Covid news – live: Number of daily deaths still ‘staggering' as holidays to Spain cancelled over vaccine rules

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LIVE – Updated at 09:03

Coronavirus numbers in the UK are still “absolutely staggering” senior advisor to the World Health Organisation director-general has said.

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Asked whether the premise of learning to live with the virus was dangerous, Dr Bruce Aylward pointed to the two million daily cases and 5,000 daily deaths still being recorded.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The numbers are absolutely staggering, and what we’re learning to live with is not just this virus, but what should be an unacceptable burden of disease, an unacceptable number of deaths every single day, especially when there are the tools to stop or at least slow this thing, manage it, control it.”

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Meanwhile, UK families are cancelling their half-term holidays to mainland Spain and the Canary Islands in droves as new rules were implemented meaning children over the age of 12 would need to be double-vaccinated to enter.

According to the BBC, hoteliers are calling on the government to relax the rules after some have lost out out on “millions” in trade.

Key points

  • ‘VIP lane’ for PPE contracts bigger than government admits, says group
  • Number of Covid deaths ‘unacceptable’ warns WHO advisor
  • UK families cancel half-term holidays to Spain over vaccination rules

Vaccines for children over 5 ‘won’t make much difference’ says medicine professor

Global Tech News Daily

09:03 , Ella Glover

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Professor Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia said there would be little point vaccinating the over-5s age group.

He said that infection rates are dropping and vaccines haven’t “done a huge amount” to stop interruptions to schooling.

Mr Hunter said: “I would lean against offering it to this age group for a number of reasons, particularly although you’ve said we’ve seen very high infection rates in children in recent weeks, they’re actually falling really quickly at the moment.

“And we’re seeing fewer than half the cases in this age group even little more than a week ago, so I think in many ways we’re past the point where vaccines are actually going to make much difference.”

He added: “We haven’t seen that vaccines have actually done a huge amount to stop these interruptions, so I think the benefits are marginal, and it’s probably too late, because most kids have already had Omicron.”

Sajid Javid pledges to hire 15,000 more health workers by end of March

08:47 , Ella Glover

The health secretary has promised to recruit 15,000 more health workers by the end of March to help with the NHS backlog.

It comes after the government was warned waiting lists might not go down until 2024.

Of the 15,000 recruits, 10,000 would be overseas nurses and 5,000 would be healthcare support workers.

About six million people in England are on the NHS waiting list for treatment and there could be more who did not come forward during the pandemic.

UK families cancel half-term holidays to Spain over vaccination rules

08:28 , Ella Glover

UK families are cancelling their half-term holidays to mainland Spain and the Canary Islands in droves as new rules were implemented meaning children over the age of 12 would need to be double-vaccinated to enter.

According to the BBC, hoteliers are calling on the government to relax the rules after some have lost out out on “millions” in trade.

Portugal and Greece have both announced an easing of their entry rules this week while holiday provider TUI said Mexico and turkey are proving to be popular alternatives.

Number of Covid deaths ‘unacceptable’ warns WHO advisor

08:18 , Ella Glover

Coronavirus numbers in the UK are still “absolutely staggering” senior advisor to the World Health Organisation director-general has said.

Asked whether the premise of learning to live with the virus was dangerous, Dr Bruce Aylward pointed to the two million daily cases and 5,000 daily deaths still being recorded.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “The numbers are absolutely staggering, and what we’re learning to live with is not just this virus, but what should be an unacceptable burden of disease, an unacceptable number of deaths every single day, especially when there are the tools to stop or at least slow this thing, manage it, control it.”

“But you can’t do it with only half of the world protected, half of the world testing.

“You need that 16 billion dollar investment. It’s an extremely good buy to get out of this pandemic, or at least the acute phase.”

“That sounds like a lot of money, but it is less than what the world is losing every single month right now,” he said.

CDC warns against dropping mask mandates in schools

07:07 , Shweta Sharma

With the US still recording 1.86 million cases a week, “now is not the moment” to drop mask mandates in schools and public places, the US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

CDC director Rochelle Walensky told Reuters that her agency’s guidance has not changed.

“I know people are interested in taking masks off. I too am interested. That would be one marker that we have much of the pandemic behind us,”Ms Walenksy said.

“Right now our CDC guidance has not changed … We continue to endorse universal masking in schools.”

“We have and continue to recommend masking in areas of high and substantial transmission – that is essentially everywhere in the country in public indoor settings,” she said.

She said she sees the ongoing health crisis becoming endemic when infections are at a steady rate.

She is “cautiously optimistic” that Covid infections in the US will decline below crisis levels, but added, “we’re not there right now.”

Trump tells Joe Rogan to ‘stop apologising’ over vaccine misinformation row

06:56 , Shweta Sharma

Donald Trump has urged popular podcast host Joe Rogan not to back down amid a wave of backlash against Spotify for the spread of Covid misinformation on his platform.

In a statement issued on Monday night, Mr Trump wrote that the host should shrug off the attacks against him and resist efforts to silence him or change his ways.

“How many ways can you say you’re sorry? Joe, just go about what you do so well and don’t let them make you look weak and frightened.

Read Andrew Naughtie’s detailed report.

Covid news – live: Number of daily deaths still ‘staggering’ as holidays to Spain cancelled over vaccine rules
© Provided by The Independent

Donald Trump tells Joe Rogan to ‘stop apologising’ in new statement

Canada truckers protest threatens trade with US

06:50 , Shweta Sharma

Protesting truckers have blocked a crucial commercial link between the US and Canada, raising worries among Canadian politicians about the economic impact of the disruptions.

The truckers blocked the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, which carries 25 per cent of all trade between Canada and the US.

Canadian transport minister Omar Alghabra said the blockade could have serious implications on the economy and supply chains.

“I’ve already heard from automakers and food grocers. This is really a serious cause for concern,” he said.

Protesters also closed another important US-Canada border crossing in Coutts, Alberta.

In Monday’s address, prime minister Justin Trudeau called the protesters “a few people shouting and waving swastikas” and said they do not define Canadians. His comments came after some raised flags with Nazi symbols in the initial days of protest.

Covid news – live: Number of daily deaths still ‘staggering’ as holidays to Spain cancelled over vaccine rules
© Provided by The Independent Vehicles block the route leading from the Ambassador Bridge, linking Detroit and Windsor, (REUTERS)

‘VIP lane’ for PPE contracts bigger than government admits, says campaign group

06:25 , Shweta Sharma

A new report by a legal campaign group has claimed that the list of companies given “VIP” treatment for Covid contracts is bigger than what Boris Johnson’s government has previously admitted.

The Good Law Project has said it had been leaked internal documents showing that another 18 companies – awarded almost £1bn in PPE contracts between them – were also referred to as “VIPs”.

Read the detailed report by The Independent’s Adam Forrest.

Covid news – live: Number of daily deaths still ‘staggering’ as holidays to Spain cancelled over vaccine rules
© Provided by The Independent

‘VIP lane’ for PPE contracts bigger than government admits, says campaign group

05:57 , Shweta Sharma

Welcome to The Independent’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic for Wednesday 9 February.

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