Covid news live: Abolition of travel tests ‘risks lockdown’

Health Secretary announces Covid isolation period will be reduced to five days from next week

The testing industry has warned that scrapping testing could trigger ‘hard lockdowns’ just as reports emerge suggesting all current testing requirements could soon be scrapped by the end of January for fully vaccinated travelers entering UK.

The government has announced that new guidelines for people self-isolating with Covid-19 in England are due to come into force from Monday. Under the revised guidelines, people will have the option to reduce their isolation period after a full 5 days if they test negative on days 5 and 6 and have no temperature.

If someone still tests positive on day 5 on rapid lateral flow testing, they should continue to remain in isolation until they have had 2 consecutive negative tests taken on different days.

The decision was made to “support essential public services and keep supply chains running through the winter”.

Meanwhile, more than 70,000 new Covid cases have been reported in the UK with 88 more deaths on Sunday. Data does not include Scotland figures due to a technical fault.

Amid rising cases in the United States, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has warned that “the next few weeks will be difficult” and that the current wave of coronavirus fueled by Omicron has not yet peaked.


Canada approves Pfizer antiviral treatment for over-18s

Canada is the latest country to approve Pfizer’s antiviral pill to treat mild to moderate cases of Covid-19 in adults, according to Health Canada’s website.

In clinical trials, the treatment – Paxlovid – was found to be nearly 90% effective in preventing hospitalization and death in high-risk patients.

Last month, Ottawa said it had signed a deal with Pfizer for one million doses of the drug, pending approval from Canada’s health regulators.

This comes after the US cleared Paxlovid for use on people aged 12 and over last month.

With additional reports from Reuters

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 17, 2022 5:02 p.m.


52,117,863 first doses of Covid vaccine delivered to UK

A total of 52,117,863 first doses of the coronavirus vaccine had been administered in the UK by January 16, according to the latest government figures.

This is an increase of 17,700 from the previous day.

Some 47,963,133 second doses were administered, an increase of 37,116.

A combined total of 36,473,316 boosters and third doses were administered, a daily increase of 61,096.

Separate totals for booster and third dose are not available.

With additional PA reports

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 17, 2022 4:51 p.m.


European Commission President cancels in-person meetings after driver tests positive for Covid-19

Ursula von der Leyen was forced to cancel her in-person meetings at the European Parliament this week after her driver tested positive for coronavirus, she announced today.

The EU chief tweeted this morning that she was returning to Brussels from Strasbourg, where she was due to attend a number of high-level meetings.

The Associated Press reported that she had a busy schedule while in France, including attending a memorial event for David Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament, who died last week. She was also due to meet French President Emmanuel Macron.

With additional reports from AP

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 17, 2022 4:37 p.m.


UK records 84,429 new Covid cases and 85 deaths

A further 84,429 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in the UK today, according to the latest government data.

Monday’s figures represent a minor increase in the number of cases nationwide over the past two days – 75,031 on Sunday and 81,713 on Saturday – but remain in line with the downward trend in positive tests.

Another 85 within 28 days of testing positive were also reported, bringing the seven-day total to 1,845.

Meanwhile, 640 deaths with Covid-19 on the death certificate have been recorded over the past week.

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 17, 2022 4:21 p.m.


Israel reduces Covid-19 isolation to five days

Israel’s Health Ministry said on Monday it would reduce the mandatory isolation period for those who test positive for the coronavirus from seven days to five days, after an initial reduction last week, provided they are asymptomatic. Until last week, the isolation period was 10 days.

The latest decision, which takes effect Wednesday, brings Israel into compliance with US recommendations.

A negative home antigen test is also required before ending isolation, the ministry said.

The country’s pandemic response coordinator, Salman Zarka, said the health ministry has found that people are most contagious during the first three days after infection.

Includes reports from Reuters

Charlene RodriguesJanuary 17, 2022 4:10 p.m.


Shadow interior secretary accuses Patel of double standards amid ‘attendance’

Home Secretary Priti Patel has backed her support for police enforcing Covid rules, despite backing Boris Johnson amid the Downing Street party line.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper told the Commons: “On January 25, 2021, the Home Secretary commented on a Met Police video showing officers breaking up an illegal party in London.

She said: “This unlawful gathering was an insult to people in hospital with Covid, our NHS staff and everyone staying home to protect them. The police enforce the rules to save lives.

“Why has she changed her mind now?” »

Ms Patel replied: ‘I stand by my comments, mainly because the whole country at the time of the virus itself, the pandemic, was doing an absolutely amazing job of making sure this virus didn’t spread. My opinions have not changed on this subject, they are absolutely consistent.

She said the police were operationally independent of her and followed guidelines issued by the government, adding: ‘They have done a very, very good job of protecting the public.’

Charlene RodriguesJanuary 17, 2022 4:06 p.m.


Scotland: Sturgeon ‘cautiously optimistic’ amid calls to end Covid-19 restrictions

Nicola Sturgeon said she was “cautiously optimistic” about the coronavirus situation in Scotland ahead of a statement announcing any changes to restrictions.

The First Minister said the country was “in a better position than I feared before Christmas”, but would not say whether she planned to follow Wales with a massive relaxation of Covid rules.

His comments come as Scottish Tories have called for the removal of most coronavirus restrictions except for face coverings.

Ms Sturgeon will chair a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning before briefing Holyrood on the government’s plans later in the afternoon.

Asked about possible changes to coronavirus measures, Ms Sturgeon told the PA News agency: “I think everyone wants to see an end to Covid, it follows that everyone – myself included – wants to see all restrictions end.

Charlene RodriguesJanuary 17, 2022 3:50 p.m.


Wales: Changes to government guidance and coronavirus updates

From January 21, the Welsh Government announced that there would no longer be legal limits on the number of people meeting outside. However, a covid pass will be required for major outdoor events.

Other changes from January 28 will include the reopening of nightclubs, a covid pass for major indoor events, nightclubs, cinemas, theaters and concert halls. Working from home will go from the right to guidance.

In the event of hospitality, there will be no restrictions on gatherings and no requirements for table service or physical distancing of 2 meters

Charlene RodriguesJanuary 17, 2022 3:42 p.m.


The Netherlands records a record 42,000 coronavirus cases in 24 hours

The Netherlands recorded a record 42,000 coronavirus cases in the space of 24 hours, according to data released by health authorities on Monday.

The government only ordered most shops to reopen on Friday, after a month-long lockdown meant to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus.

Charlene RodriguesJanuary 17, 2022 3:30 p.m.


Scotland: Tories call for end to all restrictions except face masks

The Scottish Tories have called on Nicola Sturgeon to scrap most coronavirus restrictions except for face coverings.

Ahead of the Prime Minister’s Covid-19 update on Tuesday, where a decision is expected on current restrictions on hospitality and leisure venues, Conservative leader Douglas Ross has asked him to go further.

The Tories expect the Prime Minister to announce the scrapping of the vaccine passport system along with advice on household mixing and social distancing.

They are also calling for an end to the current restrictions on businesses, which set a cap of 100 on indoor standing events and 200 on seated events, impose table service for liquor businesses and impose social distancing. social between groups.

The Conservative plea, which would see changes come into effect from January 31, also calls for mask-wearing to be dropped in schools and working from home to be scrapped, while self-isolation would be “gradually deleted” over a period of months.

“The Scottish Government’s own data shows that we have passed Omicron’s peak.

The latest evidence means we can now be much more optimistic,” Mr Ross said.

Charlene RodriguesJanuary 17, 2022 3:20 p.m.

Corina C. Butler