Covid UK news - live: PM U-turns on amber watchlist as England could be ‘over the edge' of third wave

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Boris Johnson hints at U-turn on amber watchlist

Plans for an “amber watchlist” have been abandoned as ministers prepare to review the traffic light system which will decide the travel rules for most of August.

Prime minister Boris Johnson pledged to keep travel rules as simple as possible on Monday and ministers are due to carry out a review meeting on Thursday.

The government had been considering the new category for nations at risk of being moved into the red group which requires hotel quarantine for 10 days – but this has been dropped following a backlash by Tory MPs, ministerial concerns and complaints from the travel industry.

Meanwhile, a health commentator has said the nation could be “over the edge” of the third wave of Covid-19 infections.

Jamie Jenkins, former head of health statistics at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), told LBC cases in England and Wales have been falling since 19 July and “we might start being over the hill now” when it comes to deaths.

“We probably are over the edge of the wave at the moment,” he said, but added: “Let’s have a bit of caution as we go into the autumn period.”

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Pandemic linked to rise in short-sightedness among children, study suggests

Lifestyle changes driven by the coronavirus pandemic have been linked to a possible rise in short-sightedness among children in a new study.

Analysing children in Hong Kong between the ages of six and eight, researchers found a potential increase in cases of myopia after the pandemic struck.

My colleague Andy Gregory has more details in this piece for Independent Premium:

Coronavirus, COVID-19, Government U-turns over amber watchlist

Short-sightedness among children linked to pandemic screen time surge

Researchers warn that childhood myopia is ‘a potential public health crisis as a result of Covid-19’, Andy Gregory reports

Chiara Giordano3 August 2021 08:36

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Government opted for ‘simplicity’ over amber watchlist, says minister

Gillian Keegan, the skills and apprenticeship minister, appeared to confirm that the government amber watchlist plan had been ditched.

Asked on LBC radio whether an amber watchlist had been discussed, she said: “Everything is discussed” – before saying the government wanted the traffic light system to stay “simple”.

The minister said: “The important thing when we’re designing this [travel list] system, and where we came down on, in the end, is to make sure the system is simple enough for people to understand.”

Chiara Giordano3 August 2021 08:20

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England could be ‘over the edge’ of third wave, says expert

The nation could be “over the edge” of the third wave of Covid-19, a health commentator has said.

Jamie Jenkins, former head of health statistics at the Office for National Statistics, told LBC: “(Cases) in England and Wales have been coming down since July 19, the cases have been falling for a couple of weeks there, then you get that time-lag effect when cases start coming down you get, around five or six days later, you start seeing hospital admissions come down, and then you start seeing deaths come down.

“I think looking at the data, we normally see deaths peaking around 14 days after cases come down, I think we might start being over the hill now when it comes to deaths.”

Mr Jenkins added: “We probably are over the edge of the wave at the moment but let’s have a bit of caution as we go into the autumn period.”

He said that hospital admissions were around 80 per cent lower than what they would have been in the past and deaths were 90 per cent lower, adding: “The vaccine effect has kicked in as well – if you look at the same number of cases to what we had in the winter, it would have been 800 deaths rather than 65-70.”

Chiara Giordano3 August 2021 08:12

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Boris Johnson U-turns on amber travel watchlist

Ministers have abandoned plans to add a new “amber watchlist” category to the UK’s Covid travel rules, after Boris Johnson said the traffic light system should stay “as simple as possible”.

The government has been considering a new category to let travellers know which amber-list countries are at risk of turning red, but the idea sparked backlash from the travel industry and MPs.

My colleague Adam Forrest has more on this story:

Coronavirus, COVID-19, Government U-turns over amber watchlist

Government U-turns over amber watchlist

PM gets cold feet on new category, after warnings it would mean confusing ‘rainbow’ of rules

Chiara Giordano3 August 2021 08:10

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll be bringing you rolling updates on the latest news and statistics throughout the day.

Chiara Giordano3 August 2021 08:09

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