Covid UK news – Wuhan lab leak theory on table at G7 with tough new WHO investigation demanded, leaked docs reveal

COVID cases have almost doubled in a week – casting further doubt on the June 21 Freedom Day amid a surge of Indian variant infections.

Striking a gloomy tone, the PM warned cases and hospitalisations were creeping up in parts of the country – and refused to commit to unlocking in two weeks.

The latest figures released on Tuesday by the Government showed 6,048 new cases and 13 new deaths were recorded in the 24 hours from Monday.

The news comes as Boris Johnson reportedly weighs up whether to delay the lifting of all Covid restrictions in England on June 21.

Rishi Sunak is understood to have said he would accept a delay of up to four weeks to the end of the Covid roadmap according to The Guardian.

Government ministers will continue to scrutinise data on cases and hospitalisations over the course of this week, with a final decision set to be announced by the prime minister on Monday. 

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest news and updates…

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    DOMINIC CUMMINGS HAS NOT PROVIDED EVIDENCE FOR CLAIMS, SCIENCE COMMITTEE CHAIR SAYS

    Science and technology select committee chairman Greg Clark said Dominic Cummings has failed to provide evidence to back up his claims, nor has he given an explanation as to why it has not been forthcoming.

    Clark said a deadline of last Friday had been set for the evidence the former No 10 aide touted so it could inform the questioning of Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

    But he said: "We have not received that evidence nor any explanation as to why that has not been available.

    "It's important that if serious allegations are made against an individual, they should be corroborated with evidence and it must be counted as unproven without it."

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    MATT HANCOCK SAYS COMMUNITY TESTING ENDED EARLY OVER CONCERNS ABOUT CAPACITY AND RELIABILITY

    Matt Hancock said community testing ended early in the pandemic because there was not sufficient testing capacity and there were concerns over false negatives.

    The Health Secretary said: "Testing was at no point scaled down, on the contrary, we were driving up testing capacity all the way through."

    But he accepted community testing ceased early in the pandemic and said he was not advised in the run-up to the first lockdown whether expanding community testing was an option.

    "Unlike other countries we did not go into this with a testing capacity. So one of the reasons we had to reduce the use of community testing is because we didn't have a big enough capacity and we had to target the testing at where it's clinically most needed," Mr Hancock said.

    "The second point, which is really important here, is that the clinical advice I received is that testing people asymptomatically would lead to false negatives."

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    BORIS HAS DROPPED BIGGEST HINT YET THAT JUNE 21 MIGHT BE PUSHED BACK

    Striking a gloomy tone, the PM warned cases and hospitalisations were creeping up in parts of the country – and refused to commit to unlocking in two weeks.

    It is the first time in weeks he hasn’t said there remains “nothing in the data” that risks derailing the roadmap.

    Speaking as he touched down in Cornwall for the G7, he said: “On Monday… we’ll have a look at where we are.

    “I think what everybody can see very clearly is that cases are going up, and in some cases hospitalisations are going up.

    “What we need to assess is the extent to which the vaccine rollout, which has been phenomenal, has built up protection in the population in order for us to go ahead to the next stage. And so that’s what we’ll be looking at.”

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    MATT HANCOCK DENIES HE USED SCIENCE AS A SHIELD FOR COVID MISTAKES

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock has denied a claim by Dominic Cummings that he used the phrase "we follow the science" to shift blame for government failures.

    The former No 10 adviser claimed he heard Hancock tell the prime minister they could say they were misled by the science whenever they made mistakes in their Covid response.

    But Hancock hit back claiming he tried to avoid using that phrase and had even defied scientific advice at the start of the pandemic by forcing people to isolate when they returned from Wuhan in February and March 2020.

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    MATT HANCOCK DENIES HE WAS TOLD PEOPLE WERE NOT GETTING PROPER COVID TREATMENT

    Matt Hancock insisted he was never advised that the public was not getting the coronavirus treatment they required, denying a claim by Dominic Cummings.

    The Health Secretary said: "I did absolutely say both in private and in public that everybody got the Covid treatment that they needed and I'm very proud of the fact that, with the NHS, we delivered on that during the pandemic because it was critical.

    "There was no point at which I was advised, and I've taken the trouble to check with the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser, there was no point at which I was advised that people were not getting the treatment they needed.

    "On the contrary, one of the things that we succeeded in doing in the entire response to this pandemic is to protect the NHS so that people have always had access to treatment for Covid."

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    MATT HANCOCK HAD PM'S 'WHOLESOME SUPPORT' THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC

    Matt Hancock said he was aware that Dominic Cummings wanted him fired during the first stages of pandemic but had the PM's "wholesome support".

    Speaking to the Health and Science select committees, the Health Secretary said he was aware he was being briefed against because criticism was appearing in the newspapers.

    He said he had Boris Johnson's support throughout and he felt his job was to "save lives".

    It comes after Dominic Cummings gave evidence to the committees' joint inquiry on the handling of the pandemic where he said Hancock should have been fired for lying and incompetence.

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    MATT HANCOCK DODGES QUESTION OVER TESTING IN CARE HOMES

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock dodged answering whether he told the Cabinet people would be tested for Covid before being returned to care homes.

    Speaking while being grilled by MPs over his conduct during the first days of the pandemic, Hancock said:"We set out a policy that people would be tested when tests are available and then I set out building capacity".

    He added that: "I have got out of bed in the morning with the view that my jobis to save lives and get this country out of the pandemic.

    "I've tried to do that with honesty and integrity".

    He was answering the explosive accusations by former No 10 adviser Dominic Cummings that he should have been fired for lying "at least 20 times".

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    WATCH: DR ANTHONY FAUCI WARNS DELTA VARIANT COULD BECOME DOMINANT IN U.S.

    Indian Covid strain- Fauci warns contagious variant could become DOMINANT in US and says ‘we cannot let that happen’

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    TWO AUSTRALIAN STATES ON ALERT AFTER COVID-POSITIVE WOMAN TRAVELED BETWEEN THEM

    Two Australian states are on Covid-19 alert after an infected woman and her husband travelled from Victoria, the epicentre of country's latest outbreak, through the states of New South Wales and into Queensland, visiting dozens of sites enroute.

    Authorities in New South Wales and Queensland are rushing to trace close contacts and locate virus hotspots. The couple may face criminal charges for breaching Covid-19 border restrictions.

    The 44-year-old woman tested positive for COVID-19 once in Queensland, authorities said late on Wednesday, and her husband has since tested positive.

    Queensland state Health Minister Yvette D'Ath told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday that the couple's tests suggested they were likely at the end of their infectious period.

    "This means the risk is lower than we were expecting yesterday, which is really positive news," D'Ath said. No other cases were reported from the state.

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    UK COVID HOSPITAL CASES RISE ABOVE 1,000

    More than a thousand people are in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK as scientists warn of the risks of a third wave in the face of the Delta variant.

    More than a thousand people are in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK as scientists warn of the risks of a third wave in the face of the Delta variant.

    The figure is also 74 per cent higher than a week ago when 4,330 infections were reported.

    Today’s figures also show deaths have risen by six – bringing the total number to 127,860.

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    GREECE SOON TO JOIN GREEN LIST, CLAIMS AMBASSADOR

    Greece will “soon be on the green list,” the UK ambassador to Greece has claimed.

    Ambassador Kate Smith predicted that it will be removed from the amber list due to the improving Covid situation in the country.

    She made the claims during a live webinar yesterday, echoed by Greek Minister of Tourism, Haris Theocharis who said declining cases and increased airport measures would open up tourism soon.

    Following a spike in cases in April, daily Covid rates in Greece have fallen again with 1,368 new cases reported yesterday.

    The country has also given the first vaccine dose to nearly 40 per cent of the population – while further behind the UK, Greece hopes to have all of the holiday islands fully jabbed by the end of the month.

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    MODELLING SHOWS ‘RISK OF THIRD WAVE’, TOP SCIENTIST WARNED

    Modelling submitted to the Government in recent days shows there remains a “risk of a substantial third wave” of Covid infection, top scientist has warned.

    Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, whose modelling was instrumental to the first lockdown in March 2020, suggested that delaying the road map for England could have benefits in ensuring more people have second vaccines.

    He said his team’s work is basically “saying there is a risk of a substantial third wave – we cannot be definitive about the scale of that, it could be substantially lower than the second wave, or it could be of the same order of magnitude”.

    The size of the wave “critically depends” on how effective vaccines are at protecting people against admission to hospital and death, in the face of the variant first identified in India, as well as a few other issues, he said.

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    GREECE SOON TO JOIN GREEN LIST, CLAIMS AMBASSADOR

    Greece will “soon be on the green list,” the UK ambassador to Greece has claimed.

    Ambassador Kate Smith predicted that it will be removed from the amber list due to the improving Covid situation in the country.

    She made the claims during a live webinar yesterday, echoed by Greek Minister of Tourism, Haris Theocharis who said declining cases and increased airport measures would open up tourism soon.

    Following a spike in cases in April, daily Covid rates in Greece have fallen again with 1,368 new cases reported yesterday.

    The country has also given the first vaccine dose to nearly 40 per cent of the population – while further behind the UK, Greece hopes to have all of the holiday islands fully jabbed by the end of the month.

  • The Sun

    BORIS 'IS EXAMINING PARTIAL LIFTING OF RESTRICTIONS ON JUNE 21'

    Boris Johnson may adopt a "mix and match approach" to ending lockdown on June 21 by "partially lifting" restrictions, it's reported.

    The Prime Minister is set to announce on Monday if England's Step 4 to ease restrictions can go ahead on "Freedom Day", currently pencilled in for June 21.

    The government is weighing up the move amid fears over the spread of the Indian – or Delta – variant of Covid.

    A senior government official told the Financial Times that fears about the new variant meant a “mix-and-match approach is probably on the cards".

    And a cabinet minister told the paper officials are “trying to find a solution that pleases the PM’s instincts” to reopen the country.

    The minister said it would be "easy" to allow larger weddings if regualtions were tweaked, but nightclubs weren't likely to reopen "for a while".

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    ‘DIFFICULT TO ENVISAGE’ ASYLUM-SEEKER BARRACKS BEING COVID-SAFE, EXPERTS SAY

    Health experts have cast doubt on Home Office claims that a former Army barracks being used to house asylum seekers is Covid-safe following an outbreak earlier this year.

    Nearly 200 people contracted the virus at Napier Barracks in Kent.

    In April the Home Office declared the outbreak “over” and insisted asylum seekers were staying in “safe, suitable, Covid-compliant conditions”.

    But last week two senior health officials said it was still “difficult to envisage” the site being considered Covid-safe.

    Around 270 people were living at the barracks as of last week, the PA news agency understands.

  • The Sun

    ASTRAZENECA JAB 'LINKED WITH SLIGHTLY INCREASED RISK OF SOME BLEEDING DISORDERS'

    The Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is associated with slightly increased risk of some bleeding disorders, research suggests.

    An analysis of people who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca (AZ) or Pfizer/BioNTech jab revealed a small increased risk of an autoimmune bleeding disorder known as immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) associated with the AZ vaccine.

    The research also suggested there may be evidence of an increased risk of other bleeding and vascular events associated with the vaccine.

    Researchers said these very small risks are important but rare, and are comparable with those of other jabs, including vaccines against hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella, and flu.

    Clinical trials have demonstrated the Pfizer and AZ coronavirus vaccines have been generally well tolerated, although there has been a small number of reports of serious side-effects.

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    DELTA VARIANT MORE TRANSMISSIBLE THAN ALPHA VARIANT

    The Delta coronavirus variant of concern, first identified in India, is believed to be 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant found in Kent last year, Neil Ferguson has warned.

    Boris Johnson has said that England’s full reopening from COVID-19 lockdown, pencilled in for June 21, could be pushed back due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant.

    Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London told reporters that estimates of Delta’s transmission edge over Alpha had narrowed, and “we think 60% is probably the best estimate”.

    Ferguson said that modelling suggested any third wave of infections could rival Britain’s second wave in the winter – which was fuelled by the Alpha variant first identified in Kent, south east England.

    But it was unclear how any spike in hospitalisations would translate into a rise in deaths, as more detail was needed on how well the vaccine protects against serious illness from Delta.

  • The Sun

    BORIS HAS DROPPED BIGGEST HINT YET THAT JUNE 21 MIGHT BE PUSHED BACK

    Striking a gloomy tone, the PM warned cases and hospitalisations were creeping up in parts of the country – and refused to commit to unlocking in two weeks.

    It is the first time in weeks he hasn't said there remains "nothing in the data" that risks derailing the roadmap.

    Speaking as he touched down in Cornwall for the G7, he said: "On Monday… we'll have a look at where we are.

    "I think what everybody can see very clearly is that cases are going up, and in some cases hospitalisations are going up.

    "What we need to assess is the extent to which the vaccine rollout, which has been phenomenal, has built up protection in the population in order for us to go ahead to the next stage. And so that's what we'll be looking at."

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    COVID REQUIREMENTS FOR WEMBLEY HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED FOR THE EUROS

    UK-based supporters attending European Championship group games at Wembley can be admitted with proof of a second COVID-19 vaccine dose more than two weeks before the match, European soccer’s governing body UEFA said on Tuesday.

    The announcement offers an alternative to the existing requirement of a negative COVID-19 test.

    However, other ticket holders from elsewhere must still show evidence of a negative Lateral Flow Test taken within 48 hours before gates open, UEFA said on its website.

  • The Sun

    UK COVID HOSPITAL CASES RISE ABOVE 1,000

    More than a thousand people are in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK as scientists warn of the risks of a third wave in the face of the Delta variant.

    More than a thousand people are in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK as scientists warn of the risks of a third wave in the face of the Delta variant.

    The figure is also 74 per cent higher than a week ago when 4,330 infections were reported.

    Today's figures also show deaths have risen by six – bringing the total number to 127,860.

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    HOTSPOTS

    The Delta variant is fuelling a rise in Covid cases as new data reveals a surge in the North.

    The North West has some of the highest infection rates in England, the Public Health England stats show.

  • The Sun

    AVERAGE OF JUST OVER ONE DEATH A DAY IN SCOTLAND OVER PAST WEEK

    The number of deaths involving coronavirus in Scotland has remained the same as last week, according to the latest figures.

    Eight deaths were recorded between May 31 and June 6, the same as the previous seven-day period, bringing the total to 10,130.

    National Records of Scotland (NRS) data shows three of the latest deaths occurred in South Ayrshire, with two in both Glasgow and North Lanarkshire.

    One death was recorded in the Scottish Borders.

    Seven deaths occurred in hospitals while one took place in a care home.

    One of those who died was aged under 65, two were aged 65-74, and five were over 75.

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    MODELLING SHOWS ‘RISK OF THIRD WAVE’, TOP SCIENTIST WARNED

    Modelling submitted to the Government in recent days shows there remains a “risk of a substantial third wave” of Covid infection, top scientist has warned.

    Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, whose modelling was instrumental to the first lockdown in March 2020, suggested that delaying the road map for England could have benefits in ensuring more people have second vaccines.

    He said his team’s work is basically “saying there is a risk of a substantial third wave – we cannot be definitive about the scale of that, it could be substantially lower than the second wave, or it could be of the same order of magnitude”.

    The size of the wave “critically depends” on how effective vaccines are at protecting people against admission to hospital and death, in the face of the variant first identified in India, as well as a few other issues, he said.

  • The Sun

    GREECE SOON TO JOIN GREEN LIST, CLAIMS AMBASSADOR

    Greece will "soon be on the green list," the UK ambassador to Greece has claimed.

    Ambassador Kate Smith predicted that it will be removed from the amber list due to the improving Covid situation in the country.

    She made the claims during a live webinar yesterday, echoed by Greek Minister of Tourism, Haris Theocharis who said declining cases and increased airport measures would open up tourism soon.

    Following a spike in cases in April, daily Covid rates in Greece have fallen again with 1,368 new cases reported yesterday.

    The country has also given the first vaccine dose to nearly 40 per cent of the population – while further behind the UK, Greece hopes to have all of the holiday islands fully jabbed by the end of the month.

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    MAPPED: LOCAL LOCKDOWNS

     

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