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A third covid vaccine – Moderna – will arrive in the UK next month, ministers have confirmed.

In total, Britain has ordered 17 million doses of the vaccine, which works in a similar way to the Pfizer jab.

More than than 500,000 doses of Moderna are due to arrive in the first batch, the Mail on Sunday reports. On current trends, this could be used in less than a day.

But it will add to stocks of Pfizer and Astra Zeneca, as the programme continues to administer second doses to millions of people aged 50 and over, and growing numbers of younger people.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden clarified that April is the month when the Moderna vaccine is expected to arrive in the UK.

He told The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC that the vaccination programme remains “on course”, adding: “We expect that in April Moderna will come.”

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said the data on the Moderna vaccine was very promising.

When asked on BBC Breakfast on Sunday if the Moderna vaccine could open the door to people under 50 being vaccinated, he said: “We examined the data from Moderna which looks very promising.

“If we’ve caught up with all those over-50s we want to reach out to, it makes sense to go toward our next age group, which is the 40 to 49-year-old age group.”

​​Follow the latest updates below.

12:40 PMPutin urges Russians to get vaccinated

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday called on his fellow citizens to get inoculated against the coronavirus, as Russia’s vaccination rollout remains sluggish and vaccine scepticism in the population remains high.

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Speaking on Kremlin-controlled television, the Russian leader – who received a jab a few days ago – said that getting vaccinated was “needed, even necessary”.

“If a person wants to feel confident, does not want to get sick and have serious consequences after an illness, then it is better to get this vaccine, of course,” news agencies quoted Putin as saying on Rossiya-1.

The 68-year-old received his first dose on Tuesday, but did not reveal which of Russia’s three home-grown jabs – Sputnik V, EpiVacCorona or CoviVac – he had been given.

Unlike many world leaders, Putin also chose to be vaccinated in private.

Russia began its vaccination campaign in early December, but only about four million of the country’s 144 million people have so far received two doses of a vaccine, while another two million have had a first dose.

Vaccine scepticism runs high in Russia, with a recent opinion poll showing fewer than a third of people are willing to have a jab, and close to two-thirds saying they believe the coronavirus is a man-made biological weapon.

The country has been among the hardest hit by Covid-19, with more than 4.5 million cases.

12:16 PMIndian state of Maharashtra imposes nighttime curfew

Authorities have imposed a nighttime curfew on India’s western state of Maharashtra after the state capital Mumbai reported a record daily rise in cases.

Mumbai’s mayor Kishor Pednekar announced on Sunday that hotels, pubs and shopping malls will be shut at night under the curfew as Mumbai reported 6,123 new infections.

“We are seeing a higher Covid positive rate in high-rise residential buildings than in slums…to stop the spread only essential services will be allowed (at night),” said Pednekar.

The state-wide curfew, which is between 8pm and 7am, begins on Sunday and will be in force until 15 April.

India on Sunday reported its highest single-day tally since mid-October, with 62,714 new cases, according to the country’s health ministry.

With 312 deaths, single-day fatalities were also at their highest level since Christmas, ministry data showed.

12:10 PMFacebook freezes Venezuela’s president’s page over false vaccine claim

Facebook has frozen the Facebook page of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro after he posted a false claim that a herbal remedy can cure coronavirus, James Cook reports.

The page will now be “read-only” for 30 days, meaning the politician cannot post updates to his 1.2 million followers.

Facebook froze the page following a January video in which Mr Maduro falsely claimed that herbal remedy Carvativir, which is derived from thyme, could cure the negative symptoms of coronavirus with just a few drops.

The social network confirmed that it has deleted the video under its policy of banning coronavirus misinformation.

“We follow guidance from the WHO that says there is currently no medication to cure the virus,” a Facebook spokesman told Reuters. “Due to repeated violations of our rules, we are also freezing the page for 30 days, during which it will be read-only.”

Mr Maduro claimed in the video that a handful of drops of Carvativir, a medicine which he calls “miracle drops,” taken regularly could prevent coronavirus.

“Having received the official health permit of the country, I can present the medicine that 100pc neutralises the coronavirus, Carvativir,” Mr Maduro claimed. “It’s best known as the miraculous droplets of Jose Gregorio Hernandez. 10 drops under the tongue, every four hours, and the miracle is done, it’s a powerful antivirus medication, it’s so powerful that it neutralises the coronavirus.”

The Venezuelan president’s profile on photo-sharing app Instagram, which has 881,000 followers, will not be affected by the freeze.

Mr Maduro has previously claimed that he has been “censored” by Facebook over previous posts about Carvativir.

11:54 AMPandemic stops decline of poverty in East Asia and Pacific for first time in decades

Poverty has stopped declining in East Asia and the Pacific for the first time in two decades as the region faces an uneven economic recovery more than one year into the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a World Bank report released on Friday.

An estimated 32 million people in the region failed to escape poverty last year – defined by a wage of $5.50 a day – and inequality has increased because of the pandemic.

“That inequality is under multiple dimensions – the poor have suffered more than the rich, women have suffered more than men, and small firms have suffered more than large firms,” Aaditya Mattoo, chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific, told the Telegraph.

Poverty has been driven by shutdowns and unequal access to social services and digital technologies. In some countries, children in the poorest two-fifths of households were 20 per cent less likely to have access to education than children in the top one-fifth.

Nicola Smith reports.

11:13 AMIreland ‘not aware’ of UK plan to share vaccines

The Irish Government has said it is not aware of a specific UK plan to share vaccines with Ireland.

Responding to a Sunday Times report that suggested the UK was planning to give 3.7 million vaccines to the Irish Republic when it had spare capacity, a spokesman for the Irish Government said: “The UK has previously indicated that once it has achieved a high level of vaccination of its own population, it would consider sharing vaccines with other countries.

“We are not aware of any specific plans to share vaccines with Ireland at this stage.

“The Irish and UK governments maintain close contact across all matters of common interest.”

11:01 AMSouth Africa plans to vaccinate 200,000 people a day

South Africa plans to administer coronavirus vaccines to up to 200,000 people a day beginning around May, the Sunday Times newspaper said on Sunday, citing Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

According to the report, more than 2,000 vaccination sites will be set up. The plan is based on the expected arrival of the first batch of 2.8 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses at the end of April, the newspaper said.

The Health Ministry did not respond to telephone calls and text messages from Reuters seeking comment.

South Africa has been the hardest hit nation on the continent by COVID-19. It has recorded both the highest number of cases in Africa – more than 1.5 million – and of deaths, with more than 50,000 fatalities.

The vaccination rollout has been slow, with only 231,605 people, mainly frontline health workers, inoculated so far. The government plans to vaccinate 40 million people, or two-thirds of the population.

10:39 AMThird lockdown would be a failure of public health policy, says professor

Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, said a third lockdown would be a failure of public health policy.

When asked on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday if there was the risk of another lockdown, he said: “I think that’s one of the things we really want to avoid and we absolutely have the tools in place and the knowledge in place to avoid that.

“Another lockdown next winter for any reason, whether it’s an upsurge of the local variants that we have here or the importation of a new variant, I have to say I think we should regard that as a failure of public health policy if we have to go that route again.”

10:28 AM‘The West was not humble enough’: Taiwan’s health minister on why Covid brought Britain to its knees

Chen Shih-chung tells the Telegraph that over-confidence in health infrastructures led to neglect in the epidemic’s early stages. Here is a snippet:

What lessons can the world learn from this pandemic to prevent the next pandemic?
Taiwan dealt with Sars so we knew that this kind of epidemic is serious. We learned from our previous experience as there’s things that we did right and things we did wrong, so we had a better foundation. Will there be another pandemic and how are you preparing for it?
It’s inevitable that we will see another major pandemic so every government and country must learn lessons from this time, review their policies and be better prepared. The pandemic has killed more than 2.7 million. Could this horrific death toll have been avoided or reduced with better measures?
It’s quite hard to avoid this kind of situation but obviously I think a lot of people have not shown a degree of respect, that human beings are not humble enough in facing this kind of pandemic. Some thought we were able to cope because of our scientific development, but the reality is that we, as human beings are not strong enough.

Read more here.

10:14 AM’A hidden pandemic’: lockdown fatigue and lack of vaccine put Africa at risk of Covid surge

While there is cautious optimism that the coronavirus pandemic is nearing a close in the UK, the worst chapter may be only “just beginning” in Africa, where case numbers are ticking upwards in some countries and vaccination campaigns have barely begun.

According to Dr Ayoade Alakija, co-chair of the Africa Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance, a lack of testing has masked the true scale of the outbreak of the continent’s “hidden pandemic”.

Dr Alakija warned the region is still “flying blind” as it teeters on the edge of a surge of cases, triggered by the emergence of highly infectious new variants, lockdown fatigue and limited vaccine supplies.

“Not only are we not out of the woods – this pandemic is not nearly over – but I think in Africa you could almost say it is just beginning,” Dr Alakija told The Telegraph.

Sarah Newey and Anne Gulland have the latest on this story here.

A boy walks past graffiti of the virus in Nairobi – Baz Ratner / REUTERS

10:04 AMDelays to vaccine programme may slow lockdown easing

Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, said delays in the vaccination programme will slow down how quickly lockdown can be eased.

He told the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: “It’s not just the actual number of vaccines given out but the coverage, particularly of the most vulnerable groups.

“So far we have got through a lot of those vulnerable groups, at least with the first dose, and the coverage has been excellent – in the high 90 per cents [sic].

“But, yes, if we do have delays in getting people vaccinated the second time around, that’s going to slow things down.

“Although the second dose is a booster, a lot of the protection afforded by the vaccine – 80% or 90% of it – is given by the first dose, so we will be a long way there.”

09:47 AMCovid-19 will continue to be a threat for years to come, professor warns

Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, warned that people are going to have to be “alert” to coronavirus for many years to come.

He told the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that while the vaccine should make any new outbreaks small and easier to contain, there was still going to be the need for social distancing and testing, tracing and isolating.

He added: “Hopefully, because, as I said, the vaccines are performing so well – certainly against the variants we know about – that we will be fairly close to the herd immunity threshold and what that means is that any outbreaks will be fairly small and, hopefully, fairly easily contained.

“I still suspect that looking forward, and I am talking now right through 2021 and into the years ahead, that we are still going to have to be alert to coronavirus.

“There are still going to be situations where we might need to use personal protective equipment, we might well need to do some kind of social distancing, put some kind of biosecurity measures in place.

“The important thing is, in case I’m being too optimistic and we are not close to the herd immunity threshold, that we also maintain our capacity to test and trace, and particularly to isolate people who are infected. That final thing is going to remain important for the entire future, that when we get cases of novel coronavirus that those people are then going to have to be asked to self-isolate and their contacts.”

09:22 AMCuba and Taiwan push for homegrown Covid vaccines amid frosty relations with the world’s superpowers

At first glance, little beyond their island status links Cuba and Taiwan. But complex relationships with neighbouring superpowers have pushed both countries to bet on home-grown coronavirus vaccines.

In Cuba, decades of sanctions imposed by the United States have inadvertently created a thriving biotechnology industry. Four vaccine candidates are in development in the communist country, including two which entered phase three trials this month.

Meanwhile, 9,000 miles away on China’s doorstep, growing fears Beijing could use access to vaccines as a further means of political coercion have raised the stakes for two Taiwanese jabs currently in phase two trials.

“This is just a different form of vaccine diplomacy,” said Dr Clare Wenham, assistant professor of global health at the London School of Economics.

“Everyone knows vaccines are a finite pot of gold right now. The approach for places who can’t purchase them, or don’t want to be constrained by superpowers, is to make your own [if you can].”

Sarah Newey has more on this story here.

09:16 AMSocial distancing may not end in June, minister says

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said he cannot guarantee all legal restrictions on social distancing can end in June.

He told The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC: “Of course they could be delayed if the situation deteriorates but at the moment we’re on track.”

Pressed to guarantee if this is the last lockdown for England, the Cabinet minister added: “My whole experience of the past year, and I think everyone that’s watching’s experience of the past year, is you can’t rule things out.

“But we have every confidence we won’t have to have another lockdown because we’ve done this and it’s the last thing in the world we would want to do.”

09:08 AMCoronavirus measures may still be in place by end of the year: Drakeford

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said he believed some coronavirus measures will still be in place by the end of the year.

He defended the number of lockdowns imposed in Wales, saying the country had gone into them “earlier and deeper”.

He told Andrew Marr on the BBC: “By the end of this year I still think that we will need to go on doing the things we’ve learnt to do, the mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing.

“The idea that with one bound we are free and coronavirus is something that is over, that’s not my message to people here in Wales.”

On what he would have done differently, he said: “I think when we look right back to the very beginning, if we had known then what we know now about the speed at which this virus can be transmitted, we would have taken some actions earlier than we did.

“I think that would have been true across the UK. We’ve generally gone into them earlier and got into them deeper.”

09:05 AMWelsh first minister says he is prepared to consider coronavirus certificates

There are “prizes to be won” through vaccine passports, the First Minister of Wales said.

Mark Drakeford said he was prepared to consider coronavirus certificates on a “four-nation basis” and that he has spoken with Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and the first ministers of Scotland and Northern Ireland on the matter on Tuesday.

He warned they had to be “fair and reliable”.

Speaking to Andrew Marr on the BBC, he said: “I think there are definitely prizes to be won through domestic vaccine certification, but there are very big practical and ethical challenges to face as well.

“What about those who can’t be vaccinated because their health conditions don’t allow that to happen?

“If it’s a self-certification system, then what reliance can we put on the fact the that somebody produces a certificate?”

08:52 AMThis lockdown may not be the last, warns Welsh first minister

The First Minister of Wales said he could not give assurances that the current lockdown in the country will be its last.

It comes as Wales is the first UK nation to lift coronavirus restrictions.

When asked whether this was the last lockdown, Mark Drakeford told Andrew Marr on the BBC: “I’m afraid I don’t think anybody responsible in my position will be able to do that any time soon.

“We see what’s happening in the continent of Europe, we know about the new variants that are being discovered around the globe.

“There’s a job of work still needs to be done in making sure that coronavirus is genuinely in the rear view mirror.”

08:50 AMHow UK sought Taiwan’s help to control Covid

Taiwan warned the UK last year to strictly enforce face mask and social distancing policies and not to bow to public pressure to lift pandemic prevention measures too quickly, according to its health minister, Chen Shih-chung.

He also said the West, in particular, had become over-confident in its health infrastructure and should have been more “humble” in the face of the pandemic rather than neglecting the outbreak in its early stages.

Taiwan’s recommendations, if closely followed, could have saved lives. As the UK comes to terms with 126,000 deaths, Taiwan, which sits just 80 miles from the coast of China, acted fast and decisively and has lost only ten people to date. Cases have barely risen above 1,000, mainly arrivals from abroad.

In an exclusive interview with the Telegraph, Mr Chen revealed that after Covid-19 emerged from Wuhan, China, and spread globally, British officials in London sought the opinion of Taiwan’s Centres for Disease Control (CDC) about how to tackle the virus.

Nicola Smith and John Liu have more on this story here

08:40 AMVaccinate don’t completely prevent transmission, warns professor

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said coronavirus vaccines do not completely prevent transmission.

He told BBC Breakfast on Sunday that while they appear to reduce transmission by about 50%, vaccinated people can still get the virus and spread it to others.

He added: “There’s some good evidence now from Public Health England and from the Oxford/AstraZeneca trials that the vaccines do prevent transmission.

“But they don’t completely prevent transmission. The figures are still being calculated but it’s in the order of 50%.

“So, there will be some reduction in transmission, no doubt at all, but it’s still possible, even though you’ve been vaccinated, to get infected, have no symptoms and transmit it to others.

“That’s why it’s important that all those who get vaccinated still stick to the rules.”

08:33 AMVaccine doesn’t make you ‘invincible’, warns professor

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said it was “really important” that vaccinated people do not think they are “invincible”.

When asked on BBC Breakfast on Sunday how concerned he was that the vaccine programme was going to keep the virus under control as lockdowns are eased, he said: “It’s really important that people who are vaccinated can remember that they aren’t completely protected.

“They’re protected against severe disease, hospitalisation and death, but they might not be protected against infection after one dose, it takes three or four weeks for the vaccine effects to kick in, and they could potentially still transmit.

“It’s really important that people who are vaccinated still obey the rules. And I think if we unlockdown [sic] slowly and people behave … and are very sensible about this, then we’ve got a way out.

“Of course, if neither of those things happen and the virus starts transmitting again and cases rise, it could mutate, we could find new variants and then we could get ‘vaccine escape’.

“So really, really important that people stick to the rules, that we unlockdown slowly, patiently, and those that are vaccinated obey the same rules and don’t think that they’re invincible.”

08:32 AMModerna vaccine data ‘very promising’

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said the data on the Moderna vaccine was very promising.

When asked on BBC Breakfast on Sunday if the Moderna vaccine could open the door to people under 50 being vaccinated, he said: “We examined the data from Moderna which looks very promising.

“It’s a very similar type of vaccine to the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine, which everybody’s become familiar with, a messenger RNA vaccine, and I think we’ll start deploying that towards the end of April.

“If we’ve caught up with all those over-50s we want to reach out to, it makes sense to go toward our next age group, which is the 40 to 49-year-old age group.”

08:23 AMMonday ‘an important step back towards normality’

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said “it’s important that we continue to abide by the rules” but welcomed Monday as “an important step back towards normality”.

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I think tomorrow is an important day, we’re making progress with the rollout of the vaccine, we’re making progress through the road map, which means we can take some important steps tomorrow.

“First of all, allowing grassroots sports to resume, which is so important for our nation’s physical and mental health, but also ensuring that people can once again meet their loved ones outside.

“Of course, it’s important that we continue to abide by the rules but this is an important step back towards normality.”

08:19 AM’Challenges’ to international travel persist, says Dowden

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said there are “challenges around international travel”, pointing towards rising infection rates in Europe, but that “all options” are being considered.

Asked about a proposal of a traffic light system that could allow shorter quarantine periods with greater testing, he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “We’re exploring all these issues as part of the international travel taskforce.

“We consider all options as part of the travel taskforce.

“Clearly there are challenges around international travel, you only have to look across the continent and see the rising case rates in many of our nearest neighbours.

“It has been in the past the case that those rising infection rates have seen their way to the UK, we’re hopeful that won’t happen this time round because of our progress with the vaccine and so on, but we do need to be cautious about that.”

08:17 AM12-week vaccine schedule will be met, insists minister

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has insisted everyone will get a second dose of a coronavirus vaccine within 12 weeks of their first.

Asked if he can guarantee everyone the pledge will be met, he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “Yes, of course, we’ve been planning that all the way through. It’s one of the most important considerations as we’ve rolled out the vaccine.

“In all of our planning we have factored in getting that second dose of the vaccine.”

07:55 AMCulture Secretary says UK does not have surplus vaccine supply to send to Ireland

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said the UK does not “currently have a surplus” of coronavirus vaccines following a report jabs could be sent to Ireland.

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “Clearly, our first priority is ensuring we deliver vaccines in the United Kingdom.

“We clearly don’t currently have a surplus of vaccines, should we get to the point where we have a surplus of vaccines we’d make decisions on the allocation of that surplus.”

07:49 AMModerna vaccine could arrive in the UK ‘later this month’

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has suggested Moderna vaccines could arrive in the UK “later this month”.

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “We don’t get into supply chains but the Health Secretary has indicated that he would expect later this month we would start to see Moderna.

“We do expect the Moderna vaccine to come later this month.”

07:49 AMBirth bust: how the pandemic stopped people making babies

A fifth fewer babies were born in parts of Europe nine months on from the start of the pandemic, as would-be parents said scenes inside Covid hospital wards persuaded them to put pregnancy plans on hold.

Emerging data from high-income countries in Europe, the United States and Asia all suggest birth rates fell in December 2020 and January 2021 by between seven and 22 per cent compared to the previous year.

The emerging data applies to the beginning of the pandemic for many countries, when the situation was perhaps at its most frightening and unknown. While that has changed, the ongoing societal and economic impacts of Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns could end up having an even more serious effect, experts said.

This would add to already declining birth rates in many countries, a phenomena raising profound questions around the world about how to structure societies where there are more grandparents than grandchildren.

Jennifer Rigby has more on this story here.

A baby with a face shield waits to board a plane at an airport in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province – Naohiko Hatta / Kyodo News

07:40 AMUkraine’s daily Covid-19 hospitalisations rise to record high

A record number of Ukrainians were taken to hospital with Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Sunday as the country grapples with a surge in infections.

Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on Facebook 5,052 people had been hospitalised in the past day compared to the previous record of 4,887 people registered on March 17.

Ukraine also reported 11,932 new infections in the past 24 hours and 203 coronavirus related deaths.

The number of daily hospitalisations did not exceed 2,000 during the peak of the pandemic in late 2020 but has begun to rise in recent weeks. Ukraine registered a record daily high of 18,132 new cases and 362 coronavirus-related deaths last week.

The minister has linked the worsening of the situation to the spread of the coronavirus variant first found in Britain, which was detected in Ukraine in late February, amid a slow pace of vaccination.

07:09 AMHow to socialise outside in a rented garden

The Telegraph’s Helen Chandler-Wilde enjoying the garden at Woodland Haven – Andrew Crowley for The Telegraph

From tomorrow, groups of up to six are permitted to socialise outdoors. That’s all well and good, but it means the local park will be full to bursting – and what if you haven’t quite got round to readying your garden for non-immediate family members?

Well, there’s a thoroughly 21st century answer: hire somebody else’s back garden for the day.

Borrow My Garden enables you to book outdoor spaces, usually picturesque wildflower meadows and vast castle grounds, but the site has a few ordinary, Rule of Six-sized back gardens on its books, too.

In February, after Boris Johnson unveiled his roadmap out of lockdown, the site saw 250 per cent more traffic than its busiest day last year.

READ MORE: Garden not ready for the Rule Of Six? Why not hire someone else’s…

06:18 AMIndian state imposes curfew

A health worker takes a compulsory nasal swab sample of a vendor at a beach in Mumbai on Saturday – SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP

Authorities in India’s western state of Maharashtra imposed a night curfew on Sunday to tackle a record surge in Covid cases with the financial capital Mumbai reporting 6,123 new cases, the highest single-day spike since March last year.

“We are seeing a higher Covid positive rate in high-rise residential buildings than in slums… to stop the spread only essential services will be allowed,” said Kishor Pednekar, the mayor of Mumbai.

Hotels, pubs and shopping malls must observe the night curfew.

India recorded 62,714 cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours – the highest single-day tally since mid-October.

05:20 AMCare staff may have to sign new job contracts

Hundreds of thousands of care home workers could have to sign new contracts as part of a bid to force them to get the Covid jab, ministers have admitted.

Ministers are concerned that only around two-thirds of care home workers have agreed to receive a jab.

Last week, The Telegraph disclosed that care home workers could be required by law to have a vaccine under a historic legal change. An announcement from Boris Johnson could come as early as next week.

Ministers feel compelled to act amid alarm at the low take-up of vaccines among staff in care homes, where many of those most at risk from Covid live.

Care home workers vaccinated by region (Safe vs Unsafe)

Exclusive: Care home workers may have to sign new contracts to get mandatory Covid vaccines

04:59 AMThe four-tier system that could save holidays

Ministers will consider a “quarantine-light” traffic light system in a bid to save summer holidays, The Telegraph can reveal.

Heathrow Airport has submitted plans to Boris Johnson’s global travel taskforce proposing a four-tier traffic light scheme with an “amber” option of a customised three-day quarantine and testing regime specifically designed to combat the threat from new Covid variants.

The risk of importing variants – such as the South African and Brazilian versions now spreading in mainland Europe – is regarded by government scientists and Mr Johnson as the biggest hurdle to restarting international travel on May 17 and saving summer holidays.

READ MORE: Exclusive: The four-tier traffic light system that could save summer holidays

03:56 AM’EU must acknowledge British taxpayer funding of Oxford jab’

Britain will this week tell the European Union that it must take into account the millions of pounds spent by British taxpayers on creating the AstraZeneca vaccine as the threat of its export being blocked remains.

Talks to break the stand-off over jabs manufactured in the company’s Halix plant in Leiden, the Netherlands, will resume as early as Monday.

Vaccine Nationalism

The European Commission has threatened to block any shipment of vaccines from Halix to the UK because British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has fallen far short of its contracted deliveries to the bloc.

Exclusive: Britain to tell Brussels AstraZeneca jab would not exist without UK investment

03:52 AMOn Monday we can put pandemic behind us: NHS chief

Monday marks a “turning point” as the “toughest limits on our freedom” start to ease and Britons can start to return to pre-pandemic routines, a leading NHS official has said.

Prof Stephen Powis, the national medical director of NHS England, urges people not to “squander the gains” made over the past months because “this virus still has the capacity to wreak more havoc and ill health on a significant scale”.

Lockdown rules start to ease further on Monday for the first time in months, with up to six people or two full households allowed to meet in parks or back gardens.

Golf, tennis and team sports can also resume as part of the first stage of the Government’s roadmap to restore normal life in England by June 21.

Read the full story here.

03:50 AMToday’s top stories

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