Covid News LIVE: Schools face chaos if 12 to 15 year olds rejected jab, says SAGE expert

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Covid-19 vaccines for healthy children aged between 12 and 15 are not being recommended (PA Wire)
Covid-19 vaccines for healthy children aged between 12 and 15 are not being recommended (PA Wire)

Schools could face a “lot of disruption” if Covid jabs aren’t approved for 12 to 15 year olds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said.

Vaccinating school children could be given the green light as soon as next week as four scientific advisors will make a decision in days on whether the UK should vaccinate age 12 to 15 year olds.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) did not recommend the Covid-19 vaccination rollout for healthy 12 to 15 year olds. But Professor John Edmunds, a member of SAGE, issued a stark warning about schools facing chaos if plans to vaccinate children age 12 to 15 years old are rejected.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think we have to take into consideration the wider effect Covid might have on children and their education and developmental achievements.

“In the UK now it’s difficult to say how many children haven’t been infected but it’s probably about half of them, that’s about six million children, so that’s a long way to go if we allow infection just to run through the population, that’s a lot of children who will be infected and that will be a lot of disruption to schools in the coming months.”

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Government plans to extend some outdoor regulations for hospitality sector

18:19 , Laura Sharman

Street markets could open all year round under government plans to make permanent some of the changes for outdoor hospitality introduced during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants would also be able to keep new structures such as marquees and additional seating on their grounds, following a consultation launched on Sunday.

The hospitality sector welcomed the plans, but urged ministers to go further to promote and retain outdoor seating in the streets by restricting traffic in town and city centres.

The consultation will consider only some of the changes introduced during the pandemic in order to promote customers dining outdoors to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Delay in vaccine decision for 12 to 15s “frustrating”, says expert

18:07 , Laura Sharman

The delay in a final decision on whether to offer coronavirus vaccines to all 12 to 15-year-olds is “frustrating”, an expert at a Scottish health board has said.

Jillian Evans, head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian, said vaccinating the age group would help prevent transmission of the virus, as well as protect children from long Covid.

In a decision on Friday, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) did not recommend a mass rollout among 12 to 15-year-olds.

Instead, the UK-wide body suggested ministers might want to get further views on the wider societal and educational impacts of extending the rollout.

Chief medical officers from around the UK are now considering these impacts and will report in the coming days.

Ms Evans discussed the issue on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme on Saturday.

“We know that the JCVI’s decision is predominantly based on the individual benefits and risks to a child, and not considering some of the wider impacts, and that’s what the chief medical officers will do,” she said.

“It’s frustrating because it just builds in further delay in a decision that we’ve already been pushing for, so it delays things a little bit further.”

Covid rapid tests more accurate than thought, says expert

17:49 , Laura Sharman

Harvard epidemiologist Dr Michael Mina explains that Covid rapid tests are more accurate than we think.

The assistant professor argues that the tests are “erroneously citied as not sensitive enough”.

This is because they are often compared with PCR tests which still produce a positive result even after people are no longer infectious, he explains.

UK records 37,578 cases and 120 deaths in 24 hours

16:10 , Leah Sinclair

UK records 37,578 cases and 120 deaths in 24 hours

Bahrain approves third booster shot of Sputnik V vaccine

15:54 , Leah Sinclair

Bahraini authorities have authorised the use of a booster dose of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, the first time the Russian shot has been approved for a third dose, the state-run Bahrain News Agency said on Saturday.

The booster shot was approved for use among all over-18s at least six months after receiving their second dose of the Sputnik V vaccine, the news agency reported.

Bahrain and fellow Gulf state the United Arab Emirates have already approved third booster shots using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Poland to donate 400,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan

15:49 , Leah Sinclair

Poland will donate 400,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Plc Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan, the foreign ministry in Warsaw said on Saturday, to help boost vaccination rates in the country.

While a relatively small domestic coronavirus outbreak is well under control in Taiwan, only around 5 per cent of its 23.5 million population are fully vaccinated, though the government has millions of vaccines on order.

It has already received some six million vaccine doses gifted by Japan and the United States, enabling it to speed up an inoculation programme that it said had been hampered initially by China, though Beijing denies playing any negative role.

Poland says its vaccine donation is a reciprocal move after Taiwan donated medical equipment during the first wave of the pandemic.

“Keeping in mind this important gesture, Warsaw will offer Taipie 400,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to speed up the vaccination process. Increasing the number of vaccinated people globally is in everyone’s interest,” the statement said.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry has thanked Poland for the donation.

Japan to extend Covid-19 state of emergency in Tokyo area - paper

15:33 , Leah Sinclair

The Japanese government plans to extend a state of emergency in and around Tokyo until the last week of September in a further bid to contain the coronavirus epidemic, the Mainichi newspaper reported on Saturday.

The government plans to extend them by about two weeks in Tokyo and neighbouring Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures, the Mainichi said, without citing sources.

Under the state of emergency, the government has sought to reduce foot traffic by asking restaurants to shorten their hours and refrain from serving alcohol, and companies to let staff work from home more frequently.

The extension would take the curbs through the fourth week of September, which has two public holidays and during which many people make travel plans.

The government will also consider an extension in hard-hit areas in central and western Japan, including Aichi - home of Toyota Motor - and Osaka, the paper said, adding a decision would likely be made in the middle of next week.

Scotland: 11 Covid-19 deaths and 6,152 new cases

15:09 , Leah Sinclair

Scotland has recorded 11 deaths of coronavirus patients and 6,152 cases in the past 24 hours, the latest figures show.

The Scottish Government’s figures indicate the death toll under the daily measure - of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days - is 8,165.

A total of 51,031 tests were carried out, of which 12.9% were positive.

There were 670 people in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19, with 58 in intensive care.

A total of 4,117,147 people have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination and 3,717,587 have had a second dose.

Russia: 18,780 new Covid-19 cases

12:54 , Leah Sinclair

Authorities in Russia have reported 18,780 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the state news agency Tass.

Of those, 1,494 cases were detected in St Petersburg, 756 in the Moscow region, 512 in the Sverdlovsk region, 479 in the Rostov region, and 462 in the Perm and Voronezh regions.

Health authorities also reported 796 deaths linked to the virus. So far, Russia has recorded 186,407 deaths linked to the coronavirus.

Philippines to lift coronavirus travel ban on 10 countries including UAE

12:38 , Leah Sinclair

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is lifting a coronavirus ban on travellers from 10 countries including India, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia, the presidential spokesperson said on Saturday.

The ban, introduced in April then expanded to more countries in July to prevent the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, will be lifted on Monday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Travellers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia will have to spend 14 days in quarantine upon arrival, Roque said.

Covid jabs for healthy children aged 12-15 likely to get ministerial backing

11:35 , Leah Sinclair

Covid jabs for healthy children aged 12-15 likely to get ministerial backing

11:21 , Lily Waddell

Children ‘to be jabbed from next week’

Vaccinating school children could be given the green light as soon as next week.

It comes as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) did not recommend the Covid-19 vaccination rollout for healthy 12 to 15 year olds.

Now Health Secretary Sajid Javid has sought the help of England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty for a second opinion.

Four scientific advisors - Prof Whitty, Dr Frank Atherton in Wales, Dr Gregor Smith in Scotland and Dr Michael McBride in Northern Ireland - will make a decision in days on whether the UK should vaccinate age 12 to 15 year olds.

A government source told the BBC: “We believe there is strong case to vaccinate but await the advice of the chief medical officers.”

The decision comes as children across the country have returned to school for the autumn term.

France could ease health pass restrictions in large shopping malls - minister

10:31 , Leah Sinclair

France could ease health pass restrictions that are hurting the activity of large shopping malls if the Covid-19 epidemic situation keeps improving, Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Saturday.

“The health situation is improving. If this is confirmed, we will be able to ease the rules,” Borne told France Inter radio, adding that this could be decided “in the coming days”.

French retail group Auchan has said that the introduction in France in early August of a health pass that customers must show in shopping malls with a surface area of more than 20,000 square metres hit its business at the start of the third quarter.

France, where the daily average Covid-19 contagion rate has slowed, is battling a fourth wave of the pandemic, and the government aims to administer a third vaccine shot to some 18 million people by early 2022, a health ministry official said on Tuesday.

Delay in vaccine decision for 12 to 15-year-olds ‘frustrating’, expert says

10:30 , Leah Sinclair

The delay in a final decision on whether to offer coronavirus vaccines to all 12 to 15-year-olds is “frustrating”, an expert at a Scottish health board has said.

Jillian Evans, head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian, said vaccinating the age group would help prevent transmission of the virus, as well as protect children from long Covid.

She said: “We know that the JCVI’s decision is predominantly based on the individual benefits and risks to a child, and not considering some of the wider impacts, and that’s what the chief medical officers will do.

“The thing about this is, it’s frustrating because it just builds in further delay in a decision that we’ve already been pushing for, so it delays things a little bit further.

“Although I’m absolutely certain that there’ll be a lot of activity going on right now and in the days ahead so we can get to a decision as quickly as possible.”

It’s for the Government to look at the broader harms of not vaccinating children, says Sir Walport

09:30 , Leah Sinclair

Former chief scientific adviser Professor Sir Mark Walport said it is for the Government to look at the broader harms of not vaccinating children.

Discussing the chief medical officers being tasked with giving further advice on vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds, Sir Mark told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s uncomfortable but it’s not necessarily a particularly rare situation.

“The JCVI looks through a very particular lens, which is the clinical safety of the vaccine for a given population group against the effects of the disease itself.

“But what they don’t look at is the wider issues such as education and the harms to that, so the broader harms potentially to children and the knock-on effects to their families - that’s where policymakers come in.”

Likely increase in Covid-19 cases in the coming months, says Prof Edmunds

08:57 , Leah Sinclair

Professor John Edmunds warned of a likely increase of coronavirus cases in the coming months as schools return and workers return to offices.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think that’s likely, yes. And I don’t want to say it’s just about schools opening because it isn’t, it’s with a wider reopening of society that I think we’d expect to see now summer’s over organisations will be starting to expect their employees back at work in the office, and I think that employees want to go back to the office, and all of that will add to increased contact rates and increased risk in society.

“So I think we will see increased cases now in the coming months.”

Ministers must consider wide implications of not vaccinating children, says Sage member

08:56 , Leah Sinclair

Ministers must take into consideration the wide implications of not vaccinating children because of the potential for large-scale educational disruption, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

Discussing the decision now faced by the UK’s chief medical officers, Professor John Edmunds told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s a very difficult one, They’re going to take a wider perspective than the JCVI took, I think that’s right.

“I think we have to take into consideration the wider effect Covid might have on children and their education and developmental achievements.

“In the UK now it’s difficult to say how many children haven’t been infected but it’s probably about half of them, that’s about six million children, so that’s a long way to go if we allow infection just to run through the population, that’s a lot of children who will be infected and that will be a lot of disruption to schools in the coming months.”

China administered total of 2.092 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines

08:42 , Leah Sinclair

China administered around 7.5 million Covid-19 vaccines on Friday, bringing the accumulated total to 2.092 billion doses, data from the National Health Commission showed on Saturday.

China reports 28 Covid-19 cases on Sept 3, one local transmission

08:22 , Leah Sinclair

Mainland China reported 28 new Covid-19 cases on September 3, the same as a day earlier, with one local transmission and the rest coming from overseas, the country’s national health authority said on Saturday.

The National Health Commission said in its daily bulletin that the local infection was identified in Dehong in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, stood at 22 on September 3, the same as the day before, the commission said.

The accumulated total of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mainland China now stands at 94,982, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,636.

07:56 , Leah Sinclair

A White House plan to offer Covid-19 booster shots will most likely start this month only with the vaccine made by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech, Reuters reports.

President Joe Biden had expected to launch a campaign to administer 100 million booster shots on September 20. But U.S. vaccine makers other than Pfizer have lagged in seeking authorisation of additional doses.

A panel of experts that advises the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on vaccines plans to meet on September 17 to discuss additional doses of Pfizer’s shot.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, told MSNBC in an interview on Friday that it did not appear the information needed for Moderna would be available in time for a September 20 rollout.

“It may be a delay for a few weeks. We don’t know,” Mr Fauci said.

New Zealand reports first death from Covid-19 Delta variant

07:54 , Leah Sinclair

New Zealand reported on Saturday the first death from the Delta variant of Covid-19 and 20 further daily infections in Auckland.

The woman who died was in her 90s and had a number of underlying health conditions, health officials said in a statement. It is the first coronavirus-related death in the country since mid-February.

“Every death is a reminder of the damage Covid-19 can cause when it gets into our community,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in the statement.

“Our older New Zealanders and those with underlying health issues are by far the most at risk from the virus and one of the reasons lockdowns are such an important tool to stop its spread.”

Australia records record daily Covid-19 cases

07:52 , Leah Sinclair

Australia reported a record high of 1,756 Covid-19 cases on Saturday, as officials warned that worse is yet to come and urged people to get vaccinated.

Most of the cases were in New South Wales, which has been fighting an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant since mid-June. The state reported 1,533 new cases and four further deaths.

Neighbouring Victoria reported 190 cases, the Australian Capital Territory 32 and Queensland one. Recent daily infections are running about double the levels of Australia’s previous worst wave of the pandemic a year ago.

Although infections in Victoria, in its sixth lockdown, dropped slightly from Friday’s 208, health authorities said the outbreak has not peaked.

“The overall trend is a slow and steady increase. That’s why vaccination is so critical, as is following the rules,” Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told a press conference.

07:46 , Leah Sinclair

Welcome to the Standard Coronavirus Live Blog on Saturday, September 4.

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