UK Covid LIVE: EU regulators start review of China’s Sinovac vaccine as India passes 20m coronavirus cases

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he European Union’s drug regulator announced Tuesday that it has started a rolling review of China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine to assess its effectiveness and safety, a first step toward possible approval for use in the 27-nation bloc.

The European Medicines Agency said Tuesday that its decision to start the review is based on preliminary results from laboratory studies and clinical studies.

It comes as India‘s official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million – nearly doubling in the past three months, while deaths officially have passed 220,000. The true numbers are believed to be far higher.

Experts have warned that the coming weeks in the country of nearly 1.4 billion people will be “horrible”.

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1620133977

India halts cricket league as Covid cases soar past 20 million

India has halted its hugely popular cricket league as Covid infections surged past 20 million. The opposition leader said a nationwide lockdown was now the only way out.

Cricket officials suspended the money-spinning Indian Premier League (IPL) as the pandemic spirals out of control, with the country adding 10 million cases in just over four months, after taking more than 10 months to reach the first 10 million.

“While we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times,” the IPL said.

With 3.45 million active cases, India recorded 357,229 new infections over the last 24 hours while deaths rose by 3,449 to 222,408, according to health ministry data.

1620132061

UN programme inks Moderna deal on 500m doses

US biotech company Moderna will provide up to 500 million doses for the UN-backed programme to ship coronavirus vaccines to needy people in low and middle-income countries.

But shipments won’t begin until the fourth quarter, the company and program leaders said.

The advance purchase agreement from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, comes just days after the World Health Organization announced emergency approval of the Moderna vaccine that paves the way for its inclusion in the UN-backed COVAX program.

Gavi, a Geneva-based public-private partnership, has been scrambling to try to strike deals with vaccine makers at the same time as trying to persuade rich countries that have secured millions of doses — some of which they aren’t even using — to donate them to poorer ones.

1620130194

Football clubs will ‘lose money’ to host Covid-secure games for fans

Premier League executive director Bill Bush told the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus that their current planning was for matches at 17% to 18% capacity under Covid restrictions, and clubs were staging matches to reconnect with fans while losing money.

He said: “We do support some form of certification for our events,” suggesting that the alternative was restrictions in the form of social distancing and smaller crowds, with this extended to areas around the venue and travel to and from the event.

He described a form of certification, provided it was voluntary, would be “burdensome” but an “acceptable” way to to allow fans to attend matches.

1620128762

EU announces review of Chinese vaccine

The European Union’s drug regulator says it has started a rolling review of China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine to assess its effectiveness and safety, a first step towards possible approval for use in the 27-nation bloc.

The European Medicines Agency said its decision to start the review is based on preliminary results from laboratory and clinical studies.

“These studies suggest that the vaccine triggers the production of antibodies” that fight the coronavirus “and may help protect against the disease”, the agency said in a statement.

The EMA added that no application has yet been submitted for marketing authorisation for the vaccine.

The agency also is conducting rolling reviews of three other vaccines, developed by German company CureVac, the American-developed Novavax and Russia’s Sputnik V.

1620127921

No evidence drinking alcohol interferes with Covid vaccines, regulator says

There is no evidence that drinking alcohol after a Covid-19 vaccine interferes with how it works, a UK regulator has said.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was responding to social media reports that people should abstain from drinking for up to two weeks after a vaccine.

In January, advisers to the alcohol education charity Drinkaware, which is funded by the alcohol industry, said there was some evidence that drinking, especially regular heavy drinking, could interfere with the body’s ability to build immunity in response to some vaccines.

But there is nothing in the patient information leaflets from the NHS or the vaccine manufacturers to suggest such a link.

1620127874

No evidence drinking alcohol interferes with Covid vaccines, regulator says

There is no evidence that drinking alcohol after a Covid-19 vaccine interferes with how it works, a UK regulator has said.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was responding to social media reports that people should abstain from drinking for up to two weeks after a vaccine.

In January, advisers to the alcohol education charity Drinkaware, which is funded by the alcohol industry, said there was some evidence that drinking, especially regular heavy drinking, could interfere with the body’s ability to build immunity in response to some vaccines.

But there is nothing in the patient information leaflets from the NHS or the vaccine manufacturers to suggest such a link.

1620127035

Foreign Office reveals low-risk holiday locations ahead of green list release

The green list for foreign holiday destinations is not expected to be published until later this week, but Government travel advice gives an indication of what destinations could be on it.

Tourists visiting a number of popular summer hotspots do not face a level of risk for coronavirus that is “unacceptably high”, according to the latest updates from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The FCDO is not advising against non-essential travel to Portugal (excluding the Azores), Spain’s Canary Islands or the Greek islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zante, Corfu and Crete.

The ban on foreign holidays is expected to be lifted for people in England from May 17 as part of the next easing of coronavirus restrictions.

1620125948

Pilot raises funds to buy and ship 30 oxygen concentrators to India

A pilot moved by the distressing scenes caused by Covid-19 in India has raised money to buy 30 oxygen concentrators, which he hopes to fly to the stricken country himself.

Chris Hall, who is a captain for Virgin Atlantic, grew up in Delhi and has been horrified by the latest surge of coronavirus in India, where new cases are rising by record amounts and there is a shortage of both hospital beds and medical oxygen.

“Every now and again something rattles your cage just a little bit,” Mr Hall, 59, told the PA news agency.

“In the story of this pandemic what we’re seeing in India is probably the thing we all feared, all governments feared – a wave, a surge that no health system could cope with, and ordinary people at the very moment they get it (Covid) unable to get any help from their health system.”

1620124320

Number of secondary school pupils and staff with Covid-19 drops, survey suggests

Fewer secondary school pupils and staff in England tested positive for Covid-19 shortly after schools fully reopened following the third national lockdown compared to the autumn term, figures suggest.

Around 0.33% of pupils and 0.32% of staff in secondary schools tested positive for Covid-19 from mid to late March, compared with 1.22% and 1.64% respectively in December, according to a small study of schools.

The survey from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also suggests that the percentage of secondary school pupils and staff testing positive for Covid-19 is significantly lower than in November when 1.42% of pupils and 1.36% of staff tested positive for current infection.

1620122589

Most people still following self-isolation rules, despite impact on wellbeing

A majority of people who test positive for Covid-19 are continuing to follow the rules for self-isolating, a new survey has suggested.

Some 84% of respondents said they fully adhered to the self-isolation requirements for the entire 10-day period after testing positive for coronavirus.

Just 15% of people reported at least one activity during self-isolation that broke the rules, such as leaving home or having visitors for a reason not permitted under legislation.

The figures have been compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) based on responses collected from adults in England between April 12 and 16.

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