Russian President Vladimir Putin has been revaccinated against Covid, Russian news agencies reported Sunday.
“Today, on your recommendation and that of your colleagues, I got another vaccination, Sputnik Light. This is called revaccination,” Putin said at a meeting with the deputy director of the Gamaleya Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology.
The Russian president said in June he’d been inolculated with the Sputnik V vaccine.
Here’s that UK Covid case data visualised. As you can see, new daily infections have been above 30,000 for the last few months. Today’s figure jumped above 40,000 again, as on Thursday and Friday.
UK reports 40,004 new cases and 61 new deaths
The UK has reported another 40,004 cases, which is 937 fewer than Saturday’s figure, but 3,487 more than last Sunday’s figure.
A further 61 deaths were also recorded.
Here’s a summary of the main developments today:
- Riot police in Brussels clashed with people protesting on Sunday at new Covid restrictions in Belgium. Police fired water cannon and tear gas in response to a group of participants throwing projectiles. At least 35,000 took part in the demonstration against a ban on unvaccinated people from restaurants and other venues.
- Five police officers were injured and at least 40 people were arrested in anti-lockdown protests in the Netherlands on Saturday. The worst violence occurred in the Hague on Saturday night following what the mayor of Rotterdam described as a “orgy of violence” in the country’s second city on Friday night.
- The French government has warned that Covid is spreading at “lighting speed”. The seven-day average of new cases in France reached 17,153 on Saturday, an increase of 81%.
- The health secretary Sajid Javid has warned that racial bias in medical devices, such as oximeters, may have caused unnecessary deaths from Covid. The issue will be investigated as part of a review Javid ordered into systemic racism and bias in medical devices, procedures and textbooks.
- Javid has ruled out introducing mandatory Covid vaccination in the UK, as the government in Austria has imposed. He told the BBC: “We are fortunate in this country, although we have vaccine hesitancy, it’s a lot lower than other countries in Europe. It should be a positive choice”. Javid also said booster jabs could be extended to all adults.
- Bayern Munich have fined and quarantined five players including the German international midfielder Joshua Kimmich. Bayern bosses summoned Kimmich and four other unvaccinated teammates to inform them of a pay cut when they are in isolation because they have not taken the jab.
- From Monday, people aged 40-49 in England will be able to book a Covid jab, the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed. Sixteen and 17-year-olds will also be able to book in for their second jab.
- Russia has reported a 1,252 deaths from Covid – following a record 1,254 deaths on Saturday. Russia also reported 36,970 new cases compared to 37,120 on Saturday.
Bloomberg has footage of the clashes in Brussels between police and those protesting at new Covid restrictions in Belgium.
Protest in Brussels turns violent
Violence broke out at a protest against anti-covid measures in Brussels on Sunday, where police said tens of thousands of people were participating, AFP reports.
The march began peacefully but police later fired water cannon and tear gas in response to a group of participants throwing projectiles.
Several of the demonstrators caught up in the clash wore hoods and carried Flemish nationalist flags.
The stand-off with riot police took place near the Belgian capital’s EU and government district.
Police said 35,000 protesters marched from the North Station in Brussels against a fresh round of Covid measures announced by the government on Wednesday.
The demonstration, called “Together for Freedom”, largely focused on a ban on the unvaccinated from venues such as restaurants and bars.
Europe is battling another wave of infections and several countries have tightened curbs despite high levels of vaccination, especially in the west of the continent.
Belgium, one of the countries hit the hardest by the latest wave, on Wednesday expanded its work-from-home rules and strengthened curbs against the unvaccinated.
Northern Ireland has reported another 1,406 new cases and seven more deaths from Covid.
Scotland reported no more deaths and an increase of 2,677 cases.
And Wales has reported 2,408 and seven new deaths.
Jon Henley has a roundup of the latest on the anti-lockdown unrest in Europe:
Five police officers have been injured and at least 40 people arrested in a second night of violence in the Netherlands, as tougher Covid-19 restrictions to curb the resurgent pandemic led to angry protests in several European countries.
Dutch authorities on Saturday deployed water canon, dogs and mounted police to dispel crowds of rioting youths who lit fires and lobbed fireworks in The Hague and elsewhere, after more than 50 people were arrested in Rotterdam on Friday.
There were also demonstrations in Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Croatia and the French overseas territory of Guadeloupe as governments in multiple EU countries battle a fourth wave of the pandemic, imposing partial lockdowns and tighter restrictions particularly on the unvaccinated.
Read the full story here:
Bayern Munich’s troubles over players unvaccinated against the coronavirus have deepened after four more unimmunised players joining Joshua Kimmich in quarantine, AFP reports.
Hours after reports emerged that the club was docking the pay of unvaccinated players put in quarantine, Bayern said Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Michael Cuisance also had to be isolated over contact with an individual who tested positive.
All besides Cuisance had only just completed a first round of house isolation on Tuesday as they had contact with Bayern team-mate Niklas Suele, who tested positive last week.
The latest quarantine order risks inflaming an already heated debate over whether sports personalities should be required to take the jab as Germany ails under a vicious fourth wave.
Kimmich, 26, had drawn sharp criticism since revealing he opted not to be vaccinated due to “personal concerns”.
Bayern bosses reportedly summoned him and his four unvaccinated teammates on Thursday to inform them of the pay cut when they are in isolation because they have not taken the jab, Bild said Sunday, quoting unnamed sources from the team.
The shadow justice minister, Alex Cunningham, is the latest MP to announce he has tested positive for coronavirus.
South Korea has reported more 3,000 new coronavirus cases for the fifth day in row amid doubts about the wisdom of lifting restrictions, Yonhap news agency reports.
It also announced 30 more deaths from Covid, bringing the death toll to 3,274
Daily cases have not shown signs of slowing down in recent weeks, as the country began easing virus curbs on 1 November in the first of the three-phase “living with Covid-19” scheme for a gradual return to normalcy.
Under the first phase, people are allowed to gather in groups of up to 10, regardless of vaccinations. Operation hour curfews for businesses, like restaurants, cafes and movie theaters, are fully lifted, except for adult entertainment facilities, such as clubs and bars.
Boosters could be extended to all adults
Booster jabs could be extended to all adults, the health secretary has suggested, as he urged 40-49-year-olds to come forward for their third dose of Covid vaccine from Monday.
The independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has been asked to keep under review the timings and options for “revaccination” of adults.
It has already recommended that over-50s be given a third dose, and from Monday they will be joined by 40-49-year-olds, but Sajid Javid said he was awaiting advice on whether younger adults should also be included.
“If it makes sense to go further, we will. The latest data shows that the boosters are immensely effective,” he told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, stressing he would follow JCVI advice.
Read the full story here:
Scientists are hopeful that the booster jabs rollout and immunity from the summertime spread of the more transmissible Delta coronavirus variant should help the UK escape the surge in infections seen in parts of Europe, PA reports.
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, one of those behind the creation of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, said it is “unlikely” the UK will see a rise similar to parts of Europe.
He told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “We’ve actually had some spread (of the virus) going on since the summer, and so I think it’s unlikely that we’re going to see the very sharp rise in the next few months that’s just been seen. We’re already ahead of that with this particular virus, the Delta variant.”
Professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, Linda Bauld, said while the picture remains “uncertain”, there are a number of factors which could help the UK avoid the situation seen in other countries.
She told Sky’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme: “We dealt with our Delta wave in the summer and early autumn. We’re still in it of course but not those big rises.
“And then the other features are around, unfortunately, because we’ve had high infections in the past, we’ve probably a bit more natural immunity in the population – as in immunity post-infection, particularly for younger groups who’ve not been eligible for vaccines.”
The vaccine rollouts are also slightly different in that the dosing gap between first and second doses in many of the European countries was smaller than in the UK, she said.
“So they’re certainly seeing waning now and they’ve also got, in some parts of the population, some pockets of hesitancy, which are causing real concern, so we may not be the same, but you know, it’s very uncertain.”
But she added there is an element of “grave concern actually in trying to determine whether there are differences in the situation in Europe, or whether it’s just a matter of time until this faces us here”.
Sir Andrew said reaching the point where the virus no longer spreads is “not going to be a thing”, saying the Covid-19 will be around “for decades”, but he added that vaccines are successfully slowing it down.
He said coronavirus remains “a major global public health problem”, but that in the UK “the balance is shifting because of the vaccine programme that has been in place”.
Sir Andrew said that, taking into account last year as to how the pandemic could unfold, vaccines might have prevented about 300,000 deaths in the UK.
There is already “quite a lot of immunity building” in younger age groups, he said, when asked about reports of plans to jab five-year-olds, while Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the current focus is the booster rollout and second jabs for 16 and 17-year-olds.
Professor Bauld said taking up booster offers and continuing to demonstrate cautious behaviour will help avoid winter being a “disaster” and a repeat of last Christmas.
France: Covid increasing at ‘lightning speed’
Fifth-wave coronavirus infections in France are rising at an alarming rate, the government reported Sunday, with new daily Covid cases close to doubling over the past week, AFP reports.
The seven-day average of new cases reached 17,153 on Saturday, up from 9,458 a week earlier, according to the health authorities, an increase of 81%.
“The fifth wave is starting at lightning speed,” government spokesman Gabrial Attal told media.
The latest seven-day increase is three times the average rise of cases recorded over the previous three weeks, indicating an exponential acceleration of infections.
For now the spike in infections has not led to a massive influx of Covid patients into hospitals, with the authorities attributing the limited number of intensive care patients to France’s high rate of vaccinations which appear highly effective against the most dangerous forms of Covid.
On Saturday, hospitals reported a total of 7,974 Covid patients in their care, with 1,333 of them in intensive treatment.
This compares to 6,500 and 1,000, respectively, a month earlier.
“There is a very strong increase in infections, but we also know that in France we have a very large vaccination cover,” he said. “We seem to be ahead of our neighbours concerning booster shots.”
France’s introduction of a health pass ahead of other countries in the summer was also helping to keep Covid in check, he said.
The health pass, required in French restaurants, cafes and many cultural venues, certifies that a person is fully vaccinated, has recently recovered from Covid, or has tested negative for the virus.
The government continues to stand by its choice to “bring the weight of restrictions to bear on non-vaccinated people rather than vaccinated people”, Attal said.