Coronavirus UK news: Mass Covid outbreak at DVLA office in Swansea with 500 people infected

A MASS outbreak of Covid-19 has been discovered at the DVLA office in Swansea.

More than 350 employees contracted the virus in the last four months of last year.

Both the BBC and The Observer reported that some symptomatic employees had been encouraged to return to work, amid an alleged “culture of fear”.

Both outlets also reported complaints that “archaic” IT systems meant many employees could not work from home, and that close contacts were not always sent home to self-isolate, with workers allegedly advised to turn off their Test and Trace apps to prevent notifications of an infection risk.

Follow the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis in our live blog below.

  • Justin Lawrence

    RAIL WORKERS SHOULD BE A 'JAB PRIORITY'

    Transportworkers are calling to be added to priority lists for coronavirus vaccines after deaths and illnesses among staff doubled in two months.

    Unions say staff working on public transport were among those at the highest risk of contracting the disease or putting passengers in danger.

    In figures released last night, the RMT union said deaths among rail workers during the pandemic totalled 12 in November but has now reached 25.

    RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "A more infectious and, now it seems, more deadly variant of the Covid-19 virus plus an increase in passenger numbers is a lethal cocktail.

    "We are advising our members of their right to stop working if their safety is threatened."

  • Justin Lawrence

    GRANDAD STEALS HEARTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY WITH COVID SONG

    A grandad has won over thousands of hearts across the nation after his Covid-19 songs went viral on social media.

    Barry Allen, 84, originally from New Cross, shared the Covid hit via Facebook.

    The video has since been shared over one thousand times on the site.

    His grand-daughter Rosie, who shared the clip said: "He isn't on social media but when I heard this I asked if I could share it as it made myself and our whole family smile, we never imagined the response he would get."

  • Justin Lawrence

    US PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN TO BRING BACK UK TRAVEL BAN TO CURB SPREAD OF NEW COVID VARIANT

    The US is set to hit the UK with a travel ban following the discovery of the mutant Kent Covid strain, according to reports.

    A White House insider told Reuters that new President Joe Biden will impose a ban on non-US citizens who have recently been in the UK, Ireland and Europe.

    Brazil and South Africa will be hit with similar bans, it is claimed.

    It means non-US citizens who have been in any affected country within 14 days will not be allowed into the US.

    It reverses a decision by the Trump administration to lift restrictions on people travelling to the US from Brazil and Europe.

  • Justin Lawrence

    JOSE MOURINHO SAYS FOOTBALLERS SHOULD'NT BE 'THE FIRST' TO TAKE COVID VACCINE

    Jose Mourinho does not believe that Premier League footballers should be given the Covid vaccine ahead of those who need it the most.

    When asked if footballer's should receive the vaccine ahead of those who need it the most, Mourinho said that "he wouldn't."

    The Tottenham boss said: "I wouldn't, maybe it's controversial. Maybe people disagree with me but I wouldn't.

    "There is people in much bigger risk than we, and in particular young football players are.

    "I feel that the people that are on the front line every day, health workers and older people, of course they should be in front, but that's just my feeling."

  • Justin Lawrence

    BRIT YOUTUBER IN COVID COMA A MONTH AFTER GIVING BIRTH

    A YouTuber with more than 200,000 subscribers has been in a coma a month after giving birth at Christmas.

    Grace Victory, 30, from Buckinghamshire, contracted Covid in December while she was pregnant.

    After her condition got worse, doctors induced the birth of her baby boy on Christmas eve, following respiratory issues.

    Her sister, Charleigh, gave an update on her health via social media and said Grace is currently stable, but "still needs prayers."

  • Justin Lawrence

    MILLIONS OF INTERNATIONAL PASSENGERS HAVE PASSED THROUGH UK AIRPORTS DURING PANDEMIC

    Millions of international passengers have passed through UK airports during the pandemic, according to statistics.

    People boarded or got off international flights at Luton airport over 2 million times between April and November last year, according to the latest Civil Aviation Authority data.

    And in Heathrow people boarded or got off at the airport nearly 6 million times during the same period.

  • Justin Lawrence

    COVID THUG SPITS AT POLICE AND SAYS 'YOU'VE GOT COVID NOW'

    A man who tested positive for Covid-19 spat at police and gloated that they now had the killer virus.

    Patrick James Lee, 38, spat at the two officers and told them "you've got Covid now," while being arrested for beating up his girlfriend in York.

    One of the cops he tried to infect suffered from asthma, an underlying health condition thought to increase the risk of death if Covid is contracted.

  • Claudia Aoraha

    UK NEARLY GIVING HALF A MILLION JABS A DAY

    The UK has nearly hit the target of giving out 500,000 Covid vaccinations A DAY as three-quarters of all over-80s have been jabbed.

    Yesterday, 491,970 Brits were given the first dose of the Covid vaccine in a huge boost for the Government’s target of vaccinating 13.5million vulnerable people by mid-February.

    The figure marks an increase of 13,722 doses compared with January 22, when 478,248 jabs were given out.

    It is also a significant jump on Thursday’s figure of 409,855.

    The increase brings the total number of first-dose vaccinations in Britain to 6,353,321 since the beginning of the rollout on December 8. 

  • Claudia Aoraha

    NASAL SPRAY THAT PREVENTS COVID INFECTION 'AVAILABLE BY SUMMER'

    A nasal spray that can prevent the coronavirus infection for up to two days could be available in high street chemists by the summer.

    The spray is made from ingredients already approved for medical use so won't need further approval and will help to ease lockdown restrictions.

    There is also hope that the spray might bring about an end to social distancing.

    Scientists at the University of Birmingham have been working on spray since April last year.

  • Claudia Aoraha

    HANCOCK BLASTS INFLUENCERS FOR 'PARTIES IN PARIS'

    Matt Hancock has blasted influencers for jetting off on holiday to party during the coronavirus lockdown.

    The Health Secretary slammed people breaking travel bans for "parties in Paris" and "weekends in Dubai" while the Government continued to urge people to stay at home.

    Speaking on the BBC this morning, Mr Hancock said: "International travel, right now, should not be happening unless it's absolutely necessary.

    "No parties in Paris or weekends in Dubai.

    "That is not on and in most cases, it's against the law."

  • Justin Lawrence

    COVID BECOMING 'MORE EFFICIENT' AT LIVING IN HUMANS SAYS SIR JOHN BELL

    Covid-19 is becoming more efficient at living in humans, according to Sir John Bell.

    Sir Bell, Regius chair of medicine at the University of Oxford, made the claims while being interviewed by Channel 4 news.

    When asked about new Covid variants he said: "This is a virus that has moved species, it used to live at the back end of a Pangolin and now it's moved to humans. And it's gotta adapt to being in humans.

    "And what we're seeing now is it's getting better and better, and more efficient to living in humans."

     

  • Justin Lawrence

    MIDLANDS BECOMES FIRST UK REGION TO GIVE A MILLION PEOPLE COVID JAB

    The Midlands has administered more than a million first doses of coronavirus vaccines – making it the first region in England to do so. 

    It means the area has now given more jabs than many countries across the world.

    But new figures from NHS England also show that London is still lagging behind all other regions in terms of the total number of jabs given, having delivered around 641,000 since December 8.

    The capital also delivered the lowest number of first doses in the last seven days.

    Between January 17 and January 23, 362,976 first doses were administered in the Midlands compared to 219,350 in London.

     

  • Justin Lawrence

    96-YEAR-OLD PAYS TRIBUTE TO IDENTICAL TWIN SHE LOST TO COVID

    Doris Hobday and Lilian Cox, known as the Tipton Twins, were admitted to hospital after testing positive earlier this month.

    Mrs Hobday died on January 5, while Mrs Cox was discharged from hospital.

    Mrs Cox said it had been a "very sad week" but she was "forever grateful" to have "created so many special memories" with her twin.

    She said: "I feel so lucky to have had her by my side for 96 years, she was not just my sister she was my best friend, we created so many special memories which will stay with me and for that I am forever grateful."

     

  • Justin Lawrence

    MEDICAL EXPERTS SAYS DELAYING SECOND COVID VACCINE 'COULD SAVE THOUSANDS OF LIVES'

    Thousands of lives will be saved by delaying a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to government minister.

    It comes as doctors criticise the delay and urge for the gap to be halved, with one GP describing it as an "unregulated and unlicensed trial."

    But Deputy Chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation Professor Anthony Harnden said a longer period between injections could better protect people in the long run.

    He said: "We do believe you should have a second dose but we do believe that that can be delayed," while speaking to Sky News on Sunday.

  • Justin Lawrence

    PUBS COULD BE SHUT UNTIL JULY AS LOCKDOWN POWERS EXTENDED

    Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential shops could remain shut until July after the Government extended its lockdown powers.

    The Health Protection Regulations 2020 were introduced in July last year and were set to expire last week.

    Following a lockdown review, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has now introduced a new expiry date of July 17, meaning that technically pubs and other non-essential businesses could stay closed until then, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

    Anti-lockdown campaigner, Mark Harper, chair of Coronavirus Recovery Group of Conservative MPs said: "Given the limited time allowed for debate this change in the law was little noticed.

    "Once the top four risk groups have been vaccinated and fully protected by March 8, assuming the Government hits the February 15 deadline, the Government must start easing the restrictions."

  • Justin Lawrence

    UK HAS DETECTED 77 CASES OF SOUTH AFRICAN MUTANT COVID STRAIN

    There have been 77 cases of the South African mutant strain of coronavirus now detected in the UK.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave the figure this morning, saying that all of the cases seen so far were in people who had recently travelled.

    Mr Hancock told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: "There is not what we call community transmission where you find a case that you can’t find the link back to travel. At the moment it is all linked to travel."

    He said there had also been nine cases of a variant first identified in Brazil.

    The new variants had been identified because both Brazil and South Africa had "decent-sized" genomic sequencing programmes but other countries were less well covered, Mr Hancock added.

  • Christy Cooney

    'WE'RE TRYING TO PULL COUNTRY OUT OF A NOSEDIVE', SAYS US HEALTH SECRETARY

    The US's health secretary has said the new administration is trying to "pull the country out of a nosedive".

    Xavier Becerra was speaking after President Biden said on Friday that there is "nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months”. 

    Asked about the comments, Becerra said: “What I believe President Biden is making very clear, the plane is in a nosedive and we’ve got to pull it up. 

    “And you’re not going to do that overnight, but we’re going to pull it up, we have to pull it up, failure is not an option here and so we will.” 

  • Christy Cooney

    VACCINATION AND TESTING CENTRES FOLLOWING SNOW

    A number of vaccination and testing centres across the country were forced to close their doors today amid snow and icy conditions.

    In Wales, Sunday appointments at the Bridgend, Rhondda, Abercynon, and Merthyr Tydfil vaccine centres were cancelled and will now be rescheduled.

    A testing facility that had been set up at the Lichfield FC ground in Lichfield, Staffordshire also had to close.

    Local MP Michael Fabricant said on twitter that anyone who has booked a test would be “contacted and offered an alternative appointment where possible”.

  • Christy Cooney

    IN PICTURES – WORKERS CLEAR SNOW TO ALLOW VACCINATIONS TO CONTINUE AT THE ADAM PARK STADIUM IN HIGH WYCOMBE

  • Chris Bradford

    ANOTHER 623 COVID DEATHS IN ENGLISH HOSPITALS

    A further 623 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 66,437, NHS England confirmed today.

    Patients were aged between 32 and 101. All except 34, aged between 37 and 97, had known underlying health conditions.

    The deaths were between May 17 and January 23, with the majority being on or after January 20.

    There were 28 other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

  • Chris Bradford

    GRIM TOLL

    Another 1,195 Covid-19 cases have been recorded in Scotland today as the test positivity rate stands at 7.4 per cent.

    One further death of a person who had tested positive was reported, though low numbers are expected at weekends due to register offices being closed.

    The total number of deaths now stands at 5,705.

    The Scottish Government said 404,038 people have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, up by 23,371 from the previous day.

    A total of 5,383 people have had their second dose.

    There were 2,011 people in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19 with 157 in intensive care.

  • Chris Bradford

    JAB BRITAIN

    NHS England data shows a total of 641,577 jabs have been given to people in London between December 8 and January 23, including 586,559 first doses and 55,018 second doses.

    This compares to 1,044,018 first doses and 67,147 second doses given to people in the Midlands, a total of 1,111,165.

    The breakdown for the other regions is as follows:

    North East and Yorkshire – 905,794 first doses and 71,725 second doses, making 977,519 in total

    North West – 765,617 first doses and 63,513 second doses, making 829,130 in total

    South East – 881,901 first doses and 76,288 second doses, making 958,189 in total

    South West – 632,406 first doses and 53,508 second doses, making 685,914 in total

    East of England – 680,812 first doses and 53,580 second doses, making 734,392 in total.

  • Chris Bradford

    TFL NEEDS GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS, SAYS BOSS

    Transport for London (TfL) will need at least two years of Government support to be financially stable, an official has said.

    Andy Byford, commissioner of TfL, also suggested Crossrail, which will see the new Elizabeth line run from Berkshire to Essex via central London, may open sooner than the first half of 2022.

    TfL's finances have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, leading to it requiring a £1.8 billion Government bailout in November to keep services running until March this year.

    Speaking on BBC's Politics London programme, Mr Byford said: "TfL absolutely will require additional subsidy for the next year and the year beyond that.

    "Obviously, we will do our bit to cut our costs, we have in the past taken a billion pounds off the cost base, there are further savings baked into this financial sustainability plan."

    He added: "But the frank or stark reality is that without Government support, and with the chaos that Covid and the decimation on our finances that Covid has wrought, we absolutely will be needing financial support in the short term and we're making a very strong case to Government to achieve just that."

  • Chris Bradford

    BOTTLE JOB

    Cops reportedly threatened customers buying bottles of milk from a farm shop with fines and told a boss that people should purchase the essential item from a supermarket.

    Families at the Mynydd Mostyn dairy store in Trelogan, Wales were told last Monday they could be hit with coronavirus fixed penalty notices if they did not leave the site immediately.

    Farmers Einion and Elliw Jones said customers were from local villages and accused cops of being over-zealous during the spot-check.

    Elliw told North Wales Live: "We received several complaints from local customers about their treatment."

    Click HERE to find out more.

  • Chris Bradford

    FLOUT OF ORDER

    This is the moment a brazen Covidiot asks cops if they are going to fine her during a raid on an illegal party.

    Body-cam footage shows a large group from three different households inside a house in Rhymney, Wales.

    Cops entered the home and stopped the party, before a woman asked: "Are you going to fine me for this?"

    The woman then says she will refuse to pay any fines, and that cops needed a warrant to enter the house.

    She also claimed everyone at the party was part of one bubble – but lockdown rules state that only someone living alone can create a support bubble with one other household.

    WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:

    Brazen Covidiot asks police ‘are you going to fine me for this’ during raid on illegal gathering

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