Boris Johnson says lockdown will be eased in ‘stages’ – but refuses to give more details
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed that he will take a “cautious and prudent approach” to easing lockdown restructions, suggesting that pubs and restaurants would be among the last to leave lockdown this time.
This comes at Boris Johnson is being urged to focus on “data, not just dates” and not relax restrictions “prematurely.”
The head of the vaccine taskforce has also said that every UK adult should have recieved both doses of the Covid-19 jab by August.
Scotland declares ‘mental health crisis’
Holyrood has voted to declare that Scotland is facing a “mental health crisis”, with opposition MSPs uniting to defeat the government.
The vote in the Scottish parliament came as the Health Committee warned that after the coronavirus pandemic “a mental health tsunami is coming, if indeed the first wave has not already reached us”.
Committee convener Lewis Macdonald raised concerns in a letter to public health minister Mairi Gougeon, urging her to set out how the Scottish Government would deal with the situation.
That came as the Liberal Democrats raised the issue in a debate at Holyrood, where the motion, which “recognises that there is a mental health crisis in Scotland”, was passed by 65 to 58.
Chiara Giordano17 February 2021 18:40
Bristol Covid variant discovered for first time in US
The Bristol variant of the coronavirus has reportedly been detected for the first time in the United States.
Research into the variant shows it has the same makeup of the Kent strain in the United Kingdom, but with an additional mutation on the E484K spike protein.
Danielle Zoellner explains more:
Chiara Giordano17 February 2021 18:20
Almost 365,000 more first vaccine doses given
Government data up to 16 February shows that of the 16,499,549 jabs given in the UK so far, 15,940,972 were first doses – a rise of 364,865 on the previous day.
Some 558,577 were second doses, an increase of 12,412 on figures released the previous day.
Chiara Giordano17 February 2021 18:05
Man denies ‘offensive’ tweet following death of Captain Sir Tom Moore
A man has denied sending an offensive tweet about Captain Sir Tom Moore after the death of the fundraising centenarian.
Joseph Kelly was charged under the Communications Act after the post on 3 February – the day after the Second World War veteran died.
The 35-year-old, from Castlemilk, in Glasgow, was not present when the case called at Lanark Sheriff Court today and a not guilty plea was submitted by lawyer Archie Hill on his behalf.
The court charge states: “On 3 February 2021 at Waverly Court, Lanark, you Joseph Kelly did cause to be sent by means of a public electronic communications network a post to the public using social media that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character, and that did utter offensive remarks about Captain Sir Tom Moore, now deceased.”
Sheriff Nikola Stewart set an intermediate appearance for 19 May before a trial date of 17 June.
Chiara Giordano17 February 2021 17:49
New York sues Amazon for ‘failing’ to protect workers during Covid pandemic
The attorney general of New York has filed a lawsuit against Amazon, accusing the online giant of “flagrant disregard” for worker safety requirements during the coronavirus pandemic.
Liam James has more details:
Chiara Giordano17 February 2021 17:26
UK death toll rises by 738
The government has confirmed a further 738 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of today, bringing the UK total to 118,933.
Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have been 138,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
The government also said that, as of 9am today, there had been a further 12,718 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
It brings the total in the UK to 4,071,185.
Chiara Giordano17 February 2021 17:00
Extend list of Covid symptoms to pick up missing infections, scientists say
Extending the symptoms for Covid-19 beyond the ‘classic triad’ of cough, fever and loss of smell could help to detect millions more infections, scientists have said.
Anyone who feels unwell has been urged to get a test by the researchers behind a new study which suggests that broadening the list of symptoms to include fatigue, sore throat, headache and diarrhoea would help pick up around a third more Covid-19 cases.
Samuel Lovett has more details:
Chiara Giordano17 February 2021 16:33
Gwyneth Paltrow reveals Covid left her with ‘long-tail fatigue and brain fog’
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has revealed that she was infected with Covid-19, saying that it left her with “long-tail fatigue and brain fog.”
The celebrity wrote on her wellness blog, on her website Goop, saying that she was in the process of starting a long-term healing plan.
Ms Paltrow revealed: “All jokes aside (no, 2021 wasn’t the easiest year to do dry January), cleaning up my diet, exercise, and even thought patterns last month left me feeling energised, healthier, and -believe it or not – wanting more. I’m extending this focus further, through the full first quarter.
“A little background: I had Covid-19 early on, and it left me with some long-tail fatigue and brain fog.”
The actress is the latest celebrity to share the experience of having Covid. Others to have done so include Sharon Osbourne, Tom Hanks, Idris Elba and Bryan Cranston.
Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 16:07
Boris Johnson’s levelling up plan is ‘just a slogan’ unless children put at centre, warns outgoing commissioner
Boris Johnson’s pledge to “level up” the country is “just a slogan” unless children are placed at the heart of plans, the outgoing children’s commissioner has warned.
The prime minister must show he is serious about vulnerable children by putting them at the centre of ‘build back better’ plans following the pandemic, Anne Longfield said in her final speech in the role.
Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 15:51
Data released by NHS England shows that a total of 13,891,042 Covid-19 vaccinations were administered in England between 8 December 2020 and 16 February 2021, this includes both first and second doses.
The breakdown by region is as follows:
London – 1,595,410 total Covid vaccinations
The Midlands – 2,649,662 total Covid vaccinations
East of England – 1,669,006 total Covid vaccinations
North East and Yorkshire – 2,185,038 total Covid vaccinations
North West – 1,835,439 total Covid vaccinations
South East – 2,271,662 total Covid vaccinations
South West -1,617,625 total Covid vaccinations
Eleanor Sly17 February 2021 15:33