MORE than 20 million people have had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK.
Boris Johnson hailed the “huge national achievement” while praising the NHS, volunteers and armed forces for their work in the vaccine roll-out.
The Prime Minister tweeted: “20 million people across the UK have now got the jab – a huge national achievement and a testament to the tireless work of NHS staff, volunteers, the Armed Forces & many more.
“I urge everyone to get the jab when called. Every jab makes a difference in our battle against COVID.”
“So my key message tonight is look, this is all going very well but there are some worrying signs that people are relaxing, taking their foot off the brake at exactly the wrong time.”
Meanwhile, vaccines for people over 40 will begin this month as Britain delivers jabs to more than 20 million adults, The Telegraph reported.
Health officials are about to send the last batch of invites to those over 60, the report added.
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Rishi Sunak will extend the VAT cut on pubs and restaurants until at least June, The Sun can reveal.
And the five per cent rate may carry on for the rest of the year as businesses reopen.
Treasury sources told The Sun that the extension for the hospitality industry was deemed part of the pandemic package and would continue until the end of the lockdown exit plan which will see outdoor hospitality open on April 12.
Mr Sunak yesterday reassured the industry he was looking out for them, after hearing from campaigning pub landlord and ex-model Jodie Kidd.
Brits scoffed a record-breaking eight billion eggs in the past year as the lockdown baking boom sent sales soaring.
Shoppers splurged nearly £1.2billion on the protein-packed favourite in 2020 — a leap of more than a quarter from £950million the year before.
They bought 7.9 billion eggs in the 12 months ending in January, market research company Kantar said.
The total was up by a fifth from 6.6billion sold in 2019 and the highest on record.
The pandemic has made communities more united as the country pulls together amid the crisis, research reveals today.
Divisions, such as Brexit, which had split public opinion before Covid have faded significantly.
Only 12 per cent of the public now say their main political identity is Leaver, while Remainers are just 13 per cent.
And an overwhelming majority of us want to sustain or build on the tight-knit spirit after we have beaten coronavirus, findings from the Together coalition’s survey of nearly 160,000 people show.
Nearly seven in ten people took part in the weekly Clap for Carers, which saw many people meet and speak to their neighbours for the first time.
TAKING COVID-19 VACCINE WILL NOT ALTER YOUR DNA, GHANA PRESIDENT SAYS
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo urged citizens of the West African state on Sunday to ignore conspiracy theories surrounding coronavirus vaccines ahead of the launch of its nationwide inoculation campaign against the virus on Tuesday.
“Fellow Ghanaians, I know there are still some who continue to express doubts about the vaccine, others have expressed reservations about its efficacy, with some taking sides with conspiracy theorists who believe the vaccine has been created to wipe out the African race.
“This is far from the truth,” Akufo-Addo said in a nationwide address on Sunday night.
SLOVAKIA TO TIGHTEN ANTI-COVID MEASURES
Slovak government will tighten anti-epidemic measures from March 3, including stricter limits on people’s movement, as the country struggles with the resurgent coronavirus.
The government of Prime Minister Igor Matovic released details of the new measures after several days of debates with experts as the country has ranked among the world’s worst-hit by the recent wave of COVID-19 cases.
As of Wednesday, people will be allowed to travel from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. only to work or to see a doctor, while all currently valid exceptions from the limits on movement will be effective only between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
VACCINES FOR OVER-40S TO BEGIN THIS MONTH
Vaccines for people over 40 will begin this month as Britain delivers jabs to more than 20 million adults, The Telegraph reported.
Health officials are about to send the last batch of invites to those over 60, the report added.
An NHS worker who spends 12-hour shifts on the coronavirus frontline said she was “disgusted” after seeing people gather on a busy beach.
The woman spotted some groups of friends eating and drinking together on Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth, Cornwall, yesterday – which is against lockdown restrictions.
She said the scenes were “non acceptable” as the country continues to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The current Covid-19 rules in England do not allow people to have a picnic in a public space or meet someone from a different household.
A stillborn baby whose mother had been struck down with coronavirus died in the womb after becoming infected with the disease, say reports from Israel.
The expectant mum – who was in her 36th week of pregnancy- was apparently admitted to the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba after falling chronically ill on Saturday.
Medics then learned her unborn baby had already died with later tests revealing the foetus had also been infected with the virus, reports the Times of Israel.
The hospital said it could not as yet link the virus to the death.
ISRAEL PLANS COVID JABS FOR PALESTINIAN LABOURERS AND SETTLEMENT WORKERS
Israel approved plans on Sunday to offer COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinians with Israeli work permits, a step a rights group said did not go far enough to safeguard Palestinians in occupied territory.
The Palestinians have received relatively few doses to date and lag far behind Israel, which has vaccinated over one third of its population in one of the world’s fastest roll-outs.
After facing criticism for not extending its campaign to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, Israel agreed this month to give Palestinian health officials 5,000 Moderna Inc doses.
It has since handed over 2,000 of them.
Covid deaths today plunged to their lowest level in 11 weeks with 144 more fatalities.
There has been 6,035 more infections – bringing the total number of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began to 4,176,554.
This is the lowest number of daily positive cases since September 28.
Today’s daily death toll has brought the total number of victims to 122,849.
It is lower than yesterday’s total of 290 as the figure continues to drop.
Police are pulling over motorists heading to Barry in South Wales to find out whether their journey is essential.
Officers in masks have been seen chatting to drivers before deciding whether to let them continue – or make them turn around.
And they warned: “We’ve received numerous reports of crowds of people at beaches and other beauty spots across South Wales.
“Please remember that Welsh Government restrictions state that exercise should start and finish at your home – you shouldn’t be driving to these places. We are working alongside local councils to close some car parks, and will be stopping cars to check whether the journey is essential. Please understand that we are doing our best.
“However, we can’t be everywhere all of the time. It’s up to us all to do the right thing.”
LIFE’S A BEACH
Cops have set up Covid checkpoints to catch lockdown flouters – as thousands hit parks and beaches to soak up the sun.
Cooped-up Brits growing weary with the national restrictions headed outdoors today to make the most of the balmy 13.8C heat.
But health officials have say people must follow the order to stay at home – despite balmy weather ahead of the first day of meteorological spring tomorrow.
And across the country, PCs are out on duty to send those who bend the rules straight back home.
This is the moment Covid cops stopped a woman just two miles from her home as she was queuing to buy a coffee.
The woman, who posted footage of the incident on social media, claims she was slapped in handcuffs with her arms behind her back after she was spoken to by four uniformed officers in masks.
The video shows her telling the PCs she lives in Battersea and had joined a friend and the pal’s son, 13, for a walk.
“It’s not a crime to stand in a street,” she said. I’m social distancing – when I go in the shop, I had a mask.”
For the video click here.
NORWAY’S CAPITAL TIGHTENS LOCKDOWN TO FIGHT FASTER VIRUS SPREAD
Norway’s capital Oslo will tighten lockdown measures to combat a sharp rise in coronavirus infections linked to a more contagious variant, the city’s governing mayor said on Sunday.
The variant, which was first identified in Britain, started spreading in Oslo in January and now accounts for 50-70% of infections, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) said on Saturday.
On Friday, Oslo registered a daily record of 245 new coronavirus infections.
“We have to tighten the measures,” Raymond Johansen, the governing mayor of Oslo, told a news conference.
The infection numbers rose due to increased mobility, faster virus spread, as well as more testing, he added.
‘PEDO’ GETS JAB
R Kelly has had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine while in jail awaiting trial om child sex charges, according to reports.
The I Believe I Can Fly singer, 54, is being held in custody after repeated failed bids to be set free because of the pandemic.
The star – real name Robert Kelly – is one of more than 60 inmates who have been fully vaccinated so far at Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, reports TMZ.
He had his first dose in January and the second this month, according to the celebrity news site.
A new mutant Brazilian strain of Covid that may be more contagious has been found in the UK for the first time with six people infected.
Public Health England confirmed today the Manaus P1 variant has been discovered in three people in England and three in Scotland.
It is more contagious and there is a chance it may not respond as well to the jab – although no vaccine data for it exists.
The strain has been described as “of concern” compared to the P2 variant from Brazil that has already been found in the UK.
This is because it shares important mutations with the variant first identified in South Africa.
UK’S LOWEST COVID FIGURES
Today’s UK coronavirus figures are the lowest respective daily figures for months.
They compare to the 290 coronavirus deaths and 7,434 new infections recorded on Saturday.
It is the fewest daily reported deaths since 136 were announced on 2 November – and fewest new cases since 28 September, when there were 4,044.
144 COVID DEATHS IN UK
A further 144 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK.
An additional 6,035 new cases have also been reported.
The total number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavrus in the UK now stands at 122,849.
SINGLE DOSE OF VACCINE OFFERS 90% PROTECTION
Figures show a single dose of a coronavirus vaccine can reportedly give 90 per cent protection from the disease.
As a result, the jabs are slashing hospitalisations.
The results apply to the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, with the British jab proving slightly more effective against the virus.
The figures, taken from a study based in England, were calculated by comparing people who had received a first dose of the jab with others of a similar age who had not got their vaccine yet.
And researchers say the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab is more effective than Pfizer’s vaccine at stopping people from becoming severely ill and needing to be hospitalised, the Mail on Sunday reports.
WHAT IS A VACCINE PASSPORT PETITION?
An online petition has been set up on parliament’s website calling for the government not to introduce a vaccine passport.
Boris Johnson though has announced a review of the scheme, indicating it could allow people to travel and attend large events.
An online petition was started urging the government not to introduce vaccine passports.
The petition says the passports could be “used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine”.
60’s INVITED TO BOOK JAB
Nearly 2million people aged 60 to 63 in England are now being invited to book a jab.
NHS England said that the letters will start landing on doormats from Monday, explaining how people can make an appointment to get jabbed through the national booking service.
The impressive progress has put the UK as one of the global frontrunners when it comes to the vaccine.
The government has now set the Herculean task of giving ALL adults a first dose by the end of July.
U.S. SCHOOL KIDS TO BE VACCINATED BY END OF YAER
Anthony Fauci has said children under 12 will be vaccinated “earliest the end of the year and very likely the first quarter of 2022”, and high school students “sometime this fall”.
The US’ most senior infectious disease official also told NBC that he would take the newly approved Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, as he encouraged Americans to accept whatever version was available.
“All three of them are really quite good, and people should take the one that’s most available to them,” he said.
“If you go to a place and you have J&J, and that’s the one that’s available now, I would take it.”
149 COVID-19 DEATHS IN ENGLAND
A further 149 people have died from Covid-19 in England.
It brings the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 83,123.
DEPRESSION RISES IN PANDEMIC
Post-natal depression in men and women has risen during the pandemic.
The PANDAS Foundation recorded a 240% rise in calls to its helpline since January 2019, as well as a 150% spike in demand for its email service, it told Sky News.
As a result, the charity is trying to recruit fathers as volunteers – and is sending out an “urgent” appeal for more funding.
VACCINE MINISTER CELEBRATES MILESTONE
Nadhim Zahawi has applauded the UK milestone of 20-million Covid-19 vaccines.
The vaccines minister tweeted: “BINGO! One Score over 20,000,000 people have had the vaccination (1s dose).”
“What an achievement for February 2021. What a team! Proud to be with you on this journey.”