, 90 individuals aged 18-30 could have a small dose of the virus squirted up their nostril and can then be rigorously monitored to see how their immune system reacts and to search out the smallest dose wanted for a gentle an infection. In future the experimenters will examine how efficient vaccines are in opposition to present and novel variants of the virus, stated Chris Chiu at Imperial Faculty London.

South Africa will this week turn out to be the primary nation on the planet to start giving people the Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine. This one-shot jab is efficient at stopping extreme illness from the coronavirus variant prevalent in that nation.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.43 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 109.6 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

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A woman wearing a face mask stands on a balcony in a retirement home

A lady in a retirement dwelling appears out on the view from her balcony

Westend61/Getty Photos

16 February

Almost two million extra individuals might be added to England’s shielding record

About 1.7 million people in England might be advised to protect and take further precautions from covid-19 after they have been discovered to be at severe danger of illness or loss of life. They will even be prioritised for covid-19 vaccination. The addition will carry the entire quantity on the UK authorities’s shielding record to nearly 4 million, all of whom are being suggested to protect till 31 March. 

The individuals being added to the record have been recognized utilizing an algorithm to foretell whether or not an individual is vulnerable to extreme illness or loss of life from covid-19. The algorithm incorporates data on age, ethnicity, physique mass index, different well being circumstances and postcode (which is indicative of the extent of deprivation). “As we study extra about covid-19, we’re constantly reviewing the proof,” Jenny Harries, one among England’s deputy chief medical officers, advised a briefing on 16 February. “It was very clear that not all of these people who have been in danger have been recognized by the binary strategy,” she stated. Harries stated it will likely be as much as the people to resolve whether or not to comply with the shielding recommendation or not.

Different coronavirus information

An estimated one in 5 individuals in England had antibodies in opposition to the coronavirus within the 28 days as much as 1 February, suggesting that they had beforehand been contaminated or had obtained a covid-19 vaccine, based on the Office for National Statistics. In Wales and Northern Eire the equal estimate was one in 7 and for Scotland it was one in 9 individuals. Individuals have been examined for antibodies as a part of the COVID-19 An infection Survey within the UK. In England, individuals aged 80 and over have been more than likely to check constructive for antibodies with 40.9 per cent testing constructive, which might be as a result of excessive vaccination price on this group. “It could possibly be tempting to imagine that quantifying antibody ranges like this tells us the extent and distribution of immunity to covid-19 within the inhabitants, however we have no idea what parts of the immune system are required for immunity or how lengthy safety will final,” stated Simon Clarke on the College of Studying in a statement.

Early knowledge from vaccinations in Israel point out that the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine prevents 94 per cent of symptomatic coronavirus infections. The examine checked out 600,000 absolutely vaccinated individuals and the identical variety of unvaccinated individuals. It is a very related stage of effectiveness to that recorded in clinical trials of the vaccine. Israel’s well being fund, Clalit, used coronavirus check outcomes extracted from individuals’s well being information to match numbers of infections between those that had obtained two doses of the vaccine and those that hadn’t obtained any doses. There have been 94 per cent fewer infections amongst those that had been vaccinated. Almost half of Israel’s resident adult population have obtained a minimum of one dose of covid-19 vaccine up to now.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.41 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 109 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

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A laboratory technician handles vials in a laboratory

Genome sequencing of the coronavirus and its variants on the Centre Nationwide de Reference in France

CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP by way of Getty Photos

15 February

Coronavirus variants carrying related mutations detected within the US 

Seven coronavirus variants carrying similar mutations have been detected within the US. All of the variants, reported in a preliminary study, have gained a mutation on the identical location of their genome and seem to belong to the identical lineage as a virus first sequenced on 1 December, which subsequently turned extra widespread. “There’s clearly one thing occurring with this mutation,” Jeremy Kamil at Louisiana State College and co-author of the examine, told the New York Times. It isn’t clear if the mutation makes the variants extra transmissible, just like the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant first sequenced within the UK, however its location in a gene that influences how the virus enters human cells is regarding. “I feel there’s a transparent signature of an evolutionary profit,” stated Kamil. The preliminary examine was launched on a pre-print server and has not been peer-reviewed.

Different coronavirus information

UK well being minister Matt Hancock revealed that a third of social care workers in England haven’t had a covid-19 vaccine but, regardless of being among the many first precedence teams. “We’ll maintain providing and maintain contacting individuals who work in social care,” Hancock advised the BBC’s Breakfast present. “Clearly the uptake there is essential,” he stated. Individually, a preliminary examine discovered lower covid-19 vaccine uptake amongst Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers on the College Hospitals of Leicester NHS Belief in England. “These findings give important trigger for concern, as ethnic minority teams (particularly these working in healthcare) are at greater danger of an infection with [the coronavirus] and antagonistic end result from covid-19,” stated the report, which has not been peer-reviewed. Greater than 15 million people have obtained a dose of covid-19 vaccine within the UK up to now, in keeping with the government’s target of providing a primary dose of vaccine to 4 precedence teams by mid-February.

“We’ll do all the things we will” to reopen schools in England by 8 March, UK prime minister Boris Johnson has stated, including: “However we’ve acquired to maintain trying on the knowledge, we’ve acquired to maintain trying on the charges of an infection, don’t overlook they’re nonetheless very excessive.” The UK authorities is anticipated to set out plans for ending restrictions at a briefing on 22 February. Johnson stated the federal government’s plans might be “cautious however irreversible”.

The first travellers required to remain at quarantine hotels in England arrived at London’s Heathrow airport on 15 February. Individuals arriving within the UK from 33 “purple record” international locations at the moment are required to enter necessary lodge quarantine for 10 days on arrival, at their very own expense.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.4 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 108 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

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A lady receives the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid19 vaccine at an NHS vaccination middle in Ealing, west London

NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

12 February

Vaccinations of individuals underneath 70 start in England subsequent week

Vaccinators in England can now start giving covid-19 vaccines to individuals aged between 65 and 69, so long as they’ve already supplied jabs to older and clinically weak individuals within the prime precedence teams. “We’ve been advised by NHS England that, in distinctive circumstances, the place we’ve got reached different teams, we will transfer on to cohort 5 [people aged 65 to 69],” an nameless physician advised the Guardian. Throughout the UK, 14 million individuals had obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 12 February – equal to about 20 per cent of the entire inhabitants.

Infections fall throughout the UK

Coronavirus infections appear to be falling throughout the UK. The Office for National Statistics estimates that about one in 80 individuals in England had covid-19 within the week as much as 6 February, down from one in 65 individuals the earlier week. In Wales, Northern Eire and Scotland the equal figures for the latest week are roughly one in 85, one in 75 and one in 150 individuals respectively, all down from the earlier week’s figures. The newest official estimate of the R number – the common variety of individuals every individual with coronavirus infects – places it between 0.7 and 0.9  for the UK as an entire, indicating the nation’s epidemic is shrinking. 

Neil Ferguson at Imperial Faculty London, who advises the UK authorities as a part of the New and Rising Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, stated lockdowns have helped drive down instances. “They’re mainly halving about each 17 days in the meanwhile,” he told Politico’s Westminster Insider podcast. Ferguson stated it is likely to be doable to reopen a minimum of main faculties in a month’s time. “And if we proceed to see then a continued decline with out giant outbreaks, then maybe beginning to calm down different facets of society the next month,” he added. UK prime minister Boris Johnson has stated discussions on reopening faculties will occur within the week beginning 22 February, with faculties doubtlessly in a position to reopen from 8 March.

Different coronavirus information

Germany is imposing strict new border controls on account of concern over coronavirus variants, with a ban on journey into the nation from the Czech Republic and Austria the place the B.1351 and B.1.1.7 variants of the virus have been discovered to be prevalent. Returning residents and sure important employees might be exempt. 

French well being authority Haute Autorite de Sante advisable that individuals who have already had covid-19 and recovered ought to only be offered a single shot of covid-19 vaccine. “The only dose of vaccine will act as a reminder,” it stated in a press release.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.37 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 107 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

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Photo of a person's hand holding a box of medication labelled tocilizumab

A pharmacist in France shows a field of tocilizumab, which is used within the therapy of rheumatoid arthritis

PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS/Alamy Inventory Picture

11 February

Roche’s arthritis drug tocilizumab discovered to chop danger of loss of life amongst sufferers with extreme covid-19

The arthritis drug tocilizumab reduces the risk of death amongst severely unwell covid-19 sufferers, based on findings from the RECOVERY trial, which has been testing a spread of potential remedies for the illness since March final yr. The examine discovered that 29 per cent of covid-19 sufferers who obtained tocilizumab died inside 28 days, in comparison with 33 per cent of those that didn’t obtain the drug. Remedy with tocilizumab – bought underneath the model identify Actemra by Swiss firm Roche – additionally shortened the time to restoration and lowered the requirement for mechanical air flow. The trial included 2022 covid-19 sufferers randomly allotted to obtain tocilizumab along with their customary care and 2094 sufferers allotted to straightforward care solely, which for 82 per cent of all sufferers within the examine included therapy with a steroid, comparable to dexamethasone. Final yr, dexamethasone turned the first drug found to reduce death rates in covid-19 sufferers. The latest outcomes point out that tocilizumab offers extra advantages when used with steroids, like dexamethasone. “Utilized in mixture, the influence is substantial,” stated Martin Landray on the College of Oxford, one of many lead investigators on the trial. “After dexamethasone (steroids), that is essentially the most important advance within the therapy of covid,” stated Athimalaipet Ramanan on the College of Bristol in a statement.

Different coronavirus information

The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) issued up to date steerage saying individuals who have been “absolutely vaccinated” in opposition to covid-19 are no longer advised to quarantine if they’re uncovered to somebody who exams constructive for coronavirus. This is applicable to individuals who have had each doses of a covid-19 vaccine a minimum of two weeks in the past. Nonetheless, the CDC stated this doesn’t imply that absolutely vaccinated people ought to cease taking precautions and added that individuals who had their pictures three months in the past or extra ought to nonetheless quarantine if they’re uncovered, because it isn’t recognized how lengthy safety in opposition to covid-19 lasts.

US well being officers are advising people in the country to consider wearing two masks on prime of one another to higher shield themselves in opposition to coronavirus an infection. A CDC report prompt sporting a material masks over a disposable surgical masks or bettering the match of a single surgical masks as ways to spice up safety.

It could take six to nine months to supply and deploy covid-19 vaccines that work in opposition to new variants of the coronavirus, based on AstraZeneca. The UK-Swedish firm made this assertion after its present vaccine was discovered to be less effective against the coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa.

The Guardian reported that more than 40 per cent of staff on the UK’s largest care dwelling supplier haven’t obtained any doses of covid-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.35 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 107 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

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A woman is pictured sitting on a chair, holding a coronavirus test kit

A lady takes a coronavirus check at a brief testing facility in London, UK

Hollie Adams/Getty Photos

10 February

Chills, lack of urge for food, headache and muscle ache linked to covid-19 in new examine

New symptoms have been linked to covid-19 in sure age teams, together with chills, lack of urge for food, headache and muscle ache, in Imperial College London’s REACT study. The 4 new signs have been recognized by researchers via random swab testing and questioning of greater than one million individuals in England, performed between June 2020 and January 2021. The researchers discovered an affiliation between testing constructive for the coronavirus and reporting any of those new signs or different signs beforehand linked to covid-19, comparable to a persistent cough, fever or a loss or change in sense of style or odor. 

The extra signs individuals had, the extra doubtless they have been to check constructive, though there was some variation in signs throughout totally different age teams. Chills have been linked with an infection throughout all age teams, whereas complications have been reported primarily in children aged 5-17, urge for food loss in adults over 18 and muscle aches in these aged 18-54. Contaminated 5-17 yr olds have been additionally much less more likely to report experiencing fever, persistent cough and urge for food loss, as compared with adults.

The REACT examine additionally checked out whether or not reported signs modified earlier than and after the B.1.1.7 variant turned the dominant variant within the UK. It discovered that signs have been largely related, regardless of the elevated prevalence of B.1.1.7. Nonetheless, loss or change of sense of odor was much less predictive of getting covid-19 in January when B.1.1.7 accounted for about 86 per cent of infections, in contrast with November to December when it was 16 per cent. “Because the epidemic progresses and new variants emerge, it’s important that we maintain monitoring how the virus impacts individuals in order that testing programmes meet altering wants,” stated Joshua Elliott, one of many researchers behind the examine at Imperial Faculty London, in a press release.

Different coronavirus information

Individuals within the UK are going to should “get used to the concept of vaccinating and revaccinating within the autumn as we face these new variants”, UK prime minister Boris Johnson told parliament on 10 February. A number of vaccine producers have confirmed that they’re already engaged on new versions of their covid-19 vaccines to verify they continue to be efficient. The UK authorities lately introduced a partnership with producer CureVac to quickly manufacture new vaccines in response to new coronavirus variants if wanted. “We consider that they might assist us to develop vaccines that may reply at scale to new variants of the virus,” stated Johnson.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said he doesn’t assume the B.1351 coronavirus variant first recognized in South Africa “goes to be a dominant concern within the subsequent few months”. Talking on BBC Information, Van-Tam stated 90 per cent of instances within the UK in the meanwhile are brought on by the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in Kent.

South Africa is considering selling or exchanging its doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, based on the nation’s well being minister. Plans to begin administering the jabs have been placed on maintain this week after a small, preliminary examine indicated it might not shield in opposition to gentle or average covid-19 brought on by the B.1.351 variant.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.34 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 107 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Boosting vaccines: The coronavirus vaccines gained’t work for everybody, however there are many issues we all know might help with vaccine success, from sleeping effectively earlier than a jab to avoiding doomscrolling afterwards and getting sufficient train.

Searching for immunity: Not everybody could have unintended effects comparable to a sore arm from a coronavirus vaccine, however that doesn’t imply it didn’t work. Antibody exams can verify your immunity, however they have to be the proper.

Peter Ben Embarek, a member of the WHO-China joint study team, gestures with his hand as he answers a question during a press conference

Peter Ben Embarek solutions questions on the WHO-China joint examine press convention in Wuhan, China on 9 February

Xinhua Information Company/PA Photos

9 February

WHO workforce in China is investigating concept that coronavirus was unfold via frozen meals

The World Well being Group (WHO) mission in Wuhan, China has ruled out the possibility that the coronavirus originated in a laboratory, however the workforce is investigating whether or not the virus got here from frozen meals, probably from outdoors China. The investigation workforce chief Peter Ben Embarek stated the virus seems to have originated in bats, as initially thought, nevertheless it was most likely transmitted to people by way of an unknown intermediate species, probably a lifeless or frozen animal meals product. Embarek stated it’s “extraordinarily unlikely” that the virus escaped from a lab. The WHO mission arrived in China in January and spent 4 weeks researching the origin of the coronavirus with website visits to the Huanan seafood market, initially suspected because the supply of the virus, in addition to the laboratories on the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was additionally being investigated as a possible supply. It introduced its preliminary findings at a press briefing in Wuhan on 9 February. 

Different coronavirus information

Individuals arriving in England who’re required to quarantine in inns might be charged a fee of £1750 to cowl the price of their keep, transport and coronavirus exams, UK well being minister Matt Hancock introduced. Individuals who fail to quarantine face fines of as much as £10,000, whereas those that lie on their passenger locator kinds about visiting any of 33 “red list” countries resist 10 years in jail. Hancock stated related measures are being checked out for the devolved nations. “Individuals who flout these guidelines are placing us all in danger,” he advised parliament on Tuesday. He additionally confirmed that an enhanced testing regime for all arrivals would begin on 15 February, from which level all arrivals might be required to get examined for the coronavirus on the second and eighth days of their 10-day quarantine interval.

Additional covid-19 testing will begin in parts of Greater Manchester within the UK, following the invention of 4 individuals contaminated with a mutated model of the B.1.1.7 variant, first recognized in Kent. The 4 individuals, from two separate households in Higher Manchester, have been discovered to be contaminated with a virus carrying the E484K mutation. The mutation is regarding, as there may be proof that some covid-19 vaccines may be less effective in opposition to the B.1.351 variant, also called the “South Africa variant”, which has the identical mutation.  

The NHS covid-19 app has told 1.7 million people in England and Wales to self-isolate since its launch in September. A preliminary analysis by researchers on the College of Oxford and the Alan Turing Institute signifies 594,000 coronavirus instances have been prevented by the app. The app has had about 21.7 million downloads, though inner knowledge suggests about 16.5 million persons are presently actively utilizing its contact-tracing software, based on the BBC.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.32 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 106 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

South Africa variant: South Africa paused its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine because it may not be efficient in opposition to the South African B.1.351 coronavirus variant – however it’s nonetheless more likely to restrict the severity of covid-19.

A person wearing a face mask leans out of a car window to get vaccinated

An individual receives a covid-19 vaccine at a drive-through vaccination centre in St Albans, UK

REUTERS/Paul Childs

8 February

Researchers are investigating methods to switch covid-19 vaccines to sort out the South Africa variant and others that emerge

UK ministers say work is underway to tweak existing covid-19 vaccines to tackle new variants of the coronavirus together with the B.1.351 coronavirus variant, generally known as the “South Africa variant”. On 6 February, a small, preliminary examine was reported to show that the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine could not shield in opposition to gentle or average covid-19 brought on by B.1.351. No less than 147 instances of this variant have now been detected within the UK. “Our sensible scientists and medical advisers at the moment are engaged on the potential for brand spanking new variations of present vaccines to supply additional protections in opposition to covid variants,” Nadhim Zahawi, minister for covid-19 vaccine deployment, wrote within the Telegraph. As a precaution, South Africa – the place the variant accounts for about 90 per cent of recent coronavirus instances – has put its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on hold. Nonetheless, the examine, which has not but been printed or peer-reviewed, was comparatively small and didn’t take a look at the influence of the vaccine on extreme illness or loss of life.

Sarah Gilbert on the College of Oxford, one of many lead vaccine researchers on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, stated a modified model that’s efficient in opposition to the South Africa variant could possibly be able to deploy within the autumn. “What we’re seeing from different vaccine builders is that they’ve a discount in efficacy in opposition to a few of the variant viruses,” Gilbert advised the BBC’s Andrew Marr Present on 7 February, including that though vaccines could also be much less efficient at lowering instances with new variants, they nonetheless look like protecting in opposition to loss of life, hospitalisation and extreme illness. Different covid-19 vaccine producers are additionally working on new versions of their vaccines to verify they continue to be efficient. “We’re very assured in all of the vaccines that we’re utilizing, and I feel it’s vital for individuals to remember that every one of them, we predict, are efficient in delivering a excessive diploma of safety in opposition to severe sickness and loss of life, which is a very powerful factor,” stated UK prime minister Boris Johnson, in an interview with Sky News on 8 February. “We might be persevering with to review the outcomes, the effectiveness, of the vaccine rollout.”

Different coronavirus information

All individuals dwelling within the UK might be eligible to receive a covid-19 vaccine no matter whether or not they have the authorized proper to work and dwell within the nation, the UK authorities stated on 8 February. “Coronavirus vaccines might be supplied to everybody dwelling within the UK freed from cost, no matter immigration standing,” a authorities spokesperson advised Reuters. The federal government stated getting the vaccine wouldn’t set off immigration checks.

Eire stated it’s going to crack down on travellers returning to the UK from the Center East by way of Eire to keep away from lately launched quarantine guidelines. The variety of individuals travelling to Dublin from Dubai has risen because the UK added the United Arab Emirates to its journey ban record in January.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.31 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 106 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Pandemic burnout: The strain of the pandemic dangers constructing to burnout, however information that vaccines assist cease individuals catching and spreading the coronavirus provides hope of launch.

Three people wearing face coverings sit on chairs in a waiting area

Individuals wait to obtain the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine at Copes pharmacy in Streatham, England

Dan Kitwood/Getty Photos

5 February

Early outcomes counsel the Oxford covid-19 vaccine works in opposition to B.1.1.7 virus variant

Preliminary outcomes point out that the covid-19 vaccine developed by the College of Oxford and AstraZeneca is effective against the highly transmissible coronavirus variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected within the UK. Researchers on the College of Oxford analysed swabs from vaccine trial members who had examined constructive for the coronavirus between 1 October 2020 and 14 January 2021, to find out the variant of the virus with which that they had been contaminated. They discovered related efficacy charges of the vaccine in opposition to the B.1.1.7 variant (74.6 per cent efficient) and the unique virus (84 per cent efficient). That is although these contaminated with the B.1.1.7 variant produced fewer antibodies that might neutralise the virus. The outcomes have been released online as a pre-print and haven’t been peer-reviewed.

Vaccine researchers are investigating ways to modify existing covid-19 vaccines quickly to make sure continued safety in opposition to different new variants as effectively. “We’re working with AstraZeneca to optimise the pipeline required for a pressure change ought to one turn out to be essential,” stated Sarah Gilbert on the College of Oxford in a statement. “This is similar concern that’s confronted by the entire vaccine builders, and we’ll proceed to watch the emergence of recent variants that come up in readiness for a future pressure change,” she stated. “All viruses accumulate mutations over time, and for influenza vaccines there’s a well-known course of of world viral surveillance, and number of strains for an annual replace of the vaccines.”

Different coronavirus information

Coronavirus instances appear to be falling in most of the UK. The latest outcomes from a random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics point out constructive exams have been falling in England, Scotland and Northern Eire within the week as much as 30 January. New infections throughout the UK as an entire are estimated to be falling by between 2 and 5 per cent every day, and the newest official estimate for the UK’s R number – the common variety of individuals every coronavirus case infects – places it between 0.7 and 1.0. That is more than likely to signify the state of affairs two to a few weeks in the past, on account of a time lag within the knowledge. The UK authorities stated it goals for all people aged 50 and above to have been supplied a covid-19 vaccine by Might, clarifying earlier feedback by a spokesperson for UK prime minister Boris Johnson who on 4 February stated the federal government’s goal was “spring”.

Johnson & Johnson applied for an emergency use authorisation from the US Meals and Drug Administration for its covid-19 vaccine. The corporate introduced final week that the single-dose vaccine had an efficacy of about 66 per cent in section III trials. If authorised, it might turn out to be the third covid-19 vaccine authorised for emergency use within the US, after these developed by Pfizer and its companion BioNTech and by Moderna.

Israel introduced it will ease lockdown restrictions from 7 am native time on 7 February however will maintain its borders closed, after a slight discount in coronavirus instances. Nearly 80 per cent of people over 50 in Israel have obtained a covid-19 vaccine up to now. The nation is vaccinating its 9 million residents at a better price than some other nation.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.28 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 105 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

A person wearing personal protective equipment holds a vaccine vial and syringe between their fingers

A physician prepares to manage the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, UK

NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

4 February

UK plans to check impact of giving one dose every of the Pfizer and Astrazeneca covid-19 vaccines

A UK trial is aiming to analyze the influence of giving people two different covid-19 vaccines for his or her first and second doses. Having the ability to use both vaccine will create extra flexibility within the supply of doses, and assist take care of disruption in provides, stated England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam. He said combining two totally different vaccines on this approach might additionally enhance immune responses, doubtlessly main to higher safety in opposition to covid-19. The trial, which is being led by researchers on the College of Oxford and funded by the UK authorities’s vaccine taskforce, will recruit 820 volunteers over the age of fifty who haven’t but obtained a covid-19 vaccine. Individuals will then obtain a primary dose of both the vaccine developed by the College of Oxford and AstraZeneca or the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. A few of them will get the identical vaccine once more for his or her second dose 4 or 12 weeks later and others will get a second dose of the opposite vaccine, to check the impact of mixing the 2 pictures and of various time intervals between doses. 

UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi stated the country is on track to meet its target of vaccinating all individuals within the 4 precedence teams in opposition to covid-19 by 15 February. He advised parliament it has been “an unimaginable effort” that has “drawn on the exhausting work of so many”. Final month, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated the UK authorities goals to have given a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine to all these over 70, essentially the most clinically weak individuals and frontline well being and social care employees by 15 February – equal to about 15 million individuals. Throughout the UK, more than 10.4 million people had obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 4 February.

Different coronavirus information

Worldwide travel was associated with increased death rates within the worst-affected international locations through the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, based on a examine printed within the scientific journal BMJ Open. Tiberiu Pana on the College of Aberdeen, UK, and colleagues analysed the connection between country-level components – comparable to worldwide arrivals, inhabitants density and well being indicators – and the common enhance in every day deaths recorded in early 2020 throughout the 37 international locations with the very best loss of life charges from covid-19. They discovered that the largest enhance in loss of life charges was related to worldwide arrivals. A rise of one million worldwide arrivals was related to a 3.4 per cent rise within the common every day enhance in covid-19 deaths.

A World Well being Group scientist has stated society is unlikely to return to “normal” until 2022. “I feel we’re going to be effectively into subsequent yr earlier than we see a change – that change is more likely to be brought on by excessive protection of the vaccines,” stated Helen Rees, who sits on the WHO’s committee for covid-19. “I feel this new regular all of us speak about is with us for a really very long time,” Rees advised BBC Wales Stay.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.27 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 104 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Tweaking vaccines: The coronavirus is evolving to evade the safety from vaccines and pure immunity – what can we do to combat again?

Vaccine nationalism: The quickest strategy to finish the covid-19 disaster is for international locations to place the pursuits of the world forward of their very own, says Seth Berkley.

Royal Navy medics prepare syringes of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre

Royal Navy medics put together syringes of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Tub, UK

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP by way of Getty Photos

3 February

Covid-19 vaccine in opposition to new variants could possibly be deployed quickly, says Oxford vaccine researcher

A model of the covid-19 vaccine developed by the College of Oxford and AstraZeneca that may sort out the brand new, extremely transmissible coronavirus variants could possibly be ready to deploy in about 7 months within the UK, based on a researcher on the Oxford vaccine workforce. “The precise work on designing a brand new vaccine could be very, very fast as a result of it’s basically simply switching out the genetic sequence for the spike protein,” Andrew Pollard on the College of Oxford advised the BBC. “After which there’s manufacturing to do after which a small scale examine. So all of that may be accomplished in a really quick time frame, and the autumn is admittedly the timing for having new vaccines out there to be used,” he stated. Pollard stated work is already underway to replace the vaccine and enhance its efficacy in opposition to recently identified coronavirus mutations, comparable to these within the variants first sequenced within the UK and South Africa.

Preliminary outcomes counsel that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine may reduce coronavirus transmission, along with lowering symptomatic covid-19 and extreme sickness. UK well being minister Matt Hancock praised the findings of the examine led by researchers on the College of Oxford. The outcomes point out that two doses of the jab scale back coronavirus an infection with or with out signs by 67 per cent. In addition they counsel {that a} single dose of the vaccine is 76 per cent efficient at stopping symptomatic covid-19 for 3 months, with this determine growing to 82 per cent after two doses. Hancock described the outcomes as “completely excellent” and stated they present that “vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic”.

Different coronavirus information

A mobile coronavirus testing unit has been arrange within the city of Southport in England to check residents for the coronavirus and determine if they’ve the variant first recognized in South Africa. Firefighters and council workers are additionally delivering 10,000 dwelling testing kits to individuals dwelling within the space.

Denmark introduced plans to introduce a digital “Corona-Pass”, which might permit Danish residents to show they’ve been vaccinated in opposition to covid-19 for the needs of enterprise and leisure journey, based on the nation’s finance ministry.

Israel will begin increasing its covid-19 vaccination programme to everyone over the age of 16, based on its well being ministry.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.25 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 104 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Pandemic burnout: Because the coronavirus disaster goes on, an growing variety of us are feeling worn out and unable to manage. Right here’s how one can inform if that is burnout, and what you are able to do to guard your self.

Vaccine during pregnancy: With little security knowledge out there on covid-19 vaccines throughout being pregnant, people who’re pregnant should weigh up the dangers and advantages for themselves, whereas proof for individuals who are breastfeeding is extra clear.

Passengers push luggage on trolleys through a terminal at London's Heathrow airport

Travellers arrive at London’s Heathrow airport

Hollie Adams/Getty Photos

2 February

UK science advisers advisable introduction of journey restrictions two weeks in the past

The UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advised the government to introduce mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers arriving into the UK two weeks in the past, based on minutes from a gathering on 21 January that have been leaked to the Instances. On Thursday 21 January, SAGE reportedly warned that “reactive, geographically focused” journey bans couldn’t be relied on to stop faster-spreading coronavirus variants, comparable to these recognized in South Africa and Brazil, from reaching the UK, including that: “no intervention, aside from an entire, pre-emptive closure of borders, or the necessary quarantine of all guests upon arrival in designated amenities, regardless of testing historical past, can get shut to completely stopping the importation of recent instances or new variants.” 

A Downing Road spokesperson stated SAGE didn’t straight advise UK prime minister Boris Johnson to shut borders. Universities minister Michelle Donelan told Sky News that the federal government “all the time primarily based our selections on one of the best medical and scientific recommendation” and stated “the SAGE recommendation truly stated it might most likely be ineffective, in reality, to shut the borders, which was the identical recommendation that we acquired on the time from the World Well being Group”. Johnson introduced geographically focused lodge quarantine measures for travellers coming back from 30 international locations, together with Brazil and South Africa, final week.

UK well being minister Matt Hancock urged individuals dwelling in postcodes in England singled out for enhanced coronavirus testing for the so-called South Africa variant to stay at home unless “absolutely essential”. Pressing door-to-door testing for the faster-spreading variant has been deployed after 11 instances with no hyperlink to overseas journey have been recognized in components of England.

Different coronavirus information

Interim outcomes from section III trials suggest Russia’s covid-19 vaccine is 91.6 per cent effective, and knowledge on the vaccine is being submitted to the European Medicines Company, based on Kirill Dmitriev, director of the Russian Direct Funding Fund. The outcomes, primarily based on a section III trial together with 21,977 adults, three-quarters of whom obtained the Sputnik V vaccine, are printed in scientific journal the Lancet. Different members obtained a placebo. 

Sweden introduced it would not recommend the covid-19 vaccine developed by the College of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca for individuals aged over 65, hours after Poland stated it might not supply the vaccine to over 60s. Final week, medical consultants in Germany and Austria made related suggestions, citing an absence of knowledge on this age group. The European Medicines Company authorised the vaccine to be used in all grownup age teams throughout the European Union and June Raine, chief government of the UK Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Company, last week said: “Present proof doesn’t counsel any lack of safety in opposition to covid-19 in individuals aged 65 or over. The info we’ve got exhibits that the vaccine produces a robust immune response within the over-65s.”

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.24 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 103 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Faster-spreading variants: The faster-spreading UK coronavirus variant has acquired a mutation that may assist it evade immune safety – the identical mutation already discovered within the South African variant.

Article amended on 4 February 2021

We corrected June Raine’s identify.

A health worker talks with a man taking a swab test in a park

A well being employee talks with a person taking a swab check in Goldsworth Park, because the South African variant of the novel coronavirus is reported in components of Surrey, in Woking, UK, 1 February 2021

REUTERS/Hannah McKay

1 February

All adults in components of England to be examined for South Africa variant after 11 new instances recognized

Door-to-door testing for the so-called South Africa coronavirus variant will start in components of England this week, after 11 instances with no recognized hyperlinks to journey or to earlier instances have been recognized in eight areas of the nation. Pressing testing of adults, no matter signs, will happen in some postcodes in Hertfordshire, Surrey, Kent, Walsall, Sefton and within the London boroughs of Merton, Haringey and Ealing. “We are attempting to include this so it doesn’t unfold,” Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at Public Well being England advised the BBC. Any newly recognized infections might be analysed to see if they’re brought on by the extremely transmissible coronavirus variant first sequenced in South Africa. 

UK well being minister Matt Hancock “has ordered an try at eradication of the brand new variant if in any respect doable”, with public well being officers beginning to go door-to-door in affected areas this week, based on a briefing seen by the Guardian. “It is a precautionary measure,” stated Ruth Hutchinson, director of public well being for Surrey, in a press release. “The extra instances of the variant we discover, the higher likelihood we’ve got at stopping it from spreading additional,” stated Hutchinson, including: “It’s actually vital to say that there’s presently no proof that this variant causes extra extreme sickness, so that you don’t want to fret.”

Different coronavirus information

A covid-19 vaccine has now been offered to older residents at every eligible care home in England, the NHS introduced, however vaccination rates of care home staff are lagging behind residents. Fiona Carragher, director of analysis and influencing at Alzheimer’s Society advised the BBC she remained involved that the vaccination rollout for care dwelling workers “has not been practically so efficient”. In January, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated the UK authorities goals to vaccinate all these over 70, essentially the most clinically weak individuals and frontline well being and social care employees by 15 February – equal to about 15 million vaccinations. Throughout the UK, more than 8.9 million people had obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 30 January.

The European Union said AstraZeneca has agreed to produce it with 9 million extra doses of its covid-19 vaccine, developed in partnership with the College of Oxford. This brings the entire variety of anticipated doses for the primary quarter of this yr to 40 million, which is about half of what the EU was initially anticipating. European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted saying the corporate would broaden its manufacturing capability in Europe, and begin delivering doses per week sooner than scheduled.

Germany’s well being minister Jens Spahn hinted that covid-19 vaccines from China and Russia could possibly be utilized in Europe to compensate for the shortfall of doses equipped by Pfizer and its companion BioNTech, and by Oxford/AstraZeneca. “Whatever the nation during which a vaccine is manufactured, if they’re secure and efficient, they might help address the pandemic,” Spahn told German media on Sunday, including that any vaccine will first must be authorised by the European Medicines Company.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.23 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 103 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Can vaccines stop transmission?: A number of research counsel that coronavirus vaccines can considerably scale back transmission of the virus, however not halt it utterly – so social distancing remains to be essential.

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A lab technician working at Janssen Pharmaceutical in Beerse, Belgium

Virginia Mayo/AP/Shutterstock

29 January

Vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and Novavax report constructive trial outcomes

A coronavirus vaccine developed by the US agency Novavax has been proven to be 89 per cent effective in stopping covid-19 in scientific trials. The trials included members within the UK and South Africa, and located the vaccine to be 86 per cent efficient in opposition to the UK variant of the virus, however solely 60 per cent efficient in opposition to the variant in South Africa. Novavax stated it’s going to instantly start growth on a vaccine particularly focused to the South African variant.

Janssen, a subsidiary of US agency Johnson & Johnson, introduced that its covid-19 vaccine confirmed 66 per cent efficacy in a world trial. These outcomes are primarily based on a single dose of the vaccine, which makes it simpler to manage than the two-shot vaccines which have already been authorised. The corporate has stated it’s going to promote its vaccine on a not-for-profit foundation.

The UK has already ordered 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine and the European Union has ordered 400 million. The UK has additionally ordered 60 million doses of the Novavax jab.

Different coronavirus information

The European Medicines Company has recommended the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for all adults, which can permit mass use of the vaccine within the European Union. Yesterday, a German committee recommended against approving the vaccine for individuals over 65 due to inadequate knowledge within the trials, however the EMA’s consultants stated safety could possibly be anticipated on this group and there may be dependable data on security. The vaccine is already the topic of a dispute between AstraZeneca and the EU over the agency’s resolution to produce fewer doses to the EU this yr than initially agreed. At present, the European Fee published parts of its contract with AstraZeneca, which it says obliges the corporate to produce the agreed volumes. The drug-maker says the contract solely obliges it to make its “finest effort” to fulfill the EU demand, to not persist with a particular timetable. The EU additionally announced export restrictions on vaccines made inside the bloc in response to the deliberate lower in deliveries. 

The coronavirus variant from South Africa – which is extra infectiousness  than the unique variant has been detected within the US for the primary time, with two instances confirmed in South Carolina

The New York state authorities has released new figures exhibiting that it undercounted deaths from covid-19 in nursing dwelling residents by greater than 3800. The state’s general loss of life toll has not elevated, however the greater tally in nursing properties has fuelled criticism that governor Andrew Cuomo didn’t do sufficient to guard these residents.

Within the UK, covid-19 hospital admissions fell to 33.51 per 100,000 individuals from a price of 35.64 within the week ending 24 January, figures from the Office for National Statistics present. One in 55 individuals in non-public households in England examined constructive for covid-19 between 17 and 23 January, which is analogous to the earlier week. The an infection price was roughly one in 70 in Wales, one in 50 in Northern Eire and one in 110 in Scotland. The R number for the UK is between 0.7 and 1.1, based on the latest estimate by the federal government’s scientific advisory group. The R quantity is the variety of individuals every individual with covid-19 will go on to contaminate.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Global vaccine distribution: Whereas mass immunisation programmes are making fast progress in wealthy nations, many middle-income international locations have solely simply begun roll-outs and most low-income ones will take months to get began. These delays enhance the chance of mutations resulting in variants which can be extra transmissible,and will render vaccines much less efficient in future.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 loss of life toll has handed 2.19 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 101 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances might be a lot greater.

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