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Covid news - live: New drugs that ‘significantly’ reduce risk of death rolled out as daily UK fatalities pass 1,000 again

Follow the latest updates on the pandemic

Samuel Osborne,Kate Ng,Jane Dalton,Vincent Wood
Thursday 07 January 2021 23:50 GMT
All care home residents to be vaccinated by end of the month, Johnson says

 Almost 1.5 million people have now been vaccinated against Covid-19 and everyone in care homes should receive a jab by the end of January, Boris Johnson says.

But  GPs are warning of problems in some areas getting supplies as surgeries began rolling out the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, beginning the largest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS.

A further 1,162 deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours, the second-highest daily increase since the start of the outbreak. And coronavirus cases in England rose by almost a quarter over Christmas according to the latest Test and Trace data.

NHS hospitals across the country have been told to start vaccinating frontline health and care workers immediately, and seven mass vaccination centres will open next week, in London, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Surrey and Stevenage.

But an official briefing has warned hospitals in London are on the verge of being overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases even under the “best case” scenario, leaving the capital short of nearly 2,000 general and acute and intensive care beds by 19 January.

Meanwhile critically ill Covid-19 patients admitted to intensive care units across the UK will be able to receive new drugs that can "significantly" reduce the risk of death as well as time spent in hospital by up to 10 days.

NHS patients will have access to tocilizumab and sarilumab - which are typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis - under updated guidance due to be issued tomorrow by the Government and the NHS to Trusts across the UK.


That’s all from us - make sure to check back tomorrow morning for all the latest news

Vincent Wood7 January 2021 23:50

National Express suspend coach services over lockdown

National Express is to suspend its network of coach services due to tighter coronavirus restrictions and falling passengers numbers.

The firm said that all of its coach services will be temporarily suspended from 11.59pm on Sunday and all journeys before Monday will be completed to ensure passengers are not stranded.

All customers whose travel has been cancelled will be contacted and offered a free amendment or full refund, it added.

Vincent Wood7 January 2021 23:45

London landmarks lit up for NHS

Iconic landmarks in London lit up blue in a renewed gesture of thanks to the NHS and frontline workers.

Well-known buildings and sporting and entertainment venues across the capital illuminated in blue on Thursday evening to celebrate the hundreds of workers who have put their lives on the line during the pandemic to help others.

Trafalgar Square, Wembley Arch and the London Eye along the South Bank were among several landmarks that joined the £LightItBlue campaign which began last year.

Blue lights beamed from the spires of The Shard, as well as the globe atop Madame Tussauds.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "It is a very challenging time for our city and nation, and we owe a great debt to our NHS and key workers who are working so incredibly hard to serve our city.

"By lighting up buildings in blue in their honour, our capital is again standing together to thank them for their tremendous efforts.

"These workers deserve our praise and our thanks, and I urge Londoners to continue following the lockdown rules so they can play their part in supporting the NHS and save lives."

Vincent Wood7 January 2021 23:16

Clap for heroes founder stays in as applause appears to settle

The return of weekly clapping for the "heroes" of the pandemic appeared subdued on Thursday, with the founder opting out too.

Annemarie Plas, who came up with the weekly ritual that ran for 10 weeks during the first lockdown, did not participate in the Clap for Heroes event, having distanced herself from the relaunch after being targeted on social media with "hateful" abuse.

Social media and streets up and down the UK were noticeably less noisy, despite the efforts of some who braved the chilly evening weather to bang pots and clap their hands.

Event founder Ms Plas, a 36-year-old mother-of-one, said that she had opted to distance herself from the planned applause and "will no longer seek to raise further awareness of it".

In a statement, released on the Clap for Heroes Twitter page, she said: "Since announcing the return of the applause yesterday, I have been targeted with personal abuse and threats against myself and my family by a hateful few on social media channels.

"Irrespective of their views and reasons for believing this is an acceptable way to behave, I did not set out to make a political statement and will not put my loved ones at risk.

"I have no political agenda, I am not employed by the Government, I do not work in PR, I am just an average mum at home trying to cope with the lockdown situation."

Vincent Wood7 January 2021 22:49

Testing for hauliers to continue

Current testing requirements for hauliers, in which drivers wishing to enter France from Britain must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken in the previous 72 hours, will continue, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

Following discussions on Thursday, the DfT said the French Government made the decision to keep current measures in place until further notice.

The DfT said arrangements would be reviewed regularly after French authorities closed the border to the UK last month and subsequently reopened it to hauliers on the condition of a negative Covid-19 test on December 23.

Vincent Wood7 January 2021 22:31

Clapping is not enough, says Starmer

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he participated in clapping for carers on Thursday, but that "clapping isn't enough".

Vincent Wood7 January 2021 21:57

New drugs offer ‘significant’ risk reduction for terminally ill

Critically ill Covid-19 patients admitted to intensive care units across the UK will be able to receive new drugs that can "significantly" reduce the risk of death as well as time spent in hospital by up to 10 days.

NHS patients will have access to tocilizumab and sarilumab - which are typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis - under updated guidance due to be issued tomorrow by the Government and the NHS to Trusts across the UK.

It comes after results from the Government-funded REMAP-CAP clinical trial showed that both drugs reduced the absolute risk of mortality by 8.5 percentage points when administered to patients within a day of entering intensive care alongside a corticosteroid, such as dexamethasone.

Professor Anthony Gordon, chair in anaesthesia and critical care at Imperial College London and a consultant in intensive care medicine at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "This is a significant finding which could have immediate implications for the sickest patients with Covid-19.

"We found that among critically ill adult patients - those receiving breathing support in intensive care - treatment with these drugs can improve their chances of survival and recovery.

"At a time when hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 are soaring in the UK, it's crucial we continue to identify effective treatments which can help to turn the tide against this disease."

Vincent Wood7 January 2021 21:35

Hospital pressure will stay high even after jab rollout, says Hancock

The health secretary has warned that hospitals are expected to continue facing high numbers of coronavirus cases even after the vaccination of large numbers of elderly people.

Matt Hancock said vaccines and testing would be needed next year as it was still uncertain how long immunity lasted with the jabs.

"We will need both the surveillance testing to be able to understand where the virus is and we will need testing for people who have symptoms, in the same way that you get tested for all sorts of other things," he told the Health and Social Care Committee.

He added: "I anticipate we will probably need to revaccinate because we don't know the longevity of the protection from these vaccines. We don't know how frequently it will be, but it might need to be every six months, it might need to be every year." Andrew Woodcock reports:

Jane Dalton7 January 2021 20:55

Watchdog chief calls for honesty over effect of pandemic on patient care

The chief inspector of hospitals has called for honesty about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on patients, warning poor care could become normalised.

Ted Baker told Shaun Lintern NHS staff must report incidents and be free to speak up about any concerns, as well as being transparent with families where things have gone wrong:

Watchdog chief calls for honesty over pandemic impact on patient care

'We need to acknowledge that the pandemic continues to affect quality of care,’ Ted Baker says

Jane Dalton7 January 2021 20:40

Record daily deaths in US

The US registered its highest daily death toll yet from the virus on the day the mob attack on the Capitol laid bare some of the political divisions that have hampered the battle against the pandemic.

Around 4,000 people died in a single day, according to a Reuters tally.

More than 132,050 people were taken to hospital, a record for the fourth day in a row, analysis of public health data showed.

VIRUS TODAY: Record US deaths come on day of Capitol attack

The U.S. registered its highest deaths yet from the coronavirus on the very day the mob attack on the Capitol laid bare some of the same, deep political divisions that have hampered the battle against the pandemic

Jane Dalton7 January 2021 20:29

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