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Russia report over 8,000 new infections
Russia reported 8,817 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including 1,901 in Moscow, pushing the number of infections registered in the country to 4,580,894 since the pandemic began last year.
The government coronavirus task force said 357 people had died from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, taking Russia’s overall death toll to 100,374.
Russia’s Rosstat statistics service, which is keeping a separate tally, has reported a much higher toll. It said on Friday it had recorded over 225,000 deaths related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
The University of Liverpool’s Professor Iain Buchan said vaccination against Covid-19 will not be necessary for those participating in trial events as part of the scheme to enable the safe return of mass gatherings and indoor events.
Prof Buchan, who will assist with running the scheme in Liverpool, said he did not “recognise the conversation earlier” with Prof Mills about vaccine passports. He told BBC Breakfast:
Vaccination will not be a criterion for admission to events: It will just be a test for particles of live virus in your nose.
He added that only those who have provided their consent would participate in the trial.
This is a research programme based on good science and good ethical conduct is to seek consent, so consent is required to attend the event.
The debate around vaccine certificates in the UK continues this morning. Professor Melinda Mills, director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at the University of Oxford, told BBC Breakfast there were “still a lot of open questions” about the Government’s planned Covid status certification scheme.
There’s scientific questions, there’s logistical questions – how will it work – with an app or a paper version? – and there’s real ethical questions as well, too: do I have to pay for the testing if I haven’t been vaccinated or had that opportunity?
So there are still a lot of open questions.
The sociologist said there may be concerns in the community about the storing of private information as part of the scheme, while forgeries could become an issue if paper documents are used, adding:
Once you have forgery you will lose your legitimacy, so it will be really important to understand technically how this will work. The only way to build trust in these systems is through transparency.
In Australia, people have celebrated Easter Sunday in a relatively unrestricted manner as the country reported no new locally acquired coronavirus cases. Reuters reports:
Queensland, the epicentre of a recent, small COVID-19 community outbreak, has had only one infection in the past three days. The state has the tightest restrictions on public gatherings.
Elsewhere, Australians flocked to the beaches, capitalising on the warm weather in many parts of the country, or gathered with families, in a stark contrast to last year’s Easter when a nationwide lockdown kept people confined to their homes.
While many countries have imposed fresh lockdowns or curtailed services for the major Christian holiday trying to keep the third wave of coronavirus from further spreading, Australia’s churches were open and many were attending services during the four-day weekend.
Australia has been one of the world’s most successful countries in curbing the pandemic, with snap lockdowns, border closures and swift tracking limiting coronavirus infections to just over 29,300 infections, with 909 COVID-19 deaths.
The country has had much less, however, with its inoculation drive, missing a March target by about 3.3 million doses as states and the federal government bickered over the blame.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday that the country is on track to give a first dose of the vaccine to all Australians who want it by October. he said:
As the supply has increased with the sovereign vaccine manufacturing, so has the rollout.
CSL Ltd. began production of 50 million doses of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in March in Melbourne, with most Australians expected to receive that shot.
In his Easter message Boris Johnson has said Britain can look forward to “brighter days ahead”.
In his Easter message, the Prime Minister acknowledged it had been a “very tough” year, but said the holiday brought fresh optimism.
This has been a very tough 12 months. But, as ever, the arrival of Easter brings with it new hope.
And, this year more than ever, it brings the promise of brighter days ahead for us all.
Johnson said coronavirus restrictions meant many Christians would again be unable to celebrate their most important festival as they would like to.
But he paid tribute to the way in which they had shown the teachings of Christ and the message of his death and resurrection “permeate through every aspect of daily life”, saying:
That’s why I’ve lost count of the number of church leaders and congregations that have stepped up to support us all in these very challenging times.
Millions of Good Samaritans, each of them showing what loving thy neighbour as thyself really looks like in 21st century Britain.
And having done all that during the darkest days of the pandemic, churches across the UK are now helping us light the path out of it by opening their doors as vaccination centres. It’s really, very moving to see it.
His optimism was echoed by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who wrote in The Sun:
The old has gone, the new is here. Renewal begins now.
England set to trial Covid passports
In the UK Boris Johnson is poised to launch nine “vaccine passport” pilots from mid-April, including three football showpieces at Wembley, and four night-time entertainment trials in Liverpool.
He is preparing for foreign holidays to go ahead this summer, with a “traffic light” system of rules in which travel to “green light” destinations will not require quarantine.
The full story by my colleague Michael Savage here:
The pilot venues will be unveiled on Monday by the prime minister with the NHS drawing up a system that will allow people to use an app or a paper certificate to gain access to major events and reduce social distancing measures.
However, with details of the certificate system still being finalised, Johnson continues to face a mounting political backlash over the use of vaccine passports in the UK. Some MPs are examining whether they could force a vote on the issue. On Monday, Johnson will reassure people that the passports should not be used on public transport or essential shops.
The system being piloted will take account of whether someone has had a vaccination, a recent negative test, or natural immunity after a positive test in the last six months. The pilot events begin in less than two weeks. They will first be deployed at the Hot Water Comedy Club, Liverpool, on 15 April. Others include an FA Cup semi-final and the final; the Carabao Cup final; the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield; the Luna Cinema, Circus Nightclub and a business event in Liverpool, and a running event in Hatfield.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Coronavirus live: Covid vaccine passports to be trialled in England | World news