Covid cases and deaths fallSeptember 12, 2021
Covid cases and deaths both fall: UK infections drop 21% to 29,173 as lives lost to the virus are down 18% to 56
- Britain’s Covid outbreak shrank today, with official figures showing daily cases falling by 21 per cent
- Department of Health figures show 29,173 cases were recorded across the UK compared to 37,011 last week
- Meanwhile the number of Covid deaths across Britain fell from 68 to 56 – a fall of more than 17 per cent
- It comes as Health Secretary Sajid Javid killed off the idea of Covid passports in England for nightclubs
Britain’s Covid outbreak shrank today, with cases falling by 21 per cent while the number of deaths also declined.
Department of Health figures show 29,173 daily cases were recorded across the UK today, compared to 37,011 last week – a reduction of more than a fifth – while Covid deaths fell from 68 to 56.
In Scotland, more than 1,000 Covid patients are in hospital and 5,912 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours. Though the latest figures north of the border show no deaths, the Scottish Government says registry offices are generally closed at weekends.
Meanwhile, six further deaths of patients who had previously tested positive for Covid in Northern Ireland were registered – while another 1,031 positive cases of the virus were also confirmed in the region.
It comes as Health Secretary Sajid Javid dramatically killed off the idea of compulsory Covid passports in England for nightclubs and major events after Conservative MPs branded the proposals ‘unsupportable, coercive and discriminatory’.
Responding to briefing about the policy being axed in interviews this morning, Mr Javid only initially told Sky News that he ‘hoped we can avoid’ the step. But little more than an hour later he was categorical, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: ‘We will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.’
The decision draws another dividing line within the UK, as Nicola Sturgeon has announced that a certification scheme will be launched in Scotland from October 1.
Meanwhile, holidaymakers are poised for a huge boost as ministers indicated that double-jabbed travellers will no longer have to take expensive PCR Covid tests when returning to the UK – potentially in time for the October school half-term.
In his big set-piece on Tuesday, Mr Johnson will also scrap some of the swinging powers that the government took to manage the response to the disease, and all-but rule out further lockdowns to control an anticipated surge over the coming months – after scientists said vaccinations can be an effective first line of defence.
A booster jab programme could begin as early as this month, while other measures in the ‘toolbox’ for tackling outbreaks will include facemasks.
Britain’s Covid outbreak shrank today, with cases falling by 21 per cent while the number of deaths also declined
Double-jabbed travellers will no longer have to take expensive PCR Covid tests when returning to the UK, the Government is poised to announce.
Officials are working towards scrapping the requirement for green and amber list countries before the half-term holidays next month, The Mail on Sunday can reveal, providing a huge boost for millions of holidaymakers and the beleaguered travel industry.
Travellers will no longer need Covid tests before leaving for Britain, while the unpopular PCR tests currently required on the second day after arrival will be replaced by cheaper lateral flow tests.
The move will slash the cost of family holidays by hundreds of pounds. Currently, the PCR test can cost more than £100, while the NHS offers free lateral flow tests.
The plan will be discussed this week by Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove who form the so-called Covid-O committee.
The change would also tackle fears that some PCR firms are profiteering and could provide an incentive for people to be vaccinated, as the new rules would only apply to those who have been double jabbed.
Asked if Britons will ‘get Christmas’ this year, Mr Javid said: ‘Yes, of course we get Christmas and the New Year.’ He insisted he is ‘not anticipating any more lockdowns’.
Ministers were sent out to defend the Covid passports proposals last week, with Nadhim Zahawi insisting they were the right thing to do even though he admitted they ‘went against everything I believe in’.
But briefing emerged in the Sunday Times about the U-turn. Firms and venues who are already demanding proof of vaccination will be allowed to continue to do so, but they will not be any legal obligation.
Mr Javid was at first reluctant to give a firm commitment, but then stated that the plan will not go ahead – although the concept will be kept ‘in reserve’.
The shift poses a challenge for Ms Sturgeon, who again defended her own proposals for Scotland in interviews this morning.
‘I think it is part of a package of measures, it has a part to play,’ she told Sky News. ‘Of course any measure we take has upsides and it has downsides.
‘If we take lockdown for example, very, very effective at halting or sufficiently constraining transmission of the virus but came with enormous costs in terms of the economy and our overall wellbeing as a society, so nothing is straightforward here.
‘This is a very limited scheme.’
Speculation has been mounting over what increased measures may be brought in this winter, a high-risk time for coronavirus as other respiratory illnesses.
Mr Johnson hopes to avoid locking down the entire country and will send a message by repealling some of the Government’s powers to shut down sections of the economy in England under the Coronavirus Act.
Mr Johnson said: ‘Thanks to the efforts of the public, the NHS and our phenomenal vaccination programme, we reached Step 4 in our road map and life has returned to a sense of normality.
‘These extraordinary times required necessary but intrusive measures. But I’m determined to get rid of any powers we no longer need because of our vaccine defences.
‘I will set out the next phase in our Covid response shortly.’
The powers expected to be repealed include those allowing the closing down of the economy, the imposing of restrictions on events, the power to temporarily close or restrict access to schools, and powers to detain infectious people.
The Government expects the independent Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) to recommend details of a jab booster programme next week.
The focus on vaccination in the Covid winter plan comes after claims ministers were considering a so-called firebreak lockdown in October.
An unnamed member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said a ‘precautionary break’ could be part of ‘contingency plans’, the i newspaper reported.
But Mr Javid said: ‘I don’t think that’s something we need to consider.’ He said no decisions are ‘risk-free’ but insisted the ‘best defence’ against another wave of the virus is the vaccine programme.
Downing Street denied the Government is planning a lockdown or firebreak around the October half-term. But the spokesman added that they have ‘retained contingency plans as part of responsible planning for a range of scenarios’.
They said: ‘These kind of measures would only be reintroduced as a last resort to prevent unsustainable pressure on our NHS.’
Boris Johnson is set to announce the Government’s winter Covid plan, with a focus being placed on vaccination as he remains reluctant to impose further lockdowns
Mr Javid (pictured on the Marr show today) vowed Christmas will not be cancelled this year as he insisted ministers are not expecting ‘any more lockdowns’
There are plans in place to begin giving booster jabs to the most vulnerable as early as this month, as more than 65 per cent of the entire UK population have been fully vaccinated.
The UK’s chief medical officers are drawing up advice to Government on whether children aged 12 to 15 should be vaccinated after the JCVI said the margin of benefit from vaccinating healthy children was too small to say they should receive a jab.
The Observer reported that jabs for 12 to 15-year-olds would begin on September 22.
But the UK’s medical regulator has reportedly ruled that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine cannot be used for third doses in this way.
This means the majority of third doses given out this autumn and winter are likely to be Pfizer. This could see the Oxford jab, initially planned to be the workhorse of the UK’s vaccination programme, effectively phased out.
The AZ jab is already not offered to under 40s in the UK due to a link with rare blood clots.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said on Thursday that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs are safe to use as boosters, but the JCVI has yet to give its advice to ministers.
The JCVI has already said a third dose should be offered to people with severely weakened immune systems.
On Friday, Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, whose team developed the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, said he believes the priority should be donating vaccines to countries where people are still awaiting a first dose.
His views have been echoed by his Oxford colleague Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, who helped design the vaccine and said booster jabs may not be needed by everyone.
Several other countries, including the US, Israel, Hungary, Germany and France, have announced or started third dose programmes for at least some of their citizens.
Meanwhile, it was reported that hundreds of thousands of long Covid patients were waiting up to six months to access clinics specifically set up to tackle the condition.
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