[Freedom Finger]Coronavirus latest news: Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters descend on central London

Tag: 2021-07-30 18:49

  5:53PM

  Good evening. That’s all for our live Covid updates until tomorrow. Here are the latest developments:聽

  Anti-lockdown protesters have thrown tennis balls at Parliament and Downing Street and chanted “shame of you”聽as tens of thousands marched on聽central London railing against continuing聽Covid restrictions amid mounting fury at the Health Secretary’s affair scandal

  Matt Hancock鈥檚 breach of social distancing rules toxifying Britons鈥?compliance with coronavirus restrictions, Government scientist聽 Prof Stephen Reicher warned, adding:聽鈥淛ohnson has trashed all the advice we have given on how to build trust and secure adherence”

  Three Tory MPs broke ranks to outwardly call for Mr Hancock’s resignation as the political pressure over his kissing and embracing of the aide聽Gina Coladangelo at the height of England鈥檚 third lockdown continued to intensify

  The UK has recorded another 18,270 cases over the past 24 hours, the highest figure since聽February 4, and a聽further 23 deaths

  The central Russian region of Udmurtia聽suspended聽Covid-19 vaccinations for two days due to a shortage of doses, as the country reported its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since mid-January while shortages in jabs continued

  Spaniards were allowed to ditch their face masks for a walk in the park or a trip to the beach on Saturday for the first time in more than a year, but some stayed masked

  Just 28 Covid cases were detected after 10 major events involving 58,000 people, experts have said, as they confirmed that the聽European Championship finals聽can go ahead safely.

  5:37PM

  Anti-lockdown protesters have thrown tennis balls at Parliament and Downing Street as thousands joined a demonstration in central London.

  Chanting and whistling crowds carrying placards marched through the city centre towards Parliament Square on Saturday.

  Hundreds of tennis balls, some bearing protest messages, were hurled over the fences surrounding the Houses of Parliament.

  Protesters let off flares and also threw tennis balls outside Downing Street, with some shouting “shame on you” and pointing towards Number 10, followed by booing.

  Asked why protesters were throwing tennis balls, one man, who did not wish to be named, said: “They have little messages on them. Most of them are not very nice.”

  Anti-lockdown protesters booed and chanted 'shame on you' outside Downing Street this afternoon

  Anti-lockdown protesters booed and chanted ‘shame on you’ outside Downing Street this afternoon

  Credit:

  DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP

  Protesters have hurled tennis balls bearing anti-lockdown messages at Parliament

  Protesters have hurled tennis balls bearing anti-lockdown messages at Parliament

  Credit:

  Aaron Chown/PA Wire

  5:20PM

  The first cruise ship to leave a US port since the coronavirus pandemic brought the industry to a 15-month standstill is preparing to set sail with nearly all vaccinated passengers on board.

  Celebrity Edge will depart Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday evening at about 40 percent capacity, with reportedly 99 per cent聽of the passengers are vaccinated, above the 95 per cent聽requirement imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  ”Words can’t describe how excited we are to be a part of this historic sailing today,” said Elizabeth Rosner, 28, one of the lucky sailors.

  To comply with both the CDC’s requirement and a new Florida law banning businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination, staff are asking guests if they would like to share their vaccination status.

  Those who do not show or say they are vaccinated face additional restrictions. There are hopes it is the beginning of a wider return to cruises in the US.聽

  The Celebrity Edge cruise ship is poised for the sea in Florida

  The Celebrity Edge cruise ship is poised for the sea in Florida

  Credit:

  Lynne Sladky/AP

  4:58PM

  Germany will soon have so many doses of聽Covid-19 vaccine on hand that it will be able offer shots to passers-by in city centres or at places of worship as it seeks to vaccinate at least 80 per cent聽of the population, health officials have said.

  While demand is still outstripping supply in many doctors’ practices, this will switch to a surplus in the next few weeks, Health Minister Jens Spahn said, in a race against the Delta variant.

  The government will deliver 5 million doses to regional vaccination centres in the first week of July, while drugmaker Moderna Inc will聽deliver double the doses it had originally promised Germany, Spahn said.

  There will then be an active campaign聽to encourage those hesitant to get a shot, offering jabs to passers-by in city centres, or at churches and mosques.

  Spahn said there were already hundreds of thousands of doses of spare supplies in doctors’ practices. Many Germans favour the vaccine made by Pfizer/ BioNTech.

  Germany has now fully vaccinated more than a third of the total population, while 53聽per cent have had a first shot,聽the Robert Koch Institute reported.

  4:52PM

  Huge crowds turn out for Freedom March in central London pic.twitter.com/d1R5ZCbmTg

  — Isabel Oakeshott (@IsabelOakeshott) June 26, 2021

  4:28PM

  Here’s some more thoughts on the ground from the anti-lockdown protesters in central London this afternoon.聽

  Gareth, 29, from Walthamstow, said: “I’m on the march because I feel that the Government is over-reaching and its response to a threat has been far beyond what’s necessary.

  ”The money spent on propaganda to terrify people has been excessive and would have been better spent elsewhere.

  ”I’m not saying there’s no virus, and it has been damaging, but I think the Government needs to focus more on improving the general health of the nation than on medical interventions like jabs.”

  Shirley Jones, a librarian from Crystal Palace, added:聽”We want the lockdown to end but we also want Boris Johnson to sack the philandering and rule breaking. He’s behind all of these rules and he didn’t even follow them himself.”

  4:11PM

  The UK has recorded another 18,270 cases over the past 24 hours, the highest figure since聽February 4.聽

  A further 23 deaths were also recorded in the latest daily period.聽

  On the vaccination rollout, another 200,383 first doses and 158,307 second shots were administered in the latest daily period as of June 25.聽

  It brings the UK’s total to more than 44 million first doses – 83.7 per cent of the adult population – and 32.2 million second doses, 61.2 per cent of adults.聽

  3:51PM

  Those who govern us are drunk on absolute power, and it’s made men like Hancock reckless, says our columnist Allison Pearson.聽

  We were told to stay in our bubbles. The Secretary of State for Health stayed in a bubble alright – a bubble of his own monumental self-regard and arrogant delusion. When the Prime Minister told Dominic Cummings that Hancock was 鈥渢otally fucking hopeless鈥?he was right. For the mass deaths in the care homes, for the glib fibs about PPE, for allowing the NHS to become the National Covid Service, creating a waiting list over 5 million long. He should have been sacked for any or all of those things.

  Comment: Trust me, this matter is not closed – we are raging

  3:39PM

  Anti-lockdown protesters have now packed the streets outside Downing Street.

  Flares are being set off, and the loud chanting, whistling and music continues.

  People have started shouting “Shame on you” and pointing towards Number 10, followed by prolonged booing.

  One speaker stood on a plinth near Embankment Station and told crowds: “We are here to take our freedom back.”

  Participant Iain McCausland travelled to London from Devon to attend the rally. He said: “The main reason I’m here is because I feel this lockdown has come at the cost of our liberty and rights.

  ”Our freedom to assemble, our freedom to travel, and work. I’m really quite angry with the Government, so are everyone here.”

  Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters have gathered in central London this weekend

  Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters have gathered in central London this weekend

  Credit:

  Aaron Chown/PA Wire

  Many protesters held placards railing against their freedoms being curtailed

  Many protesters held placards railing against their freedoms being curtailed

  Credit:

  Aaron Chown/PA Wire

  3:20PM

  New Zealand has聽announced a three-day suspension of its quarantine-free travel arrangement with Australia on Saturday, citing “multiple” outbreaks of聽Covid-19 in the neighbouring country.

  The announcement comes as a two-week lockdown begins in Sydney to contain a rapidly spreading outbreak of the Delta coronavirus variant.

  More than 80 cases have been reported so far in Australia’s largest city, while a handful of community cases have also been recorded in the Northern Territory, Victoria and Queensland in recent days.

  ”But given the high level of transmissibility of what appears to be the Delta variant, and the fact that there are now multiple community clusters (in Australia), it is the right thing to do to keep聽Covid-19 out of New Zealand,” said New Zealand’s聽Covid-19 minister Chris Hipkins.

  He said the suspension would give officials time to consider measures “to make the bubble safer, such as pre-departure testing for all flights” between the two countries.

  New Zealand has previously paused the bubble arrangement five times with individual states but this is the first time it has put a blanket halt to quarantine-free travel from all of Australia.

  2:59PM

  Spaniards were allowed to ditch their face masks for a walk in the park or a trip to the beach on Saturday for the first time in more than a year, but some stayed masked.

  ”I’m surprised because I expected to see many people without masks, but most are still wearing them,” said Manuel Mas, 40, a singer, in the centre of the capital, Madrid.

  While masks do not have to be worn outdoors under the country’s newly relaxed rules, people still have to use them indoors or in crowded outdoor spaces where social distancing is impossible.

  Andrea Sosa, 20, a waitress from Madrid, said she would continue to keep her face covered because she had not been vaccinated yet. “For me it’s important to keep wearing the mask,” she said.

  Spain’s nationwide infection rate as measured over the preceding 14 days was 95 cases per 100,000 of population, down from about 150 cases a month ago. Half of the nation’s 47 million population have received at least one vaccine dose.

  It's a mixed picture in Madrid, Spain, as some choose to keep wearing masks outdoors despite the year-long requirement to do so finally being dropped

  It’s a mixed picture in Madrid, Spain, as some choose to keep wearing masks outdoors despite the year-long requirement to do so finally being dropped

  Credit:

  Manu Fernandez/AP

  2:40PM

  Huge crowds of anti-lockdown protesters have descended on central London.聽

  Thousands of activists have聽been seen marching down Regent Street near Piccadilly Circus in the last few moments.聽

  It comes amid mounting fury at Health Secretary Matt Hancock breaching social distancing rules in a clinch with an aide when hugging was banned, with political pressure now growing and his job under threat.聽

  A series of protests are taking place across London this weekend, including climate change and anti-austerity rallies.聽

  Police carried out “proactive action” raids of some activists on Friday,聽with gatherings and marches set to take place in Westminster, Lambeth and Southwark on both Saturday and Sunday.

  Glad I鈥檓 not in one of those cars on Piccadilly Circus! #Freedom March 鈦?a href=”https://twitter.com/reformparty_uk?ref_src=https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/coronavirus-news-covid-vaccine-travel-quarantine-cases-deaths/twsrc%5Etfw”>@reformparty_uk鈦?馃殎 pic.twitter.com/xSOIn0QOZL

  — Isabel Oakeshott (@IsabelOakeshott) June 26, 2021

  Regent Street #LondonProtest #FreedomMarch @ImDone pic.twitter.com/l8pLDtj6lq

  — Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) June 26, 2021

  2:23PM

  Tory backbencher William Wragg has weighed in on the Matt Hancock furore, posting a cryptic tweet railing against continued lockdown rules.

  The Hazel Grove MP, and chair of the Commons聽Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs committee, ends the tweet pointedly: “The revolution always consumes its own.”

  Re Mr Hancock, a thought: Covid regulations have created a dystopian world of denunciation, finger-wagging & hypocrisy. Let us be freed from this tyranny of diktat and arbitrary rule. As we shall inevitably see with this sad example, the revolution always consumes its own.

  — William Wragg MP (@William_Wragg) June 26, 2021

  2:04PM

  A total of 64,089,251 Covid-19 vaccinations had taken place in England between December 8 and June 25, according to NHS England data.聽

  This covers聽first and second doses, which is a rise of 310,890 on the previous day.

  NHS England said 36,944,843 were first doses, a rise of 177,515 on the previous day.

  Some 27,144,408 were a second dose, an increase of 133,375.

  1:38PM

  Euro 2020 host St Petersburg on Saturday reported the country’s highest daily聽Covid-19 toll for a Russian city since the start of the pandemic.

  Official figures said the city, which has already hosted six Euro 2020 matches and is due to host a quarter final on Friday, recorded 107 virus deaths over the last 24 hours.

  Russian news agencies said this was the highest toll of any Russian city since the start of the pandemic.

  Earlier this week, city officials banned food sales in the Euro fan zone after restricting numbers and ordering the closure of food courts in shopping centres.

  Thousands of students flooded the city’s streets on Friday聽as part of celebrations marking the end of the school year.

  Students ditch Covid rules to gather for the Scarlet Sails festivities marking school graduation at the Palace Square in St Petersburg, Russia

  Students ditch Covid rules to gather for the Scarlet Sails festivities marking school graduation at the Palace Square in St Petersburg, Russia

  Credit:

  Dmitri Lovetsky/AP

  1:18PM

  Now that the first Conservative MP has broken rank and openly called for Matt Hancock to resign, others may follow suit.聽

  But what do you think? Was this scandal the last nail in the coffin for Mr Hancock’s career as the Health Secretary?

  He has so far survived Dominic Cummings’s claims to MPs that he should have been sacked for “at least 15 to 20 things” – including lying on “multiple occasions” – and he also survived texts revealed by Mr Cummings in which the Prime Minister appeared to call Mr Hancock “totally hopeless”.

  All in all, it’s fair to say it has been a difficult month for the Health Secretary, but he has still managed to cling on to his job.

  Will the fact that he breached his own聽Covid rules聽in order to conduct an affair be the final straw?

  Have your say in our poll:

  1:00PM

  The Delta coronavirus variant, first identified in India, appears to have overtaken other strains and is now聽dominating new infections in South Africa, local scientists have told a news conference.

  South Africa is the worst-hit country on the African continent in terms of confirmed聽Covid-19 infections and deaths.

  It is in the middle of a “third wave” of infections, recording more than 18,000 new cases on Friday.

  Acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane told the same news conference that it was now likely that the peak of the third wave would surpass the peak of the second wave in January.

  Africa is struggling with a surging third wave coupled with worryingly low vaccination rates.聽

  Vaccine doses administered per 100 people

  12:42PM

  A YouGov survey has found that around twice as many people believed the Health Secretary should quit than remain in post, at 49 per cent against 25 per cent.

  Cabinet ministers warned Matt聽Hancock鈥檚 fate rests on the strength of the public fury, while Tory MPs have urged Boris Johnson to “pull the plug”聽on him, with the first breaking rank and openly calling for his resignation on Saturday morning.

  Lawyers have described how Mr Hancock may have broken the law regarding coronavirus restrictions, although he admitted only to breaching guidance.

  Mr Hancock is also accused of breaking the ministerial code and in a letter to Mr Johnson, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said Lord Geidt, the independent adviser on ministerial interests, should probe Mr Hancock’s behaviour.

  By 49% to 25% the public say Matt Hancock should resign, amid the allegations of an affair with a close aide.

  This is up from 36% who said he should resign back in May https://t.co/ZqP6pMBJGJ pic.twitter.com/mXESDKFZo2

  — YouGov (@YouGov) June 25, 2021

  12:29PM

  More than 70 per cent聽of coronavirus cases in the Lisbon area are from the more contagious Delta variant, which is quickly spreading to other parts of the country, according to reports.聽

  The national health institute, Ricardo Jorge, said in its report that the Delta variant now聽represented 51 per cent of cases in mainland Portugal, showing it is “spreading rapidly” as it happened in Britain.

  New coronavirus cases rose by 1,604 on Friday, the biggest jump since February 19, when the country of just over 10 million people was still under lockdown. In total, Portugal has recorded 871,483 cases and 17,081 deaths since the pandemic began.

  Although most new cases are still concentrated in the populous Lisbon region, the southern Algarve region, famous for its beaches and golf courses, has the highest R rate.

  The jump in infections comes after tourism-dependent Portugal opened to visitors from the European Union and Britain in mid-May, with businesses bustling and beaches packed.

  On Thursday, Portugal imposed stricter rules, including forcing restaurants to shut earlier over the weekend in Lisbon and in the Algarve.

  Cases, deaths and vaccinations, coronavirus world map

  12:06PM

  Ten years after touching down in Afghanistan, Army veteran Sally Orange walked through the doors of an NHS Nightingale hospital after seeing an opportunity to serve her country again.

  After 22 years’ service in the military, she said it was a “really easy decision” to join the national coronavirus fight.

  Speaking to the PA news agency to mark Armed Forces Day, the Royal Army Medical Corps veteran said: “I think it’s probably the military ethos to think ‘great, I have got an opportunity to serve my country again’.

  ”It was a pleasure and an honour to be able to play a role in that collective national effort. It really did bring out the best in people.”

  Ms Orange, a retired Army major and physiotherapy officer now living in Salisbury, Wiltshire, played a key role at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan where she was responsible for treating seriously injured personnel.

  Back on the front line once again at the NHS Nightingale hospital in London, her role was rehabilitating those who had contracted the virus.

  The armed forces have played a key role throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in what has become the biggest ever homeland military operation in peacetime, with more than 5,000 personnel involved.

  11:48AM

  Hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites including stadiums and shopping centres will be open in England this weekend in a drive to have people jabbed as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.

  NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the country was in a “race to the finish line” in its vaccination programme as summer freedoms loom.

  The “grab a jab” campaign comes as the UK recorded a further 15,810 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 9am on Friday – up 50% on the 10,476 new cases reported a week earlier.

  Covid Vaccination centre at the Emirates stadium

  Covid Vaccination centre at the Emirates stadium

  Arsenal FC hold a mass vaccination event at their Emirates stadium in North London

  Arsenal FC hold a mass vaccination event at their Emirates stadium in North London

  Credit:

  Martyn Wheatley/i-Images

  People enjoy a free stadium tour after receiving their Covid vaccines at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium

  People enjoy a free stadium tour after receiving their Covid vaccines at聽Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium

  Credit:

  Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

  11:25AM

  Duncan Baker, Conservative MP for North Norfolk,聽has called for Matt Hancock to resign after an affair with an aide that breached coronavirus rules on social distancing.

  Mr Baker, who was elected in 2019, is believed to be the first Tory MP to openly call for Mr Hancock to go and told his local newspaper the Eastern Daily Press: “In my view people in high public office and great positions of responsibility should act with the appropriate morals and ethics that come with that role.

  ”Matt Hancock, on a number of measures, has fallen short of that. As an MP who is a devoted family man, married for 12 years with a wonderful wife and children, standards and integrity matter to me.

  ”I will not in any shape condone this behaviour and I have in the strongest possible terms told the Government what I think.”

  Married Health Secretary Matt Hancock is caught on camera in a clinch at his Whitehall office with his married aide, Gina Coladangelo

  Married Health Secretary Matt Hancock is caught on camera in a clinch at his Whitehall office with his married aide, Gina Coladangelo

  11:05AM

  Football fans are set to buy more than five million pints when England face off against Germany in their upcoming Euro 2020 game – one million fewer than if there were no Covid-19 restrictions, a pub trade body has said.

  The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) hopes eight million pints will be sold on Tuesday, with 5.25 million of those served during the last 16 fixture between the Three Lions and Germany.

  Under current coronavirus restrictions in England, pub customers must follow the rule of six, or two households, when in groups, observe social distancing and consume food and alcohol at tables.

  The ongoing limitations mean beer sales will be 1.3 million pints lower during England’s match than if it was shown in pubs without restrictions, the BBPA estimates.

  The trade body claimed this would result in more than 拢5 million revenue lost to pubs in England during the game.

  10:46AM

  Families left bereaved by Covid have written to Boris Johnson adding to the mounting pressure聽for Health Secretary Matt Hancock to quit.聽

  The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group has urged聽the Prime Minister to sack Mr Hancock if he does not resign, and has questioned whether he can now hold any moral authority on the virus restrictions.

  Rivka Gottlieb, from the campaign group, told BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight: “If he were to announce another lockdown or further regulations why would anybody listen to someone who doesn’t follow the rules themselves? It’s a bit like the Cummings effect.”

  We’ve written to @BorisJohnson to tell him our position of neutrality on ministerial conduct is no longer tenable, and neither is @MattHancock position as Health Secretary.

  The Health Secretary should resign.

  If he doesn’t the Prime Minister should remove him from office. pic.twitter.com/2uvO7M3QFJ

  — Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK (@CovidJusticeUK) June 25, 2021

  10:23AM

  The damage goes beyond lost schooling to all the life experiences they missed that cannot be repeated, our columnist Camilla Tominey writes.聽

  My boy at one stage became so miserable that he developed insomnia. Having been the soundest sleeper of all since birth, he would wake up in the night, sobbing. 鈥淲hen will everything go back to normal?鈥?he kept on asking, tears streaming down his little face. It was heartbreaking. Parents are supposed to know everything, yet this remains the one question we are still unable to answer, leaving our kids in a state of Covid-induced limbo that is set to have far-reaching ramifications.

  Comment: Memories for our children are gone and can’t be recovered

  10:00AM

  Britain will not see the culture of working from the office from Monday to Friday return after the Covid pandemic, the head of Boris Johnson’s flexible working task force has told The Telegraph.

  Peter Cheese, the co-chairman of the task force, threw his support behind giving everyone聽the right to request working from home聽when they start new jobs.

  In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Cheese called for more job advertisements to specifically cite the possibility of聽flexible working聽so people with family commitments could apply.

  He stressed that while the pandemic has shown that working from home does not work for some individuals, moving to more flexible working setups will advantage others.

  Ben Riley-Smith reports

  9:45AM

  Hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites including stadiums and shopping centres will be open in England this weekend in a drive to have people jabbed as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.

  NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the country was in a “race to the finish line” in its vaccination programme as summer freedoms loom.

  The “grab a jab” campaign comes as the UK recorded a further 15,810 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 9am on Friday – up 50 per cent聽on the 10,476 new cases reported a week earlier.

  Any adult in England will be able to be vaccinated this weekend without an appointment at hundreds of walk-in Covid-19 vaccination sites including football stadiums, theatres, supermarket car parks and shopping centres.

  The NHS will publicise the sites locally so people can choose the best location for them, or they can type in their postcode to find their nearest sites.

  Queues form at a Covid vaccination centre at the Emirates stadium in London

  Queues form at a Covid vaccination centre at the Emirates stadium in London

  9:30AM

  Two out of five people say their favourite pubs are still closed because of the pandemic, new research suggests.

  The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said pubs remain shut across the UK because of ongoing restrictions such as social distancing and no standing.

  A survey of 1,000 adults for the BBPA by KAM Media found that 40 per cent聽said their favourite pubs are still closed.

  Chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “The current restrictions on pubs are flatlining their recovery before it has even had a chance to begin.

  ”It is very revealing that four in 10 Brits say their favourite pubs are still closed. Clearly there are a lot of locals out there still closed that play an important role in people’s lives.

  ”Pubs and licensees are struggling to recover with the current restrictions they face and debts are accumulating. Every week the current restrictions stay and uncertainty continues, the likelihood of pubs being lost forever increases.”

  9:13AM

  Just 28 Covid cases were detected after 10 major events involving 58,000 people, experts have said, as they confirmed that the聽European Championship finals聽can go ahead safely.

  Between mid-April and mid-May, the Government allowed a number of large gatherings to take place, including the聽World Snooker Championships, The Brits, the FA Cup Final, a 5k fun run and a聽club night in Liverpool.聽

  Participants had to test negative to be allowed in, and were asked to take a second test after the event to see if they had caught Covid there.

  Results published on Friday show that there were no major outbreaks caused by any of the events and just 28 people tested positive in the days that followed.聽

  Sarah Knapton has a full analysis of the figures

  9:03AM

  Former Conservative minister Edwina Currie has insisted “private lives are private”, after photographs of Matt Hancock kissing an aide in his department emerged this week.

  Ms Currie, who had an affair with former prime minister John Major when both were married in the 1980s, told Times Radio: “My own feeling is that private lives are private – they’ve obviously got some explaining to do to their families, but other than that it’s none of our business.

  ”I think also we should be very wary of being terribly censorious and pious that we want perfect behaviour from ministers.

  ”I think things have moved on quite substantially, in particular ways that I welcome – and not just because of my own background – I think if we’re looking for saints we’re going to end up with repeats of Theresa May.

  ”And I think what the public do now in a much more sophisticated fashion and shrewd fashion, is they judge ministers on outcomes.

  ”And just as this photo was appearing, we had the most vaccinated nation in the world, which is actually I think what the Government ought to have been doing, what the public had been hoping for, it makes a huge difference – that’s the kind of judgment I think most people outside the Westminster bubble will be making.”

  8:59AM

  Matt Hancock faces sack if affair becomes 鈥楤arnard Castle moment鈥?/h3>

  Matt Hancock should face the sack as Health Secretary over聽breaching Covid rules聽to conduct an affair if public anger matches the backlash against聽Dominic Cummings’s trip to Barnard Castle, Cabinet ministers have warned.

  Tory MPs urged Boris Johnson to “pull the plug” on Mr Hancock and聽expressed their frustration聽to party whips over the Health Secretary’s “hypocritical” behaviour.

  A Cabinet source told The Telegraph that while Mr Johnson was “standing by” Mr Hancock at present, “it could unravel pretty quickly”.聽The frontbencher added: “If there is a Barnard Castle moment, he is going to be under quite聽a lot of pressure.”

  A senior government source said public reaction was being monitored and could determine聽Mr Hancock’s fate.

  The Health Secretary was accused by senior lawyers of having “likely” broken the law, not just Covid guidance, after images of him in a clinch with聽aide Gina Coladangelo聽in his office in early May were published.

  Mr Hancock聽apologised for breaching social distancing guidance and the Prime Minister sought to draw a line under the episode by saying he accepted the apology and聽the matter was “closed”, Number 10 said.

  Read the full story here

  8:36AM

  Calls are mounting for full audiences to be allowed back at live events after a pilot scheme exploring the impact of large-scale events on Covid-19 transmission found “no substantial outbreaks”.

  The Events Research Programme (ERP), commissioned by the Prime Minister in February, saw 58,000 participants attend indoor and outdoor venues across the country, and the delayed report revealed 28 associated positive cases of Covid-19.

  Industry leaders said the results should pave the way for a “full reopening” of the entertainment industry next month.

  The events industry will be crippled by any continued Covid restrictions

  8:33AM

  Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi and London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined a London vaccine summit on Friday in a bid to boost jab uptake in the capital, which lags behind the rest of England.

  Data shows that an estimated 83.1 per cent聽of over-50s in London had received both doses of vaccine by June 20.

  But all other regions across the country are above 90 per cent, according to the figures published by NHS England.

  Analysis shows that the top 19 local authority areas in England with the lowest proportion of fully vaccinated adults aged 50 and over are all in London.

  Mr Khan warned the reopening next month could be at risk unless enough people are vaccinated.

  He said: “Unless sufficient numbers of Londoners have the jab it makes it more likely that we won’t be able to fully reopen on July 19.

  ”I’m determined to have not only as many Londoners fully protected but for us to reopen on July 19.”

  8:31AM

  Hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites including stadiums and shopping centres will be open in England this weekend in a drive to have people jabbed as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.

  NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the country was in a “race to the finish line” in its vaccination programme as summer freedoms loom.

  The “grab a jab” campaign comes as the UK recorded a further 15,810 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 9am on Friday – up 50 per cent聽on the 10,476 new cases reported a week earlier.

  Any adult in England will be able to be vaccinated this weekend without an appointment at hundreds of walk-in Covid-19 vaccination sites including football stadiums, theatres, supermarket car parks and shopping centres.

  The NHS will publicise the sites locally so people can choose the best location for them, or they can type in their postcode at nhs.uk/grab-a-jab to find their nearest sites.

  Among the sports grounds involved are the Newcastle Eagles basketball arena, Watford’s Vicarage Road, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and Birmingham’s Edgbaston cricket ground.

  Buses offering jabs will also operate in Dudley, Colchester, Ipswich and elsewhere, while community vaccinators will visit the housebound.

  Sir Simon said: “With more than 63 million jabs already delivered by the NHS in England, we’re now in a race to the finish line, and with this new online service, it is easier than ever to find a convenient place to get your vaccine.

  ”With every jab give, we are one step closer to our summer freedoms.”

  Some 75,963,777 jabs have been given in the UK up to June 24, of which 43,877,861 were first doses.

  8:00AM

  Placeholder image for youtube video: KIiQvCNzU7s

  聽Just ten days after the Health Secretary kissed colleague Gina Coladangelo he warned the British public to hug “carefully”.

  7:49AM

  Another week, another update to our precious holiday traffic lights.

  On Thursday, the Government revealed that Malta would be added to its travel green list, meaning that quarantine was no longer a requirement for returning Brits, while the Balearic Islands and Madeira 鈥?and some Caribbean islands 鈥?would be added to the green 鈥渨atch list鈥? a rather shakier proposition, but still one without the need to quarantine on return.

  Boris Johnson also suggested double-jabbed Britons will be able to sidestep quarantine from amber destinations, come August.

  However, in many of our favourite destinations, restrictions do still exist on arrival.

  Read the full story

  Read more:聽Malta imposes quarantine for unvaccinated Britons

  Placeholder image for youtube video: lJ3szbruzlE

  6:48AM

  Sydney and some surrounding areas will enter a hard two-week lockdown on Saturday as authorities struggle to control a fast-spreading outbreak of the delta variant.

  China reported 25 new聽cases in the mainland for Friday, compared with 24 a day earlier, the health authority said.

  The US聽drug regulator on Friday added a warning to the literature that accompanies Pfizer聽and Moderna vaccine shots to indicate the rare risk of heart inflammation after its use.

  聽A Brazilian congressman who has denounced alleged wrongdoing in a 1.6 billion reais (拢232 million)聽Covid-19 vaccine contract signed by Brazil’s government arrived at a Senate commission inquiry on Friday wearing a bullet-proof vest.

  Infectious disease experts are weighing the need for booster shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for Americans who received Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine due to the increasing prevalence of the delta聽variant.

  India reported on Saturday 48,698 new聽infections over the past 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed. Death toll in the country due to the virus increased by 1,183.

  Ambulance staff rest on a bench after their Covid-19 duty at a crematorium ground in Guwahati, India聽

  Ambulance staff rest on a bench after their Covid-19 duty at a crematorium ground in Guwahati, India聽

  Credit:

  AFP

  5:55AM

  Malta imposed a 14-day quarantine on unvaccinated Britons just hours after being added to the UK’s green list, as it emerged that only two green countries are free of travel restrictions.

  The Maltese government reintroduced the self-isolation rule amid growing concern in Europe over the UK’s high rates of the Indian or delta Covid variant.

  Only vaccinated Britons will be allowed into Malta without having to quarantine as its status as the only fully green destination on the list saw a nine-fold increase in holiday package searches online by Britons.

  Read the full story

  Placeholder image for youtube video: c7CB5ZC4GK4

  3:37AM

  After months of closing temporary hospital spaces as the coronavirus pandemic receded, Mexico announced on Friday it will re-open two temporary wards to handle a resurgence of聽cases.

  The Mexican Social Security Institute said the two temporary 30- and 40-bed wards will be opened in covered areas in parking lots of hospitals in the state of Baja California Sur.

  Like the Caribbean cost state of Quintana Roo, Baja California Sur is heavily dependent on tourism and both states have registered increases in case numbers.

  Nationwide, coronavirus cases have rebounded by 14 per cent聽compared to last week, after months of declines.

  A man sells hats as people queue to receive the Pfizer vaccine, during a mass vaccination program for people over 50 at a baseball stadium in Ciudad Juarez

  A man sells hats as people queue to receive the Pfizer vaccine, during a mass vaccination program for people over 50 at a baseball stadium in Ciudad Juarez

  Credit:

  Reuters

  2:50AM

  Australia’s state of New South Wales reported on Saturday 29 locally acquired cases as a list of exposure sites grew as Sydney began a聽two-week lockdown.

  The new restrictions apply to some five million people across Sydney in addition to other nearby population centres.

  Saturday’s data includes 17 infections in the country’s most populous state that were already announced on Friday, taking the number of infections linked to the Bondi outbreak to 80.

  State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she would hold an emergency government meeting with health authorities later on Saturday, signalling further restrictions could be imposed, as exposure sites have increased beyond the initial areas of concern.

  ”If we need to take further action, we will immediately notify the community,” Ms Berejiklian told a news briefing.

  People queue in their cars to get tested at a pop-up testing clinic at Bondi Beach in Sydney

  People queue in their cars to get tested at a pop-up testing clinic at Bondi Beach in Sydney

  Credit:

  AAP

  1:59AM

  Almost 2,500 people who arrived in the UK and tested positive for聽coronavirus聽over the course of three months could not be properly traced because they gave authorities the incorrect contact information.

  A Freedom of Information request submitted to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) revealed that between February 14 and May 10 this year, 2,473 people failed to correctly complete their registration details on passenger locator forms, which must be filled in by law by all those entering the country.

  It was not clear whether any had been prosecuted, but 52 of those who tested positive had a variant of concern.

  The failure to fill in the forms means public health officials may not have been able to ensure those who had tested positive had quarantined correctly and therefore did not spread the virus within the UK.

  Read more:聽Malta imposes quarantine for unvaccinated Britons

  1:50AM

  Just 28 Covid cases were detected after 10 major events involving 58,000 people, experts have said, as they confirmed that the European Championship finals can go ahead safely.

  Dominic Cummings has used the storm surrounding Matt Hancock鈥檚 affair to launch fresh attacks on the Health Secretary, accusing his department of “negligently killing the most vulnerable”.

  Britain will not see the culture of working from the office from Monday to Friday return after the Covid pandemic, the head of Boris Johnson’s flexible working task force has told The Telegraph.

  Malta imposed a 14-day quarantine on unvaccinated Britons just hours after being added to the UK’s green list, as it emerged that only two green countries are free of travel restrictions.