The UK’s leading scientists have warned the country will see a new wave of infections this month.
Speaking during a briefing by the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), Professor Christina Pagel said: “The new wave is now starting.”
She added: “We will have a new wave of infections this month. Now hopefully it won’t be as high as the previous two waves and might be lower. But we can’t count on that and either way we are going to see more people becoming infected.”
It comes as Covid-19 infections in the UK have risen for the first time in two months, new data has revealed.
The jump is likely caused by increases in cases compatible with the original Omicron variant BA.1 and the newer variants BA.4 and BA.5, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
A total of 989,800 people in private households are estimated to have had the virus last week, up from 953,900 the previous week.
Canada to scrap random Covid testing at airports for June
Canada is to suspend random Covid-19 testing at all its airports from tomorrow until the end of June.
The move would be to ease the long wait times that travellers have encountered in recent weeks, a government source said.
The random testing will be discontinued from Saturday, and then it will resume on 1 July – but “off-site”, the source said.
Earlier, the US said it will scrap this weekend its requirement for international arrivals by air to take a Covid-19 test on the day of departure or the previous day.
Russia's official toll of COVID-related deaths stands at 812k
Russia has registered a total of 812,127 COVID-related deaths since the start of the pandemic in April 2020, Reuters calculations based on new data from the Rosstat state statistics service showed on Friday.
Rosstat said 11,583 people had died of COVID-19 or related causes in April, down from 35,887 in March.
Russia recorded more than 986,000 excess deaths between April 2020 and April 2022, compared to the average mortality in 2015-2019.
This number decreased in April, because about 7,000 fewer people than average died in that month.
Some epidemiologists say that calculating excess deaths is the best way to assess the true impact of a pandemic.
IATA airline group welcomes US scrapping negative test rule
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has welcomed US president Joe Biden’s move to scrap requirements for tourists to test negative for Covid.
The body, representing 290 airlines, said: “Now it's time to eliminate remaining COVID travel restrictions.”
Manic Street Preachers cancel Peterborough gig due to Covid
Rock band Manic Street Preachers have postponed their gig this weekend in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, after lead singer James Dean Bradfield tested positive for Covid.
The Welsh band were scheduled to perform at the city’s Embankment venue on Sunday night.
Mark Harrison, from promoters LPH Concerts and Events, said in a statement: “I can confirm that as James Dean Bradfield has returned a positive test for Covid, he is unable to perform at the Embankment this Sunday and the event will no longer go ahead.
“We’re devastated with this outcome but have to prioritise the health and safety of our artists, staff and guests.”
Mr Harrison also confirmed that all ticket holders would be contacted in the next 48 hours, and the band hoped to reschedule "as soon as possible".
Manic Street Preachers’ next scheduled performance is at Latitude Festival, in Suffolk, on 24 July.
French sports minister tests positive for COVID-19
France’s recently appointed sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera has tested positive for Covid-19 and will self-isolate and work remotely for the time being, said the country’s sports ministry.
Ms Oudea-Castera has had a difficult start to her job, having come under criticism over how France handled last month’s Champions League soccer final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, which was marred by crowd disorder.
Reporting by Reuters
ICYMI: US scraps negative test rule for tourists
In case you missed it...
The US requirement for international arrivals by air to take a Covid-19 test on the day of departure or the previous day is to be scrapped this weekend.
Read the full story here by travel correspondent Simon Calder
Testing mandate will expire at 12.01am on 12 June
EU health agency says Covid jabs do not halt periods
The Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines do not cause an absence of menstruation, according to the EU’s health regulator.
The assessment by the European Medicines Agency’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) was prompted by reports of menstrual disorders that had been made by patients after they were inoculated.
These disorders include the absence of a period, which is defined as no bleeding for three months or more.
The EU’s health regulator said that menstrual disorders can occur for a number of reasons that aren’t related to vaccines, such underlying medical conditions, stress and fatigue.
Meanwhile, PRAC is still investigating cases of heavy menstrual bleeding with the two vaccines.
Reports of heavy periods – when bleeding and associated symptoms interfere with the quality of life – were highlighted as a potential concern after a study in Norway suggested an increase in cases of the phenomenon following vaccination.
But the PRAC said it had reviewed all available data on the possible risk, and that it had requested vaccine makers to provide an updated cumulative review of cases.
Shanghai and Beijing hit with new lockdowns and mass testing
China’s two major cities went into new lockdowns today with mass rounds of Covid-19 testing.
Beijing has imposed localised lockdowns – shutting down public places and transportation while announcing work-from-home orders.
Lockdown has been imposed for millions of people in five districts of Shanghai, with testing for the virus made mandatory for all residents of all 16 districts in the city.
It comes just over a week after previous strict Covid rules had been lifted.
Read the full story here by Shweta Sharma
‘We must unswervingly adhere to the general policy of dynamic clearing,’ Chinese president says
Thailand could allow visitors without Covid pre-registration
Thailand is considering ending a Covid pandemic scheme that requires international travellers to register before arriving in the country.
The requirement for travellers to sign up for a Thailand Pass could end as early as next month if such an agreement is made at a meeting on 17 June.
The system had required travellers to pre-register for their trip, upload vaccination information and provide proof of medical insurance that covers Covid-19 in order to allow them to visit the country without having to go into quarantine.
According to Bloomberg, Thai tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn told reporters this week that the new proposal to end Thailand Pass could aid the country’s economic recovery and that it has the support of the Thai health ministry.
He said: “Our country has been battered by this pandemic for so long. It’s time to make a full attempt to restore our economic growth with tourism. The removal of Thailand Pass will make it more convenient for tourists to come.”
Covid-19 infections rising in UK
Covid-19 infections in the UK are no longer falling, with some parts of the country showing early signs of a possible increase, figures show.
The rise is likely to have been caused by a jump in infections compatible with the original Omicron variant BA.1, along with the newer variants BA.4 and BA.5.
It comes as separate figures suggest the recent drop in the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 may also have come to a halt.
Read more here:
It is the first week-on-week jump in infections since the end of March.
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