Coronavirus UK news update – Terrifying number of BABIES dying of covid in Brazil as London party scenes 'spark concern'

A TERRIFYING number of babies are mysteriously dying of Covid-19 in Brazil doctors have warned.

Despite overwhelming evidence the virus rarely kills young children, 1,300 babies have died from it over the past year.

Brazil's coronavirus infection rate – the second highest in the world – a severe lack of testing and a President accused of failing to take the virus seriously enough are being blamed for the increased deaths.

Of course, the more cases we have and, as a result, the more hospitalisations, the greater the number of deaths in all age groups, including children," Renato Kfouri, president of the Scientific Department of Immunisations of the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics told the BBC.

"But if the pandemic were controlled, this scenario could evidently be minimised," he added.

It comes as Brits itching to enjoy a well-deserved holiday could find out the available destinations by May.

Boris Johnson is said to be granting tourists the list of Covid-secure countries under a traffic light system.

EasyJet is readying its mothballed aircraft and boss Johan Lundgren believes France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Cyprus and Turkey will make the “green light” list in the next few months.

He told The Sun: “Summer can really take off this year.

“I wouldn’t see a reason why you wouldn’t have the majority of the countries of Europe in there.

“It is important that the Government comes out with this list as soon as possible. This is the main question for most of our customers right now.”

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic

  • Debbie White


    The potential risks of developing blood clots from a coronavirus vaccination are "pretty trivial" when compared with those posed by contracting Covid-19, a scientist has said.

    Professor Sir John Bell, Oxford University's Regius Professor of Medicine, told Sky News that blood clotting events being linked to vaccines are "extremely rare".

    He added: "The best way, if you want to have a bad clotting problem, is to get Covid.

    "And if you don't get a vaccine you're going to get Covid, and if you get Covid you'll have a very, very much higher risk of getting a bad clotting problem.

    "So, the clotting problems of the vaccine are pretty trivial compared to the real risks of getting clotting problems if you get Covid."

  • Debbie White


    The number of people in England waiting to start hospital treatment has soared to a new record high.

    A total of 4.7million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of February 2021, according to figures from NHS England.

    This is the highest number since records began in August 2007.

    The number of people having to wait more than 52 weeks to start hospital treatment stood at 387,885 in February 2021 – the highest number for any calendar month since December 2007.

    One year earlier, in February 2020, the number having to wait more than 52 weeks to start treatment stood at just 1,613.

  • Debbie White


    Police have ramped up security ahead of Prince Philip's funeral – with extra armed cops on patrol and specialist searches carried out.

    The Duke of Edinburgh's funeral on Saturday will be a scaled-back royal affair with just 30 mourners in attendance due to Covid rules.

    But police are taking no chances with a ring of steel shielding Windsor, where Philip will be laid to rest, and the royal family.

    Among the security measures are extra armed police and uniformed officers on patrol in the historic town leading up to the event.

    Thames Valley Police say the “high visibility patrols” are to "help provide reassurance and keep local residents, businesses and visitors safe".

  • Debbie White


    NHS chiefs chartered a small plane to a remote Scottish island to vaccinate all its 48 adult residents in one go.

    Neighbours on the tiny farflung Fair Isle are celebrating after everyone aged 18 and over had their second jab.

    Docs took a “wee box” filled with the AstraZeneca immunisation over to the outcrop, which lies between Orkney and Shetland in Northern Scotland this week.

    The island has only had a reliable 24-hour-a-day electricity supply since 2018 and is probably best known for its knitwear and migratory birds.

    It is just three miles long and one and a half miles wide and has reportedly had zero Covid cases since the start of the pandemic. Yet it is now one of the safest places to be after its full-time population was immunised.


  • Debbie White


    Surge coronavirus testing is needed when variants are identified so officials are able to "get ahead of the infection", according to London's regional director of Public Health England.

    Professor Kevin Fenton told BBC Radio 4: "As we begin the process of unlocking and re-entering society and mixing, even small numbers of variants, when they occur, can have the potential to spread relatively quickly.

    "And that is why we have such a proactive programme of screening for and testing for the new variants, and, where we have found, we surge.

    "We need to get ahead of the infection and not keep following behind it."

  • Debbie White


    The low level of coronavirus infection in the capital means those taking part in asymptomatic surge testing are able to "move about" afterwards, says London regional director of Public Health England Professor Kevin Fenton.

    Asked why this group are not being told to stay at home until they receive their results, he told BBC Radio 4: "Because the level of infection that we are now having across the city is actually quite low.

    "The probability of you not having an infection is much higher, and, of course, we want to test individuals who may be asymptomatic, can be carrying the infection, so the risk of onward transmission is also much lower as well.

    "So, the combination of factors, the timing of where we are in the phase of the epidemic, and the level of infections that we have, really means that we can allow people to continue to move about.

    "But what's really important is that we do do as much testing for asymptomatic infections as we can."

  • Debbie White


    Boris Johnson is "correct" in saying lockdown measures have had the main impact on reducing Covid infections, says an expert.

    The PM said earlier this week that, while jabs have helped, lockdown restrictions have done "the bulk of the work" in getting infection numbers down.

    Dr Julian Tang, consultant virologist at Leicester Royal Infirmary, told Sky News: "At the moment the lockdown is causing the main impact in the reduction of number of cases and deaths", but he said the vaccine rollout is "encouraging".

    He added: "We'll see that impact once you start to open up indoor spaces. If one in two people have antibodies, that immune barrier will reduce that spread of the virus in the indoor environment where the ventilation is poorer and where people are closer together unmasked and talking and breathing the same air.

    "So I think that the Prime Minister is correct in that respect."

  • Debbie White


    The equality watchdog also said employers should not be allowed to hire workers on a “no jab, no job” policy until all young people had been offered a vaccine, currently targeted for the end of July.

    Plans to make Covid certificates mandatory for care workers helping older people may be unlawful, added the EHRC.

    The warnings emerged as health secretary Matt Hancock gave a clear indication that care workers would be required to have a vaccination to work in care homes.

    He said staff have a 'duty of care' to get themselves vaccinated to protect older care home residents.

    Launching a five-week consultation on the proposal, the government said the initiative could later be extended to the wider health and social care workforce.

  • Debbie White


    Covid certificatescould amount to unlawful indirect discrimination, the government’s equalities watchdog has warned.

    The papers – also known as Covid passports – risk creating a “two-tier society” and discriminate against some groups, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

    The independent watchdog said the passports risk excluding groups such as migrants, those from minority ethnic backgrounds and poorer socio-economic groups from access to essential services and jobs, reports the Guardian.

    “There is a risk of unlawful discrimination if decisions taken in this process disadvantage people with protected characteristics who have not received, or are not able to receive, the vaccine, unless they can be shown to be justified,” warned the body.

    “Any mandatory requirement for vaccination or the implementation of Covid-status certification may amount to indirect discrimination, unless the requirement can be objectively justified.”

  • Debbie White


    Sun-starved Brits will find out in early May where they can jet to for a much-needed holiday — with hopes soaring that European hotspots will be open this summer.

    Greece said yesterday it will welcome jabbed and tested Brits from next week.

    EasyJet is readying its mothballed aircraft and boss Johan Lundgren believes France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Cyprus and Turkey will make the “green light” list in the next few months.

    Abta said there is “massive pent-up demand” for flights, hotels and apartments.

    But, yesterday Aviation Minister Robert Courts cautioned: “I’d advise people to wait until they understand which category each country falls into, because there is of course that risk of disappointment."

  • Debbie White


    Prof Kevin Fenton, London regional director of Public Health England, said that more genetic sequencing of positive coronavirus tests had identified cases of the South African variant in the capital.

    He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We're finding cases because we're doing more genetic sequencing of PCR positive tests of coronavirus which we're seeing across the city.

    "And that is identifying a low prevalence, a low number of cases, but we are finding cases of the South African variant.

    "And in addition, we're surging to identify additional cases belonging to the south London cluster, which we're investigating in Lambeth, Wandsworth and Southwark. So we're doing this very proactively."

  • Debbie White


    India reported more than 200,000 new coronavirus cases today, skyrocketing past 14million infections overall.

    Its capital, New Delhi, has seen more than a dozen hotels and wedding banquet halls ordered to be converted into Covid centres attached to hospitals.

    Hospitals in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and several others state are overwhelmed with patients with several hospitals reporting shortage of oxygen cylinders.

    Migrant workers hauling backpacks have swarmed overcrowded trains leaving Mumbai, in an exodus among panic-stricken day labourers.

    Shahid Jamil, a virologist, said the recent local and state elections with massive political rallies and a major Hindu festival with hundreds of thousands of devotees bathing in the Ganges river in the northern city of Haridwar were super-spreader events.

  • Debbie White


    Denmark has become the first country to stop using AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine altogether, over a potential link to a rare but serious form of blood clot.

    The decision will push back the scheduled conclusion of Denmark’s vaccination scheme to early August from July 25, health bosses said.

    But that new timeline assumes it will start using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – whose rollout in Europe has been delayed over similar clotting concerns and the use of which Denmark has suspended.

    Results of investigations into the AstraZeneca-associated blood clots “showed real and serious side-effects,” Danish health agency head Soren Brostrom told a news briefing.

    Astrazeneca said it respected Denmark’s choice and would continue to provide it with data to inform future decisions.

  • Debbie White


    Peter Andre FINALLY got his hair cut as he visited his brother's salon yesterday.

    The 48-year-old star made no secret of his struggle with unruly tresses during lockdown, begging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to open barbers again.

    Peter shared a selection of photos of himself during and after the cut – including selfies with his brother as he got to work.

    The star's finished look was much slicker than the frizzy hair he showed off on Instagram last month.

    Eek! Pete's former mop-head look during lockdown
    …to sleek – a better version of Peter Andre after he got the chop
  • Debbie White


    Booze sales more than doubled in bars and restaurants on Monday compared with before the pandemic as eager Brits returned to the pub.

    Alcohol sales skyrocketed by 113.8 per cent compared to the same day in 2019 as thousands packed into outdoor beer gardens across England for the first time in months.

    Huge queues were seen outside boozers from midnight and continuing throughout the day – despite temperatures plunging to -3C.

    Hospitality data specialists at CGA said that drink sales jumped by almost 114 per cent on the first day of outdoor trading, compared with the same day in 2019.

    The “solid performance” proved just how keen Brits are to get back to socialising with friends and family, and provided optimism for the beleaguered hospitality industry, said experts.

    "The first day of trading after England's lockdown showed a fairly solid performance and demonstrates how consumers were keen to enjoy their first drink out with like-for-like drinks sales up nearly 115% for outlets that were open compared with the equivalent day in 2019,” said Jonny Jones, CGA's MD for UK & Ireland.

    Cheers to the reopening of pub gardens
  • Debbie White


    Improving indoor ventilation, such as by opening windows, can help reduce coronavirus transmission, an expert has said.

    Dr Julian Tang, consultant virologist at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, told Sky News: "If you think about it, if you burn your toast in the kitchen, if you open the windows and doors, the back door, it clears very quickly.

    "So you keep the windows open even halfway most of the time, then you can improve that ventilation rate in the indoor area and that reduces the overall airborne concentration that you can actually then reduce the risk of transmission from.

    "So I think this is a really kind of addition to what people are doing, the social distancing, the masking.

    "But if you're indoors having a drink or eating, you can't mask, you can't maintain social distance, so the ventilation becomes much more important precautionally."

  • Debbie White


    Assessing the "garlic-breath distance" can show whether someone is close enough to spread the coronavirus, says an expert.

    Dr Julian Tang, consultant virologist at the Leicester Royal Infirmary has urged governments and health leaders to "focus their efforts on airborne transmission".

    He told Sky News: "I think the emphasis is wrong. So the message 'hands, face, space', we think should be really 'space, space, hands'.

    "The way this virus transmits is really through conversational distance, within one metre. When you're talking to a friend or sharing the same air as you're listening to your friend talking, we call it the garlic-breath distance.

    "So if you can smell your friend's lunch you're inhaling some of that air as well as any virus that's inhaled with it."

  • Britta Zeltmann


    The home-grown Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine gives better protection after one dose than the US Pfizer jab, a major study has found.

    While both vaccines produced a similar number of antibodies, the Oxford jab resulted in a much stronger T-cell response — which could help fight off new Covid variants.

    The study, led by Birmingham University, looked at the effect of a single dose of each vaccine in 165 over-80s.

    Researcher Dr Helen Parry said: “We now need further research to understand what this difference in T-cell response means and how we might work to optimise future vaccination.”

    Read more here.

  • Britta Zeltmann


    Sun-starved Brits will find out in early May where they can jet to on holiday — with hopes soaring that European hotspots will be open this summer.

    And Boris Johnson could grant their wishes when he reveals which countries are Covid-secure for tourists under the “traffic lights” system.

    Arrivals from “green” countries will not quarantine but will have to take a PCR test within two days.

    Passengers from “amber” countries will need to quarantine for ten days and take two tests.

    Arrivals from “red” locations will continue to face the mandatory stay in a quarantine hotel. Read more here.

  • Hana Carter


    Lottery millionaire Gillian Bayford has given birth to a lockdown baby aged 48.

    And the £148million jackpot winner says she is thrilled to be a mum again.

    Gillian had her daughter Emilie six months ago. She said: “As far as she is concerned I’m not a lottery winner, I’m just Mum.

    “Some things are easier because of the money but it doesn’t really change anything. You still have to change a nappy or deal with her being sick on you regardless of how much you’re worth.”

    Gillian shared the EuroMillions jackpot with her then husband Adrian in 2012.

  • Hana Carter


    Covid-19 case numbers in Scotland are being underestimated by more than half, according to a leading expert in infectious disease.

    Professor Mark Woolhouse said data from SPI-M, a sub group of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), shows there is a “persistent problem in Scotland and indeed the whole of the UK with missing Covid-19 cases”.

    Prof Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, said official figures show Scotland had around 2,000 cases per day in late December and early January.

    But data from SPI-M and the Office for National Statistics shows the true figure to be 4,000-5,000 daily infections.

    Prof Woolhouse said: “What those numbers imply is that we’re consistently underestimating in Scotland the size of our epidemic terms of case numbers by roughly 50 or 60%. That’s quite a large disparity, and it’s a problem.”

  • Hana Carter
  • Hana Carter


    Covid's grip on the world is "nowhere near finished" as super variants are spawning a surge of new cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

    Its special envoy Dr David Nabarro, said the UK is bucking the trend with falling cases and deaths while in most parts of the globe coronavirus is rampant.

    ddressing the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Dr Nabarro said new variants will be a "regular" occurrence while the virus is still prevalent around the world.

    He warned: "The pandemic is nowhere near finished.

    "Each week we have seen four and a half million cases being reported and know those are an enormous underestimate.

    "And we are still seeing a really significant number of deaths – nearly three million.

    "What I want to stress is that the pandemic is surging forward everywhere.”

  • Hana Carter


  • Hana Carter


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