Masks will still be 'expected' on crowded trains, says vaccines minister, despite suggestions it would be personal choice

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People, some wearing protective face masks, ride a train on the London Underground, amid the coronavirus pandemic, in London - HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS
People, some wearing protective face masks, ride a train on the London Underground, amid the coronavirus pandemic, in London - HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS

Masks will still be 'expected' on crowded trains, says the vaccines minister, despite suggestions it would be personal choice.

The Government has come under criticism for removing the mandatory wearing of face masks in the next stage of restrictions, which the Prime Minister is expected to confirm on Monday.

Nadhim Zahawi told The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: "The guidelines will be very clear on things like mask-wearing, there's an expectation on people to wear masks indoors, in crowded places, on public transport. There's both a personal responsibility and a corporate responsibility."

Mr Zahawi said the move to Step 4 would be a move away from being "governed by diktat".

It comes as Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, told The Telegraph anyone who would not wear a mask in an enclosed space was "just being irresponsible".

04:30 PM

What happened today?

Here is a round-up of the day’s Covid developments:

  • People will still be ‘expected’ to wear masks in indoor spaces, said the vaccines minister

  • Fully vaccinated adults could take Covid tests for five days instead of isolating

  • Hospital waiting lists could top 13 million in months, warned Sajid Javid.

  • Australia reported its first Covid death of 2021

  • The French government said it could reimpose covid curbs in wake of the delta variant

03:57 PM

'Our guests couldn't dance and were wearing masks, but our wedding day was still perfect'

Weddings are back. After a year and a half of cancellations, postponements, guest restrictions and shortened ceremonies, there has finally been a relaxation of the rules.

Newlyweds and their wedding party keep their protective masks on  - SUSANA VERA/REUTERS
Newlyweds and their wedding party keep their protective masks on - SUSANA VERA/REUTERS

As of June 21, there was no longer a cap of 30 guests in England – couples can now invite as many as they want – but weddings have not yet quite returned to the free-for-all of previous years.

Social distancing must be maintained until at least July 19, when all restrictions in England are due to be lifted (for Scotland it’s Aug 9, while Wales reviews its guidance on July 15).

03:39 PM

Fully vaccinated adults could take Covid tests for five days instead of isolating

Proposals to allow fully vaccinated adults to take five days of Covid tests instead of isolating are under consideration by ministers, amid warnings that life this summer will be “massively disrupted” by the current rules.

Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, yesterday signalled the present requirement for the double jabbed to remain at home for 10 days after being “pinged” by the NHS app needs to be looked at afresh.

He stressed that the app had initially been “developed and operationalised at a time when we didn't have vaccines”, but should now reflect “the new context of this massive vaccination programme”.

03:17 PM

Latest UK daily Covid figures

A further 31, 722 Covid-19 infections have been recorded in the UK over the latest 24 hour period, Government figures show.

The UK reported a further 26 deaths within 28 days of a positive test on Sunday.

The figures are slightly down on Saturday's figures - of 32, 367 cases and 34 deaths - but they have increased since the same time last week.

It comes as the UK's national statistician Professor Sir Ian Diamond told Sky the link between infections and hospital admissions has been "severely weakened."

02:53 PM

Scotland's under fire Test and Protect service merely ‘evolving’, says health minister

Scotland's over-stretched contact tracing system has stopped asking positive cases about their interactions in pubs, restaurants or shops because it is "evolving", the SNP's Health Secretary has insisted.

Humza Yousaf denied there was "a malicious reason" behind Test and Protect interviewers drastically cutting the inquiries they make of people who test positive, from 25 questions to only five, as it struggled to cope with a record surge in Covid-19 cases.

Instead, he argued the script they used was "continually evolving" and predicted the service would now improve after it fell well below a World Health Organisation (WHO) benchmark of dealing with 80 per cent of close contacts within 72 hours.

02:25 PM

Students fined more than £400,000 for Covid breaches

Elite universities have fined students more than £400,000 for breaching coronavirus restrictions, The Telegraph can reveal, as a Government adviser accused institutions of "over-zealous" enforcement of rules.

Nearly 4,000 penalties were handed to students from campus officials for infringing Government legislation surrounding masks, parties, social distancing and self-isolation, despite no involvement from the police.

Warwick and Nottingham universities, the two highest-fining in the UK, charged students £230,000 in permanent or suspended fines.

02:10 PM

Olympic torch relay moved due to rise in Covid cases

The mayors of two Tokyo islands have asked the metropolitan government to take the planned Olympic torch relay off public roads amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

The torch relay in Tokyo, which started on Friday, has been taken off all public roads except for those on islands, because of rising cases in the Japanese capital.

The mayors of Oshima and Hachijo have asked the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to take the torch off public roads in their areas, citing rising virus cases, Kyodo News agency reported.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Tokyo.

Olympic officials last week barred all fans from venues in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures.

01:45 PM

Vaccinations postponed due to anti-lockdown protest

Vaccinations at a site in Brighton have been postponed following anti-lockdown demonstrations in the city.

Protestors surrounded a vaccination bus on the seafront on Saturday, pictures on social media suggest.

NHS Brighton and Hove CCG announced that vaccinations on Hove Lawns were postponed on Sunday "to ensure that everyone is able to receive their vaccine safely and without any pressure put upon them".

The healthcare provider said its staff "experienced disruption during the anti-lockdown measures protest in the city".

01:24 PM

Myanmar facing shortage of oxygen amid rising covid cases

Myanmar is facing a a rapid rise in Covid-19 patients and a shortage of oxygen supplies.

The situation comes as the country is consumed by a bitter and violent political struggle since the military seized power in February after ousting civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar had weathered last year's surge by severely restricting travel and securing vaccines from India and China. Her ouster came less than a week after the first jabs were given to health workers.

People stand with empty oxygen canisters as they wait to fill them up outside a factory in Yangon amid a surge in Covid-19 coronavirus cases.  - YE AUNG THU/AFP
People stand with empty oxygen canisters as they wait to fill them up outside a factory in Yangon amid a surge in Covid-19 coronavirus cases. - YE AUNG THU/AFP

People shunned military hospitals after the takeover and medical workers spearheaded a popular civil disobedience movement.

Myanmar's new rulers have ordered oxygen plants to work at full capacity including converting industrial oxygen for the needs of patients.

12:57 PM

Macron to reimpose covid curbs in wake of delta variant

President Emmanuel Macron is expected to outline new measures to curb the spread of the delta variant on Monday, which could include compulsory vaccinations for healthcare workers who come into contact with people vulnerable to Covid-19, reports Julia Webster in Paris.

France’s top health advisory board recommended late last week that vaccinations should be made compulsory for that group without delay.

Ministers could agree on a draft law as early as Tuesday before sending it to parliament.

“We will not be able to get the epidemic under control unless 90 to 90 per cent of the population have been vaccinated or infected,” France’s scientific council said in a statement.

12:28 PM

Hundreds of Thai medical workers infected despite Sinovac vaccinations

Thailand's health ministry said more than 600 medical workers who received two doses of China's Sinovac vaccine have been infected with COVID-19, as authorities weigh giving booster doses to raise immunity.

Of the 677,348 medical personnel who received two doses of Sinovac, 618 became infected, health ministry data from April to July showed.

The majority of Thailand's medical and frontline workers were given Sinovac's shots.

An expert panel has recommended a third dose to trigger immunity for medical workers who are at risk, senior health official Sopon Iamsirithawon, told a news briefing on Sunday.

Thailand has reported a total of 336,371 confirmed infections and 2,711 fatalities since the pandemic began last year.

11:59 AM

Al fresco dining to become the norm in Britain, Boris Johnson says

Al fresco dining is to become the norm on British high streets, with businesses given an extension to their pavement licences beyond the Covid pandemic, Boris Johnson will announce this week.

The Prime Minister will set out his “levelling up” plan for the UK, which will make it easier for business to operate outdoor dining by allowing them to place chairs and tables out the front of their premises.

People enjoying outdoor dining in Kingly Court, London. -  Yui Mok/PA
People enjoying outdoor dining in Kingly Court, London. - Yui Mok/PA

Pavement licences were introduced to expand outdoor seating capacity for pubs and restaurants during the pandemic and were due to expire in September. They will now be extended and then made permanent.

  • Read the full story here from The Telegraph's Political Correspondent Tony Diver

11:42 AM

'It’s lonely being a pro-freedom mask-wearer'

I find it perplexing that intelligent people are choosing to put logic aside to wage a proxy war about civil liberties, says Zoe Strimpel on our comment pages.

There are matters of life and death at play here, and it’s hardly a lot to ask someone on a crowded tube to don a mask until we've got better protection. They're hateful things, but if it's a choice between them and catching Covid, I'll take the mask.

11:13 AM

Third Covid wave could stretch into autumn

The third and – hopefully – final wave of Covid-19 infections sweeping through the country could be a prolonged affair that stretches into the autumn, reports Paul Nuki.

And such could be its momentum that we end up “overshooting” the herd immunity threshold, experts have said.

Most models suggest there will be a further 5,000 to 15,000 deaths from Covid in the UK over the next few months. However, there remains huge uncertainty not just over the force of the coming wave but its shape and duration.

“It's very difficult to predict, but the peak could easily get into the 50,000-100,000 daily cases range,” said Professor Adam Kucharski, a leading epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

10:54 AM

'Travel to Italy without five-day quarantine'

Raffaele Trombetta, Italy’s ambassador to the UK, said he was hopeful British holidaymakers could travel to Italy without the imposed five-day quarantine before the summer ends

He told Times Radio: "We'll be following the situation in the UK and also in Italy. I do hope that at some point soon, we could lift some of those restrictions. But, at the moment, I don't have a precise date for that."

The situation in Italy was improving but "there is no room for complacency" and the country's vaccination programme was progressing with 55 million doses already administered and 22 million people double-jabbed.

"The number of new cases is slightly increasing in the last few days but still in the region of 1,300, 1,400 cases. The number of deceased sadly, there are still people who are actually losing their life," he said.

10:27 AM

Pressuring young people to get vaccinated is ‘ludicrous’, warn MPs

Pressuring young people to get vaccinated is “ludicrous”, MPs have warned, after major brands appeared to promote the jab as a condition of normal life.

Heineken last week released an advertisement depicting a nightclub full of older people, with the slogan: “The night belongs to the vaccinated, time to join them.”

Meanwhile, Teletubbies posted pictures of the popular children’s characters clutching vaccination cards, alongside the message: “Who’s ready to come out & play.”

It comes after it was reported that Covid certificates will be required for customers to enter bars, restaurants and nightclubs in a bid to encourage vaccine uptake in the young.

  • Read the full story here from Henry Bodkin and Phoebe Southworth

10:11 AM

Coronavirus around the world, in pictures

 Vendors and commuters around are pictured in the quiet Pathum Wan shopping district in Bangkok on July 11, 2021, a day before stricter lockdown restrictions are brought in to try to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus - LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP
Vendors and commuters around are pictured in the quiet Pathum Wan shopping district in Bangkok on July 11, 2021, a day before stricter lockdown restrictions are brought in to try to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus - LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP
Students are accompanied by their guardians during a vaccination drive for schoolchildren aged 12-18 in Surabaya on July 11, 2021, as Indonesia faces its most serious outbreak driven by the highly infectious Delta variant. - JUNI KRISWANTO/ AFP
Students are accompanied by their guardians during a vaccination drive for schoolchildren aged 12-18 in Surabaya on July 11, 2021, as Indonesia faces its most serious outbreak driven by the highly infectious Delta variant. - JUNI KRISWANTO/ AFP
The party town's main road is filled with a crowd of people on July 10, 2021 in Paceville, Malta. Malta, Europe's smallest nation, announced on Wednesday that it will ban all visitors from entering the country unless they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 - Joanna Demarco/Getty Images Europe
The party town's main road is filled with a crowd of people on July 10, 2021 in Paceville, Malta. Malta, Europe's smallest nation, announced on Wednesday that it will ban all visitors from entering the country unless they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 - Joanna Demarco/Getty Images Europe

09:48 AM

How many people have been vaccinated?

09:37 AM

'NHS staff who are double jabbed do not need to self-isolate'

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said it was already the case that NHS staff who had had both coronavirus vaccines did not need to self-isolate if alerted by the Covid app.

He told The Andrew Marr Show that he did not know the number of nurses who were currently isolating.

But he said: "If the nurse or the doctor or any other frontline worker is wearing the right equipment, the right PPE, and they are double vaccinated, which they all are - or the majority, I should say not all but the majority are because it's been so high, so 94% uptake of the double vaccination - then they don't need to self-isolate."

09:09 AM

Israel to offer booster Pfizer vaccine to at-risk adults

Israel has said it will begin offering a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine to adults with weak immune systems but it was still weighing whether a third round of shots should be given to the general public.

The rapid spread of the Delta variant has sent vaccination rates in Israel back up as new infections have risen over the past month from single figures to around 450 a day, and the country has moved to fast-track its next Pfizer shipment.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said that effective immediately, adults with impaired immune systems who had received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine could get a booster shot, with a decision pending on wider distribution.

Pfizer and partner BioNTech SE, the main suppliers in a swift Israeli vaccination rollout that began in December, said on Thursday they will ask U.S. and European regulators within weeks to authorize booster shots.

The two companies cited an increased risk of infection after six months in seeking permission for a third shot.

08:44 AM

'Millions of people will be told to self-isolate'

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter said it is 'inevitable' that millions of people will be told to self-isolate over the summer.

The leading statistician said it will be "massively disruptive" and said that is important to keep things in proportion.

He added: "If you are vaccinated and pinged by the app there is a very low percentage that you actually have the virus."

08:34 AM

9 in 10 people in UK have antibodies

Professor Sir Ian Diamond said the experts are "keeping an absolutely close, minute-by-minute eye on the number of Covid-19 infections, and that in terms of antibody levels, the UK is doing "very well".

He told Trevor Phillips On Sunday on Sky News: "I think, with regard to antibodies we are doing very, very well. I have to say that antibodies aren't a perfect protection, but at the same time, we're saying very clearly that we think that about nine in 10 people in England, in Wales and in Northern Ireland, and about eight in 10 in Scotland, do have antibodies at the moment," adding, "that is an enormous increase."

Sir Ian said the group with the lowest level of antibodies is people aged between 15 and 24, showing that the vaccination programme "remains incredibly important".

He added there is "very, very little increase" in people aged over 50 and described that as "encouraging".

08:26 AM

Labour: Government advice on masks is 'recipe for confusion'

Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green said mask wearing in public places should continue.

She told Trevor Phillips on Sky News that government advice on masks is 'a recipe for confusion and, I'm afraid, a recipe for more confrontation.'

She added that Andy Burnham will make mask wearing on public transport in Manchester compulsory.

08:08 AM

'Test and release is a possibility'

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the Government was looking at ways to tweak the NHS app.

Speaking on Trevor Phillips On Sunday on Sky News he said the Covid app "was developed and operationalised at a time when we didn't have vaccines".

He said: "The team are looking at how we use that app in terms of alerting people to those around them who test positive."

And he added: "It's important to look at that in a new context of this massive vaccination programme and make sure that it is fit for purpose for this new world including, for example, being able to take maybe five days, as we have piloted, of lateral flow tests and upload them to the system rather than having to self-isolate."

08:04 AM

'These are the hard yards'

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said these were "the hard yards", when asked if vaccination rates were slowing down.

He told Trevor Phillips On Sunday on Sky News: "What we need to make sure is as the virus gets desperate and attempts to infect people, to mutate and be able to survive, we should continue to fortify the nation with a vaccination programme because that is the way we transition it from pandemic to endemic status."

07:52 AM

People 'expected' to wear masks in indoor spaces

People will still be expected to wear masks in indoor spaces after July 19.

The Telegraph's Deputy Political Editor Lucy Fisher analyses how the government's position on this has changed.

07:43 AM

Eight week interval between doses offers best protection, says Vaccines Minister

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi denies reports that the interval between vaccine doses will be shortened to four weeks.

He tells Trevor Phillips on Sky News that 'real world data’ suggests that the 8-week interval between the two doses offers 'additional fortification' and is much better than having shorter intervals.

07:38 AM

'We will proceed with Freedom Day,' says Vaccines Minister

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi says the Prime Minister will tomorrow confirm that July 19 will be Freedom Day.

He told Trevor Phillips on Sky News: “I am confident we will proceed with step 4.”

05:15 AM

Masks to stay in Wales

Face coverings will remain mandatory on public transport in Wales, with the requirement for them to continue to be worn in shops also being considered.

The approach is in contrast to England's roadmap out of lockdown, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the legal obligation to wear face coverings will end once the country reaches Step 4 on July 19.

A final decision on England's path out of restrictions is due to be taken on Monday.

However, in Wales masks must still be worn in taxis and on trains and buses, as well as health and social care settings when coronavirus restrictions are eased, the Welsh Government said.

It said "active further consideration" is being given to whether they will still be required by law in other settings, like retail.

04:55 AM

Hospital waiting lists could top 13 million, warns Javid

The number of patients on hospital waiting lists could soar to 13 million over the coming months as a result of Covid-19 and successive lockdowns, the Health Secretary has warned.

In his first interview since being appointed to the role, Sajid Javid told The Telegraph that “shocking” internal modelling showed that the current record number of 5.3 million patients waiting for treatment could more than double over the coming months.

Mr Javid warned that the pandemic has worsened “non-Covid” health problems.

READ MORE: Hospital waiting lists could top 13 million in months, warns Sajid Javid

04:36 AM

Australia records first Covid death of 2021

Australia today reported its first coronavirus-related death of the year and a 2021 record of 77 new cases of the virus in New South Wales.

The state is battling an outbreak of the highly infectious delta variant.

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the numbers in and around the country's biggest city, Sydney - which is in a three-week lockdown - are expected to rise further in coming days.

"I’m anticipating the numbers in NSW will be greater than 100 tomorrow," Ms Berejiklian said. "I will be shocked if it is less."

Of today's cases, 33 were people who had spent time in the community while they were infectious, deepening concerns that the lockdown of more than five million people in Sydney and surroundings will be extended.

04:17 AM

'If you don’t have a ticket to the matches ... do not come to London'

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said the Metropolitan Police Service has a "significantly enhanced policing operation in place" as fans celebrate the Euro final between England and Italy today.

“London still remains in a public health crisis. There are government guidelines in place and we ask people to follow these and remain socially distanced," he said.

"We will enforce legislation proportionately and as appropriate and engage with crowds. But I urge people not to gather in large numbers.

"If you don’t have a ticket to the matches, fan zone or officially booked into a pub, bar or club my message is clear: please do not come to London – you could end up missing the game."

03:24 AM

Indonesia calls for oxygen supplies as cases surge

A healthcare worker tests a baby for coronavirus in Indonesia - Antara Foto/Fransisco Carolio
A healthcare worker tests a baby for coronavirus in Indonesia - Antara Foto/Fransisco Carolio

Just two months ago, Indonesia was coming to a gasping India's aid with thousands of tanks of oxygen.

Now the south-east Asian country is running out of oxygen as it endures a devastating wave of coronavirus cases and the government is seeking emergency supplies from other countries.

A shipment of more than 1,000 oxygen cylinders, concentrators (devices that generate oxygen), ventilators and other health devices arrived from Singapore on Friday, followed by another 1,000 ventilators from Australia.

Indonesia plans to buy 36,000 tons of oxygen and 10,000 concentrators from Singapore.

The US and the United Arab Emirates also have offered help.

Indonesia, the world's fourth-most populous country, has reported more than 2.4 million infections and 64,631 fatalities from Covid. Those figures are believed to be a vast undercount due to low testing and poor tracing measures.

An aerial view of a cemetery in Jakarta, Indonesia, for those who have died from coronavirus - Anadolu Agency
An aerial view of a cemetery in Jakarta, Indonesia, for those who have died from coronavirus - Anadolu Agency
Jakarta cemetery - Anadolu Agency
Jakarta cemetery - Anadolu Agency

Indonesia faces Indian-style Covid crisis as fears grow over deaths among fully vaccinated doctors

02:58 AM

Woman infected with two coronavirus variants

A 90-year-old woman who died after falling ill with Covid-19 was infected with both the alpha and beta variants at the same time, researchers in Belgium said on Sunday, adding that the rare phenomenon may be underestimated.

The unvaccinated woman, who lived alone and received at-home nursing care, was admitted to hospital in the Belgian city of Aalst after a spate of falls in March. She tested positive for Covid the same day.

Her oxygen levels were initially good, but her condition deteriorated rapidly and she died five days later.

Tests revealed she had the variant that originated in the UK and the one first detected in South Africa.

"It is likely that the lady was co-infected with different viruses from two different people," said molecular biologist Anne Vankeerberghen.

READ MORE: Woman infected with 'two variants of Covid at the same time'

01:22 AM

'Be a team player ... in a game of two jabs'

Fans turning up to Wembley Stadium today for the England vs Italy final will be able to get protected against Covid by dropping in to a vaccination centre that is minutes away from the famous arch.

Professor Stephen Powis, the national medical director of NHS England, said the NHS vaccination programme was running throughout the weekend with hundreds of sites offering a walk-in service.

"The vaccine is England's best defence, protecting yourself, your family and your loved ones against Covid, so be a team player and get both your vaccinations in what is a game of two jabs," he said.

Walk-in vaccination clinics include Millwall's The New Den and Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park.

NHS vaccine services at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, Elland Road Stadium in Leeds and Oxford United's Kassam Stadium are available for bookings.

Other sporting venues supporting the NHS vaccination programme include St Helens rugby ground.

The Wembley vaccination site at the Olympic Office Centre will be open from 9am to 7pm today.

12:39 AM

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