Another 293 deaths recorded in last 24 hours in UK; Greece public health body says 6,700 new infections recorded in past day
That’s it from me, Samantha Lock, for today.
I’ll be back a bit later with a new Covid blog to bring you all the latest developments.
In the meantime you can follow along with all coronavirus news here.
Australia is on track to reach the milestone of 80% of the population over 16 being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in a matter of days.
The latest vaccine figures show 78.1% of over-16s are fully dosed, while more than 88% have received one dose.
Pressure has been mounting on states with zero Covid cases to boost their vaccination rates in order to reopen internal borders safely.
Covid-affected jurisdictions continue their vaccination surge, with NSW now on the cusp of 90% fully vaccinated.
There were more than 186,000 vaccines administered nationwide on Monday.
It coincides with American manufacturer Novavax submitting their vaccine to the Therapeutic Goods Administration for final approval.
If it gets given the green light by the regulator, it will become the fourth Covid vaccine to be made available in Australia.
The UK government is increasingly worried that hospitalisations and deaths among double-vaccinated people could rise due to waning immunity as an estimated 4.5 million people have failed to get their booster shots despite being eligible.
Downing Street sources told the Guardian that the gap between those eligible and those jabbed was too wide, ranking it as their major concern ahead of the winter months.
They acknowledged more needed to be done to encourage take-up as waning immunity meant more double jabbed people could get sick and were at greater risk of dying without the extra protection of the boosters.
Read the full story here:
Hello from a very sunny morning over here in Sydney, Australia.
I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be with you for the next short while.
Before I get going here are some case numbers out of Australia.
The state of Victoria reports 941 new Covid cases, the second day in a row with fewer than 1,000 infections. It’s good news for the state which just came out of lockdown.
NSW has reported 190 new cases overnight. A total of 93.6% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 88.3% of people aged 16 and over have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine
Here’s a round-up of this evening’s Covid news.
A UK politician has put a bill to the House of Commons ensuring that any further closures to schools would have to be approved by Parliament.
Robert Halfon, a Conservative MP who chairs the education select committee said the measure could avoid a repeat of the “disaster” of school closures.
He added: “These closures wielded a hammer blow for students’ education and wellbeing. Their effect was apocalyptic, threatening the futures of millions of pupils and students and stopping them climbing the ladder of opportunity.”
Children as young as 5 are one step closer to being vaccinated against Covid in the US, after the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unanimously voted in favour of the broad use of Pfizer and BioNTech jabs for them.
Shots could start going into arms of children aged from 5-11 from Wednesday, after the CDC said the benefits outweighed the risks of vaccination. Discussion looked at rare cases of heart inflammation which have been linked to the vaccine, Reuters reports.
CDC director Rochelle Walensky accept the panel’s ruling before it can start giving out the drug.
A scientist has quit the UK government’s pandemic advisery body Sage, saying that the Covid crisis is “a long way from over”.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, quit the body at the end of October, Sky News has reported.
It said that he was advocating for a “vaccine plus” strategy to deal with the high levels of Covid cases in the UK.
Sir Jeremy, who is the director of the Wellcome Trust, a charity foundation health research, advocated for more mask wearing, ventilation and testing to tackle rising case numbers. Yet the government has not yet deviated from its current plans.
The government’s independent vaccine advisers recommended against Covid shots for healthy teenagers despite considering evidence that the jabs would reduce infections, hospitalisations and some deaths in the age group.
Modelling reviewed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in June showed that fully vaccinating 80% of 12- to 17-year-olds would lead to “large reductions” in infections and a “substantial reduction” in hospitalisations in the age group.
The modelling from the University of Warwick was considered alongside calculations from Public Health England that found vaccinating healthy young people in an overlapping age group – those aged 15 to 19 – could reduce intensive care admissions and prevent two deaths per million in those who received the shots.
The Dutch government has reintroduced face masks in an attempt to stop rising Covid-19 cases.
Prime minister Mark Rutte said the use of Covid passports would also be broadened out to include museums, gyms and outdoor terraces.
Infections have been rising for a month since most social distancing measures were lifted in late September. Cases have reached their highest levels since July, in the last week.
In a televised press conference, Rutte called on all Dutch to stick to basic hygiene rules and to stay at home if they had a potential infection.
Public health officials in Ireland say that its case numbers are at their highest point since January, as another 3,726 were registered – 70% higher than a week ago.
The surge is despite more than 90% of adults now being vaccinated according to data released in late October by chair of the Irish vaccination task force Brian MacCraith.
The 14-day incidence stood at 695 cases per 100,000 people, up 18% compared to last week.
The country has dropped most of its restrictions to tackle coronavirus, but requires vaccine passports to enter bars and restaurants.
Following Greece reporting a record-high number of new Covid cases, health officials have announced tighter rules for non-vaccinated people and heavier fines for people who do not comply.
From Saturday, anyone who has not been vaccinated will have to provide a negative Covid test before they can enter public buildings, shops and banks, AFP reports.
Workers in the public and private sectors will have to provide negative tests twice a week at their own expense.
Fines for shops and restaurants which don’t follow the rules have been doubled to €5,000 (£4,253).
Another country breaking its daily death toll records is Romania, as it registered another 591 deaths.
The eastern European country has had a persistently low vaccination rate, according to Associated Press, and its health care system has become overwhelmed.
The number of vaccinated adults is still well below the EU average of 75% at just 37%. Only its southern neighbour, Bulgaria has got a smaller share of its population vaccinated.
Romanian authorities said on Tuesday that 541 of the latest 591 deaths were unvaccinated. More than 1,800 coronavirus patients are in intensive care.
Harry Taylor here bringing you the latest coronavirus updates from the UK and around the world for the rest of tonight.
If you have any comments, tips or suggestions – drop me an email or via Twitter.
The UK has had its highest number of daily Covid deaths reported since late February, as another 293 people have died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test.
The amount has been distorted by data from NHS England which was not provided on Monday, giving an artificially low number of deaths – 38 – but today’s figure is the largest amount since 21 February, when 325 deaths were recorded.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show there has now been more than 166,000 deaths registered with Covid-19 on the death certificate.
Another 33,865 new coronavirus cases were confirmed earlier on Tuesday.