Published:

Coronavirus 1) Virus deaths pass 100,000

“The UK has become the first European country to officially record more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths, a figure described by health leaders as a tragedy. Britain is the fifth nation in the world to reach six figures, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico. It now has a higher coronavirus death rate per million people than any other country. There were 7,776 deaths registered in the UK in the week ending January 15 with the virus mentioned on the death certificate, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 103,602.” – The Times

  • Johnson ‘deeply sorry for every life that has been lost’ to Covid – Daily Telegraph
Analysis:
  • Covid-19 death toll: where did the UK make mistakes? – The Times
  • From Rolls Royce to Skoda: How the pandemic has exposed Britain’s failed ‘regulatory state’ – Daily Telegraph
  • 100,000 coronavirus deaths in charts: What’s really happening in the UK – Daily Telegraph
  • 100,000 Covid deaths: How we know so much more than when UK’s first victim perished – Daily Telegraph
Comment:

>Yesterday:

Coronavirus 2) Johnson prepares to “unveil road map out of lockdown in mid-February”

“BORIS Johnson is preparing to unveil his road map out of lockdown by mid-February – as Britain is now on course to vaccinate 30 million people by March. Government sources hint the PM’s ambitious blueprint is likely to include crucial targets concerning the roll out of coronavirus jabs, falling numbers of infections and the reopening of some schools. The eagerly-awaited document is said to be likely to be published sometime around February 15 – the date the PM has already pledged to review the current pandemic measures.” – The Sun

  • Whitty declares the top of the second wave – The Times

Coronavirus 3) Quarantine hotels for highest-risk passengers

“The government will announce today a limited hotel quarantine system for arrivals from high-risk countries after Boris Johnson rejected calls by Priti Patel for the temporary closure of Britain’s borders. The Times has been told that the home secretary pushed for a travel ban to stop potentially vaccine-resistant strains of coronavirus being imported into the country. Ms Patel suggested the move to allow time for the preparation of a blanket hotel quarantine system for all arrivals.” – The Times

  • Police fined over lockdown haircuts – The Times

Coronavirus 4) Schools in low Covid infection areas may open sooner, parents told…

“Boris Johnson said schools would reopen only “cautiously” as parents were promised news within days about the chance of children going back after the half-term holiday. The prime minister suggested that schools could reopen first in English regions with a lower infection rate. Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils in primary schools, and those sitting GSCEs and A-levels are expected to be the first to return under plans being drawn up by Gavin Williamson, mirroring the first national lockdown last year. The education secretary has rejected a rota system because it will not help parents back to work or reduce transmission.” – The Times

  • … but “lack of planning” could see them “remain closed until the summer”, warns the Children’s Commissioner – Daily Telegraph
  • Portugal blocks remote lessons at private schools to help state pupils – The Times
Comment:

>Today:

Coronavirus 5) UK ‘head start’ on EU means over-50s will be vaccinated by March, AstraZeneca chief says

“The UK’s “head start” in rolling out vaccines before the European Union means nearly everyone aged over 50 will be inoculated by March, the AstraZeneca chief executive has said. Pascal Soriot said he believed the UK was on course to administer doses to “maybe 28 or 30 million people” within weeks – nearly half the total population – and would comfortably hit the target of vaccinating the most vulnerable groups by mid-February. It came amid rising international tension after the EU threatened to block vaccine doses from leaving the Continent without prior approval, leading Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, to accuse Brussels of “protectionism and narrow nationalism”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • New Covid therapies will make life normal, says Head of the NHS – The Times
  • Pioneering antibody treatment for Covid that is being trialled on NHS is found to ‘prevent 100% of symptomatic infections and cut asymptomatic infections in half’ – Daily Mail
  • Germany presses Brussels for powers to block vaccine exports – FT
Comment:

£1 million wasted on cycle-friendly road zones that councils abandoned

“More than £1 million of public money has been wasted on cycle-friendly road schemes that were subsequently ripped out because of local opposition, an investigation has found. Research showed that almost one in ten “low-traffic neighbourhoods” has been abandoned as little as a month after being introduced after complaints from residents and businesses. In one case, Westminster council spent almost £138,000 on design, engineering and consultation fees only to scrap a scheme before it was launched.” – The Times

Boost for Trump as 45 Republican senators vote to dismiss impeachment…

“Donald Trump’s hopes of avoiding conviction by the US Senate received a boost on Tuesday when 45 Republicans tried to dismiss his impeachment trial before it even began. The procedural vote was not enough to prevent the trial going ahead, since 55 senators voted that it should, but it did suggest that Democrats face an uphill battle to get the 67 senators they will need for a conviction on a two-thirds majority vote. Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on the charge of “incitement of insurrection” following the storming of the US Capitol, including the Senate chamber, by an angry mob on 6 January. Senators gathered at the scene of the crime on Tuesday to begin his trial.” – The Guardian

… as Biden tells Putin to come clean about Navalny

“President Biden challenged President Putin yesterday over the poisoning of the opposition activist Alexei Navalny in his first phone call with his Russian counterpart since taking office. He also raised concerns over evidence of Russian interference in US elections, over a massive cyberespionage campaign against the American government, and over reports that Russia placed bounties on US troops in Afghanistan. In addition, he expressed “strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty” in the face of continued aggression from Moscow.” – The Times

Comment:

News in brief: