More than 750,000 doses were handed out on Saturday. An official told the Daily Mail that “if all goes to plan” everyone in their 30s will have received a vaccine invite within the next three days, and those in their 20s soon after.
It comes as India crossed another grim milestone on Monday of more than 300,000 people lost to Covid as a devastating surge of infections appeared to be easing in big cities but was swamping the poorer countryside.
India’s death toll is the third-highest reported in the world, accounting for 8.6 per cent of the nearly 34.7 million coronavirus fatalities globally, though the true numbers are thought to be significantly greater.
Passengers arriving from a London flight walk through arrivals at Malaga airport
British holidaymakers have started to arrive in Spain today.
From today, the Spanish government added the UK to a list of countries whose residents do not need to quarantine or present a PCR test on arrival.
However, Spain remains on the British government’s “Amber List,” which requires travelers returning to the UK from Spain to quarantine for 10 days and take two Covid-19 tests.
Cineworld cheers ‘strong’ opening weekend as Britons return to big screens
Cineworld has hailed a “strong opening weekend” across the UK and said it expects a “good recovery” after months of pandemic closures.
The cinema chain said its first week since the UK reopening was buoyed by the success of Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, which drew in family audiences.
It added that the weekend performance “went beyond our expectations as customers were eager to return to the movies and enjoy the full movie experience”.
Last Monday, cinemas were given the go ahead to welcome customers again after more than four months of enforced closures due to the third coronavirus lockdown.
UK travellers made nearly 75% fewer trips abroad in 2020, figures show
People from the UK made nearly 75% fewer trips abroad in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, new data suggests.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), published on Monday, show that UK residents made an estimated 23.8 million visits overseas in 2020.
This was the lowest figure since 1985 and down 74% on 2019 when there were 93.1 million visits, the ONS said.
The data also showed that travellers from the UK spent an estimated £13.8 billion on trips abroad in 2020, 78% less than the previous year.
These falls were echoed in a similar drop in the estimated number of trips to the UK by overseas residents, to 11.1 million in 2020 – 73% fewer than in 2019.
Ukraine registers lowest daily cases since August
The number of new daily coronavirus infections in Ukraine decreased to 1,334 cases over the past 24 hours, the lowest level since August 2020, the health ministry data showed on Monday.
Ukraine, which has a population of 41 million, has been among the most affected European countries so far, with around 2.2 million cases and 49,436 deaths as of May 24.
The data showed Ukraine registered 68 deaths in the past day.
Pressure to accept China vaccines intensifies as Taiwan battles Covid surge
A surge in domestic Covid cases in Taiwan after months of relative safety is intensifying pressure on the government to accept vaccines from China, as the island has vaccinated just 1% of the population with no immediate sign of new shots arriving.
The Chinese-claimed island and Beijing have repeatedly sparred over the pandemic since it began.
Taipei accuses Beijing of spreading fake news and preventing its full participation at the World Health Organization, while Beijing says Taipei is playing political games with its people’s lives by refusing Chinese vaccines.
Taiwan has only received about 700,000 vaccine doses to date, all from AstraZeneca Plc, which are rapidly running out. It has millions more on order, including from Moderna.
Australia’s Victoria state investigates two likely positive cases
Australia’s second most populous state Victoria on Monday said it was investigating two suspected positive Covid cases in Melbourne, which if confirmed would be the first community transmissions in the state in nearly three months.
Victoria was the worst hit Australian state during a second wave late last year, accounting for about 70% of total cases and 90% of deaths. The state only controlled the outbreak after one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns.
Australia has avoided the high numbers seen in many developed countries by closing its international borders in the early stages of the pandemic, lockdowns and social restrictions. It has reported just over 30,000 cases and 910 deaths.
Mexico reports lowest daily coronavirus death toll in over a year
Mexico’s health ministry on Sunday registered 50 new confirmed deaths from Covid, the lowest daily increase reported from the pandemic in over a year, according to government data.
The rise, which brought the official death toll to 221,647, was the smallest since the final Sunday of April 2020, and it follows a steady decline in new daily infections in Mexico during recent weeks as a vaccine roll-out gathers pace.
Mexico has said the real number of coronavirus deaths and infections is likely considerably higher than the official tally. Separate government data has suggested the death toll could be at least 60% above the confirmed figure.
Trained dogs can sniff out coronavirus with up to 94% accuracy – study
Covid-19 infection has a distinct smell that can be detected by specially trained dogs with up to 94% accuracy, UK research suggests.
The findings, which have not yet been peer-reviewed, are based on six dogs who tested more than 3,500 odour samples donated by the public and NHS staff.
The canines were able to sniff out samples from people who were infected with coronavirus but were asymptomatic, as well as those who had low viral loads.
They were also able to identify infections caused by the coronavirus strain that was dominant in the UK last summer as well as the UK (Kent) version of the virus which appeared later in the year.
HMRC to allow staff to work from home at least two days a week
Nearly 64,000 staff at HM Revenue and Customs will be able to work from home at least two days a week permanently from next month – despite Government aims to get workers back into offices.
The tax authority confirmed its new flexible working policy will come into effect on June 1, allowing its 63,570 staff to work remotely for part of the week after pandemic restrictions lift.
The changes are being made as part of a wider overhaul at HMRC to address what boss Jim Harra described as a “crisis” of pay and working conditions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted earlier this month that the Government’s work from home advice is set to be dropped on June 21, telling MPs that UK cities depend on “people having the confidence of going to work”.
Thousands of small firms may never repay Covid loans, poll suggests
More than a fifth of small firms plan to pay off Government Covid-19 loans within a year but thousands may never repay emergency finance, figures have suggested.
Results of a survey compiled for the PA news agency shows that 22% of small companies aim to clear their Government-backed loans over the next 12 months in a sign the sector is hoping for a rapid recovery.
However, the poll by Barclaycard Payments – conducted alongside its quarterly small business barometer – found that 1% of the 670 senior staff working in UK small businesses said they do not ever expect to pay back their loans, suggesting as many as 16,000 firms may never repay.
More than 1.6 million small businesses have borrowed around £70 billion from emergency loan schemes administered by the British Business Bank for the Treasury.