Covid news – live: Brazil variant more infectious, study shows as joggers ‘should wear face masks’ – The Independent

Single dose of Covid vaccine cuts risk of hospital admission in elderly by 80%, new figures show

Early research into people infected with the coronavirus variant first detected in Brazil, known as P1, estimates that it is roughly twice as infectious as other mutated forms of the virus and can partially evade immunity elicited by previous infection.

However, experts cautioned that the research cannot be used to predict what may happen in the UK, and say it does not suggest that vaccines will not work against the variant.

It comes after six cases of P1 were detected in the UK, with officials racing to hunt down one person whose identity and whereabouts is unknown as they did not complete their registration form properly.

Meanwhile, scientists have said that joggers should wear face coverings because running past others while “puffing and panting” could post a “danger” – but they should be able to “run freely” in wide open spaces.

Trish Greenhalgh, professor in primary care health sciences at the University of Oxford, told Good Morning Britain: “There is no doubt the virus is in the air, there is no doubt that you can catch it if you inhale, and that someone else has exhaled.

“The exercising jogger – the puffing and panting jogger – you can feel their breath come and you can sometimes actually feel yourself inhale it, so there’s no doubt that there is a danger there.

“Forty per cent of Covid cases happen by catching it from people who have no symptoms. So you’re jogging along, you think you’re fine, and then the next day you develop symptoms of Covid, but you’ve actually breathed that Covid onto someone perhaps you know, an old lady walking a dog or something like that.”

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Primary school pupils should not be asked to wear face coverings, Downing Street says

Downing Street has said primary school pupils should not be asked to wear face coverings when schools in England reopen on 8 March.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said officials have been in contact with Redbridge Council in east London which has reportedly told primary schools under its control that pupils should be advised to wear masks.

He said the Department for Education was “in contact with the local council on the matter”.

Chiara Giordano2 March 2021 13:17

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Funding for Covid catch-up teaching not sufficient, says government’s tsar

Funding for programmes to help children catch up on teaching missed due to coronavirus is not sufficient, particularly for the youngest children, the government’s education recovery tsar has said.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson committed £1.7bn to helping schools and colleges provide catch-up support – but Sir Kevan Collins, the expert appointed to oversee the programme, told MPs that the funding was a “good start” but not enough to do the job.

Our Political Editor Andrew Woodcock has more:

Kate Ng2 March 2021 13:01

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David Cameron receives vaccine jab

Former prime minister David Cameron has received a Covid vaccine jab today, he confirmed on Twitter.

Mr Cameron thanked the NHS and “all the amazing staff and volunteers” working on the vaccine rollout.

Kate Ng2 March 2021 12:44

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Brazil variant more infectious and capable of evading natural immunity, Manaus study suggests

The coronavirus variant first detected in Brazil is estimated to be roughly twice as infectious as other mutated forms of the virus and can partially evade immunity elicited by previous infection, early research suggests.

Experts cautioned that the research cannot be used to predict what may happen in the UK, and say it does not suggest that vaccines will not work against the variant.

Kate Ng2 March 2021 12:32

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Joggers should wear face masks when running past others, scientists say

Joggers should wear face coverings because running past others while “puffing and panting” could pose a “danger”, scientists have said – however, they should be able to “run freely” in wide open spaces where they are not near other people.

Trish Greenhalgh, professor in primary care health sciences at the University of Oxford, told Good Morning Britain: “There is no doubt the virus is in the air, there is no doubt that you can catch it if you inhale, and that someone else has exhaled.”

My colleague Samuel Osborne has the full story:

Kate Ng2 March 2021 12:27

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Northern Ireland lockdown exit plan expected to be signed off

Stormont ministers met for an hour this morning to review Northern Ireland’s lockdown exit plan.

They have asked officials to make some further minor amendments to the plan and are due to reconvene at 12.30pm.

It is anticipated the strategy will be signed off at that point before being outlined to the Assembly mid afternoon.

Chiara Giordano2 March 2021 12:05

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Chancellor to focus budget on ‘critical support for businesses and households’

Rishi Sunak will focus on “critical support” for businesses and households in his budget rather than immediate efforts to balance the books, a Cabinet colleague indicated.

The chancellor has said his address to MPs tomorrow will be characterised by “honesty and fairness”, indicating he will set out how he intends to begin the task of repairing the public finances which have been battered by coronavirus.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng played down the prospect of immediate large tax increases but said Mr Sunak had acknowledged the country could not “go on spending money forever”.

“For now, what we have to do is support businesses, individuals, families, through what has been an extremely difficult time,” he told BBC Breakfast.

Chiara Giordano2 March 2021 11:54

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Coronavirus antibody statistics

An estimated one in four people in private households in England were likely to have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies in the 28 days to February 11, up from one in seven in the 28 days to January 14, the ONS said.

The estimate for Wales is one in six, up from one in nine; for Northern Ireland it is one in six, up from one in eight; and for Scotland it is one in eight, up from one in nine.

The presence of Covid-19 antibodies suggests someone has either had the infection in the past or has been vaccinated.

Chiara Giordano2 March 2021 11:32

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Multimillion-pound catch-up fund for children disrupted by Covid ‘not sufficient’

The government’s multimillion-pound support for young children who have faced Covid-19 disruption is “not sufficient”, the education recovery tsar has said.

When asked whether £18m of catch-up funding was enough to support children in the early years across England, Sir Kevan Collins, the government’s education recovery commissioner, said: “No, it is not sufficient.

“I think the whole package isn’t sufficient. I think it’s a good start but this is not the recovery plan.”

Chiara Giordano2 March 2021 11:18

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Drop in Covid deaths among over-80s steeper than younger age groups

Deaths involving Covid-19 among people aged 80 and over have fallen more steeply in recent weeks than those among younger age groups, the latest ONS figures show.

Covid-19 deaths registered in England and Wales dropped by 56 per cent for people 80 and over from the week ending January 29 to the week ending February 19, compared with falls of 50 per cent for those aged 70 to 79 and 40 per cent for people under 70.

People aged 80 and over were the second group on the priority list for Covid-19 vaccines, with doses being offered from early December.

Chiara Giordano2 March 2021 10:54