More than 900 people died with coronavirus on average every day in the UK in the first two weeks of 2021, figures show.
The last time the UK saw a 15-day period that was so deadly was in the last half of April 2020, and the number is likely to increase as more deaths are registered.
The earliest known death in the UK involving Covid-19 took place on January 30, 2020. One year on, the UK’s Covid-19 full death toll, including all mentions of coronavirus on death certificates, has passed 120,000.
The first wave saw 50,000 deaths reached on May 23, two months after the UK locked down for the first time.
It took a further six months for the UK Covid-19 death toll to pass 75,000 on November 26.
But it then took just six weeks for the death toll to pass 100,000 on January 7.
At least 13,876 people have died with Covid-19 up to January 15, the latest date for which Office for National Statistics data is available.
Follow the latest updates below.
Migrants set fire to Kent barracks after Covid outbreak
Channel migrants have set fire to their Kent barracks. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, called the fire an “appalling” incident which is “offensive to taxpayers”.
The asylum seekers set fire to one of the blocks at Napier Barracks, near Folkestone in Kent, in protest at their treatment after an outbreak of Covid-19 at the base.
In what one source described as a near riot, they initially barricaded staff into a room and blocked entrances before starting the fire, which led to eight fire engines being sent by Kent fire and rescue service.
WHO visit second Wuhan hospital in virus probe
Members of a World Health Organisation team investigating the origins of the pandemic visited another Wuhan hospital that had treated early Covid-19 patients on their second full day of work on Saturday.
Jinyantan Hospital was one of the city’s first to deal with patients in early 2020 suffering from a then-unknown virus and is a key part of the epidemiological history of the disease.
The team’s first face-to-face meetings with Chinese scientists took place on Friday, before the experts who specialise in animal health, virology, food safety and epidemiology visited another early site of the outbreak, the Hubei Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine Hospital.
Mexico plans to import AstraZeneca vaccine from India
Mexico plans to import about 870,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine from India in February, as well as producing it locally, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday.
Mexico and Argentina have a deal with AstraZeneca to produce its vaccine for distribution in Latin America, with financial support from the foundation of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.
“We are also getting AstraZeneca vaccines, apart from the agreement we have with them – these vaccines are being made here in Mexico – we will bring AstraZeneca from India,” Mr Lopez Obrador said in a video broadcast on social media.
Meanwhile, deliveries of Pfizer’s vaccine to Mexico would “very probably” resume on Feb 10, LMr opez Obrador said, after global delivery delays by the US company. Mexico was expecting about 1.5 million doses from Pfizer, he noted.
Australian Open allowing up to 30,000 fans a day
The Australian Open will be allowed to admit up to 30,000 fans a day, around 50 per cent of the usual attendance, when the Grand Slam gets underway on Feb 8, Victoria state sports minister Martin Pakula said on Saturday.
The limit will be reduced to 25,000 over the last five days of the tournament when there are fewer matches, but Mr Pakula said the announcement would ensure some of the biggest crowds for a sporting event since the beginning of the pandemic.
“It’ll mean that over the 14 days, we will have up to 390,000 people here at Melbourne Park and that’s about 50 per cent of the average over the last three years,” he said.c”It will not be the same as the last few years but it will be the most significant international event with crowds that the world has seen in many, many months.”
Colombia reaches vaccine agreements with Moderna and Sinovac Biotech
Colombia has reached agreements for doses of developed by Moderna and Sinovac Biotech and plans to begin a mass vaccination campaign on Feb 20, President Ivan Duque said on Friday.
The Andean country’s government aims have at least 1 million people vaccinated by the end of March, Mr Duque added. Colombia, a country of about 50 million people, hopes to vaccinate some 34 million people in a bid to achieve herd immunity.
Colombia previously announced agreements to secure 10 million doses each of vaccines developed by Pfizer and AstraZeneca, as well as 9 million doses of a vaccine developed by Janssen. It also has secured 20 million doses of vaccines via the COVAX mechanism backed by the World Health Organisation.
Canada tightens travel restrictions
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced stricter restrictions on travellers in response to new, likely more contagious variants – including making it mandatory for travellers to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense when they arrive in Canada and suspending airline service to Mexico and all Caribbean destinations until April 30.
Mr Trudeau said in addition to the pre-boarding test Canada already requires, the government will be introducing mandatory PCR testing at the airport for people returning to Canada.
“Travellers will then have to wait for up to three days at an approved hotel for their test results, at their own expense, which is expected to be more than $2,000,” Mr Trudeau said. “Those with negative test results will then be able to quarantine at home under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement.”
He said the measure will be take effect “in the coming weeks”.
Pfizer resuming vaccine shipments to Panama
Pfizer has informed Panama that shipments of its Covid-19 vaccine will resume to the Central American country the week of Feb 15, the Panamanian foreign minister said on Friday.
Pfizer will deliver 450,000 doses in the first quarter of the year, said Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes.
Panama’s first batch of Pfizer vaccines on Jan 20 was fewer than expected due to global delays by the company.
Vietnam approves AstraZeneca vaccine
Vietnam’s health ministry approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for domestic inoculation, the first coronavirus vaccine to be approved in the country, the government said on Saturday as it battles its biggest outbreak yet.
Vietnam reported 34 new infections early on Saturday in its latest coronavirus outbreak, and seeks to accelerate procurement of vaccines.
Of the new cases, 32 were detected in Hai Duong province, the epicentre, and two in neighbouring Quang Ninh province, the Ministry of Health said in a statement. It added that the country has recorded more than 1,700 cases since the disease was detected a year ago, including 873 locally transmitted infections.
Previously, Vietnam said it was in talks to procure 30 million doses of vaccine made by AstraZeneca. Late on Friday, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Vietnam must have a vaccine within the first quarter.