Monday evening UK news briefing: Matt Hancock's plea to vaccine hesitant as Indian variant spreads

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·6 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

The Health Secretary insisted "vaccines save lives" as he revealed the majority of people hospitalised with the Indian variant of Covid-19 in Blackburn and Bolton had been offered a jab but had not taken it up.

Matt Hancock said there are now 2,323 confirmed cases of the mutation in the UK and also announced people aged 37 and over will be invited to come forward for their vaccine from tomorrow.

There are now 86 local authorities where there are five or more cases of the Indian variant, with surge testing taking place in areas of concern.

Yet Downing Street has said local areas should not vaccinate young people earlier than planned to stem the spread of the Indian variant.

Meanwhile, Asian countries that managed to control transmission are now tightening controls. Read how a slow vaccine rollout could undermine Asia's success curbing Covid.

For those lucky – or canny – enough to have bought a ticket on one of the first flights to a "green list" country, today was, finally, an escape from lockdown, Chris Whitty, and, of course, the British weather.

Gordon Rayner joined the lucky few leaving behind rainy London for lovely Lisbon as travel restrictions eased.

Read what British people can expect on their holiday in Portugal but Annabel Fenwick Elliot says we should not be fooled by "freedom day" as the totalitarian nightmare is not over.

UK proposes customs checks for food heading to NI

Britain has told Brussels it is prepared to introduce new customs checks on UK food products crossing the Irish Sea to Northern Ireland in four stages from October. The UK offer comes after the Government infuriated the European Commission by unilaterally extending grace periods, including a three-month exemption for supermarkets, in the Northern Ireland protocol. It comes as Brexit minister Lord Frost admitted relations with the EU would be "bumpy" for some time to come as he faced MPs. Read what he said about the "spirit of Brexit".

Prince Harry to discuss Diana's death on AppleTV

The Duke of Sussex will talk about his mother's death and the experience of having to walk behind her coffin during her funeral in his new Apple TV mental health series. A trailer released today shows footage of Prince Harry, then 12, taking part in the procession at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997. The five-part series, called The Me You Can’t See, will be released on Friday. Watch the two and a half minute trailer.

At a glance: Coronavirus evening briefing

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Anti-Semitism | Cars in Jewish areas have been vandalised as community groups warn anti-Semitic attacks in the UK will "continue, or indeed worsen", until the current conflict in the Middle East subsides. It comes as religious leaders, MPs and the Prime Minister spoke out to condemn anti-Semitism in the UK, as tensions in the Middle East continue to flare amid fears of a rising death toll. Read on for details.

Around the world: 'No evidence' Hamas in media block

The US Secretary of State said today he had not seen any evidence of Hamas operating in a tower of media offices that was destroyed over the weekend by the Israeli military. Antony Blinken declined to discuss specific intelligence, a day after Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel had shared intelligence with Washington. Watch the building being hit.

Monday big-read

The Mitfords in pictures: parties, politics and the real Pursuit of Love

The Pursuit of Love -  Robert Viglasky/BBC
The Pursuit of Love - Robert Viglasky/BBC

Meet the stranger-than-fiction family behind the BBC drama, who kept horses on the staircase and Nazis in the closet

Read the full feature

Comment and analysis

Editor's choice: Features and arts

  1. Mugged and waiting for Covid test results | What happened when I travelled to France

  2. Marriage Diaries | I can't forgive our daughter for not inviting us to her wedding

  3. Alisson's goal | The perfect football moment - you won't see anything like it again

Business and money briefing

Work from wherever | Accounting firm BDO has told its 5,500 staff that they can work where they want post-pandemic, in the latest sign that a significant proportion of white collar workers will not return to city centres when Covid restrictions are fully lifted. Read on for details.

Sport briefing

Ball tampering | Australia's ball-tampering scandal took a fresh twist as former captain Michael Clarke said the bowlers must have known and blamed Cricket Australia for "sweeping it under the carpet". Read more.

Three things for tonight

And finally... for this evening's downtime

Disney's Alice in Wonderland | A new exhibition traces the many lives of Lewis Carroll's little girl. But, writes Lucy Davies, the most famous version nearly got stuck down the rabbit-hole.

If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here. For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing - on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.