Join Hafta-Ichi to Research the article “UK Covid live: India ‘not withholding vaccines from UK’, says culture secretary | Politics”
Doing the rounds for the government this morning, culture secretary Oliver Dowden also said that coronavirus “certificates”, were being considered as a way of getting people back to larger events, such as this summer’s football matches, “in significant numbers”.
He told Sky News:
From June 21, if all goes to plan in the way that I described, we hope to get people back in significant numbers. We’re piloting the different things that will enable that to happen – clearly it will have to be done in a Covid-secure way.
You would expect, and we will be testing these things, things like one-way systems, things like masks, things like hand hygiene and everything else.
Another thing that we are considering is a Covid certification, and we will be testing whether we can use Covid certification to help facilitate the return of sports.”
He added that final decisions had not yet been made and that he was working with Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, who is leading a review on this.
Last month, the prime minister Boris Johnson took a balanced view to the issue of so-called vaccine passports. He said the UK “cannot be discriminatory” against those unable to take a Covid vaccine and noted the “deep and complex issues” over banning people who have not had the jab. However, he was mindful that other countries appeared to be going ahead with such plans.
UK government spending to respond to the pandemic pushed the public finances further into the red last month, although by less than City economists expected after robust consumer spending prevented a steep fall in VAT.
With the third lockdown in its second month, the Office for National Statistics said public sector borrowing was £19.1bn in February, £17.6bn more than in the same month last year and the highest February borrowing since monthly records began in 1993.
The Financial Times reports that people familiar with the matter have claimed former UK prime minister David Cameron, who became an advisor to Greensill Capital in 2018, urged his former colleagues to increase the financial services company’s access to state-backed emergency Covid loan schemes.
It came just months before the firm collapsed – filing for insolvency this month – and leaving the taxpayer potentially liable for any losses.
Last night, Labour called for an investigation. Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds told the FT:
The government must leave no stone unturned with a full and thorough investigation into this. Taxpayers and businesses deserve answers about why it appears Greensill was given so much access to the Treasury at a time when the chancellor was refusing to engage with groups representing the millions of people he excluded from wage support.
Oliver Dowden also said this morning that the road map out of lockdown has not been affected by the vaccine supply issues. “The road map is not affected, so at the moment, we remain on course for the next easing on [March] 29,” he told LBC.
Prof Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London and a senior scientific adviser, bolsters this view and has said the delay in vaccine supply would not have a big effect on the UK’s vaccine rollout.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he described the delay as “slightly disappointing”, but added: “I don’t think the delay will have an enormous effect.
“We’ll still have enough vaccine to largely continue with the programme.”
He said of greater concern was the South African variant of Covid-19, adding:
Overall, I’m optimistic with this one caveat that we do need to keep these variants of concern at bay. Until we can update the vaccine, rolled out the vaccine and really hopefully the whole adult population which will be this summer, at that point we’ll be in a much safer position.
Here’s the full story from my colleague Alexandra Topping:
A Public Health England study shows that Greece was the largest source of imported Covid infections between June and September last year, accounting for 21% of new cases, compared with 16% for Croatia and 14% for Spain, Sky News reports.
The travel corridor between England and Greece, allowing anyone returning from the Aegean nation to avoid quarantine, remained open till November while countries like France and Spain were put onto an isolation list after cases rose.
Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Sky News: “It seems that little was learnt from the widespread seeding of infections across the UK by returning travellers early in the first wave.”
However, the case numbers were relatively small. Spain was the source for 589 cases; Croatia was the source of 685, and Greece was the source for 882.
India ‘not withholding vaccines’, claims culture secretary
Hello to everyone and good morning to those reading in the UK, it’s Mattha Busby here to bring you everything coronavirus-related from these shores.
The culture secretary Oliver Dowden has been on the radio this morning claiming that India is not “withholding vaccines” from the UK following issues with supply.
Asked if India’s government was withholding vaccine exports, he told LBC:
No, India is not withholding vaccines, and I pay tribute to the work of the Serum Institute. They have had some supply issues with five million doses, as the prime minister and the health secretary outlined yesterday.
But we always knew that there would be ups and downs and that is part of our planning assumptions, that’s why we have been relatively cautious, for example with the road map for getting out of lockdown.”
But my colleagues Michael Safi and Amrit Dhillon report that with caseloads rising in India, and demand for vaccinations growing, the country’s government has asked the Serum Institute to keep more supply at home, and send less to the UK for now.
Earlier this month, the Indian government cried foul over perceived interference in its internal politics by the UK after MPs raised questions over controversial new agriculture laws and the seemingly undemocratic reaction by authorities to some protests by farmers in India.
The cross-party select committee debate drew a sharp rebuke from India – is the UK seeking to avoid upsetting an ally by refraining from public criticism ahead of a planned visit by prime minister Boris Johnson to India in the spring?
Politico reports that Johnson, like Dowden and health secretary Matt Hancock, has also been adamant Delhi was not responsible for the delay, even though the supplier has explicitly blamed the Indian authorities for temporarily stopping exports. He insisted yesterday the delay was “for various technical reasons”. The Times reports that ministers hope “diplomacy is more likely to produce results than a war of words”.
Later today, Johnson will join almost 26 million people in Britain who have received the first dose of the Covid jab. He will receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca, after Europe’s medicines regulator yesterday said it was safe and effective following a small number of reports of blood clots across Europe after inoculation.
Please drop me a line on Twitter or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org with any tips or thoughts.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: UK Covid live: India ‘not withholding vaccines from UK’, says culture secretary | Politics