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One study, published on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, identified "high-level, broad-spectrum" antibodies in blood samples from survivors of the original SARS outbreak in 2003 who recently received the Pfizer vaccine for Covid.
In test tube experiments, the antibodies of the survivors could neutralise all of the current Covid variants of concern and five viruses that have been identified in bats and pangolins.
The findings from these studies could be a step toward developing new antibodies that would be effective against multiple different coronaviruses, the teams say.
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More than 1,000 Latitude revellers test positive for Covid
21:45 , Rachael Burford
More than 1,000 people who attended Latitude Festival last month have tested positive for coronavirus, according to reports.
The festival, which ran from July 22 to 25, was part of the Government’s Events Research Programme attended by about 40,000 people.
Revellers had to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test or be double vaccinated to access the site at Henham Park in Suffolk.
However, data released by Suffolk County Council reportedly shows 1,051 people tested positive for the virus in the days after the event.
The research suggests that 619 people got infected at Latitude, while 432 would have been infectious at the time of the event.
Stuart Keeble, director of Suffolk Public Health, said: “Latitude Festival was part of an event research pilot by central government, which set the parameters and Covid guidance for the event.
“We were one of many partners who helped implement Covid security in line with Government advice.”
Covid inquiries should start before end of the year, campaigners say
20:43 , Rachael Burford
The UK Government must “show some leadership” and ensure that statutory coronavirus inquiries start before the year is out, campaigners have said.
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families For Justice group is calling on Wales and Northern Ireland to follow Scotland’s example, after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said an independent inquiry would begin by the end of 2021.
A UK-wide inquiry will start next spring, Boris Johnson has said. But campaigners said it should commence before the end of this year.
Lobby Akinnola, whose 60-year-old father Olufemi died with coronavirus in April 2020, said: “Today’s announcement will rightly leave bereaved families across the rest of the United Kingdom wondering why this has been announced for Scotland but not in the other devolved regions.
“It’s not just the Prime Minister kicking the UK-wide inquiry continually into the long grass, but the Welsh Assembly and Northern Irish Executive who are yet to even commit to holding a statutory inquiry into their own handling of the pandemic.
“This simply isn’t good enough and it’s time for the UK government, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Irish Executive to show some leadership and rise to the occasion and ensure statutory inquiries commence before the end of the year within the devolved administrations and for the UK.”
New nurses feel “unsupported” in first roles, union says
18:24 , Rachael Burford
New nurses and midwives feel “unprepared and unsupported in first roles”, a union has said.
Unison said that more must be done to support newly qualified workers and students as they start their career.
It comes after a poll found that 70 per cent believe they have missed out on important learning experiences during the coronavirus crisis.
Many newly qualified midwives and nurses and students worked on the front line of the pandemic.
However, more than half of final year students said they are worried they are not as prepared for qualification as they should be, according to a survey of 182 student and newly qualified nurses and midwives.
Unison’s national officer for nursing, Stuart Tuckwood, said: “Unprecedented demands have been placed on student nurses and midwives during Covid.
“Constructive and meaningful support in the workplace is vital for those newly qualified so they can fulfil their potential.
“Some may lack confidence because they’ve missed out on some training opportunities.”
Ryanair cites lack of Covid recovery incentives for pulling out of Northern Ireland
16:55 , Rachael Burford
Ryanair blamed the UK Government for not reducing air passenger duty and a lack of Covid recovery incentives as it confirmed it is pulling out of Northern Ireland.
Routes from Belfast International Airport to a number of European destinations will stop on October 30.
The budget airline stopped flying from the City of Derry Airport earlier this year and will also end a number of seasonal flights from Belfast City Airport.
In a statement, Ryanair confirmed it will cease operations from the Belfast International and Belfast City airports in the autumn.
A spokesman for the airline said: “Due to the UK Government’s refusal to suspend or reduce APD (air passenger duty), and the lack of Covid recovery incentives from both Belfast airports, this winter Ryanair will cease operations from Belfast International and Belfast City Airport from the end of the summer schedule in October and these aircraft will be reallocated to lower-cost airports elsewhere in the UK and Europe for the winter schedule, which starts in November.”
A spokesman for Belfast International Airport expressed disappointment,
“It has been a difficult period for aviation and a time when consumers need some stability and faith in the Northern Ireland air transport network,” they said.
UK records 174 new Covid deaths
16:23 , Rachael Burford
The UK has recorded 174 Covid-related deaths and 31,914 new infections, according to daily Government figures.
Some 131,283 people received their second dose of the vaccine on Monday, meaning just over 77 per cent of the population are now fully vaccinated.
This time last week, on August 17, some 26,852 people had tested positive for Covid and 170 people had the virus listed on their death certificate.
Welsh opposition calls for Covid inquiry
16:10 , Rachael Burford
Opposition parties have called on the Welsh Government to follow Scotland’s lead and hold an independent inquiry into the handling of the pandemic.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the judge-led inquiry in Scotland will be established by the end of the year.
The Conservatives and Plaid Cymru accused the Labour-run Welsh Government of seeking to avoid scrutiny by not holding a separate inquiry in Wales.
Welsh Conservative Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies said: “The Scottish First Minister - like the Prime Minister - has done the right thing by announcing a public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic by her government.
“Regrettably, in Wales, Labour and the First Minister Mark Drakeford have sought to block such scrutiny, transparency and accountability and it’s an unacceptable situation which cannot continue.
“Decisions made in Wales - both good and bad - had a direct impact on lives and that cannot be dismissed by a Labour administration that was keen to stress at every opportunity that they have done things differently.”
Fauci: ‘Anti-vaxxers need jab to get herd immunity'
15:04 , Barney Davis
In order for the US to reach herd immunity against COVID-19, those who are unvaccinated will need to get inoculated, said Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
“We can get herd immunity really easily if we get everybody vaccinated,” Fauci said during an interview on MSNBC Tuesday.
When asked by MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan whether the nation can reach herd immunity without the help of those who are resistant to getting the vaccine, Fauci replied, “I don’t think so.”
“The only way you can get through herd immunity without them is if the unfortunate situation, if they all wind up getting infected,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
US donates half a million Covid vaccines to Palestine
14:29 , Laura Sharman
Half a million Covid vaccines arrived in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza on Tuesday.
The US donated the vaccines as Palestinian officials work to boost uptake and counter a surge in new cases by requiring some workers to get the jab.
Palestinians began administering vaccines in February, but despite having purchased or received what officials have called “an abundance of doses”, uptake has stalled at just 35% of those eligible in the West Bank and around 11% in Gaza.
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, whose Palestinian Authority has limited self-rule in the West Bank, said that unvaccinated public-sector employees would be put on unpaid leave, with immediate effect.
Switzerland hit by worrying fourth Covid wave
14:13 , Laura Sharman
Switzerland is being hit by a fourth wave of the coronavirus with a very worrying rise in infections, according to the head of the government’s crisis team.
The number of new infections has hovered between 2,500 and 3,000 per day recently, close to the level of the third wave earlier this year, Patrick Mathys said
“The current situation should be seen as unfavourable and to some extent very worrying. We have to describe the current situation as the fourth wave,” he added.
New cases rose by 2,993 on Tuesday, taking the total number to 761,978 since the pandemic began. The government also reported six more deaths, taking the death toll to 10,461.
Mr Mathys said he was concerned about hospitals and the low level of vaccinations.
Covid restrictions mostly lifted by Christmas in Ireland
14:07 , Laura Sharman
Ireland’s economy will be fully open by Christmas, the country’s health minister has said.
Stephen Donnelly said the current plan is to continue with the next phase of reopening and the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
Earlier, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said that 86% of Irish adults are fully vaccinated, while 88,000 jabs have been given to 12 to 15-year-olds.
The National Public Health Emergency Team is meeting on Wednesday to consider the next steps in the response to the pandemic, with the Cabinet’s Covid-19 sub-committee set to meet on Friday.
Nicola Sturgeon can’t rule out more lockdowns
13:35 , Barney Davis
Nicola Sturgeon said she cannot “completely rule out” reimposing coronavirus restrictions as Scotland hit its worst ever number of cases recorded in 24 hours.
The First Minister said Scotland recorded 10 coronavirus-linked deaths and 4,323 cases in the past 24 hours.
Speaking at a Scottish Government coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, she said the daily case figure is “the largest we have ever recorded in a single day” but highlighted more testing now takes place than in the early stages of the pandemic.
Ms Sturgeon said new cases in Scotland have more than doubled in the past week, making this “one of the sharpest rises we have experienced at any point during the pandemic”.
Hospital and intensive care cases have also increased in the past 24 hours.
She warned Scotland is now at a “fragile and potentially pivotal moment” in the fight against the virus as vaccinations have weakened the link between cases and serious harm but not completely broken it.
Scotland has recorded 10 coronavirus-linked deaths and 4,323 cases in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.
12:34 , Barney Davis
Scotland’s First Minister said this takes the death toll under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 8,080.
She told a Scottish Government coronavirus briefing the daily test positivity rate is 14.5%, up from 12.4% the previous day.
A total of 364 people were in hospital on Monday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up by eight on the previous day, with 43 patients in intensive care, up two.
So far, 4,850,552 people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 3,587,145 have had their second.
Nicola Sturgeon to give briefing in 15 mins as Covid worsens in Scotland
11:56 , Barney Davis
Nicola Sturgeon will deliver the latest update on the Covid-19 pandemic in Scotland in her next briefing today.
She will address the rise in coronavirus cases in Scotland and across the UK, which on Tuesday morning prompted health experts to admit they are “concerned” about the situation.
It comes as the Scottish Government is inviting views on the draft aims and principles of an independent public inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The COVID-19 Inquiry Establishment Aims and Principles paper is intended to shape its terms of reference with input from stakeholders, including bereaved families.
The proposed inquiry would be established by the end of the year, to scrutinise decisions taken in the course of this pandemic, and learn lessons for future pandemics.
Highest number of excess deaths since March
11:26 , Barney Davis
A total of 571 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending August 13 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics - up 8% on the previous week.
It is the highest total since 719 deaths in the week to March 26.
Around one in 18 deaths registered in the week to August 13 (5.5%) mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.
Slipknot’s Corey Taylor details Covid-19 battle urges fans to get vaccinated
11:25 , Barney Davis
Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor has posted a video update saying he’s “out of the woods” in his battle with Covid-19.
Just a little update on how I’m recovering. Thanks so much to everyone who sent their best wishes and to friends and family who reached out. pic.twitter.com/haWwWZbdN3
— SHRED DJENT REDEMPTION (@CoreyTaylorRock) August 23, 2021
Corey went on to praise the vaccine, saying he believes it helped him beat Covid-19.
“I also wanna say that because I was vaccinated, I truly believe that is what helped me get over the break,” Corey continued.
“I mean, this is the worst I’ve ever been sick in my life. Had I not been vaccinated, I shudder to think how bad it would have been. But because I had that extra little bit of protection, man, it definitely helped me get through it. So — go, go, go. If you’re still on the fence (about getting the jab), I’m telling you right now it’s the best thing you can do for yourself.
“Count the days down, and hopefully I will see you guys soon. All right? Take care of yourselves. Stay safe.”
47-year-old Corey fell ill after completing a solo tour across the US in support of his solo album ‘CMFT.’
57 deaths in care homes
10:54 , Barney Davis
Some 57 care home resident deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales were registered in the week to August 13, up from 50 the previous week.
In total, 42,805 care home residents in England and Wales have had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began.
The ONS figures cover deaths of care home residents in all settings, not just in care homes.
ONS update latest Covid-19 deaths
10:53 , Barney Davis
A total of 156,958 deaths have occurred in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, the ONS said.
The highest number on a single day was 1,484 on January 19.
During the first wave of the virus, the daily toll peaked at 1,461 on April 8 2020.
New Zealand records highest Covid jump since April 2020
09:46 , Barney Davis
New Zealand on Tuesday recorded its highest increase in COVID-19 cases since April 2020, as authorities warned this current outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus was like dealing with a whole new virus.
The South Pacific nation’s virus-free run since February ended last week after an outbreak of the Delta variant erupted in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, and quickly spread to the capital Wellington.
Authorities reported 41 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the total infections in the country to 148, the Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said at a news conference. That was the biggest increase in cases since April 10, 2020, according to data from the Ministry of Health.
Of the new cases, 38 are in Auckland and three are in Wellington. So far, eight people associated with the current outbreak are in hospital, the ministry said.
“Delta is unlike our previous experience. It is, as we know, highly infectious and transmissible and, as we have seen, spreads rapidly,” Bloomfield said at a news conference.
Sean Penn only wants vaccinated to see his movie Flag Day
09:03 , Barney Davis
Sean Penn has urged only the vaccinated to go see his newest movie Flag Day as it opens in theatres.
The actor made the request on a US talk show overnight.
“But I do always feel at this point in time that I have to say that I hope, I’d ask, that as much as I want people all to go to the theatre, I really only want people who are vaccinated and are safe to themselves and each other to go”, Sean told Seth Myers.
“And it will stream but most of the people who aren’t vaccinated probably aren’t interested in my movies anyway,” he added.
Boris Johnson issues warning to young people to get vaccinated
08:20 , Barney Davis
Young people continue to be hospitalised with COVID-19.
Many of those becoming seriously ill are unvaccinated.
If you haven't done so already, please get your jabs as soon as you can.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 23, 2021
London Ambulance Service encourage Londoners to continue to wear masks
08:07 , Barney Davis
The warning on masks comes as higher education minister has said that it will be up to Irish colleges to determine how they can hold lectures safely in the coming academic year.
On Monday, Simon Harris indicated that the Government would not be prescribing a set of specific rules for how lectures should be held when students return to college in several weeks’ time.
“Going back to college will no doubt not be without challenge. Of course it won’t. But we can’t not get people back to college. And then we can’t have another year like we’ve had with our young people staying at home doing college at the corner of the kitchen table or in the box room,” Mr Harris said.
Please continue to wear face coverings in crowded places, such as on public transport.
When wearing a face covering:
➡make sure it covers your nose and mouth
➡don't touch the front of it
➡wash your hands before and after putting it on or taking it off pic.twitter.com/4cTSKJRmyu
— London Ambulance Service (@Ldn_Ambulance) August 24, 2021
Expert warns of Covid-22 sparking Twitter meltdown
07:47 , Barney Davis
Twitter reacted in horror after an expert warned that a new variant dubbed “Covid-22” could be more lethal than the Delta variant.
Professor Doctor Sai Reddy of the federal technology institute ETH Zurich, an immunologist, believes that combination of existing strains could result in a new and more dangerous phase of the pandemic.
“It is very likely that a new variant will emerge and that we will no longer be able to rely on vaccinations alone,” immunologist Sai Reddy said.
Prof Reddy told the German newspaper Blick that Delta, dubbed COVID-21, was the most contagious variant of all.
“If Beta or Gamma becomes more contagious, or if Delta develops mutations, then we could be talking about a new phase of the pandemic,” said Reddy. “This would become the big problem of the coming year. Covid-22 could be even worse than what we are experiencing now.”
‘Perfect Storm’ Covid cases rocket as holidaymakers flock to Cornwall
07:34 , Barney Davis
A “perfect storm” of a huge influx of visitors and a lack of social distancing in Cornwall has led to a spike in cases of coronavirus, business owners have said.
The south-western county has seen a rise in cases in recent weeks after the visitors flocked there for their summer holidays.
Figures calculated by the PA news agency using health agency data show that both Devon and Cornwall have 500 cases or more per 100,000 people in the seven days to August 18.
A week before, the figure was 300 or less per 100,000 people.
On Monday, health officials said they were investigating 4,700 cases of coronavirus which are suspected to be linked to the Boardmasters festival, which took place nearly two weeks ago.
The cases are spread across the country but around 800 are living in Cornwall, a council official confirmed.
Good morning and welcome to the Evening Standard’s coverage of the latest Covid-19 developments
07:32 , Barney Davis