November 24, 2020

Covid news – live: UK orders 5 million doses of Moderna vaccine as Hancock refuses to promise pay rise for NHS – The Independent
Nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc

The UK has bought 5 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine developed by the US-led biotech firm Moderna, hours after the company reported promising results in its ongoing trial. 

The company’s coronavirus vaccine candidate has been shown to be more than 90 per cent effective in preventing disease among infected individuals.

Interim results from Moderna’s ongoing phase three study returned an efficacy rate of 94.5 per cent, which British scientists have hailed as “tremendously exciting” news.

Meanwhile, clinical trials of a new potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Janssen, part of Johnson &Johnson, are set to begin in the UK, with 6,000 volunteers from across the country taking part.

The Scottish Government could place Glasgow and parts of the west of Scotland under the toughest restrictions in an effort to lower the “stable but stubbornly high” prevalence of the virus.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a “final decision” will be announced on Tuesday. If placed under the highest level of restrictions, these areas would have to close hospitality, non-essential shops and gyms, as well as a ban on all contact between households.


Company share prices rise after Moderna vaccine announcement

Share prices around the world have surged after Moderna said its vaccine was 94.5 per cent effective.

In London, the FTSE 100 share index closed 1.7 per cent up, with a resurgence of companies that have been badly affected by the pandemic. This included International Consolidated Airlines Group, the owner of British Airways, whose share price rose by 9.7 per cent. 

Elsewhere, the S & P 500 index in New York was also buoyed by the announcement. 

My colleague Ben Chapman has all the details here:

Rory Sullivan16 November 2020 19:38


Germany postpones decision of further Covid-19 measures

Germany has postponed a decision on whether to introduce tougher coronavirus restrictions, after the majority of its federal leaders pushed back against chancellor Angela Merkel’s latest proposals. 

Ms Merkel had wanted to bring in tougher measures including compulsory mask-wearing in schools and stricter limits on social contact. 

The decision has now been deferred until 25 November. 

“I could have imagined imposing further contact restrictions today. The current restrictions have not reversed the trend yet, but we have broken the dynamics of new infections,” Ms Merkel said on Monday. 

Her comments came after Germany imposed a “lockdown lite’ earlier this month, leading to the closure of bars and restaurants. 

Rory Sullivan16 November 2020 19:26


Israel in talks with Moscow about Russian Covid-19 vaccine

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is considering the possibility of buying doses of the Russian Sputnik-V coronavirus vaccine for his country. 

“About an hour ago I spoke with Russian President Vladmir Putin regarding the possibility of purchasing an option on the vaccine Sputnik-V,” he told reporters on Monday, adding there would be further talks in the coming days. 

Israel has already agreed deals with Moderna and Pfizer, both of whose vaccines have had promising trial results so far. 

The country is also developing its own vaccine. 

“My goal is to bring as many vaccines from as many sources to as many citizens, as quickly as possible,” Mr Netanyahu said.

Rory Sullivan16 November 2020 19:03


Philadelphia to ban all indoor gatherings as Covid-19 cases soar

Philadelphia is to ban all indoor gatherings because of the rising number of Covid-19 cases, its health commissioner Thomas Farley said on Monday.

Severe restrictions on outdoor events will also be introduced in the city, he added.

Philadelphia, located in the state of Pennsylvania, is the country’s sixth largest city. 

Rory Sullivan16 November 2020 18:44


NHS to launch 40 ‘long Covid’ clinics

Forty clinics will be launched in England this month to deal with “long Covid”, Matt Hancock said on Monday during a press conference. 

The health secretary said: “We’ve already seen the serious impact that long COVID can have on people’s quality of life, even the fit and the young, symptoms like fatigue and breathlessness, muscle pain and neurological problems, long after they first had the virus.” 

“And we know that long COVID affects thousands of people, many thousands of people,” he added. 

Rory Sullivan16 November 2020 18:23


Canaries travellers must pay for private Covid-19 tests

Tourists heading to the Canary Islands from the UK over the festive period face the extra expense of paying for private Covid-19 tests. 

Spain’s health ministry has said that holidaymakers from the UK who arrive after 22 November must show proof of a negative result from a test taken in the previous three days. 

Although Heathrow does have testing facilities which can turn around results within an hour, these do not meet the standards set by the Spanish authorities.

Instead, travellers may have to fork out more than £125 each on private tests. 

The Independent’s travel correspondent Simon Calder has all the details here: 

Rory Sullivan16 November 2020 18:09


Hancock does not promise pay rise to NHS staff

Health secretary Matt Hancock has refused to promise NHS staff a post-coronavirus pay rise, writes Andrew Woodcock. 

Mr Hancock made the comments in response to a question from The Independent’s health correspondent Shaun Lintern. 

Rory Sullivan16 November 2020 17:46


WHO chief scientist says Moderna vaccine will not be submitted to regulators until next year

Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the chief scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), has said it will be “at least two months” before the Moderna coronavirus vaccine is submitted to regulators for their approval.  

Although Ms Swaminathan described the vaccine’s trial results as “quite encouraging”, she said that many questions need to be answered before it can be approved and then rolled out. 

Speaking from Geneva on Monday, she said: “There are many, many questions still remaining about the duration of protection, the impact on severe disease, the impact on different sub-populations, especially the elderly, as well as the adverse effects beyond a certain period of time.

“There are practical considerations like the need for cold storage, the number of doses of vaccine that will be required, the number of doses that may be available early in 2021.” 

She added that the WHO was “looking forward” to hearing the results of more vaccine trials in the coming weeks.

Rory Sullivan16 November 2020 17:41


UK secures 5m doses of Moderna vaccine

The UK has secured 5 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine produced by the US firm Moderna, hours after the company announced promising results from its ongoing phase three trial.  

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced the news at a press conference on Monday, while he was standing in for the prime minister, who is self-isolating after coming into contact with an MP who later tested positive for the virus. 

Kate Devlin has more on this breaking story below:  

Rory Sullivan16 November 2020 17:23


UK coronavirus deaths rise by 168

The UK’s coronavirus death toll has risen by 168 over a 24-hour period, health secretary Matt Hancock has said. 

The number of Covid-19 cases in the UK also continues to soar, with an average of 25,329 new cases being reported each day, up from 22,443 last week. 

My colleague Chiara Giordano has more details on the story here: 

Rory Sullivan16 November 2020 17:17