Green list countries update – Holidays to TEN destinations to be announced on Friday as 4 new Covid deaths recorded

BRITS will find out which holiday destinations will make the so-called green list THIS Friday – while four UK deaths were recorded yesterday.

Europe is begging vaccinated Brits to take their summer holidays on the continent this year as coronavirus cases keep falling.

While just a "handful" of countries are due to get the coveted green status from May 17 when the list is announced later this week, a three-weekly review will pave the way for more places to be added.

Holiday hotspot Portugal is on the “cusp” on making the initial list, with an insider saying it would go green “soonish” even if it missed out this time around.

Popular destinations including Spain, Greece and France are pencilled in by Downing Street to be added by the end of June, reports the Telegraph.

A government source said the list will be updated every few weeks to give Brits the chance to get away.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest updates…

  • Patrick Knox

    FEARS FOR CHINESE WHISTLEBLOWER

    Citizen journalist Chen Qiushi, went missing in February 2020 after he had reported horrific scenes from an overwhelmed hospital in graphic detail.

    The last time he was heard was when he told his friends he was on his way to record a video from a pop-up Covid-19 hospital.

    More than a year later his friends are now worried about his fate and fear they may never see him again.

  • Patrick Knox

    MORE PEOPLE DYING OF FLU AND PNEUMONIA THAN COVID 

    Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that deaths from Covid are down 28 per cent on last week and are at the lowest number since the week ending September 25.

  • Patrick Knox

    INDIA'S COVID DEATH SPIRAL

    A worker sprinkles fuel on burning funeral pyres of Covid victims at an open crematorium set up at a granite quarry on the outskirts of Bengaluru, IndiaCredit: AP
  • Patrick Knox

    SAY I DO, PM

    Brits desperate to tie the knot in style are calling on Boris to relax tough restrictions on weddings – after he ripped up his roadmap to allow more people to attend funerals. 

    MPs, couples and campaigners say people should be able to get married surrounded by all their loved ones after just ONE Covid death was recorded on Monday, and the PM brought forward funeral rules by nearly a month.

    Strict rules on weddings mean that at the moment just 15 people can attend a ceremony – which will rise to 30 later this month.

    The £15billion industry employs 400,000 people across the UK alone.

  • Patrick Knox

    OVER BY CHRISTMAS?

    Covid could be effectively eradicated in the UK by this winter, one of the country's top microbiologists said today.

    Professor Hugh Pennington said seasonal flu was likely to be more of a threat in future.

    But he warned that there would be the "constant threat" of importation of coronavirus from abroad – however that could be dealt with effectively with the right measures in place.

    The emeritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University said the UK's high vaccination rate was "a success story" and had "undoubtedly reduced hospital admissions and deaths".

    "I don't see any reason of why we should need to go into lockdown again," he said.

    "We are now getting close to China and Taiwan in effectively eradicating it within our own territory."

  • Patrick Knox

    TOP COURT ORDERS INDIA'S GOVERNMENT TO PRESENT OXYGEN PLAN

    India's government, facing calls for a strict lockdown to slow a devastating surge in coronavirus infections, was ordered by the Supreme Court today to submit a plan to meet New Delhi hospitals oxygen needs within a day.

    The court decided against immediately punishing officials for failing to end a two-week-old erratic supply of oxygen to overstretched hospitals.

    Ultimately putting officers in jail or hauling officers for contempt will not bring oxygen. 

    The court stayed a contempt notice earlier issued to the government by the New Delhi High Court for defying its order to supply adequate oxygen to more than 40 New Delhi hospitals. The government officials found guilty could have faced six months in prison and a fine.

    With 382,315 new confirmed cases on today India's tally has risen to more than 20.6 million since the pandemic began. 

    The Health Ministry also reported 3,780 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 226,188.

  • Patrick Knox

    SWEDEN REGISTER NEW DEATHS

    Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, registered 7,041 new Covid-19 cases today, health agency statistics showed.

    The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 60 new deaths, taking the total to 14,151.

    The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.

    Sweden's death rate per capita is many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours' but lower than in most European countries that opted for lockdowns.

  • Patrick Knox

    NO DEATHS RECORDED IN TWO-THIRDS OFSCOTTISH LOCAL AUTHORITY AREAS

    Two-thirds of Scotland's council areas recorded no coronavirus deaths in the last seven days, according to the latest weekly figures.

    National Records of Scotland (NRS) data shows 19 deaths related to Covid-19 were registered between April 26 and May 2, down four on the previous week.

    It brings the total number of fatalities up to Sunday to 10,097.

    Twenty of the country's 32 local authorities did not record a death involving Covid-19 in that week.

  • Imogen Braddick

    FLU OVERTAKES COVID

    More people are dying of flu and pneumonia than coronavirus for the first time since the second wave erupted, new data has revealed.

    Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that deaths from Covid are down 28 percent on last week and are at the lowest number since the week ending September 25.

    Deaths caused by Covid were at 260 – but it was only listed as the underlying cause for 176 people.

    This is compared to 278 deaths listed for flu and pneumonia – however this was mentioned on 1,203 death certificates.

    It means that the flu is now causing more deaths than coronavirus – suggesting that lockdowns and the vaccine rollout has helped stop the spread.

  • Imogen Braddick

    'WAIT FOR THE ANNOUNCEMENT'

    Green countries will have to have similar Covid rates as Britain – currently around 25 per 100,000 – no new variants and testing sequencing to spot vaccine busting strains.

    They will also need to have vaccinated around 40 per cent of their population.

    Senior cabinet minister Liz Truss urged Brits to hold off booking trips until the end of the week.

    "We won't have much longer to wait to get the full announcement from the transport secretary," she said.

    "I would suggest that people wait for that announcement. Of course we're doing all we can to make sure that we follow our road map, that we open up the economy and travel gradually."

  • Imogen Braddick

    BORDERS REMAIN SHUT

    The Foreign Office has begun downgrading strict travel for other European countries, giving hope they too will soon be given the green light for travel.

    Government no longer advises against travel to the Spanish Canary Islands, and the Greek Islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zante, Corfu and Crete.

    However Britain's borders remain shut for another 11 days and Whitehall insiders said the popular holiday islands were unlikely to make the green list just yet.

    One said: "The changes are not necessarily an indication of what will be on the green list this week – but it is a recognition that Covid cases are lower in those areas.

    "But they will certainly go amber, and if current trajectories continue, they will go green in time for the summer rush."

  • Patrick Knox

    NUMBER OF PUPILS IN CLASS DROPS

    The proportion of pupils attending state schools in England last week dropped slightly as more children were forced to self-isolate at home, Government figures show.

    Around 93 per cent of state school pupils were in class on April 29, down from 94 per cent on April 22, according to the Department for Education (DfE) statistics.

    Nine in 10 (90 per cent) secondary school pupils were in class last week, down from 91 per cent in the previous week, while attendance in primary schools fell from 96 per cent to 95 per cent

    The data suggest that 67,000 pupils were out of class and self-isolating on Thursday last week due to potential contact with a case of coronavirus.

  • Patrick Knox

    COVID MUTANTS

  • Patrick Knox

    HOW BRITAIN IS WINNING AGAINST COVID…. FOR NOW

  • Patrick Knox

    THIRD COVID JAB IN AUTUMN’ TO STOP THIRD WAVE 

    The third shot will be given with the annual flu jab, as either a new vaccine designed to fight variants or another dose of an existing shot. 

    Professor Neil Ferguson said the booster jab could spell the end for lockdowns forever.

    The expert, who warned hundreds of thousands would die if Britain didn't shut down, said there "may be a need to roll back on some of these measures" if a new variant appeared but believed this was unlikely.

  • Patrick Knox

    CASES DETECTED AMONG INDIAN DELEGATION AHEAD OF G7 TALKS

    India's foreign minister has been forced to pull out of attending the G7 meeting in London in person after two positive coronavirus cases were detected in the country's travelling delegation.

    Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was participating virtually in the event after coming into contact with the suspected cases, although he has not tested positive.

    Although India is not a G7 member, it had been invited to attend the meeting of foreign ministers as a guest.

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said "we are all having to adapt in agile ways" as he welcomed Mr Jaishankar, appearing on a screen, to the meeting.

    There are strict coronavirus security measures in place at the Lancaster House summit, which is the first face-to-face meeting of G7 foreign ministers for more than two years.

  • Patrick Knox

    FRIDAY JOY

    Insiders think most top destinations including France will be given the green travel go ahead by the school summer holidays in July. 

    Medics led by top doc Jonathan Van Tam will present country data to ministers today as they meet to approve the first tranche of green and amber countries. 

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is due to unveil the full list on Friday – with travel industry bosses braced for a flurry of bookings this weekend. 

  • Patrick Knox

    COVID SPARKS DEPRESSION IN MANY ADULTS

    Around one in five adults (21 per cent) in Great Britain experienced some form of depression in early 2021 – more than double the level recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic (10 per cent), new figures suggest.

    Among people aged 16 to 39 the figure stood at 29 per cent up from 11per cent, while for those with a disability the figure was 39 per cent, up from 27per cent.

    Some 25 per cent of people living in a single-person household experienced depression in early 2021, up from 15 per cent before the pandemic.

    For those living in a household with at least one child under 16, the proportion stood at 23 per cent, up from 6 per cent.

    The figures were compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from people aged 16 and over surveyed between January 27 and March 7 2021.

  • Patrick Knox

    US BIRTH RATE LOWEST SINCE 1979 AS PANDEMIC-LED STRESS RISES

    Americans had the lowest number of babies in more than four decades, mirroring a slump in European birth rates, as the pandemic forced more people to take care of sick family members or deal with job losses.

    Birth rate in the United States fell 4 per cent in 2020 to about 3.6 million babies, its sixth consecutive annual decline and the lowest since 1979, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics.

    The CDC did not attribute the overall decline to the pandemic, but experts have predicted that pandemic-led reasons including anxiety will hit the country's birth rate.

    In general, U.S. fertility rates have continued to fall over the years as women marry late and delay motherhood especially in years when the economy has slowed.

  • Patrick Knox

    'HUMAN CATASTROPHE' IN NEPAL

    Nepal is being overwhelmed by a Covid surge as India's outbreak spreads across South Asia, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Wednesday.

    We need to act now and we need to act fast to have any hope of containing this human catastrophe. This virus has no respect for borders and these variants are running rampant across Asia," said Alexander Matheou, Asia Pacific director for the Geneva-based agency representing the global humanitarian network.

    Nepal is now recording 57 times as many cases as a month ago, with 44 per cent of tests now coming back positive, the statement said

  • Patrick Knox

    TANZANIA STOPS FLIGHTS TO AND FROM INDIA AMID VIRUS SURGE

    The East African nation has suspended flights to and from India amid the Covid-19 surge in the Southeast Asian nation, the country's health ministry said, the latest sign of its increasingly active approach to tackling the pandemic under its new president.

    It joins a growing list of East African countries that have halted flights to and from India, including Uganda and Kenya.

  • Patrick Knox

    GIBRALTAR WILL NOT REQUIRE UK TOURISTS TO TAKE COVID TEST

    The British Overseas Territory has announced it will not require UK tourists to be tested for coronavirus when foreign holidays resume.

    Chief minister Fabian Picardo said the Rock offers a "great British staycation in the Mediterranean".

    He told Sky News: "Gibraltar has an open frontier with Spain and the rest of the European Union, and we don't require PCR testing for those who come across our land frontier.

    "We therefore don't think it would be appropriate for us to require PCR testing of those who are coming from the United Kingdom, which has a higher vaccinated population and a lower incidence of Covid than the rest of the European Union.

    "Gibraltar has zero cases of Covid today."

  • Patrick Knox

    CARE HOME DEATHS

    Some 50 care home resident deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales were registered in the week to April 23, down 28 per cent on the previous week.

    In total, 42,381 care home residents in England and Wales have had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began.

    The ONS figures cover deaths of care home residents in all settings, not just in care homes.

  • Patrick Knox

    COVID DEATHS IN ENGLAND & WALES FALLING

    A total of 260 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending April 23 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics – the lowest number since the week ending September 25.

    The figure is down 28 per cent on the previous week.

    Around one in 38 (2.6 per cent) deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to April 23 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.

  • Patrick Knox

    MUTANT BUG ‘SPREADS LIKE WILDFIRE' IN JAB NOT SPOTS

    Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi warned that coronavirus could still spread like "wildfire" in communities where take-up of jabs was low.

    He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "We are now able to see exactly where, by postcode, which communities we need to really focus on.

    "We are running some pilots in places like Luton on offering the vaccine to multi-generational households.

    "Vaccine positivity is incredibly high in the UK, it's running at 83-84 per cent of adults saying they will be vaccinated.

    "Nine out of 10 45-year-olds have now got the protection of a single dose.

    "That's great, but that 14-15 per cent where they are still hesitant, if the virus gets hold of those communities it will go through them like wildfire. I will not stand by and watch that happen."

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