Coronavirus live news: Indian PM Modi announces free jabs for all over-18s; Norway to shorten vaccine interval

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Modi’s announcement is a U-turn amid criticism of vaccine rollout; Norway announces move to speed up rollout

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4.52pm BST

On data suggesting the Delta variant continuing to spread across England, Navendu Mishra, MP for Stockport, where cases have tripled week on week from 50.4 to 146.2 per 100,000, said the government had acted “too little too late” — both in terms of stopping travel from India in April and also in clamping down on the Delta variant when it emerged in Bolton.

He said it was “inevitable” that it would spread across Greater Manchester (GM), given the population density and number of people who have to travel to a different borough to work or for school.

Clearly the government knew the rates of infection were much higher in GM, so we needed a specific, targeted approach to tackling this. That could have been an even faster vaccination programme or even more test centres or providing more support to people so they are not forced to go to work and put themselves, their families and others at risk.

We are seeing the government react to the situation far later than they should have acted…You could say to me, ‘well actually Bolton is getting the roll-out of vaccines quicker’ which is great, but it’s too little too late. To be fully protected could take three or four months so you won’t see the impact until six months down the line.

4.38pm BST

The Delta variant is continuing to spread across England, data suggests, with a growing area of the north west among locations affected by the virus.

The Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, was first identified in India but is now driving a rise in Covid cases in parts of the UK. On Friday the UK reported 6,238 daily Covid cases, the highest figure since March, while hospitalisations have also begun to rise.

I would note that, even if they had managed to catch it before it has spread beyond the previous core areas, its very hard indeed to stop it from spreading unless you completely lock off travel between locations – especially with the knowledge that its potentially so much more transmissible. All eyes will be on the hospitalisations as those new rises take hold, ICU occupancy and death rates.

I think we are past the point at which local measures can contain the Delta variant to just some areas in the country. That isn’t to say the intense public health response didn’t help – early hotspots like Bolton look like cases are declining now. It’s probably not feasible to deploy those measures [such as surge testing] at a national level, so it’s now a race to get two doses of vaccine into as many people as possible as fast as possible.

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Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Coronavirus live news: Indian PM Modi announces free jabs for all over-18s; Norway to shorten vaccine interval

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