Coronavirus vaccinations to be available 24-7, Boris Johnson says in major U-turn

Air travel from a swathe of South American countries is being banned amid growing fears of a new variant of Covid-19 in Brazil

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said the urgent move, which takes effect at 4am tomorrow, also includes arrivals from Portugal “given its strong travel links with Brazil”.

Earlier he announced a delay to the start of new rules requiring travellers arriving in England to have a negative coronavirus test, “to give international arrivals time to prepare”.

High-street pharmacies have begun rolling out Covid-19 vaccines as the UK’s virus death toll has now climbed above 100,000.

Boots and Superdrug branches will be among six stores across England able to administer the jabs, while the government aims to hit its target of vaccinating everyone in the four most vulnerable groups by the middle of next month.

Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, north London, Woodside Pharmacy in Telford and Appleton Village pharmacy in Widnes will be in the first group to give the injections, alongside Boots in Halifax and Superdrug in Guildford.

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Clea Skopeliti14 January 2021 18:54

1610650285Brazil to begin vaccinations on 20 January, national mayor’s association says

Brazil aims to begin nationwide Covid-19 vaccinations on 20 January, the head of the national mayor’s association said on Thursday, as the UK banned arrivals from the country over fears of a new coronavirus variant.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been criticised for undermining the severity of the world’s second-deadliest Covid-19 outbreak, is under growing pressure to begin vaccinations as a second wave of infections surpasses the first.

Jonas Donizette, the president of the national mayor’s association, said in a statement on Thursday that vaccinations would begin on Wednesday if all goes as the government plans. 

“If it’s not on the 20th, for whatever logistical problem, it will be on 21 Thursday,” he wrote. “Inoculations will begin with 8 million doses, distributed to 5 million Brazilians.”

The government is planning a ceremony on 19 January to mark the start of inoculations, according to a source involved in the plan.

Clea Skopeliti14 January 2021 18:51

1610649865Twitter temporarily restricts Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine account

Social media platform Twitter temporarily restricted access to the official account promoting the Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, the website showed on Thursday before reversing the action.

“Caution: This account is temporarily restricted…because there has been some unusual activity,” a statement on the Twitter page for the vaccine showed, though it still permitted users to click through and access the page.

“We are looking into the reasons for this,” the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which runs the account and markets the vaccine abroad, said in a statement. “We ask all our subscribers to write to Twitter asking them to restore our access.”

Clea Skopeliti14 January 2021 18:44

1610649615New rules in Scotland explained

People in Scotland are no longer allowed to drink alcohol outdoors, and takeaway services are restricted. Kate Ng answers questions on the new restrictions north of the border.

Jane Dalton14 January 2021 18:40

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Variants may stem from immunocompromised patients

The new variants of coronavirus that are being detected across the world may have their roots in patients with weaker immune systems, a leading UK scientist says. Samuel Lovett reports:

Jane Dalton14 January 2021 18:10

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Another 48,682 people test positive in UK

A further 48,682 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK have been reported, Public Health England says.

Jane Dalton14 January 2021 18:00

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Postal staff shortages cause delivery delays

The postal workers’ union has asked for people to be patient amid delays in some areas because of staff shortages caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The Communication Workers Union said postal services were not immune to the challenges being faced across the country by the ongoing pandemic.

Deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said: “Our members have done an absolutely incredible job throughout the pandemic to keep the UK connected.

“There have been and will continue to be some delays in areas of the UK due to the impact of Covid.”

Jane Dalton14 January 2021 17:38

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‘Sobering’ temporary mortuary set up after surge in deaths

A temporary mortuary that can take 1,300 bodies has been built in London as the capital grapples with a surge in deaths, writes Matt Mathers.

Jane Dalton14 January 2021 17:16

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Man pulls out own teeth as dentists shut

The pandemic is having serious effects on dental practices, MPs have heard.

Opening a debate on dental services during the outbreak, Labour’s Fleur Anderson (Putney) said: “During the pandemic, one constituent told me that he had to pull out his own tooth and a local dentist told me of an elderly lady whose dental pain meant that she couldn’t eat solid food throughout the lockdown and had lost weight as a result.”

Ms Anderson added: “We are sleepwalking into the biggest oral health crisis since the creation of the NHS. Unless the government begins to recognise that dentistry is an essential health service, the sector will collapse.”

Jane Dalton14 January 2021 16:58

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Worry over London commuter numbers as rush-hour Tube packed

Video showing a crowded Tube station has sparked alarm, writes Chantal da Silva

Jane Dalton14 January 2021 16:48



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