UK Covid LIVE: British Airways reports US bookings surge as UK Covid death toll passes 160,000

Construction workers march through the streets in Melbourne on Tuesday (Getty Images)

More than 160,000 people in the UK have had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate, new figures show.

The figures, which have been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that 160,374 deaths involving coronavirus have occurred in the UK since the pandemic began. This includes all deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.

Meanwhile, US chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci suggested that British travellers who have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca (AZ) jab will be allowed into the US.

The news has sparked a surge in bookings, with British Airways saying the number of potential customers searching for holidays to key US destinations after the announcement was more than seven times higher compared with the same period last week.

In Australia, hundreds of people demonstrated in locked-down Melbourne on Tuesday after authorities shut down construction sites in the city for two weeks, saying the frequent movement of workers was spreading the coronavirus into regional areas.

£1billion furlough handed back to HMRC

11:25 , Barney Davis

Businesses have handed back more than £1 billion claimed through the Government’s furlough scheme, the Treasury has said.

In the past three months alone, firms returned £300,000 because the funds had been overclaimed or they no longer needed the cash.

It takes the total returned to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) since July 2020 to £1.3 billion.

With the furlough scheme due to close at the end of the month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said it was “heartening” that so much had been paid back.

120 more care home Covid deaths

10:03 , Barney Davis

Some 120 care home resident deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales were registered in the week to September 10, up from 89 the previous week.

The week-on-week change will have been affected by the bank holiday on August 30, when register offices were likely to be closed, the ONS said.

In total, 43,156 care home residents in England and Wales have had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began.

The ONS figures cover deaths of care home residents in all settings, not just in care homes.

Covid deaths surpass 160,000 mark – ONS

10:02 , Barney Davis

A total of 160,374 deaths have occurred in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, the ONS said.

The highest number on a single day was 1,484 on January 19.

During the first wave of the virus, the daily toll peaked at 1,461 on April 8 2020.

Demand for US-UK flights soars after quarantine-free travel announced

09:15 , Barney Davis

Demand for flights from the US to the UK has surged since the Government announced the scrapping of the quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travellers.

Virgin Atlantic said it received more than three times as many bookings for flights from New York to London compared with a week earlier, while total bookings across all its US to UK routes more than doubled.

The time period analysed is from when the new policy was announced on Wednesday afternoon until 9am on Thursday, and the same period last week.

Fully vaccinated travellers from the US, the EU and a handful of other European countries will no longer need to self-isolate for 10 days when entering Britain from 4am on Monday.

New plans to allow workers to request flexible working from day one

08:17 , Barney Davis

Employees will reportedly be able to put in a request to work from home from their first day in a job under plans due to be announced later this week.

Laws which will protect flexible working first put forward before the pandemic will be confirmed, according to a report in The Times.

The current rules mean employees have to accrue 26 weeks – or half a year – of continuous service before they have a legal right to request flexible working which employers are able to decline on business grounds.

It is reported ministers will confirm the proposal on Thursday as part of a consultation, The Guardian said in a separate report.

This will allow anyone to make a request from the start of their job, with the move aimed at enabling women, disabled people and carers to balance their work and life commitments.

Builders riot in Melbourne as construction sites closed

08:16 , Barney Davis

Hundreds demonstrated in locked-down Melbourne on Tuesday after authorities shut down construction sites in the city for two weeks saying the frequent movement of workers was spreading the coronavirus into regional areas.

The decision to halt building activities comes after an anti-vaccine mandate protest in the city turned violent on Monday. The Victorian government requires all construction workers to have at least one vaccine dose by end of this week.

“The public health team was left with no choice but to hit the pause button and continue to work with the sector over the next two weeks to improve compliance … and slow the spread of the virus,” state Health Minister Martin Foley told reporters.

Footage on television and social media showed protesters marching through the city’s streets, setting up flares and chanting, with mounted police and officers in riot gear following them.

Good morning and welcome to the Evening Standard’s coverage of the latest Covid-19 developments

08:13 , Barney Davis

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