Coronavirus live news: Greece to end quarantine from some countries next week; France stops all flights from Brazil over variant fears
by Jedidajah Otte (now); Martin Belam and Helen Sullivan (earlier) on April 14, 2021 at 1:04 pm
Greece to end quarantine for EU and five other countries including the UK; French PM says P.1 variant is partly to blame for fuelling third wave in France; UK study to examine if vaccines can be safely mixed
UK study on mixing Covid vaccines between jabs to be expanded
- A tsunami of cases’: desperation as Covid second wave batters India
- Australia should make vaccine rollout ‘top priority’, Anthony Fauci says
A gold nose pin, eggs, a tax rebate: vaccine incentives around the world
- What four months as a vaccinator has taught me
The first study to directly compare immune reactions between Pfizer’s and AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccines found strong and broadly similar antibody responses in over 80-year-olds after a first dose of either shot, scientists said on Wednesday.
The UK study also found that a critical component of the immune system known as T cells showed a more enhanced response in those who got the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine than in those who got the Pfizer/BioNTech one.
The scientists behind the study, which analysed blood samples from 165 people in Britain aged between 80 and 99 who had been given a first Covid-19 vaccine dose, said that finding merited further investigation.
Armenia has reached a deal for 1 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, Russia’s state-run TASS news agency cited Armenian authorities as saying on Wednesday.
The Armenian health ministry approved the vaccine for domestic use on 1 February, Reuters reports.Continue reading...
- UK study on mixing Covid vaccines between jabs to be expanded
All Nato troops expected to leave Afghanistan before 11 September
by Dan Sabbagh Defence and security editor on April 14, 2021 at 1:03 pm
Alliance members unlikely to oppose US decision despite UK disquiet over possible Taliban takeover
All 7,000 Nato troops – including around 750 from the UK – are expected to leave Afghanistan alongside US forces before 11 September, ending two decades of military intervention in the country.
The withdrawal plans are now being discussed by Nato foreign and defence ministers at a virtual meeting a day after the US said it would pull out its remaining 2,500 troops on the orders of President Joe Biden.Continue reading...
Revealed: the huge British property empire of Sheikh Mohammed
by David Conn, Harry Davies and Sam Cutler on April 14, 2021 at 1:00 pm
Holdings of more than 40,000 hectares in London, Scotland and Newmarket make Dubai ruler one of UK’s biggest landowners
The controversial ruler of Dubai has acquired a land and property empire in Britain that appears to exceed 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres), making him one of the country’s largest landowners, according to a Guardian analysis.
The huge property portfolio apparently owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and his close family ranges from mansions, stables and training gallops across Newmarket, to white stucco houses in some of London’s most exclusive addresses and extensive moorland including the 25,000-hectare Inverinate estate in the Scottish Highlands.Continue reading...
Greensill: Keir Starmer says there is ‘open door’ between Boris Johnson’s government and lobbyists – live
by Rhi Storer (now) and Yohannes Lowe (earlier) on April 14, 2021 at 12:57 pm
Prime minister questioned on controversy over Greensill’s influence within government with links to David Cameron and a senior civil servant
- Civil servant advised Greensill while working in Whitehall, says watchdog
Greensill inquiry ‘is attempt to deflect blame from ministers’
Nigel Boardman: from GQ list to chairing Greensill lobbying inquiry
- Global coronavirus updates – live
William Wragg, the chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said that Labour’s motion to create a new committee “is not a no confidence vote in me”.
He said he has not spoken out during this week of mourning because: “I did not think it seemly” - nothing he does not think it was wise of David Cameron to have released his statement on Sunday.
Chloe Smith, the constitution minister, responded from home as she is receiving treatment for cancer.
She echoes Boris Johnson’s comments earlier saying: “We are concerned (that) some of what has emerged in recent weeks, most of what this complex motion proposes, is already being done.
“We are opposing the motion today because it seeks to duplicate the work that is already in the gift of Parliament and its committees and... work that is already being undertaken by the Government,” she added.Continue reading...
Irish-born DUP peer criticises rules for obtaining British passport
by Lisa O'Carroll Brexit correspondent on April 14, 2021 at 12:52 pm
Willie Hay accuses Home Office of discriminating against him and 40,000 other people born across border
A Democratic Unionist peer has said he has been forced to hold an Irish passport because of discrimination by the Home Office.
Willie Hay, Lord Hay of Ballyore, told MPs he would not submit to a Life in the UK citizenship test and neither should 40,000 other people like him who were born across the border but have lived their entire lives in Northern Ireland.Continue reading...
Will Covid vaccines protect us against new variants? | Julian Tang
by Julian Tang on April 14, 2021 at 12:52 pm
New strains such as the South African variant that’s emerged in south London will require constant vigilance as lockdown eases
All viruses mutate. They do this to adapt and survive better in their specific host. The virus that causes Covid-19 is no different: it has moved from the animal realm, where it most likely originated in bats, to the human world. Since then, scientists have been locked in a battle between the spread of the virus and the ability to immunise against it. We now have the vaccines to protect us against Covid-19 – but what happens when this virus mutates further, as it likely will?
As lockdown restrictions ease, south London has already seen a cluster of new cases related to the South African variant. Over the next six months, dealing with emerging variants will be one of the major challenges that scientists face. Some vaccines show promising signs of coping with new variants – the mRNA vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna seem to offer some protection against the variants first identified in Kent and South Africa. Most virologists think that Covid-19 vaccines will protect against severe disease and death, even in people who have been infected by a mutated strain of the virus.Continue reading...
Heath Streak handed eight-year ban for breaching ICC anti-corruption code
by Ali Martin on April 14, 2021 at 12:50 pm
- Former Zimbabwe captain banned for five breaches
- Streak ‘also sought to obstruct and delay investigation’
Heath Streak, the former Zimbabwe Test captain, has been banned from cricket for eight years after passing on betting information and introducing four players to a would-be corruptor in exchange for gifts that included US$35,000 in bitcoin.
The 47-year-old, who won 254 international caps and played county cricket for Warwickshire and Hampshire, accepted five charges under the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption code for offences that took place in 2017 and 2018.Continue reading...
Capitol attack: blistering internal report reveals widespread failures by police
by Associated Press on April 14, 2021 at 12:48 pm
Inspector general report describes old and faulty equipment, inadequate training and intelligence that had few set standards
A blistering internal report by the US Capitol police describes a multitude of missteps that left the force unprepared for the 6 January insurrection – riot shields that shattered upon impact, expired weapons that couldn’t be used, inadequate training and an intelligence division that had few set standards.Continue reading...