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Covid UK news live: Latest updates as Khan says masks still needed on all UK transport

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Covid UK news live: Latest updates as Khan says masks still needed on all UK transport 2

Transport for London will still require passengers to wear face coverings, Sadiq Khan, has said. The capital’s mayor also said he believed public transport users throughout England should have to wear a mask.

On Monday Boris Johnson announced that most remaining Covid-19 restriction in England would be lifted, including the mandatory wearing of face masks.

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, one of the scientists who developed the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, said today she would continue to wear masks to protect others and as “a sign of respect” for their health.

Scientists have accused the UK government of pursuing a “mass infection” strategy in a bid for herd immunity from coronavirus. Some 1,200 experts wrote in a letter to The Lancet that this alleged approach was “unscientific and unethical”, with one calling it “criminal”.

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Union threatens to ‘name and shame’ MPs who don’t wear masks at Westminster

A union representing civil servants plans to “name and shame” any MPs who refuse to wear face coverings in parliament once legal requirements are dropped next week, writes Adam Forrest.

FDA general secretary Dave Penman said he would write to all MPs warning them that his union was willing to “call out” those ditching their masks, even after Covid restrictions are lifted on July 19.

It comes as leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said he would no longer wear his mask around the parliamentary estate from Monday – suggesting many MPs had already ditched their face coverings.

Jon Sharman14 July 2021 10:50

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Government to raise AZ vaccine issues with Malta

The government will confront Malta over reports it refused to accept UK travellers vaccinated with an Indian-made batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Grant Shapps has said.

The transport secretary said the vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India is “absolutely the same product” as batches made elsewhere.

He made the comments in response to reports that one couple – Steve, 64, and Glenda Hardy, 63, from Hull – were barred from a flight from Manchester to Malta because they had had the Indian-made jab.

The “Covishield” batch made by the Serum Institute has not been authorised by Europe’s regulator and is not recognised by the EU despite being the same as other AstraZeneca vaccines.

Jon Sharman14 July 2021 10:31

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Will you continue to wear your mask after 19 July? Tell us in our lockdown easing commenting poll

As 19 July looms, many will be questioning how to approach the new set-up of having much of the restriction decision making left up to us, writes Philippa Jenkins.

Boris Johnson has confirmed his decision to abandon nearly all coronavirus restrictions in England after 19 July in an announcement on 12 July.

Jon Sharman14 July 2021 10:12

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Sign up for free health newsletter from Shaun Lintern

The Independent publishes a free healthcare newsletter every week written by our expert correspondent, Shaun Lintern.

Health Check is delivered to your inbox at 7am every Thursday.

For a taste of what to expect, you can read last week’s hard-hitting edition here.

Jon Sharman14 July 2021 10:02

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Infection cluster in Olympic hotel

A cluster of coronavirus infections at a Japanese hotel where dozens of Brazilian Olympic team members are staying has raised new concern about the virus, ahead of what the world’s top Olympics official promised on Wednesday would be a “historic” Games.

Little more than a week before the postponed opening ceremony, seven staff at the hotel in Hamamatsu city, southwest of Tokyo, had tested positive, a city official said.

A 31-strong Brazilian Olympic delegation, which includes judo athletes, are in a “bubble” in the hotel and separated from other guests and have not been infected.

Medical experts are worried that Olympic “bubbles”, imposed by Tokyo 2020 Olympic officials in an effort to keep out Covid-19, might not be completely tight as movement of staff servicing the Games can create opportunities for infection.

The Olympics have lost much public support in Japan because of fears they will trigger a surge of infections even though no spectators will be allowed into sports venues.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Jon Sharman14 July 2021 09:43

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Weddings: Has the pandemic changed them forever? Join our free virtual event as industry experts discuss

Weddings have undoubtedly been one of the hardest hit sectors during the 15 months of the pandemic, writes Emma Henderson.

Often looked upon as more of a luxury than a necessity, they’re still a life milestone to be celebrated and remembered for decades to come. And as an industry that contributes more than £14bn a year, it’s not one to be sniffed at.

Now more than half way through 2021, we thought things would be “back to normal” by now. Yet almost a year and a half on from the first lockdown, we’re still a long way off from that when it comes to weddings.

Jon Sharman14 July 2021 09:33

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Opinion: A Pret sandwich can’t predict the pandemic, but its sales tell a story about how the world is unlocking

Guess what this race is about: London suburbs are in the lead, Hong Kong and the West End are coming up fast, Paris is well ahead of the City and Canary Wharf, New York Midtown is struggling and Wall Street is right at the back of the field.

It is the race back to the office, as measured by the performance of Pret A Manger locations vis-a-vis their pre-pandemic performance in January last year, writes Hamis McRae.

Pret gives Bloomberg weekly data about their sales in major business centres around the world, hence the Pret Index. This gives a rough proxy for the numbers of people returning to central business districts – or in the case of London suburbs, probably working from home.

Jon Sharman14 July 2021 09:23

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Full story: Grant Shapps claims government wanted masks to be mandatory on London’s public transport

Grant Shapps has backed the decision by London’s mayor to keep face coverings mandatory on public transport — despite Boris Johnson insisting just last week people would have the choice whether to wear them.

As the government prepares to drop the legal requirement to use face coverings from 19 July, the transport secretary Sadiq Khan’s decision was in line with what the government had “wanted” and “expected”, writes Ashley Cowburn.

Ordering Transport for London (TfL) to retain the requirement, Mr Khan said on Wednesday he was “not prepared” to put tube, tram and other transport users in the capital “at risk” by removing the rules on Monday.

Jon Sharman14 July 2021 09:04

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Royal Navy flotilla reports Covid outbreak with 100 cases despite all sailors being vaccinated

More than 100 cases of coronavirus have been reported aboard a group of warships including the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, writes Namita Singh.

The vessels affected include the Royal Navy’s flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, with unconfirmed media reports saying the group of warships recently stopped for a brief spell of shore leave in Limassol, Cyprus.

The virus has spread through the strike group’s 3,700 strength crew despite them being fully vaccinated. “As part of routine testing, a small number of crew from the Carrier Strike Group have tested positive for Covid-19,” a Royal Navy spokesman confirmed in a statement.

Jon Sharman14 July 2021 08:45

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Scientist behind AZ vaccine will keep wearing a face mask

One of the scientists who developed the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has said wearing face masks will help protect vulnerable people, and that she will keep wearing one.

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert told Good Morning Britain: “None of the protective measures are completely effective on their own and we get the best protection when we link up different ways of protecting ourselves – so if we get everybody who is eligible for the vaccine to have the vaccine, if we wear a facemask indoors in crowded areas.

“Remember, we wear a mask to protect other people – they’re not to protect us so much as to protect other people from us, from the risk that we might be infected, and I think it’s a sign of respect, if you’re in a situation where you might be able to transmit the virus to somebody else, to keep the mask on.

“I will follow Chris Whitty’s advice to wear a mask in indoor crowded situations, or if anybody else was particularly wanting me to wear a mask then I would.”

Professor Catherine Green, who was also part of the team that developed the vaccine, said: “The vaccine is a seatbelt, it’s keeping everybody around us safe. There’s no reason not to wear a mask too – sometimes two safety measures are better than one, and not everybody can take the vaccine.”

Jon Sharman14 July 2021 08:26

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