ALMOST a quarter of registered Covid deaths were not actually caused by the virus, new official figures reveal.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows 23 per cent of coronavirus fatalities are now people who have died "with" the virus rather than from an infection.

This means the disease was not the primary cause of death recorded on death certificates, despite the person who died testing positive for Covid.

Other data also shows an increasingly positive picture of the state of the pandemic in Britain.

Daily death figures by "date of death" reveal that Britain has had no more than 28 deaths a day since the beginning of April.

It comes as thirsty Brits made 14million pub bookings in a stampede to secure beer garden tables.

A million of the outdoor reservations are for July, and many venues in England are booked up until May.

But the surge to enjoy newfound freedoms has added to fears that Johnson's lockdown roadmap could be delayed.

Dr Peter Drobac, a former assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, warned there will be a spike in cases as Brits flock to shops and recently reopened pub gardens.

And he said that unless we take it slow and steady, Britain could face a similar future to Chile – which has just gone back into a strict lockdown, despite one of the world's best vaccination programmes.

Speaking on Sky News, Dr Drobac called the South American country a "real Covid vaccination success story. Some 40 per cent of people have received one dose, and 25 per cent have received two doses – and at the same time, they've got a surge that is the worst they've experienced throughout the pandemic," he said.

Chile has, however, largely been using a Chinese made vaccine that is understood to be less effective than the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines currently being rolled out in the UK.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    HEATHROW AIRPORT NEEDS 'DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENTS' TO REDUCING TIME THROUGH BORDER CHECKS, SAYS AIRPORT CHIEF

    Chris Garton, chief solutions officer at Heathrow Airport, told the Transport Select Committee that "dramatic improvements" are needed in reducing the time it takes arriving passengers to pass through border checks.

    He said: "Our biggest issue in terms of the summer particularly is the performance at the border.

    "We need to see a dramatic improvement in border performance if we are to increase passenger numbers travelling through Heathrow."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    IRELAND CONSIDERS EXTENDING GAP BETWEEN PFIZER VACCINE DOSES

    Ireland is considering extending the gap between inoculations of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to more than four weeks to keep its vaccine programme on track while other vaccines are restricted, the health minister said on Wednesday.

    "We are looking for options for how we can keep the pace of the vaccine programme going given the news we've had" on restrictions to AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Stephen Donnelly said.

    "Certainly extending the interval for Pfizer beyond the four weeks is something that is being looked at."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    65 TO 69 AGE GROUP IN WALES & SCOTLAND MOST LIKELY TO TEST POSITIVE

    In Wales, the highest proportion of people likely to have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies was the 65 to 69 age group (79.7%) followed by 70 to 74 (79.2%) and 75 to 79 (75.6%).

    In Scotland the highest percentage was again estimated to be among 65 to 69-year-olds (82.9%), followed by 70 to 74-year-olds (78.0%) and 75 to 79-year-olds (69.4%).

    In Northern Ireland, the ONS uses different age groups due to small sample sizes and estimates 78.0% of people aged 70 and over were likely to have tested positive for antibodies in the week to March 28.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    LOCKDOWN COULD BE REVERSED IF 'CONCERNING' CLUSTER OF SOUTH AFRICAN VARIANT SPREADS, EXPERTS WARN

    Lockdown could be put into reverse due to the “very concerning” South African variant, scientists saw.

    A large cluster of the strain has been reported in London, where residents have been urged to get a test immediately.

    Prof Peter Openshaw, a member of a Sage group – the Covid-19 clinical information network – told BBC2's Newsnight: "A lot of we scientists are very concerned about what's happening at the moment.

    "I think we're all just hoping that the staged reduction in lockdown is going to be ok. It is being done reasonably cautiously but I think this is not good news.

    "If we get rapid spread of the South African or other more resistant variants, it may well be that we are going to have to put the reductions of lockdown into reverse."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    BRITS 'NERVOUS' ABOUT RETURNING TO OFFICES AFTER COVID LOCKDOWN

    Employed Brits are ‘nervous’ about leaving their home comforts behind when they return to their workplace – and will miss getting up later and working in their pyjamas.

    Research of 1,060 adults who’ve worked from home during the pandemic found 77 per cent believe spending more time at home has been one of the positives of lockdown.

    But this means 63 per cent aren’t looking forward to leaving this behind once restrictions ease.

    The thought of having to commute and get up earlier has 42 per cent feeling anxious about being away from their homes and returning to ‘normality.’

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    RESEARCH INTO VACCINE AIMS TO PROVIDE 'FLEXIBILITY' AND 'RESILIENCE'

    Research into whether different coronavirus vaccines can be safely mixed for the first and second doses aims to provide "flexibility" and "resilience" to the UK's vaccination programme, the trial's chief investigator has said.

    Matthew Snape, associate professor in paediatrics and vaccinology at the University of Oxford, told Times Radio: "The main drive behind this study is to increase the flexibility of the UK's schedule and resilience in the case of problems with supply or availability of any of the vaccines."

    He added: "We want to know, if you do give different vaccines for first and second dose, are the immune responses as good as if you're giving the same vaccines? We know that when you give the same vaccine for the first and second dose, we get very good protection against Covid-19. And we're going to be looking to see if the immune response and the profile and reactions after the vaccines are as good if you're mixing the vaccines, which would greatly increase flexibility."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    QUARTER OF VIRUS DEATHS WERE NOT CAUSED BY COVID AS OFFICIAL FIGURES SHOW DEADLY BUG WAS NOT PRIMARY CAUSE

    Almost a quarter of registered Covid deaths were not caused by the virus, new official figures reveal.

    Data from the Office for National Statistics shows 23 per cent of coronavirus fatalities are now people who have died "with" the virus rather than from an infection.

    This means the disease was not the primary cause of death recorded on death certificates, despite the person who died testing positive for Covid.

    Other data also shows an increasingly positive picture of the state of the pandemic in Britain.

    Daily death figures by "date of death" reveal that Britain has had no more than 28 deaths a day since the beginning of April.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    TRAVEL TESTING REQUIREMENTS A 'MAJOR BARRIER' TO HOLIDAYS ABROAD THIS SUMMER SAYS TRADE ORGANISATION

    Testing requirements will be a "major barrier" to travelling abroad this summer, travel trade organisation Abta has warned.

    Luke Petherbridge, Abta's director of public affairs, told Sky News that the travel industry feels "an overriding sense of frustration" with the "lack of detail" in the Global Travel Taskforce's recent report on how international travel could safely return.

    He said the sector needs to know the criteria by which countries are going to be assessed to determine their risk levels. Mr Petherbridge said: "Testing is going to be a major barrier to travel this summer – we need the Government to engage with the industry on how we can bring down the cost of testing."

    Commenting on the Global Travel Taskforce's recommended approach to potentially low-risk countries, he said: "We cannot understand why countries in the green category should require a PCR test. We believe a double lateral flow test approach would be a more proportionate approach to follow in that category."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    J&J ALERT

    Young people may miss out on the one-dose Covid jab due to fears of rare blood clots.

    Ministers hoped the Johnson and Johnson vaccine could be a “jab and go” solution for those in their 20s and 30s wanting a holiday abroad.

    Its rollout has been delayed after six reports of blood clots — one fatal — were linked to the vaccine, which has been given to 6.8million people in the US.

    With fewer than one in a million affected, experts say any risk is “incredibly rare”.

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    JANSSEN VACCINE PROFESSOR SAYS REGULATORS EXAMINED SAFETY DATA 'ALMOST ON A DAILY BASIS'

    Asked about the pausing of the Janssen vaccine in the US, Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said that regulators examined the safety data "almost on a daily basis".

    He told Good Morning Britain: "It is of concern and we will keep a very close review of the situation. We will keep a very close eye on this situation, this is a rare and exceptional adverse event, but it's an important one. And obviously, we take the safety of these vaccines of absolute paramount.

    "The public can be reassured that our regulator the MHRA, and us on JCVI, look at this data almost on a daily basis and we will make the most appropriate decisions for the public according to the evidence that we see."

    He said that picking up the rare events "shows that the regulation system is working perfectly".

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    BRISTOL NIGHTINGALE HOSPITAL COST NHS MORE THAN £26M DESPITE NEVER TREATING A COVID PATIENT

    A Nightingale hospital in Bristol cost the NHS more than £26m – but has never treated a coronavirus patient.

    The facility was set up in less than three weeks in April 2020 to provide up to 300 intensive care beds at the University of the West of England's (UWE) Frenchay campus. It was used for assessments and treatments of more than 7,000 non-Covid patients before it closed on 31 March.

    Figures show it cost £15.6m to set up and about £1m a month to keep running. While the hospital had a capacity for 300 intensive care beds, it also had space to treat up to 1,000 people in total.

    Documents from the North Bristol NHS Trust showed it treated 7,284 Bristol Eye Hospital and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children patients, the BBC reports.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    JAB JOY

    Brits in their thirties are expected to be offered Covid jabs within weeks.

    Based on current rates of the vaccine rollout, the 35 to 39 age group can expect to be invited to book an appointment in the second half of May.

    Those aged 30 to 35 could be called by late May or early June, with those aged 18 to 24 and 25 to 29 during the rest of June and July.

    And people aged 40 to 44 can expect to be invited early in May, though it is highly dependent on the vaccine supply.

  • Britta Zeltmann

    CAMPUS WAITS

    A full return to campus by all university students in England will not be until mid-May at the earliest.

    College leaders had urged Gavin Williamson’s Department for Education for an earlier return date for the half who have been away all year.

    But the Government said it must review the impact of other lockdown restrictions being eased.

    Universities minister Michelle Donelan said all remaining students will be told not to return to face-to-face lessons on campus until at least May 17.

    Read more here.

  • Britta Zeltmann

    NOT COVID

    Almost a quarter of registered Covid deaths were not caused by the virus, new official figures reveal.

    Data from the Office for National Statistics shows 23 per cent of coronavirus fatalities are now people who have died "with" the virus rather than from an infection.

    This means the disease was not the primary cause of death recorded on death certificates, despite the person who died testing positive for Covid.

    You can read more here.

  • Debbie White

    IS IT POSSIBLE TO GO ON A HOLIDAY DURING THE PANDEMIC?

    Holidays abroad are not allowed under the current coronavirus lockdown restrictions, even as they were eased this week.

    In the latest stage of the roadmap out of lockdown, high street shops are now allowed to open and pubs and restaurants can serve guests outside.

    For Brits wanting a break, there's good new as self-catering stays in holiday lets and caravans are now allowed, though limited to one household, and some campsites have opened where there are no shared facilities.

    Hotels and B&Bs remain closed and these are expected to open from May 17 under the current roadmap for leaving lockdown.

  • Debbie White

    UK 'HALF WAY UP THE HILL' TOWARDS NORMALITY

    Prof Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, is thrilled that the Government has met its target of offering a jab to all those at highest risk of Covid-19.

    "I think it's an enormously significant milestone because this really represents the culmination of phase one, which was really aimed at trying to rescue the NHS from the enormous surge of cases that we had at the beginning of the year," he told Sky News.

    "Of course the lockdown has contributed very significantly to that success as well.

    "We're half way up the hill if you like, we can look back and be pleased with what we've achieved, but we need to look forward to get to the summit, and really finish this off.

    "We need to get to a point where so many people are immune to it that the virus is left with nowhere to go and that means that younger people do need to come forward in large numbers, as older people have done, in order to achieve that goal," he added.

  • Debbie White

    FANS' GROUPS UNITE IN CRITICISM OF CARABAO CUP FINAL TICKET ARRANGEMENTS

    Tottenham and Manchester City fans have dismissed a move to allow 2,000 supporters from each club to attend the Carabao Cup final as "political grandstanding".

    A limited number of spectators will be able to attend the game at Wembley on April 25 under the Government-led Events Research Programme (ERP), a pilot scheme looking at how to get spectators safely into venues amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    But a joint statement released by the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust and the Manchester City Official Supporters Club has condemned the lack of fan involvement in the decision-making process and questioned the validity of what it calls "a clinical trial" after the clinically extremely vulnerable were barred from applying for tickets.

    It said: "The Carabao Cup Final is now not a sporting event, and headlines that it represents 'the return of fans' are misleading. The event is a football match played as the centrepiece of a scientific experiment in front of some spectators, a small proportion of whom may be fans of the clubs involved.

    "Given the mix of spectators, the crowd will not behave as a normal football crowd behaves, and so researching its movement and behaviour is of limited value."

  • Debbie White

    SWEDEN'S KING SLAMS 'TERRIBLE COVID FAILURE'

    Sweden, a country that shunned lockdown, now has the highest number of Covid cases in Europe and has more patients in intensive care than during the first wave.

    The Scandinavian country has a seven-day average of 625 new infections per million people, according to new data.

    The information comes after the king of Sweden blasted the country's anti-lockdown strategy.

    King Carl XVI Gustaf told the state broadcaster SVT in an end-of-year-interview that the number of deaths in Sweden is "terrible".

    The 74-year-old said: "The people of Sweden have suffered tremendously in difficult conditions. I think we have failed. We have a large number who have died, and that is terrible."

  • Debbie White

    COVID CRISIS IN EUROPE AS DEATHS SOAR PAST ONE MILLION

    Europe's total Covid deaths have soared past one million, as the World Health Organization warns the pandemic is spreading "exponentially".

    The death toll across all 52 countries in Europe hit 1,000,288 by 6.30pm on Tuesday.

    Europe's botched vaccination roll-out has contributed to the rise in Covid cases.

    Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel declared the country was in a "new pandemic".

    She blamed an "exponential" rise in coronavirus cases as the reason for the restrictions, saying the UK's Kent Covid strain had caused the increase.

  • Debbie White

    MODERNA COVID JAB '90 PER CENT EFFECTIVE'

    US biotech company Moderna says its Covid vaccine is 90 per cent effective against all forms of the disease, and 95 per cent effective against severe disease.

    The new results come from its ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial involving more 30,000 people across the US.

    The headline efficacy figure is a slight decrease from an earlier figure of 94.1 percent published in the New England Journal of Medicine in December.

    The new number is based on 900 adjudicated cases of Covid from the study as of April 9, while the previous was based on 185 cases.

    A company press release did not indicate why efficacy has fallen, but one reason might be the emergence of new variants of concern which are not as susceptible to antibodies evoked to the vaccine.

     

  • Debbie White

    THIRSTY BRITS MAKE 14MILLION PUB BOOKINGS AS COVID RESTRICTIONS EASE

    Thirsty Brits have made 14million pub bookings in a stampede to secure beer garden tables.

    A million of the outdoor reservations are for July, and many venues in England are booked up until May.

    Those who fail to make reservations may have to wait weeks before they can sip a pint at a boozer.

    Cocktail bar One Eight Six in Manchester is fully booked for ten consecutive weekends from May.

    In Birmingham, Craft bar and restaurant, said its outdoor pods were booked for six weeks and most tables have been snapped up until July.

  • Debbie White

    PUBS COULD BE FINED UP TO 10K FOR FAILING TO ENFORCE COVID REGULATIONS

    British pubs face being shut or fined up to £10,000 if they fail to enforce coronavirus regulations. 

    Officials have warned that venues must obey the rules after huge queues were spotted outside boozers yesterday.

    Huge queues were seen outside pubs such as Manchester's Friendship Inn, as thirsty punters aimed for a spot to enjoy a pint.

  • Debbie White

    COVID LOCKDOWN ROADMAP COULD BE DELAYED, WARNS PROF…MORE

    Dr Peter Drobac, also said the surge in Chile can be attributed to Chileans 'letting down their guard'.

    "Social distancing restrictions were relaxed, summer holidays were allowed to happen, border restrictions were eased," he said.

    "What happened was infections began to rise well before any protective effect happened, and they're paying the price."

    Dr Drobac said it's a warning that vaccinations won't be enough to stop cases rising in the future.

    He said: "Vaccinations are so important, but they alone won't be enough. Here in the UK we still face a risk of another surge if we're not very careful about how we open up."

  • Debbie White

    COVID LOCKDOWN ROADMAP COULD BE DELAYED, WARNS PROF

    Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown could be delayed – because the UK faces a fresh Covid surge as restrictions ease, an Oxford academic has warned.

    Dr Peter Drobac, a former assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, warned there will be a spike in cases as Brits enjoy their new-found freedoms.

    And he said that unless we take it slow and steady, Britain could face a similar future to Chile – which has just gone back into a strict lockdown, despite one of the world's best vaccination programmes.

    Speaking on Sky News, Dr Drobac hailed the South American country as a "Covid vaccination success story".

    "Some 40 per cent of people have received one dose, and 25 per cent have received two doses – and at the same time, they've got a surge that is the worst they've experienced throughout the pandemic," he added.

    Brits can now enjoy a pint outside pubs
  • Debbie White

    GRAN, 82, FINED £60 FOR ENJOYING PAL'S 70TH BIRTHDAY

    A Scots gran has been fined after being nabbed attending an illegal gathering for her mate’s 70th birthday party.

    Maureen Hogg, 82, from Eaglesham, East Renfrewshire, was handed a penalty notice by cops after they broke up the celebrations in Eaglesham.

    Maureen was given a £60 fine by cops over the weekend due to the party being in breach of current coronavirus restrictions.

    Her granddaughter Daisy, 17, tweeted: “Howling that my 82-year-old Gran got a covid fine cause she got caught at a gaff for someone’s 70th.

    Alongside her tweet, Daisy attached a picture of her family group chat which shows a message from her Mum, saying: “Gran's been charged with antisocial behaviour by Police Scotland.”

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