New Zealand is to create a travel bubble with Australia allowing quarantine-free visits from 19 April.
New Zealand is to create a travel bubble with Australia allowing quarantine-free visits from 19 April.
Britain’s health regulator is considering the impact of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on younger people and could come to a decision within days about whether to change its guidance, Channel Four News reported yesterday. The broadcaster said that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency [MHRA] was looking again at the data after concerns were expressed by the authorities in Germany and Canada over rare blood clots. Government insiders told The Telegraph on Monday night that they were not expecting the regulator to put age restrictions on the use of the AstraZeneca jab, while stressing that the regulator was independent. Ministers have repeatedly talked about the safety of the AstraZeneca jab in recent weeks, including in high profile press conferences, in moves designed to reassure the public.
The Duchess of Sussex was told by the Queen that she was not obliged to be a full-time member of the Royal Family when she married Prince Harry and was free to keep acting, a royal biographer has claimed. The Duchess revealed to Oprah Winfrey in a blockbuster interview last month that she was forced to give up her passport and driving licence when she joined the family in 2018, and that at times she felt suicidal and alone. But Andrew Morton, who wrote a leading biography of Princess Diana, told the Royally Obsessed podcast that the Duchess was not prevented from pursuing her career or a private life and said Her Majesty gave the Sussexes different routes to take within the family. “The Queen gave them [the Duke and Duchess] the opportunity to go wherever they pleased,” Mr Morton said. “They were given a degree of latitude. “They were told: ‘Here are your first class tickets, pick which country you want to go to, we're going to make you youth ambassadors for the Commonwealth.’ "They did say to Meghan: ‘If you don't want to embrace royal duties full time please be our guest and continue your acting career.’ Those opportunities were open to her.”
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Looking at the use of domestic COVID passports for people attending pubs and restaurants is "only the right thing to do", the vaccines minister has told Sky News. Nadhim Zahawi admitted that requiring people to show certification before entering some venues "does throw up a number of difficult, ethical questions". Mr Zahawi confirmed people attending pubs and restaurants this month and next month - when allowed under stages two and three of the government's roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions - would not be required to show certification.
The 61-year-old TV presenter was late returning to 'This Morning' from a loo break - hobbling on a walking stick due to his chronic pain.
France begins production of Covid-19 vaccines this week at several of its manufacturing sites and opens a “vaccinodrome” at the Stade de France on Tuesday. But wariness over the safety of AstraZeneca appears to be increasing. France will produce Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines at five sites.On Wednesday, Delpharm will begin manufacturing the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at its plant in Saint-Rémy-sur-Avre, west of Paris. It's expected to produce tens of millions of doses.Production of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine, meanwhile, is to begin at the Recipharm facility in the Loire Valley.The facilities will not make the vaccines but support their formulation, doing the filling and finishing, checking and freezing.Further down the line, subject to authorisation, Farva is set to take care of the fill & finish of Germany’s CurVac vaccine at its site in Pau in the Pyrenees and could provide up to two million doses per month.And France’s Sanofi laboratory, which abandoned its clinical trials for the 100% Made in France vaccine ARN Messager, is expected to start packaging the Johnson&Johnson vaccine near Lyon from 19 April.The vaccines will then be distributed throughout the European Union.“France is on the point of tipping over into massive vaccine production,” Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, told Le Parisien daily on Sunday.Racing aheadFrance, and Europe in general, has been criticised for its tardy and slow vaccine rollout compared to the U.S., Israel and UK.The World Health Organisation’s director for Europe recently described Europe’s vaccine rollout as “unacceptably slow” given the “worrying” surge in the European coronavirus infection rate.EU leaders recently agreed to increase vaccine production within the bloc, after British-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca annunced it would be able to deliver only 100 million of the promised 300 million doses.Breton, who heads up Europe’s vaccine production task force, said he believed herd immunity among the EU’s 446m-population could now be reached by mid-July.“800 million doses will be available in the second semester,” he said, “Europe will be the continent producing the most vaccines by the end of the year.”VaccinodromesMeanwhile, after a sluggish start to its vaccination campaign, the latest official figures show that 9,109,776 people in France have now received their first jab with 3,091,225 having received both doses (4.61 percent of the population).France is on target to administer 10 million first injections by mid-April and is opening massive army-run centres including a “vaccinodrome” which opens at the Stade de France, north of Paris, on Tuesday 6 April.At one such centre in the Yvelines, west of Paris, more than 1,600 people received a jab of either the Pfizer/BioTech or Moderna vaccines last Wednesday. But there appears to be increasing wariness over the AstraZeneca vaccine following concerns over possible links to blood clotting.AstraZeneca concernsHundreds of vaccination appointments were cancelled in Calais and surrounding areas over the weekend after vaccine centres used up their Pfizer supplies and began proposing the AstraZeneca jab.Only 200 of the 750 available AstraZeneca doses were administered and several centres closed early. “This was one of the last weekends to provide a first AstraZeneca jab, and from next week we’ll be doing the boosters,” vaccine coordinator Dr Thierry Mraovic told local radio on Monday.“But people are wary after all the negative communication around this vaccine, they believe it’s dangerous,” he said.Benefits outweigh risksOn Friday the French Medicines Agency (ANSM) reported that since the start of the vaccination campaign, there had been twelve cases, including four deaths of rare thromboses in people having received the AstraZeneca vaccine.It described the blood clots as “highly untypical”.The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said last week that “a causal link with the vaccine is not proven but is possible, and further analysis is continuing”.The EMA is scheduled to meeting this week to discuss the issue.“The benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, outweigh the risks of side effects,” it said in a statement on 31 March.France continues to struggle to contain the spread of Covid-19 and its more recent, highly contagious, variants. 5,300 people are currently in intensive care with Covid-related conditions, threatening to overwhelm hospitals.
The Philippines has accused China of planning to occupy more areas in the South China Sea, repeating its demands for Beijing to withdraw a fleet of ships that has been amassing since last month around the Whitsun Reef, near the disputed Spratly Islands. Manila maintains that the reef is located within its 200-mile exclusive economic zone, and believes the flotilla is manned by Chinese militias. It said last Thursday it had discovered illegally built structures in the Union Banks, the series of reefs that includes Whitsun. “The continued presence of Chinese maritime militias in the area reveals their intent to further occupy [areas] in the West Philippine Sea,” Delfin Lorenzana, the defence secretary, said in a statement on Sunday, using the local name for the South China Sea. On Monday, Salvador Panelo, lawyer to Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine president, warned the standoff over the flotilla risked "unwanted hostilities that both countries would rather not pursue," adding that "our sovereignty is non-negotiable." China has denied all charges, insisting the boats are anchored in the area to shelter from rough seas. Initial intelligence gathered by Philippine patrols estimated the number of boats at more than 200, before most fanned out into a wider area, leaving 44 behind.
George Galloway’s plan to return to politics by persuading Unionists to vote for his latest outfit risks costing established anti-independence parties up to eight Holyrood seats, Tory strategists believe. A poll at the weekend suggested that the former Labour and Respect Party MP is within reach of winning a Holyrood list seat under the All For Unity (AFU) banner, which is adopting a ‘second vote’ strategy by standing candidates only on regional lists. The party has claimed that the poll, which put AFU at four per cent nationwide, showed it has the potential to pick up further support before election day and deliver unionist seats across Scotland.
The disastrous experience of Chile shows that even a quick vaccine rollout may not be enough to avoid lockdowns, the UK's chief medical officer warned on Monday night. Chile – which has one of the world's quickest vaccination rates, has had to close its borders and tighten its lockdown again after daily infection rates hit new records. Medical experts in the country blamed the government for causing cases to surge by reopening the economy too early as the vaccination programme forged ahead. Prof Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, said what had happened in Chile contrasted with Israel, which also achieved high vaccination levels rapidly, and where cases have plummeted. He said it was unclear whether the differences between the two countries were due to the timings of the vaccine rollouts, the jabs used or the emergence of coronavirus variants. The UK has given a first vaccine dose to over 31 million people, and Boris Johnson has faced calls to end lockdown more quickly.
He departed Good Morning Britain following the controversy.
US health officials have told AstraZeneca to cut ties with its manufacturing partner amid fears that any more production mishaps could erode the public’s faith in vaccines. AstraZeneca’s operations at a plant in Baltimore have been halted and will be moved elsewhere after an error by staff from Emergent BioSolutions meant that ingredients were mistakenly mixed into 15 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines which were also being produced at the site. Those vaccines have had to be destroyed and the delivery of more than 20 million Johnson & Johnson doses is hanging in the balance while quality control issues are addressed. The pharmaceutical giant has drafted in extra staff and assumed full responsibility for the production of the one-shot jab. Now, it has been reported that the US Government is helping AstraZeneca find new partners as it seeks to obtain approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.
Aaron and Chloe will be left devastated.
Women who feel the pandemic has robbed them of their chance to have children are being exploited by IVF clinics charging “eye-watering” prices, the head of Britain’s fertility watchdog has warned. Sally Cheshire, former chairman of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) urged ministers to give the regulator stronger powers to protect those seeking to start a family from false claims. Mrs Cheshire, who has just stood down as chairman, after 15 years at the HFEA, said that repeated lockdowns meant many of those seeking to find a partner, and start a family, felt they had “lost a year of their lives”. In an interview with The Telegraph, she said too many clinics were trading on the desperation of those struggling with fertility, promoting unproven techniques and exaggerating statistics about effectiveness. Mrs Cheshire urged the Government to overhaul legislation that is now 30 years old - predating the commercial market in fertility - by giving the watchdog the power to set prices, and to fine clinics who make false claims. “This would mean there wasn't exploitation for self-funded patients going to private clinics and that prices don't all reach the eye-watering levels that we have seen,” she said. Some centres are charging as much as £20,000 per cycle, warned the HFEA chief, who said she would set a limit of around £5,000. And she said too many clinics were still making claims - in particular about costly and unproven “add-on treatments” - which could not be justified. “They need to think really carefully about what they're offering, particularly when the success rates are still lower than we would expect. It's a false promise,” she said. Latest HFEA figures show the number of women freezing their eggs has risen almost ten-fold since 2010.
SHANGHAI (Reuters) -A Chinese carrier group is exercising near Taiwan and such drills will become regular, China's navy said late on Monday in a further escalation of tensions near the island that Beijing claims as its sovereign territory. Taiwan has complained of an increase in Chinese military activity near it in recent months, as China steps up efforts to assert its sovereignty over the democratically run island. China's navy said the carrier group, lead by the Liaoning, the country's first aircraft carrier put into active service, was carrying out "routine" drills in the waters near Taiwan.
Nissan has thrown the kitchen sink at its supercar and attached a hefty price tag. Is it justified? Darren Cassey finds out.
LONDON (Reuters) -Britain's health regulator is considering a proposal to restrict the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in younger people over concerns about very rare blood clots, Channel 4 News reported on Monday. "Two senior sources have told this programme that while the data is still unclear, there are growing arguments to justify offering younger people - below the age of 30 at the very least - a different vaccine," the broadcaster reported. The UK's regulator, the MHRA, said later on Monday that no decision had been taken.
The Guardian view on Jair Bolsonaro: a danger to Brazil, and the world. The far-right president has given Covid-19 and the razing of the Amazon free rein. Now it looks like he plans to cling on whatever voters say
Boris Johnson insists Covid passports will not be required when outdoor leisure and hospitality services reopen next week but admits they may have a role to play in phase three of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown – when indoor gatherings and foreign travel could be allowed.
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But she gets support from an unlikely source.