December 3, 2021

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Covid news: Schools face chaos if children rejected jab, says SAGE expert


chools could face a “lot of disruption” if Covid jabs aren’t approved for 12 to 15 year olds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said.

Vaccinating school children could be given the green light as soon as next week as four scientific advisors will make a decision in days on whether the UK should vaccinate age 12 to 15 year olds.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) did not recommend the Covid-19 vaccination rollout for healthy 12 to 15 year olds. But Professor John Edmunds, a member of SAGE, issued a stark warning about schools facing chaos if plans to vaccinate children age 12 to 15 years old are rejected.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think we have to take into consideration the wider effect Covid might have on children and their education and developmental achievements.

“In the UK now it’s difficult to say how many children haven’t been infected but it’s probably about half of them, that’s about six million children, so that’s a long way to go if we allow infection just to run through the population, that’s a lot of children who will be infected and that will be a lot of disruption to schools in the coming months.”

Live updates


Government plans to extend some outdoor regulations for hospitality sector

Street markets could open all year round under government plans to make permanent some of the changes for outdoor hospitality introduced during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants would also be able to keep new structures such as marquees and additional seating on their grounds, following a consultation launched on Sunday.

The hospitality sector welcomed the plans, but urged ministers to go further to promote and retain outdoor seating in the streets by restricting traffic in town and city centres.

The consultation will consider only some of the changes introduced during the pandemic in order to promote customers dining outdoors to reduce the spread of Covid-19.


Delay in vaccine decision for 12 to 15s “frustrating”, says expert

The delay in a final decision on whether to offer coronavirus vaccines to all 12 to 15-year-olds is “frustrating”, an expert at a Scottish health board has said.

Jillian Evans, head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian, said vaccinating the age group would help prevent transmission of the virus, as well as protect children from long Covid.

In a decision on Friday, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) did not recommend a mass rollout among 12 to 15-year-olds.

Instead, the UK-wide body suggested ministers might want to get further views on the wider societal and educational impacts of extending the rollout.

Chief medical officers from around the UK are now considering these impacts and will report in the coming days.

Ms Evans discussed the issue on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme on Saturday.

“We know that the JCVI’s decision is predominantly based on the individual benefits and risks to a child, and not considering some of the wider impacts, and that’s what the chief medical officers will do,” she said.

“It’s frustrating because it just builds in further delay in a decision that we’ve already been pushing for, so it delays things a little bit further.”


Covid rapid tests more accurate than thought, says expert

The assistant professor argues that the tests are “erroneously citied as not sensitive enough”.

This is because they are often compared with PCR tests which still produce a positive result even after people are no longer infectious, he explains.


UK records 37,578 cases and 120 deaths in 24 hours


Bahrain approves third booster shot of Sputnik V vaccine

Bahraini authorities have authorised the use of a booster dose of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, the first time the Russian shot has been approved for a third dose, the state-run Bahrain News Agency said on Saturday.

The booster shot was approved for use among all over-18s at least six months after receiving their second dose of the Sputnik V vaccine, the news agency reported.

Bahrain and fellow Gulf state the United Arab Emirates have already approved third booster shots using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.


Poland to donate 400,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan

Poland will donate 400,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Plc Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan, the foreign ministry in Warsaw said on Saturday, to help boost vaccination rates in the country.

While a relatively small domestic coronavirus outbreak is well under control in Taiwan, only around 5 per cent of its 23.5 million population are fully vaccinated, though the government has millions of vaccines on order.

It has already received some six million vaccine doses gifted by Japan and the United States, enabling it to speed up an inoculation programme that it said had been hampered initially by China, though Beijing denies playing any negative role.

Poland says its vaccine donation is a reciprocal move after Taiwan donated medical equipment during the first wave of the pandemic.

“Keeping in mind this important gesture, Warsaw will offer Taipie 400,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to speed up the vaccination process. Increasing the number of vaccinated people globally is in everyone’s interest,” the statement said.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry has thanked Poland for the donation.


Japan to extend Covid-19 state of emergency in Tokyo area – paper

The Japanese government plans to extend a state of emergency in and around Tokyo until the last week of September in a further bid to contain the coronavirus epidemic, the Mainichi newspaper reported on Saturday.

The government plans to extend them by about two weeks in Tokyo and neighbouring Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures, the Mainichi said, without citing sources.

Under the state of emergency, the government has sought to reduce foot traffic by asking restaurants to shorten their hours and refrain from serving alcohol, and companies to let staff work from home more frequently.

The extension would take the curbs through the fourth week of September, which has two public holidays and during which many people make travel plans.

The government will also consider an extension in hard-hit areas in central and western Japan, including Aichi – home of Toyota Motor – and Osaka, the paper said, adding a decision would likely be made in the middle of next week.


Scotland: 11 Covid-19 deaths and 6,152 new cases

Scotland has recorded 11 deaths of coronavirus patients and 6,152 cases in the past 24 hours, the latest figures show.

The Scottish Government’s figures indicate the death toll under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is 8,165.

A total of 51,031 tests were carried out, of which 12.9% were positive.

There were 670 people in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19, with 58 in intensive care.

A total of 4,117,147 people have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination and 3,717,587 have had a second dose.


Russia: 18,780 new Covid-19 cases

Authorities in Russia have reported 18,780 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the state news agency Tass.

Of those, 1,494 cases were detected in St Petersburg, 756 in the Moscow region, 512 in the Sverdlovsk region, 479 in the Rostov region, and 462 in the Perm and Voronezh regions.

Health authorities also reported 796 deaths linked to the virus. So far, Russia has recorded 186,407 deaths linked to the coronavirus.


Philippines to lift coronavirus travel ban on 10 countries including UAE

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is lifting a coronavirus ban on travellers from 10 countries including India, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia, the presidential spokesperson said on Saturday.

The ban, introduced in April then expanded to more countries in July to prevent the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, will be lifted on Monday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Travellers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia will have to spend 14 days in quarantine upon arrival, Roque said.