Coronavirus UK news – Will lockdown REALLY ease in 3 weeks as Boris says some covid rules may lift? Announcement at 5pm

SOME lockdown measures could begin to be eased in three weeks time, Boris Johnson suggested today.

After a fall in covid cases and the country still on track to vaccinate all of our four most vulnerable groups by mid-February, the Prime Minister said ministers will be 'looking at the potential of relaxing some measures'.

But his comments sparked some confusion when he refused to confirm that any lockdown easing could see more children back in school – an issue that is creating growing anger among his own Conservative MPs.

At 5pm this evening Health Secretary Matt Hancock will address the nation on the latest coronavirus details, where he is sure to face questions on exactly what rules may be eased in three weeks time.

Follow that press conference and all the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis in our live blog below.

  • John Hall

    GRAN, 92, DIES DAYS AFTER RECEIVING THE JAB AS THE VACCINE 'HAD YET TO TAKE EFFECT'

    A Gran has died just days after receiving her coronavirus jab – as the "vaccine had yet to take effect".

    Mary Green, 92, was given her first dose of the Covid vaccine on New Year’s Eve, but tested positive for the virus just five days later.

    The great-grandmother's family said it’s not clear when she contracted the virus at the care home in North Tyneside.

    Vaccines don’t take immediate effect and two doses are needed for patients to have the highest levels of protection, experts say.

    Her son Chris Green told ChronicleLive that knowing she had come so close to being protected from the virus was a "devastating blow" to the family.

  • John Hall

    WHEN WILL THE NEXT LOCKDOWN REVIEW BE?

    The PM said on January 25, 2021, that he is "looking at the potential of relaxing some measures" ahead of a review of restrictions in mid-February.

    Mr Johnson said the Government is "looking at the data as it comes in, looking at the rates of infection" when asked about the easing of restrictions.

    He added that the UK was on track to give the 13 million most vulnerable Brits a vaccine by February 15, saying: "But before then we'll be looking at the potential of relaxing some measures."

    By law, the UK government must review lockdown restrictions every two weeks.

    The last government review of England’s lockdown took place on Tuesday, January 19 – so the next review will take place before February 2.

  • John Hall

    LOCKED DOWN SOLDIERS REVOLT OVER QUARANTINE RATIONS

    Soldiers in Britain's biggest Army base are threatening to revolt over their terrible quarantine grub – including cold burgers without buns.

    Around 400 squaddies are in quarantine at the army's megabase in Catterick, Yorks, after an outbreak swept through the base.

    The soldiers are threatening to down arms over the meals as morale hits rock bottom.

    A source said: "They hear a knock on the door and there's a styrofoam box of food left on the floor, and it's always cold as it takes 40 minutes to come from the kitchen. The portions are small and the food is often overcooked and dry."

    One meal was a cold burger and a handful of soggy fries – not even a burger bun.

  • John Hall

    THE POTENTIAL OF RELAXING SOME MEASURES'

    Downing Street has sought to clarify Boris Johnson's remarks that the Government will be "looking at the potential of relaxing some measures" before mid-February.

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "We continue to keep the latest scientific evidence and data under review, and it remains the case that we want to ease restrictions when it is safe to do so.

    "The Prime Minister was just making clear that, as I just said, we continue to look at the latest evidence in terms of the transmission of the virus, the number of people hospitalised, and the number of people who sadly go on to die.

    "And he was making the point that ahead of February 15, which as you know is the review point, we will look at that evidence closely, and that will inform what we may or may not be able to ease from the 15th onwards."

    The spokesman said that in advance of February 15 the Government would look at the latest scientific evidence and data, though the 15th will be the "point where we review the national lockdown restrictions".

  • John Hall

    BRIDE-TO-BE, 28, DIES OF COVID AFTER BEING ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL WITH APPENDICITIS

    A bride-to-be has died of Covid at just 28 after she was admitted to hospital with suspected appendicitis.

    Family and friends of Laura Gentry have spoken of their heartbreak after the Norfolk care worker's death.

    Miss Gentry, who was engaged to partner Jack Brighouse, was initially rushed to hospital with abdominal pains.

    However, she was then diagnosed with coronavirus while on a ward at the James Paget University Hospital in Great Yarmouth.

    Medics put her on a ventilator, but she lost her battle for life weeks later

  • John Hall

    'EARLY EVIDENCE' LOCKDOWN IS WORKING, SAYS STURGEON

    There has been "early evidence" that lockdown is working, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

    The First Minister announced a second shutdown earlier this month, with initial plans to see restrictions relax by early February.

    While the lockdown looks set to continue for longer than planned, case numbers appear to be declining, the First Minister said.

    Ms Sturgeon announced: "We are seeing some early evidence that these restrictions are working, which is positive.

    "We think they are starting to reduce case numbers and while it will take a bit of time yet to feed properly into admissions to hospital and ICU, we also hope that we might be starting to see some early positive signs too."

  • John Hall

    SCOTLAND DEATH TOLL RISES BY 4 IN PAST 24 HOURS

    Scotland has recorded four deaths of coronavirus patients and 752 new cases in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

    The death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 5,709.

    Speaking at the Scottish Government coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said the daily test positivity rate is 8.6%, up from 7.4% on Sunday, when 1,195 new cases were recorded.

    A total of 172,953 people have tested positive in Scotland since the start of the pandemic, up from 172,201 the previous day.

    There are 2,016 people in hospital confirmed to have Covid-19, up six in 24 hours.

  • John Hall

    VACCINATION DATA – UPDATE

    The number of Brits who have received their first dose of the vaccine up to and including January 23 has reached 6,353,321.

    In comparison, 469,660 people have received their second dose in the UK.

  • John Hall

    MORE DEADLY AND SPREADABLE MUTANT COVID STRAIN IS A ‘TURN FOR THE WORSE’

    Indications the mutant coronavirus variant which emerged in the south of England may be more deadly and be more transmissible are a “serious turn for the worse”, a leading scientist has said.

    A paper from the New And Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), published on Friday, said there was a “realistic possibility” that the variant is associated with an increased risk of death.

    Member of Nervtag Prof John Edmunds said: “If the case fatality ratio stayed the same, an increase in transmissibility is worse than a corresponding increase in case fatality because you have an expanding epidemic, and so more and more cases.

    “Unfortunately, it looks as if this virus might be both – certainly increased transmissibility compared with the previous strains that we were dealing with, and it looks as if unfortunately it may also increase fatality as well, so it’s really a serious turn for the worse unfortunately.”

  • John Hall

    FURTHER 872 COVID CASES IN WALES AS DEATHS RISE BY 23

    There have been a further 872 cases of coronavirus in Wales, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 188,583.

    Public Health Wales reported another 23 deaths, taking the total in Wales since the start of the pandemic to 4,553.

  • John Hall

    HOT TUB PARTY COVIDIOTS TOLD COPS THEY 'DIDN'T KNOW THERE WAS A PANDEMIC'

    Covidiots hosting a hot tub party in a back garden told cops they “didn’t know there was a pandemic”. 

    The group were caught by officers in Gosport, Hants and reported for breaching coronavirus restrictions last Saturday.

    One of the revellers even told officers they were completely unaware of the global pandemic – and didn’t know they were breaking any rules.

    Gosport Police wrote on Twitter yesterday: “Last night persons were reported for breaching COVID-19 regulations, after holding a hot tub party in the back garden.

    “One occupant claimed they were unaware of the global pandemic, and he was almost arrested after refusing to provide his details!”

  • John Hall

    MATT HANCOCK TO ADDRESS THE NATION TONIGHT

    The Health Secretary will address the nation this afternoon, while Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to reopen schools in England.

    The Health Secretary will talk to the press from No10 Downing Street, London, from 5pm today, Monday January 25.

    Matt Hancock has been photographed leaving his West London home after being told to self-isolate by his track and trace app.

  • John Hall

    LESS THAN 60 PER CENT ISOLATE WHEN ADVISED TO, NHS TEST AND TRACE BOSS REVEALS

    Less than 60 per cent of people advised to isolate because of coronavirus are doing so, the head of NHS Test and Trace has revealed.

    Baroness Dido Harding said people tended not to follow the rules because of practical, financial and mental health concerns.

    But she stressed that all surveys on isolation data are "imperfect" because they rely on people reporting on their own behaviour.

    The Tory peer told a Confederation of British Industry (CBI) webinar: "The latest data we have from Test and Trace would suggest that just under 60% of people are following the advice.

    "But of course everyone's definition of what following the advice is is slightly different – and it is really hard to stay inside and not have contact with anybody for 10 days."

  • John Hall

    LEE RIGBY’S MUM SAID IT ‘WOULD NOT BE JUSTICE’ IF SON’S KILLER DIED FROM COVID

    Lee Rigby’s mum has said it “would not be justice” if her son’s killer died after testing positive for coronavirus.

    Killer Michael Adebowale is fighting for life in hospital after being struck down by Covid-19.

    The 29-year-old was taken from Broadmoor last week after his condition rapidly went downhill.

    And Lee’s mum Lyn Rigby, 53, said she wants her son’s killers to serve “every day” of their sentence behind bars.

    She said: “It would not be justice for Covid to take this man prematurely and end the sentence handed to him.”

  • John Hall

    CATS AND DOGS MAY NEED TO GET COVID VACCINE TO CURB TRANSMISSIONS

    Cats and dogs may need to get the Covid vaccine to curb the spread of the virus, a group of scientists has said.

    Coronavirus can infect a wide range of domesticated animals – and experts have said that giving pets the jab is a "precaution" to reduce the risks of the virus spreading further.

    Experts from the University of East Anglia, Earlham Institute, and the University of Minnesota wrote in the journal Virulence that continued evolution of the virus in animals followed by transmission to humans "poses a significant long-term risk to public health".

    They said: "It is not unthinkable that vaccination of some domesticated animal species might… be necessary to curb the spread of the infection."

    Last year, Denmark's government culled millions of mink after it emerged that hundreds of Covid cases in the country were linked with variants associated with farmed mink.

  • John Hall

    NEW RESTRICTIONS MUST BE PUT IN PLACE TO COUNTER MUTANT STRAINS, EXPERTS WARN

    New coronavirus restrictions are needed to counter mutant strains of Covid-19, experts have warned.

    Scientists have said people need to learn to “adapt” to a new way of life which includes the prolonged use of face masks and coverings and maintaining safe social interactions.

    Experts in evolution, virology and infectious disease at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Earlham Institute and University of Minnesota said stronger action is needed now to curb the spread.

    While they highlighted that the government was trying to strike a “precarious balance” between the economy and stopping further fatalities – they said it's important that they take action now to stop more mutant variants down the line.

    They warned that emerging and existing strains, such as those discovered in the UK, South Africa and Brazil could threaten the effectiveness of vaccines.

  • John Hall

    SECURITY GUARDS, CHEFS AND TAXI DRIVERS WERE JOBS WITH HIGHEST COVID DEATH RATES FOR MEN LAST YEAR

    Process plant workers, security guards, chefs and taxi drivers were some of the jobs with the highest rates of death involving Covid-19 for men in England and Wales last year.

    Those working in close proximity to each other, and in jobs with regular exposure to Covid-19, continue to have higher Covid-19 death rates when compared with the rest of the working age population, a new study from the ONS shows.

    For female workers, some of the highest rates of death involving Covid-19 were for jobs involving assembly lines and routine machine operations, such as sewing machinists, as well as care workers and home carers.

    The figures cover deaths registered in England and Wales between March 9 and December 28 2020.

  • John Hall

    NEW ZEALAND RECORDS FIRST CASE OF COVID IN TWO MONTHS

    New Zealand has recorded its first case of Covid in two months after a 56-year-old woman caught the more infectious South African variant.

    The latest infection in the community comes a week after thousands of New Zealanders flocked to a music concert with no masks or social distancing.

    The case is not thought to be connected to the concert in Waitangi last week.

    Health officials said the woman caught the more infectious variant of the virus from another returning traveller just before leaving quarantine.

    Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the woman returned from Europe on December 30 and tested negative twice during her mandatory two weeks in quarantine.

  • John Hall

    CAN I HUG PEOPLE IF I'VE HAD THE JAB?

    Professor Jonathan Van Tam previously said that the vaccine "isn't a magic bullet" and that we would need to take things "step by step" in order to get back to some sort of normality.

    On whether or not you could hug your mum if you've had a jab – Prof Van Tam said it would be circumstantial.

    In an interview with the BBC he said: "It would depend upon, not only who your mum is, but who you are in terms of how well you're going to respond to the vaccine.

    "I think until we are properly confident of how the vaccine works and properly confident that disease levels are dropping, even if you've had the vaccine, you're going to have to follow all the rules that apply for a while longer."

  • John Hall

    LEE RIGBY KILLER MICHAEL ADEBOWALE FIGHTING FOR LIFE AFTER BEING HIT BY COVID

    One of Lee Rigby’s killers is fighting for life in hospital after being struck down by Covid-19.

    Michael Adebowale, 29, was taken from Broadmoor last week after his condition rapidly went downhill.

    It was the second time in days the monster — serving 45 years for Fusilier Lee’s murder — had been admitted to a Covid ward.

    A source said: “He’s in a very bad way and fighting for every breath.

    “It’s reached the stage where it’s a 24/7 battle. If he deteriorates much further, intensive care would be the next step. He’s very young to be affected so badly.”

  • John Hall

    GOVERNMENT WILL LOOK AT "POTENTIAL RELAXING OF MEASURES" BEFORE MID-FEBRUARY

    The Prime Minister today said the Government will be "looking at the potential of relaxing some measures" before mid-February.

    But he could not give a guarantee schools would be back before Easter.

    He went on: "I do think now this massive achievement has been made of rolling out this vaccination programme, I think people want to see us making sure we don't throw that away by having a premature relaxation and then another big surge of infection.

    "Believe me there's nothing I want to do more than reopen schools, I've fought to keep schools open for as long as I possibly could.

    "We want to see schools back as fast as possible, we want to do that in a way that is consistent with fighting the epidemic and keeping the infection rate down."

  • John Hall

    BORIS PROMISES SCHOOLS WILL BE 'PRIORITY' IN LIFTING LOCKDOWN

    Boris Johnson today promised schools would be "a priority" when lockdown was lifted, but said it was vital not to lift restrictions too quickly.

    The Prime Minister made the comments on a visit to a vaccination site at Barnet Football Club in north London, where around 13,000 jabs have been delivered since mid-December.

    Mr Johnson said: "Daily we're looking at the data and trying to work out when we're going to be able to lift restrictions.

    "Schools obviously will be a priority but I don't think anybody would want to see the restrictions lifted so quickly while the rate of infection is still very high so as to lead to another great spread of infection.

    "We've now got the R down below 1 across the whole of the country, that's a great achievement, we don't want to see a huge surge of infection just when we've got the vaccination programme going so well and people working so hard."

  • John Hall

    HAUNTING MOMENT DYING COVID PATIENT BEGS TO SEE WIFE AGAIN

    This is the haunting moment a dying Covid patient, 73, desperately begged to see wife again, hours before losing his fight against the killer bug.

    Key Worker Tony Brown died in Barnet Hospital, London after spending weeks in hospital hooked up to a ventilator.

    On Thursday the bread delivery man told Sky News he had not seen his wife Linda in a fortnight.

    He said: "Absolutely terrible. It's very, very frightening. I've had some very bad nights, very worrying nights. Twice I went to ring my wife, to tell her I weren't coming back. It is very hard. Oh I miss her. I really miss her."

    By Friday Mr Brown had died, but had managed to speak to his wife over the phone

  • John Hall

    KEY SIGNS TO SHOW YOUR LOCKDOWN DRINKING IS OUT OF CONTROL

    Simon Chapple, sobriety coach and author of the book How to Quit Alcohol in 50 Days, says there are some key signs that indicate your drinking is out of control, and when it can actually be dangerous.

    Speaking exclusively to The Sun, he says: "The stresses of the national lockdown have undoubtedly caused thousands of people to find coping mechanisms to deal with the difficulties they are encountering, and in many cases this has meant drinking significantly more than usual."

    He explains that a drinking problem can easily "creep up" on you, but by understanding the danger signs you can avoid it spiralling out of control and it having a negative impact your life.

    "When we drink heavily or regularly we significantly increase the chances of exposing ourselves to a number of serious dangers," he explains.

    Here are some of the key signs your drinking may have got out of control during lockdown.

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