Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Covid-19: Three-quarters of UK adults fully jabbed and relief at record A-level results

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Tuesday evening. We’ll have another update for you tomorrow morning.

1. More than 75% of UK adults are fully jabbed

The number of UK adults who have had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine has passed 75% of the population, just over eight months after the rollout began. Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed it as a “huge national achievement”, but Oxford Vaccine scientist Prof Sir Andrew Pollard warned that reaching herd immunity with the highly contagious Delta variant is “not a possibility”. He also criticised UK plans to give the most vulnerable groups a third jab as a booster, saying with so much of the world unvaccinated, doses needed to go “where they can have the greatest impact

2. A smoother run for pandemic’s second A-level results day

For students, the headline was that top grades in A-level results reached a record high of 44.8%, using teacher assessments after exams were cancelled. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will also have been celebrating the avoidance of the chaotic scenes and protests that followed last year’s algorithmically determined grades. Exam officials said their approach this year reflected an ideal world where no one had a bad day in an exam hall and everyone had multiple chances to do well. After students endured two years of unprecedented educational disruption, head teachers say the decision was the right one – although it means a crush for places at top universities.

3. NY to UK flights launch despite travel ban

UK travellers may still be banned from the US, but budget airline JetBlue says demand is strong enough from its North American customers to go ahead with the launch of its long-awaited New York to London service. The airline says it wants to have a “disruptive” effect on the market for transatlantic flights, although tickets in the days after Wednesday’s launch are only a fraction cheaper than competitors. JetBlue says return fares will be available for less than $600 (£433) for people who can book further ahead.

4. Travellers from France report mistaken quarantine checks

Days after travel rules were changed to allow fully vaccinated passengers from France to the UK to avoid quarantine, some people are reporting they have wrongly been subjected to self-isolation checks. David Tongs, a French resident staying in with his daughter in Southampton said he returned to her home to find an official outside who threatened him with a £500 fine. Alice Kirk travelled from France to West Sussex on Sunday after the rule change, and was visited a day later for a quarantine check. She was told the official had visited multiple people that day with the same issue.

5. Boy’s lockdown camping fundraiser reaches 500th night

An 11-year-old boy is getting ready to spend his 500th night camping outside as part of a fundraising challenge that began in lockdown. Max Woosey began raising money for the North Devon Hospice in March 2020 after hearing many charity events had been cancelled in the pandemic. He’s now raised £640,000. He chose camping in tribute to a neighbour, cared for in the hospice during his final days, who gave him a tent “to have an adventure in”. Max, who pitched his tent in Downing Street and met the prime minister in July, will spend tonight in a shelter he built in the woods with his parents and best friend.[SOURCE]


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