Coronavirus in Sheffield LIVE: Weekly UK deaths surpass 1,000 for first time since JUNE

Welcome to the Star’s live blog for Tuesday, November 10.

Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 9:58 am
Matt Hancock said his “central expectation” is that the mass roll-out of a coronavirus vaccine would take place in the first part of 2021 (Photo by Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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Coronavirus in Sheffield LIVE: Normality could resume ‘by Easter’ as long as vaccine distribution ‘not screwed up’ says top scientist

Last updated: Tuesday, 10 November, 2020, 14:53

  • Matt Hancock said “central expectation” is that the mass roll-out of a coronavirus vaccine would take place in the first part of 2021
  • Top scientist says normality could ‘resume by Easter’ if vaccination distribution is successful
  • Weekly registered UK deaths involving coronavirus surpasses 1,000 for the first time since June
  • Five more Covid-19 patients die in Sheffield along with six in Rotherham and three in Barnsley

2.45pm: A further 300 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 34,963, NHS England said on Tuesday. Patients were aged between 35 and 100. All except eight, aged between 66 and 99, had known underlying health conditions. The deaths were between September 28 and November 9. Seven other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

2.22pm: Conservative former minister Chris Grayling urged the Government to prioritise airport testing. Mr Grayling said “economically, it is vital to us”, adding: “Can I urge (Mr Hancock) to make sure those 15-minute tests are made available to the aviation sector at the earliest opportunity?” Matt Hancock replied: “Yes, the expansion of testing capacity obviously opens up the number of different uses that it can be put to. And we’re working very closely with the aviation industry. The Transport Secretary is leading those discussions but I am heavily involved in them and I hope that we can make some progress soon.”

2.20pm: Matt Hancock would not disclose when he believes a successful vaccine would be available for everyone in the UK. Labour’s Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn) asked when a successful vaccine would be available for the UK and if there will be “Government restrictions between those who have been vaccinated and those who haven’t been vaccinated”. Mr Hancock replied: “(Ms Siddiq) tempts me but I will resist the temptation. We do not know when this vaccine will be ready because I will not allow it to be rolled out before it is clinically safe – and anyway, the independent regulator would not license it before it is clinically safe.” He added: “The problem is that until we know the epidemic modifying effects of any vaccine – that is to say not just how much it protects an individual, but how much it stops transmission – then we won’t, until we can assess that and monitor that, that is the point at which we can make further judgments about the non-pharmaceutical interventions, the social distancing rules that we have in place. So we will keep that under review and monitor it extremely carefully.”

2.14pm: Vaccinations for care home residents and staff are the “top priority,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons. Conservative MP Duncan Baker (North Norfolk) asked for an “absolute reassurance” there will be enough vaccinations for all care home residents and staff. Responding, Mr Hancock said: “The top priority according to the clinical analysis for this vaccine is the residents of care homes and the staff who work to look after them so well. They are in the very first categorisation because they’re the most vulnerable to this disease.  Former Conservative cabinet minister Damian Green asked whether family members of care home residents could receive Covid tests to help them be reunited with loved ones. Mr Hancock said the Government was working to tackle this “conundrum,” adding: “We need to keep people in care homes safe but at the same time of course we want to allow as much visiting as can be safe.”

1.45pm: Matt Hancock said that NHS workers will rise to the challenge of being ready to “inject hope into millions of arms this winter”.

He told MPs: “I can tell the House that last night we wrote to GPs setting out £150 million of immediate support and setting out what we need of them, working alongside hospitals and pharmacies in preparing for deployment.

“The deployment of the vaccine will involve working long days and weekends, and it comes on top of all the NHS has already done for us this year, and I want to thank in advance my NHS colleagues for the work that this will entail.

“I know that they will rise to this challenge of being ready when the science comes good to inject hope into millions of arms this winter.”

He added: “The course of human history is marked by advances where our collective ingenuity helps us vanquish the most deadly threats. Coronavirus is a disease that strikes at what it is to be human, at the social bonds that unite us.

“So, we must come together as one to defeat this latest threat to humanity. There are many hard days ahead, many hurdles to overcome, but our plan is working and I’m more sure than ever that we will prevail together.”

1.41pm: The UK Government acted “quickly and decisively” in introducing Covid travel restrictions with Denmark, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said. Giving a Covid update in the Commons, he said: “On Thursday evening last I was alerted to a significant development in Denmark of a new evidence that the virus had spread back from mink to humans in a variant form that did not fully respond to Covid-19 antibodies. Although the chance of this variant becoming widespread is low, the consequences should that happen would be grave, so working with the Home Secretary and the Transport Secretary, and all the devolved administrations, we removed the travel corridor for travel from Denmark in the early hours of Friday morning. “On Saturday and over the weekend following further clinical analysis, we introduced a full ban on all international travel from Denmark. British nationals or residents who are returning from Denmark whether directly or indirectly can still travel here but must fully self-isolate along with all other members of their household until two weeks since they were in Denmark. I know these are serious steps and I understand the consequences for people, but I think the whole House will understand why we had to act so quickly and decisively. Be in no doubt, we will do what needs to be done to protect this country.”

1.40pm: Matt Hancock said testing capacity is “the largest in Europe” and “twice-weekly” tests will now be rolled out to NHS workers. He told the Commons: “We have been driving forward testing capacity based on new technologies and old. Yesterday our PCR testing capacity stood at 517,957 – the largest capacity in Europe. “Over 10 million people in the UK have now been tested at least once through NHS Test and Trace and our NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app is now approaching 20 million downloads.” The Health Secretary said NHS staff will be tested twice a week for Covid-19. He added: “These tests allow us from today to begin rolling out twice-weekly testing for all NHS staff which will help keep people safe when they go into hospital and help keep my wonderful colleagues in the NHS safe too.”

1.29pm: The Welsh Government has said a coronavirus vaccine would be offered to people in high-risk groups as early as December if it passes final safety checks in time. A spokesman said: “Planning for the delivery of a potential Covid-19 vaccine in Wales is well under way. This includes organising the logistics for transporting the vaccine, identifying suitable venues for vaccinations to take place and ensuring that healthcare professionals are available and trained to administer the vaccines. There will be limited supplies of a vaccine at first, so it will be offered to those at highest risk. The vaccines need to pass final safety checks, but if this occurs we will begin to immunise in December alongside other UK nations. Health and social care workers, care home residents and staff have been prioritised to receive a vaccine first, with roll-out to older people in age bands from next year.”

1.18pm: A volunteer on the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid trial says he is proud to have played a “small but important” role in the development of a vaccine. Jack Sommers, a 35-year-old freelance journalist from south-west London, told PA: “In years to come we’ll always remember this, in decades we’ll remember this, in 50 years we’ll talk about the coronavirus lockdown – we might even still be living in its shadow, I think it will change things forever. “So when I’m asked ‘what did you do in coronavirus lockdown?’, I didn’t write a novel, I didn’t become an Olympian, but I did take part in a vaccine trial and that’s a story I’ve told many times in the last six months, and I imagine I’ll probably tell in some form or other for the rest of my life.” Mr Sommers has received two shots – one in May and a booster in September – of either the experimental Oxford vaccine or a placebo. He said he was “unconditionally happy” at Monday’s news that the Pfizer vaccine is displaying more than 90 per cent effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 infection, but that he was still awaiting data from the Oxford trial with anticipation. He said: “It’s been talked up a lot and it sounds promising and it sounds like it will reach fundamentally the same conclusion, which is that two doses of the Oxford vaccine does give lasting immunity.”

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