Coronavirus UK news – June 21 'Freedom Day' may be DITCHED until late July as Indian variant cases surge but deaths low

JUNE 21's unlocking has been plunged into fresh doubt amid fears Boris Johnson is considering a month-long delay to Freedom Day

The Government could now postpone the June 21 unlocking until the start of the school summer holidays in late July after scientists gave a "downbeat" outlook on the threat of the coronavirus Indian variant.

Prof Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance reportedly showed ministers "fairly grim" data yesterday that vaccines are not 100% effective – and that the Indian variant is spreading fast in large parts of Britain.

A Cabinet source told The Times they were braced for restrictions to stay in place for "between two weeks and a month" longer.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest news and updates…

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    CZECH REPUBLIC TO OPEN BORDER FOR EU CITIZENS ON JUNE 21

    The Czech Republic will reopen its borders to EU and Serbian citizens on June 21, the government announced Monday as the country recovers after being hit hard by the Covid pandemic.

    Those arriving will have to show proof of vaccination or of a past coronavirus infection, or provide a negative coronavirus test result.

    A similar regime is already in place for citizens of EU members Austria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia on a bilateral basis.

    The Czech government also raised the limit on audiences at cultural events to 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 people outdoors.

    In schools, children and teachers will be allowed to stop wearing face masks in the classroom in most regions.

  • [email protected]

    THIRD SURGE UK

    UK Covid cases have soared by two thirds in just a week as 5,683 more people test positive in the last 24 hours.

    The latest number of cases brings the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 4,522,476.

    One further death has also been reported with the total now at 127,841.

     

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    TOUCHDOWN

    Holidaymakers have arrived back home from soon-to-be amber-listed Portugal with hours to spare – with some saying they’re “ashamed to be British.”

    Desperate Brits have rushed home in a mad dash to return before 4am – with countless tourists snapped looking fed-up as they hurry home after shelling out for pricey plane seats.

    Anyone landing after 4am today then will have to quarantine for ten days — and spend hundreds of pounds on more Covid testing.

    The sunny European country was on the green travel list – meaning holidaymakers could freely fly for a holiday there without any need to quarantine.

    More on the story here.

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    TV STAR LAURA HAMILTON TAKES TRIP TO A&E OVER COVID JAB

    A place In The Sun's Laura Hamilton went to hospital after having a bad reaction to her second coronavirus jab.

    The TV star, who suffers from immune deficiency disease idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, developed blood spots and was urged to go to A&E.

    She shared a picture from hospital on Instagram and wrote: “Was supposed to be @corinthialondon for a breast cancer afternoon tea…

    "Instead I’m in A&E after a reaction to the second covid jab! #itp @concordemedialondon.”

    The 39-year-old then thanked the NHS staff for looking after her and reassured fans she was fine after undergoing tests.

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    THE SUN SAYS…

    Any case for not unlocking fully on June 21 has surely evaporated.

    The Health Secretary’s stats prove it. Yes, cases of the Indian variant, now dominant here, are rising. But so what, if hospitalisations remain as flat as they are?

    Deaths are still rock-bottom, with just one UK-wide today. And the vaccines provably conquer the Indian strain. As Matt Hancock said, of 12,000-plus cases only three people jabbed twice ended up in hospital. That is a negligible fraction.

    More on the story here.

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    WHEN IS THE NEXT CORONAVIRUS ANNOUNCEMENT?

    Matt Hancock has announced Brits will find out on Monday, June 14, 2021, whether Freedom Day will be moved to July 5.

    The PM or senior members of the cabinet hold the press conference from No10 and are usually accompanied by two senior health or science experts.

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    ‘FAIRLY GRIM’

    The last step for easing lockdown on June 21 could be delayed a fortnight after cabinet ministers were increasingly pessimistic in the latest “downbeat” briefing.

    Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, and Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, gave a briefing to ministers on the latest data that was described as “fairly grim”, The Times reports.

    The delay would enable all over-50s to be fully vaccinated and leave sufficient time for jabs to take effect before restrictions are lifted. 

    They emphasised concerns about the rate of transmission of new strains of coronavirus, such as the Indian variant, and that vaccinations did not provide 100 per cent protection.

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    HOL NO

    Brits’ holiday hopes have been dashed AGAIN as Matt Hancock warns that the new variants are the “biggest challenging” to our domestic freedom.

    The Health Secretary today told MPs that restoring international travel is an “important goal” – but is one that will be “challenging and hard.”

    Health Secretary Mr Hancock said the return to domestic freedom must be “protected at all costs”.

    It comes after he confirmed that over-25s in England will be invited to receive their Covid jabs from Tuesday as the Delta variant “made the race between the virus and this vaccination effort tighter”.

    More on the story here.

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    VACCINE CONFIDENCE IN UNDER 30s INCREASED

    Dr Nikki Kanani, director of primary care at NHS England, said that vaccine confidence in younger people had increased.

    Speaking as over-25s were invited to book their Covid-19 jabs, Dr Kanani told BBC Breakfast: "We're still seeing great uptake and we are definitely seeing younger people coming in and asking more questions, which is absolutely fine.

    "More than four in five 40 to 49-year-olds have had their first dose and two-thirds of 30 to 39-year-olds have already had theirs, and that is still going to increase, of course, as people come forward, so uptake remains high.

    "We had additional polling over the weekend that shows that the confidence in the vaccine has increased by a fifth – by 20% – in those under-40s.

    "What's really important as we go into the younger categories is really appealing to people in their own communities and what our teams have done so well is reflect what a community needs locally – whether that's setting up pop-up (vaccination centres) in Gurudwaras or temples, or in shopping malls or at workplaces, that has been critical to making sure that people feel confident to take up the vaccine when they're asked to do so."

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    NHS BURNOUT OUT AT 'EMERGENCY LEVELS'

    NHS and social care staff burnout has reached an "emergency" level and poses a risk to the future of services, MPs have warned.

    In a highly critical report, the Health and Social Care Committee called for immediate action to support exhausted staff who have worked throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, but pointed to long-standing, unresolved issues even beforehand.

    For example, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) told MPs that, prior to the onset of the pandemic, there were 50,000 nursing vacancies in the UK, while the Royal College of Psychiatrists has said a lack of staff is one of the biggest causes of workforce burnout in mental health services.

    In their new report, the MPs said: "The emergency that workforce burnout has become will not be solved without a total overhaul of the way the NHS does workforce planning.

    "After the pandemic, which revealed so many critical staff shortages, the least we can do for staff is to show there is a long-term solution to those shortages, ultimately the biggest driver of burnout."

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    MALTA RECORDS NO COVID CASES FOR FIRST TIME IN 11 MONTHS

    Malta registered no new Covid-19 cases for the first time in 11 months on Monday, but the Mediterranean island’s health minister urged people to remain careful to prevent any resurgence.

    “Today is the first day with zero cases since last summer,” minister Chris Fearne wrote on Twitter. “It is essential that we maintain discipline and responsibility.”

    The news came as Malta allowed bars, cinemas and theatres to reopen as part of a government timetable to progressively roll back restrictions that was announced months ago.

    Malta last registered zero cases on July 25, but cases then gradually rose, to spike at 510 in March before dropping again. They have been in single figures for weeks.

    The island leads the European Union in the vaccination programme, with more than half the adult population now fully vaccinated and 75% having had at least a first dose. 

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    HOW MANY BRITS HAVE BEEN VACCINATED SO FAR

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    CZECH REPUBLIC TO OPEN BORDER FOR EU CITIZENS ON JUNE 21

    The Czech Republic will reopen its borders to EU and Serbian citizens on June 21, the government announced Monday as the country recovers after being hit hard by the Covid pandemic.

    Those arriving will have to show proof of vaccination or of a past coronavirus infection, or provide a negative coronavirus test result.

    A similar regime is already in place for citizens of EU members Austria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia on a bilateral basis.

    The Czech government also raised the limit on audiences at cultural events to 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 people outdoors.

    In schools, children and teachers will be allowed to stop wearing face masks in the classroom in most regions.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    PORTUGAL MINISTER SAYS SPAIN REQUIRING COVID-19 TEST AT BORDER A 'MISTAKE'

     Portugal's foreign minister said Spain's decision to require a negative COVID-19 test for people crossing the border must have been an error, Lusa news agency reported on Monday.

    Portugal had asked Spanish authorities for clarification on "what could only have been a mistake", Portugal's foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva said.

    "We have asked Spanish authorities for clarification and await it being granted as quickly as possible, because if not we will need to adopt equivalent reciprocal measures," Santos Silva said, adding that "the epidemiological situation in Spain is, at the moment, worse than what we are living in Portugal."

    The land border between the two Iberian nations reopened on May 1 after three months of restrictions and checks, providing relief to local tourist hotspots.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    BRAZIL REPORTS 37,156 CASES AND 1,010 DEATHS IN 24 HOURS

    Brazil has had 37,156 new cases of coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 1,010 deaths from COVID-19, the health ministry said on Monday.

    The South American country has now registered 16,984,218 cases since the pandemic began, while the death toll has risen to 474,414, according to ministry data, in the world's third-worst outbreak outside the United States and India and its second-deadliest.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    THE SUN SAYS…

    Any case for not unlocking fully on June 21 has surely evaporated.

    The Health Secretary’s stats prove it. Yes, cases of the Indian variant, now dominant here, are rising. But so what, if hospitalisations remain as flat as they are?

    Deaths are still rock-bottom, with just one UK-wide today. And the vaccines provably conquer the Indian strain. As Matt Hancock said, of 12,000-plus cases only three people jabbed twice ended up in hospital. That is a negligible fraction.

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    THREEDOM

    Britain's path to freedom has entered the “home straight” — as the UK received another triple dose of Covid good news.

    Three million adults in their 20s are now set to get their jab in England as the immunisation blitz today reaches a “watershed moment”.

    And just two per cent of patients hospitalised with the Indian variant had received both jabs — proof the vaccines are protecting our most vulnerable despite soaring infections.

    In a third boost, NHS England recorded no daily Covid deaths in hospitals on Saturday or Sunday for the first time in 15 months. But officials warn that due to reporting delays, these upbeat ­figures could change over the next few days.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHEN IS THE NEXT CORONAVIRUS ANNOUNCEMENT?

    Matt Hancock has announced Brits will find out on Monday, June 14, 2021, whether Freedom Day will be moved to July 5.

    The PM or senior members of the cabinet hold the press conference from No10 and are usually accompanied by two senior health or science experts.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    HOL NO

    Brits' holiday hopes have been dashed AGAIN as Matt Hancock warns that the new variants are the "biggest challenging" to our domestic freedom.

    The Health Secretary today told MPs that restoring international travel is an "important goal" – but is one that will be "challenging and hard."

    Health Secretary Mr Hancock said the return to domestic freedom must be "protected at all costs".

    It comes after he confirmed that over-25s in England will be invited to receive their Covid jabs from Tuesday as the Delta variant "made the race between the virus and this vaccination effort tighter".

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    GET HOME NOW!

    Desperate Brits have flooded airports as they race against the clock to get back to the UK before Portugal is slapped onto the amber travel list.

    Holidaymakers are in a final mad dash to return as the 4am deadline looms just hours away – with countless tourists snapped looking fed-up as they hurry home after shelling out for pricey plane seats.

    Anyone landing after then will have to quarantine for ten days — and spend hundreds of pounds on more Covid testing.

    The sunny European country was on the green travel list – meaning holidaymakers could freely fly for a holiday there without any need to quarantine.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    'FAIRLY GRIM'

    The last step for easing lockdown on June 21 could be delayed a fortnight after cabinet ministers were increasingly pessimistic in the latest "downbeat" briefing.

    Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, and Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, gave a briefing to ministers on the latest data that was described as “fairly grim”, The Times reports.

    The delay would enable all over-50s to be fully vaccinated and leave sufficient time for jabs to take effect before restrictions are lifted. 

    They emphasised concerns about the rate of transmission of new strains of coronavirus, such as the Indian variant, and that vaccinations did not provide 100 per cent protection.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    TOUCHDOWN

    Holidaymakers have arrived back home from soon-to-be amber-listed Portugal with hours to spare – with some saying they're "ashamed to be British."

    Desperate Brits have rushed home in a mad dash to return before 4am – with countless tourists snapped looking fed-up as they hurry home after shelling out for pricey plane seats.

    Anyone landing after 4am today then will have to quarantine for ten days — and spend hundreds of pounds on more Covid testing.

    The sunny European country was on the green travel list – meaning holidaymakers could freely fly for a holiday there without any need to quarantine.

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    THE SUN SAYS…

    Any case for not unlocking fully on June 21 has surely evaporated.

    The Health Secretary’s stats prove it. Yes, cases of the Indian variant, now dominant here, are rising. But so what, if hospitalisations remain as flat as they are?

    Deaths are still rock-bottom, with just one UK-wide today. And the vaccines provably conquer the Indian strain. As Matt Hancock said, of 12,000-plus cases only three people jabbed twice ended up in hospital. That is a negligible fraction.

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    THREEDOM

    Britain's path to freedom has entered the “home straight” — as the UK received another triple dose of Covid good news.

    Three million adults in their 20s are now set to get their jab in England as the immunisation blitz today reaches a “watershed moment”.

    And just two per cent of patients hospitalised with the Indian variant had received both jabs — proof the vaccines are protecting our most vulnerable despite soaring infections.

    In a third boost, NHS England recorded no daily Covid deaths in hospitals on Saturday or Sunday for the first time in 15 months. But officials warn that due to reporting delays, these upbeat ­figures could change over the next few days.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    THIRD SURGE UK

    UK Covid cases have soared by two thirds in just a week as 5,683 more people test positive in the last 24 hours.

    The latest number of cases brings the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 4,522,476.

    One further death has also been reported with the total now at 127,841.

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