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COVID-19: 40% of 80-year-olds vaccinated as 2.4 million coronavirus jabs given out in UK, Boris Johnson says | UK News

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Boris Johnson during a visit to a mass vaccination centre in Bristol

2.4 million coronavirus jabs have been administered across the UK, the prime minister has said.

Speaking from a vaccination centre in Bristol, Boris Johnson said: “Today, I think I can confirm that we’ve done roughly 40% of the 80-year-olds in this country already.

“We’ve done about 23% of the elderly residents of care homes.”

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Boris Johnson during a visit to a mass vaccination centre in Bristol

Seven new mass vaccination sites in England have been opened today, joining hundreds more GP sites and a small number of new pharmacy-led centres opening this week.

Officials are racing to vaccinate as many people as possible while COVID-19 cases continue to rise and hospitals come under extreme pressure.

Mr Johnson continued: “As I speak to you today, we’ve done about two million people, maybe a bit more, about 2.4 million jabs all in, I think, across the whole of the UK.”

He added the NHS would be “ramping that up massively” in a bid to reach the government’s target of offering a first dose of a COVID vaccine to 15 million of the most vulnerable people by 15 February.

Asked how bad the current situation in the UK is, the prime minister said we are at a “very perilous moment”.

He said the vaccine roll-out could lull people into a “false confidence” and “false complacency”, but we should continue to follow the restrictions because “we have a really tough fight on our hands”.

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Separately, NHS England’s chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has said 2.5 million jabs have been given across the UK, including 2.3 million in England.

He said there had been “another very significant acceleration in the number of vaccines given last week”, with the speed of vaccination tripling over the last week.

Downing Street earlier revealed the prime minister’s father, Stanley Johnson, appears to be among the early wave of people to get two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine before a change in policy.

Now, people have to wait longer for their second dose, as the government aims to get a first dose into as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

The prime minister’s press secretary, Allegra Stratton, said: “It’s not something I’ve spoken to Stanley Johnson about, but by way of explanation in the early days of the vaccination programme it was the case that GPs were doing two jabs, a first one followed a few weeks later by a second one.

“It appears that Stanley Johnson was one of those people who was in that first wave.

“It’s been true of a number of individuals around the country and Stanley Johnson appears to be one of them.”

Downing Street also said the government would continue to keep England’s lockdown measures under review.

Asked whether ministers were planning to bring in even tighter restrictions, a Number 10 spokesman said: “As you would expect and as we have done throughout pandemic, we look through the latest data and statistical information.

“We continue to look at that data and to monitor it and keep our measures under review.”

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<a href='https://news.sky.com/story/divided-states-podcast-insurrection-impeachment-inauguration-12189011' target='_blank'>Insurrection, impeachment, inauguration</a>

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<a href='https://news.sky.com/story/divided-states-podcast-insurrection-impeachment-inauguration-12189011' target='_blank'>Insurrection, impeachment, inauguration</a>

<a href='https://news.sky.com/story/divided-states-podcast-insurrection-impeachment-inauguration-12189011' target='_blank'>Insurrection, impeachment, inauguration</a>

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COVID-19: Second variant from Brazil ‘likely’ already in the UK, SAGE scientist says | World News

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COVID-19: Second variant from Brazil 'likely' already in the UK, SAGE scientist says | World News

The second of two new coronavirus variants from Brazil is likely to already be in the UK despite the government imposing a travel ban, a leading epidemiologist has warned.

Eight cases of the first variant, which has a small number of mutations, have been identified in the UK.

The second, which has been detected in the Brazilian city of Manaus and in travellers arriving in Japan, has not been detected in the UK so far.

However, Professor John Edmunds has said he would it “unusual” if the second variant was not present here.

Profressor Edmunds, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “In terms of the South African one, we had imported cases already by the time we put in additional restrictions for South African travellers.

“For the Brazilian one… I don’t think there is evidence that we’ve imported cases of the Manaus strain, as far as I’m aware at least, but it is likely that we probably have quite honestly.

“We are one of the most connected countries in the world so I would find it unusual if we hadn’t imported some cases into the UK.”

The government banned flights from South America, Portugal and Cape Verde on Thursday after the emergence of the new variants, having previously banned travel from South Africa because of a new coronavirus mutation.

In addition, all quarantine-free travel into the UK will be suspended on Monday in a bid to keep out other variants.

The new policy means arrivals from every destination will need to self-isolate for 10 days, or receive a negative result from a coronavirus test taken at least five days after they enter the UK.

Labour accused the government of “closing the door after the horse has bolted”, saying the announcement was too late to have stopped the arrival of “worrying” strains.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds told ministers to get a “comprehensive plan and to act in a proper, strategic way, not in the short-term chaotic way we’ve seen over the past twelve months”.

But aviation minister Robert Courts insisted that the new action amounted to “toughening up already tough requirements”.

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said there would be lots of new coronavirus variants this year but the current vaccines should protect against the strains circulating in the UK.

He said that new variants were being detected early, and stressed: “If indeed we do need to make new vaccines we will be able to stand those up really quickly.”

More than 3.2 million people have now received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK – around double the number compared to last week.

The government has set a target of vaccinating 15 million of the most vulnerable people in the UK by mid-February.

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But Prof Edmunds cautioned against removing coronavirus restrictions at that point, saying to do so would be a “disaster” that would place “enormous pressure” on the NHS.

He said: “I think it would be a disaster if we removed restrictions in, say, the end of February when we have gone through this first wave of the vaccination.

“First of all vaccines aren’t ever 100% protective, and so even those that have been vaccinated would be still at some risk.

“Secondly, it is only a small fraction of the population who would have been vaccinated and if you look at the hospitalisations at the moment, about half of them are in the under 70s, and they are not in the first wave to be vaccinated.

“If we relaxed our restrictions we would immediately put the NHS under enormous pressure again.”

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Keeping track of kids lost to lockdown

In other developments:

  • The global death toll from COVID-19 has passed two million, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University in the US
  • Boris Johnson said 45% of the over-80s and almost 40% of care home residents have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
  • Government scientists put the latest reproductive number – the R rate – for the UK at 1.2 to 1.3, for data examined up to 11 January

Elsewhere in the UK, toughened lockdown restrictions have come into force in Scotland – with new rules on takeaway food and drink, and the end of non-essential click-and-collect services.

In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced new measures for supermarkets due to “significant evidence” that coronavirus is spreading among customers and staff.

And in Northern Ireland, Stormont health minister Robin Swann said it was “highly unlikely” restrictions will be eased when their six-week lockdown ends.

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Uganda presidential election: Incumbent Yoweri Museveni declared winner | World News

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Bobi Wine's trademark red beret has become a symbol of opposition to longtime President Yoweri Museveni.

Yoweri Museveni has been declared the winner of the Uganda presidential election with 58.64% of the total votes, according to the country’s electoral commission.

The incumbent will now serve a sixth term as president of the east African nation following some of the worst pre-election violence since the 76-year-old took office in 1986.

His man opposition, singer Bobi Wine, has alleged vote rigging throughout the process and had strong support in urban centres where frustration with unemployment and corruption remains high. He won 3.48 million votes, or 34.8% of the total, according to the commission.

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Opposition candidate Bobi Wine was assaulted and arrested several times during the election campaign

Mr Wine and other opposition candidates were often harassed, and more than 50 people were killed when security forces halted riots in November after he was arrested.

Although Mr Museveni holds on to power, at least 15 of his cabinet ministers including the vice president were voted out, with many losing to candidate’s from Mr Wine’s party, according to local media.

Mr Wine, real name Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, claimed victory on Friday and said he had video evidence of vote-rigging and insisting “every legal option is on the table” to challenge the election results.

He was beaten up and arrested several times during the election campaign but was never convicted of any charge. He later wore a flak jacket and said he feared for his life.

On Saturday, Mr Wine said his home in the capital Kampala had been surrounded by soldiers and the military was now allowing him to leave.

The army’s deputy spokesman, Deo Akiiki, told Reuters security officers were assessing threats to Mr Wine if left his home.

Monitoring of the elections has been hit by the arrest of independent observers and the denial of accreditation for members of the UN observer mission.

Tibor Nagy, the top US diplomat for Africa, tweeted on Saturday that “Uganda’s electoral process has been fundamentally flawed”, adding that the “US response hinges on what the Ugandan government does now”.

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