India’s shocking surge in Covid cases follows baffling declineAnalysis: Rapid spread of cases across country comes after long spell in which virus seemed almost to vanish Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage Relatives wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) mourn a man who died from the coronavirus. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
A former soldier with no history of mental illness killed himself after lockdown “took everything from him”, an inquest heard. Sean Bradley died by suicide on July 7 last year after becoming increasingly distressed that his business would fail because of a lack of financial support from the government, his sister told an inquest. After the hearing his sister, Angela Wray, said: "People need to realise just how many this pandemic has affected." Neighbours discovered the 53-year-old’s body with "catastrophic injuries" after hearing a loud noise at his home in Church, Accrington. Mr Bradley's medical records showed no evidence of self-harm, depression, anxiety or mental health issues, the inquest at Accrington Town Hall heard. Ms Wray, said her brother felt frustrated by the lack of Government support for businesses such as his and more understanding was needed. Mr Bradley, born in Bury, Greater Manchester, had served "with distinction" in the King's Hussars and the Royal Armoured Corps before studying with the Open University and becoming an IT consultant with blue-chip companies. Described as "a lad's lad" who also enjoyed camping and shooting, he missed his outdoor lifestyle and gave up his IT career to go travelling around the world for six years. Mr Bradley, who was not married and had no children, then studied the martial art form Krav Maga in Israel and returned to the UK to set up his own club in the north west of England. But it all went "out of the window" when the UK went into lockdown last March, the inquest heard. James Newman, area coroner for Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen said: "He can't go out, he can't do the things he loved, he can't do his job. It's all taken away from him. "It seems the effects of lockdown, certainly financially - Tony was a martial arts instructor training a lot of people, it was his life, his profession and that went out of the window in lockdown. "He had built up and started a business that had taken time to develop and grow and all of a sudden, as a new business, he didn't have any funding from the pandemic.” The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide, after Mr Bradley's "business and lifestyle was severely curtailed by the restrictions due to the Covid 19 pandemic".
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Jeanette Whittle, 44, and Rhianne Halton, 19, from Torquay, died within weeks of one another and were laid to rest at a joint funeral.
Up to 30 countries including Spain’s Canary Islands, Portugal’s Azores and Malta could make the UK’s green list for summer holidays from May 17. The destinations, which are dominated by islands, have high vaccination rates and low prevalence of Covid putting them in a strong position for inclusion on the “green list,” according to Government and industry sources. Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, signalled earlier this week that the Government’s new traffic light ratings of countries will treat a nation’s islands independently of any higher Covid rate or lower vaccination rate on the mainland. This would place the Canary Islands (with 91.7 of the adult population vaccinated), Malta (44.1 per cent), Azores (36.1 per cent), Madeira (33.7 per cent) and even the Balearic islands ( 25.4 per cent) on the green list by May 17. Greece is also running a campaign to vaccinate all the population of at least 85 of its islands, which would put Zakynthos and Santinori in the frame for early Summer holidays. It follows The Telegraph’s disclosure this morning that the Government is racing to ensure Covid passports are available to prove people have been vaccinated as early as next month, in time for summer holidays. Greece has said it will be ready to welcome vaccinated British tourists immediately when its resorts open up on May 15, while Spain and Portugal say they will throw open their borders from June along with much of the EU. Responding to The Telegraph’s disclosure, Spanish Tourism Secretary, Fernando Valdés, said on Thursday he wanted UK holidaymakers to “restart holidays” in six weeks, adding: “We are desperate to welcome you this summer. We've been having constant conversations with UK authorities.” Mr Valdes said a travel corridor between the two countries, allowing quarantine-free breaks, is firmly on the table but only with Covid passports 'easing' the return of 'safe' travel.
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Britons' prospects of booking a foreign holiday this summer have been given a boost, with the government saying coronavirus passports will be available "as soon as possible". Many tourist hotspots will require visitors to have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide proof of a recent negative test before entering the country. Coronavirus passports, also known as health certificates, would allow holidaymakers to meet this requirement.
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Trevor Phillips’ daughter has tragically died after a 22-year battle with anorexia. Sushila Phillip died peacefully in her mother’s arms aged 36, her sister Holiday confirmed in a Facebook post. Trevor, who was chairman of the commission for racial inequality, was also present for his daughter’s final hours.
Few tears likely to be shed as plan for No 10 TV press briefings droppedAnalysis: Insiders say plan had been ‘kicked down the road for so long’ it was inevitable it would be dropped Allegra Stratton has been handed a new role as spokeswoman for this autumn’s Cop26 – the global climate change conference. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA
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Banning smart motorways would "kill drivers" by forcing them onto unsafe roads, a government minister has said. Baroness Vere, the roads minister, told MPs that the stretches of motorways that used the hard shoulder as an extra lane were safer than conventional roads and motorways as they eased congestion. She also defended the Government’s decision to keep the system in place despite recent warnings from coroners over the deaths of drivers left stranded on smart motorways, saying a number of safety improvements have been made to them. Her comments come after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced recently that no new smart motorways will be created unless they have the technology in place to spot when a broken-down motorists is unable to reach the sporadic safety bays that replace the hard shoulder. A number of smart motorways were previously launched by Highways England without the monitoring system in place and the Government has given the organisation until March 2023 to ensure all have coverage. Highways England has previously insisted smart motorways are the “safest roads in the country”. However, figures show there were 15 deaths on them in 2019, up from 11 in 2018. Appearing in front of the transport select committee, Baroness Vere said she was “astonished” and “disappointed” by the way Highways England had handled the rollout of smart motorways. However, she said smart motorways were safer than conventional roads as they gave drivers more space. Baroness Vere said: “One of the things that makes all drivers more safe is to provide more capacity on our safest roads and that is what all-lane running motorways do. “If you increase capacity on those roads they are our safest roads in terms of fatalities, as you take traffic off less safe roads.”
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When George Floyd bought cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 note, it triggered the wretched sequence of events that led to the end of his life. The teenager who served Mr Floyd was a key prosecution witness in the trial of his killer, former police officer Derek Chauvin. Christopher Martin said he has felt too scared to work in the shop since Mr Floyd's death but that giving evidence in the trial had brought him a sense of relief.
‘World’s worst outbreak’: what India’s papers say as coronavirus crisis toll mounts. Newspapers warn that the situation shows no sign of improving, and calls on warring politicians to cooperate to beat the virus
Malaysia's government on Wednesday enacted a new emergency law allowing it to use funds derived from oil and gas contributions to pay for vaccine procurement, as it looks to ramp up its COVID-19 vaccination programme. The ordinance will allow the government access to use the 17.4 billion ringgit ($4.23 billion) parked under the national trust fund to secure vaccines "for an epidemic of any infection disease", according to the law published in the federal gazette. The trust fund, which takes contributions from state energy company Petronas and others involved to petroleum exploitation, was set up to support infrastructure and other development and provide federal loans to Malaysia's states.