Covid: UK fears as WHO expert says more measures needed as ‘vaccination not enough’

Speaking on Sky News Dr Mukesh Kapila said: “I think we are learning that vaccinations alone are not the answer and not only do the vaccinations have to be boosted but public health measures like hygiene, like masks in public places – they have to be retained for the time being.

“And when these precautions lapse then we see the consequences.”

 “The use of masks is possibly the most important thing people can do apart from getting vaccines and boosters.”

When asked if the UK Government was missing a trick by not imposing masks Dr Kapila replied: “Yes.”



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3 hours ago21:52Recap of important events

This blog is now closed, here is a recap of some of today’s important events:

Austria to enter lockdown

Covid infections down in most part of the UK but levels remain high

Nearly 4,000 care staff lose jobs after vaccine mandate

WHO advisor says vaccination is not enough to combat covid

Dutch police fire warning shots in protests against Covid restrictions

3 hours ago21:28Footage of riots in Rotterdam

This video shows footage of the riots over vaccine passport implementation in Rotterdam. 

Shots can be heard being fired by Dutch police.

: Another Video


u2014 The HbK (@The5HbK)

4 hours ago21:15Dutch police fire warning shots in protests against Covid restrictions

Dutch police have fired warning shots after protests against covid measures on in Rotterdam on Friday turned into riots. 

Hundreds of people took to the streets to protest the government’s plans to restrict access to indoor areas to people who have a vaccine passport that shows proof of vaccination or of a recent negative test.

In a statement, Dutch Police said that demonstrators had started fires and thrown fireworks. 

Dutch media also reported that the police used water cannons to disperse the crowd. 

4 hours ago20:55WHO advisor says vaccination is not enough to combat covid

A WHO advisor has warned that vaccinations alone are not enough to combat coronavirus.

Speaking on Sky News Dr Mukesh Kapila said: “I think we are learning that vaccinations alone are not the answer and not only do the vaccinations have to be boosted but public health measures like hygiene, like masks in public places – they have to be retained for the time being.”And when these precautions lapse then we see the consequences.”

Asked how realistic making vaccinations mandatory was, he added: “I think mandatory vaccination under any condition is bad news. “And generally in public health, we do not like such coercive approaches because they backfire in the long run.”

“But Austria is in a very bad place as are some other countries, more in the Eastern side of Europe but also in Western Europe as we speak and it’s understandable this should happen.”

“I think if the public does not cooperate with the reasonable responses to public health exaltations then I’m afraid more of these measures are going to become necessary to protect the population as a whole.”

4 hours ago20:31NHS doctor dies from Covid after two years saving others with the virus

An NHS doctor has died from coronavirus, after spending the last two years helping to save the lives of others affected by the virus. 

Dr Irfan Halim, who was the father of four young children, battled the virus for nine weeks after collapsing whilst on shift. 

At the height of the pandemic, he stayed away from his family for four months in order to protect them.

A fundraising page set up in his memory said: “Irfan was dearly loved and touched so many people’s lives.

“Sadly, he was taken far too soon from those who love him.

“Not only was he a loving husband, a devoted father of four young beautiful children, but an incredibly awesome human being to all that were blessed to have met him.”

So far, more than £83,000 has been donated to the fundraiser. 

5 hours ago19:50Scotland to vote on extensions to vaccine passports on Tuesday

On Tuesday Scottish ministers will decide whether to extend the vaccine passport scheme. 

Currently, Scots have to show vaccine passports if they are attending nightclubs or other large events, however, an extension could include cinemas, restaurants and bars. 

According to an evidence paper published on Friday, while the extension could increase vaccinations, it would also cost businesses to implement.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also suggested this week that proof of a negative lateral flow test could be also be used, as is the case in other countries. 

6 hours ago19:12SEAT asks unvaccinated Spaniards to sit separately from vaccinated

 Volkswagen’s Spanish car maker SEAT has asked its unvaccinated workers to sit in a separate part of the canteen to those who are vaccinated at its plant, just outside Barcelona. 

According to a SEAT spokesperson, this initiative has been in place for a month. 

It is one of the first initiatives of its kind to be implemented in Spain.

In a statement, SEAT said: “A few weeks ago, it was decided with the agreement of union representatives, to set up areas within the company canteens to protect unvaccinated workers,”

 “The areas for those who are unvaccinated have the strictest COVID measures to protect their health.”

7 hours ago18:22Ireland set to face difficult few weeks after surge

Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer has warned that the country is set to face a difficult few weeks amid a rise in covid cases. 

In a video posted on Twitter on Friday, Dr Ronan Glyn suggested that Ireland could have 200,000 cases of Covid-19 by December. 

He said: “Our entire health system, from public health to general practice to our acute hospitals, is stretched and non-Covid care – including cancer surgery, cardiac care, hip and knee replacements, mental ill health and all of the common ailments that if identified and treated properly may be prevented from deteriorating further – continues to be severely impacted.”

 “The next few weeks will be difficult for everybody.

“But by sticking with these basic measures, we can avoid the worst impacts of this current wave and ensure that we continue to protect to the greatest extent possible those who are most vulnerable within our communities.”

This warning comes just days after Ireland introduced new measures such as closing all hospitality venues at midnight and encouraging working from home.

7 hours ago18:13Nearly 4,000 care staff lose jobs after vaccine mandate

Nearly 4,000 care home staff lost their jobs last week after mandatory vaccines for the care sector came into force on November 11.

The announcement of the rule change led to a spike in younger people getting vaccinated but many people chose to leave their employment.

Data from NHS England showed that, in the week following the rule change, there were 3,743 fewer people working in the care sector.

However, this figure could be set to increase further as the data shows that 42,900 care workers were not fully vaccinated by the deadline.

Earlier in November, Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that all NHS staff would have to be vaccinated by April 1.

8 hours ago17:09UK records 157 deaths

The UK recorded a further 157 deaths of people who had died within 28 days of a positive Covid test on Friday. 

Data from November 18 shows 8,079 patients in hospital suffering from the virus. 

A further 44,242 people had a confirmed positive Covid test result on November 19.

Data from November 13 to November 10 shows 281,128 had a positive test result within this period. 

This is an increase of 13.1 per cent on the previous seven days.

8 hours ago16:36Booster shots authorised for all US adults

The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorised booster vaccines for all US adults. 

Previously, it had authorised booster doses for all recipients of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

This move is targeted at fighting the Delta variant, which has driven a rise in infections across the world in recent months. 

The FDA stated that its decision was supported by data showing that a third vaccine dose boosted immunity in all Covid vaccines available in the UK.

Around 31 million Americans have alMerck pill recommended for adults at risk of severe illness

An experimental Covid-19 pill from German pharmaceutical company Merck should be given to Covid patients at risk of severe illness, in the first few days of them noticing symptoms, the EU’s drug regulator has advised. 

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended that the pill be taken twice a day for five days.

However, it advised against women who are pregnant or who plan to get pregnant from using it.

It also stated that breastfeeding should be stopped around the time of treatment. 

It said: “EMA issued this advice to support national authorities who may decide on possible early use of the medicine prior to marketing authorisation … in light of rising rates of infection and deaths due to Covid-19 across the EU.”

10 hours ago14:52SAGE member warns of waning immunity

A Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies members has warned of the risk of waning immunity on older people. 

Professor John Edmunds told BBC Radio 4’s the World at One programme that “cases could really take off”. 

He added: “I think it’s really important that we boost immunity in older individuals and then we might be able to avoid any significant fourth wave.”

He also warned of pressure being heaped on the NHS saying: “It has been (under strain) for months and months, and that’s not going to ease up any time soon because this very high level of infection that we have now and we’ve had for months isn’t going to decline significantly,”

11 hours ago14:20Scotland records further 19 Covid deaths

Scotland has recorded a further 19 coronavirus deaths and 3,090 new cases in the past 24 hours.

This tasks the daily death toll o 9,467. 

The daily test positivity rate was 9.3%, up from 7.5% the previous day, figures published by the Scottish Government show.

There were 785 people in hospital on Thursday with recently confirmed Covid-19, down one on the day before, with 64 in intensive care, up one.

So far, 4,335,881 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, 3,935,095 have received a second dose, and 1,342,841 have received a third dose or booster.

11 hours ago14:09Tennis tournament will go ahead in Austria

Organisers of the Davis Cup Finals ties in Innsbruck confirmed it will go ahead despite a national lockdown starting in Austria on Monday. 

It is one of three cities hosting the event, along with Madrid and Turin. 

A spokesperson for joint organisers Kosmos Tennis said: “The organisers in Austria are currently meeting with local government to find out how this may affect COVID-19 restrictions for the event.

“As it stands now, however, we can confirm that the event will go ahead.”

11 hours ago13:36Covid infections down in most part of the UK but levels remain high

Covid infections have fallen in most parts of the UK, though levels remain high, new figures suggest. 

Around one in 65 people in England has Covid in the week to November 13, down from one in 60 the previous week, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. 

One in 65 is the equivalent of about 824,900 people.

Wales has also seen a drop with one in 55 people estimated to have coronavirus. 

In Northern Ireland, it is estimated to be one in 65 people, and in Scotland one in 95 people.

12 hours ago13:00Government need to ‘urgently’ update NHS app to show teenagers vaccine status

Travel agencies have called for the government to “urgently” update the NHS app so teenagers can show their vaccine status. 

It comes as the Government confirmed those who have had their booster jabs will be able to add it to the app. 

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultant The PC Agency said: “Adding the booster certification to the app is a major step forward today.

“It gives a confidence boost to those who were putting off booking for the Christmas period and it now means they can travel with their vaccine status up to date.

“But it’s not the end of the story, we need to see the Government update the app urgently for those aged between 12 and 17.”

Time Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK welcomed the development but said there is still a “long way to go” to ensure travel is simple. 

He said: “”We’ve seen great progress in recent weeks with reopening international travel, not least because of the success of vaccination programmes at home and abroad.

“However, we still have a way to go to return to pre-pandemic levels of demand.

“Ensuring travel is as straightforward as possible is vital to the recovery of UK aviation, and so moving quickly to enable travellers to show proof of booster vaccine status if it is required is absolutely the right move.”

12 hours ago12:33New UK charts shows worst affected groups

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics has revealed that infection rates remain highest in children aged 11 to 16.

The data for the week ending November 13 puts the rate of infection for coronavirus at 3.6 percent.

Figures also show hospital admissions and deaths remain highest among those aged 85 and over and lowest in the five to 15 age group.

infection levels were highest in secondary school children, but hospital admissions and deaths were highest among older people.

Hospital admissions remained lowest in those aged between 5 to 14 years and highest in those aged 85 years and over

u2014 Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS)

13 hours ago12:10Pharmacy reaches millionth vaccine mark

The UK’s largest online pharmacy, Pharmacy2U, has administered its 1,000,000 Covid vaccination. 

The pharmacy has given vaccines at 26 sites across England including mobile sites and pop-up sites. 

CEO, Mark Livingstone said: ” “We are incredibly proud at Pharmacy2U to play our part in protecting the most vulnerable people against Covid-19 and support the incredible effort the NHS has put into the vaccination programme. 

“Reaching one million vaccinations administered is a special moment for us and marks a huge step in the national effort to vaccinate the country. We feel compelled to play our part in helping to ease some of the huge pressures that the NHS are currently under.”

Head of the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme, Dr Emily Lawson added that they are “incredibly grateful” for the community vaccine efforts.

13 hours ago11:46Germany in ‘nationwide state of emergency’

The head of the Robert Koch Institute in Germany has warned the country is in a “nationwide state of emergency”. 

Lothar Wieler said medical care could not be guaranteed in some parts of the country because hospitals and intensive care wards are under pressure. 

Mr Wierler said: “All of Germany is one big outbreak.

“This is a nationwide state of emergency. We need to pull the emergency brake”. 

14 hours ago11:10Germany can’t rule out lockdown

Germany is not ruling out a full lockdown the health minister has said. 

Jens Spahn told a news conference the country is in a situation where “we can’t rule anything out”. 

It comes as Austria announced the country will enter a full lockdown on Monday for everyone, regardless of their vaccine status. 

Germany reported 52,970 new coronavirus cases and 201 deaths on Friday, bringing total deaths to 98,739.

Spahn also said the health ministry is in talks with Pfizer about buying its experimental antiviral pill to treat Covid.

It comes as Austria announced the country will enter a full lockdown on Monday for everyone, regardless of their vaccine status. 

14 hours ago10:45Northern Ireland not heading for another lockdown, says medical officer

Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer has said he does not think the region is facing the possibility of another coronavirus lockdown. 

Michael McBride did warn that the country is facing a very serious situation “if we don’t act now” and further restrictions may be required.

He said: “I do not think that we will go back to the damaging impact of lockdowns, however, we may need to consider our wider restrictions in certain environments and sectors where we know the risks are higher.”

Dr McBride said the easing of restrictions in the hospitality sector at the end of October had led to a “very significant uptick in cases”.

He also said people don’t need to cancel scheduled Christmas parties but advised them to take precautions to minimise risk.

15 hours ago10:22Cynthia Erivo to Craig Revel Horwood on Strictly after positive Covid test

Oscar nominee and Broadway star Cynthia Erivo will replace Craig Revel Horwood on Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday after he tested positive for Covid.

He is expected to return next week but the BBC announced he is self-isolating and will be absent this weekend. 

Erivo who will soon star as Elphaba in the big-screen version of the musical Wicked, will appear as a guest judge alongside Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke, and Shirley Ballas.

15 hours ago09:36Austria to enter lockdown

Austria will enter a nationwide lockdown from Monday, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg has announced.

The government has agreed on this with the nine federal states and includes everyone regardless of their vaccination status. 

The lockdown will last a maximum of 20 days according to Schallenberg but after ten days the government will review the measures. 

The government has decided on a nationwide vaccination requirement for everyone which will apply from February 1, 2022 and is a “long-term wave breaker”.

16 hours ago09:15Boosters added to make it easer to travel

The Health Secretary said adding booster jabs to Covid passes is to make travel easier abroad. 

Speaking after the announcement he said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for people to show their vaccine status if they are travelling abroad.

“This update to the NHS Covid Pass will mean people can have their complete medical picture at their fingertips if they are going on holiday or seeing loved ones overseas.

“Getting a top-up jab is our best defence against this virus and I urge all those who are eligible to come forward and get boosted.”

More than 13 million booster vaccines and third doses have been delivered so far across the UK. 

Vaccine minister Maggie Throup added that boosters are “the best way you can protect yourself ahead of winter” and “it has never been easier” to book.

16 hours ago08:43UK booster jabs added to Covid passes

The UK’s health ministry has said it will add booster shots to Covid passes for outbound international travel. 

However, it said they would not be added to the domestic pass. 

The ministry said travellers who have had a booster or a third dose will be able to demonstrate their vaccine status through the NHS Covid pass from Friday. 

17 hours ago08:07Austrian media reporting full lockdown coming

Austrian media is reporting that a full Covid lockdown will be introduced from Monday. 

The news comes ahead of a government announcement on whether the step would be taken, but the two worst-hit provinces, Salzburg and Upper Austria have alGermany’s unvaccinated face restrictions

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced restrictions for the unvaccinated in areas where hospital admissions exceed a set threshold. 

Those who have not received the vaccine will be excluded from certain venues.

Mrs Merkel said the situation is “dramatic” and they need to “quickly put a brake on the exponential rise”.

On Thursday Germany reported more than 65,000, the highest figure since the pandemic began.


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