Covıd 19

Covıd 19

COVID news live - latest updates: PM confirms next stage of lockdown easing in England - amid surge testing in North Kensington after SA variant cases found

PM confirms lockdown roadmap will progress on 17 May; British public support sharing vaccines around world in new poll; Downing St news conference being held now.

5/10/2021 7:58:00 PM

'As with all the variants, things can come out of a blue sky.' Chris Whitty says one of three variants first identified in India has risen 'sharply' in England - but it is too early to say if it will cause 'significant problems in the autumn'. COVID19:

PM confirms lockdown roadmap will progress on 17 May; British public support sharing vaccines around world in new poll; Downing St news conference being held now.

arts and entertainment reporter Chris Robertsonthat she is going to flash the lights outside the Duchess Theatre in celebration of the news that she can reopen her venues – where the cast and crew of Cruise are rehearsing this week.It'll be the first show in London to open next week when it welcomes socially-distant audiences next Tuesday.

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Ms Burns said that it has been a horrible year, adding that she will soon be able to make audiences smile again."We’re back," she said.The theatre industry has arguably been one of the most impacted sectors during the pandemic, with venues shuttered since 16 March 2020.

17:45What have we learned?As planned, Boris Johnson laid out all the steps that will be taken in England next Monday as part of the easing of lockdown.The highlights include pubs, restaurants and bars reopening indoors, overnight stays allowed in groups of up to six or two households, and the ban on international travel ending. headtopics.com

Pupils at secondary schools and colleges will also be pleased to hear they will no longer have to wear face coverings in classrooms and communal areas.He described it as a"very considerable step in the resuming of normality" and said he is confident we are on track for step 4 going ahead on 21 June.

Pushed on whether the 21 June date could be brought forward, the PM was adamant it wouldn't be.He refused to be specific on what it would mean for things like working from home, but he promised more details on"what life will be like post-21 June" by"the end of this month".

Mr Johnson said he hopes our lives will soon stop being"dictated by government edicts" and instead involve"making our own choices".Both Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance stressed caution when it comes to those more clinically vulnerable.

Professor Whitty admitted that cases of one of the Indian variants of concern have doubled in the past week or so and warned that"things can come out of a blue sky".Sir Patrick refused to rule out the possibility of more lockdown measures, but said he was hopeful we are"pointing in the right direction" of these being the last ones. headtopics.com

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17:36PM dismisses criticism of voter ID plans, but some in his own party might disagreeAnalysis by Kate McCann, political correspondentThe Queen’s speech is happening tomorrow and the Government plans to bring forward a bill to introduce voter ID.Asked if it discriminates against Labour voters – who are less likely to have photo ID – the prime minister says this is nonsense and that he is determined to protect democracy.

It’s an interesting question though, because forcing voters to show ID may not be popular with some on Conservative benches who strongly oppose any form of national identity card system.17:33News conference endsBoris Johnson and his experts have finished speaking, we'll bring you all the analysis as we get it.

17:33PM dosn't want to answer question on second Scottish independence referendumAnalysis by Kate McCann, political correspondentAsked when it would be appropriate to hold a second Scottish independence referendum now the pandemic is almost over the prime minister avoids the question.

But it isn’t going to go away. Nicola Sturgeon is determined the wheels will be put in motion sooner rather than later, forcing Mr Johnson to engage on the question.17:32Voter ID reasonable requestAdam Bienkov from Business Insider asks about plans from the Conservatives requiring voters to show photo ID on polling day. headtopics.com

Boris Johnson says that it is a reasonable request, and rubbishes what Mr Bienkov said after the journalist brings up previous criticisms levelled at the Labour Party when they sounded out a similar scheme.17:30We don't know if Indian variant will cause problems in the autumn

Seb Payne of the Financial Times asks whether COVID would allow for a second Scottish independence referendum soon.The PM refuses to be drawn saying:"I had good conversations with all the devolved administrations and the number one priority was to build back better."

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He also asks about the Indian variant doubling in the last week, to which Professor Whitty responds:"It has gone up very sharply, that's a reason to be very careful about it."With all the variants, things can come out of a blue sky, that happened with the Kent variant, that has happened to India.

"At this point in time, our view is that this is a highly transmissible variant, but it is less likely to be able to escape vaccination, but the data is less properly in there."We don't know whether this will cause significant problems in the autumn."

17:28PM dodges the detail on working from home and shaking handsAnalysis by Kate McCann, political correspondentAsked whether people will still be asked to work from home when the guidance is changed later this month the prime minister won’t be drawn, but says he hopes things will get back to relative normality.

People will still need to use their own judgement for months to come, he adds.He refuses to say who he will shake hands with and when it will be OK to do so.17:27Things 'pointing in the right direction'Jason Groves of The Daily Mail asks whether this is the last lockdown.

Patrick Vallance says that things are"pointing in the right direction" and vaccines are helping put things on a"smoother path".Mr Groves also asks about the return of people to offices and city centres.The prime minister says that he believes the"bustle" of city and town centres will come back, as he thinks people will want to see each other.

17:24More details on life post-21 June by 'end of this month'Tom Newton Dunn of Times Radio asks whether the guidance on working from home will change on 21 June.He also asks when the PM will start"shaking hands again".But Mr Johnson gives little away on the next step of easing lockdown, saying:"We're going to wait and give you more detail on exactly what we mean by end of social distancing later this month.

"I'm optimistic we will get much closer to normality, but people are going to want to exercise their own discretion and caution."You'll hear more about what the world will look like after 21 June by the end of this month."17:23Caution still the PM's watchword - even when it comes to a hug

Analysis by Kate McCann, political correspondentAsked if he would consider bringing forward the lifting of restrictions the prime minister says no.The most sensible thing to do is proceed with caution and allow time to see how things change after each new freedom, he adds.

It’s also important to give businesses the certainty of a timeline, he tells the BBC.Mr Johnson says"whoever I hug, it will be done with caution" but refuses to act out the way he intends to hug people on stage.He says that being cautious has allowed the government to unlock within weeks.

Sir Patrick Vallance says people have changed their behaviour because of the pandemic and this is likely to continue even after things start to improve – this will help keep infection rates lower.He also hints at the need for masks and distancing in winter when the virus could make a return.

17:23No decision on social distancingRomilly Weeks from ITV asks the prime minister if it is wise to end social distancing after 21 June.Mr Johnson says that no decision has been made on the matter. Sir Patrick Vallance goes on to say that the average number of contacts for an adult has fallen from 11 per day pre pandemic to just four per day now - adding that this will likely remain low.

Sir Patrick also says that mask wearing could return in places like public transport if there is another outbreak in the winter.17:18No change to 21 June date for removing all social restrictionsHugh Pym of the BBC asks whether the 21 June date - when all social restrictions are due to be lifted - could be moved forwards.

Mr Johnson is adamant that won't happen."It's very important that we should proceed cautiously, but as I've said many times, hopefully irreversibly," he replies."The secret of the success so far is that we have been guided by the data and given time to see the effect of the roadmap on the data."

17:18Common sense should be used for non-vaccinated peopleFrancis from Lincoln asks the Prime Minister how he is planning to protect people under 40 who have not been vaccinated.Mr Johnson says that common sense should be used, and that there will always be risk from the virus.

17:15Case numbers of variants of concern 'relatively stable'Anne from York asks the prime minister what proportion of recent daily infections are variants of concern aside from the Kent one.Professor Whitty points to the last slide and replies:"The proportions at the moment are less than 5%, but that's changing the whole time.

"Most of them [variants of concern] are relatively stable. The one that is slightly concerning us is the one from India. That does appear to be increasing."17:13Vaccines are reducing hospital admissions and deaths17:13The risks of COVID-19 are not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern

17:12Hospital admissions continue to drop17:12Face coverings not required in schools from 17 MayEducation Secretary Gavin Williamson has posted on social media publicising the announcement just made by the prime minister.17:12Vaccines are reducing hospital admissions and deaths

17:11A total of 35.5 million people in the UK have received a first dose17:06Boris Johnson sticks to his roadmapAnalysis by Kate McCann, political correspondentThe prime minister has confirmed the next stage of unlocking will progress as planned. Not only will this be welcome news for families around the country who can reunite and stay overnight with each other again, but it will also bolster the notion that Boris Johnson has done a good job of steering the country out of the pandemic over the last few months.

Some have suggested that this was a major reason for voters supporting the party in the recent local elections.17:06Five visitors for care home residents and university students allowed to go back to in-person teachingCare homesCare home residents will be allowed five regular visitors and greater freedoms to make low-risk visits outside of their home.

EducationIn secondary schools and colleges, pupils will no longer be required to wear face coverings in classrooms and communal areas.Twice-weekly home testing will remain to control infection rates.From 17 May, all remaining university students will be eligible to return to in-person teaching and learning, but should be tested twice a week on their return.

Thirty people will be allowed to attend a support group or parent and child group – with children under five not included in this limit.TravelThe ban on international travel will end and people will be free to travel to green list countries.Travelling to and from amber and red list countries will require stricter measures.

17:05Pubs reopen indoors and hugging allowedFrom 17 May in England:HospitalityPeople will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people, and indoors in groups of up to six or as two households.Pubs, restaurants and bars will be able to reopen indoors, with groups of up to six people or two households to a table.

Indoor entertainment will also resume with the reopening of cinemas, museums and children’s play areas.Theatres, concert halls, conference centres and stadiums can all reopen, with larger events at reduced capacity.Organised adult sport and exercise classes can restart indoors, but a decision is yet to be made on saunas and steam rooms.

Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen, with overnight stays allowed within the UK in groups of up to six people or two households.Weddings, receptions and other life events can take place with up to 30 people.The limit on numbers attending funerals will be removed in line with how many people can be safely accommodated in venues.

Social distancingPeople will now “have the choice on whether to socially distance with close family or friends” or not.But they will be urged to remain cautious about the risks that come with close personal contact such as hugging, as this is a way the virus spreads.

Everyone should remember that some people are more vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19 than others, and while vaccines reduce the risk, they do not eliminate it entirely.Wider social distancing rules will remain in place in adult social care, medical, retail, hospitality and business settings.

17:05Update from Sky's political editor Beth RigbyHere's a summary of what Boris Johnson has just announced17:03PM: Data now supports easing of lockdownBoris Johnson thanks people for their efforts during lockdown."Your efforts have so visibly paid off," he said.

He says that cases are the lowest since September and deaths are the lowest since July.He says the data"now supports moving to step 3 of easing lockdown".He describes it as a"very considerable step in the easing of normality".But he continues:"I am confident we will go further.

We remain on track to move to step 4 on 21 June."He says he hopes that soon we will"cease to rely on specific government edicts and make our own choices" about social distancing and socialising."Today we are announcing the single biggest step on our roadmap, it will allow us to do many things we have yearned to do for a long time," he adds.

"Let’s protect these gains by continuing to exercise caution and common sense."17:01The PM is at the podium...16:41Coming up...Boris Johnson is holding a Downing Street news conference at 5pm.He'll be joined by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance, and will be laying out how England will ease lockdown further next Monday.

You can watch it live on Sky News or follow here for all the updates.16:18UK reports four new deaths and 2,357 casesMonday's figures compare to one death registered a week ago and 1,649 cases last Monday.All four deaths happened in Wales, which means England, Scotland and Northern Ireland reported no new deaths today.

Read more: Sky News »

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Who is still listening to this crazy guy? That guy has to use his common sense tell him to open his eyes and see what is happening in India Mr lockdown will I got 2 words for yah suck it I'm sure if there is a chance for these 'experts' to recommend they remain in their cushy taxpayer funded jobs... They'll take it!

Covid-19 cases rising in almost 40% of areas in England as lockdown set to easeFigures correct as of May 8 show that 119 local authority regions in the country have seen a surge in rates, while 182 have seen a fall in infections

Every region of England saw ZERO Covid deaths at least once in AprilOffice for National Statistics data showed there were 205 Covid fatalities in the seven days to April 30, less than half the 400 involving the virus at the start of the month.

Every region of England saw ZERO Covid deaths at least once in AprilOffice for National Statistics data showed there were 205 Covid fatalities in the seven days to April 30, less than half the 400 involving the virus at the start of the month.

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