The flu vaccination programme will be rolled out to the over-50s from December 1 in the next phase of the Government’s expanded immunisation programme, it was announced on Friday.
Ministers have promised “the biggest flu vaccination programme in history“, with 30 million people now eligible for the jab. Healthy adults aged 50 to 64 can receive the vaccine from their GP or local pharmacy alongside pensioners, those with underlying health conditions and young children.
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said: “This winter is like no other, and we have to worry about the twin threats of flu and Covid-19.
“Covid means getting a flu jab is more important than ever this year, so we are delivering the largest ever flu vaccination programme. Free vaccinations for 50 to 64-year-olds will now be available from GPs and pharmacies, starting from December 1.”
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Reports EU could pay EU could pay over£7.5 billion for vaccines
The European Union could pay more than $10 billion (£7.5 billion) to secure hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine candidates being developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and CureVac, an EU official involved in the talks told Reuters.
The bloc has agreed to pay 15.50 euros (£13.88) per dose for the Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, according to the official.
That would mean an overall price of up to 3.1 billion euros (£2.78 billion) for 200 million doses, rising to 4.65 billion euros if another optional 100 million doses are purchased under the deal, the official said.
The pricing information, previously undisclosed, confirms the EU is paying less per dose than the United States for an initial supply of that vaccine, as reported by Reuters last week.
California, Ohio announce curfews
California’s governor on Thursday imposed a curfew on social gatherings and other non-essential activities in one of the most intrusive of the restrictions being ordered across the country to curb an alarming surge in novel coronavirus infections.
The stay-at-home order will go into effect from 10pm until 5am each day, starting Saturday night and ending on the morning of Dec. 21, covering 41 of California’s 58 counties and the vast majority of its population, Governor Gavin Newsom said.
A similar 10pm to 5am curfew order was issued on Thursday in Ohio and will remain in effect for the next 21 days, Governor Mike DeWine announced separately.
India’s cases surpass 9 million
India’s coronavirus cases passed nine million on Friday, health ministry data showed, the world’s second-highest tally after the United States.
The total number of recorded novel coronavirus infections was 9.004 million, the data showed, with 132,162 deaths. Many experts believe this is likely an under-estimate due to low levels of testing compared to other countries.
Lithuanian Defense Minister, top Pentagon official test positive
Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis has tested positive for Covid-19 and Anthony Tata, one of several senior US defense officials who met him at the Pentagon last week, also tested positive on Thursday, the Pentagon said.
The Lithuanian embassy told the Pentagon of Mr Karoblis’s positive test on Thursday, it added. Mr Tata, who performs the duties of undersecretary of defense for policy, had met Mr Karoblis on Nov. 13.
All the senior US defense officials who met Mr Karoblis on Nov. 13 and Monday, including Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, were tested, the Pentagon said in its statement.
‘Lie’ to contact tracers triggered South Australia’s lockdown
South Australia will end its circuit-breaker lockdown earlier than expected after it was discovered that a man connected to a recent outbreak had lied to contact tracers.
Steven Marshall, the state’s premier, said on Friday that he was curtailing drastic restrictions because one man at a pizza bar tied to a cluster of new cases had “deliberately misled” officials, claiming he had only bought a pizza there when he was actually working at the shop.
The outbreak in Parafield had sparked an urgent six-day lockdown in which the government ordered South Australia’s nearly 2 million people to stay at home and forced the closure of many businesses.
“To say I am fuming about the actions of this individual is an absolute understatement,” Mr Marshall said.
US reports 2,200 deaths and 200,000 cases in 24 hours
The US registered more than 2,200 deaths from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally on Thursday, a record high since May as the pandemic surges across the country.
The number of cases at 8.30pm (0030 GMT Friday) was 11,698,661 with 252,419 deaths, meaning 200,146 new infections and 2,239 more deaths in 24 hours.
US authorities have urged Americans not to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday next week as virus cases soar. California on Thursday announced a night-time curfew aimed at curbing the pandemic.
South Korean’s urged to stay home as infections rise
South Korea’s prime minister has urged the public to avoid social gatherings and stay at home as much as possible as the country registered more than 300 new virus cases for a third consecutive day.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Friday the 363 cases reported in the past 24 hours took the country’s total to 30,017 with 501 deaths since the pandemic began.
South Korea’s caseload has been on a steady rise after it relaxed its physical distancing rules last month.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Friday asked people to minimise year-end parties and gatherings and called on businesses to let their employees work from home.
Mexico becomes fourth country to mark 100,000 Covid deaths
Mexico passed the 100,000 mark in Covid-19 deaths Thursday, becoming only the fourth country – behind the United States, Brazil and India – to do so.
Jose Luis Alomia Zegarra, Mexico’s director of epidemiology, announced that Mexico had 100,104 confirmed deaths.
But the living will bear the scars too: along with their lost friends and loved ones, many surviving coronavirus victims in Mexico say the psychosis caused by the pandemic is one of the most lasting effects.
Mexico resembles a divided country, where some people are so unconcerned they won’t wear masks, while others are so scared they descend into abject terror at the first sign of shortness of breath.
WHO advises against remdesivir for patients hospitalised with virus
Remdesivir is not recommended for patients hospitalised with Covid-19, regardless of how ill they are, as there is no evidence it improves survival or reduces the need for ventilation, a World Health Organisation panel said on Friday.
A WHO Guideline Development Group of international experts said there was “no evidence based on currently available data that it does improve patient-important outcomes”.
“The … panel found a lack of evidence that remdesivir improved outcomes that matter to patients such as reduced mortality, need for mechanical ventilation, time to clinical improvement, and others,” the guideline said.
President Donald Trump was treated with remdesivir among other medicines after he tested positive for Covid-19 in October.
The recommendation was based on four international randomised trials among more than 7,000 patients hospitalised with the virus.
Briton with virus bitten by cobra suffering blindness and paralysis
A British father is suffering from blindness and paralysis in a hospital in India after being bitten by a snake while battling coronavirus, his family have said.
Ian Jones is in intensive care after being bitten by a black king cobra in a village in the north west of the country.
The former healthcare worker, who lives on the Isle of Wight with his family, had been in India for months where he runs Sabirian, a charity-backed social enterprise aimed at helping people trade their way out of poverty.
Source: The Telegraph Travels