Zero Covid deaths for England, Scotland and NI


Zero coronavirus deaths have been announced in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Monday.

Wales recorded four deaths meaning that, overall, the UK showed a slight increase on the two deaths recorded on Sunday.

It comes as Boris Johnson has confirmed England will proceed to lift more lockdown restrictions next week.

Meanwhile, the UK’s coronavirus alert level has been lowered from four to three on the advice of experts.

Alert level three means that although the virus is still in general circulation, transmission is no longer high or rising exponentially.

Experts say cases, hospital admissions and Covid-related deaths have all decreased and vaccines are having the desired protective effect, with the latest figures showing a third of UK adults are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and two-thirds have had their first of two doses.

‘Cautious hugging’ and pints: UK PM Johnson to ease England’s lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday gave the green light to cautious hugging and the serving of pints inside pubs after months of strict restrictions as he set out the next phase of coronavirus lockdown easing in England.

Johnson confirmed that England could continue to the next stage of his four-step plan to bring the country out of lockdown by the summer, as the COVID-19 situation improved thanks to the rollout of vaccines and social restriction measures.

“This unlocking amounts to a very considerable step on the road back to normality and I am confident that we will be able to go further,” Johnson told a media conference.

“We are announcing the single biggest step on our road map, and it will allow us to do many of the things that we’ve yearned to do for a long time.”

Third of UK adults are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19


A third of UK adults are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, latest figures have shown.

A total of 17,669,379 people have received both jabs – the equivalent of 33.5% of all people aged 18 and over.

England and Northern Ireland are both estimated to have given two doses to 33.6% of their adult population, slightly ahead of Wales (33.4%) and Scotland (33.1%).

Responding to the figures for England, Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and medical director for primary care at NHS England, said: “Yet another incredible NHS milestone has been reached as one in three adults in England have now had both doses of the Covid vaccine – meaning that they have maximum protection from the virus.

“Reaching this milestone is no accident – it is down to months of hard work and everyone in the NHS who has played a role in this is helping to protect millions of people from serious illness and saving lives.”

Seven in 10 adults in England now have Covid-19 antibodies, study reveals


An estimated seven in 10 adults in England were likely to have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies, new figures reveal.

As the vaccine rollout continues combined with more people becoming infected the rate of those with Covid-19 antibodies, that provide resistance to the virus, increases.

The Office for National Statistics figures for adults in private households in the week to April 11 – 68.3 per cent – is up from an estimated one in two, or 53.1 per cent, recorded just two weeks earlier.

It comes as domestic coronavirus statistics “look good” to enable the resumption of foreign holidays next month, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

One dose of vaccine halves transmission – study


A single dose of a coronavirus vaccine can reduce household transmission of the virus by up to half, a study shows.

Those given a first dose of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines – and who became infected three weeks later – were between 38% and 49% less likely to pass the virus on than unvaccinated people, PHE found.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the study’s results as “terrific news”.

He has urged “everybody to get their vaccines as soon as they are eligible”.

In the study, protection against Covid was seen from about 14 days after vaccination, with similar levels of protection regardless of age of cases or contacts, PHE said in a statement.

It added that this protection was on top of the reduced risk of a vaccinated person developing symptomatic infection in the first place, which is around 60 to 65% – four weeks after one dose of either vaccine.

Britain’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout reaches new landmark as 25% of adults get both jabs


One-quarter of all adults in the UK have now had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, jabs rollout minister Nadhim Zahawi has announced.

The latest data shows nearly 47million jabs have been administered in the UK with 12,897,123 of those second doses.

It comes as deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales have fallen 97 per cent since the peak of the second wave of the virus, new figures suggest.

Some age groups have recorded drops as high as 98 per cent or 99 per cent, as the combined impact of the lockdown and the vaccine rollout continues to drive down the number of infections and hospital admissions.

A total of 266 deaths occurred in the week ending April 9 where Covid-19 was recorded on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is down 97 per cent from 8,965 deaths in the week to January 22, the peak of the second wave, when more than a thousand deaths were taking place each day.

UK – People in 30s could receive Covid jab invites ‘within days’


People in their 30s could be offered their first Covid vaccine appointment within the next week, it has been reported. Officials are said to be close to finalising a deal that will roughly double the UK’s original order of 40 million Pfizer Covid jabs, The Times reports. This order will then be used to offer younger people an alternative vaccine to the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.

It was previously stated that those aged between 35 and 39 would be invited to book their first dose of a Covid vaccination towards the end of May. The Government is aiming to have all adults in the UK offered a jab by the end of July.

One dose of Pfizer or Oxford jab reduces Covid infection rate by 65% – study


One shot of the Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine reduces coronavirus infections by nearly two-thirds and protects older and more vulnerable people as much as younger, healthy individuals, a study has found.

The results from Oxford University and the Office for National Statistics are a welcome boost to the vaccination programme and the first to show the impact on new infections and immune responses in a large group of adults in the general population.

By driving down rates of infection the vaccines will not only prevent hospitalisations and deaths but help break chains of transmission and so reduce the risk of a damaging resurgence of disease as the UK reopens.

The researchers analysed Covid test results from more than 350,000 people in the UK between December and April. They found that 21 days after a first jab – the time it takes the immune system to mount a decent response – new Covid infections dropped by 65%.

The vaccines were more effective against symptomatic than asymptomatic infections, reducing rates by 72% and 57% respectively, compared with those seen in the unvaccinated population.

A second shot of the Pfizer vaccine boosted protection further, causing symptomatic infections to fall by 90% and asymptomatic infections by 70%. Because the Oxford vaccine was approved and rolled out later, it is too early to assess the impact of those second doses.

Scientists on the team said the findings supported the UK’s decision to prioritise giving first shots to elderly and more vulnerable people by delaying second doses. “There was no evidence that the vaccines were less effective among older adults or those with long-term health conditions,” said Dr Koen Pouwels, a researcher on the team.

Over half of the UK has now received a Covid-19 vaccine


Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he is “absolutely delighted” that more than half of the UK population has now received their first vaccine.

Government data shows 33,508,590 first doses have been given – the UK’s estimated population is 66.7m.

More than 12 million people who are “most vulnerable to Covid” have been given both doses of the vaccine.

Mr Hancock called it “a brilliant milestone”, saying “this vaccination programme is our way out” on Twitter.

“It’s clearly saving lives – we can see that – and it’s meaning that fewer people are catching the disease as well.”

He added that he was “thrilled” the uptake among those aged over 50 was over 95% “which will give this country so much protection in the weeks and months ahead.”

90% of people in eligible groups have already had first jab as UK roll-out accelerates


The UK’s vaccination programme is accelerating again with nine in 10 of all those in eligible age groups in England having already received their first jab, according to NHS data.

The health service said that almost 60 per cent of those in the 45-49 age group were given a first dose within the first week of opening up bookings to them. The next cohort, aged 40-44, is likely to be called up within the next fortnight but ministers have not yet decided when to extend the rollout.

Overall the weekly pace has risen over the course of this month to 3.5 million, faster per head of population than any other large European country despite fears of a supply shortfall slowing the rollout down. Some 33.3 million have had at least one dose, just under half the UK’s total population, and 11.2 million have been given both doses.