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Covid-19 news: UK lab may have given 43,000 false PCR test results

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Newest coronavirus information as of 11am on 15 October

Operations suspended at Wolverhampton testing lab after investigation

An estimated 43,000 folks could have been given false unfavourable outcomes on covid-19 PCR checks, the UK Well being Safety Company has stated. NHS Check and Hint has suspended testing operations supplied by Immensa Well being Clinic Ltd at its laboratory in Wolverhampton following an investigation into stories of individuals receiving unfavourable PCR take a look at outcomes after they’ve beforehand examined constructive on a lateral movement take a look at.

Samples that might have gone to the lab are actually being redirected to others. “There isn’t any proof of any faults with LFD [lateral flow] or PCR take a look at kits themselves and the general public ought to stay assured in utilizing them and in different laboratory providers presently supplied, stated Will Welfare, public well being incident director at UKHSA. 

The errors relate to check outcomes given to folks between 8 September and 12 October, primarily within the southwest of England. It’s estimated that round 400,000 samples have been processed by means of the lab. A full investigation is being carried out into why incorrect outcomes got, NHS Check and Hint stated. It’s now contacting the individuals who may nonetheless be infectious to advise them to take one other take a look at. Shut contacts who’re symptomatic may also be suggested to take a take a look at, as is already really helpful.

Issues have additionally been recognized on the Newbury Showground testing website in Berkshire. West Berkshire Council stated some unfavourable outcomes could have been given incorrectly. Anybody who bought a unfavourable consequence on the website between 3 and 12 October has been urged to take one other take a look at.

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People who find themselves taking statins could also be much less more likely to die from coronavirus than related folks not on the medicine, analysis suggests. Statins are a standard therapy prescribed for reducing ldl cholesterol within the blood. The analysis, printed in PLOS Drugs, analysed knowledge from 963,876 residents of Stockholm over the age of 45 between March and November 2020. It discovered that statin therapy was related to a barely decrease danger of dying from covid-19. It’s unclear whether or not the statins themselves trigger a decrease demise price, or if different components are accountable.

Charities have referred to as the rollout of booster vaccines for folks with compromised immune methods within the UK “a chaotic failure”, with lower than half of these eligible contacted to this point. Surveys by Blood Most cancers UK and Kidney Care UK discovered that between 55 and 60 per cent of each affected person teams have but to be invited for a 3rd dose. “It’s now clear that the rollout of the third doses for the immunocompromised has been a failure that was poorly deliberate and badly carried out,” stated Gemma Peters, chief government for Blood Most cancers UK.

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Lengthy covid clinics: There are an estimated 706,000 folks in England with lengthy covid signs, and solely 89 specialist clinics set as much as assist them. Help teams concern that capability could also be stretched if there’s one other massive peak in circumstances this winter.

Dashboard: Use our covid-19 dashboard to remain updated with deaths, circumstances, and vaccination charges all over the world.

Important details about coronavirus

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Covid-19 vaccines: All the things it’s essential to know concerning the main photographs

Lengthy covid: Do I’ve it, how lengthy will it final and might we deal with it?

What’s the fairest option to share covid-19 vaccines all over the world?

Covid-19: The story of a pandemic

What to learn, watch and take heed to about coronavirus

New Scientist Weekly options updates and evaluation on the most recent developments within the covid-19 pandemic. Our podcast sees professional journalists from the journal focus on the largest science tales to hit the headlines every week – from know-how and area, to well being and the atmosphere.

The Bounce is a BBC Radio 4 sequence exploring how viruses can cross from animals into people to trigger pandemics. The primary episode examines the origins of the covid-19 pandemic.

Why Is Covid Killing Individuals of Color? is a BBC documentary, which investigates what the excessive covid-19 demise charges in ethnic minority sufferers reveal about well being inequality within the UK.

Panorama: The Race for a Vaccine is a BBC documentary concerning the inside story of the event of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in opposition to covid-19.

Race In opposition to the Virus: Hunt for a Vaccine is a Channel 4 documentary which tells the story of the coronavirus pandemic by means of the eyes of the scientists on the frontline.

The New York Instances is assessing the progress in improvement of potential drug remedies for covid-19, and rating them for effectiveness and security.

People of COVID-19 is a venture highlighting the experiences of key employees on the frontline within the struggle in opposition to coronavirus within the UK, by means of social media.

Stomach Mujinga: Looking for the Reality is a BBC Panorama investigation of the demise of transport employee Stomach Mujinga from covid-19, following stories she had been coughed and spat on by a buyer at London’s Victoria Station.

Coronavirus, Defined on Netflix is a brief documentary sequence analyzing the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to struggle it and methods to handle its psychological well being toll.

COVID-19: The Pandemic that By no means Ought to Have Occurred, and The way to Cease the Subsequent One by Debora Mackenzie is about how the pandemic occurred and why it’ll occur once more if we don’t do issues otherwise in future.

The Guidelines of Contagion is concerning the new science of contagion and the stunning methods it shapes our lives and behavior. The writer, Adam Kucharski, is an epidemiologist on the London Faculty of Hygiene and Tropical Drugs, UK, and within the ebook he examines how ailments unfold and why they cease.

Earlier updates

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14 October

Lateral movement checks are extra correct than first thought, evaluation suggests

Optimistic outcomes on lateral movement checks must be trusted when ranges of covid-19 within the inhabitants are excessive, say researchers after a brand new evaluation of the checks’ accuracy. 

Lateral movement (LF) checks, which will be carried out at residence and provides speedy outcomes, are thought-about much less dependable than PCR checks completed in a laboratory. Nonetheless, the checks measure various things: LF checks detect materials from the floor proteins of the virus and establish people who find themselves more likely to be infectious, whereas PCR checks detect genetic materials from the virus which may stay within the physique for weeks after somebody is infectious. This implies it’s anticipated that LF checks won’t establish all the identical circumstances as PCR checks, so a like-for-like comparability is inappropriate, says Irene Peterson at College School London.

Utilizing a brand new system to evaluate the checks’ sensitivity, Peterson and her colleagues discovered that LF checks are greater than 80 per cent efficient at detecting any stage of covid-19 an infection and more likely to be greater than 90 per cent efficient at detecting who’s most infectious after they take the take a look at.

UK authorities steering says that individuals who take a look at constructive on LF checks ought to have the consequence confirmed with a follow-up PCR take a look at, however this isn’t mandatory, Peterson instructed to BBC Information.

The discovering has implications for stories of an growing variety of people who find themselves testing constructive in lateral movement checks after which getting unfavourable PCR checks. There may be concern that these unfavourable PCR outcomes are giving false reassurance to people who find themselves presently infectious (see yesterday’s replace).

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Coronavirus infections had been rising exponentially amongst 5 to 17-year-olds in England in September, coinciding with the beginning of the autumn college time period. The most recent outcomes from the React-1 examine, based mostly on greater than 100,000 swabs from a random pattern of the inhabitants, present that the general prevalence of the virus has remained steady, with one in 120 folks contaminated between 9 and 27 September. Nonetheless, the an infection price grew amongst these aged below 18, and fell amongst these aged 18-54. The information additionally present that for vaccinated folks, the danger of an infection will increase greater than three months after vaccination. This discovering “reinforces the necessity for a booster programme”, examine chief Paul Elliott at Imperial School London instructed The Guardian

The World Well being Group (WHO) has introduced a brand new group of 26 scientists charged with investigating the origins of the covid-19 pandemic. Its preliminary investigation concluded in March 2021 that the virus was most likely transmitted from bats to people through one other animal, however stated extra analysis was wanted. The brand new Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (Sago) will evaluation what’s already recognized and assess what additional research must be undertaken. “That is our greatest likelihood, and it could be our final likelihood to grasp the origins of this virus,” stated Mike Ryan, government director of the WHO Well being Emergencies Programme. Nonetheless, Chen Xu, China’s Ambassador to the UN, stated the outcomes of the preliminary examine had been “fairly clear” and groups must be despatched to different locations.

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A hand dripping a pattern and take a look at answer onto a lateral movement take a look at.

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13 October

UK authorities examine discrepancies between PCR and lateral movement checks

The UK Well being Safety Company is investigating stories of individuals testing constructive for the coronavirus in lateral movement checks however getting unfavourable outcomes on PCR checks, lots of whom even have signs of covid-19. Underneath present guidelines, those that have unfavourable outcomes on PCR checks wouldn’t have to self-isolate, however scientists are more and more involved that PCR checks could also be giving false assurances.

PCR checks are usually thought-about to be the “gold normal”, however some research counsel they provide false unfavourable outcomes to as many as 30-40 per cent of people that even have the virus. Nonetheless, the proportion of lateral movement positives that had been confirmed by PCR checks dropped in the latest NHS Check and Hint statistics, suggesting one thing else in addition to false PCR negatives is occurring, Oliver Johnson on the College of Bristol instructed The Guardian.

Some have speculated {that a} new variant shouldn’t be getting picked up by PCR checks, however that is thought-about unlikely. Genomic surveillance has not detected a brand new variant and PCR checks goal three elements of the viral genome, making it unlikely {that a} new variant may emerge that might have mutations in all three.

One chance is that lateral movement checks are responding to a distinct seasonal coronavirus. Alternatively, there could also be an issue with the PCR testing course of, similar to a defective batch of reagents.

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The US will reopen its land borders with Canada and Mexico for absolutely vaccinated travellers subsequent month. Solely important journey has been permitted for the reason that begin of the pandemic. The US will settle for travellers who’ve been immunised with any of the vaccines accepted by the World Well being Group, not simply these within the US, in accordance with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Important travellers similar to truck drivers may also should be vaccinated, however this requirement won’t come into pressure till January, officers stated.

Round one in three UK docs don’t imagine their organisation is prepared for the challenges of winter, a docs’ group is warning. A ballot for the Royal School of Physicians discovered that medics additionally felt personally unprepared to take care of upcoming pressures, with many experiencing exhaustion and feeling demoralised. Within the ballot of greater than 800 docs, eight out of 10 of whom had been consultants and most of whom labored within the NHS, 36 per cent stated their organisation was in no way ready for winter. Some 27 per cent of docs stated they had been personally unprepared, and virtually two-thirds stated they had been feeling drained or exhausted. 

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A affected person receives a dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech covid-19 vaccine.

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12 October

French examine finds three covid-19 vaccines extremely efficient at stopping hospitalisation

Vaccination cuts the danger of dying or being hospitalised with covid-19 by over 90 per cent, in accordance with a French examine that’s the largest of its sort but. The analysis in contrast 11.3 million vaccinated folks over the age of fifty with the identical variety of age-matched unvaccinated folks between December 2020 and July 2021. The effectiveness was related for the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, and didn’t diminish in the course of the five-month interval of the examine.

The delta variant emerged in France only one month earlier than the tip of the examine,  however the outcomes counsel that on this interval, the vaccines had been 84 per cent efficient for these aged 75 and over and 92 per cent efficient for these aged 50 to 74.

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Members of parliament have criticised the UK authorities’s response to the covid-19 pandemic in a wide-ranging report printed right this moment, accusing ministers of adopting a “fatalistic method” to how a lot it may gradual the unfold of the virus. The report says the federal government made severe errors together with ending neighborhood testing in March 2020, ready too lengthy to implement a lockdown, and permitting contaminated folks to be despatched from hospitals to care properties. Learn our full story for extra particulars. 

The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has signed an government order prohibiting any entity from implementing covid-19 vaccine mandates within the state. The order conflicts with new guidelines being drawn up by the Biden Administration requiring employers with greater than 100 employees to make sure their workers are vaccinated or examined weekly for the virus. 

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11 October

Unvaccinated pregnant ladies make up one in six of probably the most critically sick covid circumstances

One in six critically sick covid-19 sufferers in England are unvaccinated pregnant ladies, in accordance with new figures from July to September. Of the 118 covid-19 sufferers in England who acquired additional corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) throughout this time, 20 of them had been pregnant. ECMO is normally given to critically sick individuals who haven’t responded to happening a ventilator.

Of the 20 pregnant ladies who acquired ECMO, only one had been vaccinated – although she had solely acquired one dose, NHS England stated. In April, the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation suggested that pregnant ladies must be provided covid-19 vaccines, ideally the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna jabs. 

Out of the opposite 98 individuals who acquired ECMO between July and September, solely seven folks had been absolutely vaccinated, and three had acquired one dose of a vaccine.

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The strict lockdown in Sydney, Australia, ended right this moment. Town has had tight restrictions for 4 months in an effort to sort out the delta variant. Over 70 per cent of individuals aged 16 and over are actually absolutely vaccinated, and each day new an infection numbers are falling.

An infection numbers are rising in New Zealand because the nation continues to ease restrictions. On Sunday 60 new circumstances of coronavirus had been reported – 56 of them in Auckland. “We’re nonetheless on the knife-edge,” Michael Plank on the College of Canterbury in Christchurch instructed Stuff. The federal government introduced plans to loosen up Auckland’s lockdown final Monday – successfully ending its elimination technique. Specialists concern the virus may unfold out of town to much less vaccinated populations. 

Covid passports might be required in Wales to attend large occasions or nightclubs from right this moment. They are going to be obligatory for over-18s and can present whether or not individuals are absolutely jabbed or have examined unfavourable for the virus just lately. Wales’s rugby recreation in opposition to New Zealand on 30 October might be one of many first mass occasions to require Covid passes.

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A well being employee administers a second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine.

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7 October

Vaccines are as much as 94 per cent efficient over 6 months in individuals who’ve additionally had covid-19

Individuals who had been contaminated with covid-19 after which acquired two vaccine doses have greater immunity in opposition to the virus than those that by no means had a pure an infection.

Figures from customers of the Zoe Covid Symptom Research App counsel that individuals who bought two Pfizer/BioNTech jabs after having the sickness noticed a 94 per cent discount of their probabilities of an additional an infection inside six months of their second dose, in contrast with 80 per cent safety for individuals who hadn’t ever had covid-19.

For the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, individuals who’d had covid-19 had been 90 per cent protected, in contrast with 71 per cent in individuals who hadn’t caught it. 

The figures additionally point out that having covid-19, however not getting vaccinated, offers 65 per cent safety in opposition to getting contaminated – and this didn’t wane for as much as 450 days after being contaminated

“That is actually constructive information for general immunity ranges within the UK and signifies that massive numbers of individuals may have efficient and lengthy lasting safety from covid-19,” Tim Spector at King’s School London, who’s the lead scientist on the Zoe app, stated in a press release. “That is additionally sturdy proof to help the necessity for vaccination, even for individuals who have already had covid-19.”

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Greater than 400,000 folks within the UK say they’ve had lengthy covid for a 12 months or extra, in accordance with new figures from the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics. The most typical signs had been fatigue, shortness of breath, lack of scent and issue concentrating. About 1.1 million folks or 1.7 per cent of the inhabitants had been experiencing self-reported lengthy covid of any period, outlined as signs lasting for greater than 4 weeks after the primary suspected coronavirus an infection.

Nations are dashing to purchase provides of molnupiravir, the primary antiviral drug proven to scale back the danger of extreme covid-19 that may be taken when folks first get contaminated. Australia, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore have introduced offers to purchase five-day programs of the medication, with Taiwan and Thailand additionally in talks with US-based producer Merck. When taken twice each day, the drug halves folks’s probabilities of needing hospital therapy or dying.

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Painful crimson irritation referred to as covid toe.

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6 October

Research explains why virus could result in pores and skin situation on palms and toes

The pores and skin situation often known as “covid toe” could also be a facet impact of the immune system’s response to preventing off the virus, a examine has discovered. The symptom leads to chilblain-like irritation and redness on the palms and toes, which may final for months at a time. It sometimes develops inside every week to 4 weeks of being contaminated and may end up in toes and fingers changing into swollen or altering color.

Researchers behind the examine, which has been printed within the British Journal of Dermatology, examined 50 contributors with covid toes and 13 with related chilblain lesions that arose earlier than the pandemic. They discovered one mechanism behind each kinds of the situation concerned the physique producing an immune response with excessive ranges of sure auto-antibodies, which mistakenly goal and react with an individual’s personal cells and tissues in addition to the invading virus. Additionally they discovered a hyperlink with kind I interferon, a key protein within the antiviral response.

Cells lining blood vessels that offer the affected areas additionally appeared to play a essential function within the improvement of covid toes and chilblains.

Covid toe was a standard symptom within the early levels of the pandemic, however has been seen rather more not often after vaccination, a spokeswoman for the British Pores and skin Basis instructed BBC Information.

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One in seven most cancers sufferers globally had doubtlessly life-saving operations postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, in accordance with a examine printed within the journal Lancet Oncology. Researchers analysed knowledge on greater than 20,000 sufferers in 61 nations with 15 frequent cancers. Throughout full lockdowns, 15 per cent of sufferers didn’t obtain their deliberate operation for covid-related causes, in comparison with 0.6 per cent during times of “mild restrictions”. The examine authors referred to as for plans to be put in place in order that, within the occasion of one other public well being emergency, pressing surgical procedures can proceed to happen.

Covid passes might be required to enter nightclubs and sure massive occasions in Wales after the Welsh Authorities received a good vote within the Senedd yesterday. From 11 October, the rule will apply to adults attending indoor, non-seated occasions for greater than 500 folks, similar to live shows or conventions, out of doors non-seated occasions for greater than 4000 folks and any setting or occasion with greater than 10,000 folks in attendance. The NHS Covid Cross have to be used to point out that somebody is absolutely vaccinated or has had a unfavourable lateral movement take a look at consequence throughout the final 48 hours.

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New Zealand: Specialists concern the nation’s deliberate transfer away from its “elimination technique” will result in a spike in circumstances that may overwhelm the well being system.

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Vaccination at a drive-through in Bogotá, Colombia.

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5 October

Immunity wanes six months after second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

The Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine is very efficient at stopping hospital admission even with the delta variant, new analysis exhibits – although its effectiveness in opposition to an infection virtually halves after six months. Two doses of the jab are 90 per cent efficient in opposition to covid-19 hospital admission for all variants for at the least six months, in accordance with the examine. However effectiveness in opposition to an infection fell over the examine interval, dropping from 88 per cent inside one month of receiving the second dose to 47 per cent after six months.

Researchers analysed greater than 3 million digital well being information from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California well being system between December 2020 and August this 12 months. They discovered that the drop in vaccine effectiveness in opposition to an infection over time might be attributable to waning immunity, and never the delta variant escaping the safety provided by the jab.The examine, performed by Kaiser Permanente and Pfizer, is printed in The Lancet.

Within the UK, Pfizer/BioNTech booster jabs are presently being provided to those that had their second vaccine at the least six months in the past and live in residential care properties for older adults, are over 50, or are frontline well being and social care employees. Individuals aged 16 to 49 with underlying well being circumstances that put them at greater danger of extreme signs. and adults who’ve family contact with immunosuppressed people, are additionally being provided third doses.

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The European Union’s medicines regulator has really helpful that individuals with weakened immune methods ought to have a 3rd dose of Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. The company additionally stated a booster shot of this vaccine may very well be thought-about for adults with regular immune methods round six months after the second dose, however left it to member states to determine whether or not the broader inhabitants ought to get boosters.

AstraZeneca has submitted a request to US regulators to authorise a brand new therapy to forestall covid-19 in individuals who have an impaired response to vaccines. The remedy, referred to as AZD7442, incorporates lab-made antibodies designed to remain within the physique for months. Trial outcomes counsel that it cuts the danger of individuals growing any coronavirus signs by 77 per cent, the corporate has reported. 

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New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern declares plans to ease Auckland’s covid-19 restrictions.

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4 October

Vaccine rollout will permit New Zealand to scrap strict lockdowns, says prime minister

New Zealand will shift away from its “zero-covid” technique to at least one wherein virus transmission is managed utilizing vaccines, prime minister Jacinda Ardern has introduced.

For the reason that begin of the pandemic, the nation has sought to get rid of the virus by imposing strict lockdown measures in response to any outbreak. The method was largely profitable till August this 12 months, when the arrival of the extra infectious delta variant made it tougher to stamp out transmission. Over 1300 circumstances have been recorded within the newest outbreak, which started in August.

“With this outbreak and delta, the return to zero is extremely tough,” Ardern instructed a information convention right this moment. “It is a change in method we had been at all times going to make over time. Our delta outbreak has accelerated this transition. Vaccines will help it,” she stated.

Restrictions will begin to be lifted on Wednesday in Auckland, the nation’s largest metropolis, which has been in lockdown for nearly 50 days. Individuals will be capable of depart their properties and meet outdoor in teams of as much as 10.

About 2 million folks have been absolutely vaccinated to this point, or 48 per cent of the eligible inhabitants, which is everybody aged 12 and over. Strict lockdowns will finish as soon as 90 per cent of eligible folks have been vaccinated, Ardern stated.

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An antiviral tablet developed by Merck cuts the danger of hospitalisation or demise in covid-19 sufferers by about half, in accordance with interim trial outcomes. The trial concerned 775 adults with delicate to average covid-19 who had been thought-about high-risk for extreme illness. Half of the group got a five-day course of molnupiravir, taken twice a day. The outcomes had been so encouraging that impartial consultants monitoring the trial really helpful that it’s stopped early. The corporate will search emergency authorisation from US regulators within the subsequent two weeks. If accepted, the drug can be the primary oral antiviral medicine for covid-19.

New guidelines making it simpler to journey to the UK have come into pressure right this moment. The visitors mild system involving inexperienced, amber and crimson lists has been scrapped, with areas categorised as both on the crimson record or not. Totally vaccinated residents – and unvaccinated below 18s – from greater than 50 nations and territories can now enter the UK with no need to finish a pre-departure lateral movement take a look at, take a day-eight post-arrival PCR take a look at, or self-isolate at residence, with only a single day-two post-arrival take a look at wanted. Individuals arriving from a crimson tier vacation spot will nonetheless be required to spend 11 nights at a quarantine lodge costing £2,285 for solo travellers.

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A member of the general public receives a Pfizer covid-19 vaccination.

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1 October

Vaccines for flu and covid-19 can safely be given at identical appointment

It’s protected for folks to get coronavirus and flu vaccines on the identical time, a medical trial has discovered. The reported unintended effects had been primarily delicate to average and there have been no unfavourable impacts on the immune response to both vaccine when each got on the identical day, in numerous arms.

Researchers say the outcomes reinforce present coronavirus booster vaccine steering within the UK, which is for each jabs to be given collectively the place it’s virtually doable.

The examine, involving 679 volunteers in England and Wales, checked out two covid-19 and three flu vaccines, in six totally different combos. Research contributors had been over the age of 18 and had already acquired one dose of both the Pfizer/BioNTech or the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, and had been awaiting their second dose.

One group acquired their second dose of the covid-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at their first examine go to, then a placebo at their second go to. A second group acquired their second dose of the covid-19 vaccine and a placebo at their first go to after which the flu vaccine at their second go to.

The immune responses to each the flu and covid-19 vaccine had been preserved when given collectively, the outcomes confirmed, and 97 per cent of contributors stated they’d be prepared to have two vaccines on the identical appointment sooner or later.

The most typical unintended effects had been ache across the injection website and fatigue. Some covid-19 and flu vaccine combos noticed a rise within the quantity of people that reported at the least one facet impact, however the reactions had been largely delicate or average, the analysis discovered.

“It is a actually constructive step which may imply fewer appointments for individuals who require each vaccines, decreasing the burden on those that have underlying well being circumstances and would normally be provided the influenza vaccine,” stated examine writer Rajeka Lazarus at College Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Basis Belief. The outcomes have been printed as a preprint in The Lancet.

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Scotland’s newly launched vaccine passport app has been hit by technical issues. From right this moment, folks attending massive occasions and nightclubs might want to present proof they’ve had two doses of vaccine utilizing the app earlier than they’re allowed in. The NHS Scotland Covid Standing app was made obtainable to obtain on Apple and Android units on Thursday afternoon. However simply hours after the app’s launch, feedback circulating on social media instructed many customers have been unable to register on it. The Scottish authorities stated the big quantity of individuals accessing the app directly may very well be a motive for the glitch.

Australia will loosen up its guidelines on worldwide journey for residents and everlasting residents in November, having had extreme restrictions in place since March 2020. Individuals might be allowed to go away the nation as soon as their state’s vaccination price reaches 80 per cent, prime minister Scott Morrison has stated. On returning to Australia, vaccinated residents might be allowed to quarantine at residence for seven days as a substitute of getting to remain in a lodge for 14 days. No timetable has been introduced for opening the border to overseas travellers. 

Solely 15 out of 54 African nations have met the purpose of vaccinating 10 per cent of their inhabitants by the tip of September, the World Well being Group has stated. Simply 2 per cent of the greater than 6 billion vaccines given globally have been administered on the continent.

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A teen receives the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine.

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30 September

Evaluation helps vaccinating kids aged 12 to 17

The advantages of providing two doses of covid-19 vaccine to all kids aged 12 to 17 in England clearly outweigh the dangers given the present excessive case charges, in accordance with a brand new evaluation. Youngsters aged 12 to fifteen are presently being provided just one dose of covid-19 vaccine until they’re thought-about excessive danger.

Researchers estimated the covid-19 hospital admissions and deaths, plus circumstances of lengthy covid, that might be prevented over 4 months by absolutely vaccinating all kids on this age group. On 15 September, the case price amongst 10 to 19-year-olds in England stood at 680 circumstances per 100,000. If the speed rises to 1000 per 100,000, vaccination may avert 4420 hospital admissions and 36 deaths over a 16-week interval, the examine estimated. At a decrease case price of fifty per 100,000, vaccination may avert 70 admissions and two deaths over the identical interval.

Vaccination would avert between 8000 and 56,000 circumstances of lengthy covid, the examine suggests, assuming that between 2 and 14 per cent of youngsters with covid-19 go on to expertise lengthy covid. The examine might be printed right this moment within the Journal of the Royal Society of Drugs.

“This evaluation exhibits that, on medical dangers alone, vaccination is warranted for 12 to 17-year-olds in England,” stated Deepti Gurdasani of Queen Mary College of London, lead writer of the examine. “Whereas we wait to grasp the long-term results of covid-19 on kids, the precautionary precept advocates for shielding all kids from publicity to this virus and vaccination is a vital a part of that safety.”

The speed of coronavirus transmission within the UK is presently regarded as highest amongst secondary college age kids, with 2.8 per cent on this group testing constructive in probably the most current figures from the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics on 18 September. 

The UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) beforehand determined that, whereas the advantages of vaccination of kids aged 12 to fifteen do outweigh the dangers, these advantages aren’t sufficiently big to justify a vaccination programme for this age group. Nonetheless, it wasn’t within the JCVI’s remit to think about how vaccination of 12-to-15-year-olds would stop college absences or curb the unfold of the virus in communities. Taking components like these under consideration, the UK’s Chief Medical Officers really helpful that 12-to-15-year-olds be provided a single dose of the vaccine.

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The UK authorities’s furlough scheme, which has helped pay the wages of 11.6 million employees for the reason that begin of the pandemic, is ending right this moment. Practically a million employees had been anticipated to be nonetheless on the scheme on the finish of September, in accordance with the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics. Economists have predicted that the tip of the scheme will result in an increase within the price of unemployment, which stood at 4.6 per cent final month.

YouTube says it’ll take away movies that comprise misinformation about all vaccines, increasing its insurance policies round well being misinformation which had been strengthened in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. The Google-owned video platform stated its ban on covid-19 vaccine misinformation, which was launched final 12 months, has seen 130,000 movies eliminated to this point in consequence, however extra scope is required to clamp down on broader false claims about different vaccines showing on-line. Underneath the brand new guidelines, any content material which falsely alleges that any accepted vaccine is harmful and causes persistent well being issues might be eliminated, as will movies that embrace misinformation concerning the content material of vaccines.

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Booster vaccines: The proof on coronavirus booster photographs isn’t definitive but, but it surely suggests you actually ought to get an additional vaccine dose if you’re provided one.

Vaccination technique: Prioritising folks of color for the covid-19 vaccines after they had been briefly provide would have prevented extra deaths than rolling out the vaccine purely by age teams, a US modelling examine suggests

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29 September

Over a 3rd of individuals recovering from covid-19 have at the least one lengthy covid symptom between 3 and 6 months after an infection, a examine has discovered. The discovering relies on well being information from over 270,000 folks within the US. The most typical reported signs had been nervousness or despair, in 15 per cent of contributors who’d had covid-19, adopted by irregular respiration and stomach signs, each seen in 8 per cent, and fatigue, in 6 per cent.

These signs usually are not essentially associated to covid-19, however the examine in contrast their prevalence in folks recovering from covid-19 and in individuals who’d had influenza, and located that, collectively, a set of 9 signs had been 1.5 instances extra frequent after covid-19 than after the flu. Lengthy covid signs had been barely extra frequent in ladies than in males, and extra frequent in those that had been hospitalised.

Makes an attempt to estimate the prevalence of lengthy covid have produced broadly various outcomes, relying on how the situation is outlined and measured. Current figures from the UK Workplace for Nationwide Statistics instructed that 11.7 per cent of people that examined constructive for covid-19 described themselves as experiencing lengthy covid 12 weeks after an infection, however solely 3 per cent skilled signs repeatedly for at the least 12 weeks.

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Individuals receiving a 3rd dose of coronavirus vaccine expertise related charges of unintended effects to these receiving their second dose, in accordance with the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Out of 12,500 individuals who accomplished a survey, 79 per cent reported native reactions similar to itching or ache on the injection website, whereas 74 per cent reported systemic reactions, which had been primarily fatigue, muscle aches and complications.

Pfizer and BioNTech have submitted trial knowledge for his or her covid-19 vaccine in 5-to-11-year-olds to the US medicines regulator, and say they are going to make a proper request for emergency authorisation in coming weeks.

The Scottish authorities will delay the enforcement of vaccine passports by two weeks, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has stated, giving companies till 18 October to adjust to the brand new legislation. Individuals over 18 should present proof of vaccination to attend a nightclub or massive occasion below the coverage.

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A pupil receives the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine.

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28 September

Survey of kids in England finds youthful ages extra hesitant about vaccination

Youthful kids look like much less prepared to have a covid-19 vaccination than older youngsters, in accordance with a survey of greater than 27,000 college students aged between 9 and 18 in England. Total, half the respondents stated they had been prepared to have a coronavirus vaccination, 37 per cent stated they had been undecided and 13 per cent stated they wished to choose out. Nonetheless, simply over a 3rd of nine-year-olds stated they’re prepared to have a covid-19 jab, in contrast with 51 per cent of 13-year-olds and 78 per cent of 17-year-olds.

The survey was carried out in colleges throughout Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Merseyside between Might and July this 12 months by researchers on the College of Oxford, College School London (UCL) and the College of Cambridge. The findings come after 12-to-15-year-olds in England and Scotland final week began to get vaccinated.

Younger individuals who imagine they’ve had covid-19 already had been extra more likely to say they are going to choose out of getting a vaccine, the survey discovered. College students who had been extra hesitant about getting the jab had been additionally extra more likely to attend colleges in disadvantaged areas, report spending longer on social media, and say they really feel as if they didn’t establish with their college neighborhood.

Researchers are calling for extra sources and data to be supplied to communities and college students to make sure younger folks know the covid-19 vaccine is protected. They are saying well being messaging about vaccine security and its results on kids must be shared by trusted sources on social media.

The survey discovered that almost all of kids who stated they had been hesitant about getting the vaccine had been nonetheless undecided. “That could be a big alternative for us, but it surely additionally suggests that there’s danger,” stated Russell Viner, a examine writer from UCL. “Younger individuals are doubtlessly susceptible to these pushing views which are very strongly against vaccination.”

Some headteachers have reportedly been focused by hoax letters with misinformation concerning the vaccine programme, which embrace a pretend NHS brand and a “consent guidelines” to share with college students. A faculty in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, has apologised for passing the letter on to folks in error.

Different coronavirus information

People who smoke are 80 per cent extra more likely to be admitted to hospital and considerably extra more likely to die from covid-19 than non-smokers, new analysis exhibits. The examine, printed within the journal Thorax, is the primary of its sort to have a look at each observational and genetic knowledge on smoking and coronavirus. It included 421,469 contributors within the UK Biobank examine, with consequence knowledge as much as 18 August 2020. The outcomes confirmed that, in contrast with never-smokers, present people who smoke had been twice as more likely to die with covid-19 in the event that they smoked one to 9 cigarettes a day, whereas these smoking 10 to 19 cigarettes a day had been virtually six instances extra more likely to die. Individuals who smoked greater than 20 a day had been over six instances extra more likely to die in comparison with individuals who had by no means smoked.

Vaccine passports can be required for these attending nightclubs, music venues, festivals and sports activities grounds in England below the federal government’s autumn and winter contingency Plan B. The proposed plan, printed right this moment, will solely be launched if the nation faces a tough winter with rising covid-19 circumstances within the colder months, the federal government stated. The federal government is asking for views from companies, occasion organisers, and venue operators on its proposals by 12 October.

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A mom breastfeeding her son.

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27 September

Neutralising antibodies in breast milk could defend infants from covid-19 an infection

Breastfeeding ladies who’ve had covid-19 secrete neutralising antibodies in opposition to the virus into their breast milk for as much as 10 months after an infection, in accordance with analysis introduced at a convention. Rebecca Powell at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and her colleagues analysed breast milk samples from 75 ladies who had recovered from a covid-19 an infection. They discovered that 88 per cent of the samples contained antibodies in opposition to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and usually they had been able to neutralising the virus. 

The findings, introduced on the International Breastfeeding and Lactation Symposium on 21 September, counsel that breastfeeding may assist to guard infants from getting contaminated with covid-19. That is recognized to be the case for different respiratory ailments similar to influenza and pertussis. Whereas younger kids are at decrease danger from extreme covid-19 than adults, round one in 10 infants beneath the age of 1 require hospital care if they’re contaminated. Antibodies extracted from breast milk may be used as a remedy for adults with covid-19, Powell instructed The Guardian.

The examine additionally discovered that almost all of ladies who had the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines additionally had coronavirus-specific antibodies of their breast milk, however decrease ranges of antibodies had been seen in milk from ladies who had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This helps earlier analysis suggesting that vaccinations for breastfeeding moms will help to guard their infants from covid-19 an infection, though this has not but been demonstrated conclusively.

Different coronavirus information

The covid-19 pandemic has led to the largest fall in life expectancy in western Europe for the reason that second world warfare, researchers have discovered. The examine, printed within the Worldwide Journal of Epidemiology, included knowledge from 29 nations, 22 of which noticed a drop in life expectancy that was larger than half a 12 months in 2020. The consequences had been bigger for males than ladies in most nations. Males within the US noticed the largest fall, with 2.2 years taken off their life expectancy in 2020 in contrast with 2019.

Australian authorities have introduced plans to carry restrictions regularly in Sydney, which has been in lockdown since June. Eating places, retail shops and gymnasiums can start to reopen on 11 October, however solely people who find themselves absolutely vaccinated might be allowed to renew procuring, consuming out, and another actions. Round 60 per cent of individuals aged 16 and over are presently absolutely vaccinated within the state of New South Wales.

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24 September

Deaths from covid-19 result in drop in life expectancy for boys born in UK

Life expectancy for males within the UK has fallen for the primary time in 4 many years, because of the influence of the covid-19 pandemic. New figures from the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics (ONS) counsel {that a} boy born between 2018 and 2020 is anticipated to reside for 79 years, in contrast with 79.2 years for births between 2015 and 2017. For girls, life expectancy stays unchanged at 82.9 years. The estimates are calculated based mostly on present mortality charges, which had been unusually excessive in 2020, particularly for males.

The figures don’t imply a child born in 2018-2020 will reside a shorter life, says Pamela Cobb from the ONS Centre for Ageing and Demography. “To get a greater estimate of this we have to contemplate how mortality and subsequently life expectancy will enhance into the longer term. It will likely be a number of years earlier than we perceive the influence, if any, of coronavirus on this,” she says.

Different coronavirus information

Covid-19 vaccines have prevented 123,100 deaths in England, in accordance with new estimates. The figures, which have been calculated by Public Well being England and the College of Cambridge, cowl the interval as much as 17 September. Earlier estimates had put the quantity at 112,300 deaths. Round 23.9 million infections have additionally been prevented by the vaccine rollout, together with 230,800 hospital admissions amongst folks aged 45 and over. Greater than 89 per cent of all folks aged 16 and over in England have now acquired at the least one dose of vaccine, whereas practically 82 per cent are absolutely vaccinated.

The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) has endorsed booster vaccines for folks aged 65 and over and people with underlying well being circumstances, following the authorisation from the Meals and Drug Administration on Wednesday. The CDC’s panel of advisers declined to help booster vaccines for folks in jobs with a excessive danger of publicity to the virus, similar to healthcare employees, however CDC director Rochelle Walensky determined to incorporate this class within the company’s advice. The recommendation applies to individuals who have already had two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine at the least six months in the past.

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Glass vials containing the BioNTech, Pfizer vaccine.

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23 September

US regulator authorises boosters for older folks, however rejects broader rollout

The US medicines regulator has authorised coronavirus booster vaccines for folks aged 65 and over, folks at excessive danger of extreme illness and those that are commonly uncovered to the virus, similar to healthcare employees. The choice signifies that these teams can begin to obtain a 3rd dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine 6 months after their second dose. Those that have had different vaccines should anticipate additional approvals.

Pfizer had requested the Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) to permit additional doses for all folks aged 16 and over, however the FDA panel concluded that there was inadequate proof to help boosters for the broader inhabitants past high-risk teams. A separate advisory committee for the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, which determines US vaccine coverage, is anticipated to situation steering right this moment which can embrace suggestions on which teams ought to qualify as excessive danger. The US has already given additional vaccines to over 2 million folks with compromised immune methods.

Different coronavirus information

The US will donate 500 million extra covid-19 vaccines to different nations, president Joe Biden has introduced at a digital summit on the pandemic, bringing the nation’s complete donations to over 1 billion doses. Supply of the brand new tranche will start in January. At a United Nations Basic Meeting assembly yesterday, leaders from growing nations together with the Philippines, Peru and Ghana condemned wealthier nations for failing to share vaccines equitably.

New journey guidelines for England that require travellers from some nations to quarantine even when they’re absolutely vaccinated have sparked outrage and bewilderment, The Guardian stories. Underneath the principles, travellers to England who’ve been absolutely vaccinated with Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines within the US, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea or a European Union nation are exempt from quarantine, however individuals who acquired the identical vaccines in different nations should quarantine for 10 days after arrival. Medical doctors and politicians from India, Brazil and Nigeria are amongst those that have expressed anger concerning the guidelines.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Winter forecast: A authorities scientific advisory committee has stated that the variety of folks in England admitted to hospital with the coronavirus may rise to between 2000 and 7000 a day over the subsequent few months. Right here’s why the predictions for winter are so bleak, regardless of excessive vaccination charges.

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Pupils elevate their palms in a lesson as they return to highschool.

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22 September

Multiple in 100 college kids in England have covid-19, however absences are decrease than in July as a result of complete lessons now not isolate

About 1.2 per cent of faculty kids in England had been absent attributable to confirmed or suspected covid-19 on 16 September, in accordance with new figures from the UK’s Division for Schooling. This compares with 1.0 per cent in July earlier than colleges closed for the summer time holidays. Most faculties reopened in September having eliminated some social distancing restrictions, together with mask-wearing and retaining kids inside “bubbles” – small teams normally consisting of 1 or a couple of lessons. Underneath this technique the entire bubble would bel despatched residence to isolate if one member examined constructive. Now, under-18s wouldn’t have to remain at residence and isolate if they’ve been involved with somebody who has examined constructive – provided that they themselves develop signs or have a constructive take a look at consequence.

The brand new guidelines imply that whereas there’s presently a better price of covid-19 infections amongst under-18s, fewer kids should miss college due to isolation guidelines. The full price of covid-19-related absences was 1.5 per cent on 16 September, in contrast with 14.3 per cent in July. “These nationwide figures masks some important points arising at a neighborhood stage, and we already know of faculties which are struggling to maintain lessons open attributable to outbreaks occurring,” Paul Whiteman, normal secretary of the Nationwide Affiliation of Head Lecturers instructed The Guardian.

Different coronavirus information

Australia will reopen its borders for worldwide journey by Christmas on the newest, the nation’s Tourism Minister Dan Tehan stated right this moment. In the meantime within the state of Victoria, lecturers and childcare employees have been instructed that they have to be absolutely vaccinated in opposition to covid-19 earlier than they return to work subsequent month.

The Johnson & Johnson “single-dose” covid-19 vaccine is more practical after two doses, the agency stated yesterday. A second dose of the jab given eight weeks after the primary led to folks being 94 per cent much less more likely to get a symptomatic an infection in contrast with those that had been unvaccinated, in a US trial. Only one dose was 66 per cent efficient within the first month after vaccination. Giving the second dose six months after the primary led to an even greater rise in antibodies.

See earlier updates from July to September 2021, June to July 2021, Might 2021, April-March 2021, February 2021, January 2021, November/December 2020, and March to November 2020.

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