Vaccines will not entirely prevent circulation due to Delta variant, says Oxford prof

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People queue at a Covid-19 vaccination centre in London  - Andy Rain/Shutterstock
People queue at a Covid-19 vaccination centre in London - Andy Rain/Shutterstock

06:04 PM

Here's a recap of today's top news:

  • People 'pinged' by the NHS app in England and Wales are up to four times more likely to have Covid-19 than someone who has not, research by the Zoe Covid Symptom Study suggests

  • 27 per cent of adults in the UK expect it to take over a year for life to 'return to normal', according to data from the ONS - down from 32 per cent just three weeks ago

  • Microbiology professor Dr Simon Clarke said high levels of infection and rising case rates give an "early sense of what living with Covid-19 looks like", and said that although hospital admissions remain low, high case numbers "still place an unnecessary burden on the NHS"

  • A Spanish mink farm reported a coronavirus outbreak, with three positive samples found among 8,760 minks on site

  • In Thailand, conflict between police and pro-democracy protesters continued for the third day this week, with police using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds who had gathered in Bangkok in defiance of a ban on gatherings

  • Denmark and Norway took tentative steps towards normality, with Denmark removing its mask mandate from all public transport and Norway relaxing certain Covid restrictions, though some will remain in place until early September

05:47 PM

WHO forms new Covid origin group

The World Health Organization has announced it is setting up a new Covid origin group and said it wants to end "political point scoring" that has made prior investigations difficult.

Reuters reports that the WHO's failure to say where and how the virus began spreading has fuelled tensions among its members, particularly between China and the US.

It comes as Danish scientist Peter Ben Embarek, who led the original international mission to Wuhan, said in a documentary released yesterday that a lab employee infected while collecting bat coronavirus samples was a likely hypotheses as to how the virus passed from bats to humans.

The WHO has now called for all governments to work together to determine the true origins of the pandemic and “to depoliticise the situation”. It specified that a new advisory group called the International Scientific Advisory Group for Origins of Novel Pathogens would support “the rapid undertaking” of further studies.

“We should work all together. You, me, everyone wants to know the origin of worst pandemic in a century,” WHO spokesperson Fadela Chaib said.

05:36 PM

Global vaccine rollout, in pictures

Quezon City, Philippines

A nurse prepares to administer doses of the Covid-19 vaccine at a Catholic church in Quezon City, Philippines on 13 August 2021 - Rolex Dela Pena/Shutterstock
A nurse prepares to administer doses of the Covid-19 vaccine at a Catholic church in Quezon City, Philippines on 13 August 2021 - Rolex Dela Pena/Shutterstock

Bangalore, India

A woman receives a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Bangalore, India on 13 August 2021 - Jagadeesh Nv/Shutterstock
A woman receives a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Bangalore, India on 13 August 2021 - Jagadeesh Nv/Shutterstock

Canberra, Australia

Cars wait at a drive-through Covid-19 vaccination centre in Canberra, Australia on 13 August 2021 - Rohan Thomson/Bloomberg
Cars wait at a drive-through Covid-19 vaccination centre in Canberra, Australia on 13 August 2021 - Rohan Thomson/Bloomberg

05:14 PM

World's largest catalogue of tuberculosis samples identifies 17,000 mutations

The world’s largest catalogue of tuberculosis samples has identified more than 17,000 genetic mutations, a “significant milestone” that will help combat rising resistance to life-saving drugs and ensure patients receive the correct treatment.

The database – published this week by the World Health Organization (WHO) – contains more than 40,000 samples of TB from some 40 countries, and includes details of 17,000 mutations to the bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, that causes TB illness.

This is crucial, experts say, to better understand both how the bacteria is evolving to evade drugs, and which treatments a particular patient needs.

“The WHO catalogue will help medics and health services around the world to interpret results and provide faster and more targeted treatment for patients of this deadly disease,” said Dr Leonid Chindelevitch, a researcher from Imperial College London’s school of public health who was involved in the project.

05:00 PM

Infection rate 25 times higher than a year ago, says professor

A professor has highlighted how the UK's infection rate is significantly higher than it was this time last year, but the vaccination programme has reduced "the number of hospital admissions and deaths".

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said: “Compared to the same week in 2020, where ONS estimated 28,300 or 1 in 1,900 people in England were infected with Covid-19, the data sets for the week ending 6 August this year estimate that 726,700 or 1 in 75 are infected.

“That is around 25 times higher than it was a year ago, when the population was unvaccinated and the country was 10 weeks into its re-opening.

“The vaccine rollout is however reducing the number of hospital admissions and deaths."

04:28 PM

High case numbers give 'sense of what living with Covid looks like'

High levels of infection and rising case rates give "an early sense of what living with Covid-19 looks like", according to a professor.

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said while vaccines are reducing the number of hospital admissions and deaths, high case numbers "still place an unnecessary burden on the NHS".

Dr Clarke said: "We are seeing an early sense of what living with Covid-19 looks like.

"As restrictions are lifted and the economy rebounds, we are 'running hot' when it comes to managing Covid spread."

03:53 PM

Indonesia's shopping malls reopen for double-jabbed

Shopping malls have reopened in Indonesia's capital city Jakarta, but are only permitted to operate at 25 per cent capacity - and shoppers must prove via a smartphone app that they have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The move has proved controversial, as only one in five Indonesians have received a shot, leading to fears of a 'two-tier society'.

People prepare to scan their smartphones to gain entry to the Pondok Indah shopping mall in Jakarta, Indonesia on 13 August 2021 - Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters
People prepare to scan their smartphones to gain entry to the Pondok Indah shopping mall in Jakarta, Indonesia on 13 August 2021 - Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters

Eka Dewanto, the general manager of Pondok Indah Mall in north Jakarta, said: “This is a positive measure for the shopping mall. So that visitors can be assured that everyone who enters the mall has been scanned and considered safe and healthy."

Student Salsabilla, 23, said the app worked well but she was uncomfortable that her location was being recorded. "I did wonder why my location needs to be tracked," she said.

03:31 PM

UK records 32,700 new Covid cases and a further 100 deaths

The UK has recorded 32,700 new cases of Covid-19 and 100 deaths within 28 days of testing positive for the virus, according to daily Government data.

The figure compares with 33,074 new cases and 94 deaths yesterday.

The data also shows that 47.2 million people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 40.2 million people are fully-vaccinated.

02:49 PM

Man jailed for charging elderly woman for fake Covid jab

A judge has sentenced a fraudster to three and a half years in prison after he tricked an elderly woman into paying him for a fake Covid-19 vaccine.

Crown court judge Hannah Finch described 33-year-old David Chambers’s actions as “shameful and despicable”.

Mr Chambers had knocked on the victim’s door in Surbiton, west London, on 30 December claiming to work for the NHS, according to police.

The woman let him into her home, where he jabbed her in the arm with a “dart-like implement” before asking her to pay £140, which he said would be refunded by the NHS. He later returned and demanded £100 more.

Following a public appeal, the conman went on the run but was arrested in January. The victim, who is now 93, said Chambers had worn fake NHS identification.

“I have never been subjected to such a deceitful and horrific crime,” Kathleen Martin said in a statement released by police.

Maryam Arnott of the Crown Prosecution Service said after the ruling that Chambers had a “criminal history of exploiting elderly people” and took the opportunity to “cynically extract funds”.

02:29 PM

Spanish mink farm reports Covid outbreak

Spain's Ministry of Rural Affairs has notified the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the existence of a Covid-19 outbreak at an American mink farm located in the Coruña municipality of Abegondo.

Three positive coronavirus samples were detected at the farm, which has 8,760 minks.

The ministry said the farm was immobilised "immediately" after the outbreak was detected and surveillance and control by veterinary services will continue.

In addition to this, there have been 11 outbreaks of Covid detected at other American mink farms in Galicia.

02:10 PM

Clash between Thai police and protesters continues in Bangkok

The clash between Thai police and pro-democracy demonstrators has continued in Bangkok, with police firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at protesters who had gathered in the city in defiance of a ban on gatherings.

A demonstrator gets assistance during a protest against the Thai government's handling of the pandemic in Bangkok, Thailand on 13 August 2021 - Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters
A demonstrator gets assistance during a protest against the Thai government's handling of the pandemic in Bangkok, Thailand on 13 August 2021 - Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

In the third day of confrontation this week, protesters tried to march on the prime minister's residence by pulling down containers that were being used as roadblocks, but were stopped by police.

Protesters blame prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha for mismanaging the Covid-19 pandemic, with activist Songpon 'Yajai' Sonthirak saying at the start of the rally: "The failed management of Covid-19 by the government has caused people to die. Today we are out here to get rid of Prayuth."

A demonstrator throws a bicycle into a fire during a protest against the Thai's government handling of the pandemic in Bangkok, Thailand on 13 August 2021 - Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters
A demonstrator throws a bicycle into a fire during a protest against the Thai's government handling of the pandemic in Bangkok, Thailand on 13 August 2021 - Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

Authorities warned against any form of protest that would breach coronavirus restrictions and said that they were pressing charges in 300 cases against people involved in recent demonstrations.

“The police aim is to maintain peace,” Bangkok police chief Pakapong Pongpetra said. “Those joining protests are at risk of infection and also breaching other laws as well.”

01:46 PM

Swedish 'conscious sexuality' festival becomes superspreader event

A summer Tantra festival in rural Sweden offering “music, dance, conscious sexuality and meetings from the heart” has become a superspreader event, spawning more than 100 Covid-19 infections.

Some 500 people attended the five-day Tantra Week event at the end of July, which was held at Ängsbacka campsite, near the Norwegian border. That is about half the number who used to come in pre-Covid times.

In a statement on their website, Ängsbacka said that after managing to hold the event last year without an outbreak, visitors coming this year appeared to have shown "a greater relaxation around Covid-19, and perhaps as a result routines were not followed as strictly as last year."

Participants did not need a negative coronavirus test to enter the site, but were asked to stay home if they were experiencing symptoms.

Anna Skogstam, infectious diseases doctor in the local region, told state broadcaster SVT: "Our judgement is that everyone who has been at the retreat centre might have been exposed.

"It would have been good if they'd got into contact with us when the first person tested positive."

01:25 PM

Coronavirus around the world, in pictures

Medan, Indonesia

Relatives clad in hazmat suits mourn at the grave of a Covid-19 victim in Medan, Indonesia on 13 August 2021 - Dedi Sinuhaji/Shutterstock
Relatives clad in hazmat suits mourn at the grave of a Covid-19 victim in Medan, Indonesia on 13 August 2021 - Dedi Sinuhaji/Shutterstock

Centurion, South Africa

A woman receives a second dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine from a health worker while her employer looks on at the Zwartkops Raceway in Centurion, South Africa on 13 August 2021 - Phill Magakoe/AFP
A woman receives a second dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine from a health worker while her employer looks on at the Zwartkops Raceway in Centurion, South Africa on 13 August 2021 - Phill Magakoe/AFP

Sydney, Australia

People walk at Bondi Beach, as more than 80 per cent of New South Wales remains in strict lockdown as the state struggles to bring a Covid surge under control, in Sydney, Australia on 11 August 2021 - Joel Carrett/Shutterstock
People walk at Bondi Beach, as more than 80 per cent of New South Wales remains in strict lockdown as the state struggles to bring a Covid surge under control, in Sydney, Australia on 11 August 2021 - Joel Carrett/Shutterstock

01:06 PM

Vietnam sets deadline to halt Covid surge as death rate soars

Vietnam’s government has set a mid-September deadline for bringing the country’s latest Covid-19 surge to heel amid alarm over high mortality rates and rising disquiet from a public in lockdown and foreign investors struggling to keep global supply chains running.

Once praised for its successful pandemic response, the Delta variant has proven a gamechanger for the Southeast Asian nation as it struggles to secure vaccine supplies while no longer being able to rely on the robust quarantine, test and tracing strategy it used last year to suppress the virus.

After emerging from 2020 with only about 1,500 infections, the country has now seen more than 247,000, many of them in the last couple of months.

Deaths have soared from zero in the first six months of the pandemic to almost 5,000.

Of most concern is the high mortality rate, particularly in densely packed Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest city, and the epicentre of the outbreak that began in April, accounting for half of all cases and the majority of casualties.

12:48 PM

Moderna jab antibodies still present after six months, study suggests

A new study has suggested people double-jabbed with the Moderna vaccine still had antibodies against Covid-19, including the Delta variant, six months after their second dose.

The research, published in the journal Science, looked at a random sample of eight volunteers in each of three age groups to monitor antibody levels and concluded that antibodies against variants were still present six months after the second jab, with "high levels" maintained against the Delta variant.

Moderna chief executive Stephane Bancel said: "We are pleased with these new data showing that people vaccinated with two doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine maintained antibodies through six months, including against variants of concern such as the Delta variant."

He added: "We expect that these data and the growing body of real-world evidence will help inform health regulators' approaches to how and when to administer additional boosting doses."

12:30 PM

Colleges demand more funding to deal with increased demand

The Government should provide extra funding to help sixth form colleges deal with a surge in demand for places after a record number of students were awarded top GCSE grades, education leaders have said.

James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said that the growing popularity of sixth forms and colleges, coupled with better grades, has meant many institutions are already at full or near full capacity.

He said: "Despite the Government's pledge that no student will be left behind by Covid, the Department for Education has set aside just £100 million to provide catch up support to the 1.1 million sixth form students in England.

"That is woefully inadequate and will do little to help students, particularly disadvantaged students, that require additional support to catch up from the disruption to their education caused by Covid."

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "Our biggest concern is that the Government's funding rate for 16 and 17-year-olds is so pitifully inadequate that it is extremely difficult for institutions to cater for any sudden increase in numbers.

"The Government will need to be ready to provide extra support."

12:10 PM

I caught Covid at a festival. Was it worth it? Absolutely, says Simon Parker

Is this a four-day hangover, or something more sinister, I wondered, as my temperature began to soar. Am I coughing because of those few drunken cigarettes? Or have I picked up a virus that jumped the festival fence?

Seventy-two hours after leaving Wilderness – a four-day music festival in Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire – I took a lateral flow, then a PCR test. Both confirmed what I suspected. I had Covid-19.

But as I now sit at my desk, coughing and spluttering onto this page, I have zero regrets. I knew the risks of attending a big event during a pandemic and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

For the first time in two years, my friends and I felt truly alive. We hugged, we kissed, we drank from each other’s pint glasses and danced in giant crowds with thousands of strangers. Rather than simply surviving, we were living again. We deserved it. And more than anything, it makes me excited for the next chapter of our lives.

Read the full story here

11:45 AM

Denmark removes mask mandate in 'return to normal everyday life'

Denmark's government has announced that face masks will no longer be required on public transport.

Transport minister Benny Engelbrecht said: "[From Saturday] we can say goodbye to masks on buses, trains and the metro."

The change was originally scheduled for 1 September, but was brought forward by the government - who also relaxed social-distancing regulations on Wednesday.

Helene Bilsted Probst, the deputy director of the national health agency, said: “We now have good control of the infection across society. Therefore, we can adapt the prevention recommendations in such a way that people can maintain a normal daily life while respecting the principle of prevention.”

Masks will remain compulsory on planes and in the country’s airports, where international air-transport rules apply.

11:21 AM

Norway eases some Covid restrictions, 'holds back' on others

Norway's government announced it will end a number of Covid-19 restrictions, but said some measures will remain in place until early September.

Health minister Bent Hoeie told a news conference: "We will open up where we can, and hold back where we must."

The government had introduced a four-step plan back in April to gradually remove most pandemic restrictions, and had completed the first three of those steps by the middle of June.

It had been due to implement the fourth step of its reopening last month, but twice postponed the decision because of concerns about the Delta variant.

Measures that will be relaxed include allowing universities to resume face-to-face teaching, but the following restrictions (among others) will remain in place until early September: bars and restaurants are limited to table service, maximum of 20 people at gatherings in private homes, and restrictions on adult recreational sports.

11:00 AM

27pc of adults expect it to take a year for life to return to normal

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Opinions and Lifestyle survey shows over a quarter of adults - 27 per cent - think it will take more than a year for life to return to normal.

This is down from 32 per cent three weeks ago.

However, slightly more adults reported meeting with someone not in their household indoors (64 per cent) rather than outdoors (60 per cent) for the first time this year.

The data also suggests that a high number of adults are continuing to wear face masks and practice social distancing, with 88 per cent wearing a face covering while shopping and 86 per cent socially distancing.

10:39 AM

South Africa lockdown continues despite declining cases

South Africa’s health minister warned on Friday that a Covid-19 lockdown would continue despite a decline in cases at the end of a deadly third wave. Joe Phaahla said that “this is no time to release restrictions” as “our situation remains precarious.”

Restrictions were partially lifted in July after infection rates had peaked. President Cyril Ramaphosa moved the country to an adjusted “Level 3” in a five-level system.

A ban on travel between provinces for leisure was lifted and the sale of alcohol was permitted. However, restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings have continued.

10:19 AM

Thailand expects daily Covid cases to double despite lockdown

Thailand projects that daily Covid-19 cases in the country could double by early next month, reaching 45,000 per day - despite lockdown restrictions being in place.

The country's coronavirus taskforce said that lockdown measures are yet to make an impact on rapidly increasing case numbers, which are expected to continue to rise significantly.

Spokesman Taweesin Wisanuyothin said: “The lockdown has been 20 per cent effective but the infections continue to rise, projected to reach about 45,000 cases per day by the start of or mid September.”

Thailand has recorded a total of 863,189 cases and 7,126 deaths from the virus.

Covid-19 patients at an emergency field hospital in Bangkok, Thailand on 5 August 2021 - Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters
Covid-19 patients at an emergency field hospital in Bangkok, Thailand on 5 August 2021 - Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

09:56 AM

Hunt for the 'smoking bat' and how Wuhan lab leak theory shifted from conspiracy to credible

When Professor Shi Zhengli’s phone rang on December 30, 2019, it contained news of what the renowned Chinese scientist has described as her worst nightmare.

A deadly novel coronavirus was infecting humans, and her lab was told by the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention to "drop everything" and investigate, urgently.

But alongside the panic, there was a heart-in-mouth moment for Professor Zhengli, known in China as "batwoman" for her world-leading work on bat coronaviruses at the nearby Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).

As she got on the train and headed to work, she was forced to ask herself the chilling question about the new coronavirus samples: "Could they have come from our lab?"

Read the analysis on the new efforts to identify the origins of the pandemic: Hunt for the 'smoking bat'

This file photo taken on February 23, 2017 shows workers inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan, which is among a handful of labs around the world cleared to handle Class 4 pathogens (P4) - JOHANNES EISELE/AFP
This file photo taken on February 23, 2017 shows workers inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan, which is among a handful of labs around the world cleared to handle Class 4 pathogens (P4) - JOHANNES EISELE/AFP

09:38 AM

Israel requires Covid tests for children aged three and up

Israel is to require Covid-19 tests from next week for children as young as three to enter schools, swimming pools, hotels or gyms as infections surge despite extensive adult vaccinations, writes Verity Bowman.

Israel already required children aged 12 and over to show a Green Pass re-introduced late last month showing a person's vaccination and testing status and whether they had recovered from Covid.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said from next Wednesday the state would fund unlimited tests for children aged three to 11.

The Magen David Adom emergency service said it had opened 120 rapid antigen testing centres nationwide.

Screening at these stations costs 52 shekels (around 17 euros) and allows those tested to obtain a Green Pass valid for 24 hours.

A medic performs a COVID-19 coronavirus swab test on a child in a vehicle at a Home Front command drive-through coronavirus testing complex in Jerusalem  - MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP
A medic performs a COVID-19 coronavirus swab test on a child in a vehicle at a Home Front command drive-through coronavirus testing complex in Jerusalem - MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP

09:10 AM

US authorises Covid boosters for those with weakened immune systems

The United States on Thursday authorised an extra dose of Covid vaccine for people with weakened immune systems, as the country struggles to thwart the delta variant.

Emergency use authorisation for a third injection of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines was granted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulator.

"The country has entered yet another wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease," said acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock in a statement.

The FDA said the additional dose was for solid organ transplant recipients or those with equivalent weakened immune systems.

US health authorities had been debating whether a third dose may be required, following a similar move by Israel.

Some United States media reports suggest that one million Americans may have had unauthorised third doses in an attempt to increase protection against Covid.

Vaccination center in Los Angeles, California - Mike Blake/REUTERS
Vaccination center in Los Angeles, California - Mike Blake/REUTERS

08:36 AM

China rejects need for further WHO coronavirus origins probe

China on Friday rejected the World Health Organization's calls for a renewed probe into the origins of Covid-19, saying it supported "scientific" over "political" efforts to find out how the virus started, reports Verity Bowman.

"We oppose political tracing... and abandoning the joint report" issued after a WHO expert team visited Wuhan in January, vice foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu told reporters. "We support scientific tracing."

The head of the World Health Organisation’s investigation said on Thursday that a Chinese scientist may have started the pandemic after being infected with coronavirus while collecting bat samples.

In a documentary released this week by the Danish television channel TV2, Dr Peter Embarek said it was a "likely hypothesis" that a lab employee could have picked up the virus while working in the field.

Scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology were known to be working on bat coronavirus at labs in the city, but China has been uncooperative in providing details of their research.

08:06 AM

Gatwick in talks with lenders as restrictions push it to massive loss

Gatwick Airport is in talks with banks to avoid defaulting on its loans as it blamed Government restrictions for pushing it to a multi-million pound loss.

The business said that a year after requesting short-term waivers on its loans, it was again facing pressure and is asking banks for another extension.

While the airport has remained open throughout the first six months of the year, it said that a collapse in passenger demand and Government restrictions had hit business hard.

Pre-tax loss hit £204 million, about 40pc lower than the first six months of 2020 when the Covid pandemic was at its worst.

The business was able to save £31.3 million by slashing staff costs nearly in half. It made more than 40pc of its employees redundant last year.

Rows of empty EastJet check-in desks in the North Terminal at Gatwick Airport in November 2020 - Leon Neal/Getty Images
Rows of empty EastJet check-in desks in the North Terminal at Gatwick Airport in November 2020 - Leon Neal/Getty Images

07:44 AM

Watchdog looking at what 'immediate actions' can be taken on costly travel tests

The competition watchdog is looking at whether there are any "immediate actions" the Government can take amid concerns about the high cost of PCR tests required for travel abroad.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had previously confirmed it will look into issues around testing, following a request from Health Secretary Sajid Javid, but said it will report its recommendations "within the next month".

Now, the watchdog has said it is also looking at "steps that could be considered in the interim" to address what it described as a "particularly pressing issue".

The CMA said it is looking at three areas - whether individual PCR providers may be breaching their obligations under consumer law and should be subject to enforcement action; whether there are structural problems in the market for PCR tests, affecting price or reliability; and whether there are any immediate actions that the Government can take in the meantime.

Some providers offering PCR tests which meet minimum standards have been charging £200 or more.

07:20 AM

Those pinged by app are 'four times more likely' to have Covid-19, study reveals

Those "pinged" by the NHS app in England and Wales are up to four times more likely to have Covid-19 than someone who is not, research suggests.

A survey of more than 750,000 Zoe Covid Symptom Study contributors found only 2.4pc of fully vaccinated participants who were pinged, but felt physically normal, went on to test positive.

However, those in the same group who had one or more coronavirus symptoms were 11.7 times more likely to test positive.

Overall, those who had been alerted to self-isolate by the app had between a 3.7 to 4.0 relative risk of having the virus.

People who reported being "pinged" by the Protect Scotland app were 10 times more likely to have Covid-19 than someone who was not.

People pinged by app are four times more likely to have Covid, study reveals
People pinged by app are four times more likely to have Covid, study reveals

06:21 AM

One in 10 patients 'had hospital-acquired Covid-19 infections in first wave'

More than one in 10 patients in the UK were infected with Covid-19 during the first wave of the pandemic while being treated in hospital in for another reason, research suggests.

Residential community care hospitals and mental health hospitals were found to have higher levels of hospital-acquired infections - at 61.9pc and 67.5pc respectively - compared with hospitals providing acute and general care (9.7pc) between March and August 2020.

The researchers said the reasons for variations between settings need to be urgently looked at so measures can be put in place to implement best practices to reduce infection.

Calum Semple, professor in child health and outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and one of the authors of the research published in the Lancet, said: "The reasons for the variation between settings that provide the same type of care requires urgent investigation to identify and promote best infection control practice.

"Research has now been commissioned to find out what was done well and what lessons need to be learned to improve patient safety."

06:06 AM

Today's front page

Here is your Daily Telegraph for Friday, August 13.

daily tel
daily tel

05:58 AM

US approves third jab as delta takes hold

The United States has authorised an extra dose of Covid vaccine for people with weakened immune systems, as the country struggles to thwart the delta variant.

Emergency use authorisation for a third injection of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines was granted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulator.

The FDA said the additional dose was for solid organ transplant recipients or those with equivalent weakened immune systems.

05:45 AM

British Columbia mandates vaccines for care workers

British Columbia is mandating Covid vaccines for all staff working in long-term care homes and assisted living facilities, officials announced on Thursday, becoming one of the first Canadian provinces to do so to fight a rapid rise in cases.

Canadian provinces have resisted mandating vaccines for any population, but a burgeoning fourth wave is causing many business groups and professional associations to push for mandatory vaccinations as a way to avoid further lockdowns.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that the Government was considering mandating vaccines for federal employees.

Staff must be fully vaccinated by October 12 as a condition of employment, British Columbia health minister Adrian Dix said at a briefing on Thursday, pointing to an increase in the number of outbreaks in the long-term care system in recent weeks.

05:28 AM

Japan losing control of infections, warn experts

The Telegraph's Asia correspondent, Nicola Smith, says senior experts have warned the government that Japan is losing control of its Covid-19 crisis and surging infections are jeopardising the healthcare system:

"Infections are rampant to the point of being uncontrollable," said Dr Norio Ohmagari, director of the Disease Control and Prevention Centre and adviser to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. "The public health system is in a serious state of dysfunction."

Dr Shigeru Omi, a key medical adviser to Japan’s prime minister, described the current crisis as one of “natural disaster proportions” and cautioned that “if the infections continue to surge at the current pace, we won’t be able to save the lives that can be saved”, reported Japan Today.

He said daily activities must be reduced and the flow of people in the capital, Tokyo, cut in half to curb Japan’s biggest surge since the start of the pandemic. Nationwide new infections hit a high of 18,822 on Thursday.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has been criticised for going ahead with the Olympic Games despite the growing emergency, but has denied the event lies behind the rapid spread of the virus.

05:13 AM

British Columbia mandates vaccines for care workers

British Columbia is mandating Covid vaccines for all staff working in long-term care homes and assisted living facilities, officials announced on Thursday, becoming one of the first Canadian provinces to do so to fight a rapid rise in cases.

Canadian provinces have resisted mandating vaccines for any population, but a burgeoning fourth wave is causing many business groups and professional associations to push for mandatory vaccinations as a way to avoid further lockdowns.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that the Government was considering mandating vaccines for federal employees.

Staff must be fully vaccinated by October 12 as a condition of employment, British Columbia health minister Adrian Dix said at a briefing on Thursday, pointing to an increase in the number of outbreaks in the long-term care system in recent weeks.

04:35 AM

Brazil reaches nearly 40,000 infections in a day

A student arrives for the start of in-person classes at a public school in Brasilia, Brazil - Eraldo Peres/AP
A student arrives for the start of in-person classes at a public school in Brasilia, Brazil - Eraldo Peres/AP

Brazil has recorded 39,982 new confirmed coronavirus cases in 24 hours, along with 1,148 deaths.

The country has registered more than 20 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 566,896, according to Health Ministry data.

04:13 AM

US cities mandate vaccine proof for indoors

At least three major American cities will require proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, gyms and other indoor venues, aiming to curb a new wave of Covid infections that has prompted public health mandates across the country.

San Francisco and New Orleans on Thursday joined New York in mandating proof of vaccination in indoor public spaces.

The vaccine mandates in the three liberal cities have come as schools in some conservative states are fighting to require masks - going against their Republican governors' orders.

03:20 AM

Record infection numbers for Mexico

Workers carry out disinfection and cleaning work in public areas in the municipality of Zapopan, in Jalisco, Mexico - Francisco Guasco/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Workers carry out disinfection and cleaning work in public areas in the municipality of Zapopan, in Jalisco, Mexico - Francisco Guasco/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Mexico has posted a record 24,975 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, bringing the total number of cases to 3,045,571, according to health ministry data.

The figure is the highest daily total since the pandemic began, excluding statistical blips that health authorities said were caused by one-off adjustments to back data.

Mexico also reported 608 new fatalities on Thursday, bringing the overall death toll to 246,811.

02:05 AM

US shipping half a million vaccines to Caribbean

The United States has started shipping nearly 569,000 Pfizer Covid vaccine doses to member countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the US State Department said on Thursday.

The shipments, part of a planned donation of 5.5 million doses to the 15-member group, would arrive at Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday, and at Barbados on Friday.

The US government said it would buy 500 million Pfizer vaccines to distribute to 92 low and lower middle-income countries and the African Union.

01:07 AM

Israel looks to expand booster jab program

Israeli Health Ministry experts have recommended dropping from 60 to 50 the minimum age of eligibility for a Covid vaccine booster, hoping to curb a rise in delta variant infections.

The advisory panel's move, which followed a call by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to expand Israel's booster campaign, still has to be approved by the Health Ministry's director.

But at least two major health providers have already said they would begin on Friday to schedule appointments for people in the 50-59 age group to get a third dose of the Pfizer /BioNTech vaccine.

New infections have jumped in Israel - reaching 5,946 on Monday - and serious illnesses have been increasing.

An Israeli medic administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to a woman at a Clalit Health Services station set up inside Cinema City complex in Jerusalem - HAZEM BADER/AFP
An Israeli medic administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to a woman at a Clalit Health Services station set up inside Cinema City complex in Jerusalem - HAZEM BADER/AFP

Israelis aged 60 and up began receiving the booster two weeks ago, effectively turning Israel into a testing ground.

More than 700,000 seniors in Israel have received their third shot.

12:03 AM

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