Thursday evening UK news briefing: Quarter of Covid hospital patients not admitted with virus

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Your evening briefing from The Telegraph
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines

European battles | France will block the UK's associate membership of the EU's €100 billion research programme unless Britain grants it more post-Brexit fishing licences. Paris has made clear that it will veto the already delayed associate membership of the flagship Horizon Europe programme. It comes with Angela Merkel set to put herself on a collision course with Emmanuel Macron as she calls for European Union leaders to back down in the rule-of-law battle with Poland. Read on for details.

The big story: Give doses 'as fast as possible' says PM

The booster vaccine programme must go "as fast as possible", Boris Johnson has urged as Covid cases topped 50,000 a day for the first time in three months. Mr Johnson insisted the Government was sticking with its original plan despite high levels of infections, but said the "most important thing" in the coming weeks will be vaccine uptake. Everyone over the age of 50 should be receiving their third dose of a vaccine as soon as they are eligible, the Prime Minister said. His comments come after doctors accused ministers of being "wilfully negligent" after they ruled out Covid Plan B. The British Medical Association demanded the return of compulsory face coverings and social distancing measures to tackle an "unacceptable" rate of infections. However, Mr Johnson did not rule out reducing the time frame between second and third doses from six months to five. Jeremy Hunt, the former Tory health secretary, today urged the Government to cut the timeframe in the run-up to Christmas.

It comes as it emerged the NHS system for booking booster jabs is blocking patients from getting their vaccine, despite the Health Secretary’s pledge that anyone eligible can use the website. Read stories from patients desperate to get the jab as this graph shows how the vaccine effect is waning fastest in the UK. As the booster programme lags, thousands of schoolchildren and students will be forced to wear masks again after an alarming rise in Covid cases in Suffolk.

Fixing the rollout

Out of nearly nine million people eligible for boosters in England alone, fewer than four million have received them. A further 800,000 join that waiting list each week. So how can ministers get the rollout back on track? Robert Taylor says the Government can still save the day, but only if it remembers what made the original programme so successful. One of the reasons given for the slow rollout is that doctors have opted to try to deal with patient backlogs caused by lockdowns. As they face huge pressures, including calls to meet more patients face-to-face, Tim Worstall examines how you solve a problem like GP appointments.

Hospital data

The misuse of statistics has been one of the major criticisms levelled at politicians during the pandemic, with dubious figures and modelling often cited to justify draconian interventions. So it was reassuring to find out today the head of the UK Statistics Authority was also concerned about the misrepresentation of data by ministers. Yet despite Sir David Norgrove speaking to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs committee, nothing seems to change. Sarah Knapton analyses how hospitals have failed to distinguish between people admitted with Covid and patients who test positive while they were in hospital.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: Saudi plans for oil rig theme park

Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans for a sprawling, oil rig-themed amusement park with flumes and jet skis, as the Gulf state attempts to boost Western tourism. The attraction, dubbed The Rig, will also include a ferris wheel, three hotels and eleven restaurants according to a statement by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, chaired by Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's crown prince and de facto ruler. See artist's impressions of the resort showing guests shrieking on roller coasters and exploring the sea bed in miniature yellow submarines.

Thursday long-read

'I know what can happen after you are spiked on a night out'

Mary Morgan: ‘Rape myths permeated my brain, telling me maybe no one would believe me, or they’d blame me’
Mary Morgan: ‘Rape myths permeated my brain, telling me maybe no one would believe me, or they’d blame me’

After reports of women being spiked by injection in bars and clubs, one woman tells her own story of being drugged

Read her full story

Sport briefing: Raducanu urged to go back to coach

Emma Raducanu has been urged to call off her search for a coach and re-hire the man who helped her to the US Open title. Raducanu won the US Open while working with Andrew Richardson, who was hired shortly after her breakthrough performance when she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon. Only weeks after winning her first major, however, Raducanu sacked Richardson, saying she needed "someone who's had that professional tour experience". It comes as Flavia Pennetta, the 2015 US Open champion, launched a surprise attack on Raducanu's against-the-odds triumph, claiming it "could never have happened" in her day.

Editor's choice

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  2. The ultimate wfh | 'I used a Volkswagen Grand California as a remote office'

  3. Unusual jobs | 'I earn £35 an hour helping people grieve for their dead pets'

Business briefing: Brussels' fresh push for City bankers

The European Central Bank is making a fresh push to get more UK-based bankers and assets to move to the Continent as tensions over the City's post-Brexit future mount. Read how Europe's top financial regulator has renewed its drive to get more resources back inside the EU after temporarily granting banks a reprieve due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, inflation worries are prompting investors to ditch gold in favour of cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin surging to a new record high. In media news, the editor of the London Evening Standard, Emily Sheffield, who is Samantha Cameron's sister, is stepping down after just 15 months in the role, in the latest upheaval for a newspaper badly hit by the pandemic.

Tonight starts now

Best Sellers, review | Nearing 90, Michael Caine is still a force, and the prospect of watching him unleashed justifies watching even Best Sellers, an ambling literary comedy. This is not just a cameo but a meaty leading role: he plays Harris Shaw, a British novelist fêted for one runaway success in the 1970s but in the decades since has become a cantankerous recluser. He is equal parts Hemingway, Salinger and Lowry, and few even know he is still around. It is in cinemas and streaming now.

Three things for you

And finally... for this evening's downtime

Schrödinger's Bat? | Parallel worlds and multiple spidermen – the "multiverse" that dominates the next spate of superhero films sounds like a fantasy. But is it? Rizwan Virk examines how the real concept from quantum physics is transforming superhero films.

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