VACCINES have forced down waves of Covid deaths to just ripples – despite a spike in the number of cases reported, according to the data.

Hospital patients are, on average, younger, less poorly and able to leave the wards faster than in previous waves, analysis shows.

Brits are also facing weeks of pandemic chaos with disruptions to transport, bin collections and food supplies due to isolating workers.

Companies and councils have warned the August 16 date to lift quarantine for the double-vaccinated could now be delayed amid fresh concern.

Read our coronavirus live blog for the very latest updates…

  • Joseph Gamp

    UK RECORDS A FURTHER 31,795 NEW COVID CASES

    A further 31,795 new Covid-19 cases have been recorded across the UK today.

    Saturday's figure is down almost 5,000 cases from the previous day, official government data showed.

    Delays with the data meant the number of deaths has not yet been released.

  • Joseph Gamp

    COVID COULD BE SPREAD THROUGH FARTING, MINISTERS CLAIM

    Some officials have privately pointed to evidence that the virus can be spread through omitting bodily gasses in confined spaces like bathrooms.

    One minister told The Telegraph that they read “credible-looking stuff on it” from other countries around the world.

    They claimed there had been evidence of a “genomical-linked tracing connection between two individuals from a [toilet] cubicle in Australia”.

    Also, there have been some “well-documented cases of diseases spreading through waste pipes during lockdowns in Hong Kong when the U-bend had dried out”.

    However, government scientists have not confirmed the claim.

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    NORTH EAST GETS EXTRA SUPPORT IN BID TO SLOW GROWTH OF COVID-19

    The North East of England is to be given a five-week package of support by the Government in a bid to slow the growth of Covid-19 in the region.

    The package includes the option to deliver extra testing in the area, as well as providing logistical support to maximise vaccine and testing uptake.

    It will be deployed to the seven local authorities across Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham, and five local authorities in the Tees Valley.

    The move comes as similar support in Bedford and much of the North West, which has been in place for between six and 10 weeks, is being scaled back.

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    COVID RULES COULD BE ‘BACK IN WEEKS’ AS MINISTERS DRAW UP PLANS AMID RECORD CASES IN YOUNG BRITS

    Infections are on the up in younger age groups as society opens up once more.

    Now, ministers part of a Covid task force are set to be drawing up plans which will include fresh guidance on working from home, social distancing and mask wearing.

    Sources told the Independent that there was “no plan” to return to a hard lockdown that had been seen at the start of the year with others saying adding restrictions would be a “last resort”.

    One expert told the Independent that the government’s current plan for reintroducing lockdowns fits with the way they have handled previous waves.

    They said: “First ignore the problems and deny action is needed, then realise there is a problem and tell people it is up to them to act, then, belatedly, impose greater restrictions than would have been needed if one acted early.”

  • [email protected]

    TOO EARLY TO SAY IF COVID-19 NUMBERS ARE LEVELLING OFF, WARN EXPERTS

    The apparent fall in Covid-19 case numbers may be temporary ahead of a return to exponential growth, experts have warned. By 9am on Thursday, there had been a further 39,906 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK – down from 44,104 at the same time on Wednesday.

    A further 84 people had died within 28 days of testing positive as of Thursday, up from 73 on Wednesday. Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the Norwich School of Medicine, University of East Anglia, said Thursday was the first time reported case numbers had been lower than the same day the previous week since early May.

    “They represent a 18% drop. Also the week-on-week percentage increase in cases has fallen from a peak of 43% last Sunday to just 24% today.

    “But it is still too early to see any impact of the relaxations of Monday 19 and some of the reduction in cases will be because of many children no longer being tested as regularly now schools are closed.

    “I would caution that this may just be a temporary slowing in reports before we start to see a return to exponential growth towards the end of next week as a result of the ending of restrictions last week,” he said.

  • [email protected]

    CHELSEA SCRAP PRE-SEASON TRAINING CAMP IN IRELAND AND FLY HOME AFTER ‘POSSIBLE COVID CASE IN TRAVELLING PARTY’

    CHELSEA players are returning home early from a training camp in Dublin due to a possible case of coronavirus.

    A friendly against League of Ireland outfit Drogheda was cancelled on Thursday evening following the test result.

    And the club have confirmed that Thomas Tuchel and his squad are back in the capital to continue their preparations for the new season.

    A spokesperson said: “With the cancellation of last night’s friendly game, the team’s training camp has moved back to the club’s training ground early to continue preparations for the game against Bournemouth.”

    Chelsea travelled across the Irish Sea on Tuesday for a pre-season camp which was due to culminate in the behind-closed-doors friendly.

    Read more here.

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    PIERS MORGAN REVEALS HE CAUGHT COVID IN WEMBLEY EURO FINAL CHAOS

    Piers Morgan has revealed he caught Covid during chaos at the Euro 2020 final – despite being double-jabbed.

    The ex Good Morning Britain presenter says he was infected during chaos at Wembley amid England's heartbreaking defeat to Italy.

    And the broadcaster, who has won widespread acclaim for his criticism of the Government's pandemic policies, said he's been struck down with a raging fever, chills and violent coughing fits.

    Officials assured fans attending the final that only fully-vaccinated spectators, or those with negative tests, would be allowed into the stadium.

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    EVEN WITH THE SPIKE IN CASES DEATHS REMAIN LOW

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    NEW COVID VARIANT EMERGES IN UK AS DELTA CASES RISE BY 33,716 IN A WEEK

    Experts at Public Health England (PHE) are currently carrying out analysis of B.1.621 and have confirmed 16 cases of the variant.

    There is no evidence to suggest that the strain causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines any less effective.

    Where cases of the new variant have been detected, health officials have followed up and tested contacts.

    If necessary PHE will deploy surge testing to limit the spread.

    PHE also highlighted today that cases of the Delta variant have risen by 33,716 since last week to a total of 286,765.

    The variant now accounts for 99 per cent of all cases in the UK and PHE have urged Brits to continue to get their jabs.

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    NO MORE GROUPS WILL BE ADDED TO AUGUST 16 PINGDEMIC SELF-ISOLATION EXEMPTION LIST

    Staff in critical sectors – including food and water supply, medicines and public transport – can dodge 10 days quarantine if their bosses get permission from the Government.

    The news was welcomed by industries facing major staff shortages, with more than 618,903 Brits ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app in just one week.

    The Government has not published a list of essential workers – like it did in the first lockdown – but has identified vital industries.

    George Eustice said today that the exemption from self-isolation would not be extended to the hospitality industry.

    And he made clear that no other sectors are being considered to dodge self-isolation before August 16.

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    WATCH: BOOZY BRITS ENJOY FIRST FRIDAY NIGHT OF FREEDOM SINCE COVID RESTRICTION ARE LIFTED

    Boozy Brits enjoy first Friday night of freedom since Covid restriction are lifted

  • [email protected]

    COVID COULD BE SPREAD THROUGH FARTING, MINISTERS CLAIM

    Some officials have privately pointed to evidence that the virus can be spread through omitting bodily gasses in confined spaces like bathrooms.

    One minister told The Telegraph that they read "credible-looking stuff on it" from other countries around the world.

    They claimed there had been evidence of a "genomical-linked tracing connection between two individuals from a [toilet] cubicle in Australia".

    Also, there have been some "well-documented cases of diseases spreading through waste pipes during lockdowns in Hong Kong when the U-bend had dried out".

    However, government scientists have not confirmed the claim.

  • [email protected]

    SINGLE DOSE OF ASTRAZENECA COVID JAB WILL KEEP 90% OF PEOPLE OUT OF HOSPITAL

    Ministers slashed the gap between doses from 12 weeks to eight amid fears one jab wouldn’t protect people from the Delta variant.

    But a Canadian study now shows the first dose alone gives 88 per cent protection against hospital admission – and stops most infections too.

    Sir Mene Pangalos, vice-president at the company said: “Different variants are threatening to disrupt our route out of the pandemic.

    “This real-world evidence shows the vaccine provides a high level of protection against the most serious forms of the disease even after just one shot.”

    But scientists say it is vital people got the second dose, too, for maximum protection.

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    COMPANY ACCUSED OF FAKING PCR TESTS BANNED FROM OPERATING

    The Sun exposed RT Diagnostics last week, after secret footage revealed tens of thousands of tests were allegedly being dumped.

    The Halifax firm had been on the government-approved list of private providers.

    Accreditation body UKAS confirmed it has been removed.

    A UKAS spokesman said: “We are aware that this matter is being followed up by the appropriate regulatory bodies which includes Trading Standards.

    “In the interim this body is not listed on the Department of Health and Social Care website and may not offer Covid 19 services.

    “It is now for the regulators to take this matter forward and prosecute if there have been breaches of legislation.”

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    GARETH SOUTHGATE URGES YOUNG PEOPLE TO GET COVID JAB

    England manager Gareth Southgate has urged young people to get their freedom back by supporting the coronavirus vaccination programme. In the UK, more than 46 million people have now had a first Covid-19 vaccine dose, and more than 36 million have had both doses.

    Southgate, 50, whose England side lost this month’s Euro 2020 final on a penalty shoot-out to Italy at Wembley, said in a video message: “I just firstly wanted to say thank you for the support you gave the team this summer, but also to say we know the last 18 months have been incredibly difficult for everybody.

    “And there’s no doubt that the vaccination programme is our best route out of this problem, not only for us as a country but across the world. So I just wanted to say how important it is, if you haven’t had your vaccine yet, to go and get it done.

    “I know oldies like me have had both jabs so we can crack on with our lives, but for you younger ones especially it’s the chance for everything to open up, to get your freedom back. So much of that is going to rest on you having the vaccine.

    “So, don’t put it off any longer, go and get it done, we can open everything up, we can protect the people we need to protect and you guys will get your freedom back.”

  • [email protected]

    NORTH EAST GETS EXTRA SUPPORT IN BID TO SLOW GROWTH OF COVID-19

    The North East of England is to be given a five-week package of support by the Government in a bid to slow the growth of Covid-19 in the region.

    The package includes the option to deliver extra testing in the area, as well as providing logistical support to maximise vaccine and testing uptake.

    It will be deployed to the seven local authorities across Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham, and five local authorities in the Tees Valley.

    The move comes as similar support in Bedford and much of the North West, which has been in place for between six and 10 weeks, is being scaled back.

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    SUPERMARKET SWEEP

    Shoppers have spotted shortages in supermarkets including bottled water and fresh fruit and veg.

    Supplies to shops have been hit by the “pindemic” forcing workers to self-isolate adding to existing worker shortages and increased demand from the heatwave.

    Ice creams and beer are also among the items running low in some locations, as supermarkets warned customers not to panic buy.

    Empty shelves have been spotted in supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Iceland and Lidl.

    Food will still be available in stores, but shoppers are likely to see fewer items on shelves and less choice of products.

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    POLICE, FIRE CREWS AND BORDER FORCE STAFF CAN SKIP COVID ISOLATION

    Downing Street was forced into another U-turn as they announced police, fire crews and some Border Force staff at ports can skip isolation regardless of vaccine status.

    So will those at the most critical parts of transport and freight systems.

    Amid growing alarm at the sheer scale of the pingdemic crisis, No 10 has scrambled to free more essential workers from the draconian rules.

    Along with food distribution workers, thousands of these frontline staff will be able to take daily tests so they can carry on with their duties if they are pinged by the NHS Covid app.

    Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Daily testing will keep our frontline teams safe while they continue to serve the public and communities across our country.”

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    CASES OF CHILDHOOD VIRUS EIGHT TIMES HIGHER THAN PRE-COVID

    The number of RSV infections is currently eight times higher than the same time period before the pandemic.

    The “out-of-season” trend has resulted in PHE giving a warning to parents to watch out for symptoms.

    It’s expected the wave will continue well into the winter, when experts have warned of pressure on NHS paediatric intensive care units.

    Azra Ghani, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College London, told the Sun: “This is of concern for the NHS because although RSV is a mild infection in the majority of children, a few require intensive care.

    “Paediatric intensive care units are limited in capacity.”

  • [email protected]

    NORTH EAST GETS EXTRA SUPPORT IN BID TO SLOW GROWTH OF COVID-19

    The North East of England is to be given a five-week package of support by the Government in a bid to slow the growth of Covid-19 in the region.

    The package includes the option to deliver extra testing in the area, as well as providing logistical support to maximise vaccine and testing uptake.

    It will be deployed to the seven local authorities across Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham, and five local authorities in the Tees Valley.

    The move comes as similar support in Bedford and much of the North West, which has been in place for between six and 10 weeks, is being scaled back.

  • [email protected]

    COVID RULES COULD BE ‘BACK IN WEEKS’ AS MINISTERS DRAW UP PLANS AMID RECORD CASES IN YOUNG BRITS

    Infections are on the up in younger age groups as society opens up once more.

    Now, ministers part of a Covid task force are set to be drawing up plans which will include fresh guidance on working from home, social distancing and mask wearing.

    Sources told the Independent that there was “no plan” to return to a hard lockdown that had been seen at the start of the year with others saying adding restrictions would be a “last resort”.

    One expert told the Independent that the government’s current plan for reintroducing lockdowns fits with the way they have handled previous waves.

    They said: “First ignore the problems and deny action is needed, then realise there is a problem and tell people it is up to them to act, then, belatedly, impose greater restrictions than would have been needed if one acted early.”

  • [email protected]

    TOO EARLY TO SAY IF COVID-19 NUMBERS ARE LEVELLING OFF, WARN EXPERTS

    The apparent fall in Covid-19 case numbers may be temporary ahead of a return to exponential growth, experts have warned. By 9am on Thursday, there had been a further 39,906 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK – down from 44,104 at the same time on Wednesday.

    A further 84 people had died within 28 days of testing positive as of Thursday, up from 73 on Wednesday. Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the Norwich School of Medicine, University of East Anglia, said Thursday was the first time reported case numbers had been lower than the same day the previous week since early May.

    “They represent a 18% drop. Also the week-on-week percentage increase in cases has fallen from a peak of 43% last Sunday to just 24% today.

    “But it is still too early to see any impact of the relaxations of Monday 19 and some of the reduction in cases will be because of many children no longer being tested as regularly now schools are closed.

    “I would caution that this may just be a temporary slowing in reports before we start to see a return to exponential growth towards the end of next week as a result of the ending of restrictions last week,” he said.

  • [email protected]

    WATCH: SHOPS WILL START TO RUN OUT OF FOOD IN 48 HOURS IF DISASTROUS PINGDEMIC RULES AREN’T SCRAPPED

    Some supermarkets last night warned the PM he has just 48 hours to fix the pingdemic or customers could face bare shelves for weeks.

    Iceland said it has closed “a number of stores” after 1,000 workers – four per cent of its workforce – forced to self-isolate after being pinged.

    BP has temporarily closed some petrol stations due to fuel supply problems, with M&S warning 20 per cent of its staff could be self-isolating by next month.

    Supermarket pingdemic shortages – empty shelves hit shops as people urged not to panic buy

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    THREAT LEVELS

    The UK has 25 areas on the Covid watchlist due to their amount of active cases.

    The Delta variant is now the cause of around 99 per cent of infections and driving the third wave in the UK.

    North East Lincolnshire is number one on the watchlist created by the ZOE Covid Symptom Study, with the most active cases as of July 18 (3,324 in every 100,000 people).

    Prevalence is second highest in Stockton-on-Tees, with 2,691 cases in every 100,000, and third highest in Falkirk (2,434).

    The most hotspots are in London, making up eight of the 25 spots on the list.

    Read more here.

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    CHELSEA SCRAP PRE-SEASON TRAINING CAMP IN IRELAND AND FLY HOME AFTER ‘POSSIBLE COVID CASE IN TRAVELLING PARTY’

    CHELSEA players are returning home early from a training camp in Dublin due to a possible case of coronavirus.

    A friendly against League of Ireland outfit Drogheda was cancelled on Thursday evening following the test result.

    And the club have confirmed that Thomas Tuchel and his squad are back in the capital to continue their preparations for the new season.

    A spokesperson said: “With the cancellation of last night’s friendly game, the team’s training camp has moved back to the club’s training ground early to continue preparations for the game against Bournemouth.”

    Chelsea travelled across the Irish Sea on Tuesday for a pre-season camp which was due to culminate in the behind-closed-doors friendly.

    Read more here.

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