Covid UK news live: Latest updates as military drafted to help ambulance services

UK Covid-19 vaccinations: Latest figures

The UK’s weekly coronavirus death toll is at its highest level since late March, Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows.

A total of 527 deaths in England and Wales in the first week of August mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, up by 30 per cent from the previous week.

This means that 156,307 death certificates in the UK have included coronavirus as a cause of death.

Meanwhile the military has been drafted to help ambulance services across the country, which are currently busier than at any other time in NHS history.

Busy A&E departments and staff shortages have made it difficult for paramedics to unload patients at hospitals in a timely manner, and military personnel have been assisting services in the north east, the south west and the east of England.

The military assistance comes as ambulance data shows that July was the busiest month on record for emergency 999 calls.


That’s the end of our coronavirus blog for today.

Thanks for reading The Independent’s live coverage, and see you again soon.

Rory Sullivan17 August 2021 14:20


Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live blog on the coronavirus pandemic for Tuesday 17 August 2021.

Maroosha Muzaffar17 August 2021 05:05


Japan to expand ‘state of emergency’ to curb rising Covid infections

Amid a rise in Covid-19 numbers, Japan has announced the expansion of its state of emergency to seven new regions across the country.

The announcement came just a week before the Paralympic Games.

The state of emergency is currently in place in Tokyo and five other regions and was supposed to end on 31 August.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, the coronavirus response minister said that the government will “expand the measure to additional areas, with the restrictions in all parts of the country” until 12 September.

He said: “(Infection) is spreading across Japan on a scale we have never experienced before. The number of patients in serious condition is rising each day.”

Maroosha Muzaffar17 August 2021 06:00


US eases travel advisory for India after Covid situation improves

The United States eased its travel advisory for India on Monday as a result of decreasing Covid numbers across the South Asian country.

The US lowered India to Level 2 — moderate — which means that it is now “safe” to travel to India.

During the deadly second wave, the US had put India in Level 4 and had asked its citizens not to travel to the country.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has now issued a ‘Level 2 Travel Health Notice’ for India due to Covid-19, indicating a moderate level of infection in the country.

However, the US department of state has urged residents not to travel to Jammu and Kashmir given the unrest.

Maroosha Muzaffar17 August 2021 06:07


India vaccination numbers surpass 550 million mark

The Indian government announced on Monday that the cumulative Covid-19 vaccine doses administered across the country has surpassed the 550 million mark.

The data from the health ministry reveals that India took 85 days to touch the figure of 100 million. And then 45 days to cross the 200 million mark. And then 29 days more to reach 300 million.

Reports said that India surpassed the 540 million mark on 14 August.

In India, the vaccination drive was rolled out on 16 January across the country.

In a tweet on Monday, Union Health Minister Mansukh MandaviyaIn said: “In record-breaking progress, India administers 55 crores [550 million] #COVID19 vaccines. Let’s strengthen India’s fight against Coronavirus. Let’s get vaccinated.”

Maroosha Muzaffar17 August 2021 06:22


Pfizer-BioNTech submit initial data for Covid-19 vaccine booster authorisation

The third dose of Covid-19 vaccines has “significantly higher neutralising antibodies against the initial SARS-CoV-2 virus as compared to the two doses as well as against the Beta and the highly infectious Delta variants,” Pfizer-BioNTech has said.

Pfizer and BioNTech have submitted initial data from an early-stage trial toward seeking authorisation of a booster dose of their Covid-19 vaccine to US regulators, the companies said.

All the patients in the trial received the third shot eight to nine months after their second dose, the drugmakers said, adding that the booster dose was significantly more effective even against the highly contagious Delta variant.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has called for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September this year.

Last week, US regulators authorised a third vaccine dose by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for people with compromised immune systems who are likely to have weaker protection from two-dose regimens.

Maroosha Muzaffar17 August 2021 06:38


Over 5,000 students quarantine because of Covid-19 in the Florida school district

Over 5,000 students and hundreds of employees in a single Florida school district have tested positive for Covid-19 or may have been exposed to it, school officials said on Monday.

The Hillsborough County Public Schools said in a statement that 5,599 students and 316 staff members are in isolation or quarantine.

“Isolation refers to individuals who have tested positive for Covid-19, while quarantine refers to those who have had close contact with a positive case,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Florida also broke its record for daily Covid cases this month.

Local reports said the school district called for an emergency board meeting last week to discuss measures to curb the infections.

The school district is the seventh-largest in the country and serves over 200,000 students in more than 200 schools.

Maroosha Muzaffar17 August 2021 06:53


Good morning from London, and welcome back to The Independent’s live coronavirus coverage.

Rory Sullivan17 August 2021 07:40


NHS app error could have forced thousands to self-isolate unnecessarily, whistleblower reveals

The NHS app has been pinging those who had close contact with an infected person five days before they started to display symptoms, despite government guidance recommending that two days should be the maximum.

As a result, thousands of people may have self-isolated unnecessarily.

Hitting out at the error, Justin Madder called the situation “shambolic” and ministers “hapless”. “The Covid app has been one mess after another and a lack of clear information and guidance around the app only undermines its effectiveness,” he said.

Rory Sullivan17 August 2021 07:44


Thousands of workers added to UK payroll

More than 180,000 extra UK workers were added to the payroll between June and July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.

However, the overall number of employed people was still 201,000 lower than before the pandemic, it added.

Responding to the figures, Jonathan Athow, a statistician at the ONS, said: “The number of people on payroll was up again strongly and has now grown over half a million in the past three months, regaining about four-fifths of the fall seen at the start of the pandemic.”

Rory Sullivan17 August 2021 08:00

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