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COVID-19: Vaccinations begin at seven mass jab centres which have opened today – here’s where | UK News

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COVID-19: Vaccinations begin at seven mass jab centres which have opened today - here's where | UK News

Elderly people and healthcare workers have begun to be immunised against COVID-19 at seven new mass vaccination sites across England.

The new centres in Bristol, Surrey (Epsom), London, Newcastle, Manchester, Stevenage and Birmingham will have the capacity to vaccinate four people a minute.

Moira Edwards, 88, was the first to receive a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at Epsom racecourse and said it was “extremely important” to get it.

The centres will be joined by hundreds more GP sites and a small number of new pharmacy-led centres this week, taking the total number of places offering the coronavirus vaccine to around 1,200, according to NHS England.

But with the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital at a record high and the NHS buckling under the pressure, government ministers are doing all they can to get people to stay at home.

They are considering tightening the national lockdown in England even further, according to reports in The Daily Telegraph, banning people from exercising with people they don’t live with.

The paper claims a government source said the current rules around physical activity are “being used as an excuse for people to go for a coffee in the park with their friends”.

Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock refused to be drawn on speculation of changes in the law.

But he continued to urge people to stay at home, adding: “Every flexibility can be fatal… this virus is so contagious it passes on and as we’ve seen it’s deadly.

“You might look at the rules and think, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter too much if I just do this or do that’.

“But these rules are not there as boundaries to be pushed, they are the limit to what people should be doing.”

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Ambulance delays ‘at a scale we’ve never seen’

Sky News analysis shows people are moving around more than they did in the first lockdown in March, suggesting compliance has dropped.

Mr Hancock described the situation across the NHS as “very, very bad” and urged: “The single biggest thing that anybody can do is to follow the stay at home guidance.”

The number of people in hospital with the virus has reached a record-high in England, with lab-confirmed cases hitting three million and related deaths surpassing 81,000 at the weekend.

The ambulance service is said to be under “unprecedented pressure” with the chief executive of the College of Paramedics telling Sky News that crews are waiting up to nine hours with patients until there is a space for them in hospital.

In Northern Ireland, one hospital trust called all off-duty staff back to work after its chief executive said it was “facing into an abyss” amid spiralling admissions.

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In Surrey, 170 bodies are being kept at a temporary storage facility after local hospital mortuaries filled up.

The mortuary at Headley Court in Leatherhead opened to alleviate pressure during the first wave last year and can store an extra 800 on top of the capacity of 600 in nearby hospitals, a Surrey Local Resilience Forum spokesman said on Sunday.

With more than half of those at the temporary facility dead due to coronavirus, he warned that there would be a “real difficulty” if total capacity is reached in the coming weeks.

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Patients are waiting up to nine hours in ambulances before they are transferred to hospital

The sites offering vaccinations in England from Monday are: Ashton Gate in Bristol, Epsom racecourse in Surrey, the Excel Centre where London’s Nightingale hospital is based, Newcastle’s Centre for Life, the Manchester Tennis and Football Centre, Robertson House in Stevenage and Birmingham’s Millennium Point.

They will ensure the government meets its target of two million people a week, with a total of 13 million in the top four priority groups vaccinated by mid-February, the government claims.

All adults nationwide will have been offered the jab by the autumn, Mr Hancock claimed earlier on Sunday.

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COVID-19: Holidays to Spain could be delayed ‘until end of summer’ | World News

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez reportedly said 70% of the population will need to be vaccinated

Britons hoping to escape to Spain could have their holiday plans cancelled following reports the Spanish prime minister said the country would not welcome international tourists until the “end of summer”.

Speaking at a meeting of the World Tourism Organisation, Pedro Sanchez reportedly said he did not expect holidaymakers to visit Spain until nearly all of the population has been vaccinated.

He said the country would “progressively” prepare to welcome international tourists once 70% of Spain’s population had been vaccinated, which he expected to be by the end of this summer, local media sites including Euro Weekly News have reported.

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez reportedly said 70% of the population would need to be vaccinated

It will be a blow for the tourism sector, which closed its worst year since the 1970s in 2020 with revenues falling by more than 75%.

Spain reported its highest daily number of coronavirus infections yet on Thursday, recording 44,357 cases.

A further 404 deaths were also reported, taking the country’s total to 55,041 deaths and 2.5 million cases.

Spain is not the only popular holiday destination closing its doors to British tourists, as Portugal has said it will be suspending all flights to and from Britain from Saturday onwards.

Only repatriation flights will be allowed between the two countries, Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference.

British tourists arrive at Gran Canaria airport
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Spain is one of the most popular destinations for British tourists

Meanwhile, the UK itself has “considered” a full closure of its borders.

Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News ministers were keeping the idea “under review” and “can’t rule anything out for now” – although they believed the current restrictions were “sufficient”.

Asked whether people should be booking foreign holidays for this summer, Home Secretary Priti Patel refused to give an answer and said it was “far too early” to speculate on restrictions.

But some Britons have already begun booking their breaks, with holiday firms saying they had seen a spike in bookings from older people planning trips following the vaccine roll-out.

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‘We need to have a spring and summer season’

The UK’s largest tour operator TUI said half of bookings made so far have been made by over-50s.

Spain ranks among the most popular countries for people planning holidays this year.

A study by travel company Club Med showed it was the fifth most popular destination, behind the Maldives, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey.

Earlier, European Union leaders held an online summit to discuss potential coronavirus measures, including further border restrictions.

While a number of EU leaders said they would not rule out border closures, Spain and Greece backed an idea for a common approach to “vaccine passports”.

The system would allow people to travel if they had received the vaccine, although EU diplomats said the measure was premature as it is not yet clear if vaccinated people could still pass on the virus to others.

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Donald Trump was fooled into talking to prankster pretending to be Piers Morgan, TV presenter says | UK News

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Donald and Melania Trump

A prankster pretending to be Piers Morgan managed to fool Donald Trump into thinking he was speaking to the real TV presenter.

It happened in October while the former president and Apprentice star was on Air Force One, Morgan said.

Mr Trump, who left the White House for the final time earlier this week, only realised he had been scammed when he rang the genuine Morgan the following day while on his way to Florida, the presenter revealed.

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Donald and Melania Trump boarding Air Force One for the last time on Wednesday

Morgan told the BBC it was a “hilarious story”, adding: “Somebody had called him pretending to be me the day before and got through to him on Air Force One and they had a conversation with Trump thinking he was talking to me.”

It is not known who the prankster was.

The pair, who have known each other for more than a decade, fell out last year after Morgan, 55, criticised Mr Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2008, Morgan won a series of Celebrity Apprentice hosted by the billionaire businessman.

He also interviewed him during his time in office for ITV‘s Good Morning Britain.

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Donald Trump’s presidency in 6 minutes

Taking about Mr Trump’s time as US president, Morgan said the 74-year-old had been a “useless leader” because of his “character flaws – the chronic narcissism, the desire to make everything about himself”.

But Mr Trump is not the only prominent person to have been fooled by a prankster.

In March last year, Prince Harry was reportedly tricked into speaking about his decision to quit the royal family by Russian hoaxers posing as the environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

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China gold mine blast: Trapped workers must wait another two weeks for rescue | World News

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Medical workers in white protective suits are also on site

Rescuers trying to free a group of miners trapped hundreds of metres underground have said it may take another 15 days to drill and clear a route wide enough to reach them.

They are desperately trying to bring the workers back to the surface following an explosion at the Hushan gold mine in Qixia, Shandong province, in eastern China on 10 January.

A total of 22 miners became trapped after the blast blocked the mine entrance.

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Medical workers in white protective suits are also on site as part of coronavirus measures

One is confirmed to have died from head injuries. Eleven are known to be alive and rescuers have made contact with 10 of them, while one is said to be in a nearby chamber. The remaining 10 are missing.

Holes have been drilled and used to pass food, medicine and other supplies to the group while they wait.

Rescuers are now drilling a new wider shaft to reach the 10 men in the middle section of the mine – more than 600m from the entrance – which they hope to use to bring the survivors to safety.

The mine shaft is blocked 350m below the surface by 70 tonnes of debris that extends down another 100m, the Yantai city government said in a statement on its social media account.

Other shafts are being drilled for communication and ventilation – to expel deadly fumes.

Rescuers work at the Hushan gold mine in Qixia, Shandong province, China, where a group of miners remain trapped underground
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Rescuers say it may take another 15 days to reach the group of miners who remain trapped hundreds of metres underground

About 600 people are involved in the rescue, with as many as 25 ambulances waiting at the scene, as well as neurosurgeons, trauma specialists and psychologists.

Medical workers in white protective suits are also on site and have been taking people’s temperatures as part of COVID-19 precautions.

Mine managers have been detained for waiting more than 24 hours before reporting the incident, the cause of which is still not known.

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