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Covid vaccine news UK – ‘We envy Brits’ says Germany’s top newspaper Bild after EU jab chaos and our lockdown roadmap

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GERMANY’S top-selling newspaper has declared it envies the UK following our mass vaccination rollout and lockdown lifting plans.

While the UK hopes for a summer boom, the EU is still fighting a massive vaccine crisis and lockdowns show no signs of ending soon.

Having seemingly deliberately undermined confidence in the brilliant Oxford/Astra-Zeneca vaccine simply as a way of bashing Britain post-Brexit, both France and Germany are now having to beg their citizens to take it.

Vaccine take-up in Europe is much lower than the UK, partly as a result of politicians like French leader Emmanuel Macron shamefully branding the UK-developed Oxford / Astra-Zeneca jab “quasi-ineffective”.

His reckless attempts to bash Britain left him red-faced, however, as the vaccine has since been shown to have staggeringly high efficacy in all age groups and he’s now begging citizens to take it to end their lockdown woes.

The front page of German newspaper Bild yesterday declared ‘Dear Brits, we envy you” with the attached article saying the UK’s ‘successful’ vaccine programme allowed Boris Johnson to promise a brighter future to Brits

It added that while the UK sees light at the end of the tunnel, Germany remains “stuck in lockdown” with Angela Merkel‘s government languishing well behind in handing out vaccine doses. 

Follow our live blog below for the very latest on the UK ‘s path out of lockdown

  • TEACHERS WILL HAVE TO SHOW EVIDENCE FOR GRADES THEY GIVE< SAYS SCHOOLS MINISTER

    The schools minister said teachers would have to show evidence for the grades they give, as part of checks against grade inflation.

    Nick Gibb told BBC Breakfast: “Teachers will be required to produce the evidence and the second layer of quality assurance is checking by the exam boards.

    “So if the grades when they are submitted, if in a particular school they look very out of line with the achievements of that school in the past, that will be a signal for the exam board to pay extra attention, maybe pay a visit to that school to make sure that the evidence the teacher has collected to justify that grade really does justify that grade.”

    Asked whether he accepted grades would be inflated this year, Mr Gibb replied: “Well, that’s why we’ve put in place all these different checking mechanisms to make sure that there is consistency.

    “But it is very important that the pandemic does not prevent students from going on to the next stage of their careers, whether that is to college or to university or to an apprenticeship, so we want to make sure that, despite the disruption that students have faced, they will still be able to progress.”

  • GAVIN WILLIAMSON TO LAY OUT EXAM GRADE PLAN AFTER 2020 CHAOS

    Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is to set out how the grades of hundreds of thousands of students in England will be awarded this summer in a bid to avoid a repeat of last year’s exams fiasco.

    Ahead of his announcement in the Commons on Thursday, Mr Williamson said the Government would be “putting trust in teachers” after A-level and GCSE exams were cancelled for a second successive year due to the pandemic.

    Schools will be given wide flexibility in deciding how teachers assess and grade their pupils, based on those parts of the curriculum they have been taught.

    Results will be published earlier than usual, with A-level grades published on August 10 and GCSE students receiving their results two days later on August 12.

    The move is expected to allow more time for pupils unhappy with their grades – particularly A-level students looking to secure university places – to submit appeals.

  • SCHOOLS MINISTER SAYS TWICE WEEKLY TESTING FOR PUPILS IS ‘NOT COMPULSORY’

    Nick Gibb confirmed on LBC that the twice-weekly testing for pupils was not compulsory.

    Asked whether it should be a case of “no test, no school”, Mr Gibb said: “No, we want to make sure it is not compulsory in that sense, and they will need the permission of the parents.

    “In all these things, it is a balance of risk and just having anybody tested frankly and identifying asymptomatic cases is a bonus in terms of minimising the risk.

    “But we do expect and we hope that most students, the vast majority of students will volunteer to have these tests twice a week and then, after the third test, there will be home testing kits for those students.”

  • MODERNA VACCINE THAT TARGETS SOUTH AFRICAN VARIANT TO UNDERGO CLINICAL TRIALS

    Moderna has produced a vaccine that works specifically against the South African variant of coronavirus, with trials due to start in the US.

    The firm is experimenting with several potential methods of combating new variants of coronavirus, with a view to potentially offering new or booster shots.

    It comes after studies suggested that current vaccines offer less protection against the South African variant, which has a key mutation – E484K – that is thought to help the virus evade parts of the immune system.

    The mutation has been worrying scientists and is also found in the Brazil variant of the virus as well as some cases of the variant originally identified in Kent. Moderna is looking at whether an additional booster shot targeting the South African variant could be given to people, and is working on a combined jab that mixes its current vaccine with the new one.

    The UK has ordered 17 million doses of Moderna’s original vaccine, with delivery expected from the spring.

  • ARLENE FOSTER (CONTINUED)

    Mrs Foster later demanded action from the UK, saying: “It is time for the United Kingdom Government to act unilaterally. The grace period ends next month, yet the European Union refused to recognise the problems or offer any sensible solutions.

    “From January 29 until February 24 the European Union has prevaricated, dragged its feet and closed its eyes to the serious crisis within our supply chain.

    “The Prime Minister told the House of Commons that there would be unfettered trade within the United Kingdom, yet the Northern Ireland protocol has completely ruptured the flow of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

    “Whether from a constitutional or economic point of view, Northern Ireland cannot be cut off from our main trading partner by a protocol which not a single unionist party in Northern Ireland supports.

    “With a stubborn and inflexible response from Brussels it is now a matter for the Government to step up and protect the United Kingdom internal market. Such a disruption of trade within the UK internal market should not be tolerated by the Government. It is offensive to the very core principles of the United Kingdom.”

  • ARLENE FOSTER: UK MUST STEP UP AND PROTECT INTERNAL MARKET

    Speaking after a meeting of the UK/EU committee for implementing the mechanism, Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster said government must “step up and protect the internal market”.

    In a joint statement after the virtual meeting on Wednesday, co-chairmen Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said both sides committed to the “proper implementation” of the protocol.

    “The parties acknowledged the importance of joint action to make the protocol work for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland.

    “In that spirit, the EU and UK reiterated their full commitment to the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions, and to the proper implementation of the protocol,” they said.

    “The UK and the EU underlined their shared commitment to giving effect to those solutions agreed through the Joint Committee on December 17 2020, without delay.”

  • PHILIP HAMMOND URGES PM TO TELL ‘DIFFICULT TRUTHS’ BEFORE BUDGET

    Philip Hammond has urged the Prime Minister to tell the public “some difficult home truths” ahead of next week’s Budget.

    The former chancellor, who was a close ally of Theresa May, also said the Government should ditch “very extravagant” promises from its manifesto.

    “My fear is that, as a populist government, giving money away is always easier than collecting it in,” the 64-year-old said.

    “And the Government will be tempted not to move quickly back to normalising the relationship between government and citizen, the balance between taxing and spending, as we move out of the crisis and into the next phase, which is dealing over the longer term with the legacy of this Covid crisis – what the economists called the scarring effect on the British economy.”

  • BORIS JOHNSON: ‘NO CHILD SHOULD BE LEFT BEHIND’

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “No child should be left behind as a result of learning lost during the pandemic.

    “That’s why students will receive grades awarded and determined by teachers.

    He added that the “fair and flexible system will ensure all young people can progress to the next stage of their education or career”.

  • BUDGET’S ‘THIN JAM’

    RISHI Sunak’s Budget next week will be an expensive and painful sandwich of giveaways and tax hikes.

    Insiders are calling it “two big slices of bread with very thin jam”.

    Slice one is a £30billion Covid support bundle that will see furlough, business relief, the Universal Credit uplift and stamp duty holiday all extended to June.

  • QUARANTINE MAY BE EXTENDED

    QUARANTINE periods could be extended after studies showed the Kent Covid strain was infectious for longer, the deputy chief medical officer suggested last night.

    Jenny Harries said ministers were looking closely at fresh studies which revealed some people were infectious for up to 13 days – compared to eight for the old variant.

    At the moment people have to stay inside for 10 days when they come into the UK from a series of ‘red list’ countries, but there are fears this may no longer be enough to stop the disease from spreading.

  • RISHI MUST SPLASH CASH

    RISHI Sunak must go on a £100billion Joe Biden-style spree in next week’s Budget to boost the economy, a think tank says.

    He needs to pump £30billion into business bailouts, furlough and a Shop Out to Help Out voucher scheme to aid the high street, says the Resolution Foundation.

    The Chancellor risks choking off any bounce back unless he echoes the US President’s mega rescue package, it adds.

  • TRANSPORT SECRETARY FIRST CABINET MINISTER TO RECEIVE VACCINE

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, 52, becomes first Cabinet minister to receive coronavirus vaccine – revealing he was eligible due to ‘cancer treatment 20 years ago’.

  • YOUNG LUCK

    Brits in their 20s and 30s are being called for Covid vaccines despite not being on the priority list, it’s reported.

    Everyone over 60 and those aged over 16 with a health condition that increases their risk are now eligible after the top four priority groups were offered an injection.

    But healthy people aged under 30 who aren’t carers or health workers have also been given the Covid vaccine jabs in some parts of the country, the i reports.

    It’s not clear if administration errors or low vaccine uptake are the reason some younger Brits have been invited.

  • STURGEON’S ROADMAP SLAMMED

    Nicola Sturgeon has been forced to admit she can’t say when lockdown will end in Scotland – as her vague roadmap was slammed by business chiefs.

    The First Minister revealed the early part of her blueprint for lifting restrictions, but was criticised for refusing to look beyond the end of April.

    She insisted that she would be “making it up” if she gave a specific date when lockdown will end – despite the fact Boris Johnson has said England will be free of restrictions as early as June 21.

    Speaking at a Coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh today, she said: “If I was to give you a fixed, hard and fast date right now, I would pretty much be making it up and I don’t think that’s the approach I should take with you.

    “I’m not ruling out any specific dates, I want it to be as soon as possible and we have every reason to be hopeful that come the summer life will be much, much, much better than it is just now.”

  • MERKEL BEGS GERMANS TO TAKE OXFORD COVID VACCINE

    Angela Merkel has begged Germans to take the Oxford Covid vaccine as the country battles a devastating third wave of the pandemic.

    The German chancellor warned the country cannot afford “ups and downs” amid refusals of the Oxford vaccine rollout, as its biggest newspaper has praised the UK’s approach.

    Merkel’s message comes after German authorities recommended the Oxford jab should not be used on people aged 65 or above, because of a lack of data.

    But she told MPs last night: “We are now in the third wave. We cannot afford ups and downs.”

  • NO DELAYS TO SECOND DOSE DESPITE DIP RATE

    Everyone will get their second dose of a coronavirus vaccine within 12 weeks despite a dip rate in supply, the government has said.

    Boris Johnson’s spokesperson was asked today whether holding back doses for people to get their second jab, was part of the reason for a dip in the number of vaccinations given out in recent days.

    “We have been clear that we will make sure that everybody has their second dose within the 12-week period,” they told a Westminster briefing.

    “We have been clear that we will make sure that everybody has their second dose within the 12-week period,” they told a Westminster briefing.”

    “We said that since we changed the dosing regime, so of course we will make sure that we have that second dose available.”

  • AROUND 99% OF UK ARRIVALS SKIP HOTEL QUARANTINE

    Approximately 99 per cent of daily arrivals in the UK are not going to hotel quarantine, MPs have been told.

    Border Force general Paul Lincoln has told the Border Force director general, Paul Lincoln, that there were around 14,000 to 15,000 people arriving in the UK through all ports each day, according to reports from the Guardian.

    But of these, only around 150 a day were going into mandatory hotel quarantine.

    British and Irish nationals or UK residents arriving from a list of 33 countries were required to book a 10-day quarantine package costing £1,750 per adult.

  • FRONTLINE WORKERS, BAME GROUPS WILL NOT BE PRIORITISED FOR UK VACCINES – GUARDIAN

    Frontline workers and Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME) in the United Kingdom will not be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination in the next stage of the vaccine rollout, the Guardian reported on Wednesday.

    The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is poised to reject vaccine prioritisation by occupation or race, and vaccines would proceed down the age bands of adults to 18-year-olds, the newspaper said citing a government source.

    The committee updated its advice on Wednesday to recommend that people with learning disabilities be invited for vaccination to ensure people at higher risk of the disease are protected as soon as possible, according to the Guardian. 

  • UK GOVERNMENT URGED TO ‘ACT UNILATERALLY’ OVER NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL

    The UK Government has been urged to “act unilaterally” over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    Speaking after a meeting of the UK/EU committee for implementing the mechanism, Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster said government must “step up and protect the internal market”.

    In a joint statement after the virtual meeting on Wednesday, co-chairmen Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said both sides committed to the “proper implementation” of the protocol.

    “The parties acknowledged the importance of joint action to make the protocol work for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland.

  • EU-TURN!

    France has followed Germany in begging citizens to get the Oxford vaccine – as the EU faces a massive jab shortfall.

    The French government has admitted that the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab has an “image deficit” in the country.

    It comes after Angela Merkel warned that Germany cannot afford “ups and downs” amid refusals of the Oxford vaccine rollout, as its biggest newspaper has praised the UK’s approach.

    France’s health ministry conceded that there had been “feeble” use of the Oxford vaccine.

  • ARLENE FOSTER BRANDS JOINT COMMITTEE MEETING ON NI PROTOCOL ‘DISAPPOINTING’

    Northern Ireland’s First Minister has described a meeting of the UK and EU Joint Committee as “hugely disappointing”.

    Arlene Foster also blasted European officials as “tone deaf” following discussions around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    “I can’t say I had high expectations for it given the attitude of the European Commission to everything that we have said thus far,” she told the BBC.

    “It has been hugely disappointing that they haven’t listened to the voices of unionism, the majority community in Northern Ireland.

    “What they have decided to do instead is, if there are problems then what is needed to deal with those problems is actually not less protocol but more protocol, and I think that that is entirely tone deaf.”

  • NORTHERN IRELAND’S FOSTER SAYS EU ‘NOT SERIOUS’ OVER TRADE

    Northern Ireland’s first minister, Arlene Foster, accused European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic on Wednesday of being “not serious” about trying to resolve post-Brexit trade difficulties with the British province.

    Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, repeated her call for the British government to unilaterally revoke a protocol designed to ease trade between Northern Ireland and the EU but which has disrupted trade with mainland Britain.

    “It is clear Maros Sefcovic and his team is not serious. From 29 January until 24 February the European Union has prevaricated, dragged its feet and closed its eyes to the serious crisis within our supply chain,” she said in a statement. 

  • MORE THAN 10,000 ARRIVALS INTO DUBLIN AIRPORT LAST WEEK, HEALTH MINISTER REVEALS

    Around 10,500 people arrived in Ireland through Dublin Airport last week, the Health Minister has revealed.

    Speaking in the Dail, Stephen Donnelly said that between 1,000 and 3,500 people were still arriving in the country every day.

    Last week there were around 10,500 arrivals in Dublin Airport alone, he said during a debate on the Government’s legislation on mandatory quarantine for international arrivals.

    The Bill will introduce enforced hotel quarantine for people arriving from a list of 20 “red list” countries in a bid to prevent new variants of the coronavirus arriving in Ireland.

  • MINISTERS LAUNCH NEW ‘STAY AT HOME’ DRIVE AS COVID RATES CONTINUE TO FALL

    The Government has launched a new “stay at home” drive despite falling coronavirus rates, the success of the vaccine rollout and the announcement of a road map out of lockdown.

    Ministers said it was essential that people continued mask-wearing, social distancing and hand washing as restrictions in England began to ease to keep the disease under control.

    As a new advertising blitz was launched, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said “we must all continue to play our part” in controlling the spread of the virus.

    Earlier, the deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam acknowledged that there had been a “slowdown” in the vaccine rollout due to supply fluctuations.

  • CONTINUED

    People who did not know who they would vote for were less likely to take the vaccine at 82.6%, as were supporters of the Green Party at 77.4%.

    The study was conducted on a representative sample of over 1,600 adults in the UK, excluding Northern Ireland, with over 1,200 respondents in both the October and February surveys.

    Overall, it found that three quarters of those surveyed now say they are “very likely” to have the vaccine up from 50% among the same group five months ago.

    The study found strong relationships between political attitudes and intention to accept the jab, with whether you voted for Brexit also appearing related to vaccine acceptance, according to Oxford researchers.



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